Classic Yellow Cake with Fudge Frosting

lately i’ve been obsessing over pictures of simple, aesthetic cakes.

11pm? cakes.

grocery shopping? cakes.

watching tv? cakes.

waiting for a cake in the oven? cakes.

these are the kinda cakes one could say are “too pretty to die”, to which i would respond “gimme”, while grabbing the nearest eating utensil.

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anyways, the story behind these cakes is otherwise quite simple. one was a birthday cake for my gal nia, the sweetest, most sincere woman i know, and the other was for selena, who flat out asked me for a cake. that kind of honesty is attractive, and because she is also the kindest human being ever born, i just had to make her one.

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sadly, i couldn’t get any photos of the cut cake, there was simply no time before it was devoured. that’s fine with me though, i take it as a compliment. all the photos i was fortunate enough to get were taken from 9-11pm, and 6-6:30am. thank god for raw files and natural light, amiright?


Classic Yellow Cake with Fudge Frosting

makes one 9″4-layer cake (i made two 9″ 2-layer cakes, but cake recipes are so customizable, any pan will do but the number of layers will differ)

recipe adapted from acozykitchen

ingredients:

cake- 

  • 4 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 9 large egg yolks
  • 2 1/4 cups  whole milk

chocolate fudge frosting-

  • 2 1/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted (may be increased for added stiffness)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • splash of whole milk
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled

 

method:

preheat oven to 350*F and prepare 4 9″ cake pans with butter and a light dusting of flour.

whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. set aside.

in another bowl, beat butter until smooth. add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, a few more minutes. add vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides as necessary.

slowly add in flour mixture, alternating with milk. do not over mix.

evenly divide between prepared cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick from the center comes out clean. let cool for 15 minutes before inverting.

for the frosting-

beat butter until smooth, then gradually add confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  add vanilla and splash of milk, mixing until fluffy and smooth. fold in chocolate.

assembly-

when layers have completely cooled, level them and place the one that will be the bottom layer on a serving plate. spread a layer of frosting on top then place the next layer over it. repeat with the other layers and use remaining frosting to cover the outside of the cake*.

*i like more rustic-looking cakes (if that’s even a thing), so i created swirl patterns on the top of the cake and created the ribs on the side by dragging a spoon (an offset spatula would be perfect) gently up the sides, one row after another. i also garnished the cakes with dried flowers i had laying around. i loved the way they turned out!

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Tropical Granola

This granola gets addicting. Like having a cup, then another… every day of the week, until its gone. Then, its time to make some more!

Tropical-Granola

The thing I love about granola, is its diversity! There are so many ways to make it your own. Whenever I make this, I make at least 2 different flavors as experiments. This one so far has been my favorite!

Tropical-Granola

With chunks of fresh coconut and various tropical dried fruits, this granola makes me excited to eat breakfast in the morning! It is also makes for a great gift when stored in a mason jar or parchment paper bags.

Tropical-Granola

Who would not love and appreciate a jar of homemade granola?

Ingredients (Yields to 8 cups):

5 cups  rolled oats (Try Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free)

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

1 cup almonds

1 tbs. cinnamon

2 tsp. nutmeg

2 tbs. chia seeds

1/2 tbs. vanilla extract

1/2 of a small coconut, or 2/3 cup dried coconut shavings

2/3 cup honey

1 cup dried fruit (Pineapple and papaya work well)

Preparation:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Chop the almonds into fourths and place in a large bowl with the oats, coconut oil, chia seeds, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cut open the coconut using a small saw, carful to catch any liquid if you want to keep it. From there, cut the coconut in half again, so you have four pieces, which will make it easier to extract the coconut meat. once you have the meat from two of the fourths, cube them into small pieces and add to the mixture. Make sure to combine the ingredients well, then spread the mix evenly in the prepared pan in one single layer. Depending on the size of the pan, you may have to split the batch up. Drizzle the honey over the mix evenly. Place in the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes, flipping and checking for a light golden color that signifies when it is done. Meanwhile, chop the dried fruit and add it in after the granola has cooled outside of the oven. Store in mason jars for extra cuteness.

Popeye muffins

~Part 1 of 2: Birthday Edition!~

-Recipe adapted from this one

I made these muffins when I wanted a guilt-free snack/breakfast/dessert. I was a bit skeptical of the recipe at first, especially when I made a whole bunch of alterations, but it was a risk I was willing to take.

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I also risked a gluten free version. Being the oddity I am, these were my birthday cakes, so I needed a gluten free kind that others could eat as well. It did not work out…

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They baked for at  least  twice as long as the others, but still came out looking like this! I had to add extra coconut milk and subbed whole wheat to coconut flour. Please, do not attempt at home.

The others taste good though! Don’t call me crazy- try them for yourself and be pleasantly surprised.

Ingredients :

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup coconut milk

2 tbsp. vanilla

at least a handful of baby spinach

2 bananas (over-ripe is the best)

1/2 cup +2tbsp. honey

Preparation:

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl (the first four ingredients listed). Then, place the rest of the ingredients, excluding the bananas and vanilla, in a blender.

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Now, blend until the spinach is broken down all the way, and add the bananas and vanilla into the mix. When everything is incorporated, pour the ‘smoothie’ into the bowl with the dry ingredients.

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Mix them in well, and make sure it is not clumpy. Pour the mix into lined cupcake tins, about 3/4 of the way.

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Once the oven is pre-heated to 350 degrees F., place the tins into the oven and bake them for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Chia pudding; healthy and raw

Chia seeds are a super food, and are easy to incorporate into your diet. They are full of antioxidants, fiber, omega-3, and makes you stay full for a longer time than most other foods. They have been a huge health trend recently, and I gave in, adding it to my oatmeal, granola, and smoothies. It is great because it does not add much flavor, but is so healthy!

