Small Batch Oatmeal Scotchies

by Natasha on January 25, 2014

Small Batch Oatmeal Scotchies

In my 20s, I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted and not gain weight.  In my 30s, I can eat dessert in moderation, exercise on a very regular basis, and not gain that much weight. Let’s just say that this whole dessert blogging thing has been an exercise on self control, and I’ve failed on more than one occasion. Like when I made this cake. And this one. Yikes. Major fail.

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Pink Almond Party Cake

by Natasha on January 19, 2014

Pink-Almond-Party-Cake

I swear, I’m not girly. I’m not sure how I’m going to convince you of that after you see multiple pictures of pink cake, but I’m really not. Usually, every fiber of my being rebels against pink, but last week, I was asked to make a sprinkly pink birthday cake for a friend’s 3 year old daughter (you can see the photos on instagram). There was something really fun about making a cake with pink frosting, loads of sprinkles, and big ruffly borders.

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Boozy Sticky Toffee Trifles

by Natasha on January 14, 2014

Sticky-Toffee-Trifles

Sticky Toffee Trifles. The dessert to destroy all diets and demolish all New Year’s resolutions. (Unless your resolution was to eat more dessert- then I’ve got you covered). If you think I’m kidding, just wait until you try it. Layers of sticky toffee pudding, butterscotch pudding, cinnamon whipped cream, and candied pecans. Oh, and let’s not forget the whisky. There’s some of that, too.

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Do you love Downton Abbey as much as I do? If you don’t, we can’t possibly be friends.

Raspberry-Meringue

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2013: A Year of Cake in Review

by Natasha on December 31, 2013

2013 has been quite a year!

New Year

I made a lot of cake, ate a lot of sugary treats, got a puppy (and promptly dressed him up as a hot dog), and I got engaged! Not pictured but noteworthy: buying a house, making lots of oboe reeds.

Here are some of your favorite recipes from 2013:

Dark Chocolate Speculoos Truffle-Cake

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Peanut-butter-fudge

I’ve got more fudge comin’ atcha today! Why? Because it’s delicious. And easy. I wish I could find a more articulate way to describe it, but I feel like I’ve used up all my words for 2013. Seriously, my brain is fried, and I’ve been stress eating chocolate peanut butter fudge for the last several days. Sorry to all of those friends whose Christmas gift boxes ended up being a little smaller!

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Dark-Chocolate-Peppermint-Fudge

Raise your hand if you haven’t even thought about Christmas presents yet. Yup, me too. Procrastinators unite! If you’re in the same boat as I am, fear not. I’ll be posting several last minute, really easy recipes this week that are perfect for giving as gifts. Today’s fudge recipe only has 5 ingredients, takes 5 minutes, and no candy thermometer is required. I’ve tried a lot of “foolproof” fudge recipes, and this one is by far my favorite. It’s smooth and creamy, and it’s a great base recipe that can topped with just about anything.

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Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Natasha on December 11, 2013

Nutella-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies

This year, I had the opportunity to participate the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Not only is it a great way to get to know other bloggers, but it helps Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. Since I’ve had chocolate on the brain, I decided to make a chocolate cookie with chocolate chips. Oh, and I threw in a little Nutella, too, because who doesn’t like Nutella?

I sent my cookies to Kelly and Austin, Babcakes Bakery, and Eat Drink Cleveland. I received cookies from Julie’s Eats and Treats, The Gaited Baker, and someone named Christina (I don’t know the name of her blog, but her cookies were really good). Be sure to check out all of their websites for their wonderful creations!

Nutella-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies

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Malted-Chocolate-Cake

Whew, It’s been a whirlwind few weeks! We’ve had quite the terrible weather here in Texas, make my commutes to Amarillo less than ideal. I know this is common in some parts of the country (including where I grew up in Indiana), but people here just aren’t equipped to deal with it, which means the ice just sits on the ground until it temperatures get above freezing. On top of that, I’ve been without a functioning computer for a while, which has made blogging rather difficult, but I’m finally back up and running. Thank goodness for Apple Care!

