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Game of Thrones Cake

DSC08257.jpgIf you start this instant, you can have this cake made before the season premiere of Game of Thrones.  If not… well bookmark this recipe for the finale.  This cake has been a work in progress for years, starting with Jack’s scientist birthday party, when I filled the center of the bundt cake with dry ice.

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I started adding the chocolate shards after seeing this recipe.  And the dry ice was a one time thing, but it would be cool to do the shards and the dry ice!

I volunteered to bring a cake to my friend’s birthday party a couple years ago, and her husband named it the Game of Thrones cake, and the rest is history.  The best part is that it doesn’t matter how terrible the chocolate shards look, because it’s still fancy and delicious.

This version is especially impressive, because the bed frame in the background of the pictures indicates that this was shortly after the flood of 2013.  Any cake baked during that time of our lives was a major accomplishment!

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I’ve done a few versions of this cake over the years, but I have finally found the perfect recipe.  I mean… how often does a cake come out of the bundt pan looking like this?  With this recipe – every time.

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OK – Now that I have this mostly typed up I am realizing you don’t have time to make it before Game of Thrones starts, especially if you have to go to the grocery store first. But, just remember, that sometimes the HBO app is super slow during the season premiere, so turn off all social media, make the cake and then watch the episode later tonight when the internet isn’t overloaded, and you can have your Game of Thrones cake and watch the show too!

Here is the overall process:
Get the cake in the oven
Make the chocolate shards and get them in the fridge
Make the ganache while the cake is cooling, and let the ganache cool.
Ice the cake with the ganache
Add the shards
Take pictures and instagram your cake #gameofthronescake
Share with all your friends because it’s really rich and it makes a big cake.
Watch Game of Thrones

Now for the details:

Use this Smitten Kitchen chocolate cake recipe with the following changes:

This calls for 300 grams of dutch process cocoa.  I buy the generic brand from King Soopers, and it comes in a container that holds 226 grams.  So I use 226 grams of cocoa.  And I know the common baking wisdom is to use the best ingredients, but I’ve never heard less than a rave about this cake, so I think it’s ok.

I bake this cake in a bundt pan at 350 for 50 minutes and then start testing for doneness.  I stick a wooden skewer in and if it comes out clean, it’s done. Otherwise I had 5 minutes or so at a time until it’s done.

After the cake is in the oven, you can make the chocolate shards.

The cake recipe calls for 3 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, so the easiest thing to do is to buy a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, and another bag of chocolate chips to your preference. (Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or more semi-sweet.)

Shards
6 ounces of chips ( or one cup, or half a 12 ounce bag)

Put the chips in a glass measuring cup and put them in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Then stir, and put them back in for 10 seconds at a time, then stir.  Repeat until the chips are melted.  Tear a 16 inch sheet of waxed paper and lay it flat on your counter.  Pour the melted chocolate out and spread it evenly across the paper.  Put another layer of waxed paper on top and roll it up and put it in the refrigerator, seem side down for 30 minutes.  Don’t add the shards until the cake and icing are cool, because they will melt.  When you are ready, unroll the wax paper and the chocolate will break into shards. Use the tallest ones to go around the cake, and put the smaller pieces on top. Try to work with cold hands too, because even the heat of your hands will melt the chocolate.

Ganache
8 ounces of heavy whipping cream
8 ounces of chocolate chips.

Heat the heavy whipping cream in a pot on the stove over low heat until bubble just start to form on the sides of the pan.  Before it comes to a simmer, remove from heat and add the chips, stirring until the chips are melted and you have a even, chocolatey consistency.

The ganache needs to cool a bit until it’s spreadable, and not too runny.  It can cool on the counter, in the fridge, or over a bowl of ice water depending on your hurry.  Just be sure to stir occasionally as it cools.

And don’t get mad at me about how hot your kitchen is now… remember, winter is coming.

