The Tye Dye Mini Cake

Hello Lovely,

The day of The Elevation Awards, I was pretty nervous. Depiste covering it last year, I didn't know what to expect this year because instead of being media, I was now a nominee. Win or lose, I couldn't believe I am now Elevation Award Nominee Life By Olivia. And if I had won....OMG! I don't know what I would do with myself. So to fill the seemingly endless hours before show time I tried to relax in front of the TV. Problem was, none of my usual shows were on. I ended up watching an hour of Antiques Roadshow (super boring could not get into it) before stumbling upon a show on The Food Network called, The Kitchen. I had never heard of the show before (I don't know where I've been) but I AM HOOKED!!!! I happened to catch the birthday episode with a ton of birthday recipes. Even though I don't eat steak, I was really impressed with the Cast-Iron Skillet Porterhouse Steak but what really blew me away was the The Tie Dye Cake .

I instantly looked up Melissa's cookbook on Amazon and just had to try the tye dye cake. Now I've never been good with decorating cakes because icing confuses the hell out of me, so I decided to make a two layered mini cake instead (even though the batter was enough for four layers). If this didn't work out, it wouldn't hurt me as much because it wasn't a lot of batter wasted.

Bear in mind I was nervous AF so I was randomly throwing together ingredients. My thought process was literally whatever I could get my hands on (hence the combination of coffee and orange zest). But you couldn't tell me I wasn't a celebrity chef while I combined everything. While mixing the food colouring to get just the right colour, I felt like a chemist! It was just so much fun! I was so nervous I forgot to spray the pans before pouring the batter and then I had to pull the pans out of the oven because I forgot to take a skewer to the middle to create a pattern with the colors.

Then it was time for the moment of truth. This is where I always mess up, but I learned where I was going wrong. I found an old bread knife in the drawer that we never use and that was perfect for levelling the cake. For once, I had an even layered cake. Decorating was starting to look, well, like a piece of cake! (Sorry I just had to do it). When I was done, I had finally successfully frosted a cake! I swear this is one of the biggest accomplishments of my baking career thus far! I was a little disappointed in how the colours inside the cake turned out, but now I know better for next time how to make pink to brighten up the mix. The orange zest is brilliant and you really can't taste the coffee, which I was afraid would overpower or compete with the zest. Here's the recipe!

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The Tye Dye Mini Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup chilled coffee
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup diary free milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Red, yellow, blue and green food colouring

Cake Decorating

  • 4 tablespoons vanilla frosting
  • pastel coloured sprinkles
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 5 inch baking pans. Set aside.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the cake except the cake colouring. Do not overmix.
  3. Divide cake batter evenly amongst four ramekin dishes. Add food coloring to each bowl--1 drop at a time--until the desired intensity of each color is reached. Scoop each color into a disposable pastry bag and snip the tip of the bag. I didn't want to waste pastry bags so I carefully scooped it into the prepared pans.
  4. Pipe the batter into the first pan, one color at a time, one over the next. (Remember you could also use a spoon, but the pastry bags might make this much easier.) Repeat until all the batter is gone.
  5. To make the tie dye effect, carefully drag a skewer completely through the batter from the center out to create a pattern with the colors. Don't overmix the colors.
  6. Bake until the middle of the cake feels springy when you gently press your finger against it, 15 to 20 minutes. Set the cakes aside to cool completely before icing.
  7. Level the cakes with a serrated knife. Place one layer on a cake turntable and frost the top with the Vanilla Icing. Add the second cake layer and frost the top. From watching the show, I learned how to fully frost the cake. Continue to pipe icing in between the layers, then with the knife, go around the cake, smoothing out the frosting until the cake is completely covered.
  8. Mix the glaze (combine the powdered sugar and milk) then add pink food colouring or only two drops of red (it will make pink). Working with an offset spatula, spread pink glaze over the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides. Work quickly before the glaze starts to dry. Then top with sprinkles and serve!

The last time I made something so complex was my Cookies n Milk Cake (boy that was stressful). I usually shy away from recipes with too many steps, but I'm glad I challenged myself to this one. I ate my slice with a scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream (because cake and ice cream are the perfect couple) and it didn't feel too sweet. 

