AN OMBRE CAKE + A JORD WATCH GIVEAWAY!

Happy middle of the work week!

So, you guys, I'm pretty excited to share two things; my first ever ombre layer cake, and an amazing giveaway! Before we talk about the giveaway let me talk about that cake. I n e e d to admit, I was a little hesitant to even make an ombre layer cake, it just seemed like too much work; multiple layers, working with shade control, and then, stacking even layers. But, now that it's done, I can say the process wasn't bad at all. One thing that made the process ultra smooth was my recent purchase of these awesome 6" layer cake pans, game changer!

Now, let's talk about this giveaway! A few weeks ago the wonderful folks at JORD wood watches reached out to me about hosting a giveaway with my followers! How could i turn that down? They even sent over a band new watch for me to check out and attest to how truly amazing these wood watches are. I received the dark sandalwood and mint from the frankie 35 series and holy moly, the wood display box of this watch is truly a beautiful display on its own. After opening the wooden display box I saw my new watch comfortably resting around a JORD embossed pillow. The first thought that came to mind was how this watch's color combination reminded me of mint and chocolate, yes it's true, I was food inspired by a watch! only I, I who thinks about food, reads cookbooks like novels, studies beer lists before making a dining decision, and bakes whatever sweet treat that's been on my to-bake list, could feel such a desire to correlate a watch to a sweet concoction.  Since I was feeling inspired by this mint faceplate and dark sandalwood wristband I decided to pour my inspiration into a cake pan and am so happy I did.

With very little free time since the kid arrived (more on that later) how was I going to make a cake that embodied chocolate and mint, plus a cake that is big on flavor but required very little fuss? Well, I answered my own question with a not-so-simple-looking ombre mint-green cake with a fancy looking whipped chocolate ganache frosting. So easy to make and so simple to frost. Now, let's not forget the real reason I started this post; because I have an amazing giveaway to share with you all, scroll to the bottom of this post for details and the link to enter!

SHOP A JORD WOOD WATCH OF YOUR OWN:

women's watches

men's watches

frankie 35 dark sandalwood and mint -the one in the photos!


OMBRE VANILLA LAYER CAKE WITH WHIPPED CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of five 6" cake pan, dust with flour, and tap out the excess.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Beat the butter, sugar and oil in a large bowl in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla until combined.

Alternate folding the flour mixture and the milk into the batter with a spatula, adding the flour in three additions and the milk in two, starting and ending with the flour, until just smooth. 

To create an ombre effect with the layers; add in 3 drops of green food coloring to the entire batter and fold to incorporate. this will now be the starting base color for the ombre layers. Pour proper amount from this starting batter into one cake pan. With the remaining batter add-in an additional 2 drops of food coloring, fold to incorporate until a change in batter color is noticeable, if change is subtle add in an additional drop. Pour proper amount of batter into an additional cake pan, repeat the food coloring process to remaining batter and pour into additional cake. Repeat the process until all of the batter is used.  Each cake pan of batter should have a difference in color.

bake the cake on the same rack for 20 to 25 minutes, rotate the pans about halfway through. check for doneness. add an additional 4 minutes if needed. let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, turn out onto cooling racks and let cool completely.

To assemble: stack up cooled cakes starting with the darkest layer and adding subsequent lighter layers until the last cake is the lightest. Spread each cake layer with an equal amount of frosting. Restack the frosted layers in the ombre order desired, darkest layer at the bottom to achieve the same look as mine. If frosting remains or in excess use to crumb coat the outside. Place in the fridge for an hour. After the cake has had a chance to chill remove from fridge and frost entire cake with whipped chocolate ganache.  

Allow cake to sit at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.

*If using wilton five layer 6" cake pans, follow package baking directions* 

I used these pans for the ombre cake layers

OMBRE VANILLA LAYER CAKE:

1 stick (8 tbsp.) unsalted butter at room temp, plus more for the pans

2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour leveled, plus more for the pans

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. fine salt

2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. vegetable oil

5 large eggs, at room temp.

1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract

1 c. milk

green food coloring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

BUTTER CREAM FROSTING:

Beat the butter and salt in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar. once it's all been added, increase the speed to medium-high, beat until white and fluffy. Add 2 tbsp. of milk, one tbsp. at a time.

 

 

3 stick (1 1/2 c.) unsalted butter at room temp.

3 1/4 c. confectioners' sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/4 c. milk

pine of fine salt

WHIPPED CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING:

12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

1 c. heavy cream

 

 

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

Place chocolate chips in a large bowl. heat heavy cream in a heavy bottom sauce pan on medium-high head until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour over chocolate, stir until all the chocolate has melted and is smooth.

