Top 13 Posts in 2013

Wow, 2013 is just about to come to a close. Crazy how much has happened in a year! Here’s a run-down of the 13 most popular posts I shared on the blog this past year. Thank you for all your support, every time you read my blog and I receive your comments, it really brings a smile to my face and makes me proud.

  1. Triple Threat Cookies ‘N Cream Cupcakes
  2. Double Chocolate M&M Cookies
  3. Best Tomato Soup
  4. Corner Bakery Impostor Crumb Cake
  5. Chocolate Angel Food Cupcakes
  6. Cinnamon Roll Cake
  7. The Jacques Torres NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookie
  8. Low-Fat Pumpkin Poundcake
  9. Monster Cookies
  10. Elvis Presley’s Favorite Pound Cake
  11. Coconut Macaroons
  12. Double Chocolate Brownies
  13. Coconut Blondies

Chocolate Magic Cake

Yikes, time has seriously gotten away from me. I feel like I’m almost like a stranger here!

But I’m back here to check in with my favorite little readers :)

Updates from school here at U of I… My parents visited me about a week and and a half ago for Dad’s weekend! It was so fun getting to see them.  My mom, unnecessarily, felt like she was intruding on Dad’s Weekend so she stayed in the background for a bit and hung out with my sister. My dad and I had fun at “block” in the morning with my sorority and our frat that we “block” with.

Chocolate Magic Cake | Beautiful Disasters

I’m sure, unless you went to U of I, you all don’t know what “block” is. “Block” is something all sororities and most fraternities at U of I do during football season, it’s where they get together and have a small little party before the football game, and then head off to the football game. When I say it like that it sounds weird, but I swear it’s fun!

Chocolate Magic Cake | Beautiful Disasters

So after my dad and I went to “block”, we headed off to the game. Illinois was beating Miami of Ohio pretty badly, so we left at the fourth quarter and hit the tailgates. My roommate’s family comes for every home game because they have season tickets, so they always have an awesome tailgate. We went to theirs and a couple other ones nearby, then got picked up by my mom and sister. From there we headed to dinner.

Let me tell you guys, there is nothing like a nice dinner out with your family after a month of eating college dorm food. I actually felt like I was in Heaven.

Chocolate Magic Cake | Beautiful Disasters

After dinner we took a long walk through campus where I got to show my parents my sorority and give them a small tour of the house. It’s so great to see their reactions to my sorority house compared to my brother’s 3rd world-esque fraternity house he lived in when he was in college.

Sorority houses look just the exact same way in real life as they do in movies. True story.

Chocolate Magic Cake | Beautiful Disasters

Anyways, on Sunday I got to take my dad to my sorority’s brunch before he and my mom headed back home. It was so great to see them and hug them!! My mom left me with 6 jars of her homemade black bean soup, broccoli cheddar soup, and vegetarian chili. Trust me, I protected those bad boys with my life and did not let anyone in the dorm sneak a bite!

Chocolate Magic Cake | Beautiful Disasters

 

Let’s talk about this chocolate magic cake though…this is maybe one of the coolest recipes I have ever made!! This chocolate cake is almost like a chocolate pudding, but then cake at the same time. It’s suuuuper rich and chocolatey and delicious. This baby did NOT last long!

Chocolate Magic Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

2 1/2 cups milk (I used skim)

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used dark)

4 eggs, separated

1/8 teaspoon white vinegar

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

powdered sugar for dusting

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly butter or grease a 8″x8″ baking dish.
  2. Melt the butter and set aside to slightly cool. Warm the milk to lukewarm and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder for 20 seconds. Set aside.
  4. Whip the egg whites with vinegar to stiff peaks and set aside.
  5. Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light. Beat in the melted butter and vanilla extract until evenly incorporated.
  6. Mix in the flour/cocoa into the batter until evenly incorporated. Gently whisk/beat in the milk until everything is well mixed.
  7. Fold/gently-whip in the egg whites, 1/3 at a time. Repeat until all of the egg whites are folded in.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until when you gently shake the cake, it is slightly jiggly but is no longer runny jiggly.
  9. Allow cake to completely cool before cutting and then dust with confectioner’s sugar. Enjoy!

