Sweet Baked Life

my sweet journey through life…


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Pink and Chocolate Cake

Time to welcome the month of love with this pretty Pink and Chocolate Cake!

Pink & Chocolate Cake | Sweet Baked Life

Or for me, just another reason to make something drool worthy using the color pink!

But really, I don’t need a special day or month just for that! I try to incorporate my favorite color into my recipes as much as I can!

If you hadn’t noticed from this blog, there is pink everywhere, and some of my favorite posts include Birthday Cake Bark, Pink Lemonade Sheet Cake, Honey Vanilla Cupcakes, and Peppermint Bark Cookie Bars.

Don’t get me wrong, I do LOVE Valentine’s Day – heart decorations, lots of chocolate and of course, pink, pink and more pink!

Pink & Chocolate Cake | Sweet Baked Life

As you move past the pink, there’s the chocolate. Ah, let me tell you all about the chocolate cake — it’s out of this world fabulous! It’s moist, dense, and rich all rolled into one incredible, lip smacking cake. And the frosting is the best super fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth buttercream that you will ever experience!

Put the cake and the frosting together, and well, let’s just say you and your sweetie will be on cloud nine!

I loved it (well, duh!).

My boys loved it (amazing!).

My co-workers loved it (spoiled!).

And you will love it too!

Pink & Chocolate Cake | Sweet Baked Life

You see, I made a cake similar to this one about a month ago. For that version I added peppermint extract and chopped peppermint bark to the frosting. It was A M A Z I N G!

Unfortunately, I got very sick right after it was made (ok, not from the cake — I got that terrible flu!) and did not have the energy or desire to take photos of the beautiful cake. And by the time I was up to possibly dragging myself out of bed, well, the cake had seen better days!

So I decided to recreate my scrumptious cake for Valentine’s Day. However, when I was making it, I asked my boys if they wanted peppermint frosting or vanilla. And of course they said vanilla — go figure! I sided with them (I would have made the frosting peppermint!), as I wanted them to enjoy this special treat.

But if you love the flavor combination of peppermint and chocolate (like I do!), then by all means substitute peppermint extract (about 1/2 teaspoon) for the vanilla extract as indicated for the frosting recipe.

Pink & Chocolate Cake | Sweet Baked Life

PINK & CHOCOLATE CAKE

  • Servings: 15-18
  • Difficulty: easy
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By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life Pink & Chocolate Cake | Sweet Baked Life

Ingredients:

Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
4 heaping tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sour cream (or you can use milk)
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. (about 4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2-4 tablespoons milk
3-4 drops red food coloring

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 11×7-inch baking ban with non-stick spray and set aside. This makes for a thick cake, if you prefer you can use a 13×9-inch pan and adjust the baking time.

For the cake, in a large mixing bowl whisk flour, granulated sugar and salt, and set aside.

Over low heat, melt butter in a medium saucepan. Once the butter is completely melted, whisk in the cocoa powder until thoroughly combined. Add the boiling water and turn up the heat to medium and allow mixture to boil for about 30 seconds, then turn off the heat and pour the hot mixture over the flour mixture and lightly stir.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Then pour this mixture into chocolate flour mixture and stir until combined. Pour into prepared sheet cake pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted to the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

When the cake is cool, make the frosting. In a large bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, whip the butter on high-speed for about 5 minutes – until light and fluffy. Occasionally scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Then, with the mixer on low-speed, add the confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, milk and the red food coloring, adding a couple of drops until you get the color you prefer. Turn up the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Frost the cake using an off set spatula, and smooth to create an even layer. Slice into squares and enjoy! Note, this is a rich cake, so a little piece goes a long way. Yield: 15-18 squares.

Pink & Chocolate Cake | Sweet Baked Life

Spread the love with your special someone by sharing a big slice of this incredible Pink & Chocolate Cake!

xxoo

Sheila

 

{Adapted from my Texas Sheet Cake and Coconut Buttercream Frosting}


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Parmesan & Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

Reinvent your meal with this exciting side dish of warm and wonderful Parmesan & Garlic Roasted Cauliflower. Parmesaon & Garlic Roasted Cauliflower | Sweet Baked Life

OK, don’t be shocked…but I really do post other recipes besides “sweets” on this blog! They may be few and far between, but they do exist! Some favorites include my amazing Creamy Twice Baked Potatoes, cool, Crunchy Pea Salad, and better than take out Orange Chicken. See, you really just need to do a little poking around.

Anyway, with the start of the new year, many people make resolutions to eat healthier, yes, I am one of them! So I though this delicious Parmesan & Garlic Roasted Cauliflower would be the perfect recipe to share with you.

