Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting ~ ElephantEats.com

Pardon my lack of posts. There have been so many changes happening in the Elephant Eats household, making me a bit busy and causing me to have insomnia. I’ve been waking up at like 3 or 4 in the morning with my mind racing about various things…hence my finishing up this blog post at 4am. Surprisingly I haven’t been as tired as I would imagine the next day. I guess adrenaline will do that to you!

The house hunting thing is stressing me out a bit. Like how do you know when you like a house enough to want to buy it and that something better won’t come along? I’m obsessively combing the listings on a daily basis.

Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting ~ ElephantEats.com

This past weekend was super busy. It started with a little house hunting Saturday morning with a realtor. It made me realize how expensive things are for how little you get in this area. I’m hoping there will just be something that I fall in love with (that’s in our budget).

Then I rushed off to my friend Emily’s bridal shower and bachelorette! She was one of my maids of honor and I’m one of her bridesmaids. I, along with the other two bridesmaids, planned the whole shower/bachelorette weekend. We put a lot of hard work into it and I think it came out great and went off pretty much without a hitch!

Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting ~ ElephantEats.com

Plus, Emily told us she loved every second of it :) We did any Asian-themed shower because she loves sushi. I got some hanging paper lanterns in her wedding colors to decorate her soon-to-be sister-in-law’s house. They looked great! I unfortunately was too lazy to upload the photos but maybe I’ll add them soon.

The bachelorette went late into that evening and ended with a sleep over. I didn’t get much sleep and was up early to go house hunting some more on Sunday!

Spice Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting ~ ElephantEats.com

Nate told me he doesn’t care at all about the house and that it’s totally up to me. I guess he trusts my judgement.

It was so fun to go in all the houses, and driving around the suburbs on a gorgeous spring day made me dread going back to the city.

This is all completely unrelated to this recipe. I made it when we were down in PA two weekends ago, and it was a perfect way to end to our Easter dinner! (pardon the photos, as they were taken after daylight and I didn’t have my trusty food photography lights!)


Spiced Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

very slightly adapted from Bon Appetit (11/09)

Print this recipe!

Makes one 3-layer cake

1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup orange, peach or apricot jam
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below)*

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Butter and flour pans; tap out excess flour. Sift first 8 ingredients into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, butter and orange peel in large bowl until fluffy.

Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture alternately with sour cream and milk. Divide batter among prepared pans.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer pans to racks and cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread 1/4 cup jam and then 2/3 cup frosting over. Top with second cake layer. Spread rest of jame and then 2/3 cup frosting over. Top with third cake layer. Cover top and sides of cake with remaining frosting. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and store at room temperature.)

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8-ounce packages chilled cream cheese
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup chilled sour cream

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in sugar, then orange peel and vanilla. Beat in sour cream. Cover and refrigerate until frosting is firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.

*note that I found the frosting barely covered the cake. In making this again I might 1 1/2 the recipe.

Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

We headed down to my mother-in-law’s for the long Easter weekend. Since Nate was in California for a couple months, we hadn’t been down since Christmas and it was nice to just relax and eat tons of yummy food.

Tired Haley

Nate’s mom totally spoils us and we both got giant Easter baskets filled with our favorite candy. She got me Peeps!!!

Peeps are yummy

We also dyed some Easter eggs. This here is our easter egg family. Do you see the resemblance?

Easter Egg Family

The paw print one was Nate’s representation of L.C….not bad.

But I think my version of Nate was pretty spot on ;)

Easter Egg Beardo

Since Nate’s mom was going to cook a big meal for us for Easter dinner, I decided to make a yummy appetizer for the night before. This is another of those recipe’s from the recipe box I got handed down from my mom. I remember her making these for dinner parties and some catering too.

Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

They’re super easy to make and only take 10ish minutes to cook! You can totally make them ahead of time and they can sit out til you’re ready…or you can probably even make them the day before if you really want, and just keep them in the fridge.

Definitely keep this recipe on hand for your next dinner party or just to make your weeknight dinner a little fancier :)

Vegetarian Stuffed Mushrooms ~ ElephantEats.com

Stuffed Mushrooms

From mom’s recipe box

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Serves 8-10 (can easily be halved with no probs)

25-30 lg. mushrooms, stems removed
2 cups sourdough breadcrumbs (i used regular but I think it wasn’t as good)
1/2 cup pesto
1/4 cup pignoli nuts, toasted
3-4 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
3-4 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth
Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine crumbs, pesto, nuts, parsley and basil. Slowly mix in broth until moist but not wet. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Fill Mushrooms. Top with cheese. Bake 10-12 min.

*Must serve hot!*

28. April 2011 · 4 comments · Categories: crafts · Tags: , ,

This post isn’t food related, but I promise my next one will be. Here and there I will be inserting crafty posts since art/crafts are another love of mine.

