Cheesy Guacamole Chicken

 

This idea has been adapted from one of the very few recipes I’ve ever really looked at from Facebook. Sure I’ll watch the videos and like the pictures of food, but I usually only look at recipes from Pinterest. I ended up changing a lot of the recipe to fit my own tastes, but the general concept is still there. This one definitely caught my attention because I hadn’t made guacamole of my own yet. Shocking right?!? Well up until last year we didn’t really eat avocados, not sure why we thought they were so gross and just couldn’t even bear to think of eating it! Well I started ordering sandwiches occasionally the would include avocado and I didn’t mind it so much, it took Levi quite awhile to give it a go. Last year we had Super Bowl Nachos with my parents and I convinced Levi to try some Mom’s Famous Shitty  Guacamole, it wasn’t long after that we started making our own sandwiches, fajitas and tacos all topped with avocado! 

Now I know that I really heap it on in this recipe, and you don’t have to make quite as much, but it is just so amazing when you pair it with the crispy bacon and melty cheese. The chicken presented a different challenge because I find that just seasoning the outside of meat and then frying it tends to burn the seasoning and just ends up being unpleasant. So I devised the most amazing way to cook and flavor the chicken. I season it with salt and pepper and then sear it on both sides. Then I use a packet of taco seasoning and water to make a sauce that I use to simmer the chicken until it’s done. Yum! I even drizzled some of the taco sauce over the salsa rice and it was amazing!!!

Ingredients:

  • 3 Strips Thick Cut Bacon
  • 2 Medium Chicken Breasts
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 packet Taco Seasoning
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Avocados
  • 1/4 Cup Onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Cumin 
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese (I like Tillamook brand)

Prepare the guacamole by removing the peel and pit from each avocado and place in a bowl. Add the onions, garlic, lime juice, cumin and a pinch of salt. Mash everything together with a fork until avocado is creamy with minimal lumps.

Cut bacon strips in half, in a medium skillet (with a lid available) cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from pan and place on a plate with a paper towel while you cook the chicken. 

Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in the skillet with the bacon fat (or cooking oil) over medium temperature and sear on both sides for 4 minutes each. Carefully add water into the skillet and mix in the taco seasoning. Reduce heat to low and cover for 10 minutes. Flip the chicken every couple minutes spooning some sauce over them each time. 

Once the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees the taco sauce should be relatively thick. Spoon sauce over each chicken and spoon half the guac over each chicken breast. Top with 3 bacon pieces each and then 1/2 the cheese. Place the lid back on the pan for 1-2 minutes until the cheese is nice and melted. 

Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!!!!

Adapted from the recipe found at thatlowcarblife.com

Roasted Garlic Corned Beef & Cabbage

 

Here we are once again…..testing out recipes so you can have the most delicious St. Patrick’s Day feast! Since I’ve already tried out a Slow Cooker Version, Irish Beer Corned Beef and Cabbage Crockpot Dinner. And an Instant Pot Version, Instant Pot Corned Beef & Cabbage in Irish Beer. It was time to try it on the stove top. This time I also tried out a new flavor profile as well! I roasted some garlic in olive oil at 425 for 35 minutes and mixed it with mustard and rubbed it onto the meat. Yum!! And I also switched out the usual beer for some Guinness. This added some more really rich flavors. This year I also tried out an Irish Soda Bread and it didn’t bake all the way and weighed a million pounds. I’ll have to work on perfecting it before I share, or maybe I’ll try out the recipe my mom makes every year. It’s pretty cute when she shapes it like a four leaf clover. 

Did you know that Corned Beef and Cabbage is an Irish American dish and will not commonly be found in Ireland? Although Corned Beef was was a big export for Ireland, they would eat Bacon and Cabbage dishes or stews for St. Patrick’s Day. So there is a little fun fact for you!

Alright…let’s get cooking!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb Corned Beef Flat Cut with seasoning packet
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 4 Cloves of Roasted Garlic
  • 4 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, quartered
  • 1 Yellow Onion, Quartered
  • 4 Carrots, halved
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Bottles Guinness Beer, or Beef Broth
  • 1/2 Cabbage, quartered
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Horseradish

In a small dish mash together the roasted garlic and mustard. Remove the Corned Beef from the package and rinse and pat dry. Rub the garlic mix over the roast. Place in a large pot, pour in the beer, add the seasoning from the packet, and bay leaves. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer cover and cook for 2 hours. 

