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Almond Magic Cake

It’s been a long time since I’ve been so obsessed with a recipe.  I pinned it years ago, and somehow forgot about it, though the idea was fascinating.  Then over winter break this year I stumbled back across it and knew I had to give it a try.

Almond Magic Cake | Finding Time for Cooking

I did make one major change to the recipe.  The original is for a vanilla cake, but my M.O. in life is, why make something vanilla when it can be almond instead??  I mean, seriously.  This cake is really easy to throw together, and yields the most amazing, creamy, custardy, flan-y cake.  I ended up making it again a few days later, in a gluten-free version (to be posted here later once I’ve perfected it).  Give this a try, you won’t be disappointed! [Read more…]

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Tex Mex Breakfast Casserole

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I am a super lazy breakfast casserole maker.  Which is why I basically refuse to try new recipes, because they all have, like, a billion ingredients (which makes them expensive) and require way too much prep work.  So it’s pretty unusual for me to take on this recipe on a Thursday night for Friday morning department breakfast.

But boy, am I glad I did.

Easy Tex Mex Breakfast Bake

While this requires a tad more prep than my usual recipe (mostly cooking up the potatoes), it was super yummy and totally worth it.  The prep probably only took 30 minutes total, and I was also getting a coffee cake in the oven as well so I could have cut that down a bit with some focus.  The spice mix is awesome, and the tortillas add a great texture along with the black beans.  This is definitely going into my regular breakfast rotation.

tex-mex-breakfast-casserole-potatoes-onions-peppers-cooking-closeup

It’s also worth nothing that this is really doggone healthy as well.  Full of protein and fiber, and weighing in at around 100 calories per serving (assuming a 15-serving pan…probably more like 130 calories per serving if you have hungry people).  It was super filling and stuck with me all morning.  I had a second helping for a late lunch, in fact.

Tex Mex Egg Casserole

I made a few changes to the original recipe, including omitting the bacon out of laziness—also, turkey bacon doesn’t quite have the same effect.  I considered adding ground beef instead, but I was both lazy and cheap.  And honestly it doesn’t need it.  I also left out the cilantro (meh) and added cheese because…duh.  There’s a lot of flexibility in this recipe, so if there’s something you’re dying to add or substitute, go for it.  I’m not the boss of you. [Read more…]

Clean Eating Banana Muffins (gluten-free)

*womp womp*  After the last couple months of travel gluttony, it’s time to get back on track, and these muffins at least have the consolation of being delicious as well as super healthy.

Clean Eating Banana Oat Muffins

In the interest of full transparency, to be truly clean eating you’ll need to omit the chocolate chips from the recipe and use one of the other mix-ins instead (nuts, dried fruit, etc.).  But unless you’re completely following a clean eating diet, the mini chocolate chips do really add something to the muffins so I’d recommend leaving them in.  Because, duh.

clean-eating-banana-oatmeal-muffins-chocolate-chips

I made these on a Sunday night on a whim, and brought them to work the next day.  They were scarfed by my co-workers within a few hours, and got rave reviews.  They’re moist, flavorful, and—best part—insanely fast and easy to make.

clean-eating-banana-oatmeal-muffins

They’re the kind of healthy breakfast that gives you the fiber and protein you need, but still makes you feel like you’re getting a bit of a treat to start the day.  That’s a win in my book.  Add a couple strong espressos and you’re all set.  Bring it on, Monday. [Read more…]

Birthday Vanilla Spice Coke Cake with Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

Every year (minus last year), I make myself a special birthday cake.  I try to pick something that’s really captured my imagination, that seems a bit fancy and more complex than I’d usually convince myself to tackle.  Something special.

This year, for reasons I can’t even quite explain to myself, I made a vanilla spice Coca-Cola cake with salted peanut frosting.

Vanilla Spice Coke Cake with Salted Peanut Frosting

Yes, you read that right.

