Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Best Damn Chocolate Cake & Buttercream Icing Recipe

This is how things typically happen in my house. I made homemade dog treats and the family asked where were the people treats. So I wind up unexpectedly whipping up my tried and true chocolate cake and buttercream icing. *sigh* Recipes below.

First, the dog treats. This is not my recipe. Here's a link from The Cookie Rookie

They are super easy to make plus both cheaper and healthier than most store bought treats. 

Instead of buying special cookie cutters, I just use the ring of a mason jar lid to cut the dough.

And now for the cake...

Chocolate Cake Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon espresso powder (I use King Arthur - purchase on Amazon)
1 cup milk (regular, buttermilk, almond or coconut milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 cup boiling water

Buttercream Icing Ingredients:
11/2 cups butter (3 sticks, softened)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
5 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

Cake Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350ยบF. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring.
2. Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine. I use a stand mixer and the paddle attachment.
3. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix on medium speed until well combined.
4. Reduce speed to slow and carefully add boiling water to cake batter. Mix until well combined.
5. Equally distribute cake batter between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 -35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then move cake to wire rack and cool completely.

Icing Instructions:
1. Add cocoa to a large bowl and whisk to remove any lumps.
2. Add softened butter and cream until well combined.
3. Add sugar and milk by adding 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk at a time. Mix well on high after each addition. Repeat this process until all the sugar and milk have been added.
4. Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and mix well.
5. Frost cooled cake and enjoy!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Sex Bomb - Available Now!

Available Now!

Sex Bomb
by Nicole Austin
Contemporary Military Romance / Action / Suspense
From first sight I knew Marine Lieutenant Harlie Savage wasn’t fragile like a flower—she was fragile like a bomb. Definitely not some princess who needed to be saved, either. She was a queen who only lacked a sword, and I vowed to be her weapon.

"So hot I blasted through reading it. I loved it! Need more like this one. 5 out of 5 stars!!!!" Robin R. Cripps - Amazon Reviews


Copyright © Nicole Austin, 2019
Chapter One

Central American Jungle
Soaring across azure skies, riding the ebb and flow of thermals, skimming the tops of towering trees before dropping to skip over the shimmery surface of a lake, all with my favorite playlist blaring.
I love my job!
Every shade of green and brown imaginable blurred together as I zoomed past, rotors creating a wave of motion through the dense vegetation in my wake. The lush, diverse jungle formed an incredible backdrop that I took the time to appreciate on a daily basis. I considered myself blessed to have beheld such beauty.
For me, nothing else came close to the thrill of flying. When in my helo the constant noise in my head was silenced, all the tension and stress left my body and I found peace. Just Lola and me moving as one in complete harmony, defying gravity, and at times breaking the laws of physics.
In less than twenty hours I’d be headed stateside to become a civilian after ten years of service and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that or what came next. For the most part, I avoided feelings of any kind. I’d had them before and knew they lead to pain and agony. In my experience, staying detached was best.
Being a Marine had given me everything I’d sought—a strong sense of self, strength, confidence, and independence. I’d grown. Matured. Licked my childhood wounds, come to terms with the past, and for the most part, moved on.
Sure, a couple of ghosts still haunted me. I recognized them for what they were—stark reminders to never allow anyone to get too close or become too important to me.
But none of it mattered then. For one last day I was a Lieutenant in the Marines. And the Captain, bless him, had given me a sweet cake run of a last mission. Essentially a taxi job delivering a black ops asset, shrouded by a heavy cloak of secrecy and need-to-know, back to base.
The word alone held power. It sparked a sensual chill that skated along my spine, heated my blood, and snapped nerve ending to tingling awareness. I didn’t know his real name or anything about his life, only the code name and the way he made my body tremble, burn and detonate.
Viper was the ultimate strong, silent type. I’d known him for a year and we’d rarely spoken a word that wasn’t involved with sex. The perfect man for my needs—all sexual gratification and no messy strings or emotions.
Yes, please.
On the rare occasion I got Viper in my helo, I put Lola through her paces in an attempt to shake Mr. Tall, Dark and Deadly’s legendary calm and control. Sadly, I’d never succeeded. The man had nerves of steel. I haven’t elicited a single sound from him, much to my chagrin. And this final flight as a Marine was my last chance.
Time to pull out the big guns.
Threading the needle along a narrow riverbed lined with thick tree growth, I zoomed straight toward a sheer rock-faced waterfall. Waiting until the last possible second, with terrain warnings blaring, I pulled up hard and made a nearly vertical climb up the falls, skids cutting through the water, a huge anticipatory grin stretching my lips. The maneuver never failed to win at least a gasp, if not a few curses, out of my passengers.
Not a peep rose from behind me.
Damn that man!
Color me impressed. And considering the number of testosterone overloaded badasses I’d dealt with during my military career it took a lot to impress me. Even more for me to notice a man’s looks, and I have to admit, Viper is smokin’ hot. Super tall, probably six-three or four, with thick brown hair, and steel gray eyes. His black T-shirt molded beautifully to a ripped torso, and fuck if those cargo pants weren’t lovingly cupping one hell of a fabulous ass.
Yes, I admit it. I’m a total ass girl. There’s nothing better than sinking my fingers into a spectacular pair of glutes while being pounded hard. Yet his unflappable, cool demeanor was what really did it for me, hence the reason I had to snap that control and make him break. Then I’d be able to leave without so much as a backward glance.
My one unbreakable rule, the line I’d vowed to never cross, was fucking anyone from my current duty station. Time and again I bore witness to that situation going bad and I absolutely despised drama. Especially relationship drama. The last thing I needed were thoughts of a man I’d fucked interfering with my focus during a mission.
Since Viper wasn’t assigned to my base or part of my medivac missions and remained drama free, he was perfect for scratching that insatiable itch. With him, I got the bliss of his big cock fucking me ten ways to Sunday and absolutely no entanglements. I doubted he even knew I’d be leaving in the morning.
A sharp pang of regret momentarily fisted my heart. If we were together in a different situation, I could fall skids over rotor for him.