Add the carrots, potatoes and onions. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot and place in a shallow dish with 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Cover with tin foil and let it rest while you finish. 

Add the cabbage to the pot, cover and cook for another 15 minutes. Place the Corned Beef on a cutting board and thinly slice against the grain. Remove the veggies from the cooking liquid to a serving dish and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with horseradish for dipping. 

Charcuterie Board

For my birthday every year we do some kind of special dinner with my parents. We either go out to eat, do surf and turf, or make something fancy! This past birthday we decided to do something completely different that was really fun and felt very decadent…..a charcuterie  board!

Charcuterie boards have been quite a trend lately and I can definitely see why. You can feed a crowd who all have differing taste and adventurous spirits! If there are a few you can go from ham and turkey all the way to prosciutto, pate and capicola. It’s a great opportunity to find your next perfect snack combinations. Mine is now Garlic Parmesan Pretzel Crisps, Capicola and dill Havarti! Yum!

Everything on our board came from Smith’s Cheese counter, olive bar and deli counter.

There are a few basic components to start out with building the board of your dreams. I’ll tell you what I used but please follow your hearts!

Meats-Choose a variety of textures, tastes and level of spice. We used Pepperoni, Pork Pate, Prosciutto, Capicola and hard Genoa salami.

Cheese– Choose a variety of textures and tastes. We used Jarlsberg, Whiskey aged white cheddar, Romano, Dill Havarti, Fromage D’Affinois (or Brie) and smoked Gouda

Vehicles– Usually a grain used to hold the components. We used a Baguette (toasted if you want), Garlic Parmesan Pretzels Crisps, Black Pepper Wafer crackers

Spreads– Dijon Mustard, Pesto

Extras- These bring in some bright and complementary flavors. Roasted Garlic Cloves, Roasted Red Peppers, Gherkins, Chopped Artichoke Hearts, Assorted olives, and Marcona Almonds

Fruits- These can be used as a vehicle or a palate cleanser. We used Red and Green Grapes and Honey Crisp apples.

Pair with your favorite wines, beers and champagne!

Christmas Tree Tips and Tricks

We’ve spent many many years working on our Christmas tree skills. Before we moved in together Levi just had one set of Christmas ornaments he would use every year and I had one set that I had only used a few times and a few sentimental things. Our first Christmas living together I convinced Levi to get a real tree and we decided to get a new set of decorations. This was the start of an obsession! We now have 7 full sets of ornaments and decorate 2 trees every year. This year we went with a rustic theme, it consists of a lot of wood, buffalo plaid, iron, pine cones and cranberries. It’s becoming an art form and a point of pride to us. Having a beautifully decorated tree just really gets me in the Christmas spirit. As we started really getting into the different ways to decorate we read a lot of articles about different strategies to decorate to really make your tree extra special. And there are a few special touches we just figured out how to do. So here is are our tips and tricks to decorate a spectacular tree!

