Browsing Tag


Chocolate & Toasted Coconut Olive Oil Cake [with vegan option]

April 14, 2014

Every year our local radio station puts on an all day music event in the park. To me, it always marks that first day of true spring in Bloomington. It is often times the first Saturday that its warm enough to grill out and enjoy a picnic in the park while listening to some wonderful local and national music. It also usually lines up with being the first Saturday that the outdoor farmer’s market is in full swing.


This year’s event was this past Saturday and the spring fever did not disappoint. I started the day with a walk to the farmer’s market and enjoyed smelling all the budding trees along the way. The sun was out and we welcomed temperatures above anything we’ve felt in 6+ months. I spent the afternoon planting wildflowers and playing around in the kitchen with the sun streaming in (oh what a difference it makes!).

We grilled out for dinner and I whipped up a cake for our guests. Ha, I know – a cake for a grill out? You can tell I’m rusty since a well disciplined griller would have found something that could be made over the hot coals. Unfortunately, it’s still a little early for berries and our citrus bounty has long since disappeared so cake it was! Delicious, moist, chocolatey cake – I must add!


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Maple Apple Bars /// Apple Picking

October 27, 2013


I know, I know. Every food blog out there right now has gorgeous pictures up of them apple picking. But what’s one more?

Apple picking is a sign that the air has become crisp and the days shorter. We usually go apple picking at the same place every year but found this new gem of a farm this fall. It’s huge with windy isles filled with dozens and dozens of apple flavors. We adventured right around dusk while the lighting was magical and the the farm was void of families.



Continue Reading…

Searchable Saturdays

June 29, 2013

…And time for some inspiring links from around the web:


1. ADVENTURING // Headed to the west coast at the end of July to join a friend on her cross country road trip. I’ll be tagging along on the part from San Fran to Portland which means I’ve been going a little crazy with planning. We are definitely hitting up the Redwoods and ocean. Anyone have any recommendations for San Fran / Portland / anything in between?!

2. INSPIRING // Look at this salad from Gourmande in the Kitchen! Don’t all the wonderful colors, textures, and shapes make you want to eat this for every meal? Love Love Love feeling inspired by vegetables. Now, the only problem I need to get over is my dislike for beets…they are so beautiful…why can’t I just like them?!

3. CREATING // I’ve been familiarizing myself with dreamweaver and Issuu a lot lately in hopes to start making my own VV online magazine / zine. This has triggered hours and hours of flipping through magazines and online design books in the name of “research”.

4. CRAVING // Milkshake Strawberry Banana Cake?! Yes, please. This ‘milkshake turned baked goods’ trend has been popping up all over Pinterest but no one has done it quiet as beautifully as Hungry Rabbit.


Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend planned! I’d like to do some adventuring to the lake but the forecast calls for storms all weekend. It might be a sign that I’m overdue for a day getting lost in the kitchen…

Dark Chocolate Chunk Angel Food Cupcakes with Brandied Strawberries

April 20, 2013



If you are a regular around here you may have noticed my usual ‘Searchable Saturday’ post missing these last two weeks. I am currently re-vamping that weekly column and will hopefully have it back in the coming weeks. To hold you over until it’s back, feel free to find my weekly inspirations over on Pinterest.


I learned all my baking techniques backward. Instead of learning the basics right off the bat – I dove right into vegan baking after moving into my first kitchen. This means I can whip up a Vegan Chia Latte cupcake like no one’s business but often times still feel lost when trying to make a traditional cake…like one that involves 4 sticks of butter and 3 pounds of powdered sugar (do people actually put that much butter in a single recipe?!).

I’ve begun working backwards and am try to get a grasp on as many aspects of baking as possible (branching out from vegan and gluten free). So, while wondering through the bakery section of my co-op the other day, I realized I’ve never made angel food cake from scratch. It’s something that has always been so easily accessible to me going up that I never really gave a thought to where it came from. Perhaps from a box? Or from the grocery store bakery? But what about homemade – had I ever really had homemade angel food cake? I was beginning to doubt I had. And something needed to be done about it.

