Desserts, Pies, Recipes

Mandarin Pie #CookoutWeek

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips… this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. 

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

I’ve always been a fan of fruit and chocolate. Separately or together, this combination is pretty great. I can hardly think of a single fruit that doesn’t taste good with a bit of chocolate. Can you? Oranges and chocolate is one of my favorite combos. I love it in these cookies and these muffins, so it should come as no surprise that I also love it in pie form!

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

The first time I tried this pie was a pretty bad night. Maybe “pretty bad” is a bit of an exaggeration, but over Christmas, both Ben and I got pinkeye. It was pretty much the worst. We were visiting my parents in beautiful Bluffton, South Carolina when the dreaded infection struck. My eyes looked awful and vacation went from relaxing to constant laundry, handwashing, and disinfecting. I blame the baby. Haha. 🙂 Maybe I’m still exaggerating about how bad it was, but I wouldn’t wish pinkeye on anyone! The only highlight of the evening I spent at urgent care was this dessert that I got to enjoy afterwards. This pie was graciously shared with our family by my parents’ friends. We each got a slice and I was so sad it was all gone. I couldn’t stop thinking about it! Eventually I got the recipe and the rest is history! I forsee a LOT of mandarin pie in my future!

A creamy, dreamy mandarin orange pie made with an Oreo crust and topped off with mini chocolate chips... this cool treat is perfect for hot nights. #CookoutWeek 2017

The goodness of this pie starts off with an Oreo crust. The original recipe suggested a chocolate crust, but I amped it up a bit with some Oreos (or fauxreos, as Ben calls them because in baking, I tend to use the store brand). The crust is then filled with a glorious mixture of cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, and sour cream. It’s light and sweet and almost cheesecake-y in texture. Utterly amazing! Fold in some mandarin oranges, spoon into crust, and top with mini chocolate chips and a few decorative mandarin oranges and there you have it! Every bite is filled with chocolatey orange goodness. Since this pie doesn’t require any baking, it’s perfect for summer. This would be a great pie to bring to a cookout, as long as it could be kept cold until serving. Wherever you enjoy this pie, be sure to share it with those you love. 🙂 ❤

I hope you’ve enjoyed all the recipes I’ve shared for #CookoutWeek. Don’t forget to enter the #CookoutWeek 2017 giveaway, happening NOW! Lots of great prizes and an easy entry!

Check out some other delicious cookout recipes shared today for #CookoutWeek here!

Tell me: what’s your favorite no-bake dessert for cookouts?

two years ago: Iced Coconut Mocha
three years ago: Chewy Coconut Oil Granola Bars
four years ago: Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake
five years ago: BBQ Ranch Pasta Salad
six years ago: Lemony Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Mandarin Pie

  • Servings: 8
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from my mom’s friend Karen – addition of the Oreo crust by yours truly

Ingredients:

for Oreo crust (can also substitute your favorite chocolate crust or a storebought one)

  • 25 Oreos
  • 5 tablespoons butter

for pie

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchâtel)
  • 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip), thawed
  • 1 – 15 ounce can mandarin oranges, divided
  • 1 ounce semi sweet chocolate OR a handful of mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Begin by preparing crust. Crush Oreos in a food processor to form fine crumbs. Transfer to a bowl. Then melt butter and drizzle into Oreo crumbs. Use a fork to combine, then press into a 9 inch pie pan. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

To prepare pie filling, beat cream cheese in a stand mixer until fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk, orange juice, and sour cream. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.

Transfer half of the pie filling to crust, then top with most of the mandarin oranges. Reserve eight oranges for the pie topping. Cover with remaining filling. Depending on how deep the pie pan is, you may have a little leftover. Top pie with mandarin oranges and mini chocolate chips.

Instead of mini chocolate chips, you can also melt 1 ounce of semi sweet chocolate (a baking square if possible) and drizzle over the pie. Either way tastes great!

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before slicing. Best enjoyed the same day, especially for presentation, but leftovers are also good for ~48 hours.

I haven’t made this, but I think this pie filling would also be amazing as parfaits: Oreo crumbs, pie filling, mandarin oranges, chocolate chips, and repeat. Yum!

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Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Annette’s Layered Chicken Enchiladas

Cheesy, bubbly layered chicken enchiladas–so comforting and delicious. This dinner is super easy and can be made ahead or even frozen. Recipe from Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine!

