Beach Days

      We’ve been spending a lot of time at the beach, trying to soak up as much summer as we can before it slips away.  She’s in love with the sand and building castles and pools.  We spent this evening playing and eating and getting completely covered in sand.  

Portraits of my Daughter

            I spent some time photographing her this weekend.  I was so intrigued by her drawing with the chalk on the wet concrete.  She created one masterpiece after another and just like that washed them away and started all over.   There was something really magical and beautiful about the whole process and I got swept up capturing it.

The Best Chocolate Cupcakes

  She kept asking me for cupcakes.  Day after day.  Finally, one night after work I agreed to make them.    These really are the best chocolate cupcakes.  Ever.  They are insanely moist.  Literally they were still moist a week later.  I’m not joking.  It was insane.This girl most certainly has my sweet tooth.  She loves chocolate.  And ice cream.  And cookies.  She’s clearly our daughter.  We made these a few weeks back and I’m sitting here writing this, drooling over them, wishing I had made another batch tonight.  If she wasn’t asleep I’m sure she would be wishing the same.

Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cake:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
For the Frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1.  For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°. Line 2 cupcake pans with liners.

2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed. In a bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated.

3.  Pour the batter into the pans. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cupcake comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then remove to wire racks.

4.  Make the frosting: Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.  Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.  Frost cupcakes.  Makes about 2 cups frosting.

Purple Moccs

         This girl seems to have inherited my love of shoes.  Seriously do most two year olds have 20 pairs of shoes?  And I swear the kid loves them all.  Recently she got to pick out a new pair of moccasins and I swear the excitement level she reached when she saw the purple ones was almost explosive.  We received our first pair of Freshly Picked moccs a little over a year ago, and have loved them ever since.  They still fit, and although well loved, are still in great shape.  I’ve purchased other brands over the past year as well, and honestly the difference in quality is huge.  These moccs are thicker, yet the leather is soft enough to skip socks.   I’ve caught myself wishing numerous times that they came in adult sizes.  They are the perfect shoe for toddlers, easy to get on and off, yet almost impossible for littles to kick off.   Have you tried Freshly Picked moccs yet?  Well here’s your chance.  This week I’m hosting a giveaway, one pair of Freshly Picked moccasins, in a color of your choice. Here’s how to win:
1.  Follow the blog. This gets you your initial entry. 

2. Leave a blog comment. 

3. Follow The Night Bakery on Facebook, leave a blog comment when you do. 

4. Follow The Night Bakery on Instagram, leave a blog comment letting me know you did. 

5. Share this link on social media. Leave a comment with the link to your share. 

Make sure to leave a comment here for each one. Each item gets you one entry. Giveaway runs through May 7th. Winner will be choose at random. Winner will be announced here May 8th. Winner can not have won any other giveaway including a pair of Freshly Picked moccasins within the last 60 days.  

I was gifted one pair of Freshly Picked moccasins, I was not however, compensated for this post and all ideas expressed are my own. 

Giveaway is now closed and winner has been contacted.  

Triple Berry Crumble

 I have been seriously neglecting the space.  We baked last week and I failed to post it.  After all of the craziness in our life subsided (at least temporarily) I am having a hard time getting back into the habit of posting.  I am hoping to change that quickly.  This recipe is actually a pie recipe, that I have been making for years.  I just got too lazy to put it into pie form and decided crumble was pretty much the same thing.  Plus little hands love smooshing butter into flour.  And eating sugar.  By the handful.  And letting the dog lick the remnants.  This crumble is best served warm, with vanilla ice cream if you have it.  It’s one of my favorite desserts to make and eat, not only because it’s easy, but it’s also super delicious and comforting.  A few minutes of work yields enough crumble for days.  Or 24 hours if you live in my house.

Triple Berry Crumble

Ingredients

For the Crumble:

1 cup hazelnuts or almonds, ground
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) cold butter cut into cubes

For the Filling:

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 pints of fresh or frozen berries

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the Crumble: Grease a 9×9 baking dish. In a medium bowl mix together the hazelnuts or almonds, flour and sugar. Using your fingers mix in the butter until crumbs form.

2. For the Filling: In a large bowl gently mix sugar, cornstarch and berries together until berries are evenly coated.

3. To assemble: Take half of your crumble mixture and press into the bottom of your baking dish. Pour your filling over the crust. Top with remaining crumble mixture. Bake for 30 minutes or until crumble is golden brown and fruit is bubbly. Serve warm with ice cream

Easter bunnies

I’ve been absent from this space.  The toddler has been sick for four weeks now, and I spent the past two weeks trying to keep the puggle alive after he developed a serious liver disease.  Luckily he seems to have recovered, at least for now.  And he definitely loved being the Easter bunny.  The beagle liked it even more.  Obviously.  

