Spring Fling Cake

Spring is finally here in Colorado, at least until today! But, what better way to celebrate the first few days of spring than cake? I first tried this cake at the Market in Larimer Square and I just love it! I adapted a recipe from Paddle Attachment,. Check out her photos step by step guide; it’s really helpful.

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For the cake:

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini
5 eggs
1 1/4 cups raw sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt

Apricot jam and water to coat the fruit

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans. I use baking spray with great results.

2.  Grate the zucchini with the “fine side” of your grater. In a large mixing bowl, add the shredded zucchini, eggs, sugar, oil, sour cream and vanilla and mix on medium to combine.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt) and gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet with the mixer set on low. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the ingredients are well combined. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

4.  Pour the batter evenly into the baking pans and bake for 35 to 50 minutes, testing with a toothpick in the center. Cake is done when the toothpick comes out clean.

5.  Cool the finished cake on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pans and allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

2 cups cream cheese, softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
1  cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

1.  Using a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium high until creamy and smooth (3 minutes or so). Add the vanilla and heavy cream and mix until combined.

2.  With the mixer set to low, gradually add the powdered sugar, about a 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until well combined.

Assemble the Cake:

I used strawberries, blackberries, mangoes, kiwis, and mandarin oranges, but you can us whatever fruit you want.

Directions:

1.  Cut the cooled cake layers in half lengthwise, making four layers.

2.  Spread even amounts of frosting between the layers and place fruit on top frosting with fruit.

3.  Frost the top and sides of the cake.

4.  Arrange the fruit in circles over the top of the cake, starting near the center.

5. I placed sliced strawberries around the sides of the cake, so I didn’t have spend a lot time frosting the cake.

6.  Melt some apricot jam and tablespoon of water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Using a pastry  brush, lightly brush the melted jam over the fruit on the top of the cake.

 

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Starting Over with a Juice Cleanse

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Almost three years ago, a young woman decided to make a big life change, she was moving from her Larose, Louisiana to Colorado, that young woman was me. I had never lived anywhere besides to Louisiana and wanted to experience something different and have an adventure.  My plan was to stay in Colorado for six months to complete a culinary school program, and then move back to Louisiana or possibly somewhere new. But then something magical happened, I started feeling really connected to Boulder and did not want to leave.

 

So, I stayed in Boulder, wrestle a lot of demons, and fix some serious bad habits in my life, but in the back of my head, there is a little voice saying “you’ve always wanted experience living in a big city; now is the perfect opportunity, what are you waiting?” That voice in my head is a bit of a pusher. I began to think of new cities to move to; my lease ends in March 2014, so it was perfect timing. Like it was meant to be, something amazing happened, I got a job offer in Downtown Denver.

 

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Everything seemed to fall into place; I gave my two weeks notice, said goodbye to some truly remarkable people and the place that was my security blanket since I moved to Boulder. I thought this new job would be challenging and exciting.

I never anticipated how hard starting a new job can be; the first week was brutal, second was worse. I was completely humbled. Then all of my bad habits starting creeping back and years of hard work was all undone in a couple of weeks.

With a bunch of affordable fast food within walking distance of my new job, I started eating my feelings again and drinking vast amounts of coffee, three cups a day at least and I felt terrible. Then, slowly my shopping addiction which took two years to break came back in a full swing. Almost every day over the last month, I tell myself I need this or that, and it just CANNOT wait. But, the absolute worst thing to resurface is my skin picking.  It is my darkest secret. Anytime I get stressed I start to pick at my skin, finding any little bump and turning it into an open wound. This Monday I hit my limit. I looked at myself in the mirror and counted eight scabbed over cuts just on my face.

I had been stopping by a cold pressed juicery (Pressed Juice Daily) near work for a while and thought maybe a juice cleanse would be the radical change I need? So, on Tuesday I made the decision to do a two-three day juice cleanse depending on how I feel.  I spent the week phasing out caffeine which is one of the hardest parts of cleanses for me. The most difficult part will be giving up sugar. Sugar, well chocolate, is my weakness.

I was going to purchase all of my juices through Pressed Juice Daily in Denver, but there was no way I could carry sixteen bottles of juice on the bus. I will purchase their juices on Monday because they are fantastic. For the weekend, my juices are from SolJuice, and they delivered right to my door. I decided on the “Green Cleanse” which is five green juices and one nut milk. They have another option that is mixed with fruit juices, but when I eat too much fruit I get shaky.

Today is Day One. I am sipping on my first juice which consists of kale, spinach, parsley, cucumber, apple and lime. My spirits are high or maybe I am just high off of the kale juice…

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Yellow Watermelon

 

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No, this photograph is not photoshopped.. I found a yellow watermelon; I had never tasted one before. It was definitely sweeter than the pink watermelons and tasted thicker like honey, maybe the color is playing tricks on me like when eating mint ice cream it taste more minty when it is colored green!