All ganache to cool completely, place in the refrigerator for at least an hour afterward. When ready to use pull cold ganache from the fridge and whip using an electric mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula until homogenous in appearance and semi-fluffy looking, about 8-10 minutes.

Cake recipe adapted from the CLASSIC VANILLA CAKE recipe from the Food Network


BUEN PROVECHO!


THE CONTEST INFO:

Click here to fill out the insanely simple form for a chance to win a $100 gift code to use on the JORD site. 1 person will win, but e v e r y o n e will receive a consolation code worth $25 at the end of the contest! So just to be sure you understand, that means you still win just for trying!

https://www.woodwatches.com/g/maxenestrailofcrumbs 

Contest ends at 11:59 CST 02/19/17 and both codes expire 04/30/17

Not only is the watch beautiful in craftsmanship and visually appealing but look at the wooden box that it comes in! this is not a box to toss away or one to hold random loose buttons (what else do you use your watch boxes for?). This is a box to keep for a lifetime. The top magnetically attaches to the base and the bottom of the base is a little sliding compartment! 


disclosure: i was provided with a JORD wood watch in exchange for promotional social medial and a blog post. all opinions expressed are my own.

TOBY'S BLUE CHEESE BUFFALO DEVILED EGGS

Hi friends! If you are a fan of buffalo sauce + blue cheese then have I got a fun recipe for you: 

say hello to blue cheese buffalo deviled eggs. yes my friends, buffalo sauce, blue cheese, and deviled eggs come together for an amazing combination that will have you quickly clearing the table of those bags of chips and velveeta dip and make space for these tasty, tangy, salty, spicy bites.

while a traditional deviled egg incorporates mayonnaise to get that oh-so-creamy-tangy zip, i've swapped out the mayo and instead used Toby's Lite Blue Cheese Dressing. The deviled centers were still very creamy and not overly rich like what tends to happen with mayonnaise driven deviled eggs.

Be sure to mash everything up before adding the blue cheese. And, chop up any large blue cheese crumbles -unless you want big salty chunks to slap your tongue, then, be my guest.


TOBY'S BLUE CHEESE BUFFALO DEVILED EGGS

DIRECTIONS:

INGREDIENTS:

Remove yolks from eggs and place into a small bowl. Place egg whites on serving dish and store in the refrigerator. Mash up the yolks using a fork until semi-smooth.

To the mashed egg yolks add ground mustard, buffalo sauce, and Toby's Lite Blue Cheese Dressing, mix well until smooth. Add 1/4c. blue cheese crumbles, and salt and pepper to taste, incorporate well.

Add egg yolk mash to egg whites (I use a piping bag to add the creamed yolks in a neat fashion, a ziplock baggie will work in a pinch).

 

garnish with remaining blue cheese crumbles and a few dashes of hot sauce is preferred. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Serve cold.

6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved.

3 tbsp. Toby's Lite Blue Cheese Dressing

1/2 tsp. ground mustard

2 tbsp. frank's red hot buffalo sauce

1/4c. + 1 tbsp. blue cheese crumbles

salt + pepper to taste

 


Do yourself a favor and store away one or two for eggs yourself before serving. These deviled eggs will be gone before you know it, and when you do know it, you'll crave them even further!


Thank you TOBY'S FOODS for sponsoring this post!


BUEN PROVECHO!

CUBA! RECIPES AND STORIES FROM THE CUBAN KITCHEN + PUMPKIN FLAN

CUBA!

RECIPES AND STORIES FROM THE CUBAN KITCHEN

2016 has been the year of growing my cookbook collection. I've gained some fun cookbooks as very thoughtful gifts and even purchased a few, yet the one cookbook that stood out visually and gave immediate vacation inspirtation was this cookbook here, CUBA! recipes and stories from the cuban kitchen.

FIRST IMPRESSION

By first impression, this Cuba! cookbook is absolutely attractive. The cover features a timeworn kitchen with bold blue cupboards and a contrasting white countertop. The major focal point of the cover is a generous pile of ripe fruits (fruits commonly found throughout the caribbean and featured in the cuisine), conveying the tropical theme of this cookbook, in case you didn't happen to know what cuban cooking entailed.

The cookbook, just as the title says, "Recipes and Stories from the Cuban Kitchen," is just that, a collection of the authors' experiences while traveling and eating about within their five years of documenting this country. The stories share much of the modern life and culinary history not commonly shared on the mainstream news; such as the black market flan.

