Recipes

Decadent Double Layer Chocolate Cake

Image

Chocolate Lovers – this one’s for you.

This cake is hands down, the best homemade chocolate cake recipe ever.
You’ve gotta trust us on this one – we’ve tested many different kinds of chocolate cake recipes over the years, and this one blows away all the others.

This cake is soft, light, fluffy, and perfectly chocolatey. {All the things a good chocolate cake should be.}

The cake’s super fluffy & moist texture is due in part to a few things.. the use of buttermilk, and coffee! That’s right – 1 cup of hot coffee is used in this cake to help accentuate the chocolate flavour. Don’t worry, it will NOT make the cake taste like coffee.
Buttermilk is also used to help keep the cake super moist. (Buttermilk really is a great baking ingredient for cakes & cupcakes.)

For the frosting, we decided to ditch the usual chocolate buttercream that is often used for this kind of cake and went with a Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting instead. Neither of us are big fans of buttercreams, as they are usually extremely sweet and overpowering. We always tend to frost cakes using a whipping cream frosting because it is a lot lighter, less sweet, and just seems to taste better & fresher.

Natasha made this cake a few weeks ago for a birthday, and everybody raved about the cake so we decided to make a Valentine’s version! This chocolate cake is perfect for any occasion – decorate it however you wish! ๐Ÿ™‚

Image

Image

Image
Nummm! You can see just how moist & fresh the cake is.

This cake is amazing because it actually stays fresh like this for days after baking!
{Keep cake covered at room temperature for up to 4 days to ensure freshness, or covered and refrigerated for up to 6 days.}

Image

IMG_2562

Image

Image

Decadent Double Layer Chocolate Cake Recipe + Directions

Note: it is very important that eggs are at room temperature for this recipe! using eggs at room temperature will allow the cake to rise properly. using cold eggs could ruin your cake.

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder {not dutch processed}
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting Ingredients:

250g whipping cream
Nestle Nesquik Chocolate Syrup (to taste)

Directions:

Butter & flour two 9-inch round cake pans & set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, & salt; set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the buttermilk, oil, room temperature eggs, & vanilla.
With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet until just combined. Add in the coffee. {Batter will be very wet – it is supposed to be. don’t worry!}

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 prepared baking pans and bake for approx. 24-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the beater/whip attachment, whip the whipping cream on medium-high speed for 2-5 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in chocolate syrup to taste, and mix.

IMG_255923

Happy Valentine’s Baking!
Natasha & Laura xo

Advertisements
Standard
Life

Vancity Buzz Feature – Love At Ikea

Image

Laura recently wrote a piece for Vancity Buzz’s ‘Single In Vancouver (Worst Dating Stories)’ column, and her piece was featured on the site today!
Click here to read Laura’s story (Love At Ikea) on Vancity Buzz!

About Vancity Buzz:
Since 2008, Vancity Buzz has been engaging readers with content that highlights the culture, people and developments of our beautiful city of Vancouver. Our content is fresh, reliable and informative. Our aim is to keep Vancouverites connected to the city’s pulse.

Official site: www.vancitybuzz.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/VancityBuzz

Image

Standard
Life

Oh No He Didn’t! (Chapter of Wayne – Part 2)

images2

As promised after our first meeting at the pub that night, Wayne did call me and we planned a date. We set up a time and place and decided on sushi and a movie. Don’t even ask me what movie we went to see, I can’t remember. Doesn’t matter. However, what I do clearly remember is I definitely was no where near being ready to jump into dating, let alone a relationship. I wasn’tย overย my ex husband (of 20 years) by a long shot. Hmmmm… let’s call my ex husband, Damian. Yes, Damian. It’s a very ‘Harlequin Romance‘ kinda name don’t ya think? ย It’s my story, I can assign whatever name I choose. Anyways, ย if you asked me at the time I’d say ‘hell ya I’m over him!’ย  But hell no I wasn’t! I admit it. Apparently for every 5 years you are with someone, it takes approximately 1 year to ‘get over‘ them. So I was with Damian for 20 years… well, that’s 5 fricking years of waiting to get over him! I ain’t got time for that!
Of course I wasn’t over my ex husband. Hell, I’m not sure I’ll ever be completely over him. Us Virgo’s are known to become very loyally attached to those we give our hearts to and tend to want to hang on forever. It’s hard to let go. Real hard.

