Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chocolate. Olive oil. Cake. Yes, I just went there!

Well, this one really blew my mind. I was shocked at how amazingly delicious it tasted. The name sounds gross, right?
The original recipe I tried was the one I got from Ciao Italia! That is also the one I will post here. (The reason I have not changed anything in this recipe, as I would normally do is: its perfect the way it is!)

Of course I had to decorate it ridiculously... it's how I practice!
With this recipe I am NOT going to include the icing recipe. I will post it separately, as it is a process all on it's own!
3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
6 Tbsp. cocoa
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. olive oil
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
2 c. cold water
(I use all-purpose flour, white sugar, cocoa powder, any kind of olive oil, white vinegar, vanilla flavoring- nothing expensive, nothing fancy!)
What to do:
1.) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2.) Lightly grease 2- 9" round cake pans. (I used butter flavored cooking spray.)
3.) Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. (I used a whisk for this, because I like the way it breaks up any clumps and mixes everything together.)
4.) With a hand mixer, on low, beat in oil, vinegar, vanilla & water until smooth.

5.) Pour into the prepared pans.
6.) Bake 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (This is the most difficult part: timing. The original recipe called for 25 minutes, but it took 45 in my oven. So, make sure you just check and see how fast its baking in your oven.)
7.) Cool in the pan 15-20 minutes before removing from pans to completely cool.
 To see icing recipe, go to: Powdered Sugar Free Vanilla Frosting!
Once the cakes are COMPLETELY cooled, you are ready to start the frosting process.
8.) At this point, your cakes should be out of the pans. If they are not, then you need to get them out. Put your bottom cake on a serving platter or tray. Whatever you have chosen to hold your completed cake.
9.) Next, you need to level it out! Using a sharp knife, level the top by placing the palm of your hand gently on top of the cake, and slicing off about 1/4" until level.
10.) Now dump a big glob of frosting on top of this layer, and spread it evenly on top. (It doesn't have to be pretty, but it DOES need to be fairly level.)

11.) Next, plop the top cake on the frosting. Make sure that it is even with the other- you don't want a lop-sided cake!
12.) **I used 2 different kinds of frosting for this cake. The purple frosting was the homemade frosting, but the green frosting was store bought. Now, you should dump a big glob of frosting on top of the cake.
13.) Spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Once this part is done, you are pretty much open to decorating however you want. Add a border, flowers, words, whatever you like!


Powdered Sugar-Free Vanilla Frosting... YUP!

So, if you are in a pinch and you need frosting... like... NOW, this recipe is great.
I needed a delicious frosting for my cake... but... I didn't have any powdered sugar. So... what did I do? I Googled. Obviously. I searched for substitutions, and came up with a solution. This frosting is not only easy, but its super-yummy!
2 Tbsp. flour
3/4 c. milk
3/4 c. butter
3/4 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
What to do:
1.) In a medium saucepan, add a small amount of the milk to the flour, and stir to make a smooth paste.
2.) Add the remaining milk, and cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until it boils and thickens. (It will thicken into a big ol' glob.)

3.) Let it cool.
4.) In the meantime, cream the butter using medium speed with your hand mixer.
5.) Gradually add your sugar and salt. Beat well.
6.) Add your cooled milk mixture.
7.) Beat until light and fluffy.
8.) Add the vanilla.
9.) Stir everything together real well, one good time.
10.) Now, at this point you are done- unless you want to color it. Which I did. :) If you want to also, then now is the time to add your food coloring!
11.) Now, stir it up and you are ready to frost your cake!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Goulash Experiment!

Hi there!
So, with this being my first post- I am going to start with what I made for dinner tonight:
My goulash experiment!
Goulash- Photo By: Lisa Haught
Now, let me first explain- I do not make the typical Hungarian-style goulash. No siree, I do not. I like to call my goulash "Lisa-esque". Basically, it is just a delicious combination of "stuff" I have in my pantry and like to cook together and call goulash.
But- that is neither here, nor there. I am getting off subject, and when I get off subject then BOOM! KABLAM! BANG! I end up with cranky, hungry children, and a grumpy hubby!
Quick- someone grab a skillet!
1 1/2 pounds of ground beef
1 medium sized onion, diced
1 medium sized green bell pepper, diced
1 large can of diced tomatoes
2 cans of chicken broth
2 cups of elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 tsp. ground red pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin seed
8 ounces of cheese (velveeta type, but I use store brand), cubed
Now that we have the ingredient list, we can talk about the cooking utensils I use!
I use a huge, deep skillet!
And a spatula. A regular, plain, spatula.
Ok... got your skillet?! Good! Here we go...
What to do:
1.) In the large skillet, cook together the beef, onion, and bell pepper- until the meat is browned and the vegetables have softened.
My goulash experiment!
2.) Add the red pepper, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
My goulash experiment!
3.) Add the diced tomatoes.
My goulash experiment!
4.) Pour in both cans of chicken broth.
My goulash experiment!
5.) Bring to a boil over medium heat.
6.) Add the macaroni.
My goulash experiment!
7.) Let the macaroni cook!!
8.) Once the macaroni is done cooking, add 1/2 of the cheese and stir until melted.
My goulash experiment!
9.) Turn off heat, and top with remaining 1/2 of the cheese.
My goulash experiment!
10.) Let the cheese melt on top and serve!
My goulash experiment!
This recipe is a bit SPICY so if you are looking for a more mild goulash, add less of the red pepper!