Tag Archive for kellyhecht

The BEST Chocolate Cake, made with Coca-Cola

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I posted my favorite cupcake recipe by Magnolia Bakery http://www.magnoliabakery.com/ last time but it was a vanilla recipe and I wanted to post my favorite chocolate one and it happens to be for a cake. I was never a huge chocolate fan, I am more of a “fruity, sugar lover” but years ago my mom found this recipe and it soon became the most requested with the Hecht family: Coca-Cola’s Chocolate Cake. Do not let the name fool you, there is no “taste indication” of the soda pop when you eat this, it does add something magical to the cake though, making it moist and perfect. I have attempted to make it without the cola and it just is not the same. Side note: do not skimp on this and use diet soda, it needs real Coca-Cola. If I could chose a few words to describe this cake it would be “Chocolate, melt in your mouth”. It is VERY rich so make sure you share with the with friends and family and if you eat the WHOLE thing, don’t say I did not warn you, its addictive but the stomach ache after consuming more than 3 pieces in one sitting is not worth it. Also, this is supposed to be a ‘messy cake’. Even though I spent time as a baker and cake decorator this is still my favorite cake-taste wise, no need to be a perfectionist in presentation, do not let the look fool you, the taste is incredible! Please let me know if you make this and how it turns out! Enjoy,

-Kel

Coca-Cola and buttermilk and mini- marshmallows.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self-rising flour

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 3 tablespoons cocoa

  • 1 cup Coca-Cola

  • 1 cup butter

  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • .

  • Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa

  • 6 tablespoons Coca-Cola

  • 1 box confectioner’s sugar, (1pound)

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


     Preparation:

Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch pan and set aside.

In a large bowl combine flour and sugar. In a saucepan combine the cocoa, Coca-Cola, butter, and marshmallows; bring to a boil. Combine the boiled mixture with the flour and sugar mixture.

In a separate bowl mix eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla; add to the first mixture. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, until cake tests done.

Frosting: In a saucepan, bring butter, cocoa, and Coca-Cola to a boil. Stir in the sugar and mix well. Stir in nuts. Spread over the cake while both cake and frosting are still warm.
Serves about 16.

Trendsetter: Jamie Chung

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Every month I am going to feature a person that I feel is a trendsetter and “fashionista”. This month I am putting the spotlight on fellow blogger and actress, Jamie Chung. I remember Jamie from 10 years ago when she was on MTV’S “The Real World”. Since her stint on reality tv the San Franciso native has become an actress, starring in ABC’c “Once Upon a Time” as Mulan, the movie “Eden” and now you can see her on NBC’s “Believe”.

Jamie has her own blog, whatthechung.com all about her personal fashion tastes and everyday life. Recently she moved to New York City, got engaged to fellow actor, Bryan Greenberg and is sporting a stunning diamond ring. 

She inspires many of my fashion choices and can really pull off a pair of leather pants and silver, flat oxfords. Hats off to you Jamie, for making it after life on a reality television show and your amazing blog. Please enjoy my choices for some of her best outfits, I hope it inspires you as well!

-Kel

*All Images from Google

Cupcake Love

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“Let them eat cake”

-Marie Antoinette

Six years ago in my annoyance with a desk job I decided I wanted to do something that I would love even if it meant sacrificing a hefty paycheck, so I took a job as a baker and cake decorator in a new start-up shop in the Washington, DC area. A side note: I have never had any formal training in baking or art (for the decorating) but I love food and I enjoy a challenge so I gave a good interview and they hired me.