So, almost a year after separating from my husband and having gone on numerous online dating meet and greets, I naively jump in and start dating Wayne. Immediately I’m comparing every little thing Wayne does to that of my ex husband. I mean everything. The way he speaks to the server (very telling you know?)ย  the way he eats his food, how many drinks he consumed in such a short time frame(don’t think I didn’t notice), the way he puts way too much sushi in his mouth at once. (Hello!)
All of these teenie tiny signs combined equals one great, big Red Flag.
My girlfriends at the time would say I constantly compare, compare, compare. They’re all like, ‘You’re not being fair to Wayne. Stop comparing, everyone’s different.’ On and on. I was just simply pointing out that Damian did things a certain way. And ehm, well, Wayne doesn’t. That’s all. Chill.

I clearly remember sitting across from Wayne at the sushi restaurant and thinking, I’m not completely attracted to him in that way.ย I mean, he was attractive yes, but something wasn’t quite right. I remember on our first date being uncomfortable when dinner was over and the waitress brought the bill. He kinda just continued letting it sit there, between us. It got very uncomfortable. It felt like he was waiting for me to take care of it. Or maybe it was all in my mind. But no, I don’t think so. From previous posts you know I do have some issues with that. Completely out of touch with the times and rules of dating. Who pays? What’s the dating etiquette? I figure if you get asked out on a first date, the man should pay, no? What the hell do I know? Red flag #2 because ‘who pays’ later became an issue in our relationship.
An issue because guess who ended up always paying?
Yours truly.

Wayne and I had been dating for a couple of months. Like clock work, every Friday night you could guarantee a party at his place. Now this wasn’t a problem for me initially. Remember, I had been solely a wife and mother for the past 20 years, so it almost seemed like I was making up for lost party time in a sense. I was with my ex husband since I was 18 so I missed the whole partying and going out stage. Wayne and I had so much fun. I have since realized that we had the most fun when we were drinking. ย It’s not like we didn’t have fun without alcohol, but let’s just say we had more fun with alcohol. And for me, 2 glasses of red wine and I’m so there. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, total wussy light weight. Or cheap date, whichever.

The alcohol was a good thing and a bad thing. Good in that when both of us were intoxicated, we let many potential spats slip by. Bad because the ones that didn’t slip by were ridiculous and typically made no sense what so ever. Obviously the communication between two drunk people can sometimes get construed and not make any bloody sense. We would then proceed to beat that particular subject up to no avail. It would end badly with one of us stomping off and locking them self in the bedroom and crash. In the morning either we forgot what we were actually arguing about or continue the argument. However, my fighting/disagreeing/arguing style typically consisted of just shutting down and giving him the good ol’ silent treatment. I know how much men love that. Oh yea. You can imagine how well that worked out. I have to say that method was all I’d ever done in my marriage so that’s what I naturally turned to. Wayne couldn’t tolerate that at all and would insist we talk it out.ย  He would always say that I put up walls, and I swear to God if I heard him say one more time “Oh, there’s them walls you put up!” I’m pretty certain I was gonna lose my mind.
Looking back, I think know those walls were actually me not being totally into him or allowing myself to be into him. Whichever. I’m always a contradiction. Thing is I was a confused mess, I liked him a lot, but I didn’t. He wasn’t Damian. That was perfectly clear.

Wayne was the only guy I knew who actually wanted to dance with me, all of the time. Even when friends were around. He didn’t care. I loved that he would take my hand and lead me to the dance floor or to the middle of the living room and waltz with me. That was something I remember my parents doing plenty of times when my sister and I were growing up. They would dance and talk all night long, I loved that aspect of their marriage. I told Wayne that too. He knew how special that was to me. Those kinds of moments are so simple yet last forever in your memories. I only hope that when I do find ‘the one‘ we will be able to share that as well. I love that closeness.

bth_dancing_couple_zps086ef067

I don’t know exactly what it was, but there was always something that felt a little off with my feelings towards Wayne. Like when we would be out at friends homes, a pub, or anywhere around other people and alcohol, I would become uptight and nervous. I would be embarrassed at the things he would say, the unpredictability of what he might say. The way he would act after a number of beers. Almost confrontational with anyone he might be talking with. But afterwards when we would go home and we were alone, it would all be okay. I’m going to go ahead and say that typically the more alcohol between us the better things were. Not completely ideal. He was an up tight kind of guy, and I can be an uptight kind of girl (no shit).ย  Not the greatest combo. But with alcohol he was less uptight and I became more attracted to that guy. The drunk guy was ‘fun relaxed guy’, that’s the guy I liked best unfortunately. He was completely focused on me, treating me like a princess and I would forget all about any inappropriate behavior he had displayed earlier. This became a routine in our relationship. The times we were by ourselves it was different. It was better. So eventually without even realizing what I was doing I would make excuses up for us to stay in, not have people over.ย  Instead insisting we stay at home together, alone. I would tell him I’m dealing with people all day long, I’d rather just spend the evening alone, together. He rarely disagreed, ever. Instead we started sharing amazing Friday nights at home alone. He loved to cook and was a fabulous cook, I’d sip red wine while assisting him. By assisting I mean watching. You know, keeping him company in the kitchen.
We would put the music on, have drinks, dance and talk all night long. I loved it.

