Oreo Cheesecake

I made this cake special for the birthday girl Lynn. Lynn claimed to be allergic to oreos for quite some time in her youth — yet it was always obvious that her ‘allergy’ was non-existent and that she in fact LOVED oreos and ate them regularly.

So oreo cheesecake it was — plus I wanted to try making something new and making cheesecake seemed like it would be a fun challenge.

The toughest part to make was the crust…of course.

Making the crust even and smooth took me…I’m slightly embarrassed to say… an hour or so, I just couldn’t tear myself away.

The filling was easy peezy, mainly composed of cream cheese and sour cream among a few other items.

I arranged some extra oreos in the filling and it was ready to bake.

All was going smoothly until I removed the cake from the oven and noticed this…

What a crack! And I’m not talking about the good craic that you can find in Dublin…this was a nightmare.

But I went from being the saddest person in the kitchen to the happiest pretty fast once I learned that it is easy to repair a crack in a cheesecake.

All I needed was a palette knife and some hot water and I was able to smooth over the crack — no problem and then I could decorate.

I managed to snap a shot of the center of the cheesecake before it was quickly devoured.

Not bad, not bad, I’d say.

You can find the apparent Cheesecake Factory recipe here.

Please try this at home, it was pretty easy to make and the crowd will love it!

Oh and make sure to let me know how it goes if you do find the time to bake it.

Yours edibly,

Elana

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Birthday BBQ

In celebration of my friend Lynn’s birthday, we decided to have a pot luck barbecue. It was a nice, chilly evening with cheeseburgers, salads, dips, and lots of condiments.

Ali did a marvelous job on the grill, cooking all the beef burgers, chicken burgers, and chicken dogs until they were juicy and tender.

While waiting for our meat to cook, we munched on pita and some amazing dips — courtesy of Sofra.

Clockwise from the top: hummus, eggplant, mystery dip, baba ghanoush, and tzatziki.

Here is a delicious salad with mixed greens, pears, walnuts, and blue cheese — sophisticated and stinky.

Creamy coleslaw — so much better than plain old vinegar coleslaw.

And… more beautiful salads!

From the left: edamame and kale salad, mango salad — with big chunks of mango that everyone thought were butternut squash, and roasted red pepper chick pea salad.

And finally, a delicious quinoa salad.

What would a party be without quinoa?

Quinoa salad with black beans, edamame beans, red pepper, and broccoli — I packed some leftovers for lunch.

Some things I forgot to photograph: beer, condiments, cheese, buns, vinegar coleslaw, chicken dogs — sorry, I must have been so hungry I forgot.

Dessert pictures to come.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Mini Red Velvet Cupcakes

I had not one, not two,  but three of my closest friends birthdays this weekend, so obviously, I wanted to bake something.

Ellie and I decided to make Magnolia’s Red Velvet Cupcakes — you just really can’t go wrong with the Magnolia recipes.

We used one recipe and with that one recipe we were able to make 48 mini cupcakes and 12 regular cupcakes — pretty wild eh!?

From previous experience, I believe one of the most important steps is mixing the cocoa powder and red food colouring to a smooth paste. We were a little low on food colouring — we used 5 tablespoons instead of 6, but the colour still was great!

It’s always easy to use a KitchenAid to do all the dirty work, i.e. mixing.

Just make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Isn’t the colour beautiful?

Use a spring-action scoop for filling the trays. It makes less of a mess and it’s easier to make sure all the cupcakes are the same size.

Bake for 15-20 minutes and here they are!

Not bad, not bad. We gave one lucky cupcake two liners, can you spot which one that is?

Next up, piping. We used a large star tip and large round tip for piping. The piping took just a few minutes.

Which do you prefer – star tip piping at the back or round tip piping at the front?

By the way, we obviously used cream cheese frosting for the cupcakes — you just can’t use anything else.

Here’s a closer image of these pretty little things.

Oh no, what happened to this one?

You always have to taste everything you bake or cook — that’s a RULE!

And we made 60 cupcakes so a few missing is no big deal…

You can find the recipe here.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Mother’s Day Desserts

What would a meal be without dessert?

You certainly wouldn’t have happy guests if you skipped out on this necessary component of the meal.

For mother’s special day, I opted to make a chocolate tart and mini carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing.

I know what you’re thinking, ‘did she crack an egg on top of the cupcakes?’

NO, I most certainly did not. But now that I think about it, my little bit of creativity would have fared better during Easter.

Oh well. They still tasted good.

Here is the tart crust, the hardest part to make.

I spent about 30 minutes trying to even out the edges, then I decided, if it’s a little rough around the edges maybe people will want to eat it more?

The filling was pretty much just chocolate ganache. Heavy cream and chocolate — what could be better?

