Recipe: Red Velvet Layered Cake with Raspberry Cream Filling and White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

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We all sat around the table. (Father was away again.) I was thrilled. I had watched Mandy bake the cake and Bertha sew the gown and Nathan pick the flowers.

Mandy cut the cake. When she handed me my piece, she said without thinking, “Eat.”

The first bite was delicious. I finished the slice happily. When it was gone, Mandy cut another. That one was harder. When it was gone, no one gave me more, but I knew I had to keep eating. I moved my fork into the cake itself.

“Ella, what are you doing?” Mother said.

“Little piggy.” Mandy laughed. “It’s her birthday, Lady. Let her have as much as she wants.” She put another slice on my plate.

I felt sick, and frightened. Why couldn’t I stop eating?

Swallowing was a struggle. Each bite weighed on my tongue and felt like a sticky mass of glue as I fought to get it down. I started crying while I ate.

Mother realized first. “Stop eating, Ella,” she commanded.

I stopped.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, 5/5 stars

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Ella Enchanted has been my favorite book since I was twelve. I’ve read it at least a dozen times. Most recently, I re-read it  for book club and was nervous it wouldn’t stand the test of time, especially with how much I had hyped it up in my mind.

Spoiler: it did. For me and everyone else in the book club, whether it was one of their old favorites or their first time reading it.

It’s also the ultimate love story, so of course I had to team it with my Valentine’s Day post. I was inspired by Ella’s birthday cake and wanted to make something that would truly be a show-stopper. Plus, Brice and I  binge-watched the Great American Baking Show and I became obsessed with doing some proper chocolate work.

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I usually have a love/hate relationship with cake. They’re fun to make, but it’s never a go-to dessert for me, because it’s usually so heavy and sweet, especially when filled with frosting. These three layers of fluffy red velvet cake sandwiching a light and fresh raspberry cream filling, topped with white chocolate frosting and dark chocolate decor are a perfect balance, though. No “sticky masses of glue” here.

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Guys…sorry for the pics this month! I was losing natural light too fast. Struggles of photography in a basement apartment are real.

For the chocolate work, I highly recommend using a thermometer with a digital reader. I did not and my temperatures were slightly off meaning my tempered chocolate was a little streaky and wasn’t setting as well as I would have liked. For my first time tempering chocolate, it worked out well enough.

Here are the recipes I used:

Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cake – the only thing I changed was the amount of food coloring. I had a .25 ounce container, some of which I used for these mini princess cakes.  I just tossed in the remainder of the container. (An ounce just sounded excessive!)

Zoe Bakes Raspberry Cream Filling

White Chocolate Frosting

Instructions for Tempering Chocolate

  • Before tempering the chocolate, I traced onto wax paper with a pencil the words and hearts that I wanted to make.
  • Once I’d tempered the chocolate, I poured the chocolate into a piping bag with a medium sized tip. I experimented with different tips and the tiny tips were harder to work with.
  • Outline your shapes and words. I free-handed some of them as well. Just have fun.

Just don’t force your Valentine to eat more than desired, like poor Ella. (Not that they’ll be able to stop eating it!)

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Recipe: Oreo Cupcakes

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All right – I have a sneaking suspicion that you’re not 100% committed to your Oreo diet. The guidelines are really pretty basic. No excuses. Breakfast is obviously an Oreo granola bar or Oreo Pop-Tart. No, they’re not gross. Shut up. They’re amazing. Lunch should be Oreo pizza with an Oreo milk shake and a couple of those Oreo truffles my mom makes (a.k.a. the most delicious freaking things in the universe). Dinner is deep-fried Oreos served on top of Oreo ice cream, and for a drink, it’s Oreos dissolved in milk. No water. Only Oreo milk. Dessert can be Oreos straight up. Sound reasonable? It’s for your health, Blue.

For my review of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, click here!

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Recipe: Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Caramelized Hazelnuts

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She kicked Chaol in the ribs with a sock-covered foot. “All I’m saying is that I’d like some chocolate cake every now and then.”

He closed his eyes. “And an apple tart, and a loaf of bread, and a pot of stew, and a mountain of cookies, and a—“He chuckled as she put her foot against his face and pushed. He grabbed her foot and wouldn’t let go when she tried yanking her leg back. “It’s true, and you know it, Laena.”

“So what if it is? Haven’t I earned the right to eat as much as I want, whenever I want?” She wrenched her foot out of his grasp as the smile faded from his face.

“Yes,” he said quietly, his voice barely audible over the crackling fire. “You have.” After a few moments of silence, he stood up and walked to the door.

She sat up on her elbows. “Where are you going?”

He opened the door. “To get you chocolate cake.”

For a Crown of Midnight review, click here.

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Recipe: Miniature Princess Cakes (Prinsesstarta)

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“She [Nina] shoved one of the cakes from the coffee service into her mouth …”

Nina was always eating sweets and was especially enamored with cake. I set out to make one that would have her salivating. For a Six of Crows book review, click here.

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