Happy Valentine’s Day!

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It’s Valentine’s Day! Which means it’s time for my traditional cookies. I may be one of the crazy people who love Valentine’s Day. Not because I always have a significant other (I’ve been single for the first 20 years of my life), but because I changed it into a holiday of my own. To me Valentine’s Day isn’t about being a part of a couple. It’s a time to celebrate love, whether it’s romantic or platonic! So whip up a batch of these sweetheart cookies and spread the love. There’s no recipe on this post because I made these every year for the past 5 or 6 years and so have already posted about it. But they’re traditional for me, so I’m sharing them with you!
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Dipping them in chocolate is optional, but why would you want to eat them plain?

Dipping them in chocolate is optional, but why would you want to eat them plain?

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

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Doggy Cinnamon Rolls

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Despite being obsessed with my own two dogs, I have yet to bake them homemade treats. However, this Valentine’s Day I’m a bit more prepared. While these may not be for my Donnie and Lucy, they are for some adorable dogs that belong to my friend. Why not show dogs how much you love them with homemade treats? Once I get back to Japan, I’ll definitely make some for Donnie and Lucy!

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You can find the recipe for the dog treats here, though I would refrain from using walnuts and making the cream cheese “frosting.” Walnuts are, unless they’re extremely fresh, poisonous to dogs, but I didn’t want to risk anything. The recipe calls for milk or water and I stuck with water due to some dogs being unable to digest milk (Donnie being one of them). I also know that honey isn’t the healthiest for puppies, so keep it to a teaspoon or so.

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Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Devil’s Layer Cake

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So it was my friend, Bryn’s birthday last tuesday, so we naturally had a birthday brunch on the following sunday. And I, naturally, decided to make a cake. Perhaps the richest, most heart attack inducing, artery clogging cake I will ever make. Hence the name Devil’s Layer cake. I call it that because the cake part is made of devil’s food cake and the filling is toasted marshmallow frosting and the frosting is just whipped chocolate ganache. Yup, I told you it was a rich cake. And I only say that it’s the richest cake that I will ever make because I accidentally gave my friend heart burn from eating the cake. Whoopsies.

The recipe for the devil’s food cake came from Luscious Chocolate Desserts, the toasted marshmallow frosting is from sweetapolita and the whipped chocolate ganache is my own doing.  So let’s get started shall we?

Ingredients:

Cake:
-2 cups AP flour
-1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks, melted
-1 1/4 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk with a tsp of lemon juice or vinegar)
-1/3 cup water
-3/4 cup unsalted butter 
-1 1/2 cup sugar
-2 large eggs
-1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Filling:
-1 bag mini marshmallows
-1 cup powdered sugar
-1/2 cup butter 
Optional
-freeze dried raspberries (or better yet fresh raspberries)
Whipped Ganache:
-1 cup semisweet chocolate
-1 cup heavy cream 
 

Directions:

  1. Butter and flour two cake pans and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, incorporating them into the butter mixture after each addition. Add in the vanilla and the melted chocolate.
  3. In another mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a measuring cup, mix together the buttermilk and the water. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the wet ingredients to the butter-chocolate mixture and mixing well to combine. Transfer the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester come out clean.
  4. While the cakes are cooling, carefully spread the marshmallows on a roasting pan lined with parchment paper. Make sure that there are no marshmallows on top of each other and toast under the broiler for 2 minutes. You may need to rotate the pan after a minute. Keep your eye on the marshmallows. You want them a nice golden brown.DSC_0513
  5. Once the marshmallows are toasted, let them cool a bit. In a mixing bowl, mix together the butter and powdered sugar until creamy. Add in the toasted marshmallows. This could get messy. I advise buttering a spatula before using it to scrap the marshmallows into the frosting base. Set aside.
  6. Invert the cake pans and let the cake layers cool on a wire rack or place them in the fridge to cool them faster.
  7. For the whipped ganache frosting, heat the heavy cream and pour it over the chocolate pieces. Let it sit for a few minutes before mixing it with a whisk. Let it cool.
  8. As the ganache cools, assemble the cake. Place one layer on a serving plate. I like to use a cardboard round covered in parchment or wax paper. Transfer the marshmallow frosting into a piping bag and pipe it in a even layer on the first cake layer. Leave at least 1/4 inch of space between the edge of the cake. Top with the berries (if you’re planning on using them) and place the top layer over the frosting.
  9. Whip the ganache with an electric mixer. I used more heavy cream, so it ended up being more of a whipped cream frosting. Frost the top and sides with the ganache and refrigerate.