I plan on being back to baking next week, we’re working on something sweet tomorrow so hopefully it makes it your way next week!

Baking with my Daughter: Grapefruit Pound Cake

IMG_0491Sometimes I am a better photographer than baker.  This weekend was such a case.  Well, it’s not that I was a bad baker, it’s more like poor planning.  She requested to make a cake, so cake we made.  It was her uncles birthday so we thought we would make a cake to celebrate.  My brother was my best friend growing up.  I admired him and looked up to him.  I pestered him and idolized him.   I have such fond memories of playing together as children.  I think some of my favorite memories are from vacations we took as a family.  I remember restaurant after restaurant he would order grapefruit juice to drink with his breakfast.   They were always those little cans of juice, with a duck on them and I thought they tasted horrible.  He on the other hand, loved them.  Since then I’ve had it stuck in my head to make him grapefruit flavored things for his birthday.  So a pound cake we made.This pound cakes flavor was spot on.  It was sweet, and grapefruity.  The glaze, well the glaze may have just been the best part.  But here’s where it went wrong, it wasn’t completely done in the center.  At first I thought it was just excess glaze that had seeped in.  Then I realized, actually it just wasn’t cooked.  Wah-wah.  This is what happens when you tell your husband to take the cake out of the oven while you put the toddler down for a nap, and say oh no you don’t need to check it with a toothpick it will be done.  Duh.  Check the stupid cake with a toothpick people.And no, the kid didn’t shove her hands into the cake like it looks like she’s about to.  I picked up some tequila ice cream (which is insanely good and not very heavily tequila flavored) from the Mexican ice cream shop that we love and the two went sooo well together.  To be honest I liked the cake even better by itself with a cup of coffee for breakfast the next morning.  Also, in case you didn’t know, pound cake is ridiculously easy, provided you bake it long enough.IMG_1134Grapefruit Pound Cake
Ingredients

For the cake:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter softened
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons grapefruit juice
1 teaspoon grapefruit zest

For the glaze:

3 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1 cup confectioners sugar

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream together butter and sugar.  And flour in four additions.  Add eggs, mixing after each one.  Add vanilla, grapefruit juice and zest.  Beat until smooth.  Pour into a progressed loaf pan or a 9×13 pan.  Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

2.  Make the glaze:  Whisk grapefruit juice with confectioners sugar.  Drizzle over cake once cool.

Baking with my Daughter: Dark Chocolate Ganache Tart

IMG_1129.JPGIt’s 11:22pm and my two year old is currently eating this “chocolate pie”. She napped until 6pm so I knew there was a good chance she would be up late tonight. She had quite an unhappy morning accompanied by a fever, so a second nap was necessary. Luckily her evening was much happier.IMG_1130.JPGThis morning before the shit hit the fan, we made this tart together. Well, we started it, then she got super “cranky” and demanded a nap so I ended up finishing it alone after she was asleep. She was pretty excited to see me top it with berries and whipped cream when she woke up. Kids are crazy and scary and wonderful and terrifying all at the same time. When something is wrong and you don’t know what, it’s almost painful. And for us there’s always that nagging fear in the back of our heads that it’s something more. Luckily this kid recovers quickly. Hopefully there’s no trace left tomorrow of whatever it was today, and she’s back to her happy sweet self. If not, we’ll just feed her “pie” for breakfast and all will be right in the world.IMG_1131.JPGDark Chocolate Ganache Tart
Recipe adapted slightly from the Joy the Baker Cookbook

Ingredients

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
1 large egg yolk, beaten

For the ganache:
8 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temp, cut in half

For the topping:
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbs powdered sugar
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup fresh blackberries, cut in half

Instructions

To make the crust:
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in butter with fingers until well incorporated. Some butter chunks will be the size of small pebbles, others will resemble oatmeal flakes. Once incorporated, add the egg yolk and bring mixture together with a fork. Dump mixture into a 9 inch tart pan (or 9 inch spring form pan) and press the crust into the sides and bottom with your fingers. Place in freezer for about an hour.

To make ganache:
2. Place chopped up chocolate in a medium sized bowl. In a small saucepan over medium low heat to a very low simmer. Pour half of cream on top of chocolate and let stand for about a minute, then whisk together. Add in the rest of the milk and butter. Stir until butter is melted. Place in the fridge and stir every 10 minutes until it sets up a little bit.
3. Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter a piece of foil and place butter side down on top of chilled tart. Bake for 20 minutes, then take foil off and bake for another 15, or until golden brown.
Allow tart to cool completely before filling with ganache.

To make topping:
3. In a medium bowl, whip together heavy cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Spread chocolate ganache in tart, then top with whipped cream and berries. Serve immediately. (Can stay in fridge for 3 days)

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I put together a little PSA of sorts for CHD Awareness Week.  I’ve been working on a number of videos lately that I’m hoping to share soon!