Non Fancy Breakfast Friday

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I am a cooking a Fancy Breakfast as I type this, so I think we are past the heat of summer where our breakfasts are less than fancy.  Jack played five games in six days last week and part of his pregame ritual was to eat a bowl of frosted shredded wheats. (King Soopers Brand.)  Look, I’m not here to mess with any baseball related superstitious rituals.  And its been way too hot to cook.  But we did eat a few non-cereal meals last week, and they were delicious and did not involve the oven, so I’ll share those recipes.

I made a giant vat of this barbecue sauce from Smitten Kitchen/Ina Garten.  Dave grilled some chicken legs to go with the sauce.

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Last night I made the tater tot waffle recipe from Food and Wine and topped them with either smoked salmon and crème fraîche or a fried egg.  (The recipe is just  “buy tater tots and smash them together in a waffle maker”.) That was fun and decadent and did not involve the oven, although I did slave over a hot waffle maker.

Next week.. The Return of Fancy Breakfast Friday!

Fancy Breakfast Friday: Hot Springs

We were on a crazy road trip to Hot Springs last week so I did not make a fancy breakfast.  I can recommend Nelson’s Buffeteria in Tulsa and Phil’s Family Restaurant in Hot Springs.

And speaking of Hot Springs we spent a lot of time laughing last week about that time I accidentally paid someone to give me a bath and then wrote about it.  In lieu of a Fancy Breakfast Friday story, please enjoy this trip down memory lane.

Fancy Breakfast Friday: Death Star Waffles

Before I even started to make breakfast this morning, I had so many obstacles to overcome.

1.) Massive headache

2.) A work meeting that I scheduled for 7:00 am that someone canceled at 6:00 am

3.) Going back to bed and being loudly woken by Dave hearing the recycling truck 2 houses away and realizing he was going to have to get dressed, move two bikes out of the way and drag the recycling down the driveway in 20 seconds.  Reader, he did it.

So once I was up a second time, I dragged my headache into the kitchen and started breakfast.  I encountered another series of obstacles and self imposed problems so there is no point in sharing the recipe, except to share the story.

I decided to make waffles that had 5 eggs, the exact amount in my fridge.  It also called for a cup of sour cream.  I had about half a cup, plus a tablespoon of yogurt, and I subbed milk for the rest.  The batter was… thin.  The recipe also called for half a stick of butter, melted and cooled.  All my butter was in the freezer, because I like to buy a dumb amount of butter at Costco, and freeze it.  When I put frozen butter in the microwave for a minute, I ended up with half the butter melted over the entire inside of the microwave, and the other half still frozen.  The cleanup time may have caused the eggs and sugar to get slightly over-whipped.

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Jack said, “This looks like the Death Star.”  Hence the name.  It was a particularly accurate name since I had already posted this picture of my kitchen counter on Facebook:

Fancy Breakfast Friday: Freezer Burn Smoothies

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Last Friday kind of snuck up on me.  It had been a big week.  I made a giant birthday cake.  I sent Luke to school with donuts on a Tuesday and I was home from my second trip to the grocery store at 6:15 that morning because I had screwed up the gluten free option.  I bought a cookie that was right in the middle of all the gluten free options after reading, “no eggs, no soy, no dairy, no GMO, vegan”.  But Luke read the actual ingredients to me and sure enough, wheat was the first thing on there.  Long story short, I never came up with an idea for FBF.

So Friday morning I just had to dig through the freezer to see what was in there and what did I find?!?! Home grown, organic, garden strawberries from last summer.  They looked a little worse for the wear, but nothing a smoothie couldn’t solve.  It was about a cup of strawberries, and I also found about 4 frozen cherries in a bag as well from… sometime.

So I made a smoothie out of strawberries, cherries, a banana, about 1/4 cup of yogurt and a packet for vanilla Skoop protein powder.  Then I added enough milk to smooth it out.  Actually probably significantly less milk than I needed because it was very grainy from the fruit and the protein powder.  Jack loved it, but Luke’s more refined palate wasn’t thrilled. He drank it anyway.  I also made them a side dish – oatmeal for Jack and an egg for Luke.

I saved a tiny glass for myself and this photo op.