  1. Prep. If you are using a fresh tree make sure to shake the tree outside to get as many needles out as possible. Put the tree in the stand and let it settle for as least 12 hours with plenty of water before you start to decorate.
  2. Lighting. We use 3 different kinds of lights. C6 LED bulbs, this strand can be set to color, white or alternate. We wrap this strand around the trunk of the tree for ultimate lighting effect. This trick really makes the tree feel luminescent and special. Next we have mini lights, you can get them in a variety of colors. These we loosely weave in and out of the branches. We used 4 strands of these lights. Lastly we have starburst lights. This is just a little something to make it feel extra special. This year I used 2, but I actually really love them and will probably do at least 3 next year.
  3. Ribbon. Usually a 21 inch wire ribbon works best if you like the bubble ribbon effect. About 30 feet should work if your tree will be against a wall. Add 15-30 feet if you need a 360 degree effect. There are really 2 ways you can do this. I always keep the roll intact and gather about 1-2 feet of feet of ribbon for the bubble, then tuck away a few feet and repeat for the next bubble. The other option would be to cut about 2 feet of ribbon and secure the ends together with a twistie tie and then stick it in between the branches wherever you want that pretty pop of color. One of my favorite parts of using this type of ribbon is that each bubble can look totally different and it really adds some interest, flow and focal points to the tree. I have uploaded a quick video demonstrating my technique here. It definitely took some practice to understand how to work with the ribbon, but once you get it down you can add the touch to your tree in about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Ornaments. There are 4 different aspects of the ornaments to take into account when applying your decorations to the tree: depth, size, shape, and color.
    1. Depth. Placing small-medium shiny and sparkly bulbs deeper into the tree creates some depth and interest. As you are placing bulbs and other decorations remember to have variety in depth as you place them on the branches.
    2. Size. It’s best to have at least 3 different sizes in ornaments. Once you have set your deep bulbs then start decorating the outer branches with the biggest ornaments first. Space them evenly throughout the tree. Next start filling in with your medium and small decorations.
    3. Shape. Have some fun with different shapes, have 1 or 2 of a very unique ornament to draw some interest. I am quite partial to star, snowflake and bird shapes.
    4. Color. Make sure that you are not grouping too many like colors next to each other. If you see a space that feels dark add a lighter ornament to brighten it up. After all the ornaments are on the tree I always spend about 10 minutes re-arranging ornaments to get the best visual impact possible.
    5. Final touches. I love adding branches that have pinecones, cranberries or flowers     on them that will stick out just a little bit from the tree. I also like a touch of flocking. I prefer to spray it after the decorations are on to know where there are larger areas of branches exposed that could use a little interest. Finally finish the look with a tree skirt that compliments your chosen theme.

And there you have it! For tips and tricks on creating a beautiful table setting click here!

I hope everyone has a beautiful and safe holiday season!

Love from our little family to yours.

 

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pancakes

What’s the best way to warm your stomach up for the Thanksgiving feast? An amazing breakfast of course! Don’t have time for breakfast on the big day? No problem, these flavors will get through fall into winter! It just feels warm and cozy, these are perfect for any cold morning!

I loved these pancakes because they are thick and fluffy! Such a soft texture that they will just melt in your mouth. I added the chocolate chips to make them extra special! You can top them so many different ways! I did toasted pecans to add some crunch and Maple Bourbon Syrup. You can have them with milk, chai tea or a pumpkin spice latte! Yum Yum Yum! Happy Holidays everyone! Don’t forget to check out the Thanksgiving Dinner Page to get easy to make ideas for the big day!

Makes 8 medium pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Pumpkin Pie Coffee Creamer (I used International Delight)
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 3/4 Cup Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 tsp Maple Extract
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • Optional: 1 Cup Dark Chocolate or Semi Sweet Chocolate Chunks
  • Toppings: Toasted pecans, Cinnamon Sugar, Bourbon Maple Syrup, Whipped Cream

In a medium bowl whisk the wet ingredients together. In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.

Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a spatula until just combined. Add chocolate. Do not over mix or it will effect the texture of the pancakes.

Set your oven to warm and place a cookie sheet inside. Heat your griddle to 325 or a pan over medium heat. Spray pan with cooking spray, using a ladle or 1/3 Cup drop batter onto the griddle. Cook on one side till the top side loses it’s shine and the bottom side is nicely browned. Flip over and cook until the pancake bounces back when you press your finger onto it and the bottom is golden brown. Transfer cooked pancakes from the pan/griddle to the oven to keep warm until ready to serve.

Serve with your favorite toppings.

Instant Pot Herb Turkey Breast

Only one month left till Thanksgiving! I just love this holiday… the prep, the cooking and baking, the drinking, the eating, and the fun with family and friends! Of course followed by some awesome shopping. I’ve got my eye on one or two big ticket Black Friday items. I have gotten to the point where I mostly just by movies and decorations on Black Friday, but it’s time for life upgrades. Seriously, if I don’t get a nice mattress soon I might have to give up trivial stuff like sitting and walking.

I have been having so much fun the last few years trying new and different holiday recipes. We’ve been doing our standard Roast Turkey, but I wanted to give it a try in the Instant Pot. Seriously, what a gem this turned out to be. I got it for my birthday last year and I use it once or twice a week! It can be so easy when you just want a dump and go dinner.

