Cheerwine Cake

First of all, let me just apologize now for introducing you to this cake. I’m usually not a fan of sheet cakes – but this one is in a stratosphere all it’s own. It’s totally a cake that your Southern grandmother would have made, that is – if you had a Southern grandmother. But with this cake, you can totally pretend you did, and say it’s a recipe that was handed down from her!

Our friends Jamie & Alex came over for dinner a couple weeks ago, and Jamie brought this as dessert.  I’d heard her rave about it before, so I was excited to try it. She said an old woman who used to come to her mom to get her hair cut would bring this cake, and she loved it as a little girl. Then, thanks to Pinterest – she found a recipe and gave it a whirl. I was enamored – rich, gooey, sweet deliciousness.

The traditional version is make with Coca-Cola, but when I made my version I used Cheerwine. It’s a cherry-ish flavored soda that hails from North Carolina (or “Cackalacky” as we like to call it). We rarely drink soda, but I’m always looking for an excuse to buy some Cheerwine! There’s also a bit of soda in the glaze/frosting (it’s kind of somewhere in the middle) and I added some maraschino cherry juice to bump up the flavor a little bit more. It always stays a little bit soft, but forms this awesome glaze-like slightly crunchy top layer.

This will be the moistest chocolate cake you’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. And, it’ll be the easiest chocolate cake you’ve ever had the pleasure of making. Do you see why I apologized in advance? Have a great weekend everyone!

Bacon and Aspargaus PastaWe can’t get enough of the gorgeous stalks of asparagus hitting the stores right now. The other night I had a blank space on our menu plan – and decided to have a “wing it” dinner. You know, one of those “clean out the fridge” kinda nights? This is what ensued, and it turned out to be superbly delicious!

And, it’s a quick one too – which is always a plus. Crisping up the bacon in the pan, then a quick cook of the asparagus in some of the rendered bacon fat (because really, why not?) and finally all tossed with some pasta and cream sauce. The healthiest? Surely not. But, it was probably better for us then the pizza or Chinese take-out we would have called in otherwise!

Beef Burritos with Poblano Queso

I love burritos. In pretty much any incarnation. Whether it be one the size of my head via a certain chain we all know and love, or a simple baked burrito like these – they’re always such comforting and filling meals. I’d been wanting to make these since Elly first posted them, but like so many other meals – it just got put off. I ended up with an extra large package of hamburger last week with only half of it spoken for, so I finally got around to making them!

They’re a perfect quick weeknight meal that the whole family is sure to love. Seasoned beef, black beans, poblano peppers, corn, and cheese – all stuffed inside a crispy tortilla. Then while they’re baking, you whip up an insane cheese sauce to top them with. It was just going to be a sour cream sauce, but I had some cheese in the fridge, and I figured – eh? That’ll make it a queso – I don’t see how it can turn out bad. I was right. We didn’t get the opportunity to do so, but I’m sure that these would freeze beautifully. Just wrap them in plastic wrap, then stick into a freezer bag before you’d bake them. We’re always looking for new weeknight dinners, and this is definitely one to add to the repitoire!

Beef Burritos with Poblano Queso

Hummingbird Cupcakes

Is it warm and sunny enough to be deemed Spring where you are yet? We’re still working on it here on the Eastern Shore – but I’m confident it will be in full bloom before too long. We’ve had daffodils coming up for a couple weeks now, which is always a sure sign. I’m glad I went and picked them all (at my house, as well as my Aunt’s beach home), because after we got snow on Monday – the ones I left behind outside were looking pretty frail and beaten-down come Tuesday.

I’ll also have to get my hummingbird feeder out soon, as the males like to come early to “check out the scene”. While they enjoy the food (simple syrup – they are easy to please!) in the feeder, they adore the Mimosa tree in our backyard even more. I love to sit out there in the warmer months with a glass of iced tea, and just watch them flitter and flutter around, doing their noble work, while the boys play outside.

So, about these cupcakes – so incredibly good. A boatload of tropical fruits are added to the batter, which adds an incredible level of moistness. Jon & I both agreed that they were reminiscent of carrot cake – but fruitier. I topped it off with a coconut cream cheese frosting, the slight tang from the frosting was just perfect against the sweet, fruity cake.

I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend. We’re going to be dying eggs, hunting eggs down, and eating alot of ham for days to come. These cupcakes would be just perfect on your Easter table, and the dried pineapple flowers – though a little time consuming, are super-easy and make such an impressive garnish. I don’t think a hummingbird himself could resist!