Cream Cheese King Cake. New Music From Lucinda Belle.

Mardi Gras is tomorrow and begs for a sweet, colorful King Cake. This yeast-based version with a rich, cream cheese filling is festive and fun. Tradition says that whoever gets the piece of cake with the baby in it is responsible for making next year’s cake. I don’t use one…too nervous that someone will choke on the thing!

Cream Cheese King Cake

1 cup whole milk, plus 2 or 3 Tbs for icing
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 oz butter, chopped
2 (1/4 ounce) packets active dry yeast
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 baby figurine, optional
Green, purple and gold sanding sugar (optional)


1. In a small saucepan, stir the milk, granulated sugar and butter over medium heat until the butter is nearly melted and the temperature registers 115℉ degrees, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the yeast and let stand for 10 minutes (it will appear to be lumpy).

2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, zest, salt and nutmeg. Make a well in the center, add 2 of the eggs and whisk together. Whisk the yeast-milk mixture into the eggs. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until a dough forms.

3. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough, dusting with flour as needed, until smooth, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a large greased bowl, cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

4. Line a 11 x 17-inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Grease the outside of a 4-cup soufflé dish and place in the center of the baking sheet.

5. Using a mixer, beat the remaining egg and the cream cheese at medium speed until smooth. Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 tsp of the vanilla. Mix at low speed until blended, then beat on high speed for 1 minute.

6. Place the dough on the work surface, dust with flour and form into a 2 foot long log. Use a rolling pin to roll the log into a 6 x 30-inch strip. Spoon the cream cheese mixture down the center of the dough, stopping 1 inch from each short end. Tuck the baby in the filling, if you are using. Bring the long edges together and seal, enclosing the filling as best you can. Transfer the roll to the prepared sheet, placing it seam side down and bending it around the soufflé dish. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

7. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350℉. Add 1 inch hot water to the soufflé dish.

8. Bake for 15 minutes, then tent with foil and continue baking until golden-brown, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Let cake cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack. Transfer cake to a large platter.

9. In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 2 to 3 tablespoons milk to make a thick, smooth icing. Drizzle over the cake. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, if using.

Serves 16

Recipe slightly adapted from Rachael Ray

‘Baby Don’t Cry’ is a cool, jazzy new tune from London-based Lucinda Belle.

Check out Lucinda Belle on her Website where you can learn of upcoming gigs in the US and UK and buy the music.


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White Castle Casserole. New Music From Dream Reporter.

Do you have a craving for some White Castle burgers? You can check out the recipe here (along with some White Castle info). Or, for a homey spin, you can bake up a White Castle Casserole. All of the delicious flavors are layered together and ready to feed a burger loving crowd.

White Castle Casserole


2 lbs ground beef
1 (2 oz) box dry onion soup mix
2 (12 oz each) tubes refrigerated crescent rolls
10 slices American cheese
Dill pickles, chopped, to taste
Mustard, to taste
Additional condiments, if desired


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 × 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a skillet, brown and crumble the ground beef with both packets of dry onion soup mix. Drain meat into a colander then press down to release as much of the liquid as you can.

3. Unroll one tube of crescent rolls and press into the prepared baking dish. Seal the seams and stretch a bit to cover the bottom. Top with ground beef then cheese slices. Top with pickles and drizzle with mustard.

4. Unroll the other tube of crescent rolls over the top, sealing seams and stretching the dough to cover the contents of the pan.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and cheese is melted.

6. To serve, cut into squares and serve with additional condiments if desired.

Serves 8

Recipe from Love Bakes Good Cakes

‘It Stays’ is new from London-based artist Dream Reporter. I love the clipped, repetitive delivery over that slinky instrumentation. And there is panting and chanting. Awesome.

♬ “Every Day” ♬

Check out Dream Reporter on the band’s Website where you can buy their music.


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Salted Caramel Cream Filled Eclairs. New Music From Lauren Ruth Ward.

Earlier this month I took my first class at Sugar Glider Kitchen. It’s run by pastry chef and baking instructor, Gesine Bullock-Prado. If you ever watched ‘Baked In Vermont’ then you know her as she is the host.