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Fancy Breakfast Friday: Snowboard Muffins

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Last week Jack had a surprise 4-day weekend, so one day he helped me make some muffins and the next day we all took off for a getaway weekend to Crested Butte.  You know that old wisdom that if kids help you cook then they will be more invested in eating the food, etc etc?  Not so with healthy-ish muffins.  Jack ate some, but then said they were too healthy for him.  I thought they were very good, but I may even cut back on the sugar next time.  With Jack’s help, they were pretty easy to make, and they made 24, which I loved.

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We had some for FBF with an egg and some bacon, and then I packed the rest up for CB and I was able to make delicious meals in the hotel room.  They boys had oatmeal with apples, bacon, a muffin and some orange juice.  Sometimes with an egg as well.  We just had a microwave and a one burner stove to work with but I did everything in the microwave. (And the muffins and bacon were pre-made.)

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Normal people may go out to breakfast when on a getaway weekend, but it’s hard to stay up till 10 pm drinking tequila, and then get up at 7:00 and help your teen get ready and out they door so he can try to get on the first chairlift.  I need my beauty sleep.  And I don’t recommend facing teen angst on an empty stomach.

I got this recipe from my friend Laura as part of my Christmas present.  Here is a link to the recipe!  I’m glad I found that because I can’t find the printout and I want to make it again.  Plus I’m in the middle of making next weeks FBF and I am running out of time. (Spoiler alert, it’s a million pancakes for the 3rd grade Valentine’s Party.)

The things I changed from the linked recipe are: I used craisins instead of raisins.  Used 1/4 cup of oil instead of apple sauce.  I just used 4 normal sized carrots instead of measuring the carrots.  The apples and the carrots just got sent into the food processor on “shred”.

I took my fancy camera to Crested Butte but there was too much precipitation for art photography.  And unlike last time, the view from our window was not great.  This is from my iPhone.

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And here’s the random photo of the week:

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Did you ever imagine someone could take such tiny bites from a sandwich?  From what I could tell, aside from those “bites”, Jack had just milk and two pistachios for lunch the other day.

One of my favorite things about making muffins is saying, “I haven’t had my muffin yet, MATT”    Try it, it’s fun.

Fancy Breakfast Friday: Corn Tortillas

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At Dave’s request, I made corn tortillas from scratch as a basis for huevos rancheros.

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I bought the masa harina at King Soopers instead of getting the real deal from one of my many other options in Boulder.  King Soopers also had something more authentic looking than what I bought (the Quaker brand) but the bag was a lot bigger and I had a suspicion I would go back to buying tortillas after making them once so… I bought the smaller bag.

When I got home I realized I bought the darn bag for flour tortillas.  As I already have 4 kinds of wheat flour, I returned it for the corn flour.  Luke and Lucy walked to the grocery store with me, so that was a nice outing.

Breakfast was delicious, obviously.  But the leftovers were… crackery.  In retrospect I wonder if I overcooked them.  It took me about 5 tortillas to get it “right”.  I suppose I’ll make them again as I have a lot of masa harina left over.

I read that it’s hard to get the shape you want with a rolling pin.  The preferred method is to use a tortilla press.  Even though I knew I wasn’t going to end up with perfectly round tortillas, I was surprised at how misshapen they were, and at how annoyed I was by that.

I did spend a lot of time thinking of the people who lived in the Mesa Verde area while I was rolling my tortillas.  (This is just an excuse to share vacation pictures.)

I already shared my book for this week in my book club post on Monday, but here it is again.

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Fancy Breakfast Friday: Apple Cobbler

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We had apple cobbler, bacon, yogurt, juice and coffee last week for Fancy Breakfast Friday. I again tried following ye’ olde daycare recipe for apple cobbler.  The boys used to get this for snack on Friday afternoons at daycare and everyone loved it.  But I don’t 100% trust the recipe for various reasons.  I read a million apple cobbler recipes last week trying to put together a frankenstein version of apple cobbler.  Jack said, “I love this, even the dusty stuff on top.”  Dave said, “Good thing you got your fancy camera back, because good luck getting this to look good.”  Then he later admitted that he ate his by mixing it into his daily oatmeal.   We had one breakfast, one dessert and then the rest did get mixed into oatmeal because that was a good idea.img_1186

This really seems more like a crumble, even though the recipe I “adapted” for the top called it a “biscuit”.

