Chocolate Layer Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching I thought I would share the most decadent chocolate cake recipe. Over the years I have shared several chocolate cake/chocolate cupcakes recipes with you. What can I say, I really like chocolate cake, and so does my mother-in-law, so each year I have a great excuse to come up with another more chocolatey cake for her birthday. Pretty great, right?

Chocolate Layer Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting

This cake will elicit “oooo’s” and “aaahhhh’s” and “oh baby’s” from the eater. Which rank right up there as the best compliments ever.

Chocolate Layer Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting

I can’t believe I have been holding out on you. My mother-in-law’s birthday is in July. JULY guys! Like seven whole months ago. I promise to never keep a recipe like this a secret for seven whole months ever again. Think of all the chocolate layer cake you could have been eating.

Chocolate Layer Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting

Please consider this a special valentine from me to you.

A truly decadent chocolate cake with a light and fluffy whipped frosting.

Chocolate Layer Cake

In the past I have used coffee or espresso when making chocolate desserts. The coffee brings out the chocolate flavor. Making it so rich. If coffee isn’t your thing you could use water.

The whipped frosting is so light. I am a picky frosting person. Usually when I eat cake I end up scraping off half of the frosting but not with this cake. It is so light and airy and perfectly chocolatey without being overly sweet. It tastes wonderful off a spoon *ahem* I can imagine it would.

Chocolate Layer Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting


1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1-1/2 teaspoon baking power
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
3/4 cup strong brewed hot coffee

For the whipped frosting
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons heavy cream


For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, Grease 2-8 inch round cake pans
2. In medium bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda, and salt
3. In a mixing bowl beat eggs, buttermilk, yogurt, oil, and vanilla on medium low speed until smooth
4. Turn mixer down to low and slowly add dry ingredients and mix until no clumps remain. Add hot coffee and combine.
5. Batter will be thin, pour into prepare pans and bake 20-25 minutes or until the middle isn’t wiggly
6. Allow to cool 5 minutes, run knife around edges, and flip cakes onto cooling rack. Cover with tea towel and cool completely before frosting

For the Frosting:
1. In mixing bowl beat the butter and powdered sugar together on medium high until the butter is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes
2. Turn mixer off and add the cocoa powder and vanilla and beat on medium speed, scrapping down the sides as needed another 2 minutes or until completely combined
3. Add heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time and whip on medium high for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy

To assemble:
1. On a plate or cake stand place 1 layer with flat side up
2. Using offset spatula or large butter knife spread the top with thick layer of frosting
3. Top with second layer, rounded side up, spread frosting in a very thin layer on top and sides
4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to harden the thin frosting layer
5. Remove from fridge and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides in a thicker layer

Posted in Desserts | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Coffee Talk with Jamie

While I am no Linda Richman I hope you’ll stay for a moment to chat coffee with me. Specifically Tap Dancer’s Specialty Coffee here in Omaha. I was presented with an opportunity to review their coffee and help get the word out about their wonderful product.



Do you love coffee? I love love love coffee. I am a very enthusiastic coffee drinker. The last 13 years of my life has been fueled by this delicious drink. In fact there has only been a handful of days in the last 13 years that I did not start my day with a steamy cup of coffee. My love of coffee has spilled over into my love of funky coffee cups. I picked up this adorable owl cup at an estate sale a few months ago.

Owl Coffee Cup

Those handful of coffeeless days I mentioned were due to the fact that I had run out of coffee. Oh the humanity! With Tap Dancers you don’t have to worry about that because they will deliver the coffee to you. Yes you read that right.


If you are in the Omaha metro area freshly roasted coffee beans will be delivered to your door on Fridays. TGIF, am I right?! You can get 6oz, 12 oz, or 5 pounds delivered to your home or office. You can chose a single order, bi-weekly, or weekly order too. Fun! Great news is Tap Dancers roasts their beans on Wednesday and Friday you receive the product. Talk about fresh!


Last Friday I came home to a box sitting on my porch with eight bags of coffee. I was giddy. I quickly got out my coffee supplies and brewed up a cup. It has been so fun trying all the different types of coffee this week. I brewed using both a traditional drip coffee pot and my Aeropress. Aeropress style was my favorite but the regular coffee pot still yielded a great cup since the beans were so freshly roasted.


If you’re worried about how you’ll brew your coffee Tap Dancers is giving away a free Incred A’ Brew with each first time weekly and biweekly sign up through the end of February 2015.

Here is a quick review of all the coffees I received.

Ethiopia Queen City (medium roast):
A very complex medium body coffee with notes of apricots and mangoes and exotic spices of cloves and cinnamon.
This one smelled fantastic. Probably my favorite smelling coffee. It was very smooth. While I didn’t pick up the fruity notes I did taste the subtle spice at the end. More cloves for me than cinnamon. 

Kenya Kiambara (medium roast):
THIS IS THEIR STRONGEST COFFEE. Bright and tangy, sparkling citric grapefruit acidity, with a pronounced herbal character in a stout and vibrant cup, without a bitter aftertaste.
I would say tangy was a great way to describe it. 