Cheesy, bubbly layered chicken enchiladas--so comforting and delicious. This dinner is super easy and can be made ahead or even frozen. Recipe from Shauna Niequist's Bread and Wine!

I’m not usually one to make recipes I find in books (unless they’re cookbooks, that is) but when I read Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine a couple years ago, I knew I HAD to make her friend Annette’s awesome enchilada recipe one day. And one day is here! These enchiladas were gifted to the author as a new baby meal–and having a little one myself, let me just say that I would have LOVED to receive this meal when #BabyVolde was small. What can be better then layered enchiladas and all that ooey, gooey cheese and that creamy verde sauce? Not much! I will say that we weren’t too deprived in our new parenthood exhaustion–we were the lucky recipients of many tasty meals from family and friends, and I also made a ton of freezer meals too. So we were set. But if YOU know someone having a baby soon, consider making this dish!

Cheesy, bubbly layered chicken enchiladas--so comforting and delicious. This dinner is super easy and can be made ahead or even frozen. Recipe from Shauna Niequist's Bread and Wine!

Normal enchiladas are great, but all that rolling can be sorta fussy sometimes. Though the presentation here is a little messier thanks to a few layers of sauce, cheese, chicken, and tortillas instead of neatly rolled tortillas, the taste is ALL there! One neat trick that makes this version of enchiladas different from others I’ve tried is that Annette (whoever she is) came up with GENIUS idea to dip the tortillas in warm chicken broth before layering them. This extra step helps the enchiladas get super soft but also adds a little extra flava! And can’t we all use that? 🙂

Cheesy, bubbly layered chicken enchiladas--so comforting and delicious. This dinner is super easy and can be made ahead or even frozen. Recipe from Shauna Niequist's Bread and Wine!

These enchiladas are filling and delicious… a great dish to make with love for your family or others in your life! Shauna Niequist’s whole point in her book is to embrace hospitality for the sake of love, community, and friendship–a messy hospitality of sorts. In my opinion, this recipe is the epitome of that! Hope you enjoy!

one year ago: Copycat Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
two years ago: Cheesy Molasses Chicken with Mushrooms and Homemade Rice a Roni Mix
three years ago: Champorado [Filipino Chocolate Rice Pudding]
four years ago: Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
five years ago: Hunter Fieri’s Chicken Salad
six years ago: Monkey Bars

Annette's Layered Chicken Enchiladas

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

from Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 – 28 ounce can green enchilada sauce
  • 2 – 4 ounce cans diced green chilies
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 12-15 small corn tortillas
  • 3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 cups shredded Monterrey jack cheese
  • chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.

In a medium pot, simmer chicken broth until just warm, then remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, stir together sour cream, enchilada sauce, and green chilies to make the sauce. Spread about 1/4 of the sauce on the bottom of the baking pan. Dip tortillas in broth and layer over sauce, to completely fill the bottom of the pan. Tear tortillas if necessary. Top with half of the chicken and a third of the cheese, then repeat: sauce, tortillas in broth, chicken, cheese, sauce. Finish with tortillas in broth, sauce, and cheese.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until bubbly. You can broil for a minute or two at the end to make the cheese extra brown if desired. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving with cilantro and lime wedges.

Recipe can be made up to 24 hours before baking. It’s also a great meal to freeze and bake when ready to eat!

Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

Simple Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Simple sheet pan chicken fajitas – I think you are going to want these in your mouth, like, last night for dinner. They bake ALL BY THEMSELVES in the oven but still have a bit of that smoky flair you love. A great weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy!

Simple sheet pan chicken fajitas - I think you are going to want these in your mouth, like, last night for dinner. They bake ALL BY THEMSELVES in the oven but still have a bit of that smoky flair you love. A great weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy!

Yup, hopping on the sheet pan meal train. I even have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them. Because seriously… they are a #weeknightdinner savior.

My oven died a few weeks ago, and I was utterly devastated. Fortunately, it was just the heating element–a pretty inexpensive repair–but I did freak out quite just a bit, especially since this happened after I prepped English muffin bread dough AND lasagna so I couldn’t bake either. Bummer. But on the bright side (if there is a bright side to a non-functional oven), I salvaged the dough by making individual English muffins on the stovetop. Phew! But back to sheet pan dinners. They are the best cause they are eeeeeeeasy! I mean, seriously. Chop, cut, slice a few things, throw it on a pan with some seasonings… bake bake bake, and presto! Dinner. Kinda like a casserole, except without the weird cream ‘o soup sauce. And now I can make ALL THE sheet pan meals and casseroles I want ’cause my oven is back in action! Hooooray!