This turkey was so incredibly easy, and turned out juicy and flavorful. I read quite a few recipes to find out the best amount of time and I was definitely surprised at how fast these cook. The general consensus is 6 minutes per pound. And this worked perfectly, we could cut it with a fork. Any longer and it would’ve started to fall apart. There are 3 very important steps to remember:

  1. Make sure the breast is completely covered in liquid.
  2. 10 minute natural release before you pop the lever.
  3. Remove the breast from the pot and let it rest at least another 10 minutes.

These steps will ensure that all the juiciness stays in the meat. Don’t let your beautiful turkey dry out!

We served it up with some yummy mashed potatoes, garlic dinner rolls and Brown Sugar Green Beans. Followed by a divine Apple Cranberry Pie. I hope you all have an amazing holiday season!!

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb Butterball Herb Turkey Breast
  • 8 cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary
  • 1 White Onion, cut in half
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, smashed
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning

Place all ingredients into the Instant Pot. Set on Meat/Stew for 18 minutes. When timer goes off let natural release for 10 minutes, then manual release. Remove turkey from pot and place on a cutting board, cover in foil.

Use some of the cooking liquid to mix with the gravy pouch and prepare according to instructions.

Remove turkey skin, carve and serve with all your favorite sides!

Galaxy Cupcakes

These cupcakes will forever hold a very special place in my heart. It’s the first time I was able to bake with my nephew, Brooks. A few days before his trip I got a video of him asking me if we could make how can you say no to that?!?  Especially when it ends with a big smile and a “pwease”.  I love that little kid so much! We had a pretty good time mixing ingredients, mixing colors, but the best time was decorating time! This guy just cracks me up. I had all my ingredients out and I grabbed the cake mix. He asks me “What’s that?” “Cake mix” I respond. “Oh……I’ve never seen that before!” Me “😑” My sister “😂🤣😂” My 2 1/2 year old nephew cake box shamed me! Rude!

So much sass, I can only wonder where he gets it from 🤔. When it came to glitter and sprinkle time we stuck to a very strict regimen of one handful of sprinkles on the cupcake and one handful of sprinkles right into Brooks’ mouth.

I wanted to keep these cupcakes very bright and easy to make, so I went with 3 colors (white, teal, purple) in the cake and 4 colors (white, teal, purple and pink) for the frosting. I used Wilton neon colors, which give easy vibrant colors without having to use a whole bottle.

I hope that you get to make some magic baking memories with the kids in your life!

Makes 24

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:

  • 1 Box White Cake Mix
  • 1 Package Ghirardelli White Chocolate Instant Pudding
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Melted Butter
  • 1 Cup Sour Cream
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 tsp Raspberry Emulsion
  • Purple and teal neon Wilton Food Coloring

Frosting:

  • 1 Cup Salted Butter, softened
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 6 oz White Chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Lemon Emulsion
  • 3 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • Purple, teal, and pink neon Wilton Food Coloring
  • Edible glitter, sprinkles and fun decorations

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the cupcakes add the cake mix and pudding into a stand mixer and mix on low. Add butter and milk. Mix well. Add eggs, vanilla, raspberry emulsion and sour cream. Mix well for 2 minutes scraping down the sides of the bowl. It’s very important to make sure that the sides of the bowl are scraped down because if the batter isn’t evenly mixed your cupcakes will have inconsistent texture and bake.

Take 1/3 of the batter and move it into a small bowl, add 3 drops of the neon purple food coloring and mix well. Add more coloring to get desired color. Repeat with another 1/3 of the batter and the neon teal food coloring.  Add all the batter back into the mixing bowl with the white batter and using a spatula gently swirl the colors together.

Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full with batter. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting:

In a medium bowl beat the butter and salt with a hand mixer until it lightens in color and becomes light and fluffy. Add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and the lemon emulsion, mix well. Slowly beat in the melted white chocolate. Slowly add 2 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar and beat well for 3-4 minutes until it’s light and fluffy.