That class was So Much Fun. I went with a good friend who had already been to a few other classes. There is only space for 12 students so you get tons of hands on help and interaction with Gesine. She’s funny, very charismatic and knows hella lot about all aspects of baking. She easily breaks the chemistry down so that you more fully understand the steps you are taking towards the finished product.

Here I am posing with Gesine and her new cookbook Fantastical Cakes.

I went to an Eclair class. I love eclairs, but I had never had one with salted caramel pastry cream. Oh my word! The combination of the tender pastry, cream filling and rich chocolate topping was truly amazing. Give this recipe a try or come to Vermont and take a class to make them with Gesine.

Salted Caramel Cream Filled Eclairs


Pâte à Choux (recipe follows)
Salted Caramel Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
Chocolate Ganache (recipe follows)


1. Using a star tip about 1/4 inch in diameter or a chopstick, poke three holes in the bottom of each eclair.

2. Fill a pastry bag with a round pastry tip that is 1/4-inch in diameter. Fill each eclair by piping the pastry cream into the three holes in the bottom of the eclairs. Continue piping until the cream starts to run out from each of the holes.

3. To ice the eclairs, the ganache should be cooled to the point where it won’t be runny. The ganache should also be in a bowl that it at least as wide as each eclair. Gently dip the top portion of the eclair into the ganache, stopping right when the eclair has just touched the ganache. Pull the eclair back up and place on a serving tray to set.

4. Eclairs should be stored in the refrigerator. They will keep about 3 days.

Makes 12

Recipes from Gesine Bullock-Prado

Pâte à Choux


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 Tbs granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs


1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Bring the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the butter is completely melted.

3. Remove saucepan from the heat and add the flour all at once. Stir vigorously to form a smooth dough.

4. Return pan to the stove and stir over medium heat. Some starchy buildup on the bottom of the pan is normal. Continue cooking and stirring the dough for 3 to 5 minutes. The dough is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the pan to form a ball and the surface looks glossy.

5. Transfer the dough, now called a panade, to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until the dough is just warm to the touch.

6. Whisk three of the eggs together in a small bowl. With the mixer on medium-low, slowly add the eggs to the dough. Scrape down sides of mixer as necessary. Check the dough before adding the fourth egg. If it is ready, the dough should be soft, creamy-colored, and very smooth. If you scoop up a little bit with a spatula and let it slide back into the bowl, it should leave behind a little “V” of dough on the spatula. If that is not happening then add the fourth egg, or just half of the fourth egg, as necessary.

7. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe on prepared baking sheet into 5-inch tubes spaced slightly apart.

8. Turn down oven to 375°F and bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the baking pan and bake for 10 minutes longer.

9. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.

Makes 12

Salted Caramel Pastry Cream


1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup cream
6 egg yolks
Slash of lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt


1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 1/3 cup of water and the lemon juice. Stir gently over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.

2. Cook undisturbed until a medium amber-colored caramel forms, about 5 minutes.

3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the cream and milk. Be careful as the mixture will boil up vigorously.

4. Return caramel to the heat and stir up any hardened caramel until it is completely melted.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch and salt until smooth.

6. Slowly drizzle about 1/2 cup of the hot caramel into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to warm the eggs without curdling them. Add the yolks into the remaining caramel in the saucepan and return to medium heat.

7. Whisk constantly until the caramel is thickened. Immediately remove from heat and scrape into a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream and chill until cold.

Chocolate Ganache


8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, at least 60% but no more than 70%, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
pinch salt


1. Place the chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl.

2. Bring cream almost to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to soften for 1 minute. Whisk the mixture until smooth. Let the mixture cool slightly to thicken, about 10 minutes.

Note: This ganache is from Allrecipes

Gesine had a rousing music mix on during the class. All sorts of classic dance-pop music. I bet she would love this inspiring tune from Lauren Ruth Ward. It champions picking yourself up and being proud of who you are.

“Take my hand you will understand my side.
Be my friend, woman or man, we will fight.”

Check out Lauren Ruth Ward on her Website where you can learn of upcoming US/Canada west coast shows and buy the music.


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White Bean And Olive Hummus. New Music From 0171.

This is the 10th recipe for Hummus I have posted, but the first with olives. The addition of some black and green olives gives the classic dip some wonderful texture and flavor.

