Spiced Orange 6-Layer w/ Rosemary Buttercream

Unlike cookies, pies, or ice cream, when I decide to make a cake, it becomes my baby for the following 48 hours. Maybe because the time it takes to complete the entire process is highly underrated, but it’s probably also due to the fact that a really good cake takes a lot of figuring how to go about the smallest details. Some are obvious, such as what flavor of cake you’re really in the mood for, but the very same flow chart that begins with chocolate or vanilla leads to a plethora of other options, leading to decisions, which then leads to the task of executing them.

In any case, there is a specific satisfaction that comes with baking something for fun, no matter what the dessert, as opposed to baking for an event or even for someone in particular. Exhibit A would be taking less than a minute to marvel at your finished product before slicing into it with a knife and a fork.

Check out the video of my cake process here!

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Make the cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups white sugar
  • Zest and juice of 2 oranges
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups room temperature milk
  • 5 egg whites (@ room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of ground ginger

1. Preheat the oven to 350 and butter & flour 3 8-inch cake pans.
2. Cream the butter and shortening together, then add the sugar gradually. Once incorporated, add the egg whites gradually, then add the orange juice and zest.
3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour + spices + baking powder)
4. Alternate the wet and dry ingredients while mixing into the butter/egg mixture (scrape down the bowl occasionally).
5. Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

For the frosting

Ingredients:
2 sticks (1 cup) of softened butter
1 cup shortening
1 bag (2 lb, 3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
4 tbsp. milk
rosemary syrup (1 cup water + 1/4 cup sugar + 6-8 sprigs of fresh rosemary — simmer together in a small saucepan for 5 minutes then chill and strain)

1. Beat the butter and shortening together, then add sugar 1/2 cup at a time.
2. Beat in syrup and milk and mix until the consistency is light and fluffy.

Enjoy! <3, B

This post is part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Lauren at Sweet and Southern Lifestyle.

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Fresh Mint & Dark Chocolate Tart

For whatever reason, I’ve never been able to truly enjoy a mint-flavored anything. Whether it’s ice cream, cookies, or candy, I have always steered clear of mint chip, thin mints, and peppermint patties, respectively. If it registers as the same flavor of my toothpaste, I’m not into it. However, I will say that the difference between the flavors of fresh mint and bottled peppermint oil or tictacs is too immense not to call them by completely different names. The fact that all mint is considered to be on the same playing field is devastating, my point being that I enjoy desserts made with fresh mint, and do not enjoy desserts made with artificial mint flavoring. In the title, I made it my business to clarify: this is strictly fresh mint and nothing else.

Make sure the pastry of your tart shell is cooked all the way through before filling, or you’ll have a hard time making clean slices. Also be sure to leave some excess dough around the edges, as the puff pastry will shrink as it bakes.

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Make the tart:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pint (1 cup) heavy cream (+ more for whipped cream)
  • 10 oz dark chocolate, chopped (or 10 oz chocolate chips/chunks)
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry
  • 1 cup of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Roll out a sheet of thawed puff pastry dough and lay it in a 9 in pie plate, then bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. (The middle will puff up, but once removed from the oven, press it down with a spoon.
  2. To make the mint syrup, crush the chopped mint with the sugar in a small saucepan with a wooden spoon. Add 1/2 cup of water and turn the stove on medium-low. Let the mixture simmer until it’s thickened slightly and is tinted light green. Strain the syrup through a sieve and set aside.
  3. In another saucepan, heat the cream with the corn syrup until bubbles form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 3 minutes, then stir until smooth. Add 4 tablespoons of the mint syrup and stir until combined.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the puff pastry shell, cover and refrigerate for an hour (or until completely cool). Make whipped cream and add 3 tablespoons of mint syrup to the cream before whipping. Spread the whipped cream over the tart and refrigerate until set.

