Strawberry Cakes Forever

Sometimes you just need a pink cake. I’ve never been a very “pink” girl and it could be related to having a baby girl last September… but recently I’ve been very comfortable with a rosy palate. When I saw Smitten Kitchen’s Pink Lady Cake I knew I needed to try it. I hate processed strawberry flavors but if it’s natural — and this cake is — I’m in. I ended up finding a different recipe to work off though as I wasn’t okay with THREE cups of sugar in the batter alone, and #noregrets.

Why did I bake a cake in the middle of March? I started a book club through a Facebook moms group (ed. note: it’s crazy how all of a sudden when you have a baby you’re like okay now I’m cool with new internet friends) and I hosted the first month. Inspired by the book cover’s color motif & my raspberry kisses blowing baby I gravitated to strawberry cake recipes and found this one by Sally’s Baking Addiction. Plus, do I really need an excuse to make cake?

IT. WAS. DELICIOUS. And beautiful! With no food dye! I don’t even like cream cheese frosting and I 100% endorse this recipe.  Adapted directions below, I wouldn’t change a thing next time I whip this up, which I will.


  • 2 and 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup reduced strawberry puree
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate juice (my addition for coloring the cake which it did not! but tasted great so I’m not changing a thing)

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries or raspberries
  • one 8-ounce block full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Make the reduced strawberry puree and allow it to cool completely. All you do is put all berries in food processor and then drop the puree into a sauce pan and heat gently for 30 minutes. It should reduce by half.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Butter parchment paper cut for 9-inch cake pans.
  3. Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and baking soda together. Set aside.
  4. Using mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamed, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour in the milk *just* until combined. Do not over-mix. Whisk in 1/2 cup of reduced strawberry puree, making sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick. If desired, stir in the juice.
  5. Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for around 25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
  6. Make the frosting: Using a blender or food processor, process the freeze-dried berries into a powdery crumb. You should have around 1/2 cup. Set aside. In a large bowl using a mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese for 1 minute on high speed until completely smooth and creamy. Beat in the butter until combined. Add the confectioners’ sugar, berry powder, 1 Tablespoon milk, and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until combined and creamy.
  7. Assemble and frost: First, using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard (or crumble over ice cream!). Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Refrigerate for at least 45 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake keep its shape when cutting– it could slightly fall apart without time in the fridge.

PS: I do recommend the book we read, The Heart’s Invisible Furies. It was a sad story following a man’s life in Ireland, but it still made me chuckle at times. Long read. But good. Not the best choice for a mom’s book club (we don’t have time to read much beyond The Happy Sleeper (GET IT)) but still brought a few new moms together!


Truffle Mac and Cheese


When you turn 30, you get a party and truffle mac and cheese. Last Saturday we celebrated Madison’s 30th in style – a cocktail attire affair in a beautiful DC apartment with the best of friends. There was dark chocolate cake, cheesecake, champagne and yes… truffle mac and cheese.

This recipe is really easy to make, especially if you have a Cuisinart to help shred the SIX cups of cheese you’ll need. Madison was more than happy to help with this, and even posted an Instagram video to show how much he loved grating the cheese -offering to cut the cheese whenever needed. #jokes

This photo is actually the leftovers – hope it still looks appetizing! 🙂 We have a *few* friends who will vouch for this recipe and next time we have a craving for mac n’ cheese I’m pulling out this recipe for sure.


  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound pasta such as cavatappi or elbows
  • 2 tbs black truffle oil
  • 5 tbs unsalted butter 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, scalded
  • 1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated 
  • 5 1/2 extra-sharp white Cheddar, grated 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 cups panko crumbs


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the pasta and cook for 6 minutes, until al dente. Drain well.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and truffle oil in a large (4-quart) saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the hot milk and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the white sauce is thickened and creamy. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 1/2 tablespoons salt, the pepper, and nutmeg.

Add the pasta into the pan and stir until combined. Pour it into a 10 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish.

Place the garlic, parsley and panko in a bowl or plastic bag and mix. Sprinkle over the pasta and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown. Serve hot.