It’s kind of conceptual…while I’m not a fan myself, boiled peanuts in Coke is considered a Southern delicacy.  Consider this the deconstructed cake version.  But without the weird texture issues.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting-sliced

It was really a gameday decision.  I’d pored over my whole Pinterest dessert board and nothing was really jumping out at me.  But then I finally got it into my head that this vanilla spice Coke cake was going to be my base.  I’ve never had a traditional Coca-Cola cake, but my understanding is that it’s almost always chocolate.  When I ran across this recipe from Local Milk, I was intrigued…the way the flavor profile was described so beautifully, and as an interesting transition into fall,I decided it had to happen.

vanilla-spice-coke-cake-with-salted-peanut-frosting

But the frosting that went along with it was just way too finicky for my exhausted and busy self to deal with.  I looked at tons of different recipes but nothing really felt right, until I saw this salted peanut frosting.  Since I love all things peanut butter, I was on board right away, and I thought that it would be a fun complement to the cake.  While this was a bit overly sweet for my tastes (or maybe that was because I also ate a gallon of queso, so I felt a bit ill), the flavor was bomb and the cake was insanely moist.

I’ll definitely be revisiting this recipe down the road, and not just for a special occasion—the cake base itself (minus frosting the layers) was super easy and fast.  As you can tell, frosting cakes is not my particular skill set.

So happy birthday to me, and cut yourself a huge slice of cake and pour a Coke! [Read more…]

Jam Streusel Coffee Cake

This coffee cake is like the Sound of Music in real life.  It’s all about my favorite things.

Jam Streusel Coffee Cake slice

Jam?  Check.  Streusel?  Check.  Excuse to eat dessert for breakfast?  Check.

jam streusel coffee cake jam swirls 2

Coffee cake is kind of a perfect food.  It is easy to whip up and throw in the oven, leaving you to focus on other things.  It can be made the night before if you’re on a tight schedule in the morning.  It’s fancy enough for a brunch or shower.  It CAN even be a dessert.  And this recipe is particularly great, in that the cake itself is lovely and light and moist and fluffy—helped along by the buttermilk, greek yogurt, and extra egg yolks. [Read more…]

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

I think I’ve found my new favorite cupcake recipe.  These are as close to a perfect texture and taste as any cake or cupcake I’ve ever made.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting done

Someone described them as “bomb-ass”, and I’m not going to argue with them.  I mean, it would be rude.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting

We wanted to do a special girls’ night for Casey’s birthday a few weeks ago, and I heard through the grapevine that she was obsessed with some Publix lemon raspberry cake, so the flavor palette for her cake was easy enough.  I was super excited, because usually people want chocolate or something super sweet, so the chance to make a fruity dessert was one I wouldn’t pass up.

lemon cupcakes with raspberry frosting lemons

And it’s a good thing these were basically perfect, because they were pretty much the only thing that went right that evening.  The restaurant ended up being a nightmare (45 minutes to order, hour and a half for food to come, took two hours to get a second drink order in), so by the time we left our numbers had dwindled by half and it was already quite late.  Thankfully, three of us persevered and went to our friend’s Midtown high rise for wine and cupcakes and a great rooftop view.

Lemon Cupcakes with Raspberry Frosting finished

Right call.  The cupcakes are the most insanely moist, dense crumb you can imagine, packed with super tart lemony flavor that never tips over the line into that weird cloying fake lemon flavor that I hate.  Even without the icing they’re perfection.  But the icing is a work of art itself.  Fluffy buttercream taken to the next level with raspberry jam adding some fruity goodness and tanginess to the frosting’s sugar overload.

In other words, you should make these TODAY. [Read more…]

Levain Bakery Copycat Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Yeah, that’s a mouthful.  But these cookies deserve all of that name and more.  They probably are the best cookies I’ve had in my life.

Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

So, this all goes back to December, when some sales rep sent us a box of cookies from Levain Bakery in New York.  These cookies weighed like 5 pounds each and were the size of your fist.  Now honestly I’m rarely that tempted by store-bought or bakery cookies.  I’m a homemade girl all the way.  But I was stressed and there were these chocolate ones with peanut butter chips that were calling my name.

