My daughter absolutely loves the “Line Friends” store in Times Square. The store features adorable plush versions of the characters from a Japanese and Korean messaging app called Line. Most center around a bear named “Brown.” As a pig enthusiast, my daughter owns two “Piggy Brown” plush in her personal collection. She requested a red velvet version of “Piggy Brown” to celebrate her 12th birthday! She also requested an Oreo-cream cheese frosting filling. The results were super cute and delicious.
Both of my kids have winter birthdays. Because my son decided to celebrate his with a gold standard household favorite, a Rainbow Sprinkle Cake, I am combining their “birthday posts” by sharing their number cookie photos at the same time. For those of you who don’t know, my kids always have birthday sugar cookies to celebrate their age. 🙂 This year, my son celebrated his 14th birthday and my daughter celebrated her 12th. ❤
I thought that it was the perfect time to share this cake because a red velvet layer cake would also be a fabulous Valentine’s Day dessert. ❤ The cake recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living, the cream cheese frosting adapted from various sources. I used a single vanilla cupcake for the pig snout and bear nose, recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. The pig ears were made with reserved number cookie dough.
To Make the Red Velvet Layers:
- unsalted butter, for cake pans
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour, not self-rising
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 tsp red gel food coloring plus 3 1/2 T water OR 1/4 cup red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- Heat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
- Generously butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper; butter the paper. Sprinkle with flour, and tap out the excess; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk cake flour, salt, and sifted cocoa; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and oil, and beat on medium speed until well combined.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add food coloring and vanilla, and beat until well combined.
- Add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- In a small bowl, mix baking soda and vinegar until combined. Add to batter, and beat for 10 seconds.
- Evenly divide batter between the prepared pans. (I use a kitchen scale to make sure that the batter is evenly distributed.)
- Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Remove from the pans, and return to the rack to cool completely before frosting/decorating.
- 1 egg white
- 2 T granulated sugar
- 2 T unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 T milk
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
- Coat 2 wells of a muffin pan with cooking spray or line with 2 liners.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the egg white and sugar until combined.
- Stir in the vanilla, melted butter, and milk.
- Add flour and baking powder and mix everything together well.
- Divide the batter between two muffin pan wells and bake for 10-14 minutes.
- Let cool completely before frosting/decorating as desired.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting and to Decorate the Cake:
Yield: enough to generously frost one 9-inch layer cake (plus 1 cupcake)
- 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 6 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 Oreos, crushed in a food processor
- pink gel food coloring
- brown m&m’s and pink tic tac’s for eyes and noses
- 1-2 T semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- Place cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Add sugar and vanilla. Beat, on low-speed to combine.
- If too soft, chill until slightly stiff, about 10 minutes, before using.
- Remove and place in separate bowls: 3/4 to 1 cup of icing for the bear face, 2-3 T icing for the top of the pig snout, 2-3 T icing for the bear nose, and 1 1/4 cup of icing for the Oreo filling.
- Tint the remaining icing light pink with food coloring, mixing well.
- Incorporate the crushed Oreos in the reserved 1 1/4 cups of filling icing. Spread on one of the layers.
- Place the second layer on top.
- Insert the cookie pig ears in between the cake layers until securely in place.
- Tint the 3/4 to 1 cup of reserved bear face icing with 1 T sifted cocoa, or until desired color is achieved.
- Tint the reserved 2-3 T of bear nose icing with pinches of sifted cocoa until desired color is achieved.
- Tint the reserved 2-3 T of pig snout icing with pink food coloring until desired color is achieved.
- Make a paper or parchment template to outline the edge of the bear face on top of the cake. Place on top of the second cake layer.
- Spread and swirl the light pink frosting around the sides and top of the cake, outside of the bear face template.
- Spread and swirl the reserved chocolate-brown frosting circle to form the bear face.
- Remove the domed top of the vanilla cupcake and trim to form the bear nose. Coat with reserved light brown icing and place on the bear face.
- Invert the cupcake bottom and coat the sides with light pink icing. Spread dark pink icing over the top. Place the snout in place on top of the cake.
- Use the m&m’s and tic tacs to form the noses and eyes.
- Place melted chocolate chips in a small ziplock bag. (I melted the chocolate in the microwave.) Cut the corner of the bag and pipe the bear’s mouth onto the cake.
- The cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 hours. (I stored it overnight.) Bring to room temperature before serving.
