Coffee Flavored Cake With Coffee Buttercream Frosting

I love having people over (or volunteering to bring something along when invited) because it gives me a chance to test out recipes that I wouldn’t otherwise.  That’s not to say that we wouldn’t like it, but what I mean is that with a toddler and husband with a very specific palate, I sometimes get lazy in wanting to try new recipes.  Like this Coffee Flavored Cake by Flour and Spice- you see, although I love coffee, my husband isn’t a fan of it, and I’m not crazy enough to give my almost-3-year-old son a cake loaded with caffeine. #SorryNotSorry

So last week when I was invited to a ladies brunch, I jumped at the chance to bring along a dessert.  I had pinned this recipe when it was first posted for two reasons:

(i) I love coffee and coffee flavored baked goods.

(ii)  The size of the cake is ideal for a small gathering, i.e., it produces a one layer 9″ cake.  Also, the frosting amount is perfect too.

If you or someone you know is a fan of anything coffee, be sure to give this cake a shot.  It’s super easy to throw together and the results are phenomenal :)

 

CoffeeFlavoredCakeWithButtercreamPic

 

Coffee Flavored Caked

With Coffee Buttercream

Yield: One 9” Cake

Ingredients:

For Cake:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For Frosting:

  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

Make Cake:

Preheat oven to 350˚F and set aside a greased 9-inch cake pan.

In a medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine instant coffee and hot water. Mix until the granules have dissolved completely. Add milk and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter at low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add sugar and beat on low speed until light and fluffy, approximately another 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well.

Add the coffee and milk mixture and mix well. Do not worry if the batter looks curdled. Slowly add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until thoroughly combined.

Transfer batter to greased pan and bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to rest for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Make Frosting:

In a small bowl, combine hot water and instant coffee. Mix until the granules have dissolved completely and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until fully incorporated, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add coffee mixture, vanilla, and salt and mix on low speed for a few minutes to incorporate. Do not worry is the frosting looks curdled. Increase speed to medium and beat for a few minutes, until the frosting is light and fluffy. Frost cake as desired.

 

Kulfi (Cheat Recipe!)

The days seem to be finally warming up in our parts, and we’ve been taking full advantage of it. We’ve been going for walks in our neighborhood and making regular trips to the park. The change in weather seems to bring about a change in our food preferences as well, where we’re opting for lighter and cooler meals. Enter this delicious Kulfi.

Kulfi is the South Asian Subcontinent’s equivalent of Western ice cream. Traditionally, sugar and milk is cooked over low heat until much of it has thickened and reduced. Although delicious, ain’t nobody got time for that! The recipe I’m sharing today was given to me by a good friend (Hi Reetu!), and cuts the time to a fraction. It’s quick to whip up, and always leaves behind a great impression. No one will know that it takes literally 5 minutes to throw together ;)

KulfiPic

 

 

Kulfi

Yield:  20-25 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 16 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • ½ cup ground unsalted nuts (almond or pistachio) (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder (optional)
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until completely combined.  Pour into molds and freeze for at least 12 hours before serving.

Note:  Small disposable cups can be used as kulfi molds.  Cover cup with aluminum foil and insert a wood stick into the center.  The foil will help keep the stick in place.

Simple Mushroom Pasta

After nearly 2 years of blogging, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this isn’t a summer fling, and I really am in it for the long haul. I finally put a ring on it.

My Ninja Naan owns its domain and is officially off the market!

 

Exciting news aside, I love pasta!  I feel like it is one of the most underrated foods (along with lentils), and its greatness is usually masked with copious amounts of cream and/or cheese.  Don’t get me wrong, I love cheesy Ziti and creamy Alfredo, but there is something that should be said about lightly dressed pastas that allow the noodles to shine.

I stumbled upon this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Flour and Spice, and have been hooked!  It’s a lightly spiced pasta dish that is dusted with delicious meaty mushrooms.  It’s a great vegetarian alternative to the usual heavy pasta dishes, and it really allows the mushrooms and spaghetti to shine.  Give it a whirl and let me know how it goes! I’m sure you will enjoy it just as much as we did :)

 

SimpleMushroomPastaPic

 

Simple Mushroom Pasta

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound pasta (spaghetti or linguine)
  • 1 pound button mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Lemon, to taste
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Parsley, for garnish

Directions:

Cook the pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Reserve one cup cooking liquid, drain, and set aside.

In a large pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and cook until the mushrooms begin to change color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat.

Add desired amount of lemon juice, pasta, reserved cooking liquid, parmesan cheese, and butter. Toss well and return to heat. Cook for a few minutes until the cheese and butter has melted, and the liquid has been absorbed.

Garnish with additional parmesan cheese and parsley.

 

Middle Eastern Chicken Skewers/ Shish Taouk

Hello Friends! It’s been a while, huh?

My brother flew in from California to spend his spring break with us, and we’ve just been busy with him. I feel like I had been waiting for his upcoming trip for SOOOO long, and as soon as he came the time jut flew by. I had so many cooking/baking plans for him, but there’s only so much food that I can stuff him with :)

The day my brother was set to arrive, I decided to make Cheesesteak Sandwiches for him. I needed to make a quick run to the local meat shop to buy the meat for the sandwiches, and while I was there I picked up a packet of boneless chicken breasts. After coming home and prepping the meat, I decided to marinate the chicken for Shish Taouk (I found the recipe here. It is by far the most authentic recipe I have found so far!) and just freeze it. This was my first time freezing marinated meat. The verdict? AMAZING! I can’t believe I waited so long to try this method! It makes life so much easier, especially if you’re in a bind to get dinner/lunch cooked. You just marinate the chicken (fresh, not previously frozen) and freeze. Then you allow it to thaw at room temperature, skewers those suckers up, and grill/broil until done. That’s all! Check and check ;)

 

ShishTaoukPic

 

Shish Taouk

(Arab Chicken Skewers)

Yield: 3 to 4 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into desired sized pieces
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated

Directions:

Combine all ingredients except chicken together in a bowl and mix well. Add chicken and mix well. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (overnight is best).

Pierce chicken onto skewers and cook on an oiled grill until the meat is cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes on each side.

Note: Fresh chicken can be marinated and put in the freezer. Whenever you want to eat, take the chicken out of the freezer and allow it to thaw at room temperature.  Also, to prevent chicken from drying, cover cooked skewers with aluminum foil until ready to eat.  This will trap the steam and prevent the meat from drying out.

Granola Bars (Chocolate Chip and Coconut)

Homemade granola bars are something that have been on my bucket list for quite some time.  I’ve tried a handful of recipes, but the problem that I kept running into was that the bars wouldn’t hold together well.  Some recipes were better than others, but most crumbled under pressure (pun intended ;) ).  I finally stumbled upon the perfect recipe.  The secret lies in coconut oil!  Coconut oil is what helps maintain the shape of the granola bars, while still balancing a neutral flavor.  While the recipe I’m sharing is a coconut and chocolate chip based granola bar, I’m sure the ingredients can be swapped out for whatever your heart desires :)

 

GranolaBarsPic

 

 

Granola Bars

(Chocolate Chip and Coconut)

Yield:  One 9”x13” Pan

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups quick oats (pulsed rolled oats can be substituted)
  • ½ cup Rice Krispies cereal
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350˚F and set aside an ungreased 9”x13” pan.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.  If using a stand mixer, use paddle attachment and mix on lowest speed.

Transfer mixture to pan and use damp hands to press it in.

Bake for 18 minutes.  Score the bars when they first come out of the oven.  Cool completely, then cut into bars.