I began doing research (AKA searched google) and discovered my challenge for making angel food cake would be whipping the egg whites until ‘soft peaks formed‘. I had read that term before and only accomplished it one other time – when making The Butterscotch Roll Up Cake for this little blog’s birthday. I remember being SUPER intimidated by this term and watching many youtube videos before trying it myself. I had successfully accomplished making those ‘soft peaks’ but had pretty much steered clear of any recipe with this step in it since. However, the rest of making angel food cake seemed SO simple with its few ingredients and minimal steps that I knew I could shy away no longer.

In the end, the soft peaks term was nothing to fear. I used this handy visual guide from TheKitchn to make sure my egg whites were whipped properly and boom – the cupcakes turned out light and fluffy! Oh, and delicious. The chocolate chunks sank to the bottom because of the light batter but it made an amazing angel food sandwich – with dark chocolate on the bottom, boozy strawberries on top, and angel food cake in the center.



Dark Chocolate Chunk Angel Food Cupcakes with Brandied Strawberries

Brandied Strawberries:

  • 1/2 pint strawberries, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon brandy

For the cupcakes:

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 dark chocolate chunks (or regular chocolate chips)

For the frosting:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons milk


Slice the strawberries and place them in a bowl with the brown sugar and brandy. Cover and place in the fridge while you prepare everything else (try to let them sit in their for at least an hour).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and slightly grease a 12 muffin pan.

In a small bowl, combine the flour and 1/4 cup powdered sugar. Set aside.

Add the 5 egg whites to your stand mixer bowl and beat until foamy. Next, add the cream of tartar and salt and turn the mixer up to high. Gradually add in the remaining 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and then vanilla extract. Beat until soft peaks form.

Next, fold in the flour mixture in three additions. Try to keep the batter as light and fluffy as possible and doing it in three additions will help not to weigh it down. Keep folding until everything is incorporated.

Transfer batter to the prepared muffin tins and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. You can tell they are done if the center is browned and bounces back slightly when you touch it.

Remove from heat and transfer to a cooling rack (I’ve read that you should place them face down on the cooling rack so they don’t sink – I didn’t have a problem with them sinking but would recommend you do this step just in case).

To make the frosting: Use a mixer to beat the butter until creamy. Next, add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beatings on medium speed. Add milk a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.

Drain the strawberries of any excess sugar liquid (or reserve it to drizzle on top).Once the cupcakes are cooled, frost them and top with brandied strawberries.



Searchable Saturdays

March 23, 2013

Hello Weekend! The sun shining outside is tricking me into thinking it’s warmer than 20 degrees out. Oh spring – where are you??! Ah well. Here are some inspirational links from the week..




1. CRAVING /// I am starting to feel the spring cleaning urge coming on but refuse to do anything until it’s warm enough to open my windows and let the fresh air in. More than cleaning, I am looking forward to ‘freshening’ up the look of our house. I have thoughts of new wall artwork, more more more hanging plants, and new rugs.

2. INSPIRATION /// Most of my food inspiration came from looking at menus last week when we were traveling. It’s wonderful to see what crazy combinations restaurants have come up with. Since I’ve been back from Florida, I’ve been scoping the internet looking up menus from all over the world. This picture is of a place in Seattle called Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery. There menu is a mouthwatering list of boozy shakes, chocolate cakes, and seasonal items.

3. CREATING /// Even though it’s still super cold here, I am hoping to start planning my seeds indoors this weekend. In addition to my usual herb and vegetable seeds, I am planning to try growing ginger and potatoes from already grown produce. Why not? I’m still rather new to gardening so I plan to do lots of experimenting this time around.

4. LUSTING /// I’ve fallen head over heels for the blog My New Roots. Every recipe sounds so refreshing and delicious, I cannot wait to cook my way through her website!

