Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

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Entries in Desserts (59)


Birthday Cake Part I: Fluffy Yellow Cake + Milk Chocolate Frosting

Thanks for all of your comments in the SlimKicker giveaway! In case you missed it, head over to yesterday's post to enter to win a slow cooker from SlimKicker! SlimKicker turns your diet/fitness goals into a level-up game.  When you join, you get points as you count calories, track your fitness, and participate in challenges. You have until tomorrow at noon to enter the giveaway!


As I mentioned, this weekend was a big birthday weekend in our families! Both my mom and Shaun's mom's birthdays fall within a week of each other. In fact, March is a big birthday month on both sides of our families all around.

But this past weekend, we celebrated Shaun's Mom's birthday on Friday evening. We had offered to bring dessert and so I got to work on finding a cake to bake in celebration. I wasn't 100% sure of what her favorite combination would be and so I decided to keep it very simple. I decided on a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

If you're a long time reader, you may recall this post of yore in which I broke Kimberly's birthday cake in half while getting it out of the pan. I had to remake the cake. I had used a Betty Crocker recipe for that one and even despite the cake breaking...well, I just didn't love the cake itself.

It looked pretty though after I remade it though, no?

So for this one, I went in search of a new recipe. I dug out my America's Test Kitchen Cookbook and found a recipe for Fluffy Yellow Layer Cake and Milk Chocolate Frosting. I have really been loving this cookbook. Though many of the recipes I've tried require a lot of extra steps, unlike a simple Betty Crocker, I have found that this book just has not steered me wrong. Every recipe thus far has been a winner! This one included.

I frosted up the cake with loads of milk chocolate frosting and Shaun dusted the entire top with sprinkles. Sprinkles makes everthing better, don't they?

Following a delicious Italian dinner, we headed back to Shaun's parents' house and it was time for dessert!

And time for the moment of truth for me! I was so hoping that this cake turned out fabulously.

It did!

Luckily, this was one of the best cakes I've ever made. It was so good and I can't wait to make it again!

I didn't post the recipe because I literally took it straight from the book with very minor adaptations. If you are interested in making this, I can add the recipe! Let me know! I should also note that I worked very hard to frost this cake and did an average job at best. I'm just not a cake decorator! But if you have any cake frosting advice, lay it on me!

Questions of the Day:

Have you ever been in charge of dessert for a birthday?

What did you make? Or bring (even if you didn't make it yourself)?

We also picked up a couple of pints of Ben & Jerry's since we know Shaun's mom loves ice cream! It was an extra fun treat!


For some more America's Test Kitchen recipes, you may also see:

Loaded butterscotch blondies with salted chocolate glaze (I heavily adapted this one!)


Skillet roasted chicken + potato wedges

Pineapple coconut dream bars (also very heavily adapted, but a great base cake!)


Secret Recipe Club: Chocolate Quesadillas + a Giveaway

I'm so excited today for a number of reasons.
First, we had such a lovely weekend. We celebrated both Shaun's mom and my mom's birthdays on Friday and Saturday. There was so much food, so much cake and just a really nice time. Yesterday, we did a little urban hiking through Jersey City and spotted the first signs of spring. I think I'm ready for the week!

Secondly, I'm thrilled today to host a sweet giveaway from SlimKicker!

They are generously offering a free slow cooker to one lucky winner.

SlimKicker turns your diet/fitness goals into a level-up game.  When you join, you get points as you count calories, track your fitness, and participate in challenges. To enter to win, see the end of this post!

And thirdly…today is Secret Recipe Club reveal day! I was very excited to receive The Freshman Cook as the blog from which to pick a recipe this month. I really enjoyed searching through Teri's blog for something to strike my fancy. Fortunately, many of her recipes looked fantastic and it was tough to pick just one :) When I came across her chocolate quesadillas, I knew it was meant to be.

This is the perfect recipe for me since it was easy to make into one serving, since someone whom I live with doesn't eat sweets. And that's why desserts for one rule the world!

This quesadilla came together in about 5 minutes and was ooey, gooey and delicious. So rich and sweet and I really enjoyed it. Oh and my version is about 8 Points+ per serving. Don't mind if I do. Especially since this little bit of yumminess is incredibly filling.

Chocolate Quesadilla for One
*Adapted from The Freshman Cook
Serves 1, 8 WW Points+
1 6" whole wheat tortilla
1 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp milk chocolate chips
20 mini marshmallows
cooking spray

Spread the peanut butter all over one side of the tortilla. Place the chocolate chips and marshmallows on one half of the tortilla and press them down into the peanut butter.