As usual, Nate and I headed down to PA for the long Easter weekend. His family isn’t religious and I’m Jewish, but ever since I was little, my mom dyed Easter eggs with us. To rekindle memories of childhood and combine my love of crafts,  I knew I wanted to dye some eggs this weekend. Neither Nate nor I had done in it probably 15-20 years.

Somewhere amongst my blog reading this year I had come across an awesome technique for dyeing eggs that involves ripping up old silk ties, scarves, or whatever brightly patterned silk fabric you can find at a thrift store. In this case, the uglier the better! Definitely do not use new stuff since you’ll be tearing it into pieces. (I discovered the technique on this site , but I think that this other site’s technique looks even better, and I think I’ll try that one next year).

To perform this awesome egg dyeing method, you first rip the silk fabric into small squares, large enough to cover the egg. You then wrap it in string/dental floss to hold the fabric tightly against the egg. Anywhere fabric isn’t touching the egg will end up white, but having a little white can actually add to the pattern.

Once the egg is wrapped up, you put it in a small square of dye-free cotton fabric (an old tshirt, pillowcase or sheet will work fine) and tie the top with a twisty tie, rubber band, or twine. After all the eggs have been wrapped up, you put them in a big pot and fill with water to cover. Add 1/4 cup of vinegar and bring to a boil. Once the water has come to a boil, continue boiling for 20-30 minutes.

If you’re impatient like me, and want to see the results immediately, you can remove the eggs to a waiting bowl of ice water once they’re done cooking. Otherwise, you can drain them and let them cool.

Unwrap the eggs and behold the magnificence! Being that this was the first time doing this, we discovered that fabrics that are pastel to begin with will not impart much, if any color to the egg. As I said, dark fabrics are best.

There was one fabric that was a solid dark purple which I thought would be plain…but with the parts of fabric that didn’t touch the egg, it ended up a really cool white and purple design.

Finally (and this step is obviously optional), we painted the eggs with a gold glaze that we bought from an egg dyeing kit in the supermarket. You couldn’t really see the gold, but it definitely added a nice sheen. With or without the glaze, the eggs turned out awesome. I can’t wait to repeat it next year and get some really cool fabrics! I hope you’ll give it a try :)


before and after adding gold glaze

Call me crazy, but I love cold weather. The first brisk day in autumn when I get to wear a sweater makes me the happiest girl. Sure, when the temps dip into the teens come winter, I try to avoid being outside for extended periods of time, but something about the frigid air is so refreshing.

But by mid-january, I’m kinda over all the layering. I’m over having to remember to take my scarf, hat, and gloves out the door every day (and freezing my face off on the days when I forget).  So when the weather hit the 50s the other day, I got a little giddy. I guess maybe I like spring more than I’d let on.

With the milder temperature days slowing creeping in, and the holidays approaching, I’ve been trying to come up with a recipe that just screams spring. I knew that in order to encompass this season completely, it had to be bright, fresh, warm, refreshing, light and airy. I wanted something that could be served at any spring holiday meal.

I was going to make something with squash but my mom told me that’s too wintry and suggested carrots. I knew right when she said it that I’d have to make some sort of carrot pudding/souffle.

The orange color is so bright it reminds me of all the beautiful flowers that start popping up at this time of year. I added a touch of orange zest and juice to give it a citrusy and fresh aroma.  The orange/carrot combo is a delicious one.

I wasn’t sure how it would turn out when it was in the oven, but as soon as I took it out I knew it was exactly what I wanted. Fluffy and delicious, it was everything I’d hoped.

I made this recipe with matzo meal instead of flour, and margarine instead of butter to be sure that it could translate well for Passover (not all recipes do), but obviously using flour and butter would work equally well, if not better and could be served for Easter brunch/dinner.

Carrot Orange Pudding Souffle

Recipe by Me

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serves 6-8

1 3/4 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1/2 cup margarine/butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange (about 1 Tbsp)
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp matzo meal/flour
Powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add carrots and cook til tender, about 30 min. Drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Mash with a potato masher or fork. Add orange juice and mix. Cool to room temp.

Using an electric mixer, beat margarine/butter til creamy. Beat in sugar and zest til blended. Add eggs and beat til blended and slightly more voluminous. Mixture may look curdled but that’s ok.

Add carrots to egg mixture and blend.

In a small bowl, combine salt, baking powder and matzo meal/flour. Stir completely to blend. Pour into a 2 quart baking dish.

Bake 1 hr 15 min or until top is golden brown. Best served at room temperature or cold. Dust with powdered sugar before serving if desired.

*Note, I double checked and baking powder IS kosher for Passover :)