Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Sinfully Delicious Chocolate Fudge Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and a Mad Tea Party!

I saw a post on Annie's Eats where she made a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting and I was just dying to try it. I am a sucker for anything that has chocolate and peanut butter in it. I thought I would give it a try with Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Fudge Cake.

It's a good thing I enjoy physical exercise because after a slice of this cake, I definitely needed it. It was so rich and chocolaty and amazing that I had a hard time keeping my self control and not just eating the whole dang thing by myself. It was so worth the extra work out time.

2 2/3 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup + 1 tblsp Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 Eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tblsp. Sour Cream
1 tblsp. Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup Unsalted Butter (melted and cooled)
1/2 cup Corn Oil
1 1/3 cups Chilled Water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F°. Butter and line the bottom of 2 (8-inch) cake pans.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugars, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl or wide-necked measuring cup whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla until blended. Using a standing or handheld electric mixer, beat together the melted butter and corn oil until just blended (you'll need another large bowl for this is using the hand mixer; the standing mixer comes with its own bowl), then beat in the water. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix together on a slow speed. Add the egg mixture, and mix again until everything is blended and then pour into the prepared tins.
Bake the cakes for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a cake-tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn the cakes out on the rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Frosting 
1 1/2 cups Creamy Peanut Butter
1 cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
1/2 tblsp. Vanilla Extract
1 tblsp. Heavy Cream
3-4 cups Powdered Sugar

In a stand mixer cream the butter and the peanut butter until well combined and fluffy. Slowly add in 2 cups of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth. Add in vanilla and heavy cream and mix until combined before adding in the rest of the powdered sugar. Add in as much powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.

After all is said and done and the cake has been frosted this is the delicious product that you are left with. Try really really hard to not just dive into this cake. Just the smell of the chocolate goodness and the peanut butter was enough to make me crazy!

Sorry for the low quality pictures. I tend to only have my Android phone on hand when cooking because I leave my camera with the twins I babysit so I never ever miss one of their cute, giggle inducing moments.

I can't even being to explain how much my roommates hated me when they saw this lovely sitting on the cake stand in our kitchen. My mom and sister were very angry that this cake was not around at the house in Virginia. Sorry, guys, I told you to just come out and visit me here in lonely old Oklahoma.

One day I will take beautiful pictures of my food like Annie's Eats or Sweetapolita who have inspired this blog on more than one occasion. I am so jealous of their talent and their abilities.

Also, what's a better way to kick off the summer than with a TEA PARTY! I just found out that A Fanciful Twist is hosting what looks to be a super amazing Mad Tea Party. I'm excited to be able to be a part of it this year and I can't wait for June 25th!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Homemade Lasagna

This recipe uses the homemade spaghetti sauce recipe I posted a few weeks ago. I'm obsessed with this recipe and have been trying to find any excuse to make it. The first time I tried this homemade lasagna it turned out pretty fantastically. I made it for my family before I left for Oklahoma and all members agreed it was pretty tasty. The second time I made it (a week later) I was under a time constraint and didn't let things cook entirely and rushed through the recipe not even double checking to make sure I had put everything in. Well, it didn't turn out so well and was really just a gooey mess. It didn't taste too horrible, at least I like to hope so, but it was a pretty big fail on my part.

Anyways, despite the second trial fail, this recipe is still pretty amazing when done right and not rushed in a 30-40 minute time frame, which includes the time it takes to go to the store and find the ingredients that aren't in my pantry.

1 lb. Lasagna Noodles
1 lb. Ground Beef (or any protein of your choice)
1/2 cup Yellow Onion, finely chopped
5 cloves Garlic, minced
1 14.5 ounce can Diced Tomato
1 28 ounce can Tomato Sauce
1 tsp. Dried Oregano
1/2 cup Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
1 tsp. Sugar
Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 cup Heavy Cream (optional)
32 ounces Ricotta Cheese
2 eggs
4 cups Mozzarella, shredded

In a large pot bring water to a boil. Generously salt the water and add the noodles as well as olive oil. (If you do not add the olive oil your lasagna noodles will be a mess to peel apart!)
In a large saucepan over medium heat, brown the ground beef (or whatever protein you choose to use). Add in the onions and garlic and continue to cook until the onions are translucent and the beef is browned.
Stir in the diced tomatoes, the tomato sauce, oregano, and heavy cream and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. (Because I am not a huge fan of that overly strong tomato-y taste, I almost always mix in heavy cream just to dumb down that tomato flavor. I did the same with this recipe and it still tasted fantastic.)
Remove from heat and stir in chopped basil, sugar, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

About the time the sauce has finished, the noodles should be ready. Dump them over a strainer and let cool so you don't burn your fingers off while assembling the lasagna.
While the noodles are cooling, in a separate large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese and two eggs. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Clear off some counter space and put your sauce and ricotta mixture on the counter with a 9"X13" pan. (The first time I made this, we had a very deep casserole dish. The second time, I only had a regular 9"X13" cake pan available. If I had a preference it would of course be with the deep casserole dish.)
Put some sauce in the bottom of whatever pan you are using to act as glue for the first layer of noodles. Place as many lasagna noodles as needed to cover the bottom of the pan.

Next, spread a layer of ricotta cheese on top of the noodles.

I spread a layer of mozzarella cheese after the ricotta mixture and then another layer of sauce. Do this until the dish is completely full. Spread a final layer of sauce and then the remaining mozzarella cheese to complete.

Bake at 400°F for about 25-30 minutes or until the cheese on top is brown and bubbling.

This dish is so delicious if done right!

Happy Eating!