Toffee Popcorn Cake...umm, yes!

12:00 PM

I love making cakes but I cannot bake. I have never made my own cake mix from scratch. Now, my mom....she throws down on homemade cakes.  One of these days, I will try my hand at baking a cake from scratch. Memorial Day was just not the day to start.

What I like about making cakes is that the possibilities in decorating and taste are endless. While I may not be a master piper or be able to make fondant toppers, I like using common things to make cakes look kinda cute, funky, different.

I saw a cake on pinterest of a peanut butter cake topped with caramel popcorn. I was like, whoah. Yes.

This cake is not one that comes with a recipe, it is just an idea...something that you can easily recreate at home and believe me, although it looks less than the way I wanted it to look, it did not make it past an hour of cutting into it. Everyone LOVED it.

The filling is premade Philadelphia Cream Cheese Cheesecake Filling. The topping is a fresh ganace I made.

For the ganache, 1/2 cup of heavy cream with  1 cup chocolate chips...slowly melt on low heat until smooth in a double boiler. I did not have a double boiler so the pyrex measuring cup over a boiler worked just fine for me.

Assmeble your cake....I used a double fudge cake mix baked as directed. I spread the filling on each layer, including the top. Making a bit of a mess, I topped with the chocolate ganache, added a huge heaping of toffee popcorn with peanuts and placed it in the refrigerator until serving.

Everyone was like, "Why did you not make two!?" I guess that means I should make another this weekend. 


Mother's Day: Southern Style

11:51 PM

Being  a single and divorced mom of four means Mother's Day is usually spent with me doing all the cooking. Of course, I don't mind at all since cooking is something I love to do. I like to feed my family, plan something for them and the smiles on their faces knowing I made just a little extra effort is all the Mother's Day gift I need. That and of course the handmade cards from my kids...priceless.

Each Mother's Day at my place is spent with my mom. I am so thankful to her and even though I may not be able to send her on a trip around the world, what I can do is show her that I love her. I decided today to take everything back. My mom is a traditional Southern cook. She is old school. She is the master at fried chicken, comfort foods and even has mastered cooking pigtails and makes the best cornbread dressing this side of the Mississippi (no lie...her dressing is the BOMB!) When my best fried surprised me with a set of country dishes I thought, hmmmm, let me make my mama proud and cook a Southern meal. 

I did just that. Got up in the wee hours of the morning (8am, yep) and started peeling potatoes, snapping beans and making biscuits from scratch. Heck, if you are going to try and make your traditional Southern mama proud you have to go back to basics. So here is what was on the menu...

Fresh cut green beans
Sour Cream mashed potatoes
Fresh cheesey yellow squash
Fried chicken
Sun tea

I made everything from scratch...except for the cake...I have yet to master baking so I used a box cake mix...dousing each layer after baking with a lemon simple syrup, topping with blackberry jam, cream cheese frosting and topping with berries and flowers.

My mom loved it and she was so impressed. That made me happy and satisfied. Everyone enjoyed it all and the cake was demolished in minutes. Even though the cake had mishaps (top layer started cracking when I was placing it....the jam ran into the icing) it all worked. I thought my mom would be a bit upset because I snagged a few flowers from her Mother's Day bouquet but she raved about the cake.

I am one happy camper. I love making a little extra effort for those I love. I may not have it all but I have my love. Today. was. a. good. day.


Happy Mother's Day!

12:04 AM

To all the mothers out there, Happy Mother's Day!

We are strong. We are fierce.


Coming Up...And Headed North...

2:35 PM

Next weekend will be one busy one for me. I am headed to Chicago to teach a photography workshop with another amazing photographer and featuring some fabulous young ladies and one of a kind high fashion costumes. Excited for two reasons....photographing editorial style, teaching--yes!  The other reason...fooooood! Oh Chicago how I have missed you and your delicious Italian beef sandwiches drenched in peppers and au jus. How I have longed for your deep dish pizzas and Chicago-style hot dogs. I can. not. wait.

I will be working on posting the steps and recipes for these dishes. Simple, quick and perfect for the upcoming summer nights.

Bacon infused beef meatballs and marinara over penne pasta.

Turkey and Fried Green Tomatoes Sandwich

Sriracha skewers and pineapple-grapefruit spritzer.

Of course, when I go to Chicago, I plan to document all of my food adventures.  Last time I was there I had the most awesome Liberian pepper soup. Oh gosh....I die.


Death By Chocolate & Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cake

10:50 PM

Here in Mississippi the weather is finally deciding on what it wants to be when it grows up.  While it is not exactly hot yet, it is very warm and we are welcoming the May sunshine in all it's golden beauty and warmth. I used this break from the previous indecisiveness of Southern Mother Nature to break out the ice cream.

Yeah, any excuse to eat ice cream is a good one, right?

So the weather is nice, the sun is shining bright and bold and my kids need a treat. I do what any other mom would do....I head to and eye photo after photo for some ice creamy inspiration. I found it...boy did I find it. I saw a photo of an ice cream cake that took me all the way back to the late 80s when my fifth grade (highly fashionable with my lopsided ponytails) self knew what it meant to be cool and have the coolest birthday party. You could not be cool and awesome without an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. So there it was. My inspiration and what I would make. Nevermind I had never made one before. Who cares about that? You gotta try.

I tried it and I loved it. Man, oh man, did I love it. The kids loved it and my friends loved it. Let's just say, last year was the Year of the Popsicles but this summer will be the Year of the Ice Cream Cake.

While it is not perfect, my first attempt....Death By Chocolate and Peanut Butter...

I made the mistake of running the sides of the springform pan under hot water. Lesson learned. It will make your ice cream melt. Instead use a warm dish rag and run around the outside of the pan to loosen the ice cream. 

I have no idea why I had not tried it before.

You will need:
Brownie Mix ( I used the Ghirardelli brownie mix) 
3 quarts Chocolate Ice Cream 
Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (minis) and Reeses Sticks
Chocolate Syrup for garnish

Prepare your brownies as directed on the box or use your favorite homemade brownie mix.  One batch is enough for two layers in a 9 inch springform pan. Pour half of the brownie mix into the pan. Bake as directed.

Allow it to cool and remove the first brownie layer from the pan. Pour remaining half of brownie mix in the pan and bake. Allow it to cool and begin assembly.

Slice your peanut butter cups and place on top of the cooked brownie layer.

Take your ice cream out ten minutes before you plan to add it to the cake. You want it to soften but not melt. Scoop it on top of the peanut butter cup layer. I used a wooden spatula that I ran under warm water to smooth out the ice cream. 

Place in the freezer until firm.

Place second brownie layer on top and repeat ice cream layer. Place in freezer again until firm.

To remove your cake from the pan, wipe the sides of the pan with a warm cloth to help loosen the ice cream.

Top with your remaining cups and reeses sticks. Drizzle with chocolate syrup and serve.

This was so sinfully good it should be a crime. I was so happy with the way it turned out, I am attempting another one tomorrow. Not this one, but a completely different one with a Southern classic twist. Oh yes.

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