Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

Beatty's Chocolate Cake ~ The best chocolate cake ~ The Way to His Heart #chocolate #cake

This cake has been called the “Best Chocolate Cake Ever” and there is good reason, it really is. At least for a chocolate cake that has no extra gimmicks inside or other flavors. It’s pure chocolate here, the flavor only being enhanced by the coffee and not lending any flavor to it. I’ve been making this cake for a few years now and it never ceases to impress. Even when I botch up the frosting and it’s somewhat grainy because I let the chocolate seize (see note in directions). I took these pictures a long time ago, but deemed them not worthy and said I’d take some more the next time I made the cake. Except each and every time the cake was eaten before the chance ever came back up. I decided this week to go ahead and share this cake with you anyways. I honestly feel bad for keeping it from you all for this long. Well, that is if you haven’t heard of it already and/or aren’t an avid fan of Ina Garten. If you aren’t though, this cake will change your mind.

While I have other good, all purpose chocolate cakes, this is the cake I make when I’m not serving a bunch of kids or needing something to support a lot of marshmallow fondant. This is the cake that puts any given Sunday dinner over the top. This chocolate cake is what I make when someone wants a simple birthday cake, but deserves more. This is the cake you need to make soon, very soon! See if you beat me to it, since I’ve been craving this cake for the past few days and keep telling myself to at least wait until the weekend!

Beatty's Chocolate Cake ~ The best chocolate cake ~ The Way to His Heart #chocolate #cake

Beatty’s Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • Butter for greasing pans
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

For the frosting:

  • 6 oz good semisweet chocolate
  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tbsp instant coffee powder

To make the cake:

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Butter two 8″ x 2″ round cake pans. Line with parchment paper and then butter and flour the pans.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed until combined. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine. Scrap the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Place one layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake stand. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting on the top and sides of the cake.

To make the chocolate frosting:

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature, but not stiffened otherwise chocolate will seize in the frosting.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg ylk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolves the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don’t whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Serves 8

Source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa at Home

George Turns Two! A Boat Party

George Turns Two! A Boat Party ~ The Way to His Heart ~ #birthday #boats #partyfood #kidsparties

My George is two. How did time go by so fast? I’ve heard the second child grows up faster, but this is ridiculous! He’s always grown fast, but now he’s in a rush to do the same things as his sister which means I’m losing the toddler in him very fast. His birthday was back before Thanksgiving and we knew were going to throw him a boat party. He’s been loving boats all summer long and anytime we go over a bridge, by a stream, or by the ocean he’ll ask, “boat?”

Now that I’ve gotten a few children’s parties under my belt and have two kids to look after I decided to hold back a little and keep this party simple. My husband and I also really didn’t want to deal with fondant this year so there were no 3D puppy cakes or bounce houses like his sister’s second birthday party, but we had just as much fun and the food and decor were a hit!

I opted to make a simple wave cake for George. I’ve never done a smash cake before and I figured this would be the last chance to do one so I thought making a smaller cake with simple piping to look like waves would be cute. Top it with a little origami boat and it’s a win. George loved the cake, but didn’t do the typical smashing. I thought he would since the kid loves cake, but he chose to eat his with a fork. For everyone else I made cupcakes with little sailboat toppers. There were a few more toppers made but George woke up a few days before the party and decided to play with them. No problem, we’ll just have less. I’m learning that sanity is worth a lot more then four extra toppers!

For the food I decided to go with some comfort food. It was before Thanksgiving and I wanted to steer away from those flavors, but it was cold and I just thought some chili would be great. I also made a batch of macaroni and cheese because I knew it would be a hit for both the children and adults. Through in some great breads, simple appetizers, and we were good to go! I went real simple with the favor bags and opted to give the kids some goldfish and a tub toy boat. Again, they are two and they really don’t need any more desserts to go home with and now that I’m a bit wiser I also didn’t want to send their parents home with more stuff!

We had a great time and this party was really simple to plan and execute once I decided on everything. We still play with the cardboard sailboat and George now has a cute life preserver with his name on it for his bedroom door!

