Valentine’s Day Eve

Happy February 13th! Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! HOPEFULLY, you or your loved one aren’t scrambling out and about trying to scrounge up something last minute for tomorrow.

Like I am sure you know, chocolate and Valentine’s Day are two peas in a pod. Who doesn’t love chocolate and some flowers on Valentine’s Day? I know I love it! Brownies and chocolate cake are my favorite chocolatey treat (with chocolate chip cookies right up there). How does a Devil’s Food White-Out Cake sound to enjoy with your hunni tomorrow? (Or tonight if you’re celebrating early!)

Devil’s Food White-Out Cake

Ingredients 

For The Cake:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted vegan butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

For The Filling and Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 large)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350º F. Butter two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans (9-inch is a good size), dust the insides with some gluten free flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
  2. Sift together the gluten free flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the vegan butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
  4. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the coconut milk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting. Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably. Switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Don’t worry if the tops have a few small cracks. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)
  6. When you are ready to fill and frost the cake, inspect the layers. If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them.
  7. If you want more than two layers of cake, with the same knife, slice each layer horizontally in half. Then set 3 layers aside and crumble the fourth layer; set the crumbs aside. But if you only want a simple two layer cake, you don’t have to do this.
  8. To make the filling and the frosting start by putting the egg whites in a clean, dry mixer bowl or in another large bowl. Have a candy thermometer at hand.
  9. Put the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes. Uncover and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer. While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites.
  10. When the syrup is at about 235ºF, begin beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer. If the whites form firm, shiny peaks before the syrup reaches temperature, reduce the mixer speed to low and keep mixing the whites until the syrup catches up. With the mixer at medium speed, and standing back slightly, carefully pour in the hot syrup, pouring it between the beater(s) and the side of the bowl. Splatters are inevitable — don’t try to scrape them into the whites, just carry on. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. You should have a smooth, shiny, marshmallowy frosting. Although you could keep it in the fridge, it’s better to use the frosting right after it is made.

Cake Assembly Time!

  1. Put a bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
  2. Using a long metal icing spatula, cover the layer generously with frosting. Top with a second layer, cut side up, and frost it. Finish with the third layer, cut side down, and frost the sides and top of the cake. Don’t worry about smoothing the frosting — it should be swirly.
  3. Now, cover the entire cake with the chocolate cake crumbs, gently pressing the crumbs into the filling with your fingers.
  4. Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour before serving.

WOOO! I know that was A LOT of stuff but YOUR CAKE WILL BE DELICIOUS! MMMM cake!

No matter what dessert you are serving for Valentine’s Day, create it with love because it will taste even sweeter 🙂

ENJOY!

Kwegyirba Croffie is a freelance Associate Producer at News 12 Connecticut and a Special Events/Event Planning and Social Media Intern at College Lifestyles (TM). She is a Quinnipiac University alumni and a sister of Alpha Delta Pi. She enjoy cupcakes,Broadway musicals, Forever 21 ,giraffes, peacock feathers, orchids, lillies and anything Disney.

Happy Birthday ME!

Today is my 22nd birthday! So that means its the perfect day to treat myself! It’s my party so I’m going to indulge if I want to! (No crying today!)

On this special day (which is also Betty White,  Zooey Deschanel, Muhammad Ali, and Jim Carrey’s birthday!) I decided to celebrate with my favorite party drinks and birthday cake!! Cake and cocktails for my birthday! A perfect combination

Raspberry-Apricot Sangria

Relax with a glass of this raspberry apricot-sangria, with fresh fruits and white wine. Perfect for a birthday girl. Now if only my birthday wasn’t so cold! Brrrrr

