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BLOOD ORANGE CAKE the perfect cake for a party

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Looking for that perfect cake to bring to a get-together, brunch, or shower? Well ladies, step aside, because Elizabeth is flexing her cake decorating skills and showing us how to master the most delicious cake known to mankind – the blood orange cake with honey mascarpone frosting. I mean, it’s pure perfection! 

It’s stunning, delicious, and a total showstopper! Get the skinny from Elizabeth below. Love what you see, tell us your thoughts below! – xoxo, LK

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INGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 Cups of cake flour

1 1/2 Cups of granulated sugar

1 Teaspoon of course salt

1 Tablespoon of baking powder

5 Large eggs, separated

1/2 Cup of blood orange juice or your favorite citrus juice

1 Tablespoon of blood orange zest

1/2 Cup of vegetable oil 

+ extra flour & non stick baking spray for cake tins

 

HONEY MASCARPONE FROSTING

1 Stick of unsalted butter at room temp

8 Oz of mascarpone cheese or cream cheese

1 1/2 Teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

1 Teaspoon of salt

3-4 Tablespoons of honey

4 Cups of powdered sugar

   *milk on an as needed base

2INSTRUCTIONS:

*For this recipe I used three 6-inch cake tins, two 8-inch will work as well. Spray cake tins with non stick spray and spread flour thinly on sides and bottom of tins, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. In a large mixing bowl sift cake flour and add in salt and baking powder and set aside.

1. In a large bowl separate egg yolks and whites into 2 large bowls, reserve the yolks. With a stand or hand mixer fitted with a wire whip, whip egg whites until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Set aside. 

2. With a stand or hand mixer combine sugar and egg yolks. Slowly pour in vegetable oil and blood orange juice and zest, mix. Add flour mixture to wet mixture in three separate segments mixing until just combined after each one. Remove from mixer and gently fold in egg whites until incorporated.

*Whisking your egg whites separately and gently folding them in will ensure a light and airy cake batter. Pour evenly into cake tins and bake for 20-25 mins. Cakes are done when a tooth pick comes out clean. Cool for 30 mins. Take a knife and make a ring around the tin sides, if any of the cake has stuck this will help release it. With a serrated knife edge cut any dome tops off your cakes. 

3. In a large mixing bowl with a stand or hand mixer beat butter, mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract, salt and honey until light and fluffy, about 3 mins. Add in 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, checking for texture after each addition. Add in one tablespoon of milk as needed to thin frosting.

*Note dryer climates may need more milk for thinning, moister climates may need less. 

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MAPLE SEA SALT ROASTED ALMONDS

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted AlmondsHello lovelies! Are you ready for the best snack hack of your life? We recently threw a Tablemakers dinner in Phoenix were these were served as a little appetizer and our guests flipped! They are the perfect combination of salty & sweet and your life will never be the same after you try them. Seriously. xoxo,LK


Laurel here! There’s something magical about the sweet, rich aroma of roasted almonds that always makes me think of steam swirling around street-cart vendors in winter, or fancy kiosks in the mall selling fragrant cellophane bags of these little goodies. They remind me of something you’d treat yourself to or receive as a gift (in those same fancy cellophane bags or glass jars), you know? I’d always thought of roasted or candied nuts as something too special to make at home–which is ridiculous, now that I know how completely easy they are to pull off, and in almost no time at all. Can you stir things in a bowl? Can you wait twenty minutes? Perfect, then you can make these! If your pantry is stocked anything like mine, you may even have all the ingredients to make these treats already, but even if a shopping trip is required, this four-ingredient beauty won’t break the bank.

The only real secret to getting these crunchy, candied nuts just right is one I’ll share with you now (saving you from a fate like my first few overly sticky batches)…always toss them in syrup first, then vegetable oil separately. That’s it! The oil resists mixing with the liquid in the syrup and forms a kind of coating on the outside. Your result, my friend? Perfectly crunchy, not sticky, addictively delicious roasted nuts every time.