Friday, July 5, 2019

The Keto Bread You've Been Dreaming Of

I've been living the ketogenic lifestyle for more than a year now and have tried many disappointing bread recipes. Finally, I found one that doesn't taste eggy, is actually soft, light and flavorful, as well as low carb. And bonus, the recipe is super easy, requiring no real baking skills.
I use these for avocado toast, as hamburger buns, for sandwiches, or whenever I'm craving bread. They're great toasted and served warm and slathered with butter or cream cheese.

Ingredients: (makes 6 rolls)
5 tbsp ground psyllium husk powder
1 1/4 cups almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cider vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)
3 egg whites
1 cup water
Oil (I use avocado but any variety is fine)
Everything bagel seasoning (optional)
(4 tbsp sesame seeds, 4 tbsp poppy seeds, 2 tbsp dried minced onion, 2 tbsp dried garlic flakes, 2 tsp sea or pink Himalayan salt) Or just buy some everything but the bagel seasoning

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add vinegar and egg whites to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Bring the water to a boil, either on the stove or in the microwave for 90 to 120 seconds, add to other ingredients. Don't over mix, just until its doughy and well combined.
Spread everything bagel seasoning in a shallow bowl or plate.
Moisten fingers with oil, so dough doesn't stick, and shape into 6 separate ovals. Coat in bagel mix and set onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake on lower oven rack for 50-60 minutes until tapping the bottom of roll creates hollow sound.

Nutrition Info:
Serving Size - 1 roll
Calories: 170 kcal
Protein: 7g
Fat: 13g
Net Carbs: 2g

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Mexican Street Corn and Gorgonzola Butter for Steaks

Today was probably my last chance to grill for the season, and boy did I grill. Filet Mignon with Gorgonzola butter, Mexican Street Corn, along with sauteed mushrooms & onions. Definitely not keto. Such a yummy cheat meal! And hey, I'm on vacation. Vacation calories don't count ;)

Mexican Street Corn Casserole

Skill Level: Easy

32 ounces frozen corn kernels or 7 ears corn
¼ cup mayonnaise
½ cup sour cream
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 lime, cut into wedges

If using ears of corn, cut the corn off the cob. Spread corn on a baking sheet. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, turning the baking sheet every few minutes, to get a light char on the corn.
Remove from oven and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, cheeses and egg, stir until well mixed. Add the corn and stir to combine.
Grease a casserole dish with butter. Pour in the corn mixture and bake for 30 minutes.
Before serving, sprinkle Cotija cheese, cilantro and chili powder over casserole.
Serve with a wedge of lime.

Gorgonzola Butter for Steaks

*Shhh, I borrowed this picture from the internet*

Skill Level: Super Easy

½ cup butter, softened
2 ounces gorgonzola cheese
¼ cup parsley, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed

Using food processor or with a stick blender mix all ingredients together until well combined.

