Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Tis The Season for Confessions

I've been a bad, bad girl.  Unfaithful.  Deceitful.  Untrue.  I've been keeping a secret for far too long- from my family, my friends, my husband.  He's the one who will suffer the most from this news.  I've been sneaking around behind his back.  I've done it during the day when he's been at work, early mornings when the rest of the house is sleeping, I've even sometimes done it around my youngest child, taking advantage of her innocence and age.  And now I've begun to feel embarrassed and ashamed by my actions and I feel it's time to set my guilt free. What is it they say?  If doing this is wrong, then I don't wanna be right.

This feels so, so right.

It feels too good to stop.

And yet, I know it's time to come clean.

So, I'm using this platform as a way to feel normal again, because what I've been doing simply feels so natural that it's hard to believe it's even frowned upon.  Perhaps there are others out there like me, hiding in the darkness and needing a strong voice to help pull them back into the light.  So I'm taking one for the team here.  I know there will be backlash.  I know I will be shamed.  I know I will lose some of you, but I can only hope you will find it in your hearts to forgive me for my loss of self control.

Before I reveal my darkest secret, I want you all to know that I never meant to harm anyone, I only did what I thought my heart was telling me to do.  And I always follow my heart.  If you know me at all, you know I always listen to what my heart tells me to do.  More than the brain, I feel the heart will always guide you in the right direction.  Sometimes that direction can also lead to the harming of loved ones, but if they truly love you, they will understand.  The heart wants what the heart wants, and we cannot control, nor can we stop that.  We can try to stifle those feelings, but they will always be there.  They will always be a part of us, no matter how hard we try to fight them.  My husband, the man with whom I vowed to be eternally faithful to and honest with, especially, will need some time to recover from my news but I'm hoping he will soon remember that I'm the same girl he fell in love with 14 years ago.  Nothing has changed.  I'm still me.  And we're

OK.  Deep breath.  Here goes.

I've been...

...listening to Christmas music.  I have.  I know, I know, it's shameful.  It's merely mid November!  We haven't even had Thanksgiving yet and I'm...enjoying Christmas music.  I've been listening to Christmas music for weeks now. It began innocently enough, like all habits and addictions do.  I blame Target.  I blame Buble.  It was he who crooned softly in my ear as I picked up a new water bottle for my daughter two weeks ago.  His voice came out of nowhere and I tried to fight it, I tried to close my eyes and tune it out, walk away, but I let it get in.  It felt too good to make it stop.  And I found myself...singing along.  I found myself believing it truly was Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.

Then the radio happened.  Damn the radio!  Who would have thought the radio would start so early! I thought I was safe in my car, my responsible and reliable family vehicle. I found the station by accident, honest I did.  And my son was with me when it happened.  I brought my innocent son into this and I cannot take it back, no matter how hard I try.  Karen Carpenter was singing about her Sleigh Ride, and at first I made it a joke, (as is common for addicts), I joked about it being far too soon and ridiculous to be playing such music so early in the season and yet...I listened to the whole song.

I've never been so ashamed.

My husband and I have had a pact, a long lasting bond that goes back years.  Not until the first of December are we to let the Christmas in.  We plug our ears, change channels, turn cheeks, do whatever we can to make it go away whenever The Christmas comes too soon.  We don't want to spoil the magic that should only be experienced after the turkey has been carved and the calendar has been flipped to the final page.  And yet...every year after having children I have found myself secretly desiring to break that pact.  And it isn't until now that I've been ready to reveal my secret.  It's simply never been this bad before.

I find myself now, just yesterday in fact, secretly listening to old classics and obscure 60's albums...The Ray Conniff Singers, The New Christy Minstrels, Steve Lawrence... It's just a little soft stuff to get me through, just a little bump.  It's really not that bad if you think about it.  It's not like I'm out of control or anything.  I can stop whenever I want to.  Honest!  I can control it.  At least I know better than to dive into the hard stuff.  I respect myself (and my husband) far too much to go all in.  I'm saving the strong stuff for the right time, I mean...give me a little credit here.  I wouldn't dare touch B.B. King's Merry Christmas Baby, Joni Mitchell's River, Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You, Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmastime, Elvis' Blue Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, or, god forbid, anything Dolly.