I’m bringing my red velvet Piggy Brown to share at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #262, co-hosted by Angie and Jhuls @The Not so Creative Cook. Enjoy! 🙂
Posted in Baking, Cake, Cupcakes, Good Sweets, Good Eats (Desserts), Holiday, Recipes
Tags: bear, birthday, brown, cream cheese frosting, dessert, individual cupcake, layer cake, Line, line friends, oreo, piggy brown, red velvet, teddy bear, valentine's day, vanilla cupcake
This recipe is absolute GENIUS. It was a genius idea for me to make it on Super Bowl Sunday too. I am usually cooking while my family is watching the game- and commercials- in another room. This year, the meal was cooked and ready to go; it was kept warm in the pressure cooker with the lid in place while I was sitting on the sofa with everyone. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I increased the garlic and used ground turkey and whole wheat spaghetti. I also made it in my stove top pressure cooker instead of an Instant Pot. We enjoyed it with garlic bread and Caesar salad. Great.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
For the Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2-4 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
- ¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 basil sprigs, plus more thinly sliced for serving
- 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti (not thin spaghetti), broken in half
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
- 1 cup ricotta (optional)
For the Meatballs:
- 1 pound ground turkey (or substitute veal, pork or beef)
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons chopped basil
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a stove top pressure cooker or Instant Pot on sauté. Stir in garlic, red pepper and black pepper, and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Stir in tomatoes, salt and basil sprigs; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the meatballs: In a large bowl, mix together ground meat, bread crumbs, Parmesan, chopped basil, egg, salt and garlic. Roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. (I used a large cookie scoop and placed them on a large plate, shaping them into balls when I placed them into the pot.)
- Pour 1 cup water into sauce in pot, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of pot.
- Scatter uncooked spaghetti over the sauce.
- Drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon oil over spaghetti, stirring gently (try to keep the spaghetti on top of the sauce), then top with meatballs.
- Cover and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Manually release the pressure, then remove the cover and stir to separate the spaghetti.
- Stir in 2 tablespoons Parmesan.
- At this point, the pasta will be almost but not quite cooked through. Place the top back on the pressure cooker (loosely) and let it sit for 3 to 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and spaghetti is al dente but not mushy.
- Serve dolloped with ricotta, if using, and sprinkled with thinly sliced basil and more Parmesan if you like.
Posted in Holiday, Pasta, Pressure Cooker, Quick, Recipes
Tags: basil, dinner, ground beef, ground turkey, Instant Pot, Italian, meatballs, parmesan, Parmigiano Reggiano, pasta, pressure cooker, ricotta, spaghetti, Super Bowl, whole wheat
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This classic recipe is going to be my new go-to chili. It was easy to prepare, a little bit lighter, using ground turkey and omitting cheese, and is only mildly spicy- a crowd-pleaser. The heat can easily be increased by adjusting the amount of chili powder to taste. It had a wonderful combination of seasonings including cinnamon and cocoa powder.
I used all white beans but this dish would be delicious with any type of beans or an interesting combination. 🙂 We ate it over brown rice with cornbread and green salad on the side. It would be perfect to serve at a Super Bowl feast!
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit. It was part of a “sleeper hit recipe” collection from the magazines’ archives. The collection contains tried and true favorite recipes from back in the day that may be passed over due to blurry, low-resolution (aka unappealing!) photos. I’m happy that they brought them to my attention. I’ll have to try others. 🙂
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
- 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/4 pounds lean ground turkey
- 4 T chili powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt, plus more to taste
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken stock or beef stock
- 1 cup (8 oz) tomato sauce
- 3 15-ounce cans small white beans, such as Cannellini, rinsed, drained (or any combination of beans such as kidney and/or black beans)
- thinly sliced red onion, for garnish
- chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- plain low-fat yogurt or light sour cream, for garnish
- Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until light brown and tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add oregano and cumin; stir 1 minute. Increase heat to medium-high.
- Add turkey; stir until no longer pink, breaking up with back of spoon.
- Stir in chili powder, bay leaves, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon. Add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up with back of spoon. Mix in stock and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add beans to chili and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes longer.
- Discard bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasoning, as desired.
- Ladle chili into bowls. Pass red onion, cilantro and yogurt/sour cream toppings separately.
Note: Chili be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over medium-low heat before serving with toppings.
Posted in Chicken (Poultry), Holiday, Recipes, Soups, Stews, & Chowders
Tags: black beans, cannellini beans, chili, cilantro, cocoa, cocoa powder, cumin, dinner, ground turkey, kidney beans, lighter, red onion, stew, Super Bowl