The Search For The Perfect Birthday Cake…

Lemon Chocolate Cake

Hello My  Lovelies!

It’s begun…the search for the perfect birthday cake!! One only turns 29 once right? So a few of my favorite things…lemon and chocolate. I was talking with HB the other night and he asked me what was my favorite kind of cake…and I replied and said well I LOOOOOVE lemon cake….but I LOOOOOVE chocolate too…and then he sent me this….

Hello Best Birthday Cake Ever! #LemonChocolate

So this weekend I shall be trying my hand at the Cake Walker’s Lemon Chocolate Cake recipe. HB and I share a birthday week so we shall critique it in honor of turning 29.

How cute are those little beehives and lemondrop drips? (You do realize that I’m so OCD making those little beehives perfectly is going to kill me right?)

XoXo,

One Drooling Lemon

 

Wanna make it? Check out the recipe below!

Lemon Chocolate Cake

Source: Lemon Chocolate Cake

This delightful cake will quickly become your “go to” favorite when you desire something unique and special—it has surely become a favorite in my house. The moist, lemony crumb is a citrus celebration, but the tango it does with the dense chocolate frosting is completely tantalizing. What’s more, the surprise burst of zest in the chocolate ganache leads the delicious dance, pleasing the palate much like a fresh lemon twist does to the first sip of espresso.

Makes one 8 or 9-inch two-layer cake.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 3/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice of 3 lemons (approximately 2 loosely packed tablespoons zest and about 1/3rd cup juice)
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd (from your favorite recipe or store-bought variety)
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, room temperature

Frosting

  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), room temperature
  • 2 lbs. sifted powdered sugar (32 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3rd cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate (Use chips or cut bars into small pieces. For best results and flavor, select a brand with 63% cacao content.)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest.

Lemon Drop Drips

  • 1/2 cup hard Lemon Drop candies

 Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Grease two 8×2”, or two 9×1 1/2″ round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, grease the paper and then flour the pans. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt together; set aside.
  • With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vanilla, zest, lemon juice and lemon curd, beat in until incorporated. Scrape the bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add the dry ingredients and wet ingredients to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. After the last addition, mix the batter until just incorporated. Scrape the bowl and stir gently to mix in. Divide batter evenly between the two pans. Smooth the tops with an offset spatula.
  • For 8-inch pans* bake approximately 43-45 minutes, 9-inch pans bake for 34-36 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The tops will be golden brown and the cakes should just start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove cakes from the oven and cool on racks for 12 minutes; remove from pans (discard the parchment). Cool completely on racks.
  • While the cakes are baking, make the Lemon Drop Drip garnishes. Fit a sheet pan with parchment paper and tape the paper to the pan along one long edge—this will be the “top” of the pan; set aside. In a small non-stick pan over medium-low heat melt the lemon drops until completely melted to a viscous syrup state. Turn the heat to low and work quickly to spoon small puddles on the parchment-lined pan. Once you have a few puddles, tilt the pan up to create drips, maintaining the tilt until the desired drip length is reached; lay pan flat. Repeat in different places on the paper until you have about 12 or so drips. You may not choose to use all 12, but it’s good to have extra in case of breakage.
  • Prepare the frosting. Add the measure of instant espresso powder to the milk and stir to dissolve; set aside. In a large mixing bowl add the butter, half the powdered sugar, cocoa, vanilla, salt and half the milk mixture. With an electric mixer, begin mixing SLOWLY at first to prevent a cloud of dry ingredients from pluming out all over, and gradually increase the speed to medium until incorporated. Add the remaining sugar and milk mixture?mix in slowly at first, increasing speed to medium low; blend until the frosting is smooth and creamy. Recipe yields enough to frost the cake including a bottom border and piped dollops on top with perhaps a small amount of leftover.
  • Assemble the cake. Place one cake (bottom or flat side down) onto a serving plate; frost the top with a nice fill. Place the second cake (bottom or flat side up) on top. Crumb coat (thin application) the top and sides. Place cake in refrigerator for a few minutes to set the frosting. Leave the crumb coat as is on the top, but frost the sides with a nice finish coat. Return the cake to the refrigerator to set for several minutes.
  • In a small sauce pan over medium low, heat the heavy cream until it just begins to slightly simmer. Reduce heat to low and add the chocolate chips; let sit for about a minute. Remove from heat. Stir or whisk the ganache to blend until completely smooth, uniform in color and pourable. Stir in the lemon zest. The ganache should be lukewarm*. Pour the ganache onto the top center of the cake. With an offset spatula, quickly spread the ganache outwards toward the edges of the cake; gently nudge some of the ganache with the spatula over the edge to drip down in multiple areas around the perimeter.
  • In an icing bag fitted with the tip of your choice (a #12 circle was used on the cake in the photo), pipe a border around the base of the cake. Similarly, choose a tip of your choice (a #24 round was used) to pipe dollop decorations on the top of the cake evenly spaced around the perimeter. The photo depicts 8 of these, but you may make as many as desired or have garnishes for. Pipe the dollops wide and tall enough to provide a sturdy base to support the lemon drips. Garnish each dollop by inserting a Lemon Drop Drip into the center of each dollop?gently pressing the candy drip through the dollop until it touches the cake. The cake is best served at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator covered in plastic for up to 3 days.

