Monday, April 30, 2012

chocolate mess cake

inspired by this, i wanted to make a crazy,
outrageous, over the top chocolate cake.

i've renamed this beautiful creation a 'chocolate mess cake'
because, let's be honest, it's a chocolate mess.

you start with 2 round chocolate cakes...
(you can use any recipe you want)
i used the best loved chocolate cake recipe from BHG
(my go-to for basic recipes)

3 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups milk

1. allow eggs & butter to stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
(best new thing i've learned in the kitchen - you need to let your eggs get to room temp!) 
preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. meanwhile, grease three 8x1-1/2-inch round cake pans. paper.

3. in medium bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda,
baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; set aside.


4. in large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds.
gradually add sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium until well combined.
scrape sides of bowl; 2 minutes more.

5. add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
beat in vanilla.

6. alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture,
beating on low after each addition just until combined.
beat on medium to high 20 seconds more.
stir in grated chocolate. divide batter among prepared pans.

7. bake 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean.
cool cakes in pans on wire racks 10 minutes.
remove layers from pans. cool thoroughly on wire racks.


time for our frosting.... (from the original recipe)

4 cups powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1/3-1/2 cup whole milk
(start with 1/3 cup of milk and add more until desired consistency)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. mix together until smooth :)
(add more milk if needed)

2. cover middle, top, and sides of cake with frosting

(no need to be too precise with this, it's all going to get covered up anyway!)

NOW.... for the MESS :)

let me say... there is no wrong way to do this...

basically, you just want to cover it with chocolate,
then drizzle more chocolate on top.

i covered the side of the cake with chocolate chips,
and arranged hershey kisses in rings on the top.

then i melted more chocolate chips in the microwave and just drizzled like crazy.
i did criss crosses on the top, and then made sure it drizzled down the sides.

and VOILA! a chocolate mess
(and you thought those only happened on accident! ha!)

(happy birthday kinsey!)

overall, i think this cake was a hit!

it was crazy chocolately...
just what some of you chocoholics have been waiting for :)


Sunday, April 29, 2012

christina's wedding shower :)

this weekend i got to celebrate my future sister in law
at this gorgeous wedding shower in bellingham, wa

mom & grandma

note cards for guests to answer two questions...
1. where do you see bradley & christina in 10 years?
2. what should they do to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary?

not a bad view ;) 

presents galore

skyping in guests
gotta love technology! :)

playing games...
two truths and a lie & 20 questions

mom, sister & the guest of honor! :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

caramel chocolate almond matzo croccante

today is going to be a wonderful day!

1. it's sunny! hallelujah!
2. i'm wearing pastel.
3. i get to go on a roadtrip
4. i get to celebrate my little sister's 22nd bday!
5. we're hosting a bridal shower for my future sister in law
6. i have family in town! yay!
7. i have cutely wrapped presents, and
8. vanilla cupcakes with party pinwheels, AND
9. a chocolate mess cake.
10. it's the weekend! :)

have a wonderful saturday, ya'll! :)

nonstick vegetable oil spray
5 sheets matzo
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
5 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 72% cacao), melted
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt

recipe via bon appetit


1. line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
place matzo on sheet in a single layer,
breaking as needed and overlapping slightly, leaving no gaps.

2. stir sugar, margarine, honey, and 1/4 cup water
in a heavy saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves.
increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring,
occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides,
until caramel is a deep amber color, 13–15 minutes.
pour caramel evenly over matzo.

***i found that i could cut this caramel recipe in about half
and it was the perfect amount for all the matzo.

(watch this closely....  mine only took about 8 minutes to brown)

(it should NOT look like this....)
(long story, but 3 weeks ago during the first time i tried to make this
i might have set my fire alarm off by over cooking burning the caramel. oopsies)

3. immediately sprinkle almonds over. let cool.
(do this quickly, so they harden with the carmel)

4. drizzle melted chocolate over caramel.
sprinkle cayenne and salt over.

two things...
1. i was generous with the sea salt (because i love it)
2. i only did cayenne on half of my crackers,
because i wasn't sure i was going to like it.
just an idea for those of you who are slightly less adventurous :)

5. let stand until chocolate sets, about 30 minutes. break into pieces.

i wasn't sure what these would turn out like...
but let me tell you, i LOVED them.

kind of like peanut brittle, but lighter, with a chocolate and sea salt twist.

would definitely make these again! :)

Friday, April 27, 2012

a little story about a kite...

as promised here,
i wanted to tell you a little story about a kite that could.

about a year and a half ago i got the amazing opportunity
to travel to phnom penh, cambodia with city church.

it was life-changing.

i got to meet kids like this...

and see crazy things like this...

