Rolo Brownie Cake with Caramel Filling

Cake is by far my favorite thing to make, but doing the dishes after cake baking? Humf.

The time spent cleaning up at the sink and trying to find all the random ingredients I spilled all over my kitchen are all worth it when I get to share the finished product with friends. This Rolo Cake was actually made this summer for one of my best friends 25th birthdays, but I wanted to share it now since it’s one of those cakes that can be made any time of year!

This beauty has a thick caramel filling sandwiched between two chewy, brownie, cake layers with a milk chocolate whipped cream frosting. OH! And Rolo topping! Good heavens.

I’d like to tell you that my friends and I ate this entire thing in one sitting, but it’s not THAT kind of cake. It’s thick and rich and awesome and a small piece goes great with a glass of milk (or in my case almond milk)…or wine. Wine is good with everything.

To make this grab your Rolos, and open 2 tubes of them. You can open a good 4 tubes for the decoration now too if you’d like! Also, preheat the oven to 300°F and grease and line 2 x 8-inch round cake pans.

Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering, stirring occasionally until smooth.

There it is!

Whisk eggs and sugar in an electric mixer until thick and pale (about 3-5 minutes).

Fold in chocolate mixture and then fold in flour.

Mix until just combined. This. Is. Drinkable.

Pour batter into the prepared tins, smooth top.

Press the two tubes of Rolos over the surface of each cake (1 pack for each) and bake until just firm to touch (25-30 minutes).

Cool completely in pan.

Now, very carefully transfer one cake to a serving dish. Whisk dulce de leche to remove any lumps, then spread a generous layer of caramel over the top of the first cake. Refrigerate this for at least 30 mins, this will keep your dulce de leche firm.

Carefully sandwich the second cake on top (upside-down). It might drip…this is more than ok.

Prepare the ganache; place chopped chocolate in a large heatproof mixing bowl. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring just to the boil.

Remove from heat and pour hot cream over the top of chopped chocolate and leave in bowl for 5 mins.

Use a whisk to bring mixture together. Chill in the fridge until thick but spreadable and just under room temperature.

Using a spatula, spread ganache over the top of the cake. Now spread it over the rest of the cake. You can decorate the beauty however you would like. I just made some fun stars around the edges.

Decorate cake with extra Rolos, I chopped half of them in half so you could see the caramel innards.

Can be served immediately, or stored in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Rolo Brownie Cake with Caramel Filling
Makes one double layer 8-inch round cake
Recipe barely adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes

Ingredients:
Cake:
400g (about 3.5 sticks) salted butter
1 scant cup good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used big dark chocolate chips)
4 large eggs
1 scant cup sugar
1 2/3 cups AP flour
2 tubes Rolos + (optional) 4+ tubes Rolos to decorate the top of cake
1 can (395g/14oz) dulce de leche or another store-bought thick caramel

For the chocolate ganache:
1 3/4 cups good quality milk chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 cup heavy cream

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 300°F, grease and line 2 x 8-inch round cake pans (or you can bake one cake after another if you only have one tin).

Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering, stirring occasionally until smooth.

Whisk eggs and sugar in an electric mixer until thick and pale (about 3-5 minutes), fold in chocolate mixture and then fold in flour until just combined. Pour batter into the prepared tins, smooth top and press Rolos over the surface of each cake (1 pack for each) and bake until just firm to touch (25-30 minutes).

Cool completely in pan, then very carefully transfer one cake to a serving dish.

Whisk dulce de leche to remove any lumps, then spread a generous layer of caramel over the top of the first cake. Refrigerate this for at least 30 mins, this will keep your dulce de leche firm.

Carefully sandwich the second cake on top (upside-down).

Prepare the ganache; place chopped chocolate in a large heatproof mixing bowl. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring just to the boil, then remove from heat and pour hot cream over the top of chopped chocolate and leave in bowl for 5 mins. Use a whisk to bring mixture together.

Chill in the fridge until thick but spreadable and just under room temperature. Using a spatula, spread ganache over the top of the cake. Decorate cake with extra Rolos, I chopped half of them in half so you could see the caramel innards.

Can be served immediately, or stored in the fridge until ready to serve. Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days.

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Asparagus with Tomatoes and Feta

I haven’t had a computer in 5 days.

I thought I’d be able to just use the computers at school…no biggie. But boooooy was I wrong. The computers at school are slow with spotty internet and I haven’t been able to get a post on the blog until now! So, I’m sorry. Last weekend I moved into a new house in Ottawa, and when I drove the boy back to Montreal (who came down to help me move) I forgot my computer there! Talk about scatter brain.

Anyway, I’m back in Montreal now and with my beloved fiance and Macbook. The world is whole again! I’m in Montreal this weekend because tomorrow I’m in running the Rock n’ Roll half marathon! So, here is some healthy asparagus to help you train for your marathon/half marathon/chasing your children around the house. Whatever you’re up to, this stuff is GOOD!

