Ice Cream Cake & Birthday Party

My grandaughter Kasidee turned 4 this month. 

We celebrated this momentous occasion with...wait for it...a birthday party.

Chelsea, Kasidee's momma, was handling the cake so I thought rather than having plain ice cream to go along with it, an Ice Cream Cake would be fun and a little different.

I found this recipe somewhere online and thought it was so cute. 
I made just a few changes and it turned out delicious and very easy to make.

It's made with Swiss rolls, 2 flavors of ice cream, with a hot fudge and cookie crumble in the middle.
Turned out great and more importantly, the kids loved it. Recipe Below

The party was just a small get-together with family. A lot of fun, as always!

This is Kasidee, the birthday girl.

This is the cake Chelsea made. So cute! She did a great job. 
I think it's either the first or second cake she's ever made. 

As you can see, Kasidee loved it.

Dora all the way, for her.

The kids had great fun. Here's grampa helping Kasidee with the pinata.

With a little help from her cousins...

they eventually succeeded in ripping the thing apart.

The scramble was on.

Once their bags were full of candy, it was time for presents.

Always fun to get presents

and there's always that last big one. Wonder what it is?

Oh yay...a star is born.


Ice Cream Cake

10 to 12 Swiss cake rolls
2 pints vanilla ice cream, softened
3/4 cup Hershey's Special Dark hot fudge topping
20 chocolate creme filled chocolate wafer cookies  (Walmart brand works great)
2 pints chocolate ice cream, softened

Line a 2-qt. bowl with plastic wrap. Cut each cake roll into eight slices; place in prepared bowl, completely covering the bottom and sides. Cover and freeze for at least 20 minutes or until cake is firm.

Spread slightly softened vanilla ice cream over cake. Cover and freeze for at least 1 hour.

Heat hot fudge topping in microwave to loosen and stir together with cookies that have been crushed. Spread over vanilla ice cream. Freeze for at least 1 hour.

Spread with slightly softened chocolate ice cream.

Cover and freeze for up to 1 month.

Just before serving, remove from the freezer and invert onto a serving plate. Remove bowl and plastic wrap. Cut into wedges. 12-14 servings.

Note:  Put Swiss Rolls in the freezer for a few minutes to firm up a little and use a serrated knife for easier cutting.
I listed 2 pints in the ingredients but I think I used just over that of  both flavors ice cream. It will all depend on the size bowl you use.

This cake has endless possibilities with all the great flavors of ice cream out there. I would love to hear about the version you make or what you thought of this one.


Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola

The first time I saw this dish made was on Food Network "Barefoot Contessa". I knew right away I had to try it. The name may sound intimidating but the dish is pretty much just pasta with a vodka tomato sauce. It's very simple to make with not that many ingredients.

The flavor ended up being rich and intense but uncomplicated at the same time. I really enjoyed it. I had to get the leftovers in the fridge right away because I couldn't stop picking in it.

Start by sauteing the onions and garlic in oil until the onions are translucent.

Add the red pepper flakes and oregano and cook 1 minute more.

Correction: (Add the tequila and simmer until reduced by half. I used Cuervo white tequila.)  <----Ok, this is really wrong. I must of had tequila on the brain for some reason. I actually bought white tequila but it was for a different recipe. VODKA, add vodka at this point in the recipe.

Drain the whole tomatoes then crush them by hand into the pan.

Add salt and pepper, cover and cook in the oven.

The recipe says to process the sauce in a blender until smooth but I like mine with some
texture, so I just used an immersion blender.

I didn't have any fresh oregano so I just added some more dried and just over a
cup of half and half, instead of heavy cream. Salt and pepper to taste.

Even though I used the half and half it was wonderfully creamy.

Add the cooked pasta and cook for a few.

Stir in the Parmesan cheese,

and I some fresh parsley.

I served it with "Roasted Garlic Green Beans".
Really simple and delicious.

Blanch fresh green beans in the salted water that you have boiling for your pasta for 3-4 minutes.
You want them to still have a nice bite to them so don't over cook them.

Take them from the boiling water and get them directly into an ice water bath to stop the cooking.

Look at the nice color they keep. Once there cooled down,

spread them out on a kitchen towel or paper towels and dry them off a bit.

Use the same water to cook your pasta.

Place them on a baking sheet with 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic,
salt and pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil.

Spread them out to a single layer.

I broiled mine in a toaster oven for about 15-20 minutes on 400* but you can just as easily cook
them in a 450* oven for about the same amount of time. Just start checking them after 15 minutes. 

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola


1/4 cup good olive oil
1 medium Spanish onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup vodka
2 (28-ounce) cans peeled plum tomatoes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound penne pasta
4 tablespoons fresh oregano
3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
Grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh Parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large oven proof saute pan over medium heat, add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent. Add the red pepper flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute more. Add the vodka and continue cooking until the mixture is reduced by half.

Meanwhile, drain the tomatoes through a sieve and crush them into the pan with your hands. Add 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and place it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and set aside.
Place the tomato mixture in a blender and puree in batches until the sauce is a smooth consistency (or for a chunkier sauce you can use an immersion blender). Return to the pan.

Reheat the sauce, add 2 tablespoons fresh oregano and enough heavy cream to make the sauce a creamy consistency. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer for 10 minutes. Toss the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes more. Stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan. Serve with an additional sprinkle of Parmesan and a sprinkle of fresh parsley on each plate.


Carrot Cake Supreme

This is by far my favorite Carrot Cake recipe. It is super moist and delicious. 
Every time I make it I hear comments like "This is the best carrot cake I've ever tasted".
 It's well worth the extra steps for the buttermilk glaze because that's 
what makes it so moist and yummy.

They don't call it "supreme" for nothing.

Look at this cake absorbing all that delicious buttermilk glaze.

Then of course....the cream cheese frosting.

Seriously the best carrot cake recipe out there.....imho.

Carrot Cake Supreme

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (3 1/2 ounce) can flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

Buttermilk glaze
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter or 1/2 cup margarine
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Deluxe cream cheese frosting
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (room temp)
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese (room temp)
3/4 cup butter (room temp)
1 (16 ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For Cake:

Grease three 8 or 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper.

Stir together first 4 ingredients in a medium sized bowl.

In your mixing bowl, beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and next 3 ingredients. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not remove from pans.

Buttermilk Glaze:
While cake is cooking, bring first 5 ingredients to a boil in a medium to large saucepan. Boil 4 minutes, stirring constantly until glaze is golden. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and cool slightly.

Drizzle warm buttermilk glaze evenly over warm cake layers; cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Remove from pans, inverting layers. Peel parchment; invert again, glaze side up. Cool completely on wire racks.

Deluxe Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

Frost cake with Deluxe Cream Cheese Frosting between layers, on sides and top.

Chill cake several hours before slicing. Store in the refrigerator.