(yes, just an elephant casually walking down the street)

anyway, while strolling along the waterfront on one of our last nights

we came across a kite stand...
and honestly, we just couldn't resist. 

so, about 50 cents later, we all had kites to bring home to america.

why we thought this was a good idea, i don't exactly remember,
but trust me when i said the love we had for those kites was grand.

(this is my dear friend rachel. she named hers 'tuck')
(she also bought such a large kite that it was hard to get through security. LOL)

my little cambodian mermaid kite has been sitting on my desk for 1.5 years
just waiting (and likely YEARNING) to be flown.

so, when a sunny and windy sunday presented itself, like it did this past weekend,
i jumped on the opportunity to see if this little guy could actually fly.

i was skeptical.

but, sure enough... IT FLIES!

and that, my friends, is a springtime miracle in seattle.

and it totally made my weekend.

thanks for reading. happy friday! :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

fruit salad with a twist

i'm loving this fresh new take on an old classic.
can you tell i'm ready for summer?

2 cups various mixed fruit
(stawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
1 lemon
agave necter
fresh mint


1. wash/cut berries and add to large bowl

2. squeeze 1 lemon over the fruit

3. squeeze 1-2 tablespoons agave

4. add about 1/2-1 tablespoon fresh chopped mint leaves

5. mix it all together


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

sun-dried tomato, basil, pinenut pasta

what's your favorite thing your mom cooks?
everyone has one... maybe lasagna or the perfect chocolate cookie?

(no really, i want to know...please leave a comment) :)

mine has always been this super fresh pasta dish...
with all my favorite flavors wrapped up into one... it just never gets old!
think: sun-dried tomatoes + garlic + lots of fresh basil + toasted pine nuts
seriously delish!

with all this crazy sunshine in seattle,
this is the perfect thing to whip up in the kitchen.
it's light and it's easy breezy, so you won't spend 2 hours slaving away.


3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 pounds roma tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
pasta of choice
parmesan for topping (if desired)


1. boil your water and cook up your pasta of choice
(i typically enjoy this with linguine)

2. heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat,
adding garlic, roma tomatoes and some salt/pepper. cook for a few minutes.

3. add sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil. stir.

4. stir in wine and chicken stock and reduce slightly. 

5. in a small pan, toast up your pine nuts.
(watching carefully, so they don't burn)

6. serve pasta with a generous scoop of tomato mixture on top.
season with red pepper flakes and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Monday, April 23, 2012

white chocolate macademia nut cookies

how was your weekend?
mine was amazing :)

here is my top ten in no particular order:

1. sunshine. hello!
2. date night at la spiga
3. lunch and silliness at essential baking company with brother
4. saturday night slow cooker dinner (aka no work)
5. homemade margaritas
(will share deets later this week to inspire your upcoming cinco de mayo parties!) 
6. sleeping in for what felt like the first time in months.
7. picnic at gasworks
8. a successful attempt at flying a 50 cent kite bought in cambodia 2 years ago
(more on this later)
9. playing one hand of cribbage.
10. oh, and THESE cookies :)

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups/11oz bag white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped macadamia nuts

recipe thanks to the back of the ghirardelli chocolate chip bag :)
sometimes it's best to stick with the classics! :)


1. preheat over to 350 degrees.

2. cream butter and sugars until fluffy

3. add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and beat well

4. blend in flour, baking soda, and salt

5. stir in white chips and nuts

6. drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheets

7. bake for 10-12 minutes
(mine were perfect at 11 minutes)

these cookies were perfect.
i wouldn't change a thing.
not. one. thing.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...