LC/GF Chocolate Cake & Buttercream Frosting Review

Hey everybody!

If you are following the Night Owl Kitchen Blog on Instagram and/or Facebook then no doubt you know where this post is going to go. 😏

Friday was a busy cooking day here, mostly because of G-Man. Those of you who have been following since the beginning know that I’m a control freak in the kitchen and really don’t let kids (mine or anyone elses) help that often. But I gave in since he was so determined to make anything. He had my Memaw’s olf Pillsbury cookbook out asking if he could make a thick crust pizza. I kept telling him no, that’s not low carb. Finally I told him, ok, you can help me make dinner. He wasn’t too interested in in what I had planned until I showed him some Googled images. That’s when his eyebrows shot up and he said “whoah”. But that’s for another post! 

He didn’t want to stop after helping with dinner. No, after getting dinner into the oven he asked me if we could make a dessert. Kid you’re killing! He asked me to make REAL brownies, you know high carb, one bowl Baker’s chocolate brownies. Yeah those. So we compromised, I pulled out the low carb family cookbook that mom and I have spent the last few years putting together. These are mostly tried and true recipes that we’ve been making since 2011, and there are some recipes in there that are waiting to be made. This low carb chocolate cake was that recipe!

Let me preface this by saying, this cake is crazy good! This was my first time making a low carb double layered cake complete with a low carb frosting. Most of the desserts I make are simple(i.e. brownies, fruit desserts, coconut pound cakes, etc.). G-Man helped with every part of this recipe, which original credit is giving to Tropical Traditions. We did have to make a little change to the original recipe, in order for this to be truly low carb we swapped out the sugar and used granulated stevia, which measures cup for cup. We don’t keep much liquid dairy in the house anymore, so for that we measured out half a measurement of heavy cream and made up the difference with water to simulate half n half. But you can certainly use whatever you have on hand. 

G-Man measured out the ingredients, while I whipped up the wet he stirred together the dry. Of course, the reward for such amazing help is getting to lick the beaters and batter bowl. Family tradition around here! 😉 I waited for his seal of approval and boy did he give it! The little fiend even pinched a few bites of batter right out of the cake pans!!! Apparently he liked it A LOT! Thank goodness, he is so hard to convince sometimes but I guess letting him help out with the whole process made it worthwhile for him. 

So, where’s the recipe?

I haven’t received permission from Tropical Traditions to share it here on my blog. But you can click HERE for the original recipe, just remember to swap out the sugar for a low carb granulated sugar option. We buy the Great Value brand of Stevia in the Raw, it’s actually pretty good! Have yet to notice any bitter aftertaste and it measures cup for cup, which makes it easy to use.

Overall, the cake recipe is easy to put together. G-Man got to experience measuring out coconut flour, Dutch processed cocoa powder, and learned that sometimes you have to get creative with a thick batter. Indeed this stuff is thick, but that’s the nature of coconut flour. Surprisingly it wasn’t a suck all the moisture out of your mouth kind of dry cake. But you can tell that it is made with coconut flour and that’s why the next time I make it(yes there will be a next time) I’m gonna add a spoonful of sour cream and replace some of the coconut flour with almond flour. It’s not an unpleasant cake at all if you’re used to using coconut flour in baked goods, or you’re so desperate for a low carb dessert you don’t care! LOL! I know that feeling, when you don’t really care what it is as long as it’s low carb and pretty good you’ll eat it in order to kill that craving! This cake recipe will take care of that and then some!

Once we got the cake into the oven we talked about “frosting options”. Which let’s face it, when you’re doing low carb you’re pretty much left with maybe one or two ideas. And he didn’t like either one. So that’s when I took to Google and found this incredible low carb buttercream frosting that blew us away. It tastes like the real deal only better because it’s not going to send your bloodsugar through the roof or make you feel guilty later on for eating a large piece. Truly, there is no judgment here, I will serve up large pieces if that’s what you want. Just saying. 👍🏼👍🏼 Low Carb Yum (<–click for recipe) came through for us with flying colors! Again we had to fudge our way through it, no pun intended. We used only granulated stevia as our main sweetener and wound up adding an extra 4 tablespoons of stevia to cut through the bitterness of the cocoa. If you can, use two different sweeteners to help sweeten the cake and frosting. Just like the cake, it’s an easy recipe, comes together quickly, and is so rich! Didn’t feel like I was eating something low carb, it felt absolutely sinful. 😈😜

I sincerely hope you all give this cake a try, it really is a wonderful dessert would be perfect for a birthday, anniversary, get togethers, or just because! Because we mamas need some cake without all the guilt, so get to it!! 