Oh Dolly.  Dolly, Dolly, Dolly.  She's my favorite.  That's the good stuff right there.  Dolly knows how I like it.  She knows how to make my Christmas feel oh-so-good.  I will only save my Kenny and Dolly for the perfect time.  I could never abuse them, they mean far too much to me to abuse.


Oh, it feels so good to finally come clean about all of this.  Sweet freedom!!!

I only hope all of you can still look at me the same way and have a little compassion for what I'm going through.  It all stemmed from love- this sickness, this disease.  I truly hope you all can find it in your hearts to forgive me and still love me as you did before.  And if any of you are experiencing the same problems as me, now you know you can safely come to me.  And we can get through this together.

And to my husband, my dear, sweet husband, I leave you with one final thought.  One last thing I need to say before the inevitable phone call occurs where you will lecture me on what it means to make a pact.

Listen up, love.  And listen well.

♫ The mood is right...the spirit's up...we're here tonight...and thats' enough... ♫


Are you a fellow Early Christmas addict?  Come and share.  It's safe here, I promise.
What's your favorite Christmas song?
If you're receiving this post as an email,
leave a comment after the post link below and share with the support group!

Also...since we're sharing and stuff, I'll also admit I've already started Christmas gift baking...and this was the recipe that broke me:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

An Alternative Thanksgiving

Look, we all want that Norman Rockwell painting for Thanksgiving- it's engraved in our brains.  The entire, extended family gathered around the dining room table, silver platters and crystal glasses strategically placed about, larger than life golden brown turkey waiting to be carved by grandpa... It's the vision. It's the dream. It's what we're trained to think HAS to happen every year. But here's the thing...sometimes it just can't. Sometimes it's just gonna be the 4 of you and you just want something simple, and quick (possibly different?), without compromising any of those traditional flavors you look forward to once a year. 

So what I've got for you here is an edited down Thanksgiving spread that is just the thing for such occasions. 

OR it's just the thing when you just don't wanna wait all day for your larger than life turkey to be done. 

Listen, cooking a whole, giant turkey is beautiful. I get it. It's a great presentation. But a lot of times it comes out dry because it's so big that by the time your dark meat is fully cooked, your white meat is dry as chalk.  So, by breaking it down into pieces and using my recipe for braised turkey you'll remedy that and guarantee that every single piece of turkey comes out succulent and flavorful and down right awesome. I personally don't mind the fact that you don't have the 'whole bird presentation'. I think what I've done here is beautiful. Bonus? Grandpa or Uncle Phil won't cut himself on the electric knife his chardonnay makes him believe he's excellent at using. 

This entire meal I'm about to show you is edited down drastically from the usual Thanksgiving spread.  And it's designed to be the perfect meal for a small gathering, for the cook who doesn't want to, or simply cannot cook for hours.  This whole thing can take you 1 hour to cook everything...ONE HOUR, which is pretty darn impressive for an entire turkey.  You can add items to it to round it out, obviously, but essentially you have the flavors and textures we all want in the Thanksgiving meal- Savory, creamy, salty, crunchy and sweet.  And it only took 3 items to get you there.  Plus!  You're getting gravy by not having to pull out the whisk or any separate pot.  No flour, no butter, nada.  (Since, I know most of you are gravy-phobic.)  

It's the edited down version that will leave you completely and utterly satisfied.  

So, if you're in a bind this year, don't think you can't cook the meal just because you don't have the whole day (or day before) to prep and cook.  Don't think you have to cook the bird whole just because some painting or drunk uncle told you so.  This braised turkey right here tastes better than any whole bird piece I've ever had.  No lie.

And personally, I'll take flavor over presentation any day of the week, wouldn't you? 

I wanna earn that turkey coma, baby.  

