Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Normally the cakes I post on my birthday are for the party I usually have, but this cake was actually made for one of my dear friend's birthday last week. You really just can't go wrong with that delectable combination of chocolate and peanut butter (last year's cake was certainly an indication) and the coffee in the cake batter makes the chocolate flavor stand out even more. This is super simple to make and thanks to help from my friend, Lawrence, it was easy to decorate. After frosting the outside of the cake with chocolate frosting, we surrounded the outside with leftover peanut butter frosting from the middle and topped it with mini peanut butter cups. Delicious. I'm celebrating my own birthday today with wonderful friends in Los Angeles. It is sure to be a super fun day and I feel so lucky to have such great friends near and far.

One year ago: Tin Roof Ice Cream Cake
Two years ago: Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Filling
Three years ago: Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
Four years ago: Root Beer Cupcakes
Five years ago: Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
(Adapted from Tastes of Lizzy T's)

For the chocolate cake:
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup coffee at room temperature

For the peanut butter frosting:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 tablespoons whole milk

For the chocolate frosting:
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3 tablespoons whole milk

To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans.

In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Stir to make sure they are fully combined.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla together until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Add the coffee and mix until everything is combined. The batter will be thin.

Pour the batter into the two prepared pans. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the peanut butter frosting:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the peanut butter, butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer turned down to low, add the powdered sugar. Add milk a little at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

To make the chocolate frosting:
In a large bowl sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. With the mixer turned down to low, slowly add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder mixture. Add the salt and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Add the milk a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Shrimp Puttanesca and Arrogant Frog Wine

Arrogrant Frog Wine

It may seem strange to talk about an Italian dish with French wine and Bastille Day, but when I was tasked to come up with a recipe to pair with this French Chardonnay, this was the first thing that came to mind. Arrogant Frog wine is an excellent deal. It retails for about $8 a bottle and is a great addition to any simple dinner. The chardonnay boasts nice tropical fruit and floral flavors. It's not terribly oaky like some chardonnays can be and it is very drinkable. This dish is light and perfect for summer with bold flavors from in-season tomatoes and olives. All you really need is a hunk of bread, but pasta would be a great accompaniment as well.

Shrimp Puttanesca

A light dish for summer that only needs a cold glass of wine and a few pieces of bread. You really can't go wrong with that.

Shrimp Puttanesca

*Disclaimer: I received these wines for free, opinions are my own. 

One year ago: Favorite Summer No Cook Recipes
Two years ago: Grilled Peaches with Ice Cream and Blueberry Fudge
Three years ago: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Four years ago: Cantaloupe Sorbet
Five years ago:Blood Orangeade

 Shrimp Puttanesca
(Adapted from TasteFood)

Makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 anchovy fillets, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus 1/2 teaspoon
2 cups of cherry tomatoes
1/3 cup roughly chopped kalamata olives
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Arrogant Frog chardonnay)
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt to taste
Parsley for garnish

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, anchovies, and 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes and saute for a minute or until fragrant.

Add the tomatoes, olives, wine, and capers and cook, stirring until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

In a separate skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of chili flakes. Add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer and season with salt. Cook until the shrimp is just cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Add the shrimp to the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Serve garnished with parsley if desired and with a baguette to sop up the wonderful juices.

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