This recipe is adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s recipe.


Pan-Roasted Chicken With Pineapple-Chile Glaze

Best Chicken Dish EverWith all the attacks on bacon recently [note: ate bacon for breakfast] and FDA warnings on eating too much steak [ note: Shake Shack is still my go-to hangover food] I decided we needed some better chicken recipes.

Guys, this is it. My first attempt at finding a more interesting chicken recipe won. Literally, after eating this dinner I couldn’t get this song out of my head. Thank you, thank you, Bon Appétit.

Of course, I made a couple adjustments – see below for my take on BA’s recipe that you need to make tomorrow for dinner.


  • teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 slices fresh pineapple, ½ inch thick
  • 1 serrano chile, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¾ cup pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • tablespoons paprika


  • Place a rack in upper third of oven; preheat to 425°. Mix cayenne and half the paprika in a small bowl. Sprinkle chicken with spice mixture, pressing to adhere; season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Cook chicken, skin side down, until browned and beginning to crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and add pineapple slices to pan. Cook for 2 minutes on each side.
  • Place chicken on top. Transfer to oven and roast about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring chile, garlic, pineapple juice, vinegar, brown sugar, and remaining paprika to a boil in a small saucepan and cook until thickened and syrupy, 10 minutes.
  • When chicken is done, brush with glaze and roast just until glaze is bubbling, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve chicken and pineapple with any juices from skillet alongside.

Spicy Chicken DinnerThis recipe is spicy. Use less cayenne if you can’t handle the heat. But if you like spice, trust me this is great. I paired the chicken with a kale caesar salad to cool it down a bit. Just a bit.



Breakfast Fruit Tart

Breakfast Fruit TartSometimes brunch gets you through the work week. And after one of the best but toughest scheduled weeks in a while (LA and back in 48 hours anyone?) I was looking forward to brunch and catching up with friends. I was asked to bring some fruit to a Sunday brunch gathering and decided to spice up a fruit salad with some granola and yogurt. I know. I know. I usually hate yogurt but I don’t mind making exceptions when it’s more of an add on and not the main ingredient. A bowl of yogurt? vom.

I love fruit tarts, especially from Pastiche, which we had on our wedding dessert table. And I thought why not for breakfast? Enter the granola crust. I thought for sure I’d mess this one up but no. It was gorgeous. I almost didn’t want to finish the recipe and there was a lot of celebration dancing going on in the kitchen before moving on to dicing up the fruit, etc.

Granola Tart Crust

Look at those ridges! They held up too, even en route to our fabulous brunch. This is a very light dish and added some extra color to the table. Don’t expect the beautiful presentation to last though – once you dig in, it’s a bit messy!

Enjoy –



  • 1.5 cups of rolled oats
  • 1.5 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of kosher salt
  • 5 tbs of butter, melted (or substitute 1/3 c of melted coconut oil)
  • 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt
  • an orange
  • 2 tbs honey
  • assorted fruit (I used kiwi, mango, raspberries and pomegranate seeds)


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Start by making the granola crust. Mix all the granola ingredients in a bowl until evenly combined. Use the bottom of the tart pan to trace a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the tart pan. Smear a dab of butter to the bottom of the tart pan so the parchment paper stays in place. Grease the sides and top of the parchment well then lightly flour the greased areas and tap the excess flour out.

Fill the tart pan with the granola and using a measuring cup press the bottom layer of granola evenly and press it against the sides. You may have extra granola that you can bake up to sprinkle on top. If you do cook the extra granola make sure to remove it before the crust is ready because it will cook a lot faster than the crust.

Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Allow the tart to cool enough to handle with your hands, about 15 minutes. Then, carefully, remove the side of the tart pan but keep the bottom of the tart pan under the granola shell. Allow the granola shell to cool entirely.

Juice the orange and whisk into the yogurt, along with the honey. Whisk it good. Like really good. Get some air in there. Fill the shell with yogurt and top with cut fruit.

Yogurt filled granola crust

Yogurt filled granola crust

Recipe adapted from Honestly Yum.