Simple sheet pan chicken fajitas - I think you are going to want these in your mouth, like, last night for dinner. They bake ALL BY THEMSELVES in the oven but still have a bit of that smoky flair you love. A great weeknight dinner that the whole family will enjoy!

My sister introduced me to this fabulous recipe over the summer, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made it. The fajita seasoning is absolutely mouthwatering and is full of simple seasonings you probably already have in your spice rack. The veggies come out perfectly crisp-tender, and the chicken is sizzling hot. I like to dress my fajitas with plenty of lime juice and cilantro, and not much else–maybe a little bit of sour cream or avocado if I’m feeling it. But like with most Tex-Mex recipes, everyone can customize their plate as desired. #WIN! This recipe makes great leftovers–enjoy it the first night in tortillas, the second day for lunch over Mexican rice or lettuce, and the third day in a quesadilla! Don’t be frightened by the one hour time mentioned in the recipe below. Most of it is cooking, promise! If I can make this after work with a baby in tow, so can you! 🙂

one year ago: White Bean Sriracha Dip
two years ago: Homemade Turkey Sausage Patties
three year ago: Flourless Peanut-Chocolate Cookies
four years ago: Buffalo Pretzels
five year ago: Chicken Noodle Soup
six years ago: Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Sheet Pan Fajitas

  • Servings: 8
  • Print

slightly adapted from Budget Bytes

Ingredients:

fajita seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • dash of cayenne powder – omit if you don’t want a lot of spice
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste – I’m pretty liberal with black pepper 🙂
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

fajitas

  • 1 large onion – I like sweet onions or red onions
  • 4 bell peppers – I like to use a combination of colors
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • tortillas, rice, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, pico de gallo, etc. – for serving, as desired

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients for the fajita seasoning and set aside.

Slice the onion and bell peppers into 1/4-1/2 inch wide strips. Place on a large sheet pan [or divide between 2 9×13 baking dishes]. Cut the chicken breast into thin strips and add to sheet pan with the vegetables.

Sprinkle the seasoning over the chicken and vegetables, then drizzle the olive oil on top. Toss together [your hands are great for this!] and spread into an even layer.

Bake for 20 minutes, then stir everything and return to oven, baking for another 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle lime juice over fajitas, then serve in tortillas or over rice with sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and pico de gallo. Enjoy!

Pro Tip: Make your life easier by making this ahead! Make the seasoning, then cut chicken and veggies and put everything in a ziptop bag. Then pour the olive oil into the bag and shake. Let it marinate in the fridge up to 24 hours before baking. 

 

Breakfast, Recipes, Waffles

SRC: Loaded Cornbread Waffles

Cornbread waffles filled with cheese, peppers, and onions are loaded with sausage, tomatoes, a creamy avocado spread, and a fried egg for an impressive brunch like no other! This is a fantastic restaurant-worthy dish that’s easy to make at home. You’ll be sure to love it!

Cornbread waffles filled with cheese, peppers, and onions are loaded with sausage, tomatoes, a creamy avocado spread, and a fried egg for an impressive brunch like no other! This is a fantastic restaurant-worthy dish that's easy to make at home. You'll be sure to love it! #secretrecipeclub

I can’t believe I’m writing my LAST Secret Recipe Club post! So sad. But I’m glad the club is going out on a good note…it was a good run, guys! And this month, I had a GREAT SRC assignment. I was assigned to choose and make a recipe from April’s blog, Home Sweet Homestead. April lives in the great state of Indiana [YAY I still love Indiana even though I now live in Tennessee]. She always is making lots of delicious recipes that her carnivore husband loves while still accomodating her food allergies. I’m always impressed by her creativity and innovation in the kitchen. It was hard to narrow down the list, but I eventually decided to choose between the following: Swedish Meatballs, Fish & Chips, Peanut Butter Quinoa Protein Balls, Chicken Fried Chicken, Apple Pie Breakfast Quinoa, or Loaded Cornbread Waffles. I think by the title of this post you can figure out what recipe I chose, but MAN was it hard to decide. I guess I had frying things [even though I rarely do that] and quinoa on the brain when I browsed her blog… and I chose neither, ha.

