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 chicken pot pie was really elevated by the inclusion of fresh herbs. Even the biscuits had arugula in them. I loved it!
This was our Valentine’s Day dinner. ❤ The recipe was adapted from My Paris Kitchen, by David Lebovitz. I increased the amount of onions, garlic, peas, and chicken. I also used arugula instead of watercress in the biscuits.
I chose the “Americanized” version of his Chicken Pot Parmentier by using the biscuit topping rather than the potato topping. According to Lebovitz, the fresh tarragon in the filling still makes this dish decidedly French. Fancy comfort food. 🙂
Yield: Serves 6 to 8
For the Chicken Filling:
- 4 cups (1 quart/1 liter) chicken stock (I used my homemade turkey stock)
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 25 peeled pearl onions (I used frozen pearl onions, thawed)
- 6 T (3 oz/85 g) unsalted butter
- 6 T (60 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 T dry white wine
- 4 to 5 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken (I used rotisserie chicken meat)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas or shelled fava beans, thawed
- 2 T finely chopped fresh tarragon
- 2 T finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tsp coarse salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the Drop Biscuit Topping:
- 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 8 T (4 oz/115 g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 1/2 cup packed (50 g) finely chopped arugula or watercress
- 1 cup (250 ml) buttermilk
To Make the Chicken Filling:
- Heat the stock in a saucepan over medium heat with the carrots, celery, and onions. Let simmer until the vegetables are almost tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in the flour, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
- Whisk a few ladlefuls of the warm stock into the flour mixture, which will appear lumpy at first but will smooth out as you go. Gradually add all the stock, including the vegetables, stirring as you go.
- Cook for about 9 minutes, until thickened.
- Add the garlic and wine and cook for 1 additional minute.
- Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the chicken, peas, tarragon, parsley, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.
- Transfer the mixture to a shallow 2 1/2 to 3 quart baking dish. Set the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drippings.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
To Make the Drop Biscuit Topping:
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, pepper, baking soda, and baking powder to combine.
- Add the butter and, using a pastry cutter, combine until the butter is broken into pea-size pieces.
- Add the arugula, and then the buttermilk, mixing just until the dough holds together.
- Using a spring-loaded cookie scoop, distribute the dough evenly over the chicken filling. (I made 3 rows of 6 biscuits.)
- Bake the chicken potpie for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the topping is deep golden brown and the filling is bubbling and hot.
One Year Ago: Chicken Stew with Biscuits
Two Years Ago: Fried Chicken Thighs & Cheesy Grits
Four Years Ago: Fried Chicken Biscuits
Five Years Ago: Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork and Popovers
Posted in Casserole, Chicken (Poultry), Holiday, Recipes, Soups, Stews, & Chowders
Tags: arugula, biscuits, buttermilk, chicken, dinner, drop biscuits, French, Lebovitz, pearl onions, peas, pot pie, rotisserie chicken, stew, tarragon, valentine's day, watercress
I’ve had baking a French Apple Cake on my bucket list for a long time. A celebratory Valentine’s Day dessert was my excuse! ❤ This version was custardy and absolutely wonderful. We ate it with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream but it could also served with a dollop of softly whipped cream.
This recipe was adapted from Marie-Hélène Brunet-Lhotse, a top editor of Louis Vuitton City Guides (and a restaurant critic for the Paris edition), published in Around my French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, via Epicurious.com.
Greenspan emphasized the importance of using diverse fruit in the cake to include crisp, soft, sweet, and tart apples for the best result. I used a combination of Fuji, Granny Smith, Envy, and Opal apples. I also increased the vanilla, and substituted apple cider for the rum. Delicious!
Yield: Serves 8
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of coarse salt
- 4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons dark rum or fresh apple cider
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- whipped cream of ice cream, for serving
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, preferably on convection.
- Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and put the springform on it.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
- Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
- In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy.
- Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend.
- Whisk in the rum/apple cider and vanilla.
- Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter.
- Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter.
- Scrape the mix into the pan and poke it around a little with the spatula so that it’s evenish.
- Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. (Open the springform slowly, and before it’s fully opened, make sure there aren’t any apples stuck to it.)
- Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature. If you want to remove the cake from the bottom of the springform pan, wait until the cake is almost cooled, then run a long spatula between the cake and the pan, cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment or wax paper, and invert it onto a rack. Carefully remove the bottom of the pan and turn the cake over onto a serving dish.
- To Serve: The cake can be served warm or at room temperature, with or without a little softly whipped, barely sweetened heavy cream or a spoonful of ice cream. Marie-Hélène’s served her cake with cinnamon ice cream and it was a terrific combination.
Note: The cake will keep for about 2 days at room temperature. (The flavor may even improve with time!) The cake is too moist to cover completely; leave the cake on its plate and just press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper against the cut surfaces.
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Posted in Baking, Cake, Fruit Desserts, Good Sweets, Good Eats (Desserts), Holiday, Recipes
Tags: apple cake, apple cider, apples, cake, dessert, Dorie Greenspan, French, fruit, fruit dessert, rum, valentine's day
I made this dish to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my meat-loving husband. ❤ One of his absolute favorite dishes is a pork ragu served over pappardelle; this dish is a wonderful weeknight version.
This recipe was adapted from the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen. We ate it with roasted asparagus and cauliflower with a custardy French Apple Cake for dessert. My Valentine was pleased! 🙂
Yield: 8 servings
- 3 links (about 8 ounces) sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
- 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 1/2 lb. boneless pork shoulder, trimmed (I used country rib meat)
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 3 bay leaves
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for garnish, if desired
- 1 lb. pappardelle pasta
- freshly grated Parmesan, for serving
- In pressure-cooker pot on medium-high, cook sausage in oil 5 minutes or until fat has rendered, breaking up meat as it cooks.
- With slotted spoon, transfer to large bowl.
- Season pork all over with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
- In batches, add pork to pot; cook 4 minutes or until browned on two sides, turning once halfway through. Transfer pork to bowl with sausage.
- To pot, add carrots, onion and garlic; cook 8 minutes, stirring often.
- Add wine; cook 3 minutes.
- Return meat to pot and add tomatoes, milk, bay leaves and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Cover and bring up to pressure on high. Reduce heat to medium-low, maintaining pressure. Cook 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let pressure release naturally.
- Meanwhile, cook the pappardelle according to the package directions.
- Uncover cooker and discard bay leaves. Fork shred the pork. Stir in basil.
- Serve tossed with pasta, garnished with Parmesan.
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Posted in Holiday, Pasta, Pork, Pressure Cooker, Recipes, Sauces
Tags: dinner, Italian sausage, pappardelle, pork, pork sausage, pork shoulder, pressure cooker, ragu, sweet pork sausage, Tuscan, valentine's day