Happy Baking!!

Off to a Great Start!

So far February has been a great month! My parents celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary on the 3rd…

   and my birthday was on the 7th. I was treated the weekend before my birthday to my favorite Chinese restaurant and my fortune cookie was so promising!

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To take a chance…will see about that 😉

And the next day I received a sweet gift from a friend in the mail!

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The Wednesday before my b–day I wasn’t able to go to church since G–Man was sick again(thankfully he’s better now) and yet another friend, who shares a love for reading and is a kindred spirit when it comes to the types of books we love, was so kind to remember me before my birthday!

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I am just loving that little owl and the bookmark is perfect!!!

The morning of my birthday G–Man surprised me with a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY as I came down the stairs 🙂 And allowed me to catch up on my favorite dvr’d tv shows hehe 😀 And an unexpected gift from a friend is on it’s way here(will share that once it arrives), dare I reveal the geeky side of myself?! Ok, don’t judge, but I do enjoy comic hero movies. I grew up liking the original 1960’s Batman(lol yes with Adam West) and eventually Michael Keaton who reprise the role in the 1989 Batman movie! I have always enjoyed the X–Men, Fantastic 4, Silver Surfer, Thor, Incredible Hulk, and recently Deadpool has made a massive blip on my comic radar.  I personally cannot wait to see the movie next year! Ryan Reynolds who will be playing Wade Wilson/Deadpool is just perfect! He was ok as the Green Lantern, but I’m holding out the highest hope for him as Deadpool. Ok, enough geeking out…the character Deadpool was the inspiration for my birthday dinner. Well, his love for tacos was 😀 So my nephew and I made Mexican beef and chicken tacos for the family. They were such a hit.

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I know how he feels…I will spare you all the number of tacos that were consumed that night but trust me if was worth it. So good!! And then there was cake…oh not just any cake. The Country Cook shared a recipe for a Coconut Cream Poke Cake! Now I had every intention on take pictures but I not only forgot to take pictures but it never occurred to me to take any lol I was enjoying it too much to stop for pictures. But thankfully the Country Cook has scrumptious pictures for you all to feast your eyes on and let me just say this cake is out of this world amazing!! This is one of those cakes that you will not regret making and will actually want to make oh I don’t know, two or three…yeah I just typed that…don’t judge lol!!!

(Yeah, it’s even better than it looks!!)

And I did promise I would share the pictures of the Valentines cookies I made for the 3&4 yr olds class I help teach on Wednesday nights.

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G–Man helped with decorating them and he did an excellent job!! I had no idea, but there is actually a recipe for chocolate sugar cookies. I was shocked, over at Joy of Baking there is a tested recipe that turned out perfectly! To me, it tasted like a brownie. You can use their recipe for the frosting or you can whatever recipe you like. These cookies were a hit the kids loved them! I even found a recipe for strawberry sugar cookies. It uses freeze dried strawberries that have to be processed down into a powder, so someone could get really creative and do a Neapolitan sugar cookie platter! 

How has your February been so far?!

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Holiday Food Storage and Recipe Review

Good morning everyone! I hope you all are just as excited as I am 😀 This is our last day of school before Thanksgiving week break. I love this time of year, it’s a great time to reflect, relax and get in some much needed rest before jumping back into the daily schedule that is our lives. Another reason I love this time of year is because I get prep all kinds of goodness for an up and coming food-fest without killing myself in the kitchen!

Much planning goes into our food prepping, we have to decide what gets made and put into the freezer, what can wait to be made a couple of days ahead of the holiday and when to begin taking stuff out of the freezer to thaw it out almost completely before baking it. It all makes for an easy holiday when you can put semi-frosty casseroles in the oven to bake, no more getting in the kitchen at 9am to get veggies chopped, cornbread crumbled, casseroles combined and baked…trust me you’re going to have a more enjoyable time in the kitchen this year by going ahead now with your baking and feel more relaxed with more time to spend with your family (which is more important than slaving away in the kitchen)!

