Monday, December 30, 2013

orange cranberry pound cake




I've noticed that a hot shower feels 100x better than normal when I come inside after a cold and sweaty run, a bag of pretzel sticks tastes amazing when I'm ravenously hungry, and my bed is the most comfortable place in the world after a busy day.  

Sunday, December 29, 2013

most popular recipes of 2013!

2013 is coming to a close -- and although I am knee-deep in studying for exams, fighting off my cinnamon bun cravings, and battling a nasty cold, I can't help but feel extremely grateful for all of you who visit my little corner of the internet.  

Cannella Vita wouldn't exist without you all.  If it wasn't for you, who would I rant to about the agony of baking a wonky batch of browniesinstagram inspired FOMO (fear of missing out), and the time I lacerated my thumb making lemon blueberry cake.  Yeah, without you, I have no one to over-share with, so thank you for being there. 


Without further ado, here are your five favorite recipes from 2013.

5)  Minion Cupcakes -- I'm so glad this made the listI just got the Despicable Me 2 DVD for Christmas and that movie totally changed my life (I personally identify with Agnes and her love of unicorns and bangs). 


4) Banana Nutella Eggrolls -- A banana smeared with Nutella is a very good thing.  A good thing is always made better when it is wrapped in dough and deep-fried.  Case and point.


3)  Really Good Marble Cake -- this marble cake is really good.


2)  Sex in a Pan -- This recipe won #1 recipe of the year on Best Dessert Recipes.com.   I guess with a name like that it's hard not to get noticed ;). 


1)  Julia's Banana Bread -- I made this recipe as an afterthought while studying for a math quiz.  It was the most popular recipe of the year by a long shot.  I guess the moral of the story is "when you have to study for a math quiz, bake banana bread."  I can live with that ;).

hehehe I'm the winner!
What was your favorite Cannella Vita recipe of the year?

With love,
Erica

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

LTT: instajealous

Instagram has been under a bit of fire lately. 

I recently read this New York Times article called The Agony of Instagram. To sum it up,  many people feel "instajealous" after stalking their friends' "fabulous" lives on Instagram, and feel sad when they see instagrams of cool people eating snacks without them. 

I agree with this somewhat.  Facebook posers, we all know them, we all hate them. And Instagram gives these awful people yet another medium to share their "awesome" lives with us through all sorts of glittery filters (as if getting minute by minute Twitter updates wasn't bad enough...).
@alessandraambrosio
Celebrity Instagrams  can also make us feel "instajealous."  Seeing Alessandra Ambrosio roller bladeing around Venice Beach in booty shorts while I am falling asleep in an assembly about honey bees, or seeing Lauren Conrad looking fabulous while poking around fair trade markets while I am doing AP U.S. history alone in the library sometimes makes me think: why isn't my life this fabulous? 

Then I remember, my life is pretty great, and everything, literally everything, looks super fancy and cool and awesome through "Amaro" or "Lo-fi."

Instagram has the ability to make this squished McDonald's sausage McMuffin that I ate in my dad's car before the ACT look appealing.  Case and point.  


I dont think there's anything inherently wrong with this, its just the nature of Instagram. 

Last weekend, I Instagrammed a pretty fancy breakfast of banana rum french toast (all doused in powdered sugar).  Am I going to Instagram my daily bowl of watery oatmeal? Nope.



I Instagrammed my hair on this day that my hair looked particularly nice after yoga class.  Does my hair usually look like this? Nope.  It is usually tied up in a Costco headband.



Then should Instagram be full of lumpy oatmeal and Costco headbands?

NO! But we should all take it with a grain of salt (kind of like reality T.V.).  I'm sure that EVEN LAUREN CONRAD eats watery oatmeal and wears headbands from Costco sometimes. 

So as Christmas approaches, and you start scrolling through pictures of 12 foot tall Christmas trees, glamorous Christmas parties, and luxurious presents, just take a moment to be thankful for the things that you have, and remember that everything looks better through an "amaro" filter. 