Split the frosting into 4 small bowls, leave one white. Using the neon pink, purple and teal color the other three frostings. Fit a large piping bag with a Wilton 1M piping tip. Using a regular spoon alternate adding the different colors of frosting into the bag. Pipe rosettes onto the cooled cupcakes.

Add all the fun and beautiful space themed sprinkles and decorations that your little heart desires!

Simple Compound Butter

It’s harvest time! We just pulled 36 HUGE garlics out of the ground and they are currently curing in the basement. But we couldn’t resist cracking into a few juicy cloves right away. We’ve roasted a few with other veggies, thrown some into our mashed potatoes, and even used it to flavor some French dip sandwiches!! Yum!! One of favorite uses for garlic is to help add some extra flavor to a juicy steak.

After cooking your steak on a grill or a cast iron pan it’s crucial to let it rest for a few minutes before you cut it. This is a great time to add a little extra flavor and reintroduce some fat back into meat to keep it tender. A compound butter will do both tasks. There are so many different flavors you can create, but my go to compound is always garlic and parsley. Have the butter made ahead of time and just plop a generous helping on top of your steaks right off the heat. Let rest for 5-10 minutes and dig in!

You can also use it on grilled chicken, pork chops or roasts.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp Salted Butter
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Parsley, finely chopped

In a small glass dish melt the butter. Add the garlic and parsley, stir to combine. Bring to room temperature. Cover and place in the fridge. Use it over the next few weeks!

Once your meat has finished cooking move to a platter, add a helping of compound butter and cover with aluminum foil. Let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Stay tuned for more garden fresh food love!

Pina Colada Cheesecake

Hello friends,

It is that time of year again! Time for me to post about the pinnacle of my baking creativity for the year. Of course I am talking about Levi’s birthday cake! There is nothing I love more than going all out to celebrate the people I love. I even went into full blown deception mode this year. I took half a day off work to come home and make the cake, which was a feat in itself because we carpool! I also invited some dear friends to join us for a surprise dinner. It was so much fun!

I’m not quite what gave me the idea to use pina colada flavors, maybe it was the gorgeous pineapples I saw at the store. And then I just went nuts with it! I wanted to add the pecans and the macadamias for some crunch. And of course you just need to layer in massive amounts of coconut. For something with such a distinct flavor, it’s actually pretty difficult to make it shine. All I have to say is be very careful when using extracts, they can easily overwhelm and leave an off flavor in your mouth.

This cheesecake is rich and decadent without being too sweet. And the tangy pineapple curd really brings a bright burst of flavor. I hope you love it!

Ingredients:

Crust:

  • 12 oz Mother’s Coconut Cocadas cookies, crushed
  • 1 Cup Toasted Coconut Flakes
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted Macadamia nuts, finely chopped
  • 1 Cup Toasted Pecans, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Butter, melted

Filling:

  • 32 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1 Cup Cream of Coconut
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Ghiradelli White Chocolate Chips
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp Coconut Extract (optional)
  • 4 Eggs and 2 Egg Yolks, room temperature
  • 1 Cup Coconut flakes

Topping:

  • 12 oz Canned Pineapple, or 1 fresh pineapple diced and juiced
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 3 Tbsp Butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp Cornstarch
  •  3/4 Cup Whipping Cream
  • 4 Tbsp Powdered Sugar
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Rum
  • 2 Cups Toasted Coconut Flakes
  • 1 Cup Toasted Macadamia Nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the crushed coconut cookies, toasted coconut, pecans and chopped macadamia nuts and the melted butter. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Place in the oven for 7 minutes, remove and chill in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.

In a small microwave safe dish add the white chocolate chips. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Continue to microwave in 15 second increments and stirring in between until chocolate is completely melted. Set aside.

In a large bowl use a hand mixer or a stand mixer to beat the cream cheese until it is smooth. Add sugar and cream of coconut, beat well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cooled chocolate, vanilla, and coconut extract. Mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, beat on low until eggs are just barely incorporated. Mix in the coconut flakes.

Wrap tinfoil around the outside of the springform pan to seal it. Place the pan in a large roasting pan. Pour the filling onto the crust in the springform pan. Place the whole thing in the oven. Pour boiling water in the roasting pan until it’s halfway up the side of the cake pan. Bake the cheesecake for 60 minutes. Reduce heat to 300, bake an additional 30-45 minutes until the cheesecake doesn’t jiggle when gently shaken. Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake rest for 60 minutes. Move cheesecake to the refrigerator for 4 hours to overnight.