Baked Blueberry & Lemon Donuts

February 27, 2013

Okay, so I totally lied to you guys. I told you that I would have this donut recipe for you yesterday and it did not happen. It’s not my fault – Tuesdays are my downfall and I should have known I wasn’t going to have the time to post about donuts. I’m sorry. Forgive me? Cool.

What I won’t apologize for are these donuts. Yes, they are chocked full of sugar and flour. BUT, they are ALSO full of blueberries (antioxidant heaven), cinnamon (regulates blood sugar), lemon zest (vitamin C), and are BAKED. See, why not look on the positive side here before you get worried about starting your day on a sugar high. But really, if you are concered, these make great afternoon snacks, lunchtime dessert, 2nd breakfast treat, and nightime dessert. So versatile too – I know! Crazy.

These donuts are a product of what was once a breakfast loaf. Filled with lemon and blueberries (as mentioned above), I topped these little guys with cinnamon and sugar to give it that streusel style topping. Pretty much irresistible anytime of the day, I’d suggest whipping up a batch of these the next time you get a sweets craving.



Baked Blueberry Lemon Donuts

Makes 6 baked donuts (or 12 small baked donuts)
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • zest from 1 lemon



  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a donut pan. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, sugars, and vanilla extract.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir until just combined. Add in the melted butter and then fold in the blueberries and lemon zest.

Baked for 20 minutes or until the tops have browned (baking time will vary greatly depending on the size of the donuts / your oven). Once browned, remove from oven.

Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Dip the donut tops in the sugar/cinnamon mixture while they are still warm. Serve and enjoy!






Song pairing:

Gluten Free Caramel Pecan Tart with Chocolate Genache & Mascarpone Drizzle

January 18, 2013


This is Ella. She is one of the best things in my life. She has put up with my nonsense for more years than I would like to admit. She didn’t strangle me after us living together for a year and she still encourages my crazy adventures (like moving down to Nasvhille to chase my music dream. And starting a food blog. And adopting a puppy even though I can hardly take care of myself). Oh, and did I mention she makes me bruschetta… bruschetta that looks like this…




..every September. It’s oh so amazing. It’s also what sparked my Winter Bruschetta post yesterday. But anyways, monday was her 24th birthday (Hey, Ella…we are getting old!) and she doesn’t know where she will be in 4 months. Maybe it’s still here with me in Bloomington. Or maybe she will disappear into the wilderness that is Wyoming or maybe she’ll serve a non-profit programs in Washington, DC. Whatever she chooses…I plan to support her since she supported me all those year. And I didn’t want to support her in the form of gifting another thing to carry across the country. Instead, I made this tart. And I made it gluten-free because I am also trying to encourage her gluten-free food adventures! So much support and encouragement around here, huh?




So here it is. Ella’s birthday tart. The Gluten-Free Caramel Pecan Tart with Chocolate Genache & Mascarpone Drizzle (WOAH. SUCH A MOUTHFUL). I started with an almond flour crust…which gave it the tiniest hint of nutty flavor and then did a date/caramel layer followed by a VERY rich chocolate genache and a mascarpone drizzle. Dayum. It was intense and oh so delicious.

Lastly, I’d like to note that this tart LOOKS daunting because there are 4 components BUT you only cook the crust and there are a lot of repeated ingredients. Do not fear – with a little bit of time and a few fresh ingredients, you will have a delicious and decadent tart in no time! Okay, enough chatting…let’s get baking!




Caramel Pecan Tart with Chocolate Genache & Mascarpone Drizzle

a weird love child of this recipe and this one

For the crust:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

For the filling:

  • 10 dates, pitted and soaked in 1/3 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • dash of sea salt
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (+more for garnish)

For the genache:

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup / agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

For the drizzle:

  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
  • ~1 Tablespoon milk (dairy or un-sweetened nondairy)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Combine the dates with 1/3 cup of water and let soak for one hour.