To make this, lay the asparagus in a single layer (or as close to a single layer as you can get) in a large skillet. Add water just until the asparagus is covered. Heat over medium-high heat until the water boils. Reduce the heat and let simmer until the asparagus is tender.

Dice your shallot and tomato.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallot until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes, just to warm and wilt very slightly. Once the asparagus is tender, remove from the heat and drain. Remove the shallot-tomato mixture from the heat, stir in the feta, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the warm asparagus on a serving platter (or individual plates) and top with the tomato-feta mixture. Serve immediately.

Asparagus with Tomatoes and Feta
Recipe taken from Annie’s Eats
Serves 2 as a side dish

Ingredients:
1/2 bunch asparagus
1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, finely minced
1 vine ripened tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
Salt and pepper

Directions:
In a large skillet, lay the asparagus in a single layer (or as close to a single layer as you can get). Add water just until the asparagus is covered. Heat over medium-high heat until the water boils. Reduce the heat and let simmer until the asparagus is tender.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Sauté the shallot until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes, just to warm and wilt very slightly. Once the asparagus is tender, remove from the heat and drain. Remove the shallot-tomato mixture from the heat, stir in the feta, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the warm asparagus on a serving platter (or individual plates) and top with the tomato-feta mixture. Serve immediately.

Maple Pumpkin Pie

Wouldn’t life be so much easier if our pets helped out? You know, with laundry or dishes or sweeping…nothing major but totally helpful. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately while packing up all my stuff. I’m moving this Saturday, and while I sweat and put stuff into boxes, my cat just sits there – unamused, and not helpful at all.

It’s plain and simply ungrateful, really. I feed her, change the waste that she deposits in a box each and every day, brush her, play with her and cuddle her…and she just sits there! The nerve….

Actually, while I was baking this pie, the last pie that will be made in my cute little apartment’s oven, the kitty strutted right up, and tried to dip her paw into the pumpkin filling bowl! Good heavens!

Anyway, I usually only make pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but I am seriously craving pie this week. Like an insane amount. Also, I’ve been seeing tons of awesome pumpkin recipes floating around on blogs, so I figured I might as well hop on the pumpkin train! And I’m soooo glad I did!

To make the crust, mix the flour, salt, and sugar together in a medium bowl.
With a pastry fork, mix the butter and shortening into the flour mixture (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour).

Empty mixture into medium bowl. Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.

Flatten dough into 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes. In this time you could go do your hair or practice a fishtail braid…whatever.

Preheat the oven to 375. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough large enough to fit a 8″ or 9″ pie pan. Place it in your pie pan and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt.

Add the eggs and beat with a fork until mixed thoroughly.

Slowly add the half and half and maple extract, stir until combined.

It should look like this..

Remove pie crust from the freezer and fill the crust with the pumpkin filling.

Cover the edges of of the pie crust with foil or a pie crust sheild….uhhh…I guess I didn’t take a picture of that!

Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 35 minutes or until the center is set or when a tooth pick or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy! I did.

Maple Pumpkin Pie
Lightly adapted from The Hungry Housewife
Recipe makes 1 pie

Ingredients:
Pie Crust
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (6 1/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening , cut into 2 pieces
2 tablespoons vodka , cold
2 tablespoons cold water

Pie Filling
1 15 oz. can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup half and half or whole milk
1 tablespoon maple extract

Directions:
Crust
Mix the flour, salt, and sugar together in a medium bowl.
With a pastry fork,two forks or your fingers, mix the butter and shortening into the flour mixture (dough will resemble cottage cheese curds with some very small pieces of butter remaining, but there should be no uncoated flour).
Empty mixture into medium bowl.
Sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to mix, pressing down on dough until dough is slightly tacky and sticks together.
Flatten dough into 4-inch disk.
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 45 minutes or up to 2 days.

Pie:
Preheat the oven to 375.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie dough large enough to fit a 8″ or 9″ pie pan.
Place it in your pie pan and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile in a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt.
Add the eggs and beat with a fork until mixed thoroughly.
Slowly add the half and half and maple extract, stir until combined.
Remove pie crust from the freezer and fill the crust with the pumpkin filling.
Cover the edges of of the pie crust with foil or a pie crust sheild.
Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 35 minutes or until the center is set or when a tooth pick or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack.

Other awesome pumpkin recipes:
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Muffins
Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal by Mississippi Kitchen

Rustic Cherry Tart

Since fall has decided to poke it’s head into my life, many of my favorite fruits have been disappearing from the grocery store. This past visit to the store, I noticed that many of the cherries were still big and plump, and I wanted to do one last big HECKYEAHILOVECHERRIES bake off.