*Fennel Braised Turkey 
over Buttermilk-Chevre Whipped Root Vegetables 
and Maple Glazed Carrots 
with Rosemary-Candied Walnuts and Parsley
(serves 4-6)

First, we break down the turkey.  You're separating all the pieces from the carcass- breasts, thighs, legs (drumsticks) and wings. Yes, you can have your butcher do this.  No problem.  But it's not hard.  You just need a super sharp knife, large work space, and a slight affinity for destroying things.

You're essentially carving the bird before it's been cooked, so look at it that way.  Start at the legs and thighs-you will be removing both pieces at once.  Pull the legs away from the body and slice down to loosen them, then slice all the way through at the joint to separate the thighs from the body.  Once you have that piece removed, separate the drumstick from the thigh by finding the joint that connects them, cut through it to separate.  Set them aside.  Then slice down next to the breast bone, and then carve down and under to remove each breast half.  Set aside.  For the wings, find the joint and slice your knife into it to separate.

**You now have a turkey carcass that you are NOT GOING TO THROW AWAY.  You will be simmering this down, along with the giblets and neck from the cavity, with onions and celery and bay leaves and salt to make a delicious stock.  You will take that stock, and they turkey meat pieces that come off the bones and make either soup or pot pie**

Next you're going to lay your turkey pieces out on the cutting board or large pan and season them liberally, all over, inside and out of the skin, with the following spice rub-

4 tsp kosher salt
4 tsp ground fennel seeds
4 tsp onion powder (NOT onion salt)
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp ground allspice

Next, we sear.  Take your giant roasting pan and put it on your stove-top.  (Yep, it can totally go there.)  If you have the one large burner that holds a griddle, use that, if not then take up two burners.  Turn them on high.  Once the pan is nice and hot, drizzle with a little canola oil and place your seasoned turkey pieces, skin side down, onto the pan.  Arrange them in a single layer and do not move for 3-5 minutes.  You know they're ready to flip when you go to move one and they do not stick to the pan, and are a deep, golden brown.

Flip and sear on the other side as well, then remove and add in the following aromatics:

1 large onion, quartered
5-7 stalks of celery, halved
handful of whole, naked garlic cloves
4 bay leaves

Turn the burner down to medium and allow the veggies to brown a bit.

Deglaze the pan with about 1/2 cup of dry, white wine.  Stir with your spatula or wooden spoon and scrape up all the brown bits that were stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Place you turkey pieces back in the pan and pour in 1 quart (4 cups of water).  The water should come to about 1/3 of the way up the turkey pieces.  Season everything with a little more salt (you can always add more later if need be.) the pan, uncovered in a preheated 350 degree oven for one hour.

(note- if you want to have this part done far in advance, after cooking, just cover tightly with foil and leave in a low, warm oven for several hours.)

Remove your pan from the oven, take out the turkey pieces and leave the aromatics and liquid.  Turn your burners back on high again and boil the liquid down until you get a thick 'gravy'.  Taste to check seasoning, adjust if necessary.  Strain it and pour the liquid only into whatever you plan on using to serve your gravy.  (Add in chopped giblets and boiled egg if you roll that way.)


Now, while your turkey was cooking, you would have made the Buttermilk-Chevre Whipped Root Vegetables...

You need 1 (2 lb) rutabaga, peeled and diced
2 large parsnips (1 lb total), peeled and diced
2 small-medium starchy, Idaho potatoes (1 lb total), peeled and diced

Place your diced veggies in a large stockpot with 2 cups buttermilk and 1 quart (4 cups) chicken or turkey stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and continue to simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes or until they're fork tender.

Strain and using either a ricer, potato masher, food mill, or even immersion blender, mash the veggies until they're as smooth as you want them to be.

Stir in 5 ounces of young goat cheese (chevre) and 4 TB of unsalted butter.

Adjust seasoning to your liking- adding more kosher salt and white pepper.

Keep warm by placing them in a stock pot with a lid, set inside a larger pan/pot with enough water to come up about 1/3-1/2 way up.  Turn the burner on low.  This will keep the mash warm but not dry them out until you're ready to serve.

As for the Maple Glazed can do these ahead of time, during the turkey cooking, or while everything else is staying warm and/or the turkey is resting.  The carrots cook at a higher temp than the turkey does, but you can absolutely