I had to take a photo of the drooping cupcake. See it? On the left?

Looks like there might be a couple on the right too.

Breakfast anyone?

And for the final touches…

I used this Martha Stewart recipe for the chocolate tart.

And I used my own recipe for the cupcakes.

Mini Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • ¾ cup roughly chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 cup/package of regular Philadelphia cream cheese
  • ¼ cup (or half a stick) unsalted softened butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place cupcake liners in mini muffin tray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix white and brown sugar, oil, and eggs until they’re nice and smooth.
  3. In a small bowl, sift flour together with baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Pour flour mixture into wet mixture and beat just until moistened—do not over mix.
  5. Add the carrots, coconut, and walnuts and fold into the batter until the ingredients are well-incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into cupcake liners until about 3/4 full.
  7. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of a cupcake comes out clean.
  8. While the cake is baking, combine all the ingredients for the icing in a food processor. Mix on low speed until the icing is smooth with no lumps. A hand blender also works well for this step.
  9. Allow the cupcakes to cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before icing.

Enjoy!

Yours edibly,

Elana

Mother’s Day Festivities

It’s been a hectic weekend, lots to make and lots to bake, but all for a great cause — mothers (and grandmothers).

We finally had some beautiful weather this past weekend, which only means one thing — bbq.

Smokey cedar plank salmon and greek chicken kabobs were a no-brainer.

When you’re using a cedar plank for bbqing salmon, just a little lemon and olive oil will do the trick — the salmon was so moist and delicious, and SO easy to make.

I prepared the greek chicken skewers like this:

Ingredients

  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup dried oregano
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • bamboo skewers

Method

Combine herbs, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in bowl. Place cubed chicken in large bowl and pour marinade over chicken. Mix well. Keep covered in fridge for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, soak bamboo skewers in water for about 30 minutes. Place chicken on skewers, about 4 pieces per skewer.

Grill on bbq about 5 minutes each side, medium high heat. Serve immediately. Delicious!

Now for some sides..

My bf offered to help me prepare the big meal, so I let him slice grape tomatoes (about 3kg) and juice some lemons — it was a huge help!

This here is the roasted tomatoes with white kidney beans.

I served this mixture over a bed of spaghetti squash, it turned out beautifully!

You can find the recipe here.

I also prepared a basic greek salad which paired well with the greek chicken skewers.

Finally, I baked Barefoot Contessa’s chive biscuits.

Here they are just before baking…and before I brushed them with egg wash.

And here they are after.

The meal was a great success.

By the way, pictures of dessert are on their way. Stay tuned!

Yours edibly,

Elana

Birthday Cake

What better thing is there to do on a rainy day then to a bake a cake.

This cake I made for two of my closest friends, who happen to be twins!

You’re probably thinking it would have been smart of me to make two cakes — well… I did! I just stacked them on top of each other 😉

So here are the two cakes, fresh out of the oven.

I cut the elevated parts off the cakes to make them even for stacking.

Then I began icing.

And done.

Before I began decorating, I needed to practise some piping.

My shells look decent, probably not up to GB standards… but good enough.

And sprinkles!

Let’s hope they like it…

This birthday cake recipe is the EXACT same as the Magnolia cupcakes recipe. So I guess it’s guaranteed to be good.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Lady Marmalade

The owners of Lady Marmalade serve colourful breakfast and lunch fare in the most satisfying and appetizing way. Presentation is a little sloppy and the kitchen is a bit of a mess, but damn their food tastes good.

I only tried two dishes, but this was more than enough to know that these chefs know what they’re cooking! The restaurant’s organic brunch gives you the type of dish that satisfies ALL day long.

When you’re seated in the restaurant, make sure to note the assortment of chairs — you’re bound to find a cute chair you’d love to take home with you.

I couldn’t order anything other than one of the signature dishes so I picked Huevos Rancheritos.

This traditional Mexican breakfast comes with cheesy scrambled eggs topped with chipotle salsa, a large side of guacomole, smashed beans, and a warm wholewheat tortilla.

The dish looked totally wild and was garnished with too much parsley, but it was the flavour that got me.

I ate the best bites when I rolled a bit of each: eggs, beans, guac in the warm tortilla.The combination was unbelievable.

My bf always opts for either the classic eggs, bacon, potato breakfast or a BLT. This time it was the BLT.

The not-so-classic BLT included a poached egg, bacon, roasted tomato, red onion, spinach, potatoes, side salad, and delicious chipotle mayo.

A meal with all four food groups complementing each other beautifully is bound to always hit the spot. The side salad was a little lame and unnecessary but the BLT was bangin’!

I’ll be seeing you again soon my lady 😉

Yours edibly,

Elana