Layered Red Velvet Cake - Why This Recipe Was A Total Disaster

Hello lovely,

Since I started the tradition of making an annual Christmas cake, I decided to extend it to all other holidays. I already make themed drinks and other recipes, but a signature Valentine’s Day Cake sounded ideal this year! Hopefully next year I'm not so last minute with it. And I should probably choose to make it during a less stressful time in my life. I definitely rushed to make this because I anticipated having to travel for a trip that never happened. That's the unfortunate part of when you’re not the one making the plans, so your plans have to accommodate theirs.

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That's why there’s no recipe for this. To start an annual Valentine's day cake, I cared more about how it looked, so I actually used a boxed red velvet cake recipe. There was just one problem: The cake mix was too moist. I couldn’t get around the cake with any frosting because parts of the cake would come off on the spatula. Then the frosting turned out to be REALLY hot pink, which was an absolute nightmare for what I had in mind. I’m already a complete amateur at cake decorating so I actually panicked for a few minutes. (Side note: If anyone is hosting cake decorating classes please sign me up 🙏)

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After my mini panic session, I decided to melt the frosting in the microwave just a bit and pour it over the cake. Trust me, it was as messy as you’re imagining. The clean up sucked and took multiple people, but at least I had two little people (kids) to assist (and by assist, I mean lick the plate).

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So what did I learn from this experience? First: I definitely need to invest in the right pans to make a layered cake of different sizes. I used a Bundt pan for the bottom because it was the only thing deep enough for the base and I actually baked the top smaller cake in a saucepan. It worked but when I say that’s probably one of the most ghetto things I had ever done…🤦‍♀️ Second, I really need to plan better because I stress way too easily. I thought everything was perfectly planned, but its probably not a good idea to shoot a complex cake like this when you’re shooting like 50 other things in the same day. Third, filters really save the day!

Have you ever had a recipe fail? What was your kitchen nightmare. Share your memories in the comment section below. Hopefully your Valentine’s Day treats don’t turn out like mine 😅

Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie

Merry Christmas Lovely,

Yesterday was Christmas and today was Boxing Day! I can’t wait to get into how I celebrated, but that’s a separate post that you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to read. Normally I take the two weeks surrounding Christmas and New Years off, but there’s just so much happening, I had to share. This is the last recipe of the year, and although it’s simple, it’s still really special. I originally planned on sharing this recipe the week before Christmas, but when I got invited to Christmas dinner with my childhood best friend, Sheena, I knew this would be the perfect dish to bring! I’ve done apple pies before, but there’s something about adding cranberries that just makes it super festive.

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I didn’t put a lot of cranberries in, because  I don’t want their flavor to overpower the apples, but if you want more cranberries, go ahead and add them, just reduce the number of apples a bit. Sheena and her family loved the pie so much there was nothing left! I didn’t carry it to my family’s dinner, because I knew it would be better appreciated with a smaller crowd. My family will be bringing various foods and desserts; this pie deserves the opportunity to shine! I feel bad that I didn’t get that “Perfect” picture but I think you guys understand how good this was. I used granola as a topping instead of a crumb topping because it’s easier and I wanted a different flare.

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Apple Cranberry Crumble Pie

yield: 8 SERVINGS

prep time: 30 MINUTES

cook time: 30 MINUTES

inactive time: 40 MINUTES

total time: 2 HOURS

Ingredients

  • Pie dough for single crust for a 9.5 inch deep dish pie plate, or you can use your favourite crust recipe

  • 3 cups apples, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cups fresh cranberries

  • 1/2 cup Truvia or 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 2 tablespoons dark rum

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Instructions

Prepare your crust and line a 9.5 inch deep dish pie plate with the pastry. I used a store bought graham cracker crust to save time. Preheat oven to 350 F. Toss the apples and cranberries with the sugar, flour, rum, lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Let the apples and cranberries sit for 30 minutes to marinate. Place the apples and cranberries into the pastry lined pie plate.

Top the apples with any granola (I used cinnamon flax granola) and even more cranberries. Then before you put it in the oven, add small dots of butter to soften the granola and bake at 350 F for 20-30 minutes. Or until apples are tender and crust is lightly browned. Bake time can greatly very based on how crisp and ripe the apples were. Serve with ice cream and enjoy!

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Cinnamon Mini Cakes with Peach Wine Compote

Hello Lovely,

I made these mini cakes in early August for a party with some friends. Once it was time for dessert, these went so quickly, I didn't even get to have one! My friends LOVED them! I love cinnamon. It's used in so many things because it just compliments EVERYTHING! This recipe comes from the Cakes By Melissa cookbook, but I came up with the topping all on my own! I started by making a cinnamon sheet cake and I cut out the mini cakes with a round cutter. While all of this was happening, I had some canned peaches soaking in red wine. You could have a cinnamon cake with cinnamon icing, but how basic is that? Go deeper into flavour profiles and see how you can related them to people or to other delicious foods that you love. For example, cinnamon cake with a peach wine compote topping - yum!

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Cinnamon Mini Cakes with Peach Wine Compote

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup diced peaches
  • 1 cup red wine (any kind)
  • powdered sugar for dusting
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Directions

  1. Have all your ingredients at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter the pan of your choice or line the pan with wax or parchment paper.
  2. Before you start mixing, soak the peaches in the wine.
  3. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip the butter for 1 minute on high speed, then scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Add the sugar to the butter and beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.
  5. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the vanilla; then add the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl midway through.
  6. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt in a separate bowl.
  7. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture. When it's mostly incorporated, add half the milk. Add the remainder of the dry and wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions. Stop mixing as soon as you have a smooth batter.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the middle of the cake feels springy when you gently press your finger against it (30-35 minutes).
  9. Let cake cool completely before cutting with round cutter.
  10. Top each cake with peaches and a little powdered sugar.
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The only thing about this recipe I changed was the amount of sugar in it. The original recipe calls for 2 cups. I can't imagine why anyone would need 2 whole cups of sugar; that's waaaaaaay too much. So I shortened it. Truthfully I may have only used 1 cup of sugar. Adjust it according to your taste and dietary needs.

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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