Apple Pear Skillet Pie

Apple Pear Skillet Pie

Today’s post will surely get your sweet tooth going.  Apple Pie in a skillet is going to be the easiest apple pie you've ever made! Make this for your loved one for Valentine's Day. If you want to make a statement and wow your table guests or hosts this month, I highly recommend taking a stab at this spin on the classic apple pie!

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CHEESECAKE BROWNIES

Hello Lovely,

Do you love brownies? Do you love cheesecake? Well, today I have combined the two to create these delicious Cheesecake Brownies! A thick and fudgy brownie layer topped with a creamy, swirled layer of cheesecake... Absolutely divine! I never get good photos of my brownies. I don't know why. But I also don't make brownies very often.

I made these brownies on Saturday before finding out that my step-dad Mike had died. I was hoping to surprise him with them because he always loved when I baked, and even though he hadn't been eating much, he still ate whatever I gave him. The last thing he ate from me was a bowl of chocolate and peanut butter oats. I'll share that recipe the next time I make it. So I'd like to dedicate this recipe to him.

I know you're super busy this holiday season. So this recipe is another quick and easy one to throw together. Simply make the brownie batter in one bowl,using your favourite store brownie mix, and the cheesecake batter in another, bake the brownies until almost done, top with the cheesecake, swirl some brownie batter into it, and bake again. Cool to room temperature, and then serve. Done!

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CHEESECAKE BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS

  • Betty Crocker Brownie Mix
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows 

FOR THE CHEESECAKE

  • 1 cup full fat cream cheese 500g, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar 100g
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

FOR THE BROWNIES

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line the bottom and sides of an 8x8" baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Set aside.

  2. Whisk together the ingredients for the brownie mix. I make mine healthier by using applesauce instead of oil. I also substituted coffee for the 2 tablespoons of water recommended for a caffeine boost. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the marshmallows into the brownie mix.

FOR THE CHEESECAKE

  1. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until combined. Beat in the egg, then fold in the vanilla extract.

  2. Pour the mixture over the brownie layer and spread out evenly. Using a toothpick or knife, create swirls.

  3. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature. Cut into bars, and serve.

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The Easiest Pumpkin Pie with Cream Cheese Swirl Recipe for Thanksgiving

Hello Lovely,

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American readers! I think I mentioned before that Thanksgiving isn't a holiday here in The Bahamas (just another excuse to eat and have sales). I hope you guys are enjoying some well-deserved rest with family and friends. I've been trying to organise a Friendsgiving with my friends since last year, but something always comes up. It's hard staying in touch with such busy schedules but it's days like this when we're reminded of the importance of appreciating one another. So, this year, I want to say that I am grateful for my family. We've grown this year and I can't tell you how happy this has made me. There have been A LOT of changes this year but all of them have been for the best and throughout all of it, my family has been an amazing support system. I'm looking forward to spending my first Christmas with them in two years (but they already know I'm making plans to travel for my birthday).

So, if you're reading this at the dinner table with your family (first of all, put your phone away), but secondly, thank you for keeping Life By Olivia a part of your holidays. If dinner isn't quite done, then I've caught you just in time! I made this pie about a week ago and completely forgot to share the recipe with you all. This came after I was beginning to lose confidence in my baking skills. A few failed attempts at pumpkin cannoli’s left me both devastated and broke (groceries are not cheap here)! In my fear of getting it right (AKA not burning it this time), I made one error: I didn't pre-bake the crust. It tasted so raw because I didn't pre-bake it that it actually took away some of the sweetness of the pie. So PRE-BAKE THE CRUST! That's the only thing I strongly suggest! (Well that and maybe a drizzle of maple syrup when you serve this). This dessert is low-cal and low sugar (not like anyone is REALLY counting calories this time of year) because I have a diabetic step-dad and my mum doesn't like things too sweet.

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So, before your guests start ordering take out, whip out your baking gear and let's get started!

