I’m terribly undecided about this cake. Which is probably why these images have been sitting on my computer for weeks, taunting me, begging to be posted – or not. It’s not that I didn’t love this cake. In fact, I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. I’m just unsure how others might feel about such a cake. Olive oil and Nutella? Together? Yes, indeed.
Since mildly sweet, humble cakes are somewhat of an obsession of mine, this cake won me over at first bite. The original recipe doesn’t call for Nutella but rather the more expected flavor of lemon. But I had a half opened jar of the chocolate hazelnut spread in my pantry and couldn’t imagine a better way to put it to use. It imparted an interesting sweet and savory flavor combination to the cake, though I should not that I would highly recommend making it with a light-flavored olive oil instead of a full-bodied variety, unless you really, truly love olive oil.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get ready for the weekend ahead. Making the bed, baking banana bread, cleaning my apartment, and getting cleaned up for Joey’s visit in a few hours! It never gets old. I get so excited each and every weekend. Hopefully this weekend I manage to stay healthy and do more than sit curled in a ball on the couch.
Have a happy weekend, all!
Nutella Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from Gourmet magazine, 2006
*3/4 cup olive oil (extra-virgin if desired), plus additional for greasing pan
*1/3 cup Nutella, melted slightly in the microwave and stirred
*1 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
*5 large eggs, separated, reserving 1 white for another use
*3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Every year around this time, I realize I’m not a Halloween person. Candy, scary movies, haunted houses – no thanks. And don’t get me started about what Halloween means when you’re a college student. Not my cup of tea. But for fear of being seen as the Grinch of October, I’ve made an attempt at Halloween-themed baking.
Maybe it’s a bit of a stretch. In fact, one of my co-workers told me the concept was lost on him, but the cupcake tasted delicious. I believe his exact words were “lose the concept, keep the cupcake”. But since this is likely to be my only attempt at something themed for Halloween, I decided to keep the theme and the cupcake.
If I could do it again, I would have made the orange layer a little more neon orange with the addition of more food coloring. And instead of trying to imitate the chocolate-bottomed candy corn, the read might have been stronger if I had gone with the white, orange and yellow color combination. Either way, these cupcakes are a fun, low-commitment way to celebrate (or not) Halloween.
P.S. – I finally rounded up some photos from a couple weeks back. J and I were part of an awesome cheering section at the Chicago Marathon. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful day, and Jake and Amber (J’s sister and brother-in-law) did great! Maybe we’ll be running it next year?
Candy Corn Cupcakes
*1 box white cake mix
*1 1/4 cups water
*2 Tbsp. oil
*2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
*1 tsp. orange extract
Yellow Food Coloring
Red Food Coloring
*2 sticks butter, softened
*3 cups powdered sugar
*2 Tbsp. milk
*1 tsp. almond extract
Yellow Food Coloring
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
*In a mixing bowl, combined the cake mix, eggs, water and oil. Whisk together until smooth. Transfer half of the batter to a clean bowl.
*In one half of the batter, stir in the cocoa powder until combined. In the second bowl, stir in the orange extract, 2 drops red food coloring and 3 drops yellow food coloring. Stir until well combined.
*Spoon a heaping tablespoon of chocolate batter into the bottom of each prepared liner, followed by some of the orange batter.
*Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool completely.
*Meanwhile, prepare buttercream. With an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, and beat until fluffy. Add in the milk and almond extract, followed by four drops of yellow food coloring.
*Pipe buttercream atop cooled cupcakes (I used a large star tip).
On Friday night I was sitting on my couch, waiting impatiently for J to arrive so the weekend could officially start. And when I heard a knock at the door, I sprung off the couch to answer the door. I wish I would have thought to take a photo of the sight in front of me: J, holding a homemade coconut cake with two candles numbering ’23’ glowing brightly. Seriously one of the best birthday cakes I can remember receiving.
Although my birthday isn’t until Tuesday, celebrating solo during the week isn’t nearly as fun as celebrating the entire weekend long with someone you love. That someone baked a heck of a birthday cake, satisfying the craving I’ve been harboring for coconut cake over the past two months.
This morning when I told J this cake and the recipe was going on Espresso and Cream, he balked at the idea. Sure, we spent the weekend marveling at the pure deliciousness of each bite, but I’ll be the first to admit this dessert hardly fits the mold of what I traditionally post. It starts with a boxed cake mix and is full of all types of bad-for-you ingredients, like half and half, sugar and Cool Whip. Yes, you read that right. Cool Whip. Just go with it for my sake, because it’s my birthday (almost!) and everyone has the right to eat deliciously low-brow birthday cake on their special day.
P.S. – My dad sent me something special to celebrate the occasion, too. Check it out here.
Easy Coconut Cake
*1 box yellow cake mix
*2 cups half and half
*16 oz. fresh coconut
*1 cup sugar
*1 large carton Cool Whip
*Bake prepared cake mix in a 13×9-inch pan according to package directions. About 10 minutes before cake is done, mix half the coconut, the half and half and sugar and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
*Remove baked cake from the oven and let it cool about 10 minutes. Punch holes in top of the cake with a fork and pour mixture over it. Let cake stand at room temperature for an additional 30 minutes, then refrigerate for 2 hours.
*To ice cake, mix the whipped topping with the remaining coconut. Cover cake with frosting and return to refrigerator.