So I broke off a piece of one and took it into a meeting with me…

Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Game over.  I became instantly obsessed (and I ate the rest of that cookie, duh).  We decided to order more and then found out it was $75 for four cookies, which…NO.  So I decided that, hell or high water, I was going to perfectly replicate these cookies.

Levain Bakery Copycat Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

And I believe I’ve gotten like 99% of the way there.  I tried a couple different copycat recipes and this was definitely the closest.  I also read through a lot of the comments and suggestions and found a couple that make a big difference, so I’ve incorporated them into my recipe below.  One other thing I’ve found is that I actually like them better the next day, vs. fresh.  The texture sets and they become moist and amazing and dense, and a little less rich than fresh out of the oven.

Fair warning, each cookie is like 550-600 calories.  But it’s definitely worth it on occasion.  Trust me and make these NOW.   [Read more…]

Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting

It’s kind of crazy that I’ve never made banana cake before, because it’s something that my extended family made quite a bit when I was growing up.

Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting slice

But it was always with cream cheese frosting, and then a few years ago my sister had a brainwave and threw this caramel frosting on instead.  And a legend was born. (I may be being melodramatic)

banana cake with caramel frosting sugar butter beat

Now don’t get me wrong, I really like banana cake with cream cheese frosting (pretty much anything with cream cheese frosting, for that matter).  But there is something about this sugary, crackly caramel frosting that just adds the perfect depth and complement to the moist, dense cake.  The fact that it’s crazy easy is just the icing on the cake…so to speak.

Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting slice2

This is also a cake that is perfect to make the night before, because this frosting really seals in the moisture of the cake.  And, of course, use up the billions of browning bananas sitting on your counter.

I haven’t eaten a banana in probably six months, but I still buy them like clockwork, with the best intentions.  This is a thing everyone does, yes?

Humor me… [Read more…]

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake

So, I really am struggling with calling this cake.

Rosemary Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake

It’s honestly not that sweet at all. It’s got a light crumb, and feels a lot like a zucchini or banana bread (maybe a bit less moist than banana bread).

rosemary chocolate chip olive oil cake baked

I was really intrigued by the sweet and savory combination, with the rosemary. To be honest, the flavor didn’t bowl me over, mostly because I felt like the chocolate overwhelmed things a bit. It was simple and good, but not earth-shattering.

rosemary chocolate chip olive oil cake rosemary

I’m a sucker for rosemary, and fresh herbs in general, and love the idea of using them in baking sweets. As I was eating this, I kept re-imagining it as a slightly different flavor combo, particularly citrus and herb. Maybe lemon and rosemary, or grapefruit and thyme? Something a little punchy to contrast with the earthiness of the herbs. Let me know if you have ideas! But regardless, this really was a lovely breakfast treat, and got totally devoured at work in an hour or two. [Read more…]

Gluten-Free Rosemary Cheddar Biscuits

Oh my goodness, this has got to stop. It has been way too long. I literally made these for our Fitzco #fitzgiving back in November, but haven’t had a chance to post until now. And that’s not fair, because these are pretty darn good.

Gluten-Free Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

I offered to make a bread, so threw together my whole wheat olive oil rosemary bread, which is the bomb. But at the last minute I asked if we had any gluten-free folks and since they weren’t sure, I went searching for a good, easy GF biscuit or roll recipe.

As I’ve mentioned several times before, I don’t like using all sorts of weird ingredients that the average person wouldn’t recognize or be able to find. Don’t be alarmed by how many ingredients are listed in this particular recipe either, most of them are ones you already have on-hand. I did make my own gluten-free flour mix (I used an easy 1-1-1 mix of corn flour, brown rice flour, and cornstarch), but even if you want to leave that out you can just substitute more almond meal.

gluten-free garlic cheddar biscuits rosemary chopped

Because they’re made largely (or entirely) with almond meal, their texture definitely isn’t like a fluffy dinner roll. It’s a little grainier, denser. But I inhaled a few just the same (though be warned, because of the almond meal, they’re higher-calorie than you might think). The garlic is intense but awesome, and the cheddar great—I went light on the butter wash at the end. They were also still really moist and delicious several hours later when I actually reheated and served them. [Read more…]

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