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Author Archives: growingupkitten

The Chocolate Cake

Now, before I lose this recipe again, I am going to put it here!!!

This is an amazing cake.  Seriously moist, and super flavorful.  There are a few tips that I think are necessary to making it though…

Mostly, it involves the actual baking process.  The recipe says to use 2, 8 in pans… however, the first two times I made this I almost lit my oven on fire from the excess batter running over the edges during baking.  This stuff expands… a LOT.  So, my solution is to split the batter into 3 layers.  The cooking time was adjusted down to 25-30 mins with the smaller volumes.  Also, the parchment lined pans is awkward and tedious, but necessary, the cakes are so moist that they would just fall apart if you tried to flip them out of the pan.  I pull them out with the parchment then peel the parchment off once I get them lined up on the cake plate. Fast forward 7 years and I just used my 9 in springforms for two nice sized layers. I did line the bottom of the oven due to drippage, but it was better than the overflow from 8 in pans. Next time I will just wrap the bottom of the springforms with foil.

I have also added some simple syrup to the recipe to make it even better.

Anyway, the recipe can be found here:  Beatty’s Chocolate Cake


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups good cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (used instant decaf coffee – needed for icing)

Simple Syrup: * vanilla/almond/lemon/anything else optional

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp extract * optional

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • 2 sticks + 2 TBSP butter
  • 8 oz semisweet baking chocolate
  • 1 extra large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 2/3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 TBSP instant decaf coffee powder


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F, grease and line two springform pans with parchment paper. Cover the bottoms of the pans with aluminum foil. There will be leaks.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Turn mixer low and stir until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the wet ingredients.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then on low slowly add in the coffee, Mix until just combined.
  6. Pour into baking pans and place bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
  7. Watch out for leaks. There will be leaks if using a spring form, but these will be hard to get out of a regular round.
  8. Once out of the oven, pop off the springforms once the cake has pulled away from the edges. Allow them to cool. While you make your simple syrup and frosting. Then flip one of the layers over onto the cake round and remove the bottom of the pan and parchment. Flip the other layer over onto the bottom that you just removed from the other layer.
  9. Simple syrup: Add sugar and water to a pot. Over medium-high heat stir the mixture until the sugar begins to dissolve.
  10. Allow the mixture to boil for 2-3 minutes once the sugar has dissolved.
  11. Remove from heat and let cool. Then add in any flavoring.
  12. Pour ~1/3-1/2 cup into a smaller bowl. Apply to both layers using a pastry brush.
  13. Frosting: Use a double boiler to melt chocolate. Stir until just melted then set aside.
  14. In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy – 3 minutes or so.
  15. Add in egg and vanilla and continue to beat for an additional 3 minutes.
  16. Turn the mixer to low then slowly add in the confectioners sugar (I like to sift it onto a paper plate for easy of addition)
  17. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat until smooth and creamy.
  18. Dissolve the instant coffee in 2 tsp of hot water.
  19. Turn mixer down to low speed then add chocolate and coffee to the mixture. Beat until well combined, but do not whip.
  20. Frost this delicious beast.


So a few months ago, probably close to a year ago, I found out there is a sauce made with olives and capers. I had never had such a thing and was like, well, why the heck not!?! So I made some. It was freaking delicious. That day my Step-Mother-In-Law was down and her and I ate that sauce, while the boys at the “regular” sauce. It was good. Fast forward to Christmas 2019 and Nana and Papa are coming down for dinner again. We asked what we could make and Nana enthusiastically asked for that wonderful sauce I had made way back when. It was “the best sauce ever”. The only problem was, I have no clue how I made it!? I’m pretty sure what I did, but I cannot find any recipe that I used anywhere. I seem to remember using my own sauce recipe and just adding in anchovies – you don’t forget adding in anchovies- olives, and capers. So, that’s what I’m going for. I feel bad because I hope this lives up to the expectation. We’ll see. This time I’m at least documenting it so that if it is good, I’ll at least know how to make it again.

Make my regular sauce recipe.

  • 1, 2 oz can of anchovies – blended
  • ~ 3 oz Kalamata olives in oil, chopped
  • 2 TBSP Capers
  • A little bit of Chorizo

The only alterations to the method is to fry up the anchovy paste with the onions and garlic. The olives and capers I added with the rest of the ingredients. It’s always best when it simmers as long as possible.

Hope it’s good!