Now if this is for a birthday, simply melt some more chocolate (maybe use white for a nice contrast?) and pipe happy birthday directly onto the cake. If you’re like me and aren’t a pro with a piping bag, I advise you pipe it on parchment paper, stick it in the fridge until the chocolate sets and then transfer it onto the cake.

yum

yum

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Chocolate Truffles

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Valentine’s day is just around the corner and personally I don’t think of this day as one where I’m more affectionate toward my boyfriend. I think a lot of people have been looking at Valentine’s day all wrong (present company included). It’s marketed to us as a day to be with your girlfriend or boyfriend and give each other flowers or chocolates, but really I think that Valentine’s day is just a day where you should show the people around you that you love them that includes friends, family, pets, etc. Because love isn’t just limited to the romantic let’s go make babies kind of love, it can be utterly platonic. Of course, this is something that we should be doing everyday. At least in my opinion, but sometimes there are days when we’re too busy or tired or stressed, so I guess it’s nice to have a day to make up for all those other days. So instead of buying stuff for your loved ones, why not make something for them? I think that getting homemade treats from your loved ones are so much better than the store bought ones because with homemade, you can really see the effort they put into it. And let’s face it, I’m not making someone dinner or cookies or chocolate unless I love them.

So here’s one of my favorite go-to Valentine’s Day treats: Truffles!
And you only need a microwave!

Ingredients:
-10 oz chocolate (dark or milk, which ever you like)
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-3 tbsp unsalted butter
Optional
-1 cup chopped nuts
-Cocoa powder
-Chopped chocolate
-Coconut shavings

Directions:

  1. Pour the chocolate into a medium sized mixing bowl and set aside. In a heatpoof/microwaveable container, heat the heavy cream and butter for 1 minute and 30 seconds on high or until hot.DSC_0870
  2.  Pour the heavy cream and butter mixture over the chocolate and let sit for a minute or two. Mix until the cream is incorporated and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the chopped nuts, cocoa powder, chopped chocolate into small bowls.DSC_0886
  4. Once the chocolate is hard, but still malleable, roll them into little balls. This will get messy and there is no need to roll them into perfect balls. Truffles are named after actual truffles, so it’s better to have them look a little lopsided.DSC_0890
  5. Roll the chocolate balls into whatever topping you’d like (i.e cocoa powder, chopped nuts, etc.) and set on a baking sheet lined with wax paper and return to the fridge to firm up

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Ta-da! And they’re done! Not to mention, much better than the store bought truffles!

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

Boozy Red Velvet Cake

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Wow…it’s been quite a while since I posted and I apologize for that! The past few weeks have been, hectic to say the least. The last time I posted, I was back home in Japan (ugh I miss home so much) and Pat was coming to visit. Well since then, we’ve explored Japan and flew to San Francisco so that I could meet his parents and flew back to NYC. So long story short, I’m back in NYC and my final semester has officially begun. Meep! I’m currently interning at the Food Network Magazine too, so that should be tons of fun!
But back to the main topic of this post, the red velvet cake. It was recently one of my friends birthday and to celebrate his 22nd, I made a red velvet cake infused with whiskey. It was fun and I got to try out the new cake leveler and cake decorating table that Pat got me for christmas!

So let’s get started!

Ingredients:

-3 large eggs
-1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter(?)
-1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
-3 cups AP flour
-2 tsp baking soda
-4 tbsp cocoa powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-3/4 cup buttermilk (or regular milk with a tsp of lemon juice/vinegar)
-1 tsp apple cider vinegar
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-3-6 tbsp whiskey or southern comfort
– red food coloring
Frosting
-1 1/2 sticks butter
-powdered sugar
-3 tbsp whiskey or southern comfort
-2 tsp heavy cream
 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whip the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating the egg each time.
  3. In measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, vinegar and liqueur. Set aside. In another mixing bowl, combine the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, salt and stir.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in three alternating batches to the butter sugar mixture, ending with flour. Make sure to mix scrap down the bowl and fully incorporate the wet and dry ingredients. Add more food coloring to reach the desired shade of red.
  5. Pour the batch into the two prepared cake pans, tapping them lightly on the table/counter top to get rid of any huge bubbles.
  6. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cakes on the wire rack for a few minutes before removing them from the cake pans and cooling them even further.
  8. Meanwhile, make the icing. Whip the butter, heavy cream and whiskey together. Add in a cup of powdered sugar at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Add in more whiskey or southern comfort if you want a stronger taste.
  9. Once the cakes are cooled, level them off with a cake leveler or a knife. Use a pastry brush and brush the tops and sides of the cakes with more whiskey to seal in the crumbs (yep it’s that kind of cake). Slather on some frosting onto one of the cakes and top it with the other cake. Lightly frost the sides and the top as a crumb coat and stick the cakes into the fridge or freezer for a bit.
  10. Crumble the left over cake that you leveled off and set aside in a small container.
  11. Add another coat of frosting to the cakes and smooth it out with a icing spatula. Use the crumbles that you made in step 10 to cover the sides of the cake and decorate the top as you wish!

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And that’s it! I piped the message using melted chocolate, but because I was worried about making mistakes, I piped it on some parchment paper and let it harden in the fridge before transferring it to the cake. I promise promise promise to try and update more often! I’m working a lot this semester, but I’ll definitely still be baking!

Hugs and puppies!

Mimi

 P.S I finally got a DSLR camera this christmas! Hurray!