Make the drizzle first so that the mascarpone has time to absorb the vanilla/honey flavors. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrap out the seeds. Discard the pod and set half the seeds aside for the genache. Whisk together the mascarpone, honey, and vanilla bean seeds. Stick in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the tart.

To make the crust: Whisk together the almond flour and salt. Add in the agave/maple syrup and coconut oil and whisk until a crumbly dough forms. Grease a 4×14 tart pan (with removable bottom) and press the dough into it. Use a fork to pierce the dough through-out the pan. Transfer to the fridge and let chill for 30 minutes.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake 15 minutes (or just until it starts to firm up and turn slightly brown). Remove from oven and let cool completely.

In a small food processor, combine the dates (including the water they were soaking in), vanilla, and salt. Pulse until well combined and then fold in the pecans. Pour into the prepared crust and stick in the fridge while you prepare the genache.

To make the genache: In the small food processor, pulse together the coconut milk, cocoa powder, vanilla seeds, and maple syrup / agave nectar. Pour over the caramel mixture and smooth with a spatula. Stick back in the fridge for at least an hour (so that all the layers can set).

Right before serving: Whisk a tablespoon of milk (1 teaspoon at a time) into the mascarpone filling until its thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over the tart and garnish with chopped pecans.




Serve to all your chocolate and pecan loving friends!



Ella —– Me



Something for you to dance to while baking:

Searchable Saturdays

November 3, 2012

Heyyya! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend planned! After this post, I am planning on taking a walk down to the Farmer’s Market to pick up my first winter CSA share (!!!) and then spend the afternoon cooking! There is also a new dog park in town so we’ll probably be taking Tuko to socialize this afternoon followed by seeing Wyatt’s band play a show tonight. What are your plans this weekend?

In addition to all the pinterest finds from this week (is anyone else ridiculously obsessed with this website? It’s managed to pull at my desire for organizing all the creative links I’ve ever come across. Seriously dangerous), here are a few inspiring links:
1. Okay, I’m a dog lover so this kind of pulls at me extra hard but have you met Maddie? Oh my goodness…this website is amazing. Beautiful photography + awkward dog pictures = my new favorite thing.

2. Smitten Kitchen was one of the first food blogs that I started to read on a regular basis so you can only imagine my excitement when I found out she was coming out with a cookbook. And at long last, the cookbook is out and there is a bunch of wonderful publicity around it like this wonderful article with pictures from her tiny tiny tiny NY kitchen!

3. Design Sponge did a wonderful round-up of international recipes that are oh so inspiring. I love cooking international grub as a way to get out of my comfort zone in the kitchen.

4. We’ve all seen them…those beautiful winter wonderland pictures with the twinkling lights in the background which sets the mood just right. But just because you’ve seen it, does it mean you know how to recreate that twinkling with your own photography?

5. I’ve been on the hunt for a beautiful cake stand but it’s been a way bigger commitment that I had expected! Cake stands are almost as expensive as mixers, blenders, and other kitchen gadgets. I’ve been lusting over this one but am not sure if I’m ready to make 100+ commitment on a glorified plate…

Anyhow, off to the market! Have a wonderful weekend!


Baked Chocolate Cake Donuts

August 31, 2012


I can’t believe I managed to forget about these donuts! I made these a few lazy Saturdays ago and even showed a sneak preview picture of them in my Moody Monday post and then never followed through with the recipe! Sheesh, silly me! However, don’t worry because here it is now.

We live down the street from the local donut shop and Wyatt stops there more than I even want to know. I sometimes give in and join him but still felt a bit guilty about it. The whole concept of eating fried something for breakfast never appealed to me; however, as soon as I discovered I could BAKE donuts, I wanted in! All I needed was a donut pan…seems easy enough, right? However, Wyatt promised to get me a donut pan for my Graduation last spring…which never happened. This meant we spent all Summer donutless (his loss!). And then, at last, we ran across some pans while browsing the local Kro-Gucci (not to be confused with our other disgusting Kroger…which happens to be Kro-Ghetto) so I threw them in the cart before Wyatt had an opinion about wanting to buy me them or not.