We were only seeing each other once a week, twice at most, and that would usually be Friday nights. Saturday nights he would play poker with the guys. Religiously. I didn’t mind at all except if for some reason or another we couldn’t see each other on the Friday night and he wouldn’t give up poker on Saturday night to spend it with me. You know what they say? He’s just not that into you! If he was, well, he surely would choose spending time with me over poker at least some of the time.ย  Well, I hadn’t read He’s Just Not That Into You yet so I was not getting it. Plus I was so damn needy then. Couldn’t stand being single, alone, lonely, always wanting to be with someone. Coincidentally he was that someone at that time.

images4

That was until one particular Saturday night while he was at poker and we were texting each other back and forth. I sensed something was off.ย  He finally tells me, via text, that his on again-off again ex girlfriend he dated before me wanted to get back together. Turns out the friends house he plays poker at was the ex girlfriend’s brother. Ahhh, perfect. She wanted to give it another try. Uhh… okay? Well, that’s very unexpected. I remember being completely shocked.ย  Not heart broken, just shocked. No one likes rejection.

He’s breaking up with me? pffft! Isn’t that ironic?

Laura xo

Standard
Music

Listen: Wrapped In Red by Kelly Clarkson

kelly-clarkson-announces-wrapped-in-red-as-first-christmas-album

Album: Wrapped In Red
Artist: Kelly Clarkson
Release Date: October 25, 2013

We are big fans of Christmas music around here!

Kelly Clarkson’s latest album, ‘Wrapped In Red‘ is a beautifully recorded Christmas album that will instantly put you in the Christmas spirit!

The album has a great blend of new, original songs mixed with covers of classic Christmas songs & the whole album through is really solid. Definitely a great Christmas CD to add to the collection.
(Kelly never disappoints!)

Get into the Holiday spirit & check out Kelly Clarkson‘s new album ‘Wrapped In Red‘!

Album highlights (Natasha’s faves):

Wrapped In Red
Underneath The Tree
Every Christmas
Winter Dreams (Brandon’s Song)
Just For Now

Fun Facts:

ย – Kelly co-wrote on each of the 5 original songs on the album
– Artist Imogen Heap wrote the song ‘Just For Now’
– Kelly Clarkson filmed a Christmas Special called ‘Kelly Clarkson’s (Cautionary) Christmas Tale’ which will air on NBC in December! (Can’t wait to check that out!)
– ‘Underneath the Tree’ is the album’s lead single; released on November 5th, 2013
– ‘Wrapped In Red’ is Kelly’s first Christmas-themed album, and her sixth studio album release

Check out one of my favorite songs from the album: Wrapped In Red:

Natasha xo

Standard
Beauty & Cosmetics

Etsy Holiday Inspiration

Image

Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. Our mission is to re-imagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.

I love Etsy.

For those who are not aware, Etsy is a website which focuses on the selling & buying of handmade, & vintage items.
I like to think of Etsy as a ‘craftier‘ version of Ebay.
You can find everything on the site from paintings, prints, art & craft supplies, to home decor, quilts, beauty, jewelry, & toys.

Each item is unique, and it’s a great way to support artisans, & support smaller businesses.
Plus you can also find plenty of ideas for some DIY projects!

I’ve purchased some really cute items from Etsy previously & highly recommend shopping on Etsy. My latest purchase were gorgeous knitted coffee cozies which you can see here.

I was browsing on Etsy earlier, and started looking at Holiday gifts & decor and was blown away at all the great gift ideas.
Etsy is such a great site to do some online Holiday shopping, especially if you are looking for unique, homemade, beautiful pieces!

Grab a cup of cocoa, turn on your Christmas playlist, get cozy in your Christmas PJ’s (come on, you know you have a pair! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and browse with me on Etsy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here are some of my top Holiday Picks from Etsy:

Image

1. Winter Forest Wrapping Paper
from Etsy Seller: NormansPrintery

There’s few things I love more than beautifully wrapped Christmas presents under the tree. It’s almost like an art.
I love wrapping gifts, and have basically become the sole ‘gift wrapper‘ in my family. I love taking my time, and making the gifts look perfect, so I’m all about cute, unique wrapping paper.
This Forest Wrapping Paper is unique and perfectly vintage looking.

