Vanilla Naked Cake with Berries

Hello, friends!

How are you guys? Are you ready for a recipe?

This was the week of Valentine’s Day, which happens to be one of my favorite holidays because it’s my dad’s birthday! This year, I wanted to bake a cake that was fresh, appealing, and easy to make on a week night. This cake definitely met (exceeded) all expectations.

I did accidently over bake the cake, which ended up making it a tad bit dry– but nothing a little extra whipped cream couldn’t fix.

Life update: I wanted to talk a little bit of what’s going on in my life! As you know, I am a senior in high school, which means college is around the corner! Well, keep your eyes open because I am going to be posting a college announcement soon. 🙂 So far senior year has been bittersweet. I hate it at times, but I know in a couple of months I will be finished– which is terrifying.

YIELD: 8 PREP TIME: 10 minutes

COOKING TIME: 20-25  TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS: *this is for one layer. Double or triple recipe for the amount of layers you desire.

  • 1-1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups flour
  • 1-3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • I pint whipping cream
  • 1 cup powered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (separate from cake)
  • 3 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup blueberries

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cake pans.
  2. Combine butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  5. Gradually combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mix until combined.
  6. Place batter into pans and bake for 22-27 minutes or until the cake has set (keep an eye, this cake bakes fast).
  7. Allow cake to cool completely.
  8. While cooling make frosting by whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla until a frosting like consistency forms.
  9. Frost first layer, then place sliced strawberries, then place next layer, frost layer, place sliced strawberries
  10. On the top place blueberries and strawberries

 ❤ ,

Hira

Reflections

Hello, friends!

Today’s post deviates from the normal recipe. I have had reflective thoughts moving around my head, so I thought I would share.

  1. Success is not only hard work. We, unfortunately, live in an unfair world. No matter how hard we work at the end of the day we can still be robbed of the thing we want most. Success is equal parts preparation and opportunity. If you get rejected from a job, internship, or fail a test understand that you only have control over your input, but at the end if the opportunity never manifests itself it is not your fault. You do not have control over everything. Work hard. Dream. But remember you have only control on your input.
  2. Less is more. Growing up forging friendships has always been difficult. I am an outgoing, positive, stubborn person who may be an acquired taste. I have learned through the years that it is more important to surround myself with a few amazing people, then a large group of meh people.
  3. Things are not as they seem. As a teenager, in the social media generation, I have recognized that not all posts on the web are true. Social media is heavily fabricated. People only post when they are doing something incredible. I mean, no one wants to see someone post a picture of doing the dishes or laundry.
  4. Everything does not happen for a reason. I was a firm believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason. Anytime the world did not go in my favor I would use this as a rationale. However, being apart of a world where violence, adversity, and horror are common, I don’t want to accept that these things happen for a reason. The little girl who lost her father, or the mother who lost her son are events that do not contain a reason. Sometimes things just happen. They cannot be explained.
  5. You can only take care of yourself. This is something that was so difficult for me to learn. Anytime I see someone I know upset, I want to drop everything and take care of that person. I have learned that you can only do so much. At the end of the day, if that person is still broken, you need to understand that you have done enough. Your health is paramount. Your unhappiness for that person’s situation will not make that person’s situation better. Live life, love, be happy. Help those going through a rough patch, but at the end if that person is still in the dark– move on. No matter what you do it is that person’s choice to feel better.

Well, that’s it for this reflections post. I just had all these lessons shuffled in my head, so I thought I’d share. If you agree (or disagree) or have something else you’ve learned that has changed your life– comment below.

,

Hira

Canada Things

Hi, friends!

If you read (or looked) at my last post, you saw my December adventure through the Eastern Caribbean. I also had the opportunity to visit my sweet grandparents in Canada– I am so blessed. This trip was a lot of fun because my dad drove us (my family) from Texas all the way to Canada. That is absolutely crazy. I mean, look at a map of North America– so many miles. We are a very adventurous family. 😉

❤ ,

Hira

 

December 2016 Trip {senior trip}

Hi, friends!

I recently went on an incredible trip with my two wonderful friends. It was an absolute blast, and to say it went by fast is an understatement. I love to travel. Really love to travel. For my senior trip, one of my best friends, Brittany, had an amazing idea to go on a cruise– together. So after convincing my parents (lots of convincing), off we went. 

This cruise went from the Dominican Republic to the US Virgin Islands to Puerto Rico to the final destination Grand Turk. It was one of the greatest trips I’ve ever taken (and I’ve been on cruises before). Time flew by, but pictures are great memories, so here are some below. I also wanted to state that I didn’t take any pictures. None. Thanks to my wonderful friends, Brittany and Isabella, you can also enjoy the crystal blue waters. (The pictures are in no particular order)

❤ ,

Hira

Cherry Chip Cake

Hi, friends!

Welcome to the first recipe of 2017! I wanted to start off with a cake because cake makes life better, right?

This week was incredibly stressful. My school prefers to make finals after break, which makes no sense. How am I suppose to remember so much information after two weeks?

I survived.

To celebrate one more semester of high school and the completion of finals I decided to bake a cake. Not any cake, though. A cherry chip cake. A cake with chocolate, cherries, fluffy whip cream, and cups of happiness.

