It was recently the birthday of my friend Melissa's blog, Smell's Like Brownies. And by recently, I mean a couple of months ago... She wanted to make the famous Milk Bar Funfetti Birthday Cake to celebrate and asked if I wanted to help. Heck, yes, I did!
This cake is supposed to taste like the classic boxed version, but elevated. And the presentation is striking with naked cake layered between stark white frosting and topped with funfetti crumble. It takes a lot of steps to achieve those things (I think this is the longest recipe I've ever posted), but the end result is gorgeous and tastes amazing. Let's dive into the process!
In my last post, I mentioned that one of the recipes that I wanted to make from my blog assignment, Pale Yellow, was Vanilla Pudding Shots. Well, guess what? I made them! And they were awesome (and STRONG). I didn't have little shot cups to put them in, so I just split the pudding among four cups for my friends. I wasn't able to finish mine, so be warned that they are strong! You can mix more whipped cream in to dilute it.
Just mix instant pudding mix with milk and flavored vodka, then fold in Cool Whip. That's it - so easy! There is something about Cool Whip that helps stabilize things like this in a way that whipped cream can't. But feel free to whip your own cream and use that instead. Top with more whipped cream and sprinkles and party on!
It's time for another Secret Recipe Club reveal! This month, I was assigned Pale Yellow - written by a science teacher (informal science educator/curriculum specialist?) and avid baker with two adorable turtles.
She has a TON of great dessert recipes - Brown Butter Biscoff Rice Krispie Treats, Brown Butter Banana Bourbon and Bacon Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting (someone call Elvis), and Tres Leches Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream. She also has some yummy looking boozy recipes - Banana Leche y Cafe con Chocolate y Rum, Boozy Nutella Milkshake, Painkiller Cocktail, and Vanilla Pudding Shots. There are also some tasty sounding savory baked goods - Roasted Strawberry Blue Cheese and Walnut Biscuits, and Caramelized Onion Bacon and Smoked Gouda Biscuits.
I ended up settling on these Blueberry Rhubarb Streusel Muffins, except that my store didn't have any rhubarb (not even frozen!) so I used raspberries instead. I thought the color and tartness would be similar to rhubarb. They came out great! Tender and sweet, but with a little tang.
In my last post about our Miami trip, I talked about the Fontainebleau Miami Resort. But I didn't talk about any of the (numerous) restaurants on the property. There are a number of casual spots on the property, which I will talk about later. Then there are the four upscale "Signature Restaurants", which are the subject of this post.
First up is Stripsteak by Michael Mina, the most upscale restaurant at the resort. We are fans of Bourbon Steak (also by Mina) here in DC, so we were pretty excited to try this out. The space is pretty and modern, with a really cool glass wine room (and a really good wine list to go with it).
Like Bourbon Steak, Stripsteak serves buttery truffle rolls as it's complementary bread. So friggin good. Just give me 8 loaves. Also like Bourbon Steak, like the appetizers are on point. We ordered a burrata, asparagus, and duck prosciutto salad; a trio of oysters with salmon roe, paddlefish roe, and uni; and seared foie gras with strawberries, pickled fennel, and macadamia nut. They were all delicious, especially the foie.
I've been working on another post about Miami Beach, but it has been taking longer than expected. So, in the meantime, I'd like to share another cocktail with you! I made this Sparkling Raspberry Cocktail for an Arbonne brunch party.
One Year Ago - Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Herbs
Two Years Ago - Spanikopita Strudels
Three Years Ago - Barley Risotto with Asparagus
Four Years Ago - Spinach, Artichoke, and Chicken Casserole
Five Years Ago - Spring Shells and Cheese; Zucchini Pie
My friend made this Orange Creamsicle Cocktail for me and it was so good that I absolutely had to share it with you guys! It is super easy to make and tastes EXACTLY like an orange creamsicle. Enjoy!
Orange Creamsicle Cocktail
adapted lightly from Ann's Entitled Life
makes 1 cocktail
3oz orange soda
1oz whipped cream flavored vodka
1 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
Add vodka and sweetened condensed milk to a rocks or lowball style glass, stir to combine.