To prepare the toppings:

In a small saucepan add the sugar, pineapple juice and chunks, butter, egg yolks and cornstarch. Over a medium-low heat gently whisk the ingredients together. Let it cook for 12-15 minutes whisking occasionally, adjust heat as necessary so that it doesn’t come to a full boil. Remove from heat, strain into a bowl, and let it come to room temperature. Place in the fridge for at least an hour.

In a medium bowl beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer until it’s light and fluffy. In a large bowl beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar and coconut rum for about 5-7 minutes until the cream can hold it’s own shape.

Using a spatula take 1/4 of the whipping cream and fold it into the cream cheese. Repeat with the remaining whipping cream until you have a smooth mousse.

Transfer the mousse into a piping bag and pipe the mousse around the edge of the cheesecake, fill the center with pineapple curd and gently pipe the rest of the mousse over the top of the cheesecake. Smooth with a frosting spatula. Decorate the top with a ring of macadamia nuts around the edge and pile on the toasted coconut. Place back in the fridge for 15 minutes.

If you want to be super professional when slicing the cheesecake, run a long thin knife under hot water for a minute and wipe dry with a paper towel between each cut.

Cake of Fire and Ice

I am just so sad that the last episode of Game of Thrones is on Sunday! I am not going to talk about this season too much because it’s been very controversial. Personally, I have very mixed feelings about it. I think that Dany was always supposed to go mad, I do feel like there has been a lot of build up to certain story arcs that just kind of end and leaves me with the feeling of “really….that was it”. I really hope that George R. R. Martin is able to finish the books and gives his fans something with a little more substance in the end. I am planning to start reading the books as soon as the series is over, and I have heard that the descriptions of the food are stunning.

What am I even going to do when I can’t make desserts themed with Fire and Ice?!?! Of course I had to end with a cake, which is my nemesis. I can make cupcakes like nobodies business, but when it comes to cakes they are almost always dry, too dense and somewhat misshapen. I have been doing some studying and learned a few tricks to combat these issues.

Don’t open your oven too often because the fluctuation in temperature can cause the sides to cook faster than the middle, it can also cause the sides or middle to collapse. Unfortunately my cakes did cave in a little bit, I checked it at 30 minutes and I felt like the centers were still liquid and then I came back 10 minutes later and they were collapsed and just a little bit over done. Nothing a little trim and simple syrup can’t fix. Also don’t let the cake cool in the pan for too long, just about 10 minutes to the point where isn’t scorching hot anymore, but still very warm.

If cake from scratch scares you as much as it scares me go ahead and use a box mix in 2 round 8 inch cake pans (I won’t judge). Or you can use the recipe I found at the Pretty Simple Sweet Blog here. 

Of course I had to customize it and make it super luxurious! Here is how I made it my own:

Amaretto Simple Syrup:

In a small sauce pot add 1/4 cup Amaretto, 1/4 cup water and 3 Tbsp Sugar. Simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes until it reduces about half way. Once your cakes have cooled and you are ready to stack, use a pastry brush and dab the syrup generously over the cakes.

Chocolate filling:

Melt 3 oz Hersheys chocolate and 8 oz butter together. Place in the fridge to firm up. Once chilled use a spoon or beaters to whip it up till it’s light and fluffy.

To build the cake follow this method:

First cake layer, dab with simple syrup, pipe a layer of cream cheese frosting around the edge, spread the chocolate filling inside the frosting boarder. Add the second cake on top, dab with simple syrup, coat the entire cake in a thin layer of frosting. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Take about 1/2 cup of your frosting and add a little blue dye, you can also paint the inside of a pastry bag with dye and then add your frosting. This is how I accomplished the water color effect. I added the colored frosting in random dollops  on the top and sides of the cake and then filled in the rest of the space with white frosting. Using an icing spatula smooth everything together in one direction.

I hope everyone gets what they need in the last episode! If not you can drown your sorrows in another piece of cake!