Fold the tortilla in half. Spray a skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add the tortilla and brown on both sides.

Smoosh it down a little so that it gets all sticky and ooey gooey inside. Once the inside is melted, remove from pan, place on cutting board and cut in half. Enjoy immediately, preferably with a glass of milk.

Oh and the original recipe included bananas. I left them out because I've been feeling slightly banana'd out lately, but any additional fruit would also be delicious. Or some shredded coconut. Yum.

Yum. Thanks Teri for this awesome recipe!!

Now...to enter the giveaway!

To win the slow cooker from SlimKicker, please leave a comment telling me how you keep yourself motivated to stay fit and I'll choose a winner on Thursday. I stay motivated by thinking about myself in a bathing suit…that pretty much does it!

For extra entries:

1. Head over to SlimKickerjoin a challenge on the site, and leave a comment telling me which one you joined

2. Like The Avid Appetite on Facebook and leave another comment telling me so

3. Follow @theavidappetite on Twitter and leave another comment telling me so

I'll announce the winner on Thursday! Good luck!


Questions of the Day:

How was your weekend?

What is your favorite dessert for one?



Chocolate Stout Mini Cakes with Irish Cream Frosting

It was a harsh reality dragging myself out of bed this morning...in the dark! Ah daylight savings! How are you handling it today? I absolutely loved the fact that it didn't get totally dark out last night until after 7pm. Shaun and I went for a long walk in the sunshine around 4pm yesterday and it was great. The streets were bustling, the sun was shining, the weather was perfection. I'm looking forward to leaving work tonight in the daylight!

I think we ALL need a treat this morning...you know, in order to properly adjust. I made you one.

So this coming Saturday is St. Patrick's Day. I'm not Irish. But I don't care, I'm still down to wear green things and eat copious amounts of corned beef and cabbage and Irish cream laden desserts. Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, don't you think?


This weekend, I made a little snack to share with you. I didn't dye anything green, but I did use some nice Irish alcohol in my dessert. I had made these Irish car bomb cupcakes a few years back and they were such a hit that I thought it would be fun to test out another dessert with chocolate, Irish stout and Irish cream. Enter these cute little mini cakes, loaded with buttercream.


 Shaun proclaimed this one of my top 3 desserts of all time. I'm not sure what the other two are on that list, but I have to agree with him.


And the super duper fantastic supercalifragilisticexpialidocious part? They are just 4 Points+ per cake (I didn't tell him this until after he ate one) AND they are incredibly easy. Yeahhh buddy!

Chocolate Stout Mini Cakes with Irish Cream Frosting
Makes 30 cakes; 4 WW Points+ per cake

for the chocolate stout mini cakes:
1 box Supermoist chocolate cake mix
1 box chocolate sugar-free fat-free instant Jell-o pudding mix
3/4 C Guinness draught
1/2 C applesauce
3 eggs

for the Irish cream frosting
1/2 C butter, softened (1 stick)
2 C confectioners sugar
2-3 Tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
splash (or two) of milk


To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, Guinness, applesauce and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer ready. Beat on low for 30 seconds, then on medium-high for 2 minutes until all ingredients are completely combined and fluffy.

Using a tablespoon-sized mellon baller/ice cream scooper, drop heaping tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet, into a greased whoopie pie pan. I used both methods and the ones from the whoopie pie pan came out a little cuter and nicely shaped, however, if you don't have one it's no thang. A baking sheet works totally fine.

Bake for about 12 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly on pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


To make the frosting, beat the butter until totally soft and fluffy. Add the sugar, one cup at a time, thinning out with the Bailey's and vanilla as it beats. Add milk if you'd like to make it thinner. This frosting is very strong Bailey's flavor, and so if you don't like that so much, use less Bailey's and more milk. Frost cooled cakes and top with sprinkles of choice.


Eat many, immediately.


Give some to friends. Give some to your building concierge. I did. They liked them.

You will too. I promise.

Questions of the Day:

Do you prefer it to be dark in the morning and light at night? Or vice versa? I think I prefer it this way!

Do you look forward to any Irish-themed eats for St. Patrick's Day?


For more St. Pat's recipes, please see:

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Irish Oat Cake + Irish Cream Frosting

Irish Soda Bread (my favorite one ever!)

Beer Braised Corned Beef & Cabbage