Thursday, November 19, 2015

So You Say It's Your Birthday

Happy Birthday Chris!
Yes, I made a cake. I started it as soon as Chris pulled out of the driveway this morning. Working from home today made baking the cake possible. I don't do a lot of cake baking. Cookies are easy for me but cakes seem like a challenge. My mom baked at least 2 cakes a week. So they were second nature for her. But I was thrilled with this recipe and the results. Moist and light and the chocolate flavor was oh so perfect! This is now my official go to Chocolate cake recipe. I found this recipe on Mini Chocolate Layer Cakes. I made my cake in a 8 inch square pan. I frosted all 4 sides plus the middle of the layers. There was not enough frosting so I added in some store bought canned frosting. Sorry about that.

Mini Chocolate Layer Cakes

For the chocolate cake:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup cold water

For the frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 teaspoon milk (as needed for consistency)

First, preheat the oven to 350. Lightly spray an 8 x 8'inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, espresso powder and salt.

Make a hole in the middle of the dry ingredients, and pour in the oil, vanilla, vinegar and cold water.

Stir to combine very well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely. Once cool, cut in half. Freeze until ready to frost, if you freeze the layers there should be less crumble when you frost.

To make the frosting: beat together all of the ingredients until light and fluffy. Add additional milk as needed to achieve a frosting consistency.

Stack the two cake layers and add frosting in between the layers.
Frost the sides and decorate.

And yes there was dinner! Balsamic-Braised Short Ribs with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes. The recipe is from Cooking Light. What I liked about this recipe was that I could make it last night and just reheat it tonight. I was afraid if I got busy with work making a Birthday dinner might not happen. This recipe made everything work out perfectly.

Cooking spray
4 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 cups finely chopped red onion
2 cups low-salt beef broth
1 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups chopped plum tomato

2 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
3/4 cup warm 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 300°.

To prepare ribs, heat a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Sprinkle ribs with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add half of ribs to pan; cook 8 minutes or until browned, turning occasionally. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining ribs; remove from pan.

Add onion to pan; saute 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add garlic; saute 1 minute. Return ribs to pan. Add broth, wine, vinegar, sugar, and tomato; bring to a simmer.

Cover and bake at 300° for 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Cool slightly. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Skim fat from surface of broth mixture; discard fat. Cook over medium heat 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

To prepare mashed potatoes, place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 20 minutes or until very tender. Drain. Combine potatoes, milk, and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Mash potato mixture with a potato masher. Serve with ribs and cooking liquid.

The side dishes were the Horseradish Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Brussel Sprouts With Parmesan and Breadcrumbs.

Chris made our wine selection with dinner.

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