Secrets. We all have them, don't we?
I have a couple dirty little secrets I need to get off my chest.
Now that I think about it, dirty is a bit of an abrasive adjective for this. And they're probably not really secrets at all. In fact, I'm sure people bear heavier crosses than I do.
Let's try this. I have little quirks? Hmm. Nope. That's not the right word either.
Okay, let's put it this way. These are things that I wouldn't necessarily discuss openly or brag about to others. Would that be classified as a secret? The fear of judgement is definitely there, so perhaps it is.
How about I just tell you what I'm trying to say, yes? And don't worry. My confessions are nothing as crass as farting on an airplane and then looking around, pretending to figure out who did it or stealing a fourteen pound Christmas ham. Mine are much more subtle. And I promise I did not nor have not ever committed either of those malfeasances.
I love to look into people's homes at night. Not helping my case, am I? Not in a creepy way, but in more of a curious manner. I find it exhilarating when people keep their blinds open at night and I get a glance into their world. Sometimes I'll walk by several times to catch another glimpse to see how differently I would decorate if I lived there. This is also the reason I never leave my blinds open. Once the sun goes down and the street lights come on, my house is shut off to the world. This is just in case someone else has this, uh, condition? I mean, how dare they look into my house and judge?
Another secret I harbour? I sometimes smush candy bars as I walk by a display. I know, friends. I am just the worst kind of awful, but I can't help myself. I especially adore those treats with the fluffy centers, like marshmallow cream. And Easter is the worst time of year. All those cute, hollow bunnies and fat peanut butter eggs? It's a sickness. To be fair - and more times than not, guilt ultimately consumes me and those slightly damaged treats find their way into my shopping cart.
I'm afraid of the dark. Let me clarify that. I don't like to be alone in the dark. When my husband has to go out of town, I sleep with the television and radio on. I also keep a lamp on in the living room and go to bed at a ridiculous hour in hopes I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Afterwards, I'm a cranky pants for days.
I have a secret stash of Oreos and chocolate I keep hidden from my family. Listen, I share everything with them, but sometimes a girl has to keep somethings to herself. Don't worry, I edited this part once my husband read this post and my secret will remain safe (like the fact I sometimes use his razor).
I adore unorthodox food pairings. I love mustard on my mashed potatoes and bananas in my scrambled eggs. Dipping salty fries in mayonnaise and potato chips into bakery-style frosting is just as amazing. My favourite unorthodox comfort food is dipping hot, buttered white toast into my cold, leftover cereal milk. I can almost feel the cringing. This is why I keep it a secret.
I have an incredible infatuation with drummers. No, like insane infatuation. I glaze over when I watch them and go to a place I shouldn't. I just love to watch their form as their arms move all over the instrument. It's slightly intoxicating to witness such power.
Years ago, I threw away a co-worker's dinner because she was being really mean to my Mom. I had gotten a job with her just after I graduated high school and the woman on our team was an absolute dragon. It was bad enough we worked twelve hour nights, let alone having someone like that making her waking hours miserable. I wanted to make her feel as we did. The cafeteria was under construction, so there was no food to be had anywhere within the facility - not even vending machines. It was completely immature of me, but at the time, I felt I justified my Mom. Every now and then when I pass by a glass-enclosed cooler, I think about it and feel bad.
I like McDonald's cheeseburgers. Again, I don't know why I consider this a dirty little secret, but it's been a taboo subject for as long as I can recall. I didn't grow up on fast food as my Mom always cooked meals and the closest establishment was roughly 25 minutes away, but several years ago, I developed a taste and I love them to this day. Everything in moderation.
Last but not least - and please forgive me, but I prefer fruit desserts over chocolate desserts. OMG. I KNOW. STOP THE PRESSES. WHAT? Allow me to clarify. I love chocolate, I really, really do, but I just prefer a lovely fruit dessert over chocolate, especially after a meal. It's true. I find chocolate can be quite decadent and almost an entity on its own.
Except when it's a cake like this. I can eat this cake all day long.
Hmm. Perhaps I was too quick to share that secret.
Chocolate Chip Cake with Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Yield: One 9" 3-layer or 7" 5-layer cake
3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup Stirling Creamery Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1½ cups buttermilk
1½ cups mini chocolate chips
Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
1 cup Stirling Creamery Churn84 Salted Butter
4 ounces good, quality chocolate (like Callebaut), melted
¾ cups dark cocoa powder
4-5 cups confectioner's sugar
3-5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
2 tablespoons chocolate crunchies
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Prepare three 9" or five 7" round baking pans by spraying with a baker's spray or greasing pans with butter and coating with flour, knowing out any excess. Line bottoms with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate mixing bowl, cream butter for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in sugar and beat until incorporated. Slowly add in eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined. Butter and eggs are two fats that do not want to be together, so it's important to properly incorporate them. Add in vanilla. Mix. Incorporate dry ingredients into wet, mixing only until combined and alternating with the buttermilk, starting and finishing with flour mixture. Stir in mini chocolate chips.
Divide batter into pans evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 20-22 minutes for smaller pans; 25-30 minutes for larger, checking as early as five minutes before timer is about to go off. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted has a few moist crumbs and cake pulls away from sides of pan.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for several minutes before turning cake out of pans and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
To prepare frosting:
In a small heat-safe bowl, microwave chocolate in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted.
In a mixing bowl, beat butter on high until velvety - three minutes. Slowly add in cocoa powder and mix until combined. Add in remaining ingredients and mix on low until creamy and smooth.
Starting with a bottom layer of cake, frost the top and ensure entire surface is covered. Place another layer of cake and frost. Repeat steps until all layers are covered. Smooth frosting over outer surface. You can do a crumb coat if you wish. Once entire surface is coated with frosting, pipe designs if you so desire. Top with mini chocolate chips and/or chocolate crunchies.
Slice and serve. Cake will keep at room temperature covered for 4-5 days.