The day that started a little muddy. literally.

2/23/13・My birthday
My birthday was a day I was not particularly looking forward to because I was turning a year older... another year closer to the age 30...but it was a day that I was going to get to spend with my boys, all. day. long. SO it was worth waking up for. It started with an early morning car ride to Dillingham Ranch, where the much anticipated Warrior Dash was taking place. On the way there, we counted more than 5 rainbows, even a set of double rainbows. It was shaping up to be a great day.
We knew to expect a little mud, a lot of people in crazy costumes, and people in costumes covered in mud... but the added downpour that morning put the muddiness of the whole event up to a whole new level - as in for us, the spectators. It was the sticky, build up on your shoes and stroller wheels kind of mud. Once the race was over, and after a complete shower down at the beach park, it was off to town.
We ate, shopped, and ate some more. The kids were wiped out by the end of the day. Delicious food, fun time with my boys, town date, and shopping - the best kind of day I could have ever asked for.


Chocolate cake with a name I can't pronounce.

This decadent, rich, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake is called Gateau au Chocolat Fondant de Nathalie...yeah, it's French. And it tastes as fancy as it sounds. My friend (that lives in France, of course) from Coconuts&Cardamom posted this recipe a little while ago and I was determined to try it for a special occasion. What better occasion than the chocolate-lover's holiday, Valentine's Day? This recipe did not disappoint. It really is one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever had/made. It is like a dark, gooey brownie meets a rich, moist chocolate cake. The one thing that was surprising was how easy and fast it was to make. You have to give it a try!

Gateau au Chocolat Fondant de Nathalie
(original recipe found here on C&C)

7 ounces best-quality dark chocolate
7 ounces unsalted European-style butter (the high-butterfat kind, I used Challenge European Style butter), cut into ½-inch cubes
1⅓ cup granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the base of the pan with parchment, and butter again.
  2. Chop the chocolate and melt gently with the butter in a double boiler. I used a glass bowl placed over a pan of simmering water on the stove. Once melted and smooth, add the sugar to the chocolate-butter mixture and stir until combined. Set aside to cool for a few moments.
  3. Add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each egg, and then add the flour. The batter should be smooth.
  4. Pour batter into the buttered cake pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the center of the cake looks set and the top is shiny and a bit crackled. A tooth pick entered will not come out completely clean, but batter should not be too wet.
  5. Let the cake cool in its pan for 10 minutes; then carefully remove the cake and allow to cool completely. (the cake will deflate)
  6. Serve in wedges slightly warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with powdered sugar or served with a dollop of fresh whipped cream drizzled with caramel sauce (shown below).


Love is Sweet.

February, the month of love, is already at its halfway mark. It's been a fabulous month, but its going by way too fast. It's my birthday month (oh, one year older, no biggie, right?)....and Valentine's Day has come and gone already.

I had a fabulous day with my 3 loves. a very low-key kind of day. I woke up to a delicious breakfast smoothie made especially for me by my (non)kitchen-savvy chef of a husband, and the cutest hugs and kisses from the tiniest hands and lips. The best way to start the day, don't you think? The Hubs was gone all day at school, while I got to chill with my littlest baker buddy. We finished the day off with a delicious meal followed by this decadent chocolate cake. just perfect.

How did you spend your Valentine?

fyi: Recipe for this decadent treat to follow..... tomorrow...so stay tuned!


Homemade Cinnamon Rolls.

Doesn't this look heavenly? Believe me, they are just as if not more delicious than they look. This one is a must-try.

Clone of a Cinnabon
(adapted from this recipe)

1 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast

1 cup packed brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter, softened

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm milk. Mix in the sugar then let it sit for 5-10 min, until bubbles start to form.  Add the melted butter, salt, and eggs, mix well. Sift the flour and add it to the mixture.
  2. Knead the dough into a ball, but don't over work it. Cover, and let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
  3. While dough sits, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  4. Once dough rises, roll it into a 16x21 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. (helpful tip: put plastic wrap on the counter to prevent the dough from sticking. It works like a charm!)
  5. Spread softened butter over dough and sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly. 
  6. Roll up dough and cut into 12 equal pieces. About 1.5-2 inches wide.
  7. Place rolls in lightly greased/parchment lined 9x13 inch baking dish, about 1-2 inches apart. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled in size. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  8. For frosting, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a small bowl. Mix well.
  9. BAKE rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Spread with frosting.
    Enjoy the BEST cinnamon rolls ever, period.


Pear Bavarian Torte.

Absent doesn't even begin to describe what kind of blogger I have been lately. My apologies. Life, as usual has been, well...hectic, chaotic and just plain busy...and I have been fatigued, passive, and more or less unmotivated. I am hoping that this change in weather will do the trick, but no promises.

Here is a repeat recipe. The pear bavarian torte I had made once before and blogged about is no where to be found in the archives, so here it is again. Maybe this time you'll give it a try! ;) I love this recipe, so easy but delicious and somewhat more sophisticated than your average apple tart or pie. enjoy.

(adapted from this apple torte recipe)

1/2 cup room temperature butter
1 cup sugar, divided
1 cup flour
1 (250g) package cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 ripe Bartlett pears
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Beat butter and 1/3 cup of the sugar in small bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add flour; mix well. Spread onto bottom and 1 inch up side of lightly greased 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Beat cream cheese and 1/3 cup of the remaining sugar in same bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Spread evenly over crust. Combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Add sugar mixture to pears in a bowl, and toss to coat. Arrange over cream cheese layer, adding as little of the liquid as possible.
  3. Bake for 10 min, then reduce temperature to 375 degrees F and continue baking 25 min, or until center is set. Cool on wire rack. Loosen torte from rim of pan. Cover and refrigerate 3 hours before serving. Store any leftovers in refrigerator.