White Bean And Olive Hummus


2 (14 oz) cans white beans, rinsed and drained
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 Tbs tahini
1 tsp chili powder
3/4 cup olive oil, plus more if needed
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 cup pitted green olives
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Paprika for dusting


1. Place beans and garlic in food processor. Process until roughly puréed.

2. Add the lemon juice, tahini, and chili powder and pulse to mix.

3. With the machine running, add 1/2 cup of the olive oil through the feed tube. Process until creamy adding more olive oil as necessary to achieve the desired consistency.

4. Add the olives, salt and pepper and pulse to coarsely chop the olives. Taste and add more salt if needed.

5. Spread hummus into a shallow bowl, smooth out the top, then drizzle with the remaining olive oil (I like to use extra virgin olive oil for the drizzle). Dust with paprika and sprinkle with the pine nuts. Serve with pita wedges, and carrot or celery sticks.

Serves 8

Recipe slightly adapted from Party Food Recipes by Mary B. Johnson

Hummus makes me want to dance. Join me in slinking around to this catchy, hypnotic, electro magic tune. It’s the brand new debut from London-based duo 0171.

Check out 0171 on Facebook where you can keep tuned to learn where to buy the music.


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Fudgy Bonbons. New Music From More Fatter.

Valentine’s Day is coming soon. If you want some sweets for your sweetie, these Fudgy Bonbons are perfect. A rich chocolate dough is wrapped around a chocolate candy kiss. After a quick bake the bonbons are covered in a swirl of white chocolate glaze and a sprinkling of candy hearts.

Fudgy Bonbons


2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups flour
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
60 milk chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped
2 oz white chocolate baking bar
1 teaspoon shortening or oil
Heart sprinkles (optional)


1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. In medium saucepan, combine chocolate chips and butter. Cook and stir over low heat until chips are melted and smooth. (Mixture will be stiff.) Add condensed milk and mix well.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, nuts, chocolate mixture and vanilla. Mix well.

4. Shape 1 tablespoon dough (use measuring scoop) around each milk chocolate kiss, covering completely. Place 1 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets.

5. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Do Not Over Bake. Cookies will be soft and shiny but will firm up as they cool. Remove from baking sheets. Cool completely.

6. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine white chocolate baking bar and shortening. Cook over low heat, stirring, until melted and smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies. Scatter with heart sprinkles, if using. Let stand until set. Store in tightly covered container.

Makes about 60 bonbons

Recipe from Pillsbury

If you eat too many fudgy bonbons you might very well get More Fatter. In that case, put on “Yeah You” and dance yourself silly with this crazy good song. Oh those horns.

“I want to have you
in my life”

Check out More Fatter on Facebook. You can buy their music here.


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Beef ‘n’ Bean Skillet Macho Nachos. New Music From Orville Peck.

There’s a big football game coming up soon.

It is no secret which team I am rooting for.

Why do I get the feeling that 85% of you just left the room? :)

No matter whether you are looking for some game time eats or a cozy dinner, these Beef ‘n’ Bean Skillet Macho Nachos are wicked awesome. Plenty of cheese and toppings are piled onto the spicy beef and beans. Heating the tortilla chips in the oven before serving is a nice touch.

Beef ‘n’ Bean Skillet Macho Nachos


2 Tbs olive or vegetable oil
1 lb ground beef
Salt and pepper
2 Tbs chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño chile, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (15 oz) pinto beans, drained
Yellow or blue corn tortilla chips, for serving
1 cup shredded pepper Jack or Monterey Jack
1 cup shredded mild cheddar
1 tomato, chopped
1 tsp oregano
Pickled jalapeño slices
Small bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 avocado, pitted and peeled, then chopped and dressed with the juice of 1 lime
2 green onions, chopped


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium to medium-high. Add the oil then the beef. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned and crumbled. Season with salt and pepper then add the spices. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the onion, chile, and garlic then cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water. Cook, stirring frequently, until absorbed, about 4 minutes. Stir in the beans. Reduce heat to low.

3. Arrange the chips on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oven. Turn on the broiler.

4. Top the beef and beans with the cheeses. Broil until bubbly, about 2 minutes. Top with the tomato, oregano, jalapeño slices, cilantro, avocado, and green onions.