With love, 
Erica

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

brownie stuffed chocolate chip cookies

Look at these chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven. So innocent looking, right?
There's nothing about these cookies that could possibly reinforce your trust issues.


They're chocolate chip cookies. They look so inviting and comforting sitting next to a tall glass of cold milk.  They're a little large and lumpy... but a homemade chocolate chip cookie is a homemade chocolate chip cookie. The largeness/lumpiness just enhances their whole "homemade" vibe.  Right? 


WRONG!  These seemingly innocent cookies were all large and lumpy because they were hiding a full on double-fudge brownie on the inside!  You sneaky cookie you!


Let me tell you how these stealthy cookies came about.  I was experimenting with a new brownie recipe, and I screwed up... they tasted pretty good but they were unbelievably skinny, and no one likes skinny brownies.


I was about to chuck messed up batch in the trashcan when I felt a bout of sympathy for those brownies.  It wasn't their fault that they were too little to cut it in the harsh world of thick cut, chocolate chunk brownies.  They hadn't done anything wrong... it was my duty to save them.


So with a little help from some homemade cookie dough, those sorry little brownies were saved.  I wrapped each one in a big layer of soft cookie dough, and they were transformed into these huge, amazing mounds of bake-sale-worthy-goodness.

With love,
Erica



Ingredients
1 pan of baked brownies (either homemade or from a mix)
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 oz. chocolate chips

Cut your brownies into 10, 1 inch squares.  Enjoy the leftovers for yourself ;)

To make the chocolate chip cookie dough, beat butter and sugar with a mixer until creamy. Add the eggs, yolk, and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.  Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl and add to the butter mixture until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Let dough chill covered in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
Scoop out 1/2 cups of the cookie dough (I told you these are HUGE!).  Place the dough onto the baking sheet. You can only fit six cookies on a standard sized baking sheet -- so you will have to make several batches.

Make an indention in each mound of cookie dough and place a cut brownie in the center. Press the brownie down and work the remaining dough around the brownie. Shape the dough into a ball.

Once all your cookies are "stuffed" with a brownie, bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes. Return the remaining dough to the refrigerator until time to bake the second batch. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

nutella twists

"I realized this week that I just cannot do it all, so I will choose to do what I can, fabulously." 
-- Clinton Kelly 


In school, I've heard a lot of pep-talks.  From teachers, coaches, mentors, etc.  They all go along the lines of "work hard," "always do your best," "never give up."

spread

I am a firm believer in all of these things, and I take pride in doing my best and really putting my heart into things that I care about.   However, I've realized is that no matter how hard I work, it is physically impossible to do it all.   And that's OK.


Moderation is a tough concept to grapple with, especially for a young person like me.  I want to learn things, I want to be able to do things, and I want to understand things.  And I'm impatient.

slice
In Japanese, there's this word, tekitou.  In English, it translates to "halfhearted."  However, to me, the word means quite the opposite. "Halfhearted" has such a negative connotation.  To me, tekitou means doing the things that I love and care about wholeheartedly, and in regard to living a balanced life (and not driving myself totally crazy), not sweating the little details in all of the other things I have to do, and remembering that not everything has to be picture perfect.

twist

So onto the recipe, there's nothing quite like homemade pastry.  But ask anyone who has rolled out their own puff pastry -- it's an ordeal and a half.   Ain't nobody got time for that.

Sometime's it's OK to cut a few corners.  Especially in the baking world.  Like for instance, (this is for all of you food bloggers and avid bakers out there), how many times have you actually taken butter out of the fridge an hour before baking to let it "soften to room temperature?  I've never done this (except for the one time I simply forgot to put it back in the fridge after buttering my toast).  I always just give the stick a 30 second zap in the microwave.  Tekitou. 




I'm always in the mood for some buttery, flaky, Nutella-swirled goodness.  And although I am often in the mood to play with dough as well, my schedule doesn't always allow for making homemade puff pastry.


