Hint of Cinnamon Chocolate Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Hint of Cinnamon Chocolate Cake

This Hint of Cinnamon Chocolate Cake is the softest, fluffiest cake I’ve ever made. Take some help from a boxed cake mix, but make it extra. Then add some rich chocolate frosting and simple decorations for a pretty little dessert people won’t be able to get enough of.

Hint of Cinnamon Chocolate Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

We’re nearly there, kids. I finished work, I’ve probably forgotten to buy a bunch of stuff, and I still don’t know if I’m supposed to be cooking or baking anything for Christmas. But I’ve got something to wear for 70’s-themed Christmas day at my sister-in-law’s house, and hopefully a secret plan to not drink too much. I was off my Christmas game this year, but right now, my Christmas lights are on, She & Him is singing to me, and I’m starting to feel it.

Most importantly, I’ve gotten to spend lots of time this past week walking hand in hand with my love. When we’re together, all is well. Any challenge can be faced. Finding the right person to be on your team is so big. I don’t want to ever forget how grateful I am to be loved by someone so wonderful.

Hint of Cinnamon Chocolate Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Right. Enough of that nonsense. Let’s talk about cake. That’s why you’re here. People kind of freak out when I serve this Hint of Cinnamon Chocolate Cake. It’s so incredibly soft and fluffy. The cinnamon flavor is subtle, just enough to make it a little bit more interesting than regular chocolate cake. I’ve known people to sneak a second piece because they can’t get enough.

The good news is, this cake is s simple to make, you could easily fit it in before Christmas if you’re still looking for a great dessert. We’re taking it easy on the measuring front by starting with a cake mix. But we’re gonna ignore the instructions on the box (for the most part) and go rogue by adding mayo. Don’t worry, it doesn’t make your cake taste like a ham sandwich. Instead it gives it an incredible moisture and lightness that make this cake stand out.

Hint of Cinnamon Chocolate Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I’m no cake decorator, so I kept things simple. I made a rich chocolate frosting and covered the whole cake in it. My one tip is to use an offset spatula to spread your frosting to keep your knuckles out of the way. I found a packet of cute speculaas biscuits at my grocery store to cover up my ragged border at the bottom of my cake. Then I placed a star cookie cutter on the top of the cake, sprinkled in some gold sprinkles, gave the sprinkles a gentle press with a tooth pick so they wouldn’t rolls away, and took the cookie cutter away. Voila. That’s it.

Hint of Cinnamon Chocolate Cake | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

No matter what your plans this week, I hope you get to spend time with your favorite people. And if you get a chance, make this Hint of Cinnamon Chocolate Cake, and share it with them. Everyone will love it.

This recipe first appeared on Awesome on 20 in 2013.

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail

This Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail is both sweet and sophisticated. It’s perfect for when you want something a little bit fancy but not straight up boozy. You’re gonna want to drink this the entire holiday season.

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

As I write this, we are on the eve of a general election here in the UK, and it’s really messing with my holiday spirit. Just when your days start feeling merry and bright, somebody does or says something ridiculous on the news, and you wonder if we’ll even survive to next year. The world feels totally out of control, and I don’t know if we’ll actually be okay.

Christmas and Yule and so many other winter solstice traditions all have themes of hope and renewal. I feel like we really need to tap into that right now. We’ve been wading through a dark time. It’s a natural and necessary cycle of death, but late December signifies the return of the light. It comes slowly, but every day from December 21st will start to be just a little bit longer than the day before. And then all of a sudden we’ll start to see crocuses and remember what color is. Life always come back. Let’s hold onto that feeling.

Or maybe we just need to chill out and drink cocktails until we forget for a minute that the world is falling apart around us. I don’t know.

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

If you are going to make yourself a cocktail, make this Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail. It’s absolutely delicious, guys. It’s sugar and spice and Christmas cheer and bubbles and fun. I’m into it.

A little vodka and a little non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider get mixed together with a homemade spiced simple syrup made with orange juice, sugar, and a mix of winter spices. We use ground spices because this is real life, and that’s what you probably have in your kitchen. I strained my syrup through a coffee filter to try to get rid of some of the bigger bits, but you’ll still have some ground spices in your syrup. Don’t sweat it. Just make sure you give everyone something to stir their drink with. A cinnamon stick is super cute. Go to an Asian market to get cheap whole spices. Save your money for gifts.

