Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

The best reason to bake is to bake for someone else.  My best
friend Maddy had a birthday coming up and of course I planned to make
something special.  I chose to make a 3-layer chocolate sour cream cake, because
chocolate is her favorite. For the frosting, I made brown sugar maple to give a
little surprise.

I decorated it with pastel dragées and bunting I made from masking tape, yarn and chopsticks.

Ingredients:
FOR CAKE
 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
 1 cup boiling water
 1 cup butter
 2 1/2 cups sugar
 4 eggs
 3 cups flour
 6 T cornstarch
 2 t baking soda
 1/2 t baking powder
 1 cup sour cream

FOR FROSTING
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup butter
4 T milk (optional)

Preheat over to 350°

1. Dissolve cocoa in water.
2. In a bowl combine butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time.
3. Mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder and baking soda. Gradually add mixture into butter mix.
4. Add sour cream.
5. Pour evenly into 3 greased and floured 9″ round cake pans
6. Bake for 30-40 mins at 350°

While cake is baking, make the frosting
1. Beat butter until smooth.
2. Add brown sugar and 2 cups of powdered sugar to butter and mix until combined.
3. Add maple syrup and 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until combined.
4. Add the rest of the powdered sugar if necessary. To thin the frosting add the milk 1 T at a time.

When the cake is done, cool, then refrigerator for 1 hour. Then frost.

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Perfect (Raspberry) Scones

When I was younger I remember my mom and her friends taking a 40+ minute drive to Chester,NJ to a tearoom for lunch.  She would always bring back scones for my brother and dad.  At the time I wasn’t a fan, but boy were things going to change.  At the age of 19 I had my first scone in San Francisco airport waiting for my flight to LA.  I’m not sure what made me choose a blackberry-raspberry scone over a croissant, but I’m glad it happened.  Once my trip was over and I went back to NJ I searched and searched for just the right recipe.  Right off the bat I had a good experience with scones, but my mom warned me that if not made just right, they can be dry.  So, I chose carefully, a recipe from Picky Cook, and made my own version.  This is one of the few recipes stored in my brain because I use it way too much!  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

My Valentine’s Day gift to all of my lovely readers, whether devote followers or search-engine  finders, is this kick-ass recipe that will keep your loved ones loving you even more.  Whether it be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, co-worker or friend, these Raspberry Scones are perfect to share with your loved ones on Valentine’s Day.
You can eat them plain or serve them with clotted cream. Clotted cream can be found at specialty stores, such as King’s, but it is sometimes unavailable or expensive.  So, instead, I make a spread of 1 dollop of sour cream and a pinch or 2 of sugar per scone.

*This recipe is great with or without raspberries too.*

* adapted from Picky Cook
 Makes 8
Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 T baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
7 T butter (frozen and grated)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
6oz cont. raspberries

Preheat oven to 425°
1. In bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
2. Grate the butter into the dry ingredients, evenly incorporate the ingredients.

3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together milk and sour cream, then add it to the larger bowl.

4.  Begin to mix the wet and dry ingredients with a rubber spatula, just until combined, then transfer to a floured surface.
5.  Knead the dough until it no longer falls apart.  Roll out, fold it up and roll it out again.  Freeze for 5 minutes.
6. Remove the dough from the freezer and roll out into a rectangle (about 8×14)
7. Lay out the raspberries (if using), leaving 2ins. of empty space on one longer edge.
8. Starting from the longer end with more raspberries roll the dough into a jelly roll.  If you’re not using raspberries, just roll it up. 
9. Cut the roll in half, then cut each half in half.  Then cut the 4 squares diagonally to make triangles.
10. Bake on an ungreased baking sheet for 18 minutes, or until tops are lightly golden.

To reheat, warm in an oven at 375° for 8-10 minutes.
Dough can be made ONE night ahead, and refrigerated.

Happy Valentine’s Day!
xxxG