Here's a quick-and-dirty little recipe for beautiful, Nutella twist pastries.  They look like I slaved for hours over them -- rolling and folding puff pastry.  They taste all insane, buttery and chocolatey, and take minutes to twist together.  Win win win.  I finished my math homework, and got to make these awesome little twists of goodness.  Tekitou.


powdered sugar always classes things up

How were you tekitou today?

With love, Erica 


Ingredients 
1 box frozen puff pastry (thawed)
Nutella
1 egg
powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Roll out your defrosted puff pastry into a 2mm thick long, rectangular shape.  Spread a thin, even layer of Nutella onto the pastry.  Roll the puff pastry up jelly-roll style from the long end.

Using a sharp knife, slice the roll in half vertically, exposing all of those layers of Nutella.  Cut each half into fourths.

Hold one piece of puff pastry from both ends and start twisting it, turning each hand in opposite directions until you have a tall spiral shape. Hold one end of the strip in place with a finger, and roll the rest of the spiral around it until you get a small spiral. Tuck in the last end underneath the pastry, making sure you do so tightly so it won't uncurl during the baking process.

Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry.  Place each spiral about 3 inches apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet.

Lightly brush each pastry with beaten egg.   Bake in the preheated oven for 14-18 minutes, or, until the puff pastry has turned into a golden brown.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

everyday vita: fall words of wisdom

This week, I came up with five words of wisdom that I wanted to share with you all. 
  1. This morning, I made this crazy, twisty chocolate babka with challah dough from one of my favorite cookbooks, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  Tbh, I thought it would be a total disaster because I left the dough out overnight (instead of the recommended 2 hours).  I decided to bake it anyways and it was yummy.  Good call Erica.  Always give even the most questionable dough a chance -- it might surprise you.
  2. I've been watching the World Series this week.  On Wednesday, my dad bought me this snazzy, green Red Sox hat, and we won 8-1 against the Cardinals.   A new hat can make a big difference in your life.
  3. I went to the pumpkin patch with Edo yesterday.  I am  not a fan of carving pumpkins.  One, I have terrible carving skills, and two, when you carve them, they get all sad and mushy 10x faster. I really want to make a minion pumpkin like this one. And it requires no carving whatsoever.  Pumpkins don't always need to be carved.
  4. In the spirit of fall, I whisked up a batch of my apple brownies -- they're like apple pie in portable brownie form.   At Panera with the You-Pick-Two meals, I always get an apple on the side.  This time, I stuffed the apple in my purse and made these brownies with it.  Panera apples are good for baking.
  5. I was planning on making pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting this week.  However, when my cupcakes had cooled and were ready to be frosted -- it was already 11 p.m. and I was not in the mood to put pants on and go to the supermarket.  So, I just piped my classic, Nutella buttercream on top.  It was a little weird, and I didn't know how they would be received by the general public at the Varsity Baseball Bake Sale, however, people kept coming up to me in the hallways telling me how genius they were... It's good to be a little weird sometimes.
© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

fool-proof no-knead bread


Fall is a crazy wild ride.  There are a million-and-one things to do and  I used to wish that I could do all million-and-one things at once (or at least a nice hand-full of them).   I used to think that doing just one thing at any given moment was a luxury -- sometimes, even wasteful!  I would catch up with friends via text on my walk home from school.  I would study my Chinese vocabulary while doing my nails.  I once attempted to study for a physics test while making gooey Nutella butter cake (as you can imagine, that was a gooey, chocolatey mess).


Then I finally realized, after all of these years of trying to paint my toes, while listening to a book talk, while doing my math homework -- that multi-tasking sucks.   Here are my five reasons that multi-tasking sucks.

