Salted Caramel Chocolate Pretzel Cake

I’m just going to come out and say it– I’m not a huge pretzel fan. Shocking, I know. My family doesn’t understand me, they all love the crunchy snack with a passion. So much so that on any given day our pantry is stashed with a big old jar full of them. When my brother is home, he plows through this jar at a regular pace, so restocking it is not just guesswork, but a science.

IMG_0128

Now that he’s gone, however, this jar remains mostly untouched causing the pretzels inside to go stale before they are consumed.

Tragic, I know.

IMG_0132

So today when I was baking this week’s blog post and a sudden pretzel craving hit, I was met with a mouthful of stale pretzels and some unhappy tastebuds.

IMG_0127

IMG_0145

Instead of tossing the pretzels in the trash I crushed them up and threw them in the nearby cake batter, hoping that that might save them.

And save them it did. I dare say this is the best cake that I have ever baked. Something about the salty of the pretzel matched with the sweet of the cake creates the perfect balance of delicious flavor. Slathered with chocolate buttercream and filled with caramel one, this is definitely a cake I’m going to file away into my baking repertoire. Trust me, you’re not going to want to miss out on this one.

IMG_0149

IMG_0121

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pretzel Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

Ingredients

    • For the Cake:
    • 1 cup all purpose flour
    • 2/3 cup crushed pretzels (I crushed mine in a food processor)
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/3 cup unsalted butter softened
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup milk
    • For the Caramel Filling:
    • 2 tablespoons salted butter
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • For the Frosting:
    • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
    • 1 cup confectionery sugar
    • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate melted
    • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and line two 6″ cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, crushed pretzels, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer or with a handheld mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – about two minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract, mixing for another minute or two.
  4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture with the butter, starting and ending with the flour.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. While the cakes are baking, make the caramel filling.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, mix together all the ingredients.  Allow to come to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer for 5-10 minutes or until you can no longer feel the grains of sugar when rubbed between your fingers.  Set aside to allow to cool completely before using (otherwise it will melt the buttercream).
  7. To make the frosting, whip the butter and powdered sugar with a stand mixer or handheld mixer until combined.  Take a 1/4 cup of the mixture and set aside in a separate bowl for the caramel filling.
  8. To the remaining butter mix, add the unsweetened chocolate and the heavy cream and whip until combined.  If desired, adjust the sugar, chocolate ratio to taste.
  9. Taking the set aside 1/4 cup of frosting, mix two tablespoons of the cooled caramel into the frosting until the mixture is homogeneous.
  10. Once the cake is cooled, spread the caramel buttercream on the first layer and then place the second layer on top.  Frost the rest of the cake with chocolate buttercream however you desire.  I garnished mine with some more pretzel crumbs as well as a little bit of melted chocolate, but overall I found that it didn’t alter the taste at all.  Enjoy!

IMG_0155

 

Advertisements

Cilantro Lime Steak Tacos

Even though it’s considered the harder of the two, I’ve always found baking to be more my thing than cooking.  Don’t get me wrong, I now love the two pretty much equally, but baking has always been my go to.  The rigidity of baking and the different variations of the same exact ingredients every time always appealed more to me than the undefined rules of cooking.

IMG_0055.jpg

Cooking was always something I kept on the back burner, sure I could make a simple pasta dish and call it a night, but I never really had enough practice to take two wildly different flavors, mash them together and create a masterpiece.  And this bothered me.

The fact that I called myself a food blogger but could barely cook?  Appalling.  So at the beginning of this year I decided to do something about it.  I decided that I was going to step out of my comfort zone and learn how to cook more complex meals.  I was going to learn how to meld those unlikely matches of flavor into one cohesive dish.

IMG_0046

IMG_0050

Which brings me to today’s recipe.  Cilantro lime steak tacos.  They are absolutely mouth watering.  The avocado crema paired with the acidity of the lime steak mixed with the contrast between the corn and the red onion creates a dish with complex notes that actually taste good.  Everything goes perfectly together and honestly I would be lying if I said I didn’t eat some of the avocado crema with a spoon because MAN that stuff is good.

IMG_0044

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_0054

This is one of those fake it until you make it type of dishes.  It looks super complicated and impressive, but it’s actually fairly simple and can be made in about an hour if you buy your tortillas.  If you need a impressive dish to bring to a party or just want a gourmet taco than this is the recipe for you.