5. Serve the Beef ‘n’ Beans directly from the skillet with the chips.

Serves 4

Recipe from Rachael Ray

Masked singer Orville Peck (whose disguise is much less elaborate than those masked singers) will release his debut album ‘Pony’ in March. The lead single “Dead Of Night” is a lovely slice of country goth with a hook that cooks.

“See the boys
as they walk on by”

Check out Orville Peck on his Website where you can learn of upcoming world tour dates and buy the music.


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Meringue Cake With Cream And Raspberries. New Music From Sail By Summer.

Make this cake and nobody is going to hate. Layers of crisp meringue, whipped cream, cherry syrup soaked sponge cake, vanilla scented pastry cream and a scattering of raspberries. Dessert heaven.

Meringue Cake With Cream And Raspberries

Ingredients For the syrup:

2 Tbs water
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs sugar
3 Tbs maraschino cherry liqueur

Ingredients for the meringue rounds:

5 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 Tbs cornstarch

Ingredients for the layers:

Pastry Cream (recipe follows)
One 8-inch round sponge cake (recipe follows or use store bought)
1 3/4 cups whipped cream
1 cup raspberries
Confectioners’ sugar
Unsweetened cocoa powder


1. To make the syrup, bring the water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Allow syrup to cool then add the liqueur.

2. To make the meringue rounds, preheat oven to 250℉. Place sheets of parchment on 2 baking trays. Draw two 8-inch circles. Beat the egg whites with sugar and cornstarch until the egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks. Spread the egg whites evenly in the parchment circles. Bake for about 1 hour until just barely golden. (Meringue disks can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks)

3. Soak the sponge cake with some of the syrup using a spoon or a pastry brush.

4. Place one meringue disk on a serving platter. Spread with the pastry cream. Top with the soaked sponge cake layer. Pour over the rest of the syrup. Cover with the whipped cream, reserving some for the garnish.

5. Arrange some of the raspberries over the whipped cream and cover with the second meringue round.

6. Pipe the remaining whipped cream around the sides of the cake and on top. Dot with the remaining raspberries. Dust the top of the cake with the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa.

Serves 6 to 8

Pastry Cream


1 cup milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs flour


1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk and the vanilla bean with its seeds to a boil.

2. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Add the flour and mix well.

3. Remove the vanilla bean from the milk and pour a little bit of the boiling milk over the egg yolks to temper them, whisking constantly. Whisk in the reminder of the milk.

4. Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes.

5. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and let cool. The pastry cream can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Sponge Cake


1 1/2 cups flour
5 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp honey
Zest of 1/2 lemon, grated
Vanilla extract
3 Tbs cornstarch plus 2 tsp


1. Heat oven to 350℉.

2. Butter and flour two (8-inch) cake pans.

3. In a heatproof bowl set over (not in) a pan of simmering water, heat the eggs with the sugar and honey. Whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture is fluffy. Stir in the lemon zest and a dash of vanilla.

4. Sift together the flour and cornstarch. Add to the egg mixture and gently fold in so that the eggs do not lose their volume.

5. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Recipes from Academia Barilla

That moment when you check your email and there is a message from one of your favorite musicians.


Hey Tricia

I’m the singer in Sail By Summer, a new band from Scandinavia. I’d like to submit a song for consideration / blog placement. I know there’s a lot of people reaching out, so thanks very much for your time. Please let me know if you need more information. All the best, William

I have adored William Hut for many, many years. It was love at first listen when I heard ‘By The Seaside’ on a mix CD given to me by a close friend from college whose cutting edge taste in music continues to this day. I bought every William Hut album I could find and bonded with my eldest son, about 7 at the time, by watching this video over and over. It mesmerized us.

Of course the email from William Hut was one of those mass generated mailers, but it was thrilling nonetheless. And so exciting to learn that he is involved in a new project.

I knew before I pressed play that Sail By Summer’s new song was going to be fantastic…because everything I own by William Hut is awesome and his voice speaks to my soul.

Now “Facing Dullness” is my new favorite song. Swirling pop that wraps itself neatly around you…and that voice. Pure heaven.

Check out Sail By Summer on the band’s Website where you can link to buy their music.


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