One day I will perfect my apple cobbler and share the recipe.

Fancy Breakfast Friday: Raspberry Butter Cake

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As I may have mentioned, my camera is broken so I have to get a job to pay for the repairs, thanks A LOT SONY! So I didn’t even bother with fancy photos for this raspberry butter cake.  I went through a huge stack of magazines and tore out recipes and this was one that appealed to me.  Raspberries, whole wheat… it sounded healthy.  (Note, I did not read that butter was in the name of the recipe at first.) Then I saw almond flour and I recycled the magazine.  I have enough going on in my life, I don’t need to buy almond flour.  But then the very next day, my friend told me she had started making her own almond milk and had an almond flour by-product if I wanted any.  Serendipity!  I told her I would be happy to take her almond flour and I grabbed this recipe out of the recycling.

Time passed and it cooled off enough to run our oven.  I grabbed a thingy (unit of measure) of raspberries and I planned to make this.  Then I read the recipe again and I thought… “2 sticks of butter? That’s a lot.”  and then I thought. “7 eggs?  Well I guess if I am going to serve cake for breakfast, it should have 7 eggs in it.”

It was very good.  (2 sticks of butter.) And moist.  I know some people hate the word moist.  That actually makes me use the word more, especially to describe cake, and especially when the cake is really moist.  Like, 2 sticks of butter and 7 eggs moist.  It was a little greasy.

I gave a tiny slice to my friend who gave me the almond flour.  I should have given her more, but we were going camping that day, and I thought I needed 75% of a cake to get through the weekend.  This was true, people get hungry camping and a moist cake on a desert camping trip will dry a lot of hangry tears.

I served the cake slices with a bowl of yogurt and a slice of bacon.

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Fancy Breakfast Friday: Granola Chocolate Chip Waffles

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These waffles are an homage to the Grananola Chocolate Chip Waffles at the Southside Walnut Cafe.  I can’t recommend my waffle recipe though because they were a little tough.  I subbed in some whole wheat flour, but I don’t blame that.  I think I just need to continue my quest for the perfect waffle recipe.

What I do recommend is adding granola and chocolate chips to your fave waffle recipe and then serving it up with some more granola, chocolate chips and sliced bananas on top.  (I poured some batter into the waffle maker, added a handful of granola and then put some more batter on top.  I didn’t want to mix it into the batter because I didn’t want the granola to get too soft.)  I  did not put any banana in the waffles like they do at the Southside because, yuck.

My homemade granola is a work in progress, first it was too sweet, then not sweet enough.  I may now have the perfect recipe. At first I thought it might still be not sweet enough, but I’ve been finding it to be a nice cereal topping, delicious with yogurt and berries from my garden.   Maybe you should make it and let me know?

The original recipe that started all this is from cooking light.  I just found that it had so much orange juice that it took forever to cook.  Like – double or triple the time on the recipe.  So I started messing around with it and this is what I have.  This makes two cookie sheets worth, because why bother making less?

Granola:

6 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup sliced almonds
6 teaspoons cinnamon – yeah that’s a weird amount.
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 cup orange juice
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 F

Line two cookie sheets with parchment or spray with nonstick spray.  Mix the dry ingredients in a huge bowl.  In a small sauce pan, heat the orange juice, honey, brown sugar.  Stir until the honey and brown sugar is dissolved.  Add the vanilla.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir.  Spread the mixture in an even layer over the two cookie sheets.  Bake at 300 for 20 minutes, stirring after 10 minutes.  You may need to add time to get the granola to your level of doneness.  I like it to be brown and pretty crunchy.

Let it cool on the cookie sheets and then store in a tightly sealed container.

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