Cilantro Lime Steak Tacos

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

Ingredients

  • TACO:
  • 1 3/4 – 2 pounds flank steak
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 2 1/2 limes (roughly 1/4 cup lime juice)
  • zest of 3 limes (roughly 1 tablespoon zest)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 ears corn, shucked and cornels cut from the cob
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 8 flour tortillas (I used this recipe to make mine)
  • Jack cheese
  • AVOCADO CREMA:
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • juice of 1/2 lime (roughly 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Whisk the cilantro, lime, zest, olive oil, jalapeño, garlic, peppers, and salt in a small bowl and than pour into a quart zip lock bag.  Place the flank steak in the bag and lie flat on a plate.  Quickly massage the marinade into the meat and than place in the fridge for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, flip the meat and place back in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
  2. While waiting for the meat, place all the ingredients for the avocado crema in a food processor and pulse until combine, set aside.
  3. Heat your grill to medium heat and remove the steak from the zip lock bag, allowing the marinade to drip in the bag for a few seconds before placing on the hot grill.  Grill for roughly 3-5 minutes before flipping to the other side a grilling for another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes, this allows the juices to flow.
  5. Once the 10 minutes are up, cut the steak into thin slices against the grain.
  6. To assemble the tacos, begin by sprinkling the cheese on a tortilla, topping with corn and red onions and then layering the steak slices on top.  Drizzle with some avocado crema and enjoy!

img_0053.jpg

 

 

Healthy Coffee Cake

Can you guys believe that it’s already June?  How crazy is that!?  I feel like just yesterday I was talking about my goals for this year, and now it’s already halfway done!

IMG_9968

With summer coming up I decided I would make something a little lighter for this post, yet still just as delicious.  I woke up craving some sort of streusel and knew that healthy streusel was a challenge I was willing to tackle.  And tackle it I did!  This healthy coffee cake is refined sugar free, packed with whole grains and won’t leave you feeling guilty as you reach for one more slice.

IMG_9974

IMG_9976

Made with zucchini you can totally count this coffee cake as a serving of vegetables for the day.  Everyone knows that Vegetables+Cake means that you’re allowed to eat the whole thing.  It’s just common knowledge!

Jokes aside, this cake is healthy yet tasty and just begging to be served at your next brunch.

Healthy Coffee Cake

  • Servings: 16
  • Print

Ingredients

  • CAKE:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini, blotted
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • TOPPING:
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 2 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter and maple syrup.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat for two minutes.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combine.  Then add the milk.
  5. Fold in the zucchini and the blueberries, being careful not to over mix.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and set aside.
  6. To make the streusel, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  7. Then sprinkle it on top of the batter.  Bake for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

IMG_9972

Singular Black Bean Burger {Vegan}

As I’m sitting here and writing this post it is absolutely pouring.  As in I haven’t seen the light of day for the past forty eight hours pouring.  There is so much rain that the streets are flooding and there is a small pond forming in my backyard.  I just returned from walking my dog and now I’m left sitting on the couch in soaking leggings and feeling generally cold.

It’s times like this that are the reason I’m counting down the days until summer.  I can’t wait for it to be hot enough to not wear or coat.  The days that I can eat breakfast on my back porch and watch the sunrise can’t come fast enough.

IMG_9877

In the mean time, I decided to whip up a good old fashioned picnic lunch to make it feel like it’s coming faster.  I started by making some homemade chips (they were so good!!!) and decided that I wanted a black bean burger to pair it with.  Grabbing a can of beans I set to work, resulting in this recipe.  I took one bite and turned right back around into the kitchen to make a second to share with my grandfather, who confirmed that it was just as good as I thought.

IMG_9883

IMG_9878

So if you’re like me and could use a taste of summer, grab a can of beans and set to work!

IMG_9886

Singular Black Bean Burger

  • Servings: 1
  • Print

Ingredients

    • 1/4 cup black beans
    • 2-4 tablespoons flour
    • 2 tablespoon chopped greens (optional, I put spinach)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
    • Oil for the pan

Directions

  1. In a small bowl mash the black beans until smooth.
  2. Add the salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and chopped greens and mix until combine.  Then add the flour until a rough dough comes to form.
  3. Take the black bean mixture and roll it into a ball and then flatten it into a patty shape.
  4. Pour a little oil into a small pan and heat over medium high heat.  Place your patty in the pan and cook each side for about 2 minutes or until lightly browned.
  5. Top your burger with lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, or whatever else you desire and enjoy!

IMG_9881

 

 

Lemon Zucchini Cake

Happy (early) Easter!

IMG_9898

Say what?  You’re probably a little confused and think that I’ve lost my mind.  You’re probably thinking: “But Kat, Easter was last weekend!”

And you’re right, Easter was last weekend.  But it’s also this weekend.  Confused?  Let me explain.

If you didn’t know, I’m Greek Orthodox.  This means that I follow the Julian calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar when it comes to religious holidays.  The majority of the world follows the Gregorian calendar, meaning Easter was last weekend for them.  But for my family, following the Julian calendar means Easter is this weekend instead.  That’s about it for my knowledge on the topic, but if you want to read more here’s is an interesting article on the topic.

IMG_9915

Now that that’s all sorted out, on to the cake!  Is there anything better then cream cheese frosting?  I think not… This cake is simply awesome because you get a serving of veggies while eating dessert.  If that’s not a win, I don’t know what is.

IMG_9910

IMG_9912

The cake flour used in this recipe creates a finer crumb and combine with the moisture from the zucchini results in the perfect texture.  The lemon/raspberry combination makes for the perfect spring cake.  Whether it’s for Easter or just because you wanted cake, I’m sure that you’ll be just as in love with this recipe as I am.