This veggie dish is easy to prepare and taste great! You may even get your kids to eat their veggies when they are prepared this way! Cauliflower, gently roasted in the oven along with the aroma of Parmesan and garlic filling your kitchen with hypnotize even the pickiest eaters to ask for seconds! Parmesaon & Garlic Roasted Cauliflower | Sweet Baked Life

Truth be bold, I love veggies, and cauliflower is one of them. I like eating this beautiful white vegetable raw, maybe dipped into a bit of my Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing.

However I don’t really like this veggie steamed; which is the way most people prepare it. To me eating it this way just has no flavor unless you smother it with something (usually unhealthy) to make it taste better. This option is not really what I like to do, as I like to keep my veggies as natural as possible.

For this Parmesan & Garlic Roasted Cauliflower, you simply and quickly steam the cauliflower for a few minutes in the microwave, cut into slices, throw onto a baking tray, top with seasoning, Parmesan cheese and garlic cloves, put into the oven. The outcome is a truly transformed veggie! Oh yea, and it taste great too! Simple and healthy — my kind of veggie!

Parmesaon & Garlic Roasted Cauliflower | Sweet Baked LifeParmesan & Garlic Roasted Cauliflower

By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life

Ingredients:

1 head cauliflower, florets separated from the stalk
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

In a large microwave safe bowl add the cauliflower along with 2 tablespoons water, cover and cook on high for 1-2 minutes, or until the cauliflower is steamed but still firm. Cool slightly.

When cool, slice the cauliflower florets into 1/4 inch pieces and place on a baking sheet. Add the garlic to the pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the cauliflower and garlic and toss until well coated on the baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle evenly with the Parmesan cheese. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, flip, then roast for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Parmesaon & Garlic Roasted Cauliflower | Sweet Baked Life

I hope this Parmesan & Garlic Roasted Cauliflower will soon become your new favorite veggie, as it as become mine!

Sheila


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Vanilla Almond Biscotti

These pretty Vanilla Almond Biscotti are not-to-sweet and perfectly crunchy — ideal for dipping into your coffee, tea or milk!

Vanilla Almond Biscotti | Sweet Baked Life

I always wanted to make biscotti, but never did; until recently that is.

And gee, what took me so long? It could be that I am not really into baking cookies, OK, don’t hate! I do love cookies, but I guess I don’t have the patience for scooping, shaping, placing evenly on the cookie sheet, baking and repeating the process until all the dough is gone! I would just rather turn my cookie recipe into a wonderful pan of bar cookies!

I am though, always up for making something new. You see, I love watching The Great British Baking Show. My husband thinks I’m crazy and wonders, why to I sit with my eyes glued to this show? Well, it’s because they whip up some of the most interesting things; most I have never heard of before. To me, it’s fun to watch and see how the home cooks figure out how and what to bake. A challenging baking show for sure!

Vanilla Almond Biscotti | Sweet Baked Life

One one episode the bakers were challenged to make biscotti. Now this is something I have heard of and have always wanted to make. I stumbled across the episode, and yes, there were some strange concoctions. But I also watched the segment where the hosts showed exactly how to make biscotti.

As my eyes filled with delight, I knew biscotti was on my list try. The basic recipe looked so easy — my type of cookie for sure. However, do you ever get that feeling when you are watching cooking shows that even thought it looks easy, the magic of TV editing may play a big part of the outcome?

I do! But with this recipe I did not care. I wanted to make a cookie that was simple to make with simple ingredients, so visions of  Vanilla Almond Biscotti began to invade my head as I ventured to my local grocery store to pick up the few items I needed.

Vanilla Almond Biscotti | Sweet Baked Life

I decided to make these one Saturday morning to surprise my boys. And they could barely wait for them to cool before they started devouring them. Yep, must be good if the boys like them. Did I say like? I think I really meant LOVE.

I had to steal some away to save for the photos or this would just be a post with crumbs on the plate!

As I explained to the guys, biscotti means “twice baked”, meaning that you bake them once, cut, put back on the baking sheet and bake again. The outcome is a deliciously crisp, yet soft, cookie. And they are good to eat any time of the day; that is if they last long enough after they come out of the oven!

Vanilla Almond Biscotti | Sweet Baked Life

Vanilla Almond Biscotti

By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup almonds

Instructions

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk until blended and set aside.

