About Kelly

A happily married twenty-something wife blogging about life in New Jersey, marriage, personal finance, cooking, home decor, and more!

The Best Cake I Make: Double Chocolate Layer Cake

I would like to share with you the best cake that I make… The recipe was shared with me by my lovely friend Joanna (visit her here) and is by Ina Garten.  You can find the recipe here.

Double Chocolate Layer Cake @ HappyWifey.netThere are a LOT of things I like about this cake:

  1. I have made this cake at LEAST four times, and it has been good every time.
  2. The buttermilk in the cake makes the actual cake AWESOME and it is the only from-scratch cake I have excelled at yet.  Who needs Pillsbury?
  3. The coffee that is in the icing and in the cake really gives it a deep mocha flavor!
  4. The icing is really easy to work with and I am getting better at icing it each time.
  5. EVERYONE loves this cake!

Double Chocolate Layer Cake @ HappyWifey.netLook at ALL of the chocolate!!!!!  Here she is all done:

Double Chocolate Layer Cake @ HappyWifey.netThis lovely cake was made for my Dad’s 64th birthday earlier this month.  He loved it!  Sometimes it is so so lovely to make someone you love a from-scratch cake.

Check out my icing writing on the top!  I wish I could show you my last cake’s attempts… it is safe to say that I am getting better!  You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Double Chocolate Layer Cake @ HappyWifey.net


This cake makes me smile!




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French Toast Sticks

So… obviously my skillet skills need some work, but here is my first try at french toast sticks!  I had a good chunk of this Sweet Hawaiian bread left and thought it would come out best as sticks!  It did not disappoint.

French Toast Sticks @ Happy Wifey.netFrench Toast Sticks


  • Bread, cut into sticks [I used this bread, and it was a few days old]
  • 2 or 3 eggs, depending on how many you’re making
  • Splash of milk or cream
  • Vanilla, cinnamon, and/or nutmeg to taste
  • Butter, for your skillet


  • Cut your bread to desired strip size.
  • Whisk eggs with a splash or two of milk or cream in a bowl.
  • Add in vanilla, nutmeg, and/or cinnamon.
  • Soak the bread strips in the mixture, turning to coat.
  • Add at least 1 tbsp of butter to a skillet (I used a cast iron pan).
  • When hot and butter begins to melt, add battered sticks to pan.
  • Let each stick cook on all four sides until they turn a desired color and texture.  I don’t like soggy french toast, which is why mine turned out a little “well done”.

I have no doubt that french toast turning will improve with practice!  Enjoy :)  You can also add a little bit of orange juice to the batter to give your french toast sticks a little more flavor.  I love mine dipped in pancake syrup!


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Bang Bang Shrimp!

Bang Bang Shrimp @ HappyWifey.netI’d been waiting to make this recipe for a LONG time!  Finally – I had all the ingredients and it was meant to be!  I made this recipe exactly AS IS in the recipe so please click here to check it out.

This is SPOT ON to Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp.  You could also make a similar appetizer if you use chicken instead of shrimp.  I think that the spicy mayo sauce is amazing.  I got my Thai Chili Sauce at Trader Joe’s but I have since seen it at ALDI and Wegman’s.

Caution: If your husband is not a sauce lover (mine isn’t…) you could fry up your chicken or shrimp and serve the sauce on the side!

There are also many lower calorie versions of this which bake the chicken/shrimp because the sauce is bad enough for you as it is!  I am sure they might be good.. but this is so so good!  Enjoy!


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Sweet Bread Made with OJ

Mike and I just got back from CALIFORNIA!  It was wonderful and amazing, and now we are back in the land of the snow and ice.  Today is my last day off from work, so I whipped up a fast, tasty bread in the bread machine.20140217-202941.jpg


Sweet Bread Made with Orange Juice

  • Adapted from here.


  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3 cups flour (I used AP)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp yeast


  • Add all ingredients to bread machine pan in the correct order for your maker.  I add all my liquid first, followed by the flour.
  • Then, I add my sugar in one corner,
  • Add salt in another corner,
  • And make a well in the center of the flour (where I add the yeast).
  • Set your bread machine for a light, 2 lb bread loaf on a basic bread baking cycle.
  • After the first five minutes of kneading, add more milk or flour as needed if the mixture is too floury or too runny.
  • Carefully remove from machine when cycle is complete (mine takes 3 hours), slice, and top with butter!

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Hawaiian Sweet Rolls

I decided once I got my bread machine that an attempt at King’s Hawaiian rolls must be made – without hesitation!  I found a nice sounding recipe online that I could use for my bread maker and got to work!

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls @ HappyWifey.net

There are TONS of recipes out there for this, but I decided on this one from food.com, even though I didn’t have the coconut extract.  I do know where to find it now (turns out the Shoprite in my town doesn’t carry it, but the one where I work does) and will have to add that for the next go around.  I did sub just a little bit of vanilla because I knew the coconut extract would add a little bit of moisture.

Listen to the instructions in the recipe about how to store your rolls!  They will not be soft if you don’t listen!  I made two batches and the day-of batches were much nicer than the ones I made the prior evening.

I served these babies with crock-pot pulled pork, cole slaw, and mixed greens!  I like to think of it as a pretty impressive dinner party!  These are very, very buttery. The best part?  The pineapple juice dough in the bread machine makes the house smell pretty good for a LONG TIME. Enjoy!

Hawaiian Sweet Rolls @ HappyWifey.net

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Buttery Garlic Knots

I am LOVING the bread maker I got for Christmas.  I am amazed at how more efficiently I can make breads and more importantly – dough!  I already made pizza, and was happy to whip up these garlic knots for a little pizza party at a friend’s home recently.  Click here to see a basic pizza dough recipe for the bread maker.  I try to use honey instead of sugar.  I also add garlic powder and basil to my dough.

Garlic Knots @ HappyWifey.net


After your machine is done making your dough, put the dough on a lightly floured surface.  Shape it like a large rectangle, and use a pizza wheel or dough cutter to “slice” the dough into about 20 pieces.  I did that by making a horizontal cut separating the dough into 2 and then dividing each section into 10.

Break off a piece of dough (my batch made about 20 garlic knots), and roll it into a thin log. You can then twist each piece into a knot (shape displayed in photo above) and place on a cookie sheet lined with a slipat or parchment paper.  Preheat the oven to about 400 degrees, and then let the knots rise about 20 minutes on top of the oven, covered with a clean kitchen towel.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.  When they come out, baste them in melted butter combined with minced garlic, oregano, and basil.  They came out great!  We love them dipped in marinara!

Garlic Knots @ HappyWifey.net

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