Notes

*If you choose the 8-inch pans you must be sure you have the ones that measure 2 inches up the side, otherwise your batter will overflow during baking. When filling the 8×2 pan with equally divided batter, the fill level will be about three quarters full for each. The batter should not overflow during baking. The benefit of using the 8×2 pan is you get a taller cake. There should not be overflow issues with the common 9×1 1/2 pans other than a shorter baking time as indicated. Please use caution when working with melted candy or any hot liquid sugar. If the chocolate ganache is too warm, it may slightly melt the frosting when poured on top causing it to sag. Additionally, not all heavy cream is manufactured with consistent fat content. Therefore, if the ganache is too thick to pour once it’s blended together, you may want to add an additional tablespoon or two to thin it.

http://cakewalkr.com/lemon-chocolate-cake/   //   Cakewalker 2016

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DIY Shower Door Removal

Hello My Lovelies!

Today’s post is a little DIY. Do It Yourself Shower Door Removal. I wanted to take out the shower doors in the master bathroom at my house. I’m not a huge fan of shower doors..especially old ones that have seen better days. A few reasons..they are very hard to keep clean, they cause moisture to hang around, they are loud and annoying.

What You Need

Materials
Caulk remover (I used Motsenbockers Lift Off gel)
Curtain rod
Shower curtain (a liner at minimum, plus outer decorative curtain if you like)
Shower curtain hooks
Silicone caulk

Tools
Utility knife
Screw driver
Plastic scraper or an old credit card
Caulk gun

How to Do It Yourself

You might want to enlist the help of someone. I attempted to do this project on my own but you can’t hold doors and lift stuff at the same time..so I called my partner in crime. Mom took one look at me awkwardly standing in the shower balancing the doors, laughed, and then said Let’s do this.

Step 1 • Remove the shower doors from the track.
Mine lifted up and out from a top track. The doors can be heavy, so get help on this part if you need it.

Step 2 • Remove all screws from the shower door frame.
My frame had three screws on each side and on in the bottom track. There actually was one small screw in the bottom track that was the reason I was a little hesitant when I saw the screw in the track. I had this moment of fear that their would be a hole in the bathtub, but it turned out to just be a set screw for the guide on the track. So, if that’s holding you back, do a little investigative work to determine whether the screw actually penetrates the tub body.

Step 3 • Carefully cut any caulked joints between the frame and the walls/ tub.
Be sure to hold the knife parallel to the wall and tub, not perpendicular. You don’t want to leave cuts in the wall and tub surfaces, you just want to separate the frame from the wall. Mine was caulked, and re-caulked, and caulked some more. I ended up wedging the screwdriver between the wall and the track and wiggling it until the caulk started coming loose.

Step 4 • Pop off the top track.
Mine was just kind of sitting on top. It wasn’t attached to the rest of the frame at all. A simple double tap with the palm of my hand loosened it and it lifted out easily.

Step 5 • Remove the side frames.
Have your utility knife handy in case you need to cut a little more caulk as you pull the frames from the walls. There will be caulk left behind on the tile – don’t worry about it yet!

Step 6 • Remove the bottom rail from the tub.
Prepare yourself – this is going to yucky! But this moment is also liberating; seeing your tub free of cumbersome metal frames. Think of it as having those annoying braces removed!