Waffle Potatoes

  • 2 Potatoes, shredded (blue shredder)
  • 150 g Cheese
  • 2-3 Large Eggs, beaten
  • Scallions, chopped
  • Parsley, chopped
  • Garlic powder
  • etc.
  • Sour cream for dipping


  • Shred potatoes
  • Boil water then remove from burner. Add the potatoes and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Drain. Then squeeze dry and place in a separate bowl.
  • Add egg, cheese, scallions, parlsey, etc. Mix well.
  • Heat waffle iron to waffle settings
  • add potato mixture and cook for 10ish mins.
  • Yum

Instant Pot Mongolian Beef


  • 2lb marbled chuck steak (whole)
  • Onion, minced
  • Shallot, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 stalks green onions
  • Peanut oil
  • 1 cup beef bone broth
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil


  1. Season steak generously with salt and pepper. Heat Instant Pot on Sauté (hit adjust to max). Add peanut oil and brown steak 7 minutes on each side, then remove and set aside.
  2. While browning, mix soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, and bone broth in glass measuring cup.
  3. Sauté onion and garlic in IP until softened. Add ginger.
  4. Deglaze pan with stock mixture. Turn off heat.
  5. Cut steak into small bites. Return to IP along with any juices.
  6. Pressure cook for 12 minutes, then natural release 12 minutes more.
  7. Thicken sauce with cornstarch/water mixture and serve over rice.

Instant Pot Short Ribs


  • 6-10 pieces bone-in short ribs (try boneless? Sirloin tips?)
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 2 small onions, minced
  • 200g matchstick carrots, processed with…
  • …2 ribs celery
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste.
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 cup beef bone stock
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • Olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Dried thyme leaves
  • Mashed potatoes


  1. Heat on Sauté (hit adjust to high if needed). Season ribs with salt and pepper. Brown, in batches, 4 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
  2. Saute onion and garlic until softened.
  3. Add processed carrot/celery mixture, tyme, bay leaves, and tomato paste. Sauté for an additional two minutes.
  4. Deglaze instant pot with red wine. Scrape up fond. Simmer until alcohol evaporates.
  5. Add soy and fish sauces, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and bone broth. Return ribs (and any juices) to pot.
  6. If making mashed potatoes in pot, add potatoes to small metal bowl and nestle on top of ribs.
  7. Pressure cook for 45 minutes, naturally release pressure for 15, then quick release.
  8. Remove potatoes and mash. Thicken sauce with cornstarch/water. Season to taste.

Honey Lemon Sheet-pan Chicken

1.5 lbs Chicken tenders
1 cup Plain breadcrumbs (Panko)
1/2 cup Parmesan, grated + more for sprinkling
1 tsp Dried Parsley
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
3 Lemons, juiced (split 5 TBSP and 6 TBSP)
2 tsp Lemon zest (split half and half)
11 TBSP Butter, melted (split 5 TBSP and 6 TBSP)
6 TBSP Olive Oil
6 TBSP Honey


  • Dredge the chicken in flour then chill in the fridge for 20 mins
  • Preheat oven to 400 F
  • Breadcrumb mixture: In a bowl, combine 1 cup Breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan, 1 tsp Dried Parsley, and  1/2 tsp Garlic Powder.
  • Lemon Butter mixture: In a separate bowl, combine 5 TBSP lemon juice, 1 tsp Lemon Zest, and 5 TBSP Melted Butter. Reserve 4 TBSP of this mixture in a separate bowl for the vegetables.
  • Dip the floured chicken into the Lemon Butter mixture, then into the Breadcrumb mixture. Arrange chicken tenders down the center of a baking sheet so they are close, but not touching.
  • Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and flip the chicken. Add Asparagus and Broccoli to the sides of the baking sheet. Spoon the reserved Lemon Butter over the vegetables then toss them in the mixture. Top veggies with Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through and veggies are done.
  • Sauce: Meanwhile, mix together remaining 6 TBSP Lemon juice, 1 tsp Lemon zest, 6 TBSP Melted Butter, 6 TBSP Olive Oil and 6 TBSP Honey.
  • Spoon sauce over chicken, vegetables, and sides when serving. Serve with rice or roasted potatoes

French Onion Stew


  • 2 lbs onions, peeled and sliced
    • Use a variety: Vidalia, yellow, white, red, shallot, etc
  • Butter
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed and rubbed with salt, pepper, and ground thyme
  • Splash of red wine
  • 3 cups beef bone broth
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere
  • 1 baguette, sliced


  1. Melt 3-4 tablespoons of butter, add onions and a pinch of salt in a Dutch oven. Caramelize, stirring frequently, for 1-2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté chicken in butter until well-browned. Drain and set aside.
  3. After caramelized, add balsamic vinegar to onions.. Be careful not to deglaze pan, if possible. Remove onions from pan and set oven to 350F.
  4. Deglaze pan with a splash of red wine. Add another 3-4 tablespoons of butter and melt. Add flour, whisk into a blond roux.
  5. Add bone broth a little at a time, whisking constantly. KEEP SMOOTH. Adjust flavor with salt and pepper and ground thyme as desired.
  6. Add chicken and onions. Mix thoroughly. Top with cheese.
  7. Bake until cheese is golden brown.
  8. Put baguette slices into bowls. Spoon stew over the top.