CUCINA CARA MIA.......Random thoughts from "my dear kitchen" about food, travel, Italy, San Diego and life!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

OK...I admit it...I'm addicted to Nutella!

Looking for a fun dessert to serve at our Mother's Day brunch, I found this recipe on, a Canadian food blog...

Nutella Crumb Bars:

In a bowl toss together
2 t. baking powder
2 cups rolled oats (large)
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar

Using your hands, rub thoroughly through the dry ingredients:

1 ½ cups butter, cut in small cubes.

This mixture should hold together when squeezed in your fist.

Divide crumble mixture in half and press half into the bottom of a 9x13 inch greased or parchment lined baking pan. Spread fudge filling mixture over the base. Top with remaining crumb mixture, breaking it into small pieces with your fingers. Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees F or until golden brown.

Nutella Fudge Filling

In a double boiler melt together until smooth:

1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup whipping cream (or evaporated milk)
1 cup Nutella

Don't let this mixture get too hot, as soon as the chocolate is melted, take it off the heat. Add

1 cup icing sugar ( i.e. powdered sugar, confectioners sugar)

Blend in until smooth,

It's crunchy nutella heaven!! What's your food addiction?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I had a request to make a cake to celebrate a client's great aunt's 90th birthday last week. He wanted something with lots of coconut and a lemon curd filling. Not usually a maker of traditional style cakes, I went on the hunt for a recipe incorporating those usual Ina Garten's (The Barefoot Contessa) recipe seemed to be the perfect fit for this special lady.


3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for
greasing the pans
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:

1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth (don't whip!).

To assemble, place 1 layer on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides. **I added lemon curd in between the layers to give it a little more lemon flavor. To decorate, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

The cake looked wonderful, and I anxiously awaited a call from him hoping to hear she liked it...his text said it was a hit, and they had it for breakfast the following this cake would be a great wedding cake, baby shower cake, bridal shower cake, or a "just because" cake...embellished with fresh flowers or lemon slices..