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds
The best thing about this recipe for Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds really is, in fact, that it’s just a gateway to other recipes. Once you know how easy they are to make ahead of time, you can discover how amazing they are on top of hearty salads, warm Brie drizzled with maple syrup, breakfast bowls of grains or Greek yogurt, chopped and sprinkled on ice cream…you name it! My favorite way to eat them is straight out of my hand, though–they’re the perfect take-along snack for the office or running errands, and they keep me from reaching for far worse alternatives (vending machine candy bars, I’m lookin’ at you).

Never know what to serve at a party? This recipe will make you look like an entertaining genius. Set out a few pre-dinner bowls of these to satisfy hungry guests the next time you’re hosting–they’re totally at home next to a good cheese plate or on a bar cart with tasty cocktails. Like all good salty-sweet things (which is basically saying ALL GOOD THINGS, because that’s my favorite category), these roasted almonds are equally at home before or after dinner. You could just as easily end the meal with passed bowls of them and call it dessert. Happy snacking!

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted AlmondsINGREDIENTS:

3 cups whole almonds
1⁄4 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds

INSTRUCTIONS:

– Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

– In a mixing bowl, toss almonds with maple syrup and half the salt.

– Add vegetable oil, toss until thoroughly coated.

– Spread almonds in a single layer on lined baking sheet.

– Bake for 20 minutes until deep golden brown, stopping about halfway through to stir with a silicone spatula and sprinkle with remaining sea salt.

– Let cool slightly, then break apart any clumped-together almonds while still a bit warm.

– When completely cool, store in airtight container for up to one month.

Lauren Kelp | Maple Sea Salt Roasted Almonds


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CRANBERRY + PISTACHIO ALMOND BARK

XMAS0004Hello merrymakers! Constance here! If you’re anything like me, you’re in full scramble mode. It’s Monday and that means you have less than one week until THE day of gifting. No matter how hard I try and how much I plan, I’m always working, shopping, cooking up until the last minute. Wasn’t it Steve Jobs that said the best work is done under pressure? No? Well….someone did, and I’m sticking to that nugget of wisdom!
And friends, if you’re in the same boat, this recipe is clutch. Total prep time? About 10 minutes. Total time? About 8 hours. BUT 7.5 hours of that is spent in your refrigerator which means this little recipe is foolproof! And better news? It’s truly so, so good. And it just to happens to be red, white, and green!

XMAS0001 INGREDIENTS:

-18 oz. good white chocolate
-2 tablespoons almond extract
-1 cup chopped unsalted pistachios
-1 cup chopped dried cranberries

XMAS0002INSTRUCTIONS:

-Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
-In a medium sized saucepan, heat chocolate on low until melted. Stir often.
-Once melted, add almond extract and whisk until smooth.
-Remove from heat and add all but 1/2 cup of pistachios and 1/2 cup of cranberries.
-Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pans.
-Sprinkle the remaining pistachios and cranberries evenly on both prepared pans.
-Refrigerate bark for at least one hour (preferably overnight) until firm.
-Remover from refrigerator, cut into squares, and serve.

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DARK CHOCOLATE BARK WITH SPICY TAMARI PUMPKIN SEEDS

Lauren Kelp | Dark Chocolate with Spicy Tamari Pumpkin Seeds

Ooh, hello! We are taking dark chocolate to a whole new level today with these delicious, mouth-watering, delectable dark chocolate bark with spicy tamari pumpkin seeds. It’s like magic in your mouth and it’s an absolute must if you are entertaining, giving gifts to friends, need a better snack than potato chips, or want to impress the hell out of anyone. Y’all, they are life changing.  – xoxo, LK


Hi there!Laurel here with a recipe inspired by the recent wave of mini Halloween candy bars that overtook my house. I love a tiny chocolate pick-me-up here and there, but let’s face it, there are better ways to cure that craving than a brightly wrapped block of sugar. When I’m really in need of a dark chocolate fix–which is almost every hour of the day around mid-week–I try to at least reach for a homemade treat instead of a commercial candy bar. This heart-healthy Dark Chocolate Bark with Spicy Tamari Pumpkin Seeds is an absolute winner!

