Saturday, July 18, 2015

Gonzo Cake: Baked Sunday Mornings

It has been an age since I have baked 
along with my Baked Sunday Mornings friends...but I just 
couldn't resist giving this purple velvet cake a go.  
Well maybe a dull greyish kinda!  
I guess I needed 
a little more food coloring. 

I halved the recipe and made a cute little cake and the lavender is so lovely out in my garden that I decided to put a few sprigs on top...I know it is a little deceiving because there is no lavender flavor in the cake, but pretty, right?

This cake has purple yam powder in it....yes, you read it right...purple yam powder.  I got mine from Amazon, although I probably could have found it at Jungle Jim's...but that is on the other side of God's I opted to order it...and it came just in time!

I think my cake turned out a bit dense, but it still had a nice flavor...not sickeningly sweet and the cream cheese frosting complimented it nicely.

It was nice to once again bake along with the BSM group!  Missed you guys!

Next up is Everyone's Favorite Birthday Cake...that falls right on my husbands birthday, so I will probably be baking along with that one!!!
Til then

Recipe posted here

Friday, July 17, 2015

Yes I CANnoli Cake!

This Italian girl loves a good cannoli!  
This Italian girl can make a pretty mean cannoli. 
 And now this Italian girl made a nice Cannoli Cake!

Another birthday is upon is my step son's Alex's birthday and his girl is having a suprise party for him.  She asked me to make the cake.  Well, I knew that Alex loved it when I made my yearly cannolis for our end of summer bash.  One year I wasn't going to make them and he asked me to make them if he went and got the cannoli shells...he had to go drive an hour away to get them.  What can I say, I think he likes them.  He also loves chocolate soooo a Chocolate Cannoli Cake it was!

I discovered that making your own ricotta cheese is very easy and economical as well!  Not to mention it tastes a whole lot better...the store bought stuff does not even compare!  I used lemon juice instead of vinegar for this filling.
Here is a great tutorial!


I made a chocolate layer cake 2 layers in a 9 inch pans and cut those in half.
I used this recipe for the cake. It is easy and delicious!  You will have extra batter left over...always good to make some cupcakes!

While the cannoli cream was chilling I made the buttercream frosting.
It didn't make a whole lot but it was the perfect amount for what I needed.  I crumb coated the cake before frosting it and let it sit in the fridge for an hour. The frosting was gorgeous!!  I frosted the top and very sparingly frosted the sides and pressed chocolate chips into it.  I put the rest of the frosting in a piping bag and piped a nice decoration on the top and bottom edge.

Rich chocolate cake layers filled will creamy cannoli cream then frosted with a luscious cream cheese buttercream.
A beautiful and hopefully tasty cake for someone special in my life!
Happy Birthday Alex!

Until next time...
The Best Cannoli Cake
Adapted from: A Beautiful Bite
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
I did not make the cannoli for this cake, because of time restraints...but I do think that they would be an awesome addition.  Although if I would have done it I would not have done so many of them piled on top....maybe 10-12 of for each serving.
  • 2 9" Chocolate cake layers split in half 
  • 36 Mini cannoli shells ( did not use these)
  • 1 cup Chocolate morsels if you'd like to dip your cannoli ends
For the Cannoli Filling:
  • 32 oz Ricotta cheese, drained overnight (see notes) (Made my own...I used a gallon of milk and drained it overnight)
  • 1 cup Confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 6 oz Mini chocolate morsels
  • (I put a little 1/2 t vanilla and 1/2 t almond extract in mine)
For the Buttercream Frosting
  • 3 cups Confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter ( I used 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup cream cheese)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 cups Mini chocolate morsels for coating exterior of cake
  1. Prepare ricotta the night prior to assembling the cake. Place ricotta in a cheesecloth lined strainer and pull cheesecloth over ricotta to make a sack. Secure the ends and place a small plate overtop the sack and top with a heavy can. (I used a 28oz can of tomatoes) Place in fridge and allow the excess water to drain off overnight. This is a CRUCIAL step.
  2. If dunking cannoli shells in chocolate, heat morsels over medium heat in a double boiler until melted and smooth. Dunk cannoli ends in chocolate, shake excess off and place on parchment paper to harden. You can speed this up by placing the cannolis in the fridge.
  3. For the filling, mix together the drained ricotta and both sugars. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream into the cheese/sugar mixture. Gently mix in the chocolate morsels. Place in fridge while you make the buttercream frosting.
  4. For the buttercream, using a hand or stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until smooth. Add vanilla extract and cream. Beat until fluffy. If too stiff, add a little more cream.
  5. For assembly:
  6. Place one halved cake layer on a cake plate. Smooth about one cup of filling overtop. Place another cake layer on top of filling and repeat until all layers are in place. Set aside remaining filling to use for mini cannolis.
  7. Scrape any filling that has oozed off the sides of the cake. Place in fridge for at least two hours.
  8. After it sets for two hours, frost the tops and sides of the cake. Press chocolate morsels around the exterior of the cake to coat.
  9. Using a piping bag, fill cannolis with leftover filling. Place filled cannolis on top of the cake in a large pile.
  10. Enjoy!
Please be sure to read my instructions on draining the ricotta. It will make or break this cake. You must drain it overnight. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing

Loving all these beautiful salads!  Here is another winner!  Packed with goodness and flavor!  Assembles in less than 30 minutes.  I forgot to add the orange segments but I did add some grape tomatoes.  I think the oranges would have been very tasty...mad I forgot!!  Next time!
The dressing is the bomb! 
Be healthy!

adapted from Minimalist Baker

Prep time
15 mins
Cook time
15 mins
Total time
30 mins

Serves: 2-3


5-6 cups Mixed Greens
1 cup cooked quinoa (red or white)*
1/2 cup fresh or canned corn
1 cup cooked black beans (seasoned with equal pinches sea salt, cumin, chili + garlic powder)
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 orange, segmented (I forgot the orange segments! geesh!)
1/2 ripe avocado, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped or torn

1/2 ripe avocado
1 large lime, juiced (~4 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp orange juice
1-2 tsp sweetener of choice (maple syrup, agave, cane sugar, etc.)
1-2 tsp hot sauce
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/8 tsp chili powder (or sub extra hot sauce or chipotle powder)
Healthy pinch each sea salt and black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro (optional)
3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil ( I only used 1 tbsp oil)

Begin preparing quinoa first by thoroughly rinsing 1/2 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, then bringing to a boil with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare salad ingredients by chopping vegetables, segmenting orange, and warming black beans and seasoning with salt, cumin, chili and garlic powder.
Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blending until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added more hot sauce, orange juice and salt.