Mission Statement

Culinary Adventures in a College Kitchen

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Red Velvet Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

One of the best things about my birthday was being able to make my own birthday cake. I rarely have an occasion to make cakes and was so excited about this one that I planned an entire month in advance. I searched all over the internet for something fun to make and found so many wonderful options (Guinness Chocolate Cake? Yes, please!) but I ultimately settled on something that I knew everyone would love.

Red Velvet.

I adored this cake. The color is beautiful and the cream cheese frosting tastes like something straight from heaven. This was one of those cakes that the leftovers were immediately sent to neighbors. It was that dangerously good.

Red Velvet Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp cocoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp vinegar (I used distilled white)
1 tsp vanilla
2 oz food coloring


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the two eggs. Add the other liquid ingredients and mix gently. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well. Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

For frosting, wait until the cake is completely cool. Finish with some toasted coconut or colorful sprinkles.

Frosting Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups butter
8 0z cream cheese
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
4-6 cups powdered sugar
2-4 tbsp milk


First, make sure that your butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. Cream the cream cheese at medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the butter and repeat. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, salt and beat until it is well mixed. Turn off the mixer and add 2 cups of powdered sugar. Mix on low to avoid getting sugar down the front of your shirt. Alternate sugar with milk until you have the consistency you want.

Source: Bakerella (cake) and Joy The Baker (frosting)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Bring on the vodka.

Bring on the beer.

This girl is finally 21!!!

I turned 21 on Sunday, and had the greatest birthday that I could have ever imagined. It started off with some of Angela's amazing pancakes. I drifted away from the recipe a bit (apparently out of my eighteen different flours, whole wheat is not one of them) but they still turned out wonderfully.

Then there was some church. Some eating. Some brother-sister drinking.

The big event of the day, though, was dinner with my friends at this little Italian restaurant called Francescas. This could be my favorite restaurant. Everything is made to order and they have a constantly changing seasonal menu (!!!). It's a winner.

My first legal drink there was a chocolate martini. Oh my word, that baby was gooooodddd!!! Seriously, I could have had several. And then be picked up off the floor because they were strong, lol. But really, it was fan-freaking-tastic.

Chocolate Martini, let's make babies.

Ironically enough, I didn't get carded for the drink. I was a little sad at that. Isn't it a rite of passage to proudly show your ID on your birthday? Anyhoo, the restaurant made up for it with a birthday profiterole that my slightly sloshed self had no interest in.

After shutting down the restaurant (we literally were the last people there) we all headed back to my house for some presents and True Blood.

Yes, that is a Gone With The Wind blanket. It has a matching tin box, too.

All in all, it was a pretty wonderful birthday!! I got to spend it with my family, my best friends, and that wonderful chocolate martini. I couldn't have asked for anything more!

Except maybe that.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fresh Fruit with Cannoli Cream

I've made a shocking discovery in the past few weeks. Sweltering summer days and cupcakes do not mix, at least for me. I don't want to eat them. At all.

It's not you, cupcake. It's me.

Just the thought of a cupcake piled high with heavy buttercream makes me break into a sweat. My usual cupcake-loving-self doesn't know what to think of this.

Anyway, last week I had a Tony's party. Yes, I am that Broadway obsessed. I'm the person with twenty Original Broadway Cast recordings on her iPod. I'm also the person who poses like Vanna White at ritzy theaters.

Best show ever. Best night of my life. Ever.

Part of me still wanted to bake cupcakes for the party but I knew that I would regret it the minute they came out of the oven. Also, with only about six people for the party I didn't want to have half a dozen cupcakes left for myself. I may not prefer cupcakes in the summer but it doesn't mean that one wouldn't look mighty nice at 11:00 at night.

Per usual, I turned to my plethora of Giada cookbooks and found the perfect solution.

Fresh Fruit With Cannoli Cream


1/3 cup ricotta
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp whipping cream
3 tbsp powdered sugar
pinch cinnamon
Slivered almonds


Mix the ricotta and 2 tbsp whipping cream in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the remaining whipping cream, powdered sugar, and cinnamon until stiff peaks form. Fold in the ricotta mixture.

Slice the strawberries and divide into four wine glasses. Add the raspberries. Spoon the cannoli cream into each wine glass, making sure to divide evenly. Finish with a sprinkle of almonds.

If you are serving this later in the day place in the refrigerator until served.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

In Love

I am in love.

With this sandwich.

Our wedding is in late July. Expect an invitation.

Fakin' Bacon Wrap


Morningstar Veggie Bacon
Butter pickles
Banana Peppers
Multigrain Wrap

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Glee Live 2011

I went to Glee Live yesterday with my mom. Bless that woman for putting up with my yelling, cat-calling, awkward clapping, and occasional bout of tears throughout the show. I'm telling you-that woman is a saint.

I took a lot of pictures. Unfortunately, I think my on-off crying and internal combustions each time Darren Criss came onstage compromised my already lacking photography skills. Therefore, most of the pictures are pretty terrible, but I am showing you the best! Hope you enjoy them!

The stage pre-show

Single Ladies (with Kurt at front)

Lea Michele with "Firework". When my dad saw this he went, "It's you!".

The Warblers with "Teenage Dream". I definitely cat-called during this.

Born This Way (Mercedes, Kurt, Tina)

All the Glee kids with "Sing"

This concert was literally a dream for me to attend. I am in awe of all of these performers. They do this every night and that is just ridiculous. I had a great time and can't wait to go again next year!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Allspice Crumb Muffins

People tell me I have a white thumb, not to be confused with a white nose which I believe has a quite different connotation.

I'm assuming it's because I'm always baking. Constantly. It's my go-to for dinner parties. My no-brainer for last minute gifts (shame on me, I know). It's what I do when I'm sad. When I'm happy. When I'm craving chocolate and all things salty, with a heating pad pressed against my belly.

It really is my cure-all, and it has never failed me.

I always find it amusing when others talk about my baking. And believe it or not-it happens alarmingly often. I have one friend who brings up these scones I made whenever introducing me to others.

"Man, I'm telling you these scones were ridiculous!"

I usually just nod my head and think that he is giving me way too much credit. The scones were good, though. Also not my own recipe.

My grandparents like to talk about it at their senior club meetings and tell everyone how I will make a good wife. I know this happens because I have had the pleasure (or perhaps the pain) of being present during one such conversation. I almost think they use it as subtle advertising targeted toward the other seniors' grandsons.

Any twenty something future doctors there?

Any takers?

She makes a mean chocolate chip cookie!

As much as my cheeks color when others talk about my baking this or that, I can't say that I don't enjoy it. It makes me feel a bit silly, but at least they aren't saying bad things. Much rather them talking about the cupcakes I made last week then knocking my outfit.

So, in closing (to the longest post ever, I think)...

Let's give them something to talk about.

Allspice Crumb Muffins

Streusel Ingredients:

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp all spice
5 tbsp cold butter

Muffin Ingredients:

2 cups flour
8 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the streusel, cut the butter into chunks and add to the flour and sugar mixture. Using your hands, mix all ingredients together until it forms a coarse meal with irregular chunks of butter. Refrigerate until use.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, allspice, and baking powder. Add the brown sugar, making sure to work out all the lumps. In a separate bowl, combine the liquids. Add to the dry ingredients, mixing well. The batter will be lumpy.

Pour into prepared muffin tin (12-cup). Next, take the streusel topping from the refrigerator and sprinkle atop the muffins, pressing it down slightly into the batter.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Source: Annie's Eats