 

George Turns Two! A Boat Party ~ The Way to His Heart ~ #birthday #boats #partyfood #kidsparties

Menu

Snacks

Crudites with Ranch Dressing

Chips and French Onion Dip

Cowboy Caviar

Queso

“Catch of the Day” Goldfish

Apple slices

 

Lunch

Texas Chili with fixings (corn chips, sour cream, green onions, cheese)

Crockpot Macaroni & Cheese

Cornbread

Super Easy Crusty Bread

 

Dessert

Ice Creams ~ Easy Mint Chip, Vanilla Bean, Ben’s Chocolate Ice Cream

Cupcakes and Cake ~ Chocolate Cake, Buttercream Frosting

 

Decor

George’s Sailboat Shirt

George’s Sailboat ~ A few inspirations from Pinterest and a handy husband

George’s Life Preserver ~ Purchased from Amazon, personalized by Wink’s Kennebunkport

Paper Sailor Hats

Cupcake Toppers

Cake Sailboat Topper

Favor Bags ~ Tub toy boat and goldfish with Catch of the Day Bag Toppers

 

 

California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza Dip

California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza Dip ~ All of the goodness from the classic pizza but served up as a bubbing warm dip! ~ The Way to His Heart

Whether you are looking for something warm and delicious to snack on while watching the snow fall, the big game, or because you love eating warm dips, you must try this! We made it last month and it’s become a favorite. Sometimes I worry about buying ingredients for a new recipe and having leftovers, but these were quickly used for a second batch. It’s been a great treat to snack on during the cold weekends, by ourselves throughout the day or with friends. I originally served this toasted french bread and tortilla chips, but we started eating it with potato chips and anything we can get our hands on to use as a vessel. What I haven’t gotten is a great picture of this stuff. Sometimes it’s not about the looks, and this is the case. It’s good, I promise! I just wanted to hurry and get this recipe to you so you can start enjoying it as well!

I listed two ways to prepare this down below. If you want to make this in advance and serve later on to friends or to bring somewhere, go the slowcooker method. If you want to make this quickly and enjoy immediately, then the oven route is the way to go. Either way, they taste good. The original recipe showed red onions, but I felt that although they are used on California Pizza Kitchen’s BBQ Chicken and I love it there, it just didn’t add anything to the dip.

 

California Pizza Kitchen BBQ Chicken Pizza Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 small chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (plus more for garnish)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded (plus more for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup Smoked Gouda, shredded
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • handful Cilantro, chopped

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 hours in slow cooker set on low. Shred chicken once cooked.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream and barbecue sauce and mix until smooth. Add the mixture to the slow cooker and stir in the mozzarella and smoked Gouda. Cook for 2 hours until hot and bubbly.

Top with bacon and cilantro and serve with chips, bread or pita chips.

If you’d like extra browning, place in an oven proof dish and top with extra cheese and place under the broiler until the cheese has melted and is browned.

**You may also bring the chicken to boil in a pot of water seasoned with salt and pepper and then simmer until done, approximately 15 minutes. Then place everything into an oven proof dish and bake for approximately 30 minutes.

Slightly Adapted from: Oh, Sweet Basil

 

Cucumber, Thyme, and Tangerine Infused Water ~ Cool and refreshing way to add flavor to your water ~ The Way to His Heart #CLBlogger #HenHouseLinens

Now that life is back to normal and things have slowed down from vacation and the holidays I can step back and breath. Get my house in order, in more ways than one. When I look out the window here in Maine, it’s typically pretty gloomy. We’ve been lucky so far and we haven’t gotten much snow or cold weather, but it’s here now and I’m over it. So, I’m cheering myself up and bringing the sunshine inside and brightening things up with some cool cucumber and fresh citrus flavor. I love the addition of the thyme. I would have never thought of it and I had some from the holidays I wanted to use up anyways. I also love bringing out my geeky beaker pitcher when I get the chance!

So, whether you need some citrus sunshine in your life or to add some life to all of that water you’re drinking because of your “eat better” resolutions. Try this wonderful infused water and some other great ones out there as well! While there is a recipe, you really just keep the ratios right with however much water you are using and you’ll be set. That’s the great thing about infused waters, you can’t go too wrong!

Cucumber, Thyme, and Tangerine Infused Water ~ Cool and refreshing way to add flavor to your water ~ The Way to His Heart #CLBlogger #HenHouseLinens

 

Cucumber, Thyme, and Tangerine Infused Water

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water
  • 5 cucumber slices
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 4 tangerine slices

Add ingredients and refrigerate for one hour. The longer it sits the more intense the flavor. Store in refrigerator for up to three days.

Source: Cooking Light Magazine, Jan 2016

Yum