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Key Lime Cake

Key Lime Cake


My brother loooooves key lime pie. So much so, that I literally can't make a lime dessert without thinking about him! Last year around his birthday I made Key Lime Pie Bars which were a big hit! This year, since I've been getting more and more into cakes, I decided to make a key lime pie inspired cake.

And let me tell you - this is it. Bursting with fresh lime flavor, this cake will definitely satisfy any lime lovers out there! Lime cake, filled with fresh lime curd, topped with lime buttercream. Um, yeah. This is a perfect cake for the first day of spring, and how about for a cinco de mayo party?? If you can wait that long!
 

Now I can't jump to the recipe without first touching on the frosting for a second here. Because the frosting on this cake is so, freaking, good. I'm not usually the kind of person who could take a spoon to frosting, but you guys, I really could with this stuff. The fresh lime juice and fresh lime zest lightens the flavor, and it's really not very sweet.




Cake Ingredients: 

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
Juice and zest of 4 limes

Lime Curd Ingredients: 

1/2 cup sugar
Juice and zest of 3 limes
4 egg yolks
6 tablespoons butter

Lime Buttercream Ingredients: 

2 cups butter, softened
5-6 cups powdered sugar
Juice and zest of two limes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Cake Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line the bottoms of three 6" cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt.

In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated, and scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Add the sour cream, lime juice and zest, mixing until all ingredients come together.

Pour batter into the three prepared cake pans, and bake in the preheated oven for 22-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.

Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for about 5-10 minutes, and then turn them out on a wire cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. I like to turn my cakes upside down to help them flattten. When the cakes are room temp, I freeze them for 30 minutes to make frosting them easier.

Lime Curd Directions: Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Be sure to whisk constantly so the mixture doesn't burn. Cook about 10 minutes, or until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remember that the curd will continue to thicken as it cools! Remove the curd from the heat, and melt in the butter. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Lime Buttercream Directions: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until light and fluffy. Add 5 cups powdered sugar one cup at a time, starting your mixer on low and increasing to high with each addition. Add the lime zest, juice and vanilla extract, mixing on high speed for about 3-4 minutes. Add the additional cup of powdered sugar if necessary. Taste! If you'd like the frosting to taste even more like lime, add additional zest!

Assembly tips:

  • Cut the top of each cake so that they're flat. This will make frosting easier! I like to do this with frozen cakes and a sharp bread knife. 
  • Cover the first layer of cake with the lime buttercream. Pipe a border of frosting around the circumference of the cake. Spoon lime curd into the well you've created. Top with the second layer of cake, and repeat steps. Then top with the third layer of cake, and frost the cake with remaining frosting! 
  • If you want to decorate with graham cracker crumbs, this is what I do. I carefully transfer the cake to a rimmed baking sheet. Then I empty a generous amount of graham cracker crumbs into the sheet, and press them against the cake. Carefully brush/lightly blow away extra crumbs!


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Kirsten Bell
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Fig, Brie & Prosciutto Rolls

Fig, Brie & Prosciutto Rolls


Sometimes my best ideas happen very randomly. A few weeks ago I was at the store, looking for some snacks for a girl's night. I saw fig jam, my brain started to go wild, and these fig, brie and prosciutto rolls were born!

What I love about these rolls is that they're delicious, obviously, but they're also incredibly quick and easy to throw together! The flavor combination makes them taste really fancy too, so the fact that they take about 5 minutes of hands-on time can be our little secret!


This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled depending on how many people you're wanting to serve. I recommend about two rolls per person, because trust me - nobody will be happy with just one!


Makes 8 Rolls

 Ingredients: 

1 package classic crescent rolls (I used Pillsbury)
4 tablespoons fig jam
5-6 slices prosciutto, diced
8 pieces of brie, about 1 inch squares, 1/4 inch thick
Honey to drizzle

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 375, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Separate dough into 8 triangles. Spread about half a tablespoon of fig jam on the larger end of the triangle, top with prosciutto and slice of brie.

Roll each triangle, starting at the larger end of the triangle, rolling to opposite point. Place rolls on the prepared baking sheet and bake 11-13 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm and bubbly, drizzled with honey.



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Kirsten Bell
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Baileys Chocolate Truffles

Baileys Chocolate Truffles


One of the reasons that I love St. Patrick's Day so much, is that it's a great excuse for alllll of the Baileys recipes! Now you guys know that I love Baileys year-round (who doesn't!), but St. Patty's day is a perfect time to add it to brownies, cakes - and now truffles! If you're looking for an easy and delicious St. Patrick's Day dessert, these are it! Especially easy for a crowd, since all the prep is done way ahead of time!


There are many "steps" to making homemade chocolate truffles, but they're actually incredibly easy! People always seem to be impressed when I make them, and it's my little secret (that I'm now sharing with you), because they take less time than cupcakes! Plus I love playing with all the different flavor possibilities! Check out my Merlot Chocolate Truffles and Earl Grey Chocolate Truffles for inspiration!





Ingredients

1/2 cup Baileys
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

Directions

Heat Baileys in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring continuously until it reaches a low boil.

Pour the hot Baileys over the semi-sweet chocolate chips, in a heat safe bowl. Wait a few minutes, and then stir together. If the chocolate chips haven't completely melted, heat in the microwave in 10 second increments until the chocolate is smooth. Stir in salt.

Chill the chocolate mixture in the fridge for 1.5-2 hours.