I had a ton of fun and acquired a life-long skill while working there and honestly did not mind waking up at five in the morning to make butter cream frosting and morning treats. I quickly learned how to mix huge batches of batter, use restaurant  ovens, frost, pipe and decorate a decent cupcake/cake. I lived it up (and ate it up) for half a year but then the money aspect (or lack of) started to outweigh following my “cake dream” so I went back to an office. My love of cupcakes continues….baking then decorating this edible, mini piece of art. Outside of my own hobby I decided to start searching for the best cupcake. I’ve been to a decent amount of bake shops in my quest and my favorite is still New York City’s Magnolia Bakery, Plain old Vanilla and Vanilla Butter cream Frosting. They opened their first location in NYC in the West Village, 1996 and have four other locations in the city as well as Los Angeles, Chicago and Dubai. Along with the cupcakes they make pies, cookies, cakes, pudding (their banana pudding is amazing) but when I walk into a Magnolia I have only one mission, vanilla and vanilla.

So why am I telling you this and showing you all these photos of their sweets when you can’t get to one of their locations right now? Well, I honestly think they have the best cupcake and since I can’t go get one when I am in the DC area I do the next best thing, I bake them myself. Here is the recipe for their vanilla cupcake with vanilla butter cream frosting.

PS: you can always replace the vanilla butter cream frosting with chocolate butter cream and add a few drips of Chocolate syrup when mixing, it makes all the difference 😉 Enjoy! -Kelly

Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes
Yield:24 cupcakes

Ingredients
Cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 (1/2 cup-12 capacity) muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

 The vanilla butter cream we use at the bakery is technically not a butter cream but actually an old-fashioned confectioners’ sugar and butter frosting. Be sure to beat the icing for the amount of time called for in the recipe to achieve the desired creamy texture.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Yield: enough for 2 dozen cupcakes or 1 (9-inch) layer cake

*All Images provided by Google

 

 

Being Kind in Hollywood

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Anyone that knows me is aware I’m a huge fan of the show “How I Met Your Mother”.   It was hard to find a sitcom that was realistic in portraying life after college, the search for love and finding ones ‘self’ for early twenty-something’s. Carter Bays and Craig Thomas manage to create a show that did just that and with this clever sitcom taking their final bow after 9 years on Monday March 31 I thought it would be nice to reprint an article written in 2008 by Josh Radnor who plays ‘Ted Mosby’, the lead character. Rarely do we see acts of kindness in the entertainment industry especially ones that have no financial benefit or gain to the actor. This is a great piece about being kind in show business and how far it can take you in your career but also in life. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did when it was first published in the LA times a few years back. 

Kind Over Matter

Basic goodness means little in Hollywood….and everything in life

(Original article from LA Times)

only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.
—Kurt Vonnegut, 
God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

Here’s a theory I’ve been kicking around for a few years: Success in Hollywood—being incredibly well paid to do something very few people get the chance to do—won’t make you happier, but it should make you kinder. It never made sense to me that someone would achieve any kind of success in show business, only to become a jerk.

It certainly seems like the unkind—craven, wildly ambitious, stab-you-in-the-back types—are rewarded time and again. But bad behavior generally ensures a short shelf life. The question is really, What kind of person do you want to be once you’ve “gotten” somewhere?

When I left NYU in 1999, the year I turned “pro,” I was on the lookout for examples of what kind of professional actor I wanted to be. Before long, I had the great fortune to work with Judith Light, who, in addition to being wildly talented, seemed to place a premium on kindness. I remember how she greeted everyone with a smile—no matter who they were. She listened as if the fate of the planet depended on hearing someone’s every word.

Maybe it has something to do with my being from the Midwest, but witnessing actors like Judith—and the decidedly less enlightened behavior of others—confirmed my suspicion that it was possible to be both a good person and successful in show business. I realized Vonnegut’s dictum was basically the only Hollywood rule worth following: You’ve got to be kind.

Kind to your fellow actors, to the producers and their spouses, to their assistants and their interns. You’ve got to be kind to the agents and managers (even if you often can’t tell the difference between the two), to the director and the people in wardrobe and props, to the photographer and the valet and the guy working checkout at Whole Foods, to the reporter at the press tour who thrusts a tape recorder in your face and says, “What song makes you want to get up out of your chair and dance?” And you must—and this is much tougher than it sounds in an industry that almost dares you to go insane—extend that kindness to yourself.