And so, since TECHNICALLY Wyatt did buy me them (even if he didn’t mean to), I decided to start my donut-making journey with his favorite kind: cake donuts. Cake donuts are pretty awesome because they are just are the best excuse to eat cake for breakfast. I mean if the cake is shaped like a breakfast food….it’s acceptable, right?

I topped my donuts with peanut butter (while they were still warm so the peanut butter melted into a nice, thick glaze) and then lathered them in colorful sprinkles.

These donuts are ridiculously easy to make so I would just suggest waking up 15 minutes before your boyfriend/girlfriend/hubby/puppy, getting the coffee making going, and starting on these. They will be ready in less than 20 minutes so you’ll have the whole rest of the morning to be lazy and eat warm donuts. These go perfectly with a big mug of hot coffee and a Saturday morning movie.



Baked Chocolate Cake Donuts

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (made my own with this recipe)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a donut pan. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. In another small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla, and butter.

Make a well in the center of the dried ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in the middle. Use a spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just incorporated.

Evenly pour the batter into the pans. Cook for 10 minutes or until baked all the way through.

Enjoy with peanut butter and sprinkles or powdered sugar or a glaze or by themselves! Seeeeeee….how easy was that?

VV Turns One! // Butterscotch Roll-Up Cake

August 17, 2012

Woah! That is correct- VV has officially been around for a whole year! Pretty weird, huh? It’s crazy how far we have come 200+ recipes later. Although my writing and photography skills have improved immensely, there is still so much room for improvement. That is totally exciting because it keeps things interesting and constantly makes me want to try harder.

Last year at this time I was still in school, applying for jobs in Portland and Austin, and trying to avoid thinking about my future. I would not have guessed that a year later I would still be so dedicated to my blog, living with Wyatt and our puppy (I was Tuko-less a year ago…weird), and working full-time at Secretly Canadian. All in all this has been an eventful year and I am excited to see what else the future has in store for us.

I decided to ‘go big or go home’ for this recipe today. It is adapted from the cutest cake book ever to exist (Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson) and it is rather labor intensive. This cake was absolutely delicious and oh so gorgeous but please plan to dedicate a couple of hours to it! It’s a ‘special occasion’ cake that you probably don’t want to make too often.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend and enjoy!

Butterscotch Roll-Up Cake

Butterscotch sauce:

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 egg yokes (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 egg whites (room temperature)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 cup sliced almonds

To make the butterscotch sauce: In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the sugar and stir until combined. Cook, stirring regularly, until the simmers and changes from a grainy texture to a thick caramel texture (this should take about five minutes). Next, whisk the mixture as you slowly add in the cream. Bring heat to medium high and let the mixture boil (whisk the mixture often). Let boil for about 5 minutes or until it becomes thick and dark. Remove from heat and let cool for ten minutes. Whisk in the vanilla, whiskey, and salt. Stick in the fridge to cool completely.

For the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 12 by 16 inch pan with parchment paper and grease the paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 3/4 cup of the sugar and make a well in the center of the bowl by pushing the dry ingredients to the outside. In another bowl, whisk together the oil, yolks, water, and vanilla. Pour into the center of the well and fold dry ingredients into wet until smooth.

Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium until frothy. Next, add in the cream of tartar and slowly increase speed to high. Whip until soft peaks begin to form and slowly add in the last 1/4 cup sugar. Continue mixing until the peaks become shiny.

Use a spatula to fold the egg whites into the cake batter until just incorporated. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and use a spatula to even it out. Stick it in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

While it is cooking, make the frosting: Stick your mixer bowl in the freezer for a few minutes to chill it. Next, whip the cold heavy cream with 1 cup of the cooled butterscotch on medium-low speed. Slowly turn your mixer to high and whip until light and fluffy.

Assembly time: This is when it starts to get super fun! Place your sheet of cake horizontally in front of you. Cut the cake into 4 equal part. Next, take a scissor and cut the parchment paper directly along the cut lines you just made (this will make it easier to pick the cake up by the parchment paper and help with assembly).