The meal paired with with some sauteed mushrooms and onions, and a DuClaw Sweet Baby Jesus! Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter. :D

Going into a carb coma in 3...

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Nicole's Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

Since last Spring I have been living the ketogenic lifestyle, which has had a major impact on my cooking. As a result, I've adapted many of my classic recipes to fit my new way of life. My loaded cauliflower casserole is an adaptation of my favorite comfort food, Mac & Cheese. At only 4.2 net carbs and packed with protein it's the perfect keto indulgence.

Nicole's Loaded Cauliflower Casserole

Skill Level: Easy

Servings: 8

24 ounces cauliflower florets
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 ounces sour cream
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup green onions
8 thick slices of bacon, crumbled, divided
2 ounces Pork rinds, crumbled
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an casserole dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.
In a large microwave safe bowl, add cauliflower (broken into bite size pieces) and 2 tablespoons of water, cover and microwave for 3 minutes.
In a large bowl, stir together half of the cheddar, cream cheese, sour cream, butter and green onions until well combined.
Add the cauliflower and half of the bacon. Stir to coat.
Pour mixture into prepared backing dish and sprinkle with remaining cheddar, bacon and crumbled pork rinds.
Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the cauliflower reaches desired softness.

Author's Note: I make a cup of espresso and brush some over the bacon, add a bit of fresh ground pepper, then bake it at 400 degrees until crisp. Yes, it sounds weird but tastes amazing if you like coffee. Because, come on, coffee and bacon, what's not to like.

Nutrition Information
*Note: I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared below should only be used as a general guideline.

Nicole's Loaded Cauliflower Casserole
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g41%
Saturated Fat 17.2g86%
Cholesterol 94mg31%
Sodium 1013mg44%
Total Carbohydrate 6.4g2%
Dietary Fiber 2.2g8%
Total Sugars 2.3g
Protein 25.5g
Vitamin D 5mcg27%
Calcium 372mg29%
Iron 1mg6%
Potassium 439mg9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet.2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Sassy Faerie Princess - Available Now


Part of the Sassy Ever After Kindle World

Read for free with Kindle Unlimited

MMF Menage, Paranormal

Princess Serena has been labeled as trouble because of her unconventional ideas. She isn’t content with the frivolous activities and promiscuity rampant in Fae. No, Serena craves adventure, longs to explore parallel dimensions and discover all the magnificent wonders of the universe. But what she aches for more than anything else is to be swept away by a pair of alpha males, fall in love, and form a monogamous bond.

Only two things hold her back—the queen’s rules prohibiting faeries from traveling through the portals, and the dark elven guards who ensure compliance.

News of the faerie court’s plans to seal the portals for eternity means she has to act fast or be trapped in Fae forever. And there would be no chance of others ever seeing or believing in the faefolk. Without belief…

The brave faerie knows the legend well and is not about to let her kind cease to exist.

Trevor Richardson and Brady Prophet have everything they could possibly want. Careers they love, a great house, each other, and a golden retriever named Flirt. Yet Brady feels something is missing. He wants a woman to share with Trevor. The crazy chick who breaks into their house and charms their dog wasn’t quite what he had in mind. She’s even better.

Now if the unlikely trio can find a way to survive the jealous queen’s wrath, they just might have a shot at a fairy-tale ending.


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

STEP BENEFITS: The Complete Series by Nicole Austin

Step Benefits:  The Complete Series 

New Adult, Stepbrother Romance 

Available to pre-order now, downloads January 16th


Cinderella Scandal 
It was a onetime indulgence—a random encounter between strangers. A good girl’s dirty little secret with the bad boy. Anything else is forbidden. Or is it?

Dirty Princess 
I’m sure there’s a rule in the friend code that makes lusting after your bestie forbidden. But if giving in to this off-the-charts chemistry is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Royal Brat 
Loving two men got me exiled to a foreign country. Without them I’m lost and alone, cast adrift on turbulent seas without a compass or rudder. In order to finally be together we’ll have to navigate a course through the bomb infested waters of my traumatic past.

Ice Queen 
In school, he was the bad boy this good girl couldn’t have. At work, he’s the boss, I’m his intern. Oh, and his dad just married my mom. It’s so wrong. We shouldn’t be doing this, but I love it.

Queen of Hearts 
One CIA operative on a mission to take down human traffickers. Three former Army Rangers out to reclaim a cache of stolen weapons. When their worlds inevitably collide it’s taboo, forbidden and explosive.