I honestly cannot believe I am almost done with high school. I remember being in 4th grade eager to enter the world of college– and now I am almost there. In just a couple of months I will no longer be living with my parents, no longer be depending on my parents for every little thing, no longer be a daily presence in my parent’s lives. I will miss them so much!

Aside from that, I am totally excited to start a new chapter of my life. Stay tuned for my college announcement in just a couple of months! Now let them eat cake (channeling my inner Marie-Antoinette).

YIELD: 6 PREP TIME: 30 minutes

COOKING TIME: 30-35  TOTAL TIME: 1  hour

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 box of white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 egg white
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 jars (10 ounce) maraschino cherries, chopped and pat dry
  • I pint whipping cream
  • 1 cup powered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (separate from cake)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and a cake pan.
  2. Mix one teaspoon of the cake mix with the chocolate chips.
  3. Next in a separate bowl mx the cake mix, sour cream, egg whites, water, vegetable oil, and vanilla.
  4. Once combined add chopped and dried cherries and chocolate chips.
  5. Place batter into the cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake has set.
  6. Once the cake has finished baking whip cream,  sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixture.
  7. Frost and enjoy!

❤ ,

Hira

2016 Things 

2016 is over. It is crazy to type that. I remember writing last year’s recap. I mentioned so many different things that aren’t even relevant to my life now. It’s so crazy to observe how one year can change someone. I am not the same person I was last year, and I will definitely change this year.


In 2015, I turned 16. Now I am 17 years old. That is so crazy. Also, I finally got my driver’s license, so if any of you think you will not be able to get your license just remember I passed my driver’s test– and I am a nervous wreck when I drive.

This year, has been such a blessing. I have been able to experience so many wonderful things– and share these experiences with people I love.

Remember I went to California? Disneyland and and Universal were definitely some of my favorite theme park experiences. 


College applications were a big thing in my life in 2016. I am so excited for the future. So many positive remarks in this post, right?

One of the best experiences I had this year was going on a trip of a lifetime with some wonderful friends. Growing up I would always watch movies with the plot surrounding a group of friends going on a getaway over break. This year, I got to have a first hand experience. In December, I went to the Eastern Caribbean with two close friends (and one wonderful chaperone). We ate food, visited beaches, and had a blast. I will post something soon with more details. I am so grateful for that opportunity. Ahh, it was so memorable.


I also went to Canada, which was also memorable. I got to experience the cold icy winter that Texas refuses to bring (which I am thankful for because while I love the cold… I think I’ve had enough). I will make a separate post with some travel pictures and details soon. 


I know this year has been very sporadic with my posting. It just irks me to think about all the missed posting and lack of baking. Hopefully 2017 will bring lots of desserts, and more posts in general. 

A new thing I’m planning for 2017, is more lifestyle/college posts. I want to create a space on the web where I can share big events in my life along with tips that I’ve discovered in my so far short (but very rich) life. Also, because I’ve just first hand experienced the college application process, I want to produce some college content. So, keep your eyes open for that! 

All in all, 2016 wasn’t great from a worldwide perspective. There was lots of violence, controversy, and death. From a personal view, however, I had many life changing opportunities– and for that I’m truly grateful. 

Now on to 2017, a new chapter filled with graduation, college, my eighteenth birthday, and many more blessings. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this corner of the web. I truly appreciate it!

Happy New Year ❤️, 

Hira 

 

Classic New York Cheesecake

Thanksgiving is over. That was fast. To celebrate I finally have a recipe for you. You may be thinking that it’s too late for a cheesecake recipe- or how your waist line will handle the damage of thanksgiving night. However, this cheesecake is perfect for any time of the day (and year): breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack. It’s not reserved for your thanksgiving festivities.

Before I go into the recipe, I want to tell you about my thanksgiving. This thanksgiving was different from my past experiences. This year, we had a traditional thanksgiving.

You may be confused, so I’ll elaborate. Every year we have our own twist of thanksgiving with foods from my South Asian culture; however, this year we went all out with turkeys, potatoes, biscuits, stuffing, and maybe a few too many calories– for a traditional thanksgiving.

It was interesting. I love my cultural food. It’s flavorful, comforting, and down right delicious. This was definitely different, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to try a variety of new dishes.


The cheesecake recipe below is The Best Cheesecake. No joke. Make it for yourself, but make sure to share with guests because you will accidentally eat the whole thing if no one is watching.

YIELD: 12 PREP TIME: 30 minutes

COOKING TIME: 1 hour, cool for 6 hours TOTAL TIME: 7 hours 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 15 graham crackers, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  •  4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Cool whip (1 cup)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and grease springform pan (check notes for other options).
  2. Mix graham crackers and melted butter and press to the bottom of the springform pan.
  3. Mix cream cheese and sugar, until smooth. Next blend together milk, eggs (one at a time); until just incorporated. Mix in sour cream, vanilla, and flour until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture into springform pan.
  5. Bake in oven for 1 hour. Then turn off oven, and allow cake to cool in closed oven for 5 to 6 hours.
  6. Chill in refrigerator. Before serve spread cool whip for clean finish.

NOTES:

  • I used a springform pan, but if you don’t own one you can use a pie pan (premade graham cracker crust).
  • You don’t have to finish with cool whip, I just like the smooth top produced with it.

Slightly adapted from: here

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends! I am thankful for all of you. You have no idea what your comment, like, and follow does for me.

❤️ ,

Hira