  1. It's actually less efficient.  If I have my history reading open on one tab and my Pinterest tab open on the other, most likely I will find a killer pumpkin bread recipe and leave poor old Thomas Jefferson neglected. 
  2. Things happen and I don't notice them.  While I'm attempting to text my friends about my day while crossing the street, I don't notice that adorable little pug puppy being walked on the other side of thestreet from me (not to mention oncoming traffic...).  A study at the University of Washington found that 75% of students who walked across the quad while on their cell phones didn't notice a clown riding on a unicycle in the quad.   A CLOWN RIDING ON A UNICYCLE! He was probably wearing a bright red fright wig... if they didn't notice that, think about all of the other things they were missing . 
  3. It's rude.  Having my cell phone on the table while having lunch with a friend is distracting. I am totally guilty of this, but sometimes, I at least try not to read the message until I'm on my own.  
  4. It's stressful.  That little "bing" of a new message sends my heart racing.  Spilling sea foam green nail polish on my Chinese workbook sends my blood-pressure through the roof.   
  5. It kills creativity.  Brilliant strokes of genius (putting Nutella in baklava) only happen when your brain has a little extra room to be crazy.  Multitasking requires a lot of "working memory," leaving very little wiggle room for those awesome strokes of genius.  
So, I've decided that when I'm reading about Thomas Jefferson, I will give him all of my attention, and when I'm painting my nails sea foam green, you better believe I'm not going to screw one up attempting to crack open my math text book.   When I'm working, I'm working, when I'm playing, I'm playing, and when I'm baking, I'm baking.  Work hard, play hard (wise words from Wiz Khalifa).  

That being said, there's one little exception when multi-tasking is a good thing. 

This no-knead bread.  

Basically, I just stir up the ingredients in a big bowl -- then proceed to paint my nails, make Nutella baklava, talk to some friends,  spend some quality time with Thomas Jefferson, and totally forget about my bowl of ingredients.  While I'm doing all of these things,  the yeast in there is working hard to make the bubbliest, chewiest, dough I've ever seen.  Multi-tasking at its finest. 

Then, as an afterthought, I throw it into my big dutch oven and uncover a perfectly crusty, yeasty loaf of artisan bread.  



This is not the kind of bread that I cut into slices and make elaborate sandwiches on (although you totally could, whatever floats your boat).  This is the kind of bread that I tear off big chunks of while it's still warm, and smother them in melty butter and honey.   It's got that thick crust that snaps when you break off a piece and a soft center with tons of scraggly nooks and crannys just begging to be filled with melty butter. 

Are you a multi-tasker?

With love,
Erica


Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups luke-warm water
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp yeast

Dump all of the ingredients in a large bowl and give them a stir until they resemble a shaggy dough.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in room temperature for 8-18 hours. Dough will bubble up and rise.
After dough is ready, preheat oven to 450 F.
Put your dutch oven in the oven while it preheats.
Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and shape dough into a ball.
After the oven has preheated, carefully remove the dutch oven and with floured hands place the bread dough into it.
Replace the cover and bake for 30 minutes covered. Then remove the cover and bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered.  Now you have a perfect, crusty, artisan loaf of bread!


© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

everyday vita: peanut butter jelly time!


IT'S PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME!
peanutbutterjellypeanutbutterjellypeanutbutterjellywithabaseballbat.  (click here if you're confused).


If you've been wondering why Cannella Vita is almost completely devoid of peanut butter recipes (but wayyyy overloaded with Nutella ones...) -- it's because peanut butter's not really my thing.  Nevertheless, I absolutely love spreading it.  I love making a smooth little squiggle in the peanut butter (am I the only one who does this?). 

the famous squiggle
There's something seriously therapeutic about spreading things on Wonder bread. 

PB&Js are as classic as you get.  They're absolutely perfect just the way they are and that's why they've basically been around since Columbus discovered America (that's not actually true, I have my first AP U.S. history test tomorrow and PB&J has been around for ages - so that's where my mind is at the moment).
i'm liking that bread-to-fluff ratio
Anyways, you know what we do with classics around here? Totally corrupt them and slather them with Nutella.  So I made PB&Ns too.  Peanut butter Nutella sandwiches.  Not my worst idea ;)

Also, I had to throw in a few fluffernutters, because they're my dad's favorite.  And fluffernutter is fun to say.  And I wanted an excuse to buy marshmallow fluff.  So obviously those were necessary. 


