Citrus Bundt Cake from Awesome on 20

Citrus Bundt Cake

Citrus Bundt Cake from Awesome on 20

I work with heroes. My job is relatively boring normal, but the people I work with and for save people’s lives every day by helping them get off the streets and find a place to call home. I am honored to work side by side with them and play a small part in making these miracles hapen. It’s very challenging work, and sometimes it takes a little bit of bribery to get one of these heroes to go to a 7:15 am speaking engagement for us. Because this hero is so awesome, I was willing to do it.

Citrus Bundt Cake from Awesome on 20

Luckily, my colleague requested a lemon bundt cake with orange zest glaze, which sounded both easy to make and outrageously delicious. And both of those things turned out to be true. The cake was dense and moist, and bursting with bright citrus flavor. 

I used fresh citrus zest in both the cake and the glaze. To maximize your citrus flavor, remember to always zest your fruit directly into your other ingredients whenever possible. All the flavor lies in those essential oils  you see spraying all over the place when you zest. You want those oils to fall into your food, not onto a cutting board. Don’t waste flavor. It makes me cry.

Citrus Bundt Cake from Awesome on 20

If you ever need to talk somebody into doing something that sucks, you may want to bribe them with a citrus bundt cake. It’s worth it.

Citrus Bundt Cake
Serves 10
A dense, moist lemon bundt cake topped off with a bright orange zest glaze
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
For the cake
  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 2 teaspoons baking powder
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. Zest of one lemon
  6. 1-3/4 cups sugar
  7. 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  8. 3 eggs
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. 2 drops lemon extract
  11. 1 cup buttermilk
For the glaze
  1. 2 cups powdered sugar
  2. Zest of one orange
  3. Juice of half an orange (you may need a bit more depending on how thick you like your glaze)
For the cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and grease your bundt pan. Set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Zest your lemon into the dry mixture and whisk gently to combine.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together on medium high speed for about 3 minutes until it's pale and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each.
  5. Mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
  6. Turn the mixer down to low and add a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half the buttermilk, another third of the dry mixture, the rest of the buttermilk, and the last of the dry ingredients. Turn your mixer back up to medium and beat for another two minutes. You will have a very smooth, thick batter.
  7. Carefully pour the cake batter into the waiting pan. Even out the top to make sure you don't have a lopsided cake, then bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about five minutes, then invert your cake and cool completely before adding glaze.
For the glaze
  1. Sift your powdered sugar into a medium mixing bowl and zest the orange into the powdered sugar. Whisk in juice of half the orange. You can add a bit more orange juice a few drops at a time until your glaze is thick but pourable.
  2. Pour your glaze over your cake, and put it in the fridge as quickly as you can. This will help your drips stick to the side of the cake rather than sliding right off.
  3. Serve to heroic coworkers. They deserve it!
Adapted from Crunchy Creamy Sweet
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Orange Frosting from Awesome on 20

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Orange Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Orange Frosting from Awesome on 20

On Saturday, my baby girl turns 14. There were days during her visit when I was certain she had actually surpassed me in height, and she just started her first day of high school this week. I think I’m now officially old. When am I going to start feeling like a grown up?

I realize I gush about this kid constantly, but that’s what mom’s do. How could I not, really? Not only is she intelligent and beautiful, she is exceedingly kind and generous. She is an infinitely better person than me, and I couldn’t possibly be more proud of her. I am completely confident that she will grow into an extraordinary woman.

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Orange Frosting from Awesome on 20

Her sweet spirit shows through in the dessert she asked me to make her for her birthday. She could have asked for anything, but instead of choosing something complicated, fancy, or ostentatious, she wanted a simple chocolate cake with orange frosting. She specifically requested that it be a single layer. Nothing fancy.

Did I mention she also has excellent taste? This cake was completely lovely. The hint of the vanilla and orange in the frosting complimented the delicate chocolate cake perfectly. The single layer was just right. It wasn’t overwhelming and didn’t leave you groaning as you finished the last bite. It was just enough.

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Orange Frosting from Awesome on 20

Time will keep moving forward. It never stops. We’ll both keep getting older, but I’ll look forward to making a birthday dessert for my baby every single year until I can no longer lift a spoon. She deserves the world a million times, and I love her a little extra because she would never ask for it. Happy birthday, Emily! You are super awesome!

Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Orange Frosting
Serves 10
A beautiful single layer chocolate cake with a light vanilla orange frosting that's awesome for celebrating your favorite person
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
25 min
For the cake
  1. 25 grams (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
  2. 50 grams (1/4 cup) brown sugar
  3. 125 milliliters (1/2 cup) boiling water
  4. 62.5 grams (4.5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  5. 75 grams (3/8 cup) sugar
  6. 112.5 grams (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  7. 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  9. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. 1 egg
For the frosting
  1. 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  3. Zest and juice of half an orange
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 and butter a nine-inch round cake pan then line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Put the cocoa powder and brown sugar in a small mixing bowl. Pour over the boiling water and carefully whisk until everything is mixed up and melty.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium high. This will take about three minutes. The butter will be light and fluffy.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda. If you're using a stand mixer, you can do this while you cream your butter. Set this bowl aside.
  5. Beat the vanilla into the butter mixture, and then beat in the egg. Turn your mixer down to low and slowly start adding the dry ingredients until everything is just incorporated.
  6. Finally, add in the cocoa mixture slowly. Give the bowl a scrape and final mix with a rubber spatula.
  7. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out the cake onto a cooling rack and remove the parchment. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting
  1. Put the butter in your mixing bowl and slowly add in the powdered sugar while your mixer is on low. After everything's been added in, turn the mixer up to high and mix for about a minute.
  2. Zest your orange directly over the bowl so the oils that come flying off will land in your frosting. Squeeze in your orange juice and add the vanilla. Mix again on high for about a minute to combine and make everything nice and fluffy.
  3. Frost your cake in your favorite way. I decorated mine with a thin slice of orange, but you can get crazy with it.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies from Awesome on 20

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies from Awesome on 20

When I was a kid, I absolutely loved Andes mints. I would break them in half in my mouth, and just let them melt. During a stay in the hospital when I was in high school, my great grandmother brought me a whole box of Andes mints that I could have all to myself, and that was sort of the best thing ever.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies from Awesome on 20

Before my fridge died, I managed to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies with chopped up Andes mints added in. They were buttery, chewy, and minty. The mint flavor is definitely present, but not overpowering, and the chocolate melts in your mouth, just the way I like it.

I took this batch of cookies to a friend’s bbq, and they were the only homemade thing on a table full of beautiful store bought cakes and cupcakes loaded with frosting and perfectly round chocolate chip cookies. I made about 50 cookies and came home with 10. Given their humble appearance, I’d say they were pretty popular.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies from Awesome on 20

If you love Andes mints, you must make these cookies. I’m sorry, but you really don’t have a choice. Buy yourself a box, eat half, and chop up the other half and throw them in your cookie dough. You’re welcome.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 50
Classic chocolate chip cookies get a hit of mint with chopped up Andes mint candies
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 3/4 cup sugar
  3. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. 2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
  7. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 3 cups chocolate chips
  10. 14 Andes mints (half a box), chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and brown sugar together with an electric mixer for about three minutes. It should be light and fluffy.
  3. Continue mixing and add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla until everything is completely blended.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Put your mixer on low, and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  5. Add the chocolate chips and Andes mints, and mix on low for a few seconds until incorporated.
  6. Scoop your cookies onto your waiting cookie sheet, about two inches apart. Baking for about ten minutes or until just lightly brown on the edges. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for three minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Pack them up and share them with friends. Make everyone happy.
Adapted from Circle of Friends Cookbook: 25 Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Cookies and Cream Fridge Cake from Awesome on 20

Cookies and Cream Fridge Cake

Cookies and Cream Fridge Cake from Awesome on 20

Most of the desserts I make end up at my office. We can’t possibly, or at least shouldn’t, eat everything ourselves. My husband won’t take stuff to work because he says no one will eat it. So it all goes to my office and usually disappears fairly quickly. Non-profit workers are a bunch of hard core food lovers, let me tell you. Maybe there’s something about working to end hunger that makes people truly appreciate their food. 

But if, for some reason, I make something and don’t bring it in, or I happen to not make a dessert on a given week, I get gently harassed. For example, everybody wanted to know why they didn’t get to try those chocolate wafer cookies I made last week. I could have brought them in, and they would have been delightful, but I had a plan for them. These cookies were getting a second act, and the finale is pretty spectacular. 