Kenya Kiambara (dark roast): 
Earthy, smoky flavor that hits the sides of your tongue with hints of mocha. A very creamy, smooth and balanced coffee with a warm aftertaste. A true dessert coffee when milk and sugar are added and is perfect for making iced coffee.
This was one of my favorite brewed with the Aeropress. It came out strong and was so good poured over some frothed milk. I can’t wait to try it iced (because iced coffee forever!) 

Guatemala Blend (specialty roast):
By using special roast profiles we have created this delightfully yummy blend. Carmelly sweet chocolate with notes of crisp citrus and a hint of nuttiness.
To be honest I was concerned with the nuttiness factor. Nuttiness makes me think of hazelnut and hazelnut coffee is about the worst (in my opinion). But it was hazelnutty at all. I thought it had a bit of a bite but not bitter.

Guatemala Beatriz (medium roast):
Medium body coffee starts with a crisp lemony tartness and is followed by a mellow peach undernotes. Finishes very refreshing.
This was the first cup that I really noticed the fruit flavors. The lemon flavor is certainly present but not obnoxious. 

Guatemala Andrina (dark roast):
Medium body with notes of milk chocolate. This delightful coffee has a touch of sweetness and finishes with a pleasant lingering after taste.
For some reason the word dark roast alway intimates me and this was the first variety I tried. I was so pleasantly surprised how smooth it was.

Honduras Raos Royal Decaf:  
This is a medium body coffee with lovely sweet cocoa notes finishes with a pleasant clean aftertaste. Certified fair trade and organic. Decaffeination done by Royal Select Water process. Which is recognized as the finest process available.
I enjoyed this cup of coffee on a snowy afternoon. I think it would pair so well with a creamy cheesecake. 

Espresso Blend:
We have been working with a top coffee consultant to help us create a truly great espresso blend. We found the right combination that blends the boldness of our Kenya Gathinja Medium with the sweetness of the Guatemala Beatriz and combined them with our rich chocolate Guatemala Adrina for complexity.
This was by far my favorite! I loved the blend of African coffee and South American coffee. It was so harmonious. I enjoyed this straight and with a little splash of cream. While bold it was incredible drinkable without any bitterness.

Click the links to read more about the coffee and the farms they were grown on.

All in all I enjoyed each variety. You know how sometimes you have coffee that can be really bitter, or incredibly acidic, or leave a weird after taste? None of these did that for me. Each cup was 100% enjoyable. I feel so lucky to have such great coffee, easily delivered, in my area.



If you don’t know what to get that special someone in your life for Valentine’s Day, might I recommend having fresh coffee delivered to their door. I am sure they would love it!

Initially I was intending on only sampling six of the eight and giving away the other two bags to a lucky reader. But Alex and I really made our way through each bag and the temptation to try the other flavors was so strong. I succumbed to the siren song of coffee.

Don’t fear though I would like you to experience a great cup of coffee too. I am giving away two – 6 ounce bags of coffee (your choice) to one lucky reader. You have until Wednesday, February 11 to enter.

You must live in Omaha to receive this coffee (since they only deliver in Omaha right now)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

disclaimer: I was given free product to review but the opinions of the coffee are all my own. The giveaway is sponsored by me and Tap Dancers has no clue I am purchasing coffee for my readers.  


Posted in Beverage, Omaha | 19 Comments

Baked Chili Cheese Dogs

Are you busy? Like busy busy? Running around like a chicken with your head cut off, so much to do not enough time to do it, to-do list a mile long-busy? Yeah me too.

Hang on while I make a sweeping generalization here but we seem to be a society obsessed with being busy. We must out busy each other. And man it sucks. Why must we all be so busy all the time?

Well if you’re busy, or just tired from being so busy, it can be hard to focus on what to make for dinner. Temptations to zip through the drive-thru, order take-out, have pizza delivered are easy to fall in to. Trust me I’ve been there -done that.

Baked Chili Cheese Dogs --Ready in 20 minutes!

I have about a 40 minute window when we are all home together before we need to dash off to swimming lessons. A quick and easy dinner was something I really needed.

I will be the first to admit this casserole isn’t a stunner. But it was quick, easy, and my family loved it. Sure you could just assemble your chili dogs and not bake them. It certainly would be faster. This baked version though makes them a little extra special. The buns get a little toasty and crisp around the edges and the cheese melts into the chili so nicely. Penelope even said “the toasty edges are my favorite.”

This would be a fantastic way to stretch leftover (Super Bowl) chili. I used a low sodium canned version and nitrate free hotdogs. I enjoyed my chili cheese dog along side a heaping salad. I needed to have some fresh veggies.

So if you find yourself too busy or in a hurry and need something for dinner this baked chili cheese dog casserole will be a hit with kiddos of all ages! Plus it only takes 20 minutes to bake! Get creative with the toppings. I stuck with pickle relish, diced onions, and mustard.