Cornbread waffles filled with cheese, peppers, and onions are loaded with sausage, tomatoes, a creamy avocado spread, and a fried egg for an impressive brunch like no other! This is a fantastic restaurant-worthy dish that's easy to make at home. You'll be sure to love it! #secretrecipeclub

For those of you who know me, you know I’m a breakfast fiend so when I saw loaded waffles I said, “sign me up!” April’s original recipe is gluten and egg-free, but I just used my regular all-purpose flour and an egg because that’s what I had on hand. I’m sure the original recipe is wonderful too! It’s been a long time since I’ve made waffles so I was glad to dust off my waffle iron for this delectable meal! It is absolutely perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. No matter when you serve it, everyone is bound to enjoy this savory take on waffles. [Unless you don’t let them, like poor #BabyVolde below.]

There is so much good stuff in and on these cornbread waffles. Though loaded dishes are super popular at restaurants, I rarely order them because usually the base [fries, tortilla chips, potato soup, etc.] is soggy and/or bland and the dish itself isn’t very healthy. While I won’t say this is the healthiesbreakfast or brunch on the planet, it’s better than some–and these waffles are certainly NOT bland or soggy. 🙂

Cornbread waffles filled with cheese, peppers, and onions are loaded with sausage, tomatoes, a creamy avocado spread, and a fried egg for an impressive brunch like no other! This is a fantastic restaurant-worthy dish that's easy to make at home. You'll be sure to love it! #secretrecipeclub

The waffles are filled with peppers, onions, cheese, and garlic and are the crispiest, heartiest waffles I’ve ever made at home! That’s the cornmeal for you! They truly DO deserve that cornbread title. These aren’t cornmeal waffles; they are cornbread in waffle form. Yum. In terms of toppings, I took a slightly different route than April–I added some ground sausage and a fried egg to the mix. But don’t forget April’s fresh toppings! These waffles wouldn’t be the same without the creamy avocado spread, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, or sour cream. I suggest using all these toppings but feel free to use what your family will enjoy. 🙂 No matter how you make them, they are sure to be great!

Cornbread waffles filled with cheese, peppers, and onions are loaded with sausage, tomatoes, a creamy avocado spread, and a fried egg for an impressive brunch like no other! This is a fantastic restaurant-worthy dish that's easy to make at home. You'll be sure to love it! #secretrecipeclub

Thanks, April, for a great recipe. And thank you to everyone who has been a part of the Secret Recipe Club–it’s been fun and tasty, guys! 🙂 I’ll miss checking out posts every Monday but look forward to other blogging events in the future.

one year ago: Simple Teriyaki Chicken
two years ago: Chaider
three years ago: Pizza Frittata 
four years ago: Lemon Herb Eggs in Ciabatta 
five years ago: Honey Whole Wheat English Muffins
six years ago: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Loaded Cornbread Waffles

  • Servings: 3
  • Print

adapted from Home Sweet Homestead

Ingredients:

for avocado spread

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • salt

for waffles and toppings

  • 1/3 to 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1/2 bell pepper – approximately 3/4 cup, finely diced
  • 1/4 onion – approximately 1/4 cup, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped tomato, for topping
  • cilantro, for topping
  • sour cream, for topping
  • 1 egg per person, for topping
  • shredded cheddar cheese, for topping

Directions:

In a bowl, mash avocado. Mix in cilantro, lime juice, and a sprinkle of salt. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a large skillet, brown ground sausage. You’ll only need about 1/3 pound for 3 servings, but you could make a whole pound and have leftovers–this is what I did!

When cooked through, remove sausage to a bowl and cover to keep warm.

In the same skillet, add peppers, onions, and garlic and cook for 4-5 minutes until softened.

Meanwhile, prepare waffle batter. In a medium bowl, stir togehter flour, cornmeal, and baking powder. In a measuring cup, whisk together milk, cheese, egg, and butter. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and stir gently to combine. Fold in softened vegetables and a healthy amount of freshly ground black pepper. Batter should be thick but still able to be poured, so add a little extra milk if its too thick. I ended up adding a bit TOO much milk so I had to add another tablespoon of cornmeal too.

Cook batter in your waffle iron according to manufacturer instructions, until crisp and golden brown. Batter should yield about 3 waffles.

While waffles are cooking, fry one egg per person using, you guessed it, the same skillet as before! Scrambled eggs would also be delicious–or no eggs too if that’s what you prefer.

Top each waffle with a smear of avocado spread, sausage, chopped tomatoes, chopped cilantro, cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and a fried egg. Enjoy!


Be sure to check out all the other SRC recipes linked up today below!