Roast chicken, the most commonly eaten white meat

Roast chicken, the most commonly eaten white meat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • First let’s start off with the bird. Goose, turkey, chicken, or duck whatever your choice of fowl is you’ll want to go ahead and get that bag boy cooked up and deboned. Unless you have a tradition of slicing it up at the table. In which case continue on McDuff! Our family isn’t big on slicing Mr. Turkey up on the table, Dad has always taken it to task to slice up the turkey himself and placing an assortment of dark and white meat into a disposable aluminum pan with a little of the turkey stock ladled over it. Cover it up with foil and keep it in the warming drawer until you’re ready to serve. Same works for ham too! You can cook it up several days in advance, freeze it, thaw it, add some ham stock to it, cover and keep warm in your lower oven. The meat is moist, tender, and no on will be able to tell that you cooked up ahead of time.
Green bean casserole

Green bean casserole (Photo credit: Mandajuice)

  • Casseroles are a must this time of year. Festive Squash Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, and the list goes on 🙂 Any casserole can be placed in the freezer, thawed and baked. We add our crunchy bread toppings and cheese on top before freezing and during cooking everything crisps back up and melts beautifully. The key is to thaw it all out, take everything out as soon as you get up and set it out unwrapped from its freezer paper cocoon. By about 2pm you’ll have mostly thawed casseroles ready to bake, and the key is to bake them gradually. You’ll probably have some cold spots that are going to need extra time baking, keep the casseroles covered with foil until everything is thoroughly hot. If you want your crispy toppings to crisp back up, remove the foil and cook until it’s nicely browned and bubbly around the edges. Might take 10–15 minutes, keep an eye on it. If you’re a marshmallow fan on your sweet potato casserole you’ll want to leave those off of you dish as it reheats in the oven. Once the casserole is heated through you can then add the marshmallows to the top and return it to the oven til it reaches a desired doneness.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie (Photo credit: Jim, the Photographer)

  • Pies: I have fond memories of my Mom making pumpkin, pecan, apple, and chocolate pie a couple of days ahead before Thanksgiving and Christmas. The house always smelled amazing and I can remember taking teeny tiny pinches off the flaky crust…I was a sneaky child 😉 How can you prep pies for the holidays? Start by making and freezing your dough. Yes, you can freeze pie dough. If you can buy it from the store frozen, honey you can freeze the homemade dough as well! Freeze in a square or circle wrapped in plastic wrap, then wrapped in foil, and finally wrapped in freezer paper. Sounds like a lot of fuss it’s better to be safe than sorry. Thaw it out overnight or from the time you get up and make your pies. You could skip this step entirely, go ahead bake your pies up, freeze them and take them out the morning of the feast. You can even stick them in the warming drawer for that warm right out of the oven feel 🙂
Turkey Dressing

Turkey Dressing (Photo credit: M. Manning)

  • Cornbread dressing or stuffing? We’re not into the whole stuff the turkey with seasoned bread. That might be a hold over from my Mom’s childhood. She learned to make cornbread dressing from her mother in law and has perfected it over the years. It can certainly be made ahead of time and reheated. I won’t delve too much into this because of the growing debate between stuffing and dressing…to stuff or not to stuff…just know that if you make the casserole version you can bake, freeze, thaw, reheat it and still have and amazing casserole for your harvest table! Just don’t forget the giblet gravy 😉
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    gravy (Photo credit: pluckytree)

     

  • Gravy is it’s own food group in our family. It is great on a slice of homemade bread, dipping yeast rolls in it, smothering cornbread dressing in, floating a slice of turkey, or just right off the spoon. Yes, we love our gravy, you can either freeze the turkey stock or go ahead and make the gravy to freeze. When warming it up check the seasoning to see if it needs more salt and pepper.
  • Mashed Potatoes!!!

    Mashed Potatoes!!! (Photo credit: Manuel Alarcón)

    About the only thing I’m not going to instruct you on in making ahead of time are the mashed potatoes. Freezing potatoes can offer iffy results, might not be as creamy or fluffy as you prefer them. It’s the one thing freeze leftover potatoes to use for potato cakes but on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day it’s important to serve the very best to your loved ones and friends. So whether they are mashed from freshly peeled or it comes from a box, make the mashed potatoes on the day of so it will be at its freshest!

  • Cranberry Sauce 009

    Cranberry Sauce 009 (Photo credit: MGF/Lady Disdain)

    Have I left anything out? CRANBERRY SAUCE! Yikes, almost forgot about that saucy perfection *oops* Ok make that two things I wouldn’t recommend making ahead. I prefer the homemade stuff though I grew up on the jellied version. I actually grew up hating that stuff because it didn’t look or taste right, but my Dad had to have it every year because it’s what he grew up with. Three years ago I decided to make it from scratch, the recipe is on the back of ever bag of fresh cranberries, I make a sugar free version that’s sweetened with xylosweet. Flavored with orange zest and instead of water I like using diet cranberry juice instead of orange juice.