In a large bowl of a stand-mixer with the paddle attachment, add the eggs, butter and sugar and beat on high-speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. The add the vanilla and mix well. Remove bowl from the stand and gradually add the flour mixture and stir by hand until just combined. Then fold in the almonds.

Divide the dough in half and shape into two 3×10-inch logs on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake until golden brown and firm, about 30-35 minutes. When the logs are cool enough to handle (about 10 minutes), use a serrated knife and cut into 3/4-inch pieces and place cut-side down onto two parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, turning the biscotti half way through, until dry and firm.  Let cool completely in the pan.

Vanilla Almond Biscotti | Sweet Baked Life

These Vanilla Almond Biscotti look as beautiful as they taste! Be warned, they are so good that you may want to double or triple the recipe just to make sure you get some to enjoy yourself!

Sheila

 

{recipe inspired and adapted from The Great British Baking Show & Real Simple}


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Peppermint Chip Ice Cream {no-churn}

Welcome the winter with a scoop or two of this delightful Peppermint Chip Ice Cream!

Peppermint Chip Ice Cream (no churn) | Sweet Baked LIfe

Yep, I did say ice cream. You know, just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t eat frozen dessert! As a matter of fact, I could eat this beautiful cool stuff any day, any time.

Oh, and did I say winter? Yes! I really can’t believe that today is the first day of winter. Where did this month go? It’s almost Christmas, and I’m not ready! Thankfully, I took a few days off before the holiday so I can get everything done that I have been putting off — wrapping, baking, cleaning and the like when it’s this time of year!

So, if you’re like me, short on time and in need of a simple, elegant dessert — this no-churn Peppermint Chip Ice Cream is a winner in my book!

Needless to say, I am a huge peppermint fan, and peppermint ice cream has been one of my all-time favorite desserts ever since I was a kid. We used to go to this amazing ice cream shop by our home. It was small, family owned and the ice cream was incredible. Mint chip was usually my pick, however for the most part it was green (except for Christmas when they featured pink peppermint ice cream with crushed peppermint candy). And, I would get my ice cream dipped in this delicious chocolate sauce that hardened instantly, kind of like my Homemade Milk Chocolate Magic Shell.

Peppermint Chip Ice Cream (no churn) | Sweet Baked LIfe

For me, because I have such fond memories of ice cream, there’s no better time to enjoy this Peppermint Chip Ice Cream than Christmastime! I love the combination of peppermint and chocolate — they really taste so good together — and the flavor reminds me of family and wonderful memories of sharing and eating! And, the pink color, well, if you know me, I would rather do pink than red or green anytime!

This time of year we come together with our families and share what we love.  So, whether you are having a big crowd or a small gathering this holiday season, this Peppermint Chip Ice Cream is the perfect dessert to share with your friends or family after your celebratory meal.

The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, and even better, there is no need for a fancy ice cream maker!

Peppermint Chip Ice Cream (no churn) | Sweet Baked LIfe

So give yourself a break from all that baking, cooking and preparation for your big feast, and whip up this cool and satisfying dessert that’s easy to make last-minute or in advance.

The refreshing peppermint, along with a few drops of red food coloring to give it the glorious pink color, dotted with rich semi-sweet mini chocolate chips will make you tingle and instantly happy!

Delightful, cool and oh so yummy! You won’t be able to resist the incredible flavor combination! But please don’t forget to share it with your loved ones! Gather around the roaring fire or beautifully lit Christmas tree with a big bowl of this frozen delight and you won’t even remember the freezing temperature outside!

Peppermint Chip Ice Cream (no churn) | Sweet Baked LIfe

Peppermint Chip Ice Cream {no-churn} Peppermint Chip Ice Cream (no churn) | Sweet Baked LIfe

By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life

Ingredients:

1 (14.5 oz) can sweetened condensed milk (chilled)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2-4 drops red food coloring (to make the perfect shade of pink)
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

In a large bowl, add the chilled sweetened condensed milk and peppermint extract. Mix until well incorporated. Add the red food coloring, one drop at a time, stirring in between, until you get the perfect shade of pink, then set aside. Then in a large bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, add the heavy whipping cream and beat on high-speed until stiff peaks form.

Add the whipped cream to the sweetened condensed milk and gently fold in until fully incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and stir gently. Pour mixture into a loaf pan, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm (about 6 hours or overnight). When ready to serve, remove from freezer and let sit for 2-3 minutes then scoop into bowls and enjoy!

Peppermint Chip Ice Cream (no churn) | Sweet Baked LIfe

Wishing you and your family a warm and wonderful Christmas topped off with this cool and refreshing Peppermint Chip Ice Cream!

Sheila