Spiced Sparkling Cider Cocktail | How to Be Awesome on $20 a Day

I don’t know what’s going to happen with Brexit or impeachment or any of that. I do know that, barring some type of comic book-level catastrophe, the Earth will continue to journey around the sun, and the light will slowly but surely return to the Northern Hemisphere. In the meantime, I’ll be over here drinking a cocktail. You should join me. It’ll be awesome.

Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram if you make this cocktail. I can’t wait to see .

So Much Crumb Coffee Cake | How to be Awesome o $20 a Day

So Much Crumb Coffee Cake

So Much Crumb Coffee Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

A new year has started, and I’ve let Instagram talk me into buying a planner. I’m trying to become a person who sets goals and gets things done. Maybe writing things down will make me less lazy. I’m skeptical, but the planner is pretty, so it’s fine.

My number one goal this year is to try to eat more fruits and vegetables. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I basically hate all fruits and veggies, but now that I’m 40, I figure I better get my stuff together. I haven’t necessarily committed to eating less of anything yet, but I figure you’ve got to start somewhere.

So Much Crumb Coffee Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Since I’m trying to be healthier, the obvious thing to do was to make you a cake with like a bucket of sugar in it. Guys, this So Much Crumb Coffee Cake is like basically a third sugar crumb layer, and it’s for sure extra in the best possible way. I suggest serving this in smallish pieces (smaller than in the picture) because it’s quite sweet. And of course, make sure you have your favorite tea or coffee alongside.

This recipe looks long, but don’t let that intimidate you. We’re mixing up three different components, and layering them, then baking them in the oven for about an hour. That’s all there is to it. This cake is going to be encased in a thick layer of crumb, so it’s a bit tricky to tell if it’s fully baked. I have no problem with an under baked cake, but if you’re trying to get onto Bake Off, be sure to test it in the center with a toothpick or cake tester.

We can have our So Much Crumb Coffee Cake and eat it, too. Just be sure to eat your veggies first.

So Much crumb coffee cake

Yield

16 servings

Prep time

30 minutes

Cooking time

55 minutes

Difficulty

Medium

for the topping

  • 1-1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, softened

for the filling

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

for the cake

  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups caster sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3-3/4 cups plain flour
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/4 cups whole milk

instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350F (175C) and grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan. Set aside.
  • To make the topping, whisk together sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Add the softened butter and mix thoroughly until your mixture resembles wet sand. I find the easiest way to do this is with my clean hands. Set aside.
  • To make the filling, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • To make the cake add the butter and both sugars to a large mixing bowl, and cream them together with an electric mixer. This should become pale and fluffy and will need about three to four minutes mixing on medium speed.
  • Turn your mixer down to low and beat in the vanilla. Then beat in one egg at a time, allowing the mixture to be well combined before adding the next egg. Scrape down your bowl, and mix again to make sure everything is incorporated.
  • In another mixing bowl or on a sheet of parchment (if like me you’ve already used all your mixing bowls for other components) sift together your flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a measuring jug, measure out your whole milk, and then use displacement to measure out your sour cream. When the sour cream makes the milk rise to the two cup mark, you’re good to go. Gently stir this together, but don’t worry if there are still a few lumps.
  • With your mixer on it’s lower setting, add in a third of your dry ingredients, followed by half of the milk mixture, then another third of dry, the rest of the wet, and finally the last of your dry ingredients. Allow things to combine before adding more stuff to the batter each time. You should have a thick and smooth batter. Ditch your electric mixer and give everything one more scrape and stir with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is fully mixed.
  • Pour about half your cake batter into your waiting pan, and use your spatula to spread it evenly, making sure to get right into the corners.
  • Sprinkle your entire filling mixture evenly over this. I used my fingers and a bit of shaking to get it evened out with complete coverage.
  • Spread the remaining cake batter over this, then use a butter knife of similar to gently swirl the filling through the batter.
  • Finally, add your topping and spread it evenly over the top of the cake. It’s gonna be a lot. Just accept it.
  • Bake for 55-60 minutes or until the cake is golden brown on top, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Adapted from Joy the Baker by Joy Wilson