So now you should be ready to get a jump start on your holiday, getting started this weekend will be a great way to get ahead even if you choose to only freeze a couple of things. You’ll be slicing your time in the kitchen by more than half!

And for your out of town guests, serve up this buttery sweet blueberry biscuit cake (which is my variation on The Simple Cook’s Bo Berry Biscuits). You could make them into individual biscuits or save yourself some time and spread the thick batter into an 8×8 inch baking pan. The recipe doubles easily and can be baked in advance minus the lemony glaze.

It’s a simple recipe:

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Picture from The Simple Cook Blog

Bo Berry Biscuit Recipe

Biscuits: 
2 Cups Flour
1 Cup milk
1/3 Cup sugar
5 T of butter
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 oz of blueberries (fresh or dried)

Glaze: 
1 Cup of powdered sugar
1/8 Cup of water
1 tsp of vanilla
½ tsp of lemon juice 

Directions: 
Freeze butter. Preheat oven to 450F. Mix salt, sugar, flour, and baking powder in a bowl and sift. Add the cold milk into dry ingredients and mix. As dough begins to form, use a cheese grater to grate your frozen butter evenly over dough. Fold dough, and knead… repeat until all butter is spread evenly throughout dough. Fold in the blueberries. Gently pull of chunks of dough and pat to form biscuits. Place on ungreased cookie sheet or cake pan. Place in oven and bake for about 7-12 minutes (until golden). Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the microwave, and paint finished biscuits with pastry brush. Mix glaze ingredients in a bowl, and drizzle over BoBerry Biscuits with a fork.


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Now, the variation I did was using frozen blueberries. I didn’t thaw them out, and I loved the idea of shredding the butter with the cheese grater. I have never done that before and really it helped to get the butter incorporated into the batter. When I pulled it out I could see little pools of melted butter on top, heart flutters. 

I like an intense lemon flavor with blueberries and strawberries so I added extra lemon juice to the glaze. But other than those slight changes, I followed the recipe and this turned out perfectly! If you wanted to add some lemon zest to the batter you could, or do a medley of orange, lemon and lime zest for a citrus cake (minus the blueberries). I think that would be very yummy with a citrus glaze!! It’s a wonderful treat and pairs nicely with hot tea 🙂

You can definitely serve this up with your choice of breakfast meats, scrambled eggs, or enjoy it all by it’s lonesome self. I think it would also be great with cranberries for a more harvest feel, just adjust your sugar since cranberries are really tart, add some orange zest and some orange spiced glaze on top.

This is going to be my final post until December 2,2013. I hope you all have a blessed holiday, stay safe and warm.

From my family to yours Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Magic Tomato Soup Cake circa 1950

Magical things were certainly happening in the kitchen tonight! I stumbled upon this funky recipe that calls for tomato soup…I can’t make this stuff up!

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I will admit, I had my doubts. But I was certainly amazed at not only the spicy aroma but impressed by it’s flavor. Could barely tell it had tomato soup in it!

Here’s the recipe:

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Magic Tomato Soup Cake

2 Tblsp butter or margarine, softened

1 c sugar

2 c sifted flour

1 tsp each of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg

¼ tsp salt

1 can (10 oz) tomato soup

1 tsp baking soda

Cream butter, sugar well. Sift flour; measure; resift 3 times with spices, salt. Alternately add dry ingredients with soup-soda mixture. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes @ 350 degree oven.

Cream Chocolate Frosting

1 package cream cheese

3 Tblsp milk

3 c sifted confectioners’ sugar

2 squares bitter chocolate, melted

½ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

Mash cream cheese. Add milk gradually, beating till blended. Add sugar gradually, beating till smooth. Add melted chocolate, salt, vanilla. Beat till smooth.

Instead of making one regular cake loaf I made two mini loaves and I didn’t make the chocolate frosting, mostly because I wanted to cover them with foil. If you want to save yourself the trouble you could use your favorite premade icing. But…this has me thinking…

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This cake would be awesome with some golden raisins! No joke, this cake reminded me of a yummy spice pumpkin cake just without the raisins. It has a lovely dense texture and is best with a little butter spread on it.

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Ohhhhhh yeah, I had to do it and it was gooooooood! I encourage everyone to try this magical cake, it’s amazing what used to be and once was forgotten over the years has now been revived! Hope you enjoy!