Friday, April 13, 2012

Deb's Birthday Cake

My BFF Deb turned 50 in March. Her husband and kids threw her a surprise birthday party - that really wasn't a surprise to her because she's too observant and picked up and subtle things. lol.. but not once did she ever ask me if I was part of the planning. She probably didn't want to put me in an awkward situation where I'd have to lie to her (right, Deb?).

Anyway.. I was asked to make the cake for her birthday party. I kept trying to think of what I should do for the theme of the cake. I thought about the things she enjoys -- photography, horses, scrapbooking. Then I thought about what she does for a living -- a nurse. I thought I should just do a basic birthday cake but I couldn't do it. It had to be something special. Something one-of-a-kind. It couldn't be the same ol' for my friend.

So I thought about her favorite scrapbooking company - Basic Grey. I went to their website and searched through some of their recent paper lines and fell in LOVE with their "What's up?" papers and thought the design would transfer well to a cake.

Here are the papers I used for inspiration. Beautiful, right?

And here's how the cake turned out!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

.chocolate zucchini bread.

Now before you turn your nose up and close the browser, I want you to give zucchini a chance. You don't taste it and it provides not only nutrients to your bread, it makes it moist and delicious!

I've been making this recipe for years now and it's one of my favorites. I'm sure it will become one of your favorites, as well.

This recipe makes 2 loaves, or about 1 dozen large, Texas sized muffins. (Those are the kinds of muffins we made at my bakery -- we like em big!)

In a large mixing bowl, combine:

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

In another bowl, mix together:
3 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 cup oil (you can substitute applesauce, if you like)
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 bag mini chocolate chips

Dump all the wet ingredients into the dry and mix using a fork just until the dry ingredients are slightly wet. Don't overmix.

Spoon into prepared bread or muffin pans and pop in a 375* oven and bake 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350* and continue baking until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Trust me... you're going to love this bread! (you can thank me later. ;) )