Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dark Chocolate Tres Leches Cake


I'm taking a break from healthy posting in favor of something fun! Actually, I'm digging into my past for a recipe that I originally shared on my friend Kristin's blog, Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. I am so craving dark chocolate right about now....


Everything in moderation, right? I went a little overboard yesterday on my diet change of lifestyle. A trip through the aisles of Costco will do that. They really need little calorie UPC codes at all of the sample stations to scan into the MyFitnessPal app. On second thought, maybe it's best not to know....


The best part of this Tres Leches Cake is how easy it is....just one bowl.

I first made a Tres Leches Cake a few years ago for a holiday post. It is a Cafe Latte copycat recipe that I use frequently...it's that good! This chocolate version is take on the original and I really like how it turned out. 

Dark Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Making a Tres Leches Cake even better is no easy task....unless you make a Dark Chocolate version!

Ingredients

  • Cake:
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup dark cocoa
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • Soaking Liquid:
  • ½ of a (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup half/half
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dark cocoa
  • Frosting:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark cocoa
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • Chocolate and/or White Chocolate Curls, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.; grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan (using an 8" rather than a 9" pan will make it easier to split in half).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
  5. Slowly add the buttermilk, mixing until well blended.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched.
  7. Remove from oven and cool for at least ten minutes before removing from pan.
  8. Carefully, cut the cake in half, horizontally.
  9. Place each half sliced side up on a rack to cool completely.
  10. While the cake is cooling, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, the half/half, the vanilla, and the cocoa.
  11. Slowly pour the liquid over each half of the cake.
  12. Cover and chill for several hours.
  13. When ready to assemble the cake, whip the cream until stiff, adding the powdered sugar and cocoa.
  14. Place one of the cake halves on a serving plate, cut side up.
  15. Spread whipped cream over the top of the cake layer, and then top with the second cake half.
  16. Frost the top and the sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.
  17. Garnish with raspberries or chocolate curls, if desired.

I topped mine with chocolate curls, but raspberries would make a tasty addition, yes?

Don't let the number of steps fool you...it's really quite easy. Now, I just need to figure out the Salted Caramel version........




Sunday, April 26, 2015

Blueberry-Lemon Tea Cake


I'll admit I haven't been posting with any regularity at all lately. This is largely due to the fact that I'm trying to lose weight and get into better shape. So, while I'm sure you all appreciate an occasional healthy recipe, I'm fairly certain it's the decadent ones that get the attention.


That said, I'm excited that plenty of gorgeous berries are back in the picture! They are so very healthy on their own and mixed into other good stuff, like yogurt and oatmeal.


As you can see, I like a little oatmeal with my fruit...



Awhile back, I found a recipe via Pinterest for a Blueberry-Buttermilk Breakfast Cake. It's perfect for a little weekend treat and I'm sure you could sub any kind of berry.  I've made it a couple of times...once with a little lemon glaze and once with a crunchy, sugary topping. They are both awesome! Not health food, by any means...but not horribly decadent, either. A beautiful compromise, yes? And I daresay, it's not just for breakfast...let's just call it a Tea Cake....


If you prefer, skip the icing and sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the batter before baking.

Blueberry-Lemon Tea Cake

Adapted from Alexandra's Kitchen

Swap the blueberries for raspberries or blackberries...anyway you like it, this cake is easy and addictive!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.; spray a 9" square pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the sugar with the lemon zest until well-incorporated. Add the butter and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the vanilla.
  3. Whisk together 1 3/4 cups of the flour with the baking powder and the salt. Toss the blueberries with the remaining 1/4 cup flour and set aside.
  4. Stir the flour mixture into the batter 1/3 at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.
  5. Spread the batter into the pan. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
  6. Mix together the powdered sugar and enough lemon juice to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm cake.


I loved the extra lemon-y flavor from the lemon icing.


Which berry would you use?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring Salad Shakeups


Are mornings as crazy at your house as they are at mine? Holy cow...it seems like I put in a full day before I even leave the house! Lately, my husband and I have been trying trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle. What this means to us is that it's even crazier in the morning as we try to get our "healthy" lunches put together. 

A few weeks ago, Red Gold Tomatoes sent me a "Spring Shake-Up" pack to help me get motivated for the new season. There were, of course, several cans of diced tomatoes, but they also included some great Springtime recipes and a big canning jar so that I could make a little shake-up of my own. Now, I realize I'm a little late to the salad shakeup party...but I am totally hooked!


I actually started experimenting with different salad combinations right after Easter. Hello--leftover eggs and ham? Luckily, I had two jars since my husband was totally on board with having his own to bring to work. 


There are no real rules for making these things, except maybe to keep the salad dressing on the bottom, so nothing gets too soggy. If you like croutons, bring them along separately. Then, just layer your favorite salad fixings or leftovers in the jar. Make it as colorful as possible...all of your co-workers will be jealous! 

I like to use a light ranch or a vinaigrette so that the salad dressing isn't too thick to shake. To help it along, I actually turned the jar upside down for a few minutes. Need an easy recipe? Here you go:

Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

A quick and easy salad dressing!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Whisk all the ingredients together until well-blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 00 hrs. 05 mins.
Total time: 5 mins.



The best part about these salads is that you can make them up ahead of time using whatever you have on hand. Chicken and bacon? How about a Chicken Club Shake-Up? Leftover steak? A Philly Cheese Steak Shake -Up would make a great meal.

What about Spring inspires you? For some quick and easy recipe inspiration, visit Red Gold Tomatoes ..... While you're there, share with them your own Spring Pinterest Pins for a chance to win a Picnic Basket worth $350! Hurry--this promotion runs from April 22-May 20.

Disclosure: I was given Red Gold Tomato samples for inspiration, but was under no obligation to post. All opinions are my own.