Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Icebox Birthday Cake

Currently I'm neck deep studying for a big exam I have to take at the end of this month.  That being said, I don't really get out from behind a desk very often (either at home or at work).  However, I did take a break from my studying early one September Sunday evening to celebrate my Aunt's birthday.  I lived with my Aunt for two summers and a christmas break while working as an intern in Dallas before I graduated college.  My Aunt welcomed me into her home with open arms and has been a great example of Christ's love.  I am very grateful to have been blessed with that time with her. 

I had talked to my Uncle about a month before when we planned dinner and I stated that I would bring the birthday cake.  Two weeks later my all-day Saturday classes shifted a week so that I was in class all day the day before the birthday celebration.  I had planned on making a more elaborate cake that I would have to start on Saturday to finish by Sunday, however, since my classes got moved up I could no longer stick to this plan. 

My new plan involved cake that I'm almost ashamed to admit didn't take much work at all. I decided to make an Icebox Cake.  I had recently read a few rave reviews about Icebox cakes, so I decided to give it a try.  As it turns out, even though they are really easy to make, they are absolutely fabulous!  Thankfully it was a big hit!  Everyone who tried a piece loved it.  The hardest part of this cake was finding the cookies.  I went to 4 different grocery stores and finally found the Nabisco Chocolate Wafers at a Tom Thumb (so I would start by looking there if I were you).  Nabisco Chocolate Wafers were the first cookies used in Icebox cakes and are supposively the best kind to use in this cake.  I would imagine if you couldn't find these wafers, any chocolate wafer would work, or even oreo's, but then you'd have to scrape out the cream (who wants even more work).  On the way home from dinner my husband and I discussed ways to make it next time to make it even better.  Because I think raspberries and chocolate cheese and wine were made for each other, I've added even more raspberries, in the form of liqueur.  :-)


3 cups heavy cream
3 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2 Tbs raspberry liqueur, optional
2 (9-ounce) packages chocolate wafer cookies


With an electric mixer beat cream, sugar, vanilla and raspberry liqueur until soft peaks form.

On a serving plate arrange cookies in a circle (I used 7 cookies for each layer)

Spread cookies with about 1/2 cup of cream.

Repeat with remaining cookies and cream. 

I made 11 layers total, but total layers may vary depending on how many cookies you use for the base of your cake.

Once you have assembled your cake, cover and put in the fridge overnight. 

**Put the cake BEHIND the wine...I have no idea what I was thinking on this one...of COURSE you deserve a drink after making this, so do yourself a favor and don't make it hard on yourself.  :P

Before serving you can drizzle a raspberry sauce, sprinkle chocolate shavings, dust with cocoa powder, or just leave as is....the possibilities are endless! 

Next time I make this cake I'm making a raspberry coulis to go between the layers, but that just makes the recipe a bit more time consuming, so I decided to leave that part out of the written recipe.

When you cut into the cake the next day, the cookies have absorbed the moisture from the cream, and the whole thing is really soft.

Serve the birthday girl first.

Amanda's Tips:
It can be a little difficult to spread the first couple of layers of cookies with whipped cream because they want to slide around, so I would highly suggest transfering your whipped cream into a pastry bag or a ziplock with a hole cut in a corner that way you can top the layers easier.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Smoky Corn & Chicken Chowder

I love soup.  I am perfectly happy eating soup on a warm summer day.  I do understand however that not everyone thinks hot soup in the summertime is a great idea.  My husband is one of those people.  Knowing what the answer would probably be, I asked Raymond a couple of weeks ago if he is okay eating soup when it is warm outside.  His reply, "I like soup when the weather cools down".  I took that as an opportunity to make soup this weekend as the high on Sunday was 85. I figured since that was 16 degree's cooler than Thursday, it should classify as "cool".  This soup turned out so good that I am writing this post right after I finished my bowl and Raymond is currently serving himself a second bowl.  I will take that as a sign that it is now cool enough for soup and will be making it more often now.  :)


4 slices bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. red bell pepper, diced
1 c. celery
1 1/4 tsp thyme
2 tbs flour
2 c. potatoes, diced
4 1/2 c. fresh corn, shucked
3 c. chicken stock
2 c. milk
1/4 c. cream or half and half
3/8 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp liquid smoke

2 chicken breasts
1/3 c. BBQ Sauce


Place chicken breasts into a ziplock and add BBQ sauce.  Let sit for 40-45 minutes, turning once.

Cook bacon in medium dutch oven.  I used a 3.5 quart and it was JUST big enough.

Once bacon is cooked, add the onions, peppers, celery and thyme and cook until soft. 

Add the garlic and cook for about a minute or until fragrant.

Add the flour and stir/whisk until the flour turns brown and starts to smell nutty (1-2 min).

Add the chicken stock, potatoes, and corn and bring to boil, then reduce and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill chicken breasts, shred the meat, and then add to the soup.

Add salt, white and black pepper, and liquid smoke.

Simmer for another 5 minutes, then add the cream/h&h, milk, and simmer until warm.

Serve with some nice crusty bread...

...I highly recommend this no-knead sourdough bread...

...and Enjoy!  :)

We both really enjoyed this soup and if I see you this week, be prepared, because I will probably try to convince you that you need to make it as soon as possible.  :)

Have a great week!  And make this soup...seriously, you should really make this tonight!

Nutritional Information: Makes about 8 - 1 1/2 cup servings.  Calories - 262.3, Fat - 5.9g, Sodium - 590.7mg, Potassium - 860.4mg Total Carbohydrate - 33.3g, Dietary Fiber - 4.6g, Sugars - 7.2g, Protein - 21.7g