Lastly, the Hawaiian girl in me just had to make some of these on Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.  Because that's how I roll (haha). 


Tomorrow I'm going all the way up to Pennsylvania with the soccer team, so I packed a few of these up with some chocolate chip Chewy bars for the long bus ride.

How do you like your PB&J?

With love,
Erica

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

minion cupcakes

I had a pretty great time in preschool.  I was born with a natural gift for making play-dough snowmen and I had these sick-nasty Digimon goggles that I wore every single day.


Despite the fact that I was clearly living it up,  I (like all preschoolers) had my fair share of worries.  Those "first-day jitters," the trauma of sharing at "Show-And-Tell" on Fridays, and the fear of being abandoned on the playground. 


To deal with all these little predicaments, my mom and I had a special daily ritual. 

Every morning before she dropped me off, she promised to come back to pick me up with a Twinkie.  Sure enough, every day I saw her cherry-red Toyota station wagon pull up to the preschool.  Sure enough, she always had a Twinkie. 

This little daily ritual made the traumas of preschool a little more manageable.   It also taught me that I am very easily motivated by food. 

Even now, my mom and I joke about our little "Twinkie" ritual whenever she drops me off somewhere.


This brings me to the recipe of the day: minion cupcakes!

These mischievous little minions are made out of Twinkies -- and they are almost too cute too eat.  Emphasis on the almost.

If you don't know what minions are, they're these little, impulsive, bean-shaped creatures who are quite talented singers and have a contagious laugh.  (If you haven't heard the Banana and Potato Song and want to smile, click here). I had almost too much fun giving each of my minions a different facial expression. 


So what are you waiting for?  Whip up you're own entourage of minions today!

With love,
Erica

Ingredients
  1. 24 frosted cupcakes of your choice (I made funfetti with blue buttercream!)
  2. 12 Twinkies
  3. 1 bag Ready-Made Candy Eyes
  4. Brown sprinkles
  5. Black writing icing
Cut each of your twinkies in half and squeeze two dots of black icing onto the backs of the Candy Eyes to act as glue.  Stick them onto your Twinkie (note some minions only have one eye).   Draw on a mouth and goggles using the black writing icing.  Stick a few brown sprinkles in the minion's head for hair.  Gently press your minions cut side down on top of your frosted cupcakes!



© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

everyday vita: back to the basics


It's that awkward time between summer and fall.  It's too early bake up a cinnamon-spicy loaf of chocolate chip pumpkin bread and it's too late to wear jean shorts and waste away those summer afternoons.

banana bread!

I am not the best with transitions.   When I "do summer" I do it wholeheartedly -- wearing my Rainbow flip-flops for days and eating a whole watermelon for lunch.  I totally forget that in a few months, all of the leaves will fall off.  When fall comes around,  I'm furiously spray-painting chevron pumpkins and mulling cider like it's nobody's business.  When winter rolls around, I feel like someone yanked a pumpkin spice latte out of my hands and threw it on the floor (tbh I hate pumpkin spice lattes, but that was a nice analogy, don't ya think?).  But then I start baking Christmas cookies and I'm fine.

What keeps me grounded during these times of transition are those little things that are always awesome, no matter what season it is -- little things like a good magazine, banana bread baking in the oven, stretchy beaded bracelets, sparkly blush and my favorite perfume.


the morning routine never changes
I am absolutely loving this new lifestyle magazine from the U.K. called The Simple Things -- I want to cut out all of the pictures and frame them on my walls.