Baked Chili Cheese Dogs

Serves: 8 Cook Time: 20 minutes
8 hotdog buns
8 hotdogs
1-1/2 cup chili
1 cup cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Pop one hotdog per bun and lay in 9×13 casserole dish
3. Pour a little chili over each hotdog
4. Sprinkle cheese over entire pan
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and melty


Posted in Main Dishes | Tagged as: , , | 4 Comments

Yeast Doughnuts

Hello! I hope you had a lovely weekend. We had our first real measurable snow this weekend and I couldn’t have been more excited to be snowed in with my family. Today is one of those magical days that school aged children across the metro pray for. A SNOW DAY! It is after breakfast and the kiddos are all still in their PJs. What’s the rush, right?

Donut Holes

Frankly, I think there should be at least one snow day a week during the winter months. One day during the week that you can stay in your PJs til noon and stuff yourselves with hot fresh doughnuts. Wouldn’t you agree? Which kind of doughnuts would you chose to stuff yourself with? There are so many options! I love a variety of doughnuts but I think dough holes would win.

Yeasted Doughnut Holes

The temptation to make all doughnut holes was so strong. They are just so stinking cute and “pop” so easily into my mouth. The doughnut holes I kept simple by tossing half with a cinnamon + sugar blend and the other half in a powdered sugar glaze.

Yeast Doughnuts

Homemade doughnuts certainly falls in the “everything in moderation” category. It had been almost 7 years (6 years, 11 months) since I made these. Crazy right? Seven years ago I was living in a different state and had only two children (an almost 2 year old, and a 3 month old). It was time to revisit this recipe.

Last time around I did a simple powdered sugar glaze and a chocolate glaze. This time I wanted to do something a little more grown up. Of course I kept the chocolate glaze because, come on, you never grow too old for chocolate glaze and sprinkles.

Cream Filled Doughnuts

This was my first time making filled doughnuts. Everyone in my family loves the filled doughnuts from the doughnut shop so I thought I would give it a try at home. Cream filled and chocolate glaze doughnuts were made for Alex and the kiddos. That is something pretty traditionally found in doughnut shops across the country.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Doughnut


The best part of making these at home is that you can filled them with whatever your little heart desires. On that day my heart desired homemade jam and a peanut butter glaze. PB&J DOUGHNUTS! This needs to be a thing!

Glazed Yeast Doughnuts

Of course I had to make a donut homage to Homer Simpson. A pink glazed doughnut with sprinkles. These would be perfect for a Valentine’s Day breakfast *wink wink*.

The recipe for these doughnuts is Alton Brown’s Yeast Doughnuts. My opinion is this is a very approachable recipe for a first time doughnut maker. The dough is really soft and easy to roll out. Since the dough itself isn’t sweet they work well for filling and glazing. This time around I left out the nutmeg since I didn’t have any and I really didn’t miss it. The doughnuts are best served warm. They become more bread-like once they cool completely.

Yeast Doughnuts

Yield: about 20 doughnuts
For the doughnuts:
1-1/2 cups milk
2-1/2 ounces vegetable shortening, approximately 1/3 cup
2 packages instant yeast
1/3 cup warm water (95 to 105 degrees F)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (I omitted this)
23 ounces all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surface
Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying (1/2 – 1 gallon, depending on fryer)
For the glaze:
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
For the chocolate glaze:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup milk
For the cream filling:
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup powdered sugar
For the peanut butter glaze:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
1 cup powdered sugar
any jams or curd for filling, I used my homemade jam that I canned when I was 40 weeks pregnant

Directions for the doughnuts
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat milk until warm enough to melt the shortening. Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Allow to cool to lukewarm
2. In a liquid measuring cup, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture
3. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined
4.  Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well
5. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes
6. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour in a draft-free spot or until doubled in size
7. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch thick. Using doughnut cutter or circle shaped cookie cutter and a smaller cookie for the holes (I used a shot glass) cut out all the doughnuts. Gently rerolling scraps as needed
8. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes
9. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 degrees F. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan.
10. Cool about 10 minutes before glazing or filling

Directions for the glaze
1. Combine milk and vanilla in a medium bowl. Sift confectioners’ sugar into milk mixture. Whisk slowly, until well combined.
2. Dip doughnuts into the glaze, 1 at a time, and set on a draining rack placed in a half sheet pan for 5 minutes before serving

Directions for the chocolate glaze
1. In a medium bowl melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments until smooth. Stir in milk.
2. Dip doughnuts into the glaze, 1 at a time, and set on a rack to let the chocolate cool and set up a bit, about 5 minutes

Directions for the cream filling
1. In a mixing bowl beat together shortening and powdered sugar on high until light and fluffy about 5 minutes
2. Transfer to a piping bag, using either a filling tip or a large round tip insert into the side of the doughnut and fill the middle until solid.
3. Dip the doughnuts into preferred glaze

Directions for the peanut butter glaze: 
1. In a medium bowl melt the peanut butter in the microwave in 30 second increments until smooth. Stir in milk and beat in powdered sugar
2. Dip the doughnuts into the glaze, 1 at a time, set on rack to let peanut butter glaze cool and set up a bit, about 5 minutes





Posted in Breads, Breakfasts | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments
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