Chocolate Magic Cake | Beautiful Disasters

Random Fact of the Day: In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

Double Swirl Pound Cake

I feel like I’ve been slightly MIA/entirely MIA this week, yes? no? Literally had zero time to write up a post until now.

My current status: sitting in Starbucks with about 45 minutes until my next class, sipping a tall skinny vanilla latte, while writing up a blog post. I would say that I feel totally hipster except I don’t think hipsters wear high school soccer 1/4 zip sweatshirts and running shorts.

Anyways, this week has been cah-razzzy. I feel like I have said that about every week in college so far. It’s just that every week is so gosh darn packed with excitement and things to do. This week and last week were packed with midterm exams and projects. Nothing too dramatic happened with my exams or projects. Thankfully I was not one of those students who left an exam sobbing because I knew none of the material.

Double Swirl Pound Cake | Beautiful Disasters

 

The only moment of huge stress during midterms was for a project, we were assigned in groups, but my “group” was just me and one other guy. We had two weeks to do this project, literally one of the easiest projects ever. I finished my part over a week ago, he, on the other hand, finished 10 minutes before class. So that was nice.

Double Swirl Pound Cake | Beautiful Disasters

Other than that, my exams have gone pretty well. There has been a whole bunch of fun things going on with my sorority. Greek life is huge here at the University of Illinois if any of you aren’t aware. And if you don’t know what Greek life is, it isn’t a bunch of Greek people who gather up and have fun together, it’s the fraternities and sororities on campus…just to clear up any confusion there.

Double Swirl Pound Cake | Beautiful Disasters

Another moment of excitement this week was that I finally got to hop over to my sister’s apartment and have her make me dinner! It was seriously so good. She made us tilapia, steamed veggies, and rice. One of my favorite meals, and something you would certainly never find in the dining halls. She finished up dinner with these adorable mini chocolate pudding pies. It was just so nice to eat a real meal that felt like it was cooked just for you, just like at home.

Double Swirl Pound Cake | Beautiful Disasters

Okay, let’s talk about this pound cake. I have had dreams about this pound cake. With a layer of peanut butter and a layer of Biscoff, this is seriously one of the most decadent pound cakes I have made.

 

Double Swirl Pound Cake | Beautiful Disasters

I’m pretty sure this one was eaten in a matter of 24 hours, which is a pretty impressive stat for 3 people in one house. And I think I may have to take most of the credit for the eating of said pound cake. The sliver, “zero calorie” slices that I would cut myself started to turn into about just half of the pound cake remaining, and that was when I realized these slices may not actually be zero calories. You all just have to make this, you won’t be sorry. And I consider pound cake acceptable for breakfast, so you know what, go for it.

Double Swirl Pound Cake

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup Biscoff spread or Cookie Butter

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F and spray a loaf pan with cooking spray
  2. Using a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla extract. In another separate medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Slowly add in the egg-vanilla mixture. Once incorporated, slowly add in the whisked dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  3. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Spread the peanut butter over top and spread it as far as you can without touching the edges of the pan. Pour another 1/3 of the batter over the peanut butter. Spread the biscoff over the second layer of batter and spread it as far as you can without touching the edges of the pan. Pour the remaining batter over top and spread all the way to the edges, be sure no Biscoff is peaking through.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out free of cake crumbs (with some Biscoff and peanut butter). To stop the top from over-browning, cover the top of the pound cake with aluminum foil after about 25 minutes of baking.

Double Swirl Pound Cake | Beautiful Disasters

Random Fact of the Day: According to U.S. FDA standards, 1 cup of orange juice is allowed to contain 10 fruit fly eggs, but only 2 maggots.

