The Cake That Takes The Cake!

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Ahh yes, cupcakes, a cake in a thin paper lined cup. They are adorned and topped with a fabulous amount of pretty frosting, sure to put a smile on your face. I’ve never been able to decide which is better though, a square piece of cake, or a cake in a cup? To be honest, I’ve never been much of a cake person in general because I usually tend to find myself  being more excited about the frosting than the actual cake because the cake leaves much to be desired,ending in a bland and almost dry consistency. That is until I finally found the most perfect cupcake from Smallcakes! The wedding cake flavor is out of this world. It is everything I’ve searched for in a cake… soft crumbly and moist, sponge consistency, with a hint of the purest sugar from the sweetest flower and a slight almond flavor. The frosting is just the right amount of sweet with a thick and creamy consistency. It truly has to be even more delicious than an actual slice of wedding cake!

There are many places to get your cupcake fix in Dallas and while I  usually prefer non chain bakeries, this little place takes the CAKE. Make sure to visit one of the Smallcakes locations and see for yourself!

Cranberry Orange Muffins!

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Ah yes, the weather in Texas is finally feeling like Fall! For me that means I get to bake even more than I already do and what better way to celebrate than with muffins! Pumpkin spice may get most of the glory this season, but fall’s other favorite fruit, the cranberry, deserves some serious praise also! Not only are the little round reds beautiful to look at,  but the bitter berry is loaded with major health benefits too.

cranThere’s nothing as soothing on a crisp fall morning as a warm cranberry, orange
muffin! A burst of sweet, tart cranberries in every bite with a hint of orange zest makes this recipe pure perfection. Top that with a delicious, melt in your mouth crumb topping… and wow. Honestly, these are better than any muffins I’ve ever had in a bakery. The recipe yields six large bakery-style muffins, just the right amount.

I sweeten the muffins with a blend of white and brown sugar. In my opinion, brown sugar is an essential ingredient when baking as it will create a noticeably, moist texture. There’s plenty of of cinnamon too, both in the muffin batter and the crumb topping, because I have a weakness for cinnamon. I decided to enjoy my lovely muffins outdoors with a giant mug of coffee and my little guy. Who you share them with is all up to you!
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Muffins:
1 large egg
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil or melted butter
1-1/2 c. flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp grated orange zest
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1-1/2 c. cranberries fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not thaw)

Amazing crumb topping:
2 tbsp. white sugar
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray muffin tin or use cupcake liners.

Mix egg, milk, and oil in small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir. Do not overmix. Fold in cranberries. Spoon into muffin tin and let rest a few minutes while you prepare the crumb topping.

In a small bowl, blend all topping ingredients until crumbly. You want some pea-size pieces of crumble.  Sprinkle over muffin batter.

Bake until golden, about 22 minutes. In the mean time, enjoy the glorious scent that takes over your home and be prepared to be amazed.

An Inside Look at El Bolero Restaurant!

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After a few months of anxiously waiting to try the new Mexican restaurant that opened it’s doors in the heart of the Design District in Dallas this late April, I finally decided to explore El Bolero in hopes of finding a truly authentic Mexican meal. You must know, I have a difficult time venturing out for Mexican food when it isn’t prepared in my Latin kitchen. I search for rich and earthy flavors when it comes to my cuisine and El Bolero sure did not disappoint!
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El Bolero, which refers to Mexico’s street side shoe shiners, aims to transport diners on a multi regional journey, not only through its unforgettable cuisine, but also with its unique decor, which includes festive yellow leather bar stools, custom carved wooden doors, hand-crafted mosaic walls displaying well known figures such as Frida and Diego along with other Latin-themed design elements throughout.
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The food is something you absolutely cannot miss, and something I will surely be back for. The moment I arrived and took a seat at the aesthetically appealing bar, I was kindly greeted by the friendly staff while warm, crispy chips were presented to me along with two deliciously appetizing salsas. Both salsas were divine, one was a green tomatillo sauce with a noticeably creamy texture that highlighted the presence of a perfectly ripe avocado. It was not spicy but it was incredibly fresh and hard to resist. The other salsa was a roasted red sauce with a bit more of a kick. It’s hard to decide which is my favorite because I couldn’t stay out of either! Of course I also had to taste their irresistible cocktails prepared with blackberries and so many other choices of fresh fruit such as prickly pear and guava! There is surely something for everyone’s taste!
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The plates at El Bolero are prepared with undeniably fresh, high quality ingredients that are inspired by recipes found across the vast and diverse locales of Mexico. I’m pleased I picked the Enchiladas Verde de Pollo, a surprisingly light take on the traditional enchiladas verdes filled with juicy, tender pulled chicken and topped with tomatillo salsa, tomatoes, shredded Lettuce, asadero cheese, roasted corn relish and queso fresco over a bed of the most incredible garlic white rice. The moment I tried this dish, it took me back to my grandmother’s kitchen in Mexico. It was truly prepared with a passion for Latin cuisine and just the way enchiladas should taste! I can honestly say I’m looking forward to try more of what El Bolero has to offer.

Saturday Mornings at Main Street Bistro.

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Saturday mornings are for fresh coffee and croissants, don’t you agree? There is just something about a freshly, baked flaky croissant that puts a smile on my face. Since I very well can’t hop on a jet plane every morning to France, I make the drive to Main Bistro instead. The quaint and delightful restaurant is located on a beautiful corner in the heart of The Shops at Legacy in Plano. It is truly a refreshing alternative to your average bistro and coffee shop. The moment you step inside you are greeted with the quaint and beautiful decor. Gorgeous oil paintings of French landscapes take you to a serene place as they liven the walls and make you feel as though you are visiting a lovely home. Of course the other thing you cannot miss is the mouthwatering display of the tempting baked delights. All of the heavenly pastries are hand made and delicately prepared from scratch every morning.

img_20150725_074429-2Main Street Bistro serves an inviting brunch, lunch and dinner menu as well, however I can only speak for the delicious pastries for now. My absolute favorite French delicacy is the almond croissant and most places just don’t seem to get it right, however, the bakers at Main Bistro truly prepare them the way they should be with a perfectly flaky, buttery croissant, filled with creamy almond paste, topped with slivered almonds and powdered sugar. You truly can taste the essence of almond in every bite. Other treats  to surely not miss are the beignets! They are the perfect combination of crispy, fluffy and perfectly sweet without being overpowering. The plate of beignets is served with five glorious clouds of yum and are served with a cafe a lait cream anglaise sauce.

This lovely little portal to France is just too marvelous to miss. Make your stop in and treat yourself!