Ingredients

  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen sweetened raspberries, thawed
  • 2 cups apricot nectar
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) white wine, chilled (pick your favorite)
  • 1/4 cup apricot brandy, if desired
  • 2 cans (12 ounces each) Sprite or 7-UP, chilled
  • 1/2 pint (1 cup) fresh raspberries
  • Lemon and orange slices, if desired
  1. Place thawed raspberries in blender. Cover and blend on high speed until pureed. Press blended raspberries through a strainer into small bowl, using wooden spoon; discard seeds.
  2. Mix raspberry puree, nectar, wine and brandy in 2-quart nonmetal pitcher or container. Just before serving, add carbonated beverage, fresh raspberries and lemon slices. Serve over ice.
You can make this recipe several hours ahead and refrigerate it, except don’t add the carbonated beverage or the fresh raspberries. Add these ingredients just before serving.
Mangorita
Mango nectar makes turns this margarita into a mangorita!  
Ingredients
  • 1 can (10 oz) frozen margarita drink mix
  • 1 cup mango nectar
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 2 cups cracked ice
  1. In blender, place all ingredients except ice. Cover; blend on high speed until blended.
  2. Add ice. Cover; blend until smooth and slushy.
  3. When serving margaritas, the rims of the glasses are typically coated with lime juice and dipped in coarse salt. For these sweeter “mangoritas,” coat the rim with lime juice and dip in coarse sugar.

Sparkling Strawberry-Lemonade Slush

Strawberry-Lemonade is always a delicious and refreshing drink any time of year. When they offer it at restaurants, I always make sure to order it at least once because it’s so good!

Ingredients

  • 1 can (12 oz) Cascadian Farm frozen organic lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1 bag (10 oz) Cascadian Farm frozen organic strawberries, thawed
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cups ginger ale
  1. In blender, place lemonade concentrate and strawberries; blend on high speed until smooth. Pour into nonmetal freezer container. Stir in water. Cover; freeze at least 4 hours.
  2. If mixture is frozen solid, let stand at room temperature about 15 min. For each serving, measure 1/2 cup slush mixture into 8-oz glass; stir in 1/2 cup ginger ale. Serve immediately.

Marble Cake

My dad and I used to always have a Entenmann’s cake with ice cream. (He has a sweet tooth too…exactly where I got it from) Our favorite was the original with a scoop of Bryer’s vanilla ice cream but the marble cake was always SO delicious. Here is a delicious recipe using my favorite Betty Crocker Gluten Free cake mixes! Swirl Betty Crocker Gluten Free devil’s food and yellow cake mixes to create a delicious dessert. Perfect for my birthday!

Ingredients 

For the Yellow Cake
  • 1 box (15 oz) Betty Crocker Gluten Free yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened (Earth Balance)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
For the Devil’s Food Cake
  • 1 box (15 oz) Betty Crocker Gluten Free devil’s food cake mix
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, softened (Earth Balance)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs
For the Chocolate Frosting
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter, softened (Earth Balance)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, melted, cooled
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons coconut or almond milk
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 (8- or 9-inch) round cake pans with shortening or cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, beat yellow cake ingredients with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, beat devil’s food cake ingredients on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  4. Spoon yellow and devil’s food batters alternately into pans, dividing evenly. Cut through batters with table knife in zigzag pattern for marbled design.
  5. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on cooling racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely, top sides up, about 1 hour.
  6. In medium bowl, beat powdered sugar and 1/3 cup butter with spoon or electric mixer on low speed until blended. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla and the chocolate. Gradually beat in just enough milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable.
  7. On serving plate, place 1 cake, rounded side down (trim rounded side if necessary so cake rests flat). Spread with 1/4 cup frosting. Top with second cake, rounded side up. Frost side and top of cake with remaining frosting.
  8. Decorate with a festive Happy Birthday! and candles and ENJOY!

Mexican Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

Wintertime is the perfect time for warm fires, cozy blankets and food that warms the soul. How about a chocolate cupcake with a little kick! A little cinnamon gives this chocolate cupcake an extra something. These cupcakes are inspired by the popular mexican hot chocolate drink.

Mexican Hot Cocoa Cupcakes 

In Mexico, hot chocolate remains a popular national drink. Traditional Mexican hot chocolate includes semi-sweet chocolate,cinnamon, sugar and vanilla. Hot chocolate of this type is commonly sold in circular or hexagonal tablets which can be dissolved into hot milk, water or cream, then blended until the mixture develops a creamy froth. Mexican cinnamon hot chocolate is traditionally served alongside a variety of Mexican pastries known aspan dulce and in Spain with churros.

Ingredients

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free devil’s food cake mix
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut or rice milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 container Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting
  • Additional ground cinnamon for garnish
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
  1. Heat oven as directed on box. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size cupcake cups.
  2. In large bowl, beat cake mix, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, the coconut or rice milk, oil, vanilla and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on high speed 2 minutes. Divide batter evenly among cupcake cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
  3. Bake cupcakes and cool completely as directed on box.
  4. Frost cooled cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Spice things up by stirring 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne) into the vanilla frosting. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon.

Late Night Craving

I’ve got a craving for chocolate. Sure its almost 12:30 am and I’ve already brushed my teeth lol but I still want chocolate. So instead a quick post for a quick-mix chocolate cookies!

Quick Chocolate Cookies 

Ingredients

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free devil’s food cake mix
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Sugar for rolling cookies
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, mix all ingredients except sugar with spoon until dough forms.
  2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar. On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls about 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes, before storing in tightly covered container.

Super quick, super easy and definitely a cookie to kick that late night chocolate cookie craving!

ENJOY!

Gooey Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake

I’m in a ooey gooey chocolately chewy mood right now, which happens a bunch but still. A piece of chocolate cake would be wonderful and of course Betty Crocker has an amazing gluten free Devil’s Food cake mix! With some peanut butter and fudge topping this is a wonderful and decadent cake!

Gooey Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 box Betty Crocker gluten free devil’s food cake mix
  • 1/2 cup buttery spread (such as Earth Balance Buttery Spread) or margarine, softened
  • 2 tablespoons rice milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips (from 10-oz bag)
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs (for frosting)
  • 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • Hot fudge topping, if desired
  • Chopped peanuts, if desired
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 13×9-inch pan with non-stick vegetable baking spray (do not use dark or nonstick pan). In large bowl, mix cake mix, sugar, buttery spread or margarine, milk and 1 egg with spoon until dough forms. Spoon into pan. Place plastic wrap on dough; press evenly in pan. Remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle dough with peanut butter chips and peanuts.
  2. In large bowl, beat peanut butter, vanilla and 3 eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar on low speed. Pour mixture over chocolate mixture in pan; spread evenly.
  3. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until topping is set and deep golden brown. Cool at least 30 minutes to serve warm, or cool completely. When cutting serving pieces, wipe knife with paper towel after cutting each row. Top each piece with hot fudge topping and chopped peanuts. Serve and enjoy! Store leftovers covered in refrigerator. (if there are any leftovers!)

Chocolate Caramel Toffee Cake

I’m going to just get right to it. It’s chocolate cake soaked in caramel sauce and sprinkled with toffee bits! Need I say more! 🙂

Chocolate Caramel Toffee Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free devil’s food cake mix
  • Water, butter (I used Earth Balance Buttery Spread) and eggs called for on cake mix box. (I also add 2 tablespoons of pure vanilla extract)
  • 1 jar (12.25 oz) caramel topping
  • 1 cup frozen (thawed) whipped topping (for all you dairy free darlings out there I could rice whipped cream in a can! Yes I found it at Fairway markets so it does exist! You just have to look for it)
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits
  1. Heat oven to 350°F (or 325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Make and bake cake mix as directed on box, using water, butter, eggs and any of the pan choices.
  2. With handle of wooden spoon, poke top of warm cake every 1/2 inch. Drizzle caramel topping evenly over top of cake; let stand until absorbed into cake. Cover; refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. (MMMM caramel soaked cake!)
  3. Spread whipped topping over top of cake. (or use can of rice whipped cream over the cake)  Sprinkle with toffee bits. Store covered in refrigerator.
🙂 ENJOY!