February 13, 2014

Yummy Valentines!

Yummy Valentines!

So here is my first attempt at blogging.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity Mandy, sweetest sister-in-law ever!  I have been inspired to move away from packaged foods and create our meals more from scratch.  So we are not exactly on the whole food lifestyle, but moving closer to it everyday.  This recipe, while it is from scratch, probably doesn't fall anywhere close to 'healthy' food.  But, everyone needs to splurge a little & what better time than Valentines.

My seven-year old daughter requested a "peppermint cake because it's pink" for Valentines.  This recipe for Candy Cane Cake is a close match.  And since the cake part is chocolate, I went with it.  To be honest, this is one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever eaten!  So anytime of the year would be perfect and you could just switch up the icing to suit your taste.

 Candy Cane Chocolate Cake

(from The Vanilla Bean Blog)

The cake was not super hard nor time consuming.  But whenever I am working with my kids I try to have the ingredients and all the tools necessary ready to go.  I've found through many trial & errors that having everything on hand prevents too much unnecessary ingredients going into whatever I'm cooking....like ice, cat food or way too much sugar (Ashley's favorite). 

Ingredients for the cake:

1 3/4 cup flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter two round 8 inch cake pans.  Line the pans with parchment, then butter and flour the pans.  Make sure to get all the edges and creases well buttered. 

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into mixer bowl.  Mix on low speed to combine.  In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry.  With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just until combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary.  **The batter will be very liquidy at this point, but do not worry.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Cool cakes in the pans for 30 minutes then turn them onto a cooling rack and cool completely, removing the parchment paper.

Place the first cake, flat side up, on a plate.  With a spatula, frost the top of the cake.  Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top & sides of the cake.  I used a kitchen mallet to crush up candy canes left over from Christmas in a Ziploc bag.  Ashley chose to put the marshmallows around the edges for a cute touch instead of piping the frosting.

Ingredients for peppermint frosting:

3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract, or less, taste as you add
1/4 teaspoon salt
pink food coloring, optional
3 cups powdered sugar
4-6 candy canes, crushed

Beat the butter, cream, vanilla, salt and food coloring together on medium speed until smooth, 1-2 minutes.  Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low, slowly add the powered sugar and beat until smooth for 4-6 minutes.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light & fluffy, about 5-10 minutes.

Here is the link the delicious Vanilla Bean blog where I originally found the cake recipe. http://thevanillabeanblog.com/2011/12/candy-cane-cake.html  She has some wonderful pictures and other yummy looking desert that are on my list to try!


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