Step 7 • Scrape any caulk you can from the tub and the wall tiles.
This is where an old credit card can come in handy! I found it most effective in scraping up the discolored caulking left behind once the door frames were removed. You likely won’t get all of the caulk removed in this step, but that’s okay! Just get as much as you can without damaging any surfaces.

Step 8 • Use caulk remover according to packaging directions on any stubborn spots.
I applied a gel to the strips stuck on the tub, let it sit a few minutes, then scraped again with the plastic card. (As a side note, I skipped this step on the wall tiles, as my tiles are unfortunately painted. So, the caulk peeled right off of my walls, along with strips of paint, revealing pink tiles beneath the paint. Because of this, I left strips of caulk on the walls in some places, as I plan to replace the tile down the road. In the meantime, I will likely peel off the rest of caulk and touch up the tile paint, but this wasn’t done as a part of this project.) Also, our tub surface beneath the old track is pretty rough, but any discoloration came off with this step. There are still a few spots in the surface, but I far prefer them to the constantly dirty old shower door frame!

Step 9 • Fill the screw holes in the walls.
This can be done in a few ways: with special plugs inserted into the holes, or with silicone caulk matching your tile. I opted for caulk, and filled the holes with white silicone caulk. This is where the old credit card comes in handy again. Fill the holes with silicone caulk then remove excess with that credit card! Allow the caulk to set for 8 hours before exposing to moisture. If the holes have plastic anchors in them (mine did), just pull them out with a pair of needle nosed pliers before filling them.

Step 10 • Hang that glorious new rod and curtain!
I love the shower liners from Ollie’s ($3). I found my shower curtain at JCPenney’s a few months ago. Snagged it on sale, had a $10 off coupon, and another in-store 20% off coupon. I usually lay my liner out and place the shower curtain on top of it. It makes putting the shower curtain rings in easier and you’re not wobbling on a tub trying to put them in whilst holding the curtain and liner. I got my shower curtain rings from HomeGoods ($4.99 with coupon).

Then..sit back and look at your masterpiece :)

And that’s how you Do It Yourself! (BTW..the contractor was going to charge me $60 bucks to do that..it took me less than 30mts..)

XoXo!

One Handy Lemon

 

(Images Courtesy of Regina Yunghans)

Thankful Thursday!

Is it Thursday already? I feel like this week is flying and crawling by all at the same time..but’s here’s what I’m thankful for this week!

1 – Bargain Brooks

I’ve been wanting to try a pair of Brooks out..but not at the $125 price tag. This week I found a pair this week at a Rugged Warehouse store for $44 and decided to try them out. SOOOOO COMFY! I’m running in them today for the first time :) I’ll let ya know how it goes.

2 – Mr. Peacock has arrived..and he’s wild!

Our last peacock was eaten by an owl..it’s a crazy story..a grown peacock getting picked up and hauled off by an owl? I wouldn’t even believe it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. But needless to say..the farm finally has a new peacock stud..and he thinks he’s hot stuff. He’s very wild and smart.

3 – New House

My new house-to-be is coming right along! I should be closing on it the last week of the month. I’ve been scouring the internet for remodeling ideas. It’s an older house that needs some TLC and the living room/dining room has an interesting layout. Last night I found exactly what I had been thinking in picture form :) Exciting!

4 – DIY Projects

I’ve been trying to do one new DIY project each week. This week I’m tackling scrap fabric rugs. So easy..all you need is a stack of old t-shirts and a hula hoop. They work up really quickly! I’m thrilled to be using so much of my scrap fabric.

5 – Church!

I’ve been struggling a lot lately with where I am supposed to be plugged in at church. There were several issues at the church I was attending that I did not feel comfortable with. After praying and seeking God, I knew it was time to start looking for a church home. I visited several churches but one just seemed to fit. I’ve been attending there now for about 2 months and I can’t begin to tell you how much I love it. I literally count down until I get to go to church. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited about worshiping. They have a huge college and career ministry and I LOVE IT! I’m no longer the awkward single, childless, never married girl in my Sunday school class. There are 15 other girls all walking the same path as me and THEY ROCK! We have monthly Bible study and I wish we had it every week! I love sitting cross legged in Rebecca’s living room digging into the word.

6 – Halfway There!

I’m really thankful that God made people to endure med school! RJ is halfway through with block :) I’m thankful that he’s got 7 tests under his belt this week and only 7 more weeks to go! (Not that I’m counting or anything..) This girl is ready for him to have some free time! Because secretly I really just want to go eat Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice cream with him :)

 

What about you? What are you Thankful for this Thursday?

