Wedding Cake Should Be Chocolate: The Groom’s Cake

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Last summer I made a wedding cake! Or, to be more precise, I made a bridal cake, a groom’s cake, and several sheet cakes for the absolutely gorgeous wedding of some friends of mine! The bride used to babysit my children, and her mother is one of my dearest friends and mentors.

It was such a labor of love. Delicious, chocolatey labor.

And today I am sharing part two of my series about my wedding baking adventure!

Last time I shared with you the ups and downs of my planning stages, including the timing of making all this happen. Today I want to share with you the recipes for the groom’s cake: a two-tiered vanilla cake with chocolate ganache filling, chocolate mousse frosting, and a shiny chocolate drizzle, topped with a chocolate fish to honor the groom’s favorite pasttime.

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Almond Butter Cookie Cups

Almond Butter Cookie Cups

I have a new favorite dessert.

Them be fighting words, people. Favorite is a strong statement.

It’s almond butter cups. You know, like peanut butter cups, but with almonds. And, surprise! Oats! And coconut oil! And maple syrup! Instead of a dry, crumbly nut center, these cups have an almost cookie-like base with homemade chocolate on top.

And the kicker is that they are actually good for you, as far as desserts go! You see, they are full of healthy ingredients like raw cacao powder and raw nuts and unsaturated fats.

I swear no one will never eat one of these and think, “This dessert must be healthy.” Every time I set them out for a group of friends, they disappear practically in the blink of an eye. You should make these. You should make them right away!

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Milk Bar Funfetti Birthday Cake

Milk Bar Funfetti Birthday Cake

I like to call people up on their birthdays and sing to them.

So someone call me up and croon a little tune, because this blog is FIVE YEARS OLD! And I just can’t believe it.

Naturally, to mark the occasion, I baked a cake. Because what good is a birthday celebration without cake?

Happy birthday to Smells Like Brownies! Here’s to five more years of doing things deliciously (and making my family and friends wait around to eat until I finish staging a hundred photos).

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Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Yesterday, Jake decided to read all of my cookbooks. He pulled pretty much every single book off the shelf, one at a time, to ooh and aah over the glorious photos and recite every single letter in every single recipe title.

That kid. Adorable.

Somehow in the middle of this, I developed a hankering for peanut butter cookies. I’m pretty sure that was Jake’s goal all along.

These are not your average criss-cross peanut butter cookie, oh no. These are thin, crispy-edged delights with soft, gooey centers. These are milk chocolate chip cookies to the max, plus a hint of snickerdoodle. In short, these peanut butter beauties are all kinds of amazing.

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Brownie Baked Oatmeal

Brownie Baked Oatmeal

One of the hardest parts of giving up dairy has been figuring out what to eat for breakfast.

There have been a lot of mornings in the last month and a half that found me staring listlessly into the open refrigerator for five minutes, walking away grumpily, going back two times, and then opting to just drink coffee and wait until lunch. (P.S., those days also found me binge eating Triscuits with hummus at 11:20 because I was just too hungry to keep waiting…)

Before you go on suggesting all the things you think I should eat, let me just remind you: no dairy, no meat, no fruit (because yuck.), no refined sugar first thing in the morning. And let me nip it in the bud before you start telling me about all the great fake dairy I can use instead of butter.

Butter. I miss you. Nothing could ever take your place.

(P.P.S., I made a lot of my Christmas cookies with Earth Balance this year, and I would be totally lying if I pretended that my refrigerator standoff hasn’t ended with me hiding in the corner of the kitchen, despairingly eating butterless cookies for breakfast. At least three times. And then suffering the sugar coma consequences.)

Isn’t it amazing that in a world full of buttery, yogurty breakfasts, there are also dishes of baked oatmeal that are vegan and taste just like brownies?

Brownies are the best. I have been known to eat my feelings, and this is just the best possible way to do that! Brownies are indulgent and comforting, and yet we could even call this brownie healthy! There are whole grains, chocolate (we have to take care of our souls, too, people), chia seeds, healthy fats, and no refined sugars!

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Cardamom-Scented Delicata Squash with Yogurt Sauce

Cardamom-Scented Delicata Squash

There is so much to be thankful for!

Day 7: Thankful for new friends and birthday parties. Thankful for family visiting from out of town, for cuddles with Caitlin and s’mores around the fire pit.

Day 8: Thankful that my brother is home from his adventures in Africa!

Day 9: Thankful for the cool weather of Fall and the opportunity to eat fresh food seasonally, a blessing I know not everyone has. Thankful for Fall squashes.

Like the lovely delicata!

This month for the Secret Recipe Club challenge, I had the pleasure to peruse Culinary Adventures with Camilla, written by the fearless leader of the group B exchange. Camilla cooks recipes from all over the world, which I love! But this month I really wanted to focus on Thanksgiving fare, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try delicata squash, which Camilla says she cooks almost weekly when it’s in season.

This recipe combines two of my favorite things: a hint of warm, spicy cardamom, and sweet, starchy Fall squash. The end result is simple and basic, a perfect complement to the rich and saucy dishes that will litter the Thanksgiving table.

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“Should I Share My Ice Cream?” Party

Jake Licks Batter

My son is smart and wily and creative. He is thoughtful and determined and energetic.

And he is 3 years old!

It's My Birthday!This year for Jake’s birthday, I really wanted to keep it simple. I wanted to spend less time worrying and preparing, and more time marveling at how my tiny baby turned into this enormous, articulate preschooler, a little boy with a strong will and a contagious smile!

Jake never hesitates when you ask him what his favorite foods are: ice cream and pizza. (Clearly I have been teaching him everything I know…) So this year we decided to have an ice cream party to celebrate what an awesome kid Jake is!

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Confetti Greek Yogurt Pancakes

Confetti Greek Yogurt Pancakes

We like pancakes.

We like them so much that we have started eating them every week. It’s a delicious ritual.

Pancakes are pretty phenomenal, aren’t they? Do you know what makes pancakes more phenomenal (if you are 3 years old)?

Sprinkles!

And…sshh…do you know what makes them more phenomenal if you are 30 years old? Using Greek yogurt for a little protein, and raw honey instead of refined sugar. Because a sugar crash isn’t pretty, no matter how old you are.

I absolutely love these pancakes! I feel like the sprinkles are smiling at me. In fact, this may be the first time in my memory that sprinkles have actually improved a food for me! I might have to make sprinkles a habit.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Brownie Bars

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Brownie Bars

I’m in the middle of my second one of these cookie-brownie bars as I type this, smearing my keyboard with buttery fingers and dropping tiny shards of Oreo between the keys.

I’m actually not sure I’m going to be able to stop eating these. They are that good!

If you live within a 5-mile radius of me, have mercy and come over to eat some sugar. Save me from myself!

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