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Cake with Lemon Glaze

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

We’ve finally started watching the new season of The Great British Bake Off. We’re meeting up with the rest of the country halfway through because I had actually been binging old seasons of Bake Off on Netflix and All 4 over the late summer, and I wasn’t caught up by the time the new season started. This year’s contestants took a few weeks to warm up to, but I’m finally growing attached to a few of them. Mannon is so beautiful and talented I almost can’t handle it, and Briony is plucky and adorable. But Paul Hollywood continues to blow my mind with how completely out of touch he is.

What Paul doesn’t know about food trends I will never understand. I checked and the man definitely has Instagram. I assume it’s run by someone else because if he went on it even once, he would have seen that chocolate globe desserts are freakin’ everywhere. He clearly doesn’t follow food blogs because he’s apparently never heard of tangzhong. And I can never forgive him for the time he pronounced chipotle as chi-pot-el on one of his cooking shows. Are we sure he’s an actual expert?

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Hopefully Paul’s had a pull-apart cake, though I certainly wouldn’t want him to judge mine. Although I feel that the slight wonkiness of this Cinnamon Pull-Apart Cake adds to its charm. Between each layer of enriched yeasted dough is butter and cinnamon sugar that melts into the most delicious goo as it bakes. There’s also a generous layer of lemon glaze that adds a sweet brightness to the whole thing. This dessert is a great combination of crunchy top, chewy bottom, and sweetness and spice. We love it.

Like with any yeasted dough, this cake is a bit of a project, but there’s nothing excessively complicated. It’s just time consuming because of the multiple rises for the dough. There’s also a bit of low key geometry, but don’t worry, you’re not being judged, so no need to get out your ruler. 

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Cake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This cake has so many possibilities. You could easily modify it to make your signature flavor. We’re starting with Cinnamon Pull-Apart Cake, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing some variations on this in the future.

Cinnamon Pull-Apart Cake with Lemon Glaze
Serves 8
Cinnamon Pull-Apart Cake is chewy and sweet and perfect for autumn.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
4 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
4 hr
For the dough
  1. 3 cups plain flour, plus a few tablespoons more for the counter
  2. 1/4 cup sugar
  3. 2-1/4 teaspoon yeast
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/3 cup whole milk
  6. 2 ounces unsalted butter
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  8. 2 eggs
For the filling
  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  4. 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
For the glaze
  1. 3/4 cups icing sugar
  2. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  3. 1 tablespoon whole milk
For the dough
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups f the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt until well combined.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, add the milk and the butter and heat until the butter is melted, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and add 1/4 cup water and the vanilla. Check the temperature of your liquid mixture with a candy or instant read thermometer. It should be between 115 and 125 Fahrenheit. You may need to let it cool or put it back on the heat depending on how cold your water was.
  3. Once your wet ingredients reach the right temperature, add them to your dry ingredients, and stir both together with a spatula. Add your eggs and continue to stir. It will seem very wet, but it will eventually start to come together. Finally, stir in your last cup of flour until your dough comes together. It will still be very sticky.
  4. Transfer the dough to a greased mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel, and stash it in a warm place in your kitchen to rise for about an hour or until doubled in size.
  5. When your dough is risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter and knead an additional 2 to 4 tablespoons of flour into it until you have a smooth dough. It should take about five minutes. Form your dough into a ball and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Allow it to rest for about five minutes before rolling it out.
For the filling
  1. While your dough is resting, gently whisk together your sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl and melt your butter for the filling.
  2. Also butter and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  3. Once your dough is rested, you can begin gently rolling out your dough in a lightly floured surface until you have a rectangle that's about 12 inches by 20 inches.
  4. Use your pastry brush to spread the melted butter evenly over the dough. Try to brush it right to the edge without going over. Next, sprinkle on all the cinnamon sugar. You can use your pastry brush again to spread it evenly over the dough, again up to the edge.
  5. Now it's time to slice and stack. Start by cutting six equal strips vertically. I use my pizza cutter for this. You'll then need to stack these strips on top of each other. I use my small offset spatula to slice under the strip to make sure it's not stuck to the counter anywhere. Start with the strips on each each working your way to the middle until all six are stacked on top of each other.
  6. Next slice your stack of strips into six rectangles horizontally. Line up your piles of dough squares into your loaf pan.
  7. Place your clean kitchen towel over your dough and allow it to rise again for about half an hour until it's filled up your pan.While your dough is rising, be sure to preheat your oven to 350 F (175C).
  8. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until beautifully brown on the top. Allow to cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before turning out onto your desired destination.You'll obviously need to gently turn it upright after you get it out of the pan. Also, it can't hurt to run a butter knife around the edge of the pan before attempting to turn it out.
For the glaze
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the icing sugar, lemon juice, and milk until smooth. Gently pour evenly over your cooled cake. Allow gravity to do it's thing and drip over the cake.
  2. To serve, gently pull or cut apart a few layer at a time.
Adapted from Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson
Adapted from Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson
How to be Awesome on $20 a day https://awesomeon20.com/