XoXo!

One Peachy Lemon

 

Best Birthday Weekend – Part 1

So this weekend has pretty much been the best weekend of my life..Yep..pretty positive about that. I had a birthday on Friday :) I decided this year that if I had to get another year older I might as well do it in style!

It all began Wednesday night. I traveled 40mts to pick up my corn hole set from a girl who was sweet enough to make me one. I decided, after contemplating the plans online, that constructing one was a little out of Lemon’s league this week. I called Lilly to see if she was busy and somehow managed to convince her to come help me paint corn hole boards. We managed to get two coats on before it was too dark to see.

Thursday night was a pre-birthday dinner at Mellow Mushroom. My friend Nathan works at our local Mellow and we conveniently share the same birthday! We had a blast hanging out and catching up. Nathan and Lilly thoroughly embarrassed my by telling everyone it was my birthday over the loud-speaker. I acted mortified..but I secretly loved it :) Nate was even sweet enough to make me a birthday pretzel!

Friday I enjoyed a day off. I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t take enough of them. I planned my menu out for the Carolina Cup and headed into town to buy groceries.

Here was my menu:

Veggie Tray | Oreo Balls | Spinach Artichoke Dip Bites | Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Chicken

A Peep Bouquet | Mexican Dip w/Chips | Buffalo Chicken Dip | Garlic & Lime Salsa | Black Bean & White Corn Salsa | Key Lime Cookies | Pink Lemonade Cookies

Let me just say… PINTEREST is evil at 2am..but since I was already having a night of insomnia..I figured I might as well be productive.  I wrote my shopping list down and by 7am I was in the parking lot at the grocery store. I came to the conclusion that shopping for groceries that early is the way to go. I got in, I got out.

Next stop was Lowe’s to get some teal paint. I took my corn hole chevron bag along to show Mr. Joe what color I wanted. Thanks to technology he was able to color match it with little difficulty.

I can home, threw the spinach artichoke bites together and into the oven. While they were cooking I painted my chevron’s on. I am seriously the queen of multitasking. While they were drying, I was mixing up dip. Two dips going on the stove, bites in the oven and I mixed my cookies up to spoon onto the pan. My cousin arrived at 11 am to help before she went to work. I taught her how to make Oreo balls. We had a slight mishap and mixed in chocolate chips (they are typically supposed to be melted and you dip the balls into them.) yet in our mishap we might have created the most epic Oreo ball ever! SOOOOO GOOD!

That afternoon I ran into town to pick up extra tickets for the Cup. Thankfully one of my friends had some he needed to sell so we got them cheaper than we would have if we’d got them at the Cup the next day.

I ran back home and changed..then it was off to Gram’s for birthday dinner and Broadway! My mom and dad treated me to Neil Berg’s 102 Years of Broadway and dinner at Chilli’s. I had really wanted to go to Longhorn for dinner but we arrived to a 3hr wait time. So it was off to Chilli’s! I must tell you I was really irritated when Chilli’s took their Chicken Fajita Pita off the menu. But..they’ve pacified my irritation with the Caribbean Chicken Salad and the Bacon Avocado Chicken Sandwich (which 1/2 the time they forget to put avocado on..). It was a great dinner out with my family :)

We headed into town to watch Neil Berg and he did not disappoint! I was extremely excited to see Rebecca Pitcher. For those of you who aren’t Broadway nerds, she played Christine in the Broadway adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera in 2006. Her voice was amazing. She of course did a few numbers from the Phantom including Angel of Music. Neil always brings such a great history of Broadway to life throughout the show. This is the second time I’ve seen them. Last year I saw 101 years of Broadway on my birthday weekend no less :) The show was awesome..they played hits from Cabaret, Kiss Me Kate, Phantom, Les Miserables and Guys and Dolls.

Neil was wonderful enough to wish me a Happy Birthday post show. The director of the Arts center and I share the same birthday and she had told him it was mine as well. He even autographed my program for me! Another priceless treasure to add to my theatre box :)

It was home to finish last-minute Cup details..I was really bummed because it was POURING rain. I crossed my fingers and said a prayer that it wouldn’t rain the next day.

Xoxo!

One Sleepy Lemon