My banana bread recipe is by far the most popular recipe on Cannella Vita.  Probably because banana bread is always awesome no matter what season it is.  Mine can be made in one bowl with a singular fork.  I threw some chocolate chips into the batter, because chocolate chips are always a good idea. In the other loaf, I swirled some Nutella into the batter (because Nutella is always a better idea).  It all sunk to the bottom, so it wasn't to pretty, but it was yummy nonetheless.  So we ate it all anyways. 
 
I love these little stretchy beaded bracelets because they're absolutely addicting to play with.  They also transition nicely from my easy summer stack to a more studious stack (i.e. wearing a watch again). 

The smell of Dolce Gabbana Light Blue reminds me that no matter what, right now, there is an ocean breeze blowing somewhere in the world.

the "stack"
The changing of seasons (and their awkward transitions) are an inevitable part of life.  Although it's a little sad that I have homework now and can't wear my flip-flops anymore, this week gives me the opportunity to wear knit sweaters with shorts.   That's kind of exciting. :)


With love,
Erica


© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Monday, September 16, 2013

bourbon peach crostata

I'm really sorry for disappearing for the past few weeks.  School started the Tuesday after Labor Day, and since then things have gotten truly insane.


There is so much hype about junior year.  It seems like when my classmates used to talk about The Bachelor and the scary new P.E. teacher, they now talk about AP classes and college apps.
 
All of this hype freaked me out a little bit.  My label-maker went into overdrive, I felt as though my life was scheduled down to the minute, I was constantly writing myself illegible notes on my phone,  I had calenders solely dedicated to keeping track of my other calenders. 


Then I took a step back.  I realized that while jamming my label-maker and staring down at my bi-weekly calender, I was missing a heck of a lot.   Things were just passing right by me.   The air started smelling like fall, Carly got a haircut, and I desperately needed a manicure... and I didn't even notice.  Missing out is a scary thing.  I realized that sometimes, I need to get my face out of my agendas.  Sometimes, it's absolutely necessary to do something "pointless."


I did a dryer load of fuzzy socks, so I could put them on when they're still warm.

I painted my nails this electric peachy pink color.

I went on a long walk blasting "Don't Drop That Thun Thun" and looking at the trees. Then I started noticing things again and how beautiful everything was.  I noticed how the light reflects of the wavy windows in my neighborhood, how birds manage to nestle into precarious little crevices of brick walls without falling down, and how simply tilting my chin can give me a whole new perspective on my neighborhood. I wondered what the world would look like if I were 6 feet tall, or what it looks like to Carly.  Before I knew it, I was eighteen blocks away from home.


Most of the time, I bake for a purpose (bake sales, birthdays, sports games), and I absolutely love my classic cookie/blondie/brownie repertoire (i.e. things that can be eaten with one hand on the way to English class or on the sidelines).  But I think that sometimes, it's important to make something impractical and crumbly.

Like this crostata.  It's not particularly ridiculous like some of the other things I make.  It doesn't have the "wow" factor of a triple-decker Nutella cake or oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies.

It's a little crumbly, a little rustic, and the dough looks a little like a six-year-old's play-dough creation.

But it's really delicious.  It's one of my favorite things to make.  It's pretty simple and great for sharing.  Perhaps some would say that it's a little "pointless."  But maybe "pointless" isn't such a bad thing after all.

With love,
Erica


Ingredients
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
11 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 eggs
zest of one lemon
pinch of salt
1 small jar of peach jam (mine had a hint of smoky bourbon in it)
1 peach
raw cane sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 F and grease a 9" tart pan.
Place flour in a large mixing bowl, make a well in the center and add the eggs. Using either your hands or a fork, incorporate the eggs into the flour. Work the butter into the dough until it forms clumps.
Add the sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Keep working the dough until is it very crumbly and slightly sticky.
On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough a couple of times, then take off about 1/3 of the dough (for the lattice pattern on top). 
With a rolling pin, roll out the bigger piece of dough into about a nine inch circle and press into the tart pan. Prick a few times with a fork, then spread the jam evenly on top.Break off little pieces of the small piece of dough and roll them between your hands into long strips. Place the strips over the jam, pressing lightly at the edges so they stick to the crust.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is lightly golden.