Mini Chocolate Cinnamon Croissants | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Mini Chocolate Cinnamon Croissants

Mini Chocolate Cinnamon Croissants | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

I write my blog posts in the evening, which is probably a mistake. At about 7:00 pm, I hit a productivity wall that I often find insurmountable. It’s 7:40 right now, and I’m like words? What are those?

I’m also supposed to make a cake later so I can frost and decorate it in the morning and shoot it before going out to an early dinner. It’s an extremely safe bet that this cake will not get made tonight. I probably won’t even pick up the cookbook. The last dregs of my energy are going into this drivel right here. 

That being said, there’s a somewhat decent chance I’ll manage to drag myself down the stairs and around the corner for chips. I’m hungry.

Mini Chocolate Cinnamon Croissants | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

It just so happens I have a very lazy recipe for you today. Mini Chocolate Cinnamon Croissants are the perfect thing to offer any drop in holiday guests or offer up as a light breakfast for family or friends who might be staying over. Or you could just scarf them all yourself. That’s what I did.

These Mini Chocolate Cinnamon Croissants are super easy to make and you can easily keep all the ingredients on hand to have them fresh out of the oven whenever you need them. Unroll dough, sprinkle cinnamon sugar, snap a chocolate bar, roll up, sprinkle again, brush, bake. Easy peasy.

Mini Chocolate Cinnamon Croissants | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Let’s all be lazy together. Let’s eat Mini Chocolate Cinnamon Croissants while we do it. Productivity is overrated.

Mini Chocolate Cinnamon Croissants
Serves 8
Mini Chocolate Cinnamon Croissants are a delightful sweet treat you can bring together in a flash.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/6 cup sugar
  2. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  3. 1 sheet puff pastry
  4. 1 egg, beaten
  5. 8 pieces of dark chocolate (I just snapped small chunks off a bar of dark chocolate, but you could use chunks or chips, whatever you have)
  6. Pinch of sea salt flakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 400F (200C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
  3. Unroll your sheet of puff pastry. Mine was wrapped in parchment in the package, so I just left it on that, but if yours doesn't come with, slide some parchment paper underneath. Use a pizza cutter to cut your pastry sheet in half.
  4. Brush one half of your puff pastry sheet with your beaten egg. Sprinkle most of your cinnamon sugar over your egg wash, holding a little bit back for sprinkling over the top at the end. Place the other half or your puff pastry on top of the cinnamon sugar side, and pinch the edges together to seal.
  5. Cut your new rectangle in half in both directions creating four rectangles, then cut each of these rectangles in half diagonally, creating 8 triangles. Place a chunk of chocolate at the wide end of each triangle, then roll it up toward the point. Tuck the edges under and give a light pinch to keep all the chocolate goodness inside. Place each mini croissant on your baking sheet. Give them room to grow.
  6. Brush each croissant with the remaining egg wash, sprinkle on the remaining cinnamon sugar, and add a light sprinkling of sea salt.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. These are best served warm but are still pretty awesome the next day if kept in an air tight container.
Adapted from Homemade Decadence by Joy the Baker
How to be Awesome on $20 a day https://awesomeon20.com/



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