It’s Not Them, It’s You

There are a few things in life that when face to face with them, it’s really, really hard to say No to them. Case in point: Red Licorice. Red Vines to be exact for me. I love it. Everything about it. Soft, chewy, fruity.  I mean, lets be honest…who can only have one strand of licorice?? Just like, why would you only have one glass of wine?

But licorice doesn’t treat me well. It never gives back what I want. And it doesn’t really fit my macros. So a girl has to do what a girl has to do. She ignores it. I see it in the grocery store and I’m forced to turn the other cheek. At Costco there’s huge pallets of Red Vines in gigantic tubs; dream come true, right? No. Its torture.  I will turn on my heel, avoid the isle and go down the next one. I swear the ropes reach out to grab my hand. But I can’t. I just can’t.  At the movie theater, I turn up my chin and walk straight past the concession  stand. It may wink and nod, but alas, I cannot go there. If I pick up the pack I will never want just one strand. I will always want more.

See…they literally jump out of the gallon jug at me!

So when you realize this about yourself you have two choices. Either you give in to your craving, realizing that you will inevitably eat the whole pack OR you avoid it like the plague. I choose the second option.

I’m not much of a binge eater, however I do have a few red light foods. I get asked frequently how I can have all these baked goods in my house and not eat them. Well, I do eat them, just not in an all night binger kind of way. However, I rarely make the foods I have a hard time saying no to. Like cheesecake. Its bad. I’ll pick at that all day and all night long I love it so much. Carmel, well, we’ve been over that, it’s all the love in a jar.

Red light foods are simply those you cannot say NO to if face to face with them. The ones that once you start eating them its hard to stop. Hard to stop the picking, biting, mouthful, plateful madness that seems to take hold of every part of you.

Know your red light food list. We’ll use mine as and example: Red Vines, Caramel, Cheesecake, and Red Wine (no one can use this list against me in future interactions).

Ok, now how will you manage these? Not bring them into your house? That definitely works! Avoid the hell out of them. It may be what you need to get over the hump. It’s not them, its you. They likely won’t care. So there’s that.

If you absolutely need to have some, buy a small portion. Enjoy it at the movies or a friends house. For instance I would make a cheesecake for a special gathering where the majority of it will be enjoyed by others, not just me. Its a win/win for everyone! When I get the desire to whip up that perfect batch of caramel, I do so with the intention of eating some and sharing the rest. I hand it out the next day. It cannot linger on my shelf.

Lastly if it makes its way into your home, control the portions. Divide it up into small portions and store them away. If it’s freezer friendly, store it in the freezer. Put it up out of reach and out of site. I know. This seems unrealistic. I get it. I’m there with you….If the tub of red vines makes it into my cart, then into my house, they’ll find their way into my hands…and then, well, you know the rest of that story. But I thought I’d throw in a few tips just in case they happen to work for you. Avoidance. It’s my option of choice.

So if by chance your red light food, catches your eye with its charm, perhaps it even blows a kiss, that warm smile….Keep walking. There’s nothing there for you. ♥







Lots of Layers


The two things that are my biggest stress relievers are………..

I need not even say it. Talk about redundant. But I’ll say, come Friday of last week, it was all I could do to make it through my workout because I wanted to be in the kitchen baking. I wasn’t feeling well. It was a brutal leg day. I felt like I was going to pass out if I had to do one more deadlift. I also knew that I was unequivocally going to eat cake. So I had to bust my butt.

I wanted this cake and all its layers. Layers of delicious, moist chocolate cake. Creamy caramel custard and rich buttery frosting. Exactly what I needed after a week like I had. It did not disappoint.

First I always start with my favorite chocolate cake recipe. The best and easiest cake EVER.



To get the cake layers even, I weigh each cake pan on the scale with the same amount of batter in each one.



It doesn’t get any easier than being able to mix dry ingredients in one bowl, wet in another and combine them. Cake batter in under 15 minutes? Don’t mind if I do! Weigh out your cake batter evenly in each pan and their ready to go!