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Pumpkin Pie with Cream Cheese Swirl


Ingredients (makes 1 8" pie)

  • 1/3 cup Betty Crocker Pie Crust mix
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 egg

  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

  • 4 oz. cream cheese

  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions

  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Place pie crust in 8-inch glass pie plate as directed on package for one-crust filled pie. Bake about 8 minutes or until light golden brown.
  2. In large bowl, beat sugar, flour and cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. 
  3. Beat remaining ingredients on medium speed, scraping bowl constantly, until smooth. Pour into crust.
  4. Spoon cream cheese mixture over pumpkin mixture. Cut through cream cheese and pumpkin mixtures with knife in S-shaped curves in one continuous motion for marbled design. 
  5. Cover edge of crust with 2- to 3-inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning; remove foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes. Cover loosely and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Store covered in refrigerator.

 

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Top with some whipped cream, or ice cream before serving and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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For more pumpkin inspired recipes, check these out:

For more Thanksgiving inspired recipes, check these out:

Apple Pie Tacos

Apple Pie Tacos

Crispy Cinnamon Sugar Shell with a delicious Apple Pie filling! Apple Pie Tacos are such a fun twist on a classic apple pie recipe! The shells of these tacos are made from tortillas cut with a round cookie cutter and fried crisp then dusted with cinnamon sugar. They only take about 20 seconds each to make and can be made days ahead of time.

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Mixed Berry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Hello Lovely,

I hate chocolate. There I said it. Don't hate me! I'm sorry. I've never enjoyed the taste of chocolate. I can tolerate chocolate cake and I love chocolate milk (it doesn't love me back though) but chocolate chips, candy.....I HATE IT! So why make this recipe you ask? Because there are people in my life who do enjoy chocolate and I wanted to do something nice for them. I wish I had taken a photo of my friend literally picking at the crumbs in the pan. If he didn't have to give it back to me, I'm sure he would've actually licked it. I'm sure that's a compliment 😊 

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I found this recipe on Baker by Nature. It's listed under breakfast. I think it would be a bit much as a breakfast item because we're very traditional here on what to eat for breakfast (grits, souse, eggs, cereal, pancakes, those sort of things). I would recommend this as a dessert that you don't have to feel guilty about! I personally swapped out the coconut oil and Greek yogurt for applesauce because it's what I had on hand.  I also used mixed berries instead of just raspberries because it's much cheaper in the store to buy a tub of berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries) than to buy just strawberries or raspberries. I'm going to include the original recipe for you to follow along. Feel free to make whatever changes you want. I guarantee this dish will be a crowd pleaser wherever you take it.

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Healthy Raspberry Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used full-fat, but reduced fat should work)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 VERY ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (will yield about 1 and 1/4 cups of mashed banana)
  • 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (if using frozen, do not thaw first)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick spray; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the sugar, oil, Greek yogurt, eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Stir in the mashed bananas. Add in the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Fold in the raspberries and chocolate chips (if using).
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake for 1 hour, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Allow bread to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, slice and serve.
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Notes

Banana bread will keep, stored in an airtight container or wrapped tightly in saran wrap, for 3 days.

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Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 1 slice

Amount Per Serving

Calories 180

% Daily Value

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

10-Minute Strawberry Cobbler for One

Hello Lovely,

Have you ever had a craving for something sweet but couldn't decide what to eat? Or maybe it's too hot to bake something? Well summer is almost over but you do not want to miss out and simple yet cool summer treats. I love mug cakes and even bought some packets in Switzerland. I'll share on those a bit later because today it's all about this baby right here! It's moist, delicious, sweet and harvests all the flavours of summer in one bite! You've got to try this!

So instead of rushing out to the supermarket for something store-bought, this 10-minute single-serving strawberry cobbler recipe is the fastest way to satisfy your sweet tooth. And best of all, we’re guessing you have most of the ingredients already on hand. Don't forget to wash it down with this little number!


DIRECTIONS

1. In a small bowl, mix the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and baking powder.

2. Add the butter and cut it evenly into the flour mixture with a fork. Add the milk and stir until the mixture comes together. Set aside.

3. In a large microwave-safe mug, stir together strawberries and confectioners’ sugar. Pour the oat topping over the berries.

4. Microwave the cobbler until the topping is set, 1½ to 2 minutes. Cool slightly and serve warm with whipped cream or your favourite ice cream flavour.

INGREDIENTS

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup instant oats

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

5 tablespoons milk (of any choice)

1⅓ cups chopped strawberries

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

Whipped cream, for serving