Note: It's ready when you can easily roll the chocolate into balls, but it hasn't hardened so much that the chocolate can't be formed. I find that the chocolate near the edges of the bowl hardens faster, so sometimes I'll form that section into balls first, and then put the rest of the chocolate back into the fridge for another half hour.

Roll 1/2 Tbs balls of the chocolate ganache - I usually get about 30. Put the rolled truffles into the freezer for half an hour. I like to do this so they're easier to dip!

Melt the bittersweet chocolate chips in the microwave (again, in increments) until smooth.

Dip the ganache balls in the melted bittersweet chocolate. Chocolate dipping tools are super handy for this step, but you can also use a spoon or long skewer.

After dipping the truffles, put them back into the fridge until the chocolate has hardened, usually about an hour. Enjoy!


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Kirsten Bell
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Guinness Beef Stew with Rosemary Biscuits

Guinness Beef Stew with Rosemary Biscuits


It's no secret at this point that I love British pub recipes, and I love St. Patrick's Day! This Guinness beef stew recipe is so good - rich, hearty, and (my favorite) easy! I call this a stew, but you'll notice that this dish is a lot thicker than a soup - almost more like a casserole! Make this delicious St. Patrick's Day recipe this weekend to celebrate, and serve with my Traditional Soda Bread! Dinner plans made!


I don't know about you, but on chilly days there's just nothing better than a warming stew! This one-pot meal bakes in a dutch oven, which means very little hands on time and very little clean up! If you don't own a dutch oven yet, GET ONE! They're a total game changer, and we use ours all the time. This is the one we use and love!



And if you want some St. Patrick's Day dessert ideas, how about one of these?








Stew Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, roughly diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 carrots, sliced into bite sized pieces
2 stalks celery, sliced 
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
 2 lb beef chuck, cut into 1-2" cubes
1 3/4 cups Guinness (or other stout beer)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire 
(1 tsp brown sugar)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste

Rosemary Biscuits Ingredients: 

1 1/2 cups flour
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks), grated cold butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 cup cold water


Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots and cook until the onions are softened and translucent, stirring occasionally.

While the vegetables cook, prepare the beef. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt and pepper. Add the beef, and use your hands to coat each piece with the flour mixture.

Remove the vegetables to a plate. Add the beef to the dutch oven and cook, stirring frequently until the beef is browned. Return the vegetables to the dutch oven along with any leftover flour. Add the Guinness, Worcestershire, brown sugar and rosemary. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Once the mixture boils, cover the dutch oven and cook in the preheated oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

For the biscuits: 

Stir together the flour, salt and rosemary in a bowl. Lightly stir in the butter. Add the water, and shape into a soft dough using your hands. Separate the dough into 6-8 pieces, and using your hands shape each piece into a small ball. Add the biscuits to the dutch oven, and return the stew to the oven to cook for an additional 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley for garnish and serve with a Guinness!


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Kirsten Bell
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The Ultimate St. Patrick's Day Dessert: Lucky Charm Cake!

The Ultimate St. Patrick's Day Dessert: Lucky Charm Cake!


This cake is seriously what my childhood St. Patrick's Day dreams were made of. Ombre green vanilla cake. Rich vanilla frosting. Covered with ganache drip and garnished with lucky charms marshmallows. I mean...come on! Every kid needs this St. Patrick's Day dessert - even if they're just kids at heart!


I love that this cake is so festive and fun, and it's also really easy! And if you're looking for a more "adult" cake, be sure to check out my Espresso Cake with Baileys Frosting!

Whenever I make cakes, I separate it all into steps. First I bake the cake, let it cool to room temp, wrap it in plastic wrap or freezer bags and put it in the freezer. I'll tell you why. Frozen cakes are wayyyy easier to frost than room temp ones. And I am ALL about easy. 

Then usually the next day, I frost it and do any fun decorating like the ganache drip. Done and done! By separating the cake basically into two parts, I find it's way more manageable for me and my schedule.










Cake Ingredients: 

2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup full-fat vanilla yogurt (greek or regular is fine)
1/2 cup buttermilk

Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients: 

(Note: I use a lot of frosting - see the photos below! You can cut down as needed!)

2 cups butter, softened (4 sticks)
6-8 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream, if needed
  
White Ganache Drip Ingredients: 

1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup white chocolate or white candy melts

Cake Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line the bottoms of three 6" cake pans with parchment paper.

Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the sugar until combined. Add in the eggs, vanilla, yogurt and buttermilk and mix on low until all ingredients are incorporated. Then add the flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

If you want a green ombre cake: Distribute the cake batter evenly into three large mixing bowls. I used a 1/2 cup measure to ensure my cake layers would be exactly even. Add green food dye in varying degrees to each bowl. Remember that the dye will lighten slightly when the cake bakes. 

Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool about 10 minutes in the cake pans, and then invert the cakes onto a cooling rack with the "top" of the cake down. This will help flatten the cakes. Once the cakes come to room temperature, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at least 1 hour before frosting.

Buttercream Directions: 

Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high, and mix about 2-3 minutes.

Ganache Directions: 

Put your frosted cake into the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Melt the chocolate or candy melts in a small bowl with the heavy cream. Drizzle the ganache down the sides of the cake, and spread across the top! You can use a spoon for this step, but I prefer to use a squeeze bottle. Garnish with lucky charms marshmallows.

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Kirsten Bell
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