Biscoff Streusel Coffee Cake

 

Can we all take a minute to take in the fact that I am officially a college student??

Biscoff Streusel Coffee Cake | Beautiful Disasters

I moved in a week ago from today and I finally got around to writing a real post for y’all. Seriously been too crazy around here. Campus is so much fun and I’m finally getting lost less and less.

Biscoff Streusel Coffee Cake | Beautiful Disasters

As weird as it sounds it has helped so much to get super lost. I’ll run into a place that I recognize from being lost before and be like “Oh! That’s that weird frat I saw when we were lost the other night…run away!!”. It’s been an adjustment, but an enjoyable adjustment.

Biscoff Streusel Coffee Cake | Beautiful Disasters

It still sort of feels like I am just at summer camp or something. Especially the first couple days at our “Welcome Days”. They had all these crazy ice-breakers which were maybe fun when we were younger but now they just feel so forced and a little awkward. I have been able to meet a bunch of great people and we have a really good friend group going on.

Biscoff Streusel Coffee Cake | Beautiful Disasters

Yesterday I had my first day of classes AND my first day of work. So, so hectic. It is incredibly overwhelming…I already have a paper due tomorrow, like what?!?

Biscoff Streusel Coffee Cake | Beautiful Disasters

Maybe I should get started on that…

Biscoff Streusel Coffee Cake | Beautiful Disasters

Anyways, I’m totally missing this Biscoff Streusel Coffee Cake. Seriously guys, this thing was outrageously good. Like if you’re a biscoff lover like me, you will totally dig it. And for all you who haven’t tried Biscoff yet, please get your priorities straight, grab a spoon, and eat it now.

Biscoff Streusel Coffee Cake

FOR THE CAKE:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup creamy Biscoff spread
1/4 cup chunky Biscoff spread
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)

FOR THE STREUSEL:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

powdered sugar, if desired

  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F and spray a 8 or 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. FOR THE CAKE: Using a mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and biscoff spreads. Mix in egg and vanilla extract. Slowly add in the flours, baking powder, and salt. Finally, Add in the milk and mix until just combined. Press dough into the prepared cake pan in one even layer.
  3. FOR THE STREUSEL: In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, and ground cinnamon with a fork or whisk. Once combined, cut in the butter using a pastry blender or fork. Blend until about pea-sized crumbs form.
  4. Sprinkle topping over the dough pressed in the pan. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for about 25 minutes, the invert out of the pan. Let the cake finish cooling on a wire rack for about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Biscoff Streusel Coffee Cake | Beautiful Disasters

Random Fact of the Day: 40% of all indigestion remedies sold in the world are bought by Americans.

Sara Lee Impostor Pound Cake

I know I’ve talked about my childhood love for Sara Lee pound cake on here before. It was seriously the best when I could wake up before school with a slice of that glorious pound cake.

Sara Lee Impostor Pound Cake | Beautiful Disaters

This recipe uses ingredients similar to what you would find on the ingredients label of the Sara Lee pound cake package, so it is about as close as I have found that you can get to that scrumptious pound cake Sara Lee is able to concoct.

Sara Lee Impostor Pound Cake | Beautiful Disaters

I really think the nutmeg is what gave this pound cake a special touch, which I wasn’t expecting to be that fabulous, but we loved the extra oomf. So, here’s to cake for breakfast!

Sara Lee Impostor Pound Cake | Beautiful Disaters

Sara Lee Impostor Pound Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup cake flour (I used 1 cup all-purpose flour, minus 1 Tablespoon, mixed with 1 Tablespoon corn starch and then sifted together)
2 tablespoons  dry powdered milk
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  1. Preheat oven to 325˚F and spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add in flour, powdered milk, and corn syrup. Beat each in well. Add salt, vanilla, and nutmeg.
  3. Make sure everything is well blended, and pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes,or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.

Random Fact of the Day: Bill Gates’ house was designed using a Macintosh computer.