Please excuse the hideous counter-top and bad lighting that my landlord thought was a good idea (just took a quick snapshot to try to show you the process).

Next, spread half of the frosting onto the sheet of cake and sprinkle with half the almonds. Take one sheet of the cake and spiral it on a plate (with the frosting side facing inward). Take another sheet and continue to spiral the cake out. Repeat with the rest of the cake (this is a bit tricky but try to keep it as tight as possible so the cake does not have room to fall over).

Lather the outside of the cake with rest of frosting and almonds. Drizzle any leftover butterschotch on top.

Serve warm to all your favorite people. And with a hot cup of coffee. Or Ice cream. Or both.

July Wrap Up

July 31, 2012

Well, it’s that time again! July has already flown past us and it’s time to start reflecting. Here are my favorite posts from this past month:

1. Ah yes! The Blueberry Peach Cobbler Cake that I made for our 4th of July funsies. I feel like I have never experienced a cake that was not only so packed with flavors from the fresh fruit and spices but also stayed moist for days after! Soooo. delicious!

2. The post I made about our Lake Picnic! Although this does not have a recipe included, it was fun to play around with these photos and work to really try to capture the beauty that comes along with spending an evening at Lake Monroe.

3. This was the first recipe I made with our CSA box. The summer squash was so fresh that our farmer had literally picked it earlier that day! ah! and the buttery crumble on top made for a mouth-watering mess that I could get use to indulging in!

4. Blueberry Limeade Cocktail – it was very exciting to make my own simple syrup (and so freaking easy!) and then serve it to all our guest at our House Warming Party. The blueberries made this drink the most beautiful deep purple that I have ever seen a cocktail!


As far as my summer goals, I think the only thing I crossed off in July was ‘Take Time To Do A Little Yoga Everyday’ and ‘Try New Cocktails’. I really need to get on the ball here because August is what I consider to be the last month of summer. Sadly, my puppy torn up the part of the garden with cucumbers so there will be no pickling of my own cucumbers this year. With that being said, I think it’s time to tweak my summer list a bit…



3. Pickle my own grown cucumbers


3. Learn to can


And I think I will be holding off on making cheese until the weather cools down…that is actually going to be a great recipe to play around with when it’s cold and I need to amuse myself for the afternoon.

So…goals I plan to tackle in August:

1. Start working on my recipe zine

2. Learn to can

3. Learn to like mushrooms // start cooking with mushrooms more

4. Go camping (if the weather cools..)

5. DIY projects: macrame planters // homemade rings // Billy Buds (see here)




Vegan Blueberry and Peach Cobbler Cake

July 6, 2012

I am feeling a bit off because I am writing you from my favorite coffee shop, Soma, instead of my usual spot; this is because we are officially moved into our new home and are currently without internet. But really, it is okay because Soma littered with inspiration: from its Iced Chaikovsky (Chai + Coffee), maps paper mached all over the walls, and TV fish tanks- it is nothing short of a creative mecca.

Speaking of our new home being without thing…this is officially day 6 of my new life without a microwave. It has been going very well so far. Wyatt and I have decided to try to “untrain” ourselves from nuking thing in the microwave (see why here) and instead turn to the oven/on the stove top to warm things up. Wyatt was not happy about his coffee going cold the other morning (ohhh, the drawbacks of using a french press) but if that ends up being our biggest problem then I think we shall survive.

Oh, Yes! And back to the recipe! I decided to try this cobbler cake instead of a regular cobbler because we were having people over for a grill out and my thought was that it would be way easier for guests to just grab a square instead of messing with scooping a cobbler into bowls and getting spoons and what not. It was a huge success! The stuff was REALLY REALLY delicious. If possible, I think it may have been even better the next day because the humidity is so high in the Midwest right now that it made the cake moist enough to melt in your mouth. Ah, heaven!