Enjoy! <3, B

Homemade Spiced Hot Cocoa Mix

It’s officially Christmas Eve’s Eve Eve! As you know, when you get in the spirit pretty early in the season, Christmas day itself seems almost surreal. I don’t even want to get into post-holiday feels. So the past few posts have been my version of a countdown of sorts, all things holiday leading up to the big hoorah. For this next giftable item, I decided I wanted to go for a traditional holiday staple: hot cocoa. Unfortunately, however, I’ve found myself growing tired of your basic, everyday milk chocolate hot cocoa with gummy marshmallows and a condensed, syrupy bottom. So I was inspired to kick it up a notch and spice things up (pun extremely intended).

This recipe fills a half-pint jar and serves two people or one ambitious person with big dreams and motivation.

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Make the mix:

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 oz semi sweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg

(1 cup of half & half = 5 tbsp. of cocoa mix)

  1. Process the chocolate in a food processor until it’s grainy and sand-like. Add sugar and cocoa powder and blend until powdery (it won’t be super smooth).
  2. Add cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg and blend until combined.

To make the hot cocoa (2 servings): heat 2 cups of half & half or milk in a small saucepan until the edges begin to bubble, stir in 10 tablespoons of hot cocoa mix and stir until smooth, pour into two mugs.

Enjoy! xo, B

Simple Framed Holiday Prints

Here’s a few printables for adorable 4×6 picture frames. They’re perfect for easy decorating or gift-giving:)

I also want to give a special shout-out to two of my favorite readers, Thomas and Aidan! Happy holidays guys!

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Here are the prints!

I bought some really cute and cheap frames from Target, but you can always change the colors with spraypaint.

Enjoy!

xo, B

Easy Gift Idea: 3 Holiday Sugar Scrubs

If you’re one of those people (like me) who waits all year for the holidays (like me) and doesn’t mind listening to your Christmas playlist (I love mine) a little bit on the early side (late October), I support you 100%. In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with prepping for the holidays a bit on the early side, even if 12 AM November 1st is the exact moment you break out the scented candles, tree ornaments, etc. I don’t judge you. I will judge you, however, if you complain about others singing their favorite Christmas songs on the early side. Yes, I agree that mid-August isn’t time for red nail polish and Santa decor yet. No, I don’t think it’s so wrong to deck the halls mid-November.

Anyways, even people who deny Christmas year-round until December 24th know that it is, in fact, time to celebrate the holiday. Personally I have several obstacles in my way when it comes to going full-out Christmas on everyone. For example, I will reiterate: I am Jewish. This does not stop me. Also, I live in Los Angeles. We don’t get “Christmas weather” here. The jolliest part of LA during the holidays is Santa and his reindeer propped up, souring over Beverly Hills. This does not stop me. I love Christmas, and if you do too, don’t let anyone dull your sparkle this holiday season!

Like I promised, here are more DIY Rainy Day Printables, perfect for easy gifting. In addition, there are three recipes for delicious-smelling Holiday sugar scrubs. Make them all, choose your favorite, and let me know which you love the most!

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For 1 Sugar Scrub Base:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 heaping tbsp. Coconut Oil
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  1. Mix all ingredients until just combined (don’t pack/over-mix).

For the Orange Clove Scrub:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • Zest of 1 orange

For the Gingerbread Scrub:

  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

For the Peppermint Vanilla Scrub:

  • 2 tsp. peppermint extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • A pinch of red food dye (don’t put too much, you’ll dye your skin), optional

(Mix together half of the Scrub base with peppermint and dye, mix the other half with vanilla. Package in a jar with one on top of the other)

Print the labels here:

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Tips

  1. The scrub only fills up about 3/4 of pint mason jars. You can either use 1/2 pint jars, or increase the base recipe to 1 c of sugar, 3 tbsp. coconut oil, and 4 tsp. olive oil)
  2. Print the printables then glue them onto construction paper before cutting them out. Either hot glue the labels to the top of the jars or hold punch the labels and tie around the jars with baker’s twine.

Merry Almost-Christmas!

B