It’s super easy to make, since ‘melt and stir’ are basically all the directions you need to know. With a variety of toppings, it’s made appearances around here as dessert at the end of a dinner party, as a holiday gift (try it with nuts or crushed candy canes), and even as a fancy snack at Movie Night. This version, sprinkled with vitamin-loaded, toasted salty & spicy pumpkin seeds, is one of my favorites ever!

Lauren Kelp | Dark Chocolate with Spicy Tamari Pumpkin Seeds

Hint: These Tamari & Sriracha Pumpkin Seeds are a great snack on their own, if you’re not on a chocolate kick at the moment. Salty, spicy, crunchy….they’re unbelievably good just eaten by the handful, but I’ve also sprinkled them on top of salads and bowls of soup for a little extra ‘wow’.

INGREDIENTS:

-1/2 cup raw, hulled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas)

-1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

-1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

-1 teaspoon vegetable oil

-7 oz. dark chocolate (I used two bars of my favorite 70% dark chocolate)

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night SnacksINSTRUCTIONS:

-Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

-Whisk tamari, sriracha and oil together, toss with pumpkin seeds to combine.

-Spread seeds in a single layer on baking sheet, bake until seeds are toasted and liquid has evaporated (about 10 minutes, keep a close eye on these!).

-Place chocolate in a microwave-proof bowl and heat in microwave, removing every twenty seconds to stir, until just melted.

-Add roasted pumpkin seeds to melted chocolate, pour mixture out over a sheet of parchment.

-Let cool (place in fridge to set faster if you can’t wait), then break into pieces and eat!

Lauren Kelp | Movie Night Snacks


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THAI ICED TEA

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren Kelp

Hello! Laurel here and I am so excited to be on board with the LK team! Do you like sweet things? How about spiced things? And most importantly, do you like them….and this part really is crucial…together? Me too! Have a Thai iced tea with me, and let’s chat about this crazy concoction.

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren Kelp

Thai food came into my life pretty late in the game. I don’t remember my first serving of pad thai, my first green papaya salad, or even my first taste of spicy, rich, coconut-milk-based tom kha kai soup. But I do remember my first Thai iced tea. Tall & frosty over ice, with hints of vanilla, the sharp taste of cinnamon and other spices hidden just underneath a strong tea flavor and powerfully sweet creaminess…..it was a game changer. It was also bright orange, and was most definitely served in a plain white Styrofoam cup with a plastic lid from my nearest Thai takeout place. I was hooked instantly on this rich, yet refreshing beverage.

Many, many years later (as in, last week), I learned that the vibrant Orange Creamsicle-like hue actually comes from yellow and red food dyes traditionally added to Thai tea blends. Why bright orange? Who knows? You may notice that this recipe doesn’t call for any dyes, which means it won’t look exactly like the Thai iced tea available from your own local takeout joint. But otherwise it’s a dead ringer for the first Thai tea I ever tried, rich in steeped tea flavor, a blend of spices and vanilla and luxurious creaminess….in other words, it’s about the smoothest thing you could pour over ice and cool off with on a hot, late summer afternoon.

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren Kelp
THAI

*FIVE SPICE POWDER: This is a tasty mix of, yes, five spices—star anise, cloves, cinnamon, Sichuan pepper and fennel seeds. It’s not expensive, so stock up for this recipe and keep it in your pantry to add interest & intrigue to stir-fries, marinades, and all kinds of other dishes

THAI ICED TEA | Lauren KelpHint: Want to take it up to yet another level? Try mixing up a batch and chilling it in ice pop molds for a perfect frozen treat.


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