And totally feel free to mix in whatever fruit you’d like or have on hand. I adapted this from ButterMeUpBrooklyn and she didn’t even specify a fruit to use.

Blueberry and Peach Cobbler Cake

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 Tablespoons earth balance, cut into chunks
  • dash of vanilla
  • 1 cup blueberries (I used fresh but I am sure you can use frozen as well)
  • 1 peach, pitted and cut into small chunks
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a baking pan.

In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and lemon juice. Set aside and let it curdle (you are making vegan buttermilk right now!) for about 5 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinmamon, and nutmeg together. Toss in the Earth Balance and use your fingers to work into the dry ingredients. Next, fold in the fruit. And finally, fold in the buttermilk just until everything is combined (you don’t want to over mix!).

Pour into your prepared pan and bake for about 3o minutes or until you can stick a tooth pick in the center and it comes out clean. Sprinkle the top with the brown sugar.

Let cool and then slice into squares.

Serve to all your friends and watch at how excited they are about your new twist on cobbler!

Guiness Chocolate Cake

March 7, 2012

Update 10/29/2012: Don’t forget to stop by and check out VV’s newest giveaway which ends 11/02/2012!


I’ve been in a bit of a weird funk lately. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed with my school career coming to a closing and me having to enter into the “real world”. My usual solution to ridding any irrational overreaction is to bake. And what better to make than something that combines my other two problem solvers: chocolate and beer!

I made this cake for Wyatt’s birthday a few months back and still have craving for it ’til this day. The Guinness brings a whole new tint to the chocolate flavor that is just irresistable. And the moist cake pairs perfect with all your favorite ice cream treats or some refreshing green beer.

This would also be a perfect treat for St. Patrick’s day which is approaching at massive rates! Perhaps this cake is even an excuse for you to host a St. Patty’s Day Potluck (it is on a Saturday!) to share this treat with all your favorite people!


PS next week is my last spring break ever (well…sorta a break for me. I have to work at the record label Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) so that means I have soooo many recipes planned to conquer on my time off. Expect great things coming ASAP!



Guinness Chocolate Cake

  • 1 cup Guinness (guess you’re gonna have to dye the leftover beer green)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 and fill a round baking tin with parchment paper (or grease it if you don’t have paper handy).

In a small saucepan, heat the beer and butter over medium-low heat until the butter has melted and they are combined together. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and cocoa powder.

In another small bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Slow mix into the beer mixture. Mix until smooth.

Cook for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean in the center.

Let cool completely and lather with your favorite chocolate icing and loads of sprinkles.

Enjoy with a big glass of green Guinness!

Giant Chocolate Cookie Cake

January 13, 2012

So it’s my roommate’s birthday tomorrow and she’s had this big party planned for weeks. My other roommate and I had this big cookie cake planned to make her until she informed us Monday that she has a chocolate cake picked out that she wants made (she’s a bit of an over planner, if you can’t tell) and since it’s her birthday we have to make what she wants. Soooo we decided to make her this cookie one yesterday as a sort of pre-game to tomorrow (a little overboard of us, I know) but either way we wanted it and her birthday sounded like the perfect excuse to make it.

Giant Chocolate Cookie Cake

For the Cookie:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

For the Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 2 cups confectioner sugar
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese package, softened
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two pie dishes with wax paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together. Then add the eggs and vanilla. Next, blend in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Mix until well combined.

Divide the dough into two and press into prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before assembling.

To prepare the frosting, beat the butter and confectioners sugar until well incorporated. Next, add the cream cheese and melted chocolate chips. Mix until it becomes a light, fluffy texture.

Spread half the frosting on top of one of the cookies and then top with the other cookie. Spread the rest of the frosting on top and decorate with sprinkles/m&ms/butterscotch chips/chocolate chips/swedish fish/skittles/anything colorful you can find in your kitchen.

But be careful because you could even devour half of it before giving it to the birthday girl!

Ella Baby lovin’ her cookie