Cookies and Cream Fridge Cake from Awesome on 20

If you layer the cookies with ridiculous amounts of sweetened, fresh whipped cream, and then let the whole thing sit in the fridge overnight to soften up, you get an entirely new dessert that is completely amazing. It’s chocolaty, creamy, light, and sweet. Keep the pieces small to make this dessert last longer. It only gets better the more the cream is allowed to absorb into the cookies. Plus, a few bites is all it takes to get a ton of awesome from this fridge cake. 

Cookies and Cream Fridge Cake from Awesome on 20

I’m going to show up with Cookies and Cream Fridge Cake at work today, and suddenly everyone will want to be my best friend again. A happy office makes my life a whole lot easier. Making dessert makes my life a whole lot more awesome!

Cookies and Cream Fridge Cake
Serves 12
Chocolate wafer cookies layer with fresh, sweetened whipped cream transforms cookies into a sweet, light, dreamy dessert.
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 cups heavy cream
  2. 4 tablespoons sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  4. 3 dozen chocolate wafer cookies
Instructions
  1. Add the heavy cream to a mixing bowl. Using a whisk attachment, beat on high speed. As it starts to thicken, add the sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to beat on high until you've formed stiff peaks. This will take about five minutes, but don't go to far.
  2. Using a large plate, a springform pan (this is what I used), or a round cake pan, place a layer of cookies in the bottom of your vessel. Add a layer of whipped cream. Spread it evenly and be sure to cover all the cookies. Continue layering cookies and cream until you run out. I was able to do four layers.
  3. Cover and place the "cake" in the fridge overnight. Slice and serve to your friends or co-workers. They will be outrageously happy.
Adapted from Olive Magazine
Adapted from Olive Magazine
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
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Chocolate Wafer Cookies from Awesome on 20

Chocolate Wafer Cookies

Chocolate Wafer Cookies from Awesome on 20

Some days I get lazy. I just want to get my grocery shopping over with and avoid any hassles. Other days, I’m a guilt ridden consumer who feels like every time I turn around I’m killing off another species. It’s a tricky balance. I try to be at least moderately conscientious about my palm oil consumption, but I’m not going to promise I haven’t bought any Oreos in the past year. 

The good news is, a lot of companies are starting to catch on to the environmental threat of deforestation caused by palm oil. Companies like Nestle, Kellog’s, and Starbucks have made a commitment to use only sustainable palm oil, which is better than nothing, but the best bet is always to make things yourself. Luckily, making your own crunchy chocolate wafer cookies is super easy.

Chocolate Wafer Cookies from Awesome on 20

These chocolate wafer cookies have a lovely, deep, chocolate flavor. The dough has to be chilled for at least an hour before baking, but you can definitely make the dough one day and bake the cookies another day. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make my own chocolate wafer cookies.

If you’re a super patient person, you could even take the time to roll them out into a perfect cylinder before slicing and baking. I don’t really care as long as there’s chocolate in my life that doesn’t threaten tigers and orangutans and a million other animals. 

I also love that these cookies can be used for about a bajillion different things. I’m thinking you can sandwich them with some peanut butter cream cheese frosting. Ice cream sandwiches would be great, too. Crush them up for an outrageous pie crust. I have a plan for these particular cookies that I’ll show you next week. It’s super awesome. 

Chocolate Wafer Cookies from Awesome on 20

Being a responsible consumer isn’t easy. I’m not nearly as awesome at it as I should be. We all do the best we can. You should probably have a chocolate wafer cookie. It will make you feel better.

Chocolate Wafer Cookies
Yields 36
Crunchy chocolate wafer cookies with no palm oil and tons of flavor.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Ingredients
  1. 100 grams butter, softened
  2. 150 grams sugar
  3. 100 grams brown sugar
  4. 1 egg white
  5. 50 grams cocoa powder
  6. 150 grams all-purpose flour
  7. 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  8. Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and both sugars at medium speed for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg white and beat to combine.
  2. Sift cocoa powder, flour,baking soda, and salt over your butter and sugar mixture. Beat on low speed until everything comes together. The dough will be very stiff.
  3. Scoop the dough out onto a sheet of plastic wrap. Use the plastic wrap to help you form the dough into a cylindrical shape about 20 centimeters long. Wrap the dough in the plastic and chill for at least an hour. Overnight is fine.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  5. Use a sharp knife to slice off about a half a centimeter of cookie dough at a time. Lay the slices flat on the cookie sheet with about an inch of space between each.
  6. Bake cookies for about 12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool.
  7. Dip, sandwich, crumble or eat straight up, guilt free.
Adapted from Olive Magazine
Adapted from Olive Magazine
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
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