Happiness Project Recipe #20: Southern Mama Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake!

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Coca-Cola in cake?? Yes, please! Why though have I never before indulged in this sweetened, chocolaty delight?? Perhaps, because before now, I had never heard of such a lovely cake! So for the 1st time since recovering from my surgery (and after being horribly sick for the past 2 & a half weeks), I finally felt well enough to be up and about in my kitchen, trying out this new recipe. Oh kitchen, how dearly I’ve missed thee! Regardless of the fact that I generally stay as far away from soda as I can (considering how truly disgusting and tragically unhealthy the drink itself is), I was very intrigued by the idea of combining coke with chocolate and was not disappointed with the end result. So here it is, my soda loving friends! Come and get your fix on!

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter

1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup cocoa (I swear by the Ghirardelli brand)

1 cup Coca-Cola

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

Icing

1/2 cup salted butter

1/3 cup Coca-Cola

3 tablespoons cocoa

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

*1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional) or 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream per serving

Preheat your oven to 350F

In bowl #1, combine the flour, baking soda and sugar. Blend well. In a medium saucepan, throw in the butter, marshmallows and chocolate chips. Cook over medium heat until everything is nicely melted and bubbling slightly in the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa. Set aside and let cool slightly. Now add the Coca-Cola, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla to the dry ingredients (bowl #1), stir until just combined. Slowly add the slightly cooled butter/marshmallow/chocolate chip/cocoa mixture and mix until combined.

Pour the batter into a greased or sprayed 9X13 pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the cakes center comes out clean. Set your cake aside to cool slightly while you’re preparing the icing.

For the icing, combine the butter, Coca-Cola, cocoa and powdered sugar in another saucepan, heating on high until just boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Now comes the very important part. Quickly and evenly pour the hot icing over your slightly cooled cake. The faster you pour the hot icing over the cake, the less likely it will start hardening up (a lesson I learned the hard way today). Now, if desired, sprinkle with pecans. Although this cake is best when served warm, it will still taste quite flavorful when fully cooled as well.

*Don’t want to use a pecan topping? How about a scoop of lovely vanilla ice cream on each serving instead!*

So go grab that pack of tempting, unused soda and do something creative with it! Tis a very yummy, sweet and fun cake, if I say so!

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Happiness Project Recipe #19: “Love, Baby” Vanilla Sprinkle Donuts!

Oh lovely, yummy, drool worthy donuts! How dearly I heart thee! Besides my weekly cravings for peaches, pizza and curly fries, lately donuts have set my taste buds a wildly a-spinning as well! However, for the sake of my baby’s fast developing health, this is one craving which I will not so easily cave in to. Why? Just because I happen to be an obsessive dessert junkie, does not mean I want my little one to become one as well! Very soon, I shall begin experimenting with more fruit based recipes versus my usual sugar and cream based desserts, which will be a fascinating new (and exciting) adventure for me! There’s never a better time than the present to change some of my rather “unhealthy” eating tendencies, right? Right! So for those of you who are still hankering for a yummy, sprinkled dessert, you must try this recipe! Due to the lack of needing to oil or fry anything (like you would with a traditional donut), anyone, no matter what level of baker you are, can very easily re-create this cake-like donut recipe! And you will love it! Yes, you will! Ready? Set? Go!

Donuts:

2 cups all purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

one large pinch of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

12 tablespoons low fat buttermilk

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 tablespoons melted, salted butter

A handful of rainbow sprinkles for garnish

Vanilla Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3-4 tablespoons whole milk

Preheat your oven to 325F. Lightly coat a donut pan (I bought mine at Sur La Table) with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. There’s no need to break out your trusty stand mixer with this recipe though! You can easily do this by hand. Pour in the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and melted butter and stir until just combined. Your batter will be very sticky and will resemble a thick, dough like consistency.

For this next part, there are two different methods you can use to distribute your batter. You can either use a professional icing bag with a round decorating tip of any size or you can create a make shift piping bag with a Ziploc bag (by cutting an opening in the bottom corner to form a tip) to pipe out your batter. Divide your batter evenly among the donut wells: this recipe will make you around 8 to 10 donuts, depending on how thickly you choose to pipe them out. Bake for 8-9 minutes until the donuts spring back to the touch. Let your donuts cool completely on a wire rack before you ice them with the vanilla glaze. To create the glaze, in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the vanilla extract and whole milk. Stir with a spoon until smooth and glossy. With that said spoon, you can now drizzle the glaze over the donuts or if you’re feeling adventurous (and comfortable with getting messy), dip the top halves of your donuts into the actual glaze. Oh, such messy fun! To finish it all off, top with those rainbow sprinkles.

See? I told you it was this easy! So go get that donut fix on! I dare you!

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