Besides the large number of recipes and food photographs found in this cookbook is my favorite part, the unorchestrated portraits of the cuban people who opened their kitchens and shared their family recipes with the authors. The authenticity of cuban daily life is demonstrated with the many unposed images shared. One photograph features a child standing in a doorway wearing no more than a t-shirt and underwear, a few more page turns and you'll spot photos of people casually lounging around in a relatable way. Another standout feature of this cookbook is the photographs of dilapidated walls and linens which serve as the backdrop for much of the recipe text. This cookbook is a far cry from perfectly placed and stylized images commonly found in a martha stewart catalog.

THE COOKING PART

The recipes I made from this cookbook were interesting, pumpkin flan, steamed dumplings, and black bean soup with crema. Each recipe unique in flavor and preparation, I had never associated pumpkin with cuban cuisine and being a fan of pumpkin I had to make this the same day i opened the book (photos on this post are from my pumpkin flan cooking experience). The recipe directions are easy to follow, and not excessively involved, no hidden techniques and nothing super involved and or delicate like making croissants or pate choux, just everyday cooking techniques.

BOOK STRUCTURE: 

The table of contents divides the recipes into sections like "basic training," "pots and pans," "azucar," and "with a twist." The basic training section covers standard cuban staples such as black beans, yellow rice, fried plantains and fish stock, while the pots and pans section is where one pot meals reside such as the spicy black bean soup with lime crema. My favorite section, azucar (sugar), is where you will find an assortment of desserts featuring coconut, guava, and lime flavors, as well as recipes for well known spanish sweets like coconut tres leches cake and pumpkin flan. 

Overall a great cookbook; one that can make any frozen microwaveable meal preparer feel inspired to cook a real meal.


PUMPKIN FLAN

DIRECTIONS:

INGREDIENTS:

Preheat the oven to 350F

Combine the 1/4c. sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat without stirring until the sugar begins to turn golden around the edges of the pan. Gently swirl the pan rather than stirring it until all of the sugar turns to amber-colored caramel. Pour the caramel into a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan and tip the pan to coat the entire bottom evenly. Set the pan aside.

Whisk together the eggs and the remaining 1/4 c. sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla,  cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin. Add the three milk's and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth and homogenous. Pour the custard over the caramel in the loaf pan. 

Set the filled loaf pan inside a 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Pour hot water into the outer pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake until the flan is nearly set in the middle. 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Cover the flan and refrigerate it for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Run a knife around the edge of the chilled flan and invert the loaf pan onto a appropriately sized platter. Side the flan and serve.

 

1/3 c. plus 1/4 c. sugar, divided

2 tbsp. water

5 eggs

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 c. pumpkin puree

1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (12oz) can evaporated milk

1 c. whole milk

 

 


notes on the recipe*

This recipe for the custard works very well, however the introduction for the caramel did not work, three attempts and they all failed so I switched over to a caramel recipe I've used in the past.

Also the custard needs salt. something is missing on day one of enjoying the flan and that is the salt. The flavors marry by day two but it still needs salt.

Interested in knowing more about this book, click here for more details.

I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review.

As always, the photos and opinions are my own.


BUEN PROVECHO!

HOMEMADE CRACKER JACK

HOMEMADE CRACKER JACK USING JOLLY TIME HEALTHY POP

My January Degustabox came packed with some fun snacks including an all-time favorite box of popcorn from Jolly Time Popcorn. I used my box of popcorn and jazzed the shit outta it by turning the popcorn and a few other snack items into one combined snack, a copy cat cracker jack mix!

Such a fun nostalgic treat! 


HOMEMADE CRACKER JACK

DIRECTIONS:

INGREDIENTS:

Preheat oven to 325 F, line two 9" x 13" baking sheets with parchment paper

In a large mixing bowl toss together the pretzels, pecans, peanuts, and popcorn. 

In a small heavy bottom saucepan put brown sugar, light corn syrup, and butter on low heat. Stir until melted and combined, when the mixture starts to bubble pull from stove, stir in vanilla. Pour caramel over popcorn mixture, carefully mix until everything is coated in caramel.

Divide and spread the mixture evenly among the two prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow mixture to cool completely. Break up the mixture into smaller pieces and serve.

*Avoid adding unpopped kernels to the mixture. Take popped popcorn from the top of a shaken bag to avoid unpopped kernels.

2 tbsp. light corn syrup

4 tbsp. butter (1/2 stick)

brown sugar

2 c. pretzels

3/4 c. peanuts

3/4 c. pecans

1 tsp. vanilla extract

half a bag of popped popcorn*


Cracker jack is snacking crack!

A wonderful combination of salty, sweet, caramel, and crunch... and so easy to make!


Thank you DEGUSTABOX for sponsoring this post


BUEN PROVECHO!