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Ingredients for the pudding:

1/3 cup chia seeds

1 1/2 cups of any milk (I used coconut milk, predictable, am I?)

3 tbsp. agave

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tbsp. coconut shavings

1/2 tsp. cinnamon (or to taste)

1/4 tsp. nutmeg (or to taste)

Preparation:

Pour the milk into a large jar. Mix the chia seeds into the milk, eliminating any clumps. This is very important because it is not fun having clumps of dry chia seeds in your pudding! You can add in the other ingredients, mixing as you go.

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When you are done, put a bird on it  lid on it and place it in the fridge. How easy! The thing is, you have to wait for the pudding to solidify. This takes 3 hours at the least, but it is worth it!

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Baked Oatmeal (Chocolate or Peach)

Say you are craving chocolate… in the morning. You don’t really want to sneak a bite of a bar or fudge, so you need to think of a breakfast food with a chocolate accent.  You search for something like this, and you arrive here. With chocolate “boatmeal”, or baked oatmeal.

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Eagerly, you fist-punch the air and begin. After you have eaten this chocolaty-oat delight, your mouth is not satisfied enough. Like.. like you need something fresh to distract from the chocolate. Then you search again, and arrive here again, but to make my peach baked oatmeal.

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Whoa, how was that for a prolog? Do you want some now? I sure do. I loved this contrast, making both chocolate and peach boatmeal (don’t you just love that word?). I actually had no peaches, so I used nectarines. They still tasted amazing!

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You can choose to make both, or make only one kind, or even invent your own flavors. Let’s get started!

Ingredients for oatmeal base (makes 3 cupcake sized boatmeals):

1 cup of rolled oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free version)

1/8 tsp. sea salt

2 tbs. melted coconut oil (1 tbs. in addition to grease)

1-2 tbs. honey or agave

1 tbs. coconut shavings

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1/2 -2/3 cup of coconut milk

1/8 tsp cinnamon

Add for chocolate boatmeal:

1/8 cup-1/4 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet are the best)

1/2 of a banana, mashed

Add for peach boatmeal:

2 small peaches/nectarines, 1 mashed, 1 thinly sliced

1/8 tsp. cinnamon (1/4 tsp. in total as an addition to the base)

1/8 cup chopped almonds

To bake:

Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the wet ones.

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Leave a few chocolate chips to garnish for the chocolate boatmeal,  and the sliced peach/nectarine, but add the mashed one.

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Grease cupcake tins or a bread mold with coconut oil and then pour the mix in all the way, for chocolate version, then sprinkle with chocolate chips. For the peach version, layer the mix with slices of peaches, ending with a slice on the top. There should be 3 cupcakes made from the peach, then 3 from the chocolate version. Cook them for 20 minutes in an oven preheated to 380 degrees F. then on broil for 1-2 minutes. Let them cool for a few minutes, or until they harden a bit, then remove with a spoon. If you are feeling fancy, garnish with a few fanned strawberries, honey, and/or a sprinkle of granola.

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My dog Gurdy wanted to be in the photo-shoot. She loves being around people and food!

 

Superfood Oatmeal

I love this oatmeal so much that I have had it several times this week. And not just one serving, oh no. Nowadays, people think oatmeal is boring and flavorless; only ever eaten for its nutritional value. Well, in this recipe, I made it not only healthier, but taste good too.

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With some of my Berry Compote, this oatmeal has a satisfying tart, sweet, and savory taste. Let’s start!

Ingredients (Serves about two):

3 cups of water

1 1/2  tbs. chia seeds

2 cups of oats ( I used gluten free Bob’s Red Mill oats)

1/8 cup coconut shavings

3/4 tbs. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. vanilla

To add in after:

1 batch of my berry compote

2 spoons of honey

coconut milk (as desired)

Cooking:

Throughout this “procedure”, you need to baby the oatmeal. Really, it needs to be stirred and watched all the time. While you contemplate this, set the water on the stove to boil. Just before it does, add in the dry ingredients and turn the heat to medium. Cook the oats for around 10 minutes, then add the vanilla and let it cook for 5 more minutes, or until you have it as you like. Once it cools, and you get your additions ready, put some in a bowl, then add the best thing ever:

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Coconut milk is my favorite thing. I use it in my granola too and would use it in any other suitable situation. Or unsuitable. You never know ’till you try it! Anyways, as I dream of coconut love, you can scoop/pour the berry compote on. Now, drizzle the spoonful of honey over it all. Are you a mixer, or do you eat it as-is? Either is awesome, so I do both, depending on the day. So, savor it, smell it, and enjoy the rest of your morning.

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Berry Compote

This compote is so deliciously simple. Three ingredients: tart strawberries and blueberries contrasted by rich honey.

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Compote keeps for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge. It is different from jam in that way, and it is so much easier! Here is how to make it:

Ingredients (serves two):

5 strawberries

2 handfuls of blueberries (switch the fruit for any you happen to have!)

1 spoonful of honey

Cooking:

Pick out the strawberries and blueberries you want, and cut the strawberries into fourths, depending on how large they are.  I left a few smaller ones whole, to add texture and variation. Turn the stove to medium and stir fry the berries and honey for around 8 minutes, then on medium-low for 1-2 minutes. The fruit should be semi-broken down.

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These are the berries after only a few minutes on the stove.

Once the consistency is to your liking, top anything from toast to ice-cream or my oatmeal with this compote!