Add ice and orange soda, stir again. Top with whipped cream.
One Year Ago - Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Herbs
Two Years Ago - Spring Vegetable and Tortellini Salad
Three Years Ago - Easter Dinner 2013
Four Years Ago - Beefy Macaroni and Cheese
Five Years Ago - Couscous Dinners
The husband and I just spent a week in Miami Beach!!! He went for work training and I tagged along. The training didn't get approved until 1 week before, so we booked everything in a rush and, I have to say, I kind of loved it. I didn't have time to over-analyze everything, over-plan, or over-book. I just did a quick check on what seemed like the best restaurants, booked those, and that was it! No time to stress about anything. It also worked out that it was just after all the Spring Break madness, so it wasn't too crowded and reservations were easy to get.
We stayed at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach (which is also where Jasper's training was). It is huge, and gorgeous, and reminded us of Las Vegas (which is apparently what they are going for, so good job). On one side of the hotel is the pool complex and the beach.
The other side of the hotel is the, also beautiful, marina. There are four towers of rooms, and we stayed in the tallest one - the Tresor. This was actually a complementary upgrade given to us at check-in, because it was our first time in Miami. Check-in was super fast and easy and the employee who we dealt with was incredibly friendly and helpful. Major points to service, there.
I have talked about my growing obsession with spam in recent months. I was looking for recipes to use it in, and found suggestions for Spam Mac and Cheese - of course! That sounded awesome! But the first recipe I tried didn't turn out great. It was probably due to the fact that I used shredded Mexican cheese blend (because that's what I had on hand) to make the cheese sauce, and not the idea of a mornay type sauce itself, that caused it to fail. But I was turned off to that method.
Then I made that really delicious Chicken, Bacon, and Ranch Macaroni and Cheese with Velveeta and realized this was the way to go. Of course weird processed cheese product would go well with weird processed meat product (don't judge me)!
I was right! It came out creamy and salty and just awesome in general. Again - I wouldn't recommend making this a weekly thing, but as an occasional treat, it's delicious.
It's time for April's Secret Recipe Club reveal! I was assigned Morsels of Life. The author is an engineer, and brings her desire for efficiency to her blog. She doesn't like to use any crazy complex methods, and is loose with measurements. She writes, "Generally, if you like something, use more; if you dislike something, use less, substitute something else, or just eliminate it altogether. You’ll probably be fine." I love that. Often when I'm writing recipes, and have to try and figure out how much of something I used, I just want to write - use your best judgement. She also has pretty extensive privacy and disclosure information on her blog, which I think is admirable.
CJ's blog has a lot of Asian influence, and I really like the look of this Pork Meatball Ramen, as well as this Cha Shao Chinese BBQ Pork. For sweets, I was drawn to Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes, and Spiced Date Ice Cream (made with cashew milk!). But I ended up running out of time before leaving on a last-minute trip; so when I saw this Seared Salmon with Lemon Herb Butter and Pasta, and realized that I already had all the ingredients for it - I knew that's what I needed to make!
This was incredibly easy to make - just toss hot pasta with lemon herb compound butter, spinach, and Parmesan, then top with seared salmon and more compound butter. I used frozen Alaskan salmon, frozen spinach, and store-bought garlic butter spread (I added lemon juice and zest to it) - so this was really quick and easy. Plus (with the salmon, spinach, and protein-plus pasta), it was really healthy!
It's time for another Try The World Post! Finishing up my Japan box, I used the okonomiyaki mix to make... okonomiyaki, of course! It's a savory pancake made with flour, yam, eggs, scallions, and cabbage; and topped with all kinds of things, but most commonly pork belly, bonito flakes, seaweed, okonomi sauce, and mayonnaise.
The kit came with batter mix, powdered yam, shrimp tempura crisps, and dried seaweed. Plus instructions in Japanese and English (thank goodness).
First step, chop cabbage. It really should have been finer than this, like shredded, but I was lazy. Add scallions. In a separate bowl, make the batter according to package directions. Then combine it with the veggies, tempura, and eggs.