IMG_9906

Lemon Zucchini Cake

  • Servings: 5
  • Print

Ingredients

    • For the Cake:
    • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 cup zucchini shredded and lightly blotted
    • 4 tablespoons milk
    • 2 tablespoons sour cream
    • For the Frosting:
    • 4 ounces cream cheese
    • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
    • 1 1/2 cup confectionery sugar
    • Juice from 1/2 – 1 lemon

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and line two 6″ cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – about two minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing for another two minutes.
  4. In a measuring cup, mix together the milk and sour cream.
  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the sour cream mixture with the butter, starting and ending with the flour.
  6. Fold the zucchini into the batter, making sure not to over mix.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To make the frosting, add all of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until combine.  Adjust the lemon flavor as desired, I like a very strong lemon flavor, so depending on what you’re looking for you might want to go with a little less or a little more then what I have listed.
  9. Once the cake is cooled, frost it and top with more berries and lemon wedges.  Enjoy!

IMG_9914

Raspberry Coconut Chip Cookies

The last time I posted a cookie recipe was September.  As in the September that was six months ago.  I am truly deeply sorry because that is unacceptable.

In all seriousness when I was thinking about what to make this week for the blog and I realized this fact I knew just the recipe to make.  It was snowy and cold out so I wanted something that would bring me right back to the sunny days of summer and boy did I succeed.  These cookies are ooey gooey and everything you could possibly want.

IMG_9870

When I first set out to make this recipe I was just going to make coconut chocolate chip cookies, which are good, but not what I wanted.  As I was grabbing the coconut flour from my pantry my eyes landed on an unopened jar of raspberry jam and just like that I knew what I needed to do to up the wow factor on these cookies.  I am a firm believer that raspberries and coconut go hand and hand so it was fate.

IMG_9865

IMG_9866

The first batch of these cookies that I made were not raspberry-y (is that even a word?) enough, so I knew with the second batch that I needed more jam.  Unfortunately, there is a such thing as too much jam and the second batch was a complete fail and more of raspberry soup than cookies.  The third and final batch, however, was just right.  Turns out that 1/3 cup is the perfect amount and as long as you don’t over mix the jam you’ll end up with some delicious cookies with a beautiful raspberry swirl.

IMG_9858

So enough talking, let’s get to baking!

Raspberry Coconut Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

Ingredients

    • 5 tablespoon unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 cup coconut flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
    • 1/2 cup raspberry jam

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high until light and fluffy.  Once fluffy, add the egg and beat until fluffy once again.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips and coconut flakes.
  4. With the mixer running on low slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing until just combine.
  5. Using a spatula, fold the raspberry jam into the dough making sure not to mix too much.  You want the dough to have a raspberry swirl, so you need to be careful not to completely mix the jam in.
  6. Remove the dough from the fridge and scoop about a tablespoon of dough onto the parchment paper.  Each cookie should be about two inches apart.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

IMG_9863

Cinnamon Banana Apple Skillet Bake {Vegan}

If you didn’t know by now, I love routines.  I’m very particular and enjoy when everything is the same day after day.  I like to write blog posts on weekend mornings, wake up at the same time, meal prep every Sunday night, and eat lunch at one in the afternoon on Saturdays.  I have so many little routines that compose my entire day, everyday, that my schedule has just become a habit.

IMG_9644

When it comes to breakfast, I’m no different.  I’m consistent down to a t.  I like to wake up, drink a big glass of water and eat my breakfast.  I eat the same thing everyday because, as I said before, I love routines.  The problem with this is that after a few weeks of eating the same exact thing every single day, I grow sick of it and no longer crave that certain meal.  This is when I end up switching it up and moving onto the next dish that I will then consume for the next few weeks until the cycle starts all over again.

IMG_9643

The problem that I’ve run into lately is that I seem to be sick of everything.  Cereal sounds too bland, toast is too dry, muffins too moist, eggs too goopy.  So this morning I sat at my kitchen counter with a dilemma, what should I make for breakfast?  And then it hit me.

IMG_9641

My cast iron skillet was set on top of the stove, freshly washed from last night’s dinner, waiting to be used.  If you’re sick of all of the usual breakfast choices then give this recipe a try, I know that it sure cured me!

Cinnamon Banana Apple Skillet Bake

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 dates
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 6 tablespoons almond milk
  • 2 apples diced into cubes about 1 cm
  • 2 banana cut into slices
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Toppings (berries, nuts, raisins, etc)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor blend together the dates and almonds.  Add in half of the apple cubes and half of the banana slices and process until combine.  Lastly, add in the almond milk and set aside.
  3. In a cast iron skillet over medium heat melt the coconut oil.  Add the leftover apple and banana to the pan and coat in the melted oil.  Sprinkle the cinnamon over the fruit and sauté for about one minute or until the fruit seems evenly coated in the cinnamon.  Turn off the stove.
  4. Pour the previously processed mixture on top of the fruit and spread evenly.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until it appears to have set and is lightly golden brown.
  6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before topping with your favorite toppings and enjoying.

IMG_9647