I decided to make something easy. Something I could throw together in no time and have ready for dessert that same night. Something I didn’t have to worry too much about too much – a tart!

This tart is sweet and delicious, with a thin and flaky crust. I think it was supposed to serve 6 people, but the boy and I devoured this baby in 2 sittings. Hope you like it!

To make this roll your dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, into a 14 inch circle. Transfer the parchment and dough onto a baking sheet. Mix together filling ingredients until evenly coated.

Pour onto the centre of the tart and spread out to within 2 inches of the edge.

Fold up the edges to keep the filling snuggly inside. Brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 375ºF for 1 hour, or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving. Enjoy!

Rustic Cherry Tart
Serves 6-8
Recipe taken from Kitchen Simplicity

Ingredients:
1 recipe for homemade pie dough or refrigerated pie dough (I use The Pioneer Woman’s recipe)

Cherry Filling:
1 pound (3 cups) sweet cherries, halved and pitted
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

To Finish:
egg wash (1 egg white + 1 teaspoon water, whisked together)
1/2 tablespoon sugar

Directions:
Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, into a 14 inch circle. Transfer the parchment and dough onto a baking sheet.

Mix together filling ingredients until evenly coated. Pour onto the centre of the tart and spread out to within 2 inches of the edge. Fold up the edges to keep the filling snuggly inside.

Brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 375ºF for 1 hour, or until filling is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Kale and Navy Bean Soup {Vegetarian Collection}

School started up again Tuesday, and I was sooo not ready for it. I want to continue eating fresh peaches and running outside in a tank top. I don’t want to do homework! YUCK!

I do love fall though – my favorite season, so there is a bright side to this whole September thing.

I’d like to say that I crossed every single item off of my summer bucket list, but sadly, I can’t. I didn’t go to a drive-in movie theater and I didn’t make homemade pickles…but I DID…go camping on a lake with my boy.

I also made strawberry jam with handpicked strawberries..

AND something unexpected, and not on my list at all…I got engaged!! So who cares that I didn’t make pickles!? They can wait until next year.

I’m also continuing with my 30 things to do before 30 list, and have it coming along nicely. On that list is to cook my way through a cookbook from front to back, and I have made soooo many awesome recipes from Canadian Living’s The Vegetarian Collection (my book of choice). This is a recipe from that book, and I’m excited to share it with you since it was so tasty. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

To begin, heat oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven; add onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, 4 cups of water…

And then add your potato, sweet potato and beans. Bring to boil.

Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are almost tender, about 20 minutes.

Add kale and parsley, simmer, covered, until kale is tender, about 20 minutes.

That’s it! I highly recommend this soup. Enjoy!

Kale and Navy Bean Soup
Recipe from the The Vegetarian Collection
Makes 8 regular and 10 small servings
Per 1 of 10 servings: 202 calories | 10g protein | 4g total fat | 35g carbohydrates | 4g fibre | 5 WW points +

Ingredients:
2 tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp each of salt and pepper
6 cups (1.5 L) vegetable stock
4 cups water
2 cups (500 mL) diced peeled potato (about 2)
1 large sweet potato
2 cans (19 oz/540 mL) navy or white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups (1.5 L) shredded deveined kale or spinach
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh parsley
2 tsp (10 mL) lemon juice

Directions:
In Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; add onion, garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, 4 cups of water, potato, sweet potato and beans. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until vegetables are almost tender, about 20 minutes.

Add kale and parsley, simmer, covered, until kale is tender, about 20 minutes.

Note: To make-ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until cold. Transfer to airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Like this soup?
Try other Vegetarian Collection recipes like this Lentil Feta Salad!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Happy September! This past weekend the boy and I packed up our car, and moved all of his stuff from Ottawa to Montreal. It was certainly a strange move, one I wasn’t expecting to do a few years ago. But I’m looking forward to when I finish my diploma in Ottawa, and I can move there too.

I got back to Ottawa about an hour ago, and looked around at all the packing I need to do for myself, and I can’t help feeling overwhelmed. Moving is simply the worst. And unless my kitty decides to grow opposable thumbs, I’m packing on my own. The good thing about the move I’ll be doing is that I’ll end up living closer to school AND will be living in a house with a big kitchen!! So much is about to happen in this new kitchen, that it won’t even know what hit it.

I’m still finding a lot of great zucchini at the farmers market, so I decided to bake up some muffins that will be easy to eat during the moving process. These muffins are jam-packed with chocolate chips and healthy zucchini, and are super moist! I definitely recommend these.

To begin, preheat your oven to 350 F and line a muffin pan with paper liners. Then in a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.

In another bowl, beat the sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla on medium speed until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared liners. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes before removing them to the rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Recipe taken from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup zucchini, coarsely grated (about 1 small zucchini)
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla on medium speed until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared liners. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes before removing them to the rack to cool completely.