Cakes, Desserts, Recipes

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch… no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice…or two…or three of!

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch... no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice...or two...or three of!

On Halloween, a Dairy Queen opened about five minutes from our house. Dangerous! Before that, we had to drive a decent distance to reach one. Some of the folks in our area were upset, saying the DQ would “ruin” the area with another fast food area. Ruin the area? Ummm, no! Ruin people’s diets, more likely! Haha. Is there anything more delicious than a Blizzard or a dipped cone? I don’t think so… unless it’s this Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake!

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch... no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice...or two...or three of!

Now I realize that Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake and Dairy Queen don’t really relate to many of you. But for longterm DQ lovers like me, do you remember the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Blizzard? I used to get them all the time in college and then they took them off the menu. It was a very sad day. Some stores would make them, and others wouldn’t, which made NO sense to me because it’s just strawberries [that they already have from the sundaes!] and chocolate [like chips/shavings OR that dipped cone topping…yum!]. Yum and yum. It’s so basic, but so good, ya know?

Fresh strawberry cake from scratch... no Jello, artificial flavorings, or anything fake! This cake is delicious and easier than you would think! Top it with a rich chocolate frosting and you have Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake that everyone will want an extra slice...or two...or three of!

Now, I haven’t been to my local DQ [I just got chills typing that, you guys…yay!] yet to see if they’ll make me my favorite Blizzard, but right now I have this cake and the world is a-okay. You can make this fresh strawberry cake with fresh or frozen strawberries, making it a great year-round treat. There’s absolutely nothing fake or artificial in this cake, just lots of pure strawberry goodness! If you want more of a pink/red color, you’ll have to use a little food coloring but I was happy with the color of my cake without that. The strawberry cake is light and fluffy, and when combined with the rich chocolate frosting is absolutely heavenly! I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did!

one year ago: Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
two years ago: Cranberry and Cream Cheese Muffins
three years ago: Pumpkin Graham Muffins
four years ago: Pollo alla Poggia Alloro {A Family Farm in Tuscany}
five years ago: Homemade Maple & Brown Sugar Almond Butter
six years ago: Pumpkin Soup and Homemade Croutons

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

for Fresh Strawberry Cake

for Chocolate Frosting

Ingredients:

for cake

  • 24 ounces very ripe strawberries, hulled – or frozen strawberries work too!
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar, optional
  • 1/4 milk, at room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • red or pink food coloring, if desired

for frosting

  • 3 cups powdered sugar [plus up to an extra 1/2 cup as needed]
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate, melted
  • 8 ounces sour cream

Directions:

If using frozen strawberries [I did!], set in a fine strainer placed over a bowl. Let rest until thawed, tossing occasionally to remove excess juices. Reserve liquid for another use or discard as desired.

If using fresh strawberries, hull and toss with 1-2 teaspoons sugar. Let rest at room temperature for an hour or two, until juicy.

Place strawberries in a food processor and pulse. Reserve 3/4 cup puree for the cake. Use the rest for something else–I stirred mine into plain yogurt. Yum!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 or 9 inch round baking pans. Mine are 9 inches. If desired, you can also grease pan, line with parchment circles, then grease and flour again.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup strawberry puree, 1/4 cup milk, egg whites, and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. While mixer is running on low, add butter. Mix until moist crumbs form.

Add strawberry puree mixture to bowl of stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for about a minute, then turn off mixture. Scrape sides and stir together by hand for about 30 seconds. Add a drop or two of food coloring if desired–original recipe said that batter won’t get pinker so add food coloring if you want more of a pink/red color!

Divide batter between prepared pans. Smooth tops with a rubber spatula, then bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I usually start checking around 18 minutes and cover with foil if top is browning too much.

When finished, let cake rest in pan for 10-15 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile… make that frosting!

In a small bowl, mix 3 cups powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt. With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.

Add cocoa mixture to cream cheese concoction in 1/3 cup increments, mixing until fully incorporated. Pour in the chocolate [it helps to melt it in a glass measuring cup with a spout] while mixer is running on low, then add sour cream and beat until combined, scraping the sides as necessary. If desired, add additional powdered sugar to reach desired consistency.

Frost the cake once cooled–first between the two layers, then on top and sides. Some people use the extra strawberry puree in between the layers but I didn’t do that. Check out original recipe for more details! Enjoy!

P.S. I stored the leftovers in the fridge due to the frosting. It’s great cold!