Anyway, during my last trip, I was trying to come up with ideas for seasonal desserts, but I couldn’t get chocolate out of my head. I was craving a super chocolaty cake with even more chocolaty frosting, and I just couldn’t think of anything else. It may surprise you, but I rarely crave cake. I love making it, I love decorating it, but when it comes to eating it, I’m perfectly satisfied with a small slice. That all changed when I made this cake a few weeks ago. I used the same chocolate cake recipe (which has now become my go to chocolate cake), but I paired it down to make a 3 layer 6-inch cake. I love that it’s a one bowl recipe that doesn’t even require a mixer!

Malted-Chocolate-Cake

Up until recently, I had never experimented much with cocoa powders. I just used Hershey’s since it was cheap and easy to find. Plus, I’ve read numerous reviews that it was just as good as some of the fancier European brands. I didn’t really want to spend a lot of money on a bog box of fancy cocoa only to be disappointed. However, on my last trip to Central Market here in Dallas, I noticed some different types of cocoa powder in the bulk section, so I bought a few dollars worth of Valrhona and decided to give it a try.

I wish I could tell you that it didn’t make a difference, but it did. Let’s just say that I was not satisfied with only one slice of this cake. It was like chocolate heaven. I’m not telling you this to push a product, but I thought the information might be useful, since it’s something I’ve been curious about for a long time. If you’re baking a chocolate cake for a special occasion, splurge on the good cocoa. Next on my list to try are Guittard and Cacao Berry. If you’ve had good experiences with other kinds of cocoa, I’d love to hear about it.

Malted-Chocolate-Cake

If you don’t like malt flavor, don’t worry. This frosting doesn’t taste like malt. In fact, no one knew there was any malt powder in this, but it does give the frosting an unusual sweetness and depth of flavor. I know I claim that a lot of things are my favorite, but this frosting is my favorite so far. Even my fiancé, who is rarely excited by cake, loved this and begged me not to share too much of it. So what are you waiting for? If you like chocolate (or even if you don’t), go make this cake!

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Mini Pumpkin Layer Cakes for Two

by Natasha on November 23, 2013

Mini-Pumpkin-Cakes

I can’t believe I’ve been away from blogging for almost 2 weeks! This is my favorite time of year to bake, but commuting back and forth from Dallas to Amarillo for work has kept me away from my oven. Not that I’m complaining at all. As a musician, any work is always welcome, and I’ve had so much fun playing with the Amarillo Symphony this week. I just wish this hotel room had an oven, because I’m dying to make a cake right now.

I did, however, manage to sneak in some baking before I left for my trip. And yes, it’s another pumpkin recipe. Another pumpkin cake recipe to boot. That’s what happens when you’re a procrastinator like me and you save all of your fall recipes until the last minute.

Mini Pumpkin Layer Cakes

While I have been lucky enough to spend the last few Thanksgivings with my fiancé and his family, this recipe was inspired by the many Thanksgivings I have celebrated on a much smaller scale. Some of my favorite Thanksgivings have been those that were spent with a roommate or a close friend or two, and these mini pumpkin cakes fit just that kind of an occasion.

Mini-Pumpkin-Cakes

This recipe makes a small batch- just 2 tiny cakes! I suppose I could have just made cupcakes, but layer cakes just have a better cake to frosting ratio. Plus, they’re cuter.

You may remember this recipe that I posted over at Best Friends for Frosting last year. These mini cakes are also baked in cans. I found some cans of organic pumpkin in BPA free liners, so I used those, but if you don’t want to bake these in cans, you can use a 4-inch cake pan. You may need to adjust the baking time if you do that.

Mini-Pumpkin-Cakes

To be honest, frosting these tiny cakes proved to be a bit cumbersome, so I left one without frosting on the outside just to show that they can look cute either way. I used 3 1/2 inch cake boards underneath, but if you don’t frost the outside, they really aren’t necessary. The frosting recipe makes enough to crumb coat and frost each cake with some left over for piping, but if you don’t plan to frost the outside, you can cut frosting the recipe in half.

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