Next step is caramel sauce. Well, we already know how much I love that. So that’s easy. (You can see my post on Caramel for the recipe for this)

Next up was the custard. This is where it gets a little tricky. You have to make sure milk comes to a simmer, without scalding. When you add the milk to the eggs, you need to make sure the eggs don’t scramble. You add just a touch of the hot milk to temper them, whisk like mad, then add the rest. Then add it all back into the pot to come to a bubble. Only mine didn’t quite reach the bubble point. It got thick all on its own.

While the custard and caramel cooled, I made a simple vanilla buttercream. Once the caramel and custard were cool, I added the caramel to the custard and the buttercream to taste.

I will say that when adding caramel to buttercream (and the custard for that matter) it doesn’t taste super caramely (if that’s a word). When you read a name like “Caramel Buttercream” you think it should taste like caramel. It does not. It’s pretty subtle. I get it, caramel has a pretty mellow flavor profile to it, especially up against this cake. It’s still a great flavor combo, just not the “in your face” caramel flavor I love.



This one was gobbled up in no time. A house favorite. I love making the little 6″ cakes. They are just the right size to have around the house. And if you happen to hand out any slices, it goes pretty quick! Always a plus for me!

Recipes Adapted from: Style Sweet CA

Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
  • 3/4 cups (90g) dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (4g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (190ml) buttermilk (room temp)
  • 3/4 cup (190ml) hot brewed coffee
  • 2 eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) vanilla extract


Pre-heat oven to 350º. Prepare three 6″ round cake pans with butter and flour and line each pan with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer combine all dry ingredients. Fit mixer with paddle attachment. Stir on low speed to mix all dry ingredients together. In a medium bowl, add all wet ingredients together. Add wet ingredients into the mixer bowl of dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Batter will be liquidy. With a digital scale, weigh batter evenly into prepared cake pans.

Bake cakes for 20 minutes, then rotate in oven. Cakes are done when a toothpick placed in the center comes out clean. I keep checking mine every two minutes (after the 2o minute mark) to make sure they do not over cook. Approximately 25 minutes total.

Cool on wire racks about 15 minutes, then with a clean table knife, run knife around edge of cake to losen from side of cake pan. Flip cake upside down onto wire rack to cool completely.

Caramel Custard

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup caramel sauce (or more to taste) (recipe in previous post)

Place butter in a heat proof bowl. Set aside.

Gently heat milk in small sauce pan over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a separate mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and cornstarch. Once the milk is hot, pour in a very small amount of the milk into the egg mixture while whisking (this is to temper the eggs). Once that is combined, pour the rest of the milk in and continue to whisk. Pour this mixture back into the sauce pan and place over medium heat. Heat until the mixture starts to bubble, constantly whisking. Once the custard is nice and thick (and/or “popping”) remove from heat and strain into the bowl with the butter. You may need to press the mixture through the strainer, leaving the bigger bits behind. You want a nice smooth custard. Add the vanilla and stir the butter and custard together.

Press a piece of plastic wrap over the custard and place in the refrigerator until chilled. Add in the caramel sauce to taste. At this point you can place back into the refrigerator until ready to use.

Caramel Buttercream

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Caramel Sauce to taste (in previous post)

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, whip butter on medium speed for 6 minutes. Needs to get lighter in color and fluffy!

Next add in the remaining ingredients except the caramel sauce. Whip on medium speed another 6 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in caramel to taste, whip until combined.

Assemble Cake

With a serrated knife, trim and level off the cake layers, to make nice flat cakes. Set trimmings aside (this is what I use to taste test the cakes with!)

Place one layer of cake onto a cake plate or a cardboard cake round. I like to use a round so I can easily move the cake in and out of the refrigerator during the assembly process.

Using a piping bag, place some of the buttercream into the bag and cut abut a 3/4″ size whole at the bottom. Pipe a perimeter of buttercream around outer edge of cake. Fill in the center with the caramel custard. Place next round of cake on top of this and repeat process. Place third and final layer on top. Next, lightly frost the cake to get a thin “crumb coat” on the cake. Place into the refrigerator until the frosting has hardened. About 15 minutes.

Remove cake from refrigerator and coat cake with final layer of frosting. Pipe a decorative top on if you wish. Sprinkles too! Place cake back into refrigerator to chill and set. Cake is best served if left out for about 30 minutes prior to serving.