It really shocks me when I encounter people who think kindness doesn’t matter. Because I think it’s pretty much the only thing that matters. This should not be mistaken as a call for humorlessness or some naive, fussy moralizing on my part. It’s not about being “good” (a loaded concept, to say the least) or “nice,” which is really just a social convention that often has to do with worrying about being liked (occasionally masking real deviousness). It’s ultimately about compassion, recognizing that all of us are going through it all in our own particular way, no matter our social status.

It’s not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not. We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even—or rather, especially—when we’d prefer not to be. For me, it’s simple and not entirely unselfish: When I’m kind, I feel good; when I’m not, I feel horrible. (Of course, the publication of this piece now ensures I will be caught on tape being a total schmuck.)

When my show How I Met Your Mother first went on the air, some people were quietly concerned the job would “change” me, as Hollywood lore is littered with tales of the monsters fame has created. Being a jerk was never all that interesting to me before I was on a television show. Now four years later, I’m happy to report no one has told me I’ve become one (to my face, at least).

Where will any of this get you in Hollywood? Maybe nowhere. That’s not really the point. Kindness is not about instant gratification. More often, it’s akin to a low-risk investment that appreciates steadily over time. One thing I’ve found to be true in show business, as well as everywhere else: Whatever you put out there comes back to you in some form eventually. Hopefully, one day you look around and say, “Hey, I’ve got a pretty nice life full of fantastic people.” If you have a better definition of success, I’d like to hear it.

This is bigger than Hollywood anyway. (Warning: If you think this is all a bunch of touchy-feely nonsense from someone who has clearly spent too much time in California, you might want to stop reading now and flip to the crossword.) I believe our thoughts and words are powerful far beyond what we suspect, that they carry some sort of mysterious heft that ripples outward, like the tiny flap of the butterfly wings causing a hurricane. Our planet is being despoiled in a myriad of provable ways, but might our unkind words be contributing on some level?

Consider it: What if we began to view unkindness as air pollution of the most toxic variety? Would we think twice before sending ozone-depleting nastiness from our lips into the atmosphere?

If you believe, as I do, that the state of the world is inextricably linked to our minds, that the external is a reflection of the internal, our minds are not in great shape. Every act of kindness, then, is not merely a sign of personal virtue. It’s saving the planet—the ultimate fusion of environmentalism, spirituality, compassion and common sense.

Of course, this is just a theory. In a more practical, less metaphysical sense, if you’re kind in Hollywood, people will want to work with you again. And if some unkindness is unavoidable, well, that’s why we have agents (or managers).

Written by Josh Radnor, Original article from the LA Times, 2008

All images from Google images

Highlights from New York Fall Fashion Week 2014

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“Design is a constant challenge to balance comfort with luxe , the practical with the desirable”

-Donna Karan

Even though we are a few seasons ahead the fashion world moves fast and is already thinking about sweaters, holiday dresses, wool skirts and jackets. New York Fall Fashion Week took place in February and designers showed up with their A game, keeping in mind Pantones color palate for Fall, 2014. Just like the Spring the color report is guide or road map to shade and tones we will be seeing this fall in department stores around the country. This is just a small taste of the highlights from fashion week, a preview of designer wear and as we get closer to the fall I will put out a piece on the actual Pantone colors in stores. For now enjoy a sneak peek of whats to come for the Autumn season in color. Enjoy! -Kel

From Karolyn Pho’s fall collection staying in Pantones Bright Colbat Blue color mixed with a bold leather pant

Anna Sui’s 2014 collection in a Cypress Green

From the Ralph Lauren show Mauve Mist

Badgley Mischka in Cognac

A splash of Misted Yellow at Trina Turk

Aurora Red appears at the always fun Betsey Johnson show

and also at the Jenny Packham show

Carolina Herrera dress in a Royal Blue

Sangria showing up at the Tommy Hilfiger show and Zac Posen

Aluminum appears at Diane Von Furstenberg