2. The Barrow – Chunky Infinity Scarf
from Etsy Seller: deroucheau

Nothing says Winter fashion like a nice, big, wool infinity scarf!
Essential piece of a girl’s Winter wardrobe.

3. Knitted Heart Fingerless Gloves
from Etsy Seller: KnitsbyVara

Cozy, homemade knitted gloves – perfect gift for her.

4. Burlap Dog Christmas Stocking
from Etsy Seller: ChristmasClaude

These doggie stockings are so adorable!
Pet’s are apart of the family, why not get a stocking for your fur-baby?

5. Glittered Acorn Christmas Ornaments – Set of 5
from Etsy Seller: AnnaBelleArts

I love the look of these glittery acorn ornaments.

6. Snowflake Christmas Earrings
from Etsy Seller: CloverPower

7. Christmas Reindeer Cushion
from Etsy Seller: CalicoandCotton

Cute reindeer pillow, perfect for a cabin!

8. Cardinals & Chickadees Christmas Wrapping Paper
from Etsy Seller: PaperandPresent

More pretty, unique wrapping paper. Love this bird design.

9. Custom Superhero Ornaments
from Etsy Seller: IttyBittyWoodShoppe

I thought these wooden superhero ornaments were so original, and creative. They would be so perfect for a kid’s tree, or a little boy’s tree!
If you’re a good painter, you could always make these yourself. I’m sure you could find plain wooden ornaments at a craft store, and paint them yourself. Would make for a great DIY & Christmas craft.

Have you ever bought or sold anything on Etsy before?
Love Etsy?
Comment & let us know! ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Holiday Shopping!
Natasha Xo

Standard
Recipes

Eggnog Cookies with Eggnog Buttercream Frosting

IMG_1113 good2

Is it ever too early to start baking Christmas goodies? I think not.
Since Starbucks has officially released their infamous ‘Red Cups’ today, I think it’s time for a Christmas Cookie recipe on the blog!

For our very first Christmas Cookie recipe of the year, we made Eggnog Cookies with a delicious Eggnog Buttercream Frosting.
These cookies are soft & chewy, and have just the right amount of Eggnog.
We added some spiced rum to these cookies which added a really nice, faint spice flavour, but you can leave the rum out if you prefer!

These are the kind of cookies that taste delicious with or without the icing.
I usually prefer cookies without icing, but the Eggnog Buttercream really does add to the cookie.

Happy Holiday Baking! ๐Ÿ™‚

Image

Image

Image

Image

Eggnog Cookies with Eggnog Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened slightly
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup eggnog
1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon rum (optional)

For the Eggnog Buttercream:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup eggnog
1/2 teaspoon rum
3 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:

1. Adjust oven racks to the upper and lower middle positions. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
Spray baking sheets with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, nutmeg & cinnamon; set aside.

2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter & sugar until light and fluffy, approx. 1 1/2 minutes. Add the egg yolks, & vanilla extract; beat at medium speed until combined. Add the eggnog & rum; beat for 30 seconds until combined. Slowly add the flour mix (dry ingredients) & beat on low speed until just combined.

3. Drop by rounded tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, placing the cookies about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 20- 21 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes, than transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, eggnog, rum & powdered sugar until light & fluffy. Add more eggnog if needed. When cookies are cooled completely, ice cookies with a small spatula.

Note: Recipe slightly adapted from http://sweetpeaskitchen.com/2012/12/eggnog-cookies/.

Image

Happy Baking!
Xo Natasha

Standard
Recipes

Candy Corn Surprise Cookies

Image

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE!
Wishing everyone a very happy & safe Halloween.

Who’s ready for a delish Halloween cookie recipe?!

These cookies are fun, tasty & perfect for Halloween.

CANDY CORN SURPRISE COOKIES!

I used my mom’s recipe for her Cream Cheese Cookies & just added a candy corn in the center of the cookie for a little Halloween surprise!
They are soft & delicious cookies & it’s so fun taking a bite into the cookie & seeing the candy corn colours pop in the middle.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Candy Corn Surprise Cookies Recipe

Ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter, soft
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
candy corn candies
sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

1, Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese, & sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolk, and vanilla. Stir in flour.

2. Scoop out batter by 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoon-sized scoops and roll into a ball with your hands. Press 1 candy corn in the middle of the ball, and press surrounding dough over the candy corn so its completely covering the candy. Make sure the dough is in a round ball, completely covering the candy corn or else the candy corn will leak, and melt onto the cookie and pan. Top cookies with sprinkles. (optional. i put sprinkles on some of the cookies).

3. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are just lightly golden.

(Happy Halloween from Natasha & Laura!)

Happy Baking!
Natasha xo

Standard