© Cannella Vita. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission/linking back to Cannella Vita. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

Friday, August 30, 2013

nutella cake

Have you heard about "The Smearing"?
No, it's not some new horror movie.  I really don't like horror movies.  

I mean, in the most basic of horror movies (i.e. PSAs about avoiding your basement),  the characters are so asking for it.


If I were home alone and heard screeching/whispering/scratching/bubbling coming from my basement, the absolute last thing I would do is grab a flashlight and "investigate."  I mean why would I do that when I could just stay above ground level with Pinterest and a big mug of Bohemian Raspberry tea? What's even worse is when they ask: "anyone there?" I mean, do you really want to know the answer to that question?  Moral of the story, avoid unnecessary confrontation.  Don't check noises in your basement. 


Now back on topic -- if it's not a new horror movie, what is "The Smearing"

"The Smearing" was a campaign run a long time ago by the Ferrero company in Italy, where kids could bring a slice of bread to their local food store and get a free "smear" of Nutella. I'm patiently waiting for them to bring this service back.  My day will come.


Is there anything in this world better than Nutella? Free Nutella. That's all. A jar of this smooth, spreadable, chocolate-y brown gold is sold every 2.5 seconds (a baby is born every 8 seconds... do the math).

So to honor Nutella, one of the tastiest things that comes in a jar, I created this cake.  There were no rules, just that it had to be absolutely redonkulous (because Nutella deserves that kind of respect...).


I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe for the layers (simple, velvety, with a nice cocoa bean-y flavor).  Then things started to get scandalous.  I slathered a thick, generous layer of Nutella between the cake layers, and then covered the whole thing with this dangerous Nutella buttercream (I always make a double batch in case... you know... I get hungry).  While my first layer of frosting was chilling in the fridge, I went to the grocery store and ran up and down the aisles, just whacking every somewhat hazelnutty/chocolate-y thing I saw into my cart (ended up using the Hazelnut Ritter Sport and Ferrero Rocher).  Then I piped some snazzy little Nutella buttercream ripples on the sides, and some big, vanilla rosettes on the top (to class up this monster of a cake).  Finally, I smushed a little baby jar of Nutella in the middle.  And my creation was born. 
With love,
Erica

Ingredients
One, 2-layer batch of chocolate cake (here's my favorite)
One jar Nutella
One batch of Nutella Buttercream
One batch of Vanilla Buttercream (this recipe without the Oreos)
Ritter Sport/Ferrero Rocher for decorating
melted chocolate for drizzling

Assembly

Place once cake layer onto a cake stand, plate, or cake board.  With an offset spatula, evenly spread a generous amount of Nutella onto the layer.  Place your second layer face down on top of the Nutella filling and place the cake in the fridge for a few moments until it firms up a bit.  Meanwhile, whip up your two buttercreams (if you're like me and only have one stand mixer, make the vanilla one first so it doesn't get streaked with Nutella!).

With your offset spatula, carefully smooth a bit of frosting in a thin, even layer over the entire cake (to seal in the crumbs, a.k.a a crumb coat).  Chill again until the frosting is firm (about 15-30 minutes).

Place the cake on a turntable or cake stand.  Using a clean offset spatula, spread the Nutella buttercream in a smooth, even layer over the crumb coat.  To make the "ripple effect" on the sides, fill a large pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip with Nutella buttercream.  Pipe a vertical row of 4 dots about 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter.  Once you have your line of dots, use a spoon to smush down one side of each dot to form a line of petals.  Keep repeating this process until you make your way all around the cake.  For a picture of this technique, click here.

Next, fill a clean piping bag fitted with a medium star tip with the vanilla buttercream.  Pipe big swirls of frosting on top of the cake. Place a Ritter Sport or Ferrero Rocher in the middle of each swirl.  Lastly, drizzle with melted chocolate and enjoy your crazy, Nutella creation!

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