Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake

February+173a Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake

                 I shared before, that my Husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary in February.

                 I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t make a cake for this occasion. icon smile Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake

                Today I want to share the pictures and the recipes with all of you to thank you for all the wishes.

               Besides, it was the best chocolate cake we ever had! It’s a rich, chocolatey heaven, with mounds of delicious caramel frosting. icon smile Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake

               Should I say anything more?

              Chocolate shavings were a decoration but because it’s still February, the month of chocolate, I had to play with it a little. icon smile Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake It came out really well, don’t you think?

             Everyone loved the cake! Even our Labrador knew it was delicious, though there were no crumbs to snag icon smile Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake

          

February+170a Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake
Can you tell I can’t get enough of my 1M tip for cake decorating? icon smile Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake

Best Chocolate Cake

3/4 c unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs, room temperature
2 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 c granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract ( I used Frangelico icon smile Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake )
1 1/2 c milk

The recipe calls for using two 8″ square or 9″ round cake pans, but I used 3 8″ round cake pans. It worked great, as I didn’t have to cut each layer in half.
Grease and flour your pans and set aside.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients ( flour, cocoa powder, soda and baking powder and salt ). Set that aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix the butter for 30 seconds. Add sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. Beat the butter and sugar mixture for 4 minutes. Add vanilla, mix again.
Starting with the dry ingredients, alternating with milk and ending with dry ingredients, add it all to the butter and sugar mixture. 
Divide into prepared pans. Bake 30 – 40 minutes, rotating pans half way through baking time. Bake until the toothpick inserted into the center of each layer comes out clean.
Cool the cake in pans for 5 – 7 minutes, then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.

source: Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book Bridal Edition

Caramel Buttercream Frosting

for the caramel sauce:
1 c granulated sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 c heavy cream, room temperature

Place the sugar in a medium saucepan. Place on medium heat and whisk. Eventually, it will start to melt and clump up. Just keep whisking. It will melt and turn caramel color.
When all the sugar is melted, remove from heat and add all the butter. Keep whisking until smooth.
Add the cream, pouring slowly. Whisk until all combined and smooth. Pour into a jar and let sit for 10 – 15 minutes on a counter. Place in the refrigerator while you make the brownies and frosting. It should keep well for 2 weeks in the fridge.
It will turn cloudy while it cools.
source: Brown Eyed Baker

for the buttercream frosting:
1/2 c vegetable shortening
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened ( 1 stick )
1 tsp vanilla extract ( or any flavoring you like )
4 – 5 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk

In a large mixing bowl, beat the shortening and butter for 2 minutes.
Add the flavor extract and beat it in.
Start adding the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until you reach desired consistency.
Add milk, starting with 1/2 Tbsp, until you reach desired consistency.
Use right away or store in refrigerator, covered. You may have to mix it for few minutes before using.
source: Wilton’s

Add the whole amount of prepared ( and cooled completely ) caramel sauce to the prepared frosting and whip for 2 – 3 minutes.

February+172a Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake

                    Now, let me brag about my Hubby for a moment here. icon smile Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake

                    He is the most amazing, caring, loving person I have ever met. He is my Best Friend, the Love of my life.
                    He is always there for me, he knows me like nobody else.
                    I can’t imagine my life without Him!
                    He is an amazing Father – always there for our kids, to teach, to play, to support. He knows how to make them smile and how to calm every tantrum. For a while he was surrounded by females in our house! icon smile Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake Last year, we were blessed to have our first son. It was a huge thing for my Husband. Suddenly, the pink and ruffles do not seem to overtake the house, cars and bikes appear and the balance seems to be restored. icon smile Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake
                    He works hard so I can be home with our kids and I will always be grateful for that.
                    From the beginning, he supported my blogging. Even when the frosting is falling off the cake or the yeast dough is not rising, and I just want to throw it all out and shove my decorating tip to the lowest drawer and forget it all, he knows how to bring my confidence back and see things in the positive light.
                    We are like this cake: the-best-together, can’t-live-without-each-other, chocolate-caramel-combo pairing! icon smile Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake

                     Sweetheart, thank you so much for being mine! I am the luckiest woman in the whole World because I have you. I am truly honored to be your wife.
                      I love you!

February+158a Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake

What is the one thing you always do to celebrate special occasions in your family?

Enjoy!

C2D708DA70A2E148FFF417590A8C35AE Anniversary Cake aka The Best Flavors Combo Cake

Chocolate and Berries Blondies

February+149a Chocolate and Berries Blondies

                        Today’s recipe is an easy but a delicious one.

February+146a Chocolate and Berries Blondies

             I love recipes that are easy adaptable to one person’s likings. 

            In this  one, I used cranberries :), but you can choose raspberries, strawberries, any berries you like or have on hand.

            Same goes for the chocolate, choose what you want. I thought that the white chocolate will complement the cranberries well.

February+144a Chocolate and Berries Blondies
I love burst berries in baked goods!

                These blondies are incredibly fast to put together. I recommend letting them cool though. They are easier to cut and chewier than when warm. But hey, if you can’t stop yourself – I say go for it! I did icon smile Chocolate and Berries Blondies

February+142a Chocolate and Berries Blondies

 Chocolate and Berries Blondies
 adapted from All You magazine, August 2011

1 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c butter, ( 1 stick )
1 c brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c fresh or frozen berries ( I used frozen cranberries )
1/2 c chocolate chips ( I used white chocolate )

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Let the egg and butter sit on the counter top while you get everything else ready.
Grease with shortening or line with parchment paper 8″ square pan. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients ( flour, baking powder and salt ). Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add the brown sugar. Stir in with a wooden spoon, add the egg and vanilla extract. Stir.
Add the dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
Pour the batter into your pan. Sprinkle the berries and chocolate on top. You can use the spoon to distribute them into the batter.
Bake 30 minutes. Cool after baking.

February+135a Chocolate and Berries Blondies

Do you like easily adjustable recipes?

Enjoy!

C2D708DA70A2E148FFF417590A8C35AE Chocolate and Berries Blondies

Ginger-licious Carrot Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl

February+025a Ginger licious Carrot Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl

                         Sounds crazy? Maybe. icon smile Ginger licious Carrot Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl

                        But it’s time for February’s Improv Challenge! Our two ingredients this month were ginger and carrots. It’s the month of chocolate – so when you combine the two: voila! Ginger-licious Carrot Brownies icon biggrin Ginger licious Carrot Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl

ImprovChallengeBadge Ginger licious Carrot Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl

                       It was a risky idea but I think it payed off!

                       Hey, if they can put beans in their brownies – I can put carrots in mine!

Ginger-licious Carrot Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl

1/3 c cocoa powder
1/2 c + 2 Tbsp boiling water
3 oz. semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips
1/4 c or 1/2 stick of butter, melted
1/2 c + 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c cooked, pureed and cooled baby carrots
1 tsp ground ginger
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
dash of salt
1/2 pkg ( 4 oz. ) cream cheese, softened
1 egg white
3 Tbsp granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9″ x 13″ dish with foil, leaving it overhanging on the shorter sides.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa and boiling water. Add the chocolate and whisk until it’s melted and smooth. Do not lick the whisk – it’s hot!
Add the melted butter and oil and whisk again.
Add the eggs, egg yolks, pureed carrots, vanilla extract and, yep, whisk again. icon smile Ginger licious Carrot Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl
Add sugar – whisk.
Now switch to a spatula or a wooden spoon and stir in the flour, ginger and salt.
Pour the brownie batter into the prepared baking dish. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, mix the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the egg white and sugar and mix for about 2 minutes.
Spoon the cream cheese mixture onto your batter and stir it in gently to create the marbling effect.
Bake 30 minutes. It will be gooey in the middle, but it will set during cooling.
Cool completely before cutting.

inspired by Cook’s Illustrated via  Brown Eyed Baker

February+029a Ginger licious Carrot Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl
Marbled brownie top icon smile Ginger licious Carrot Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl

              These brownies smell amazing right after being baked, therefore it’s veeeeeery hard to wait for them to cool before digging in. But to experience the flavors in their full potential – I recommend waiting at least 1 hr before cutting them. They still will be gooey! But oh-so-delicious! icon smile Ginger licious Carrot Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl

             If you are interested in joining the Improv Challenge, contact Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker.
            Do not forget to visit my fellow bloggers who also took part in this month’s challenge! You can find links to their posts below.

Enjoy!

C2D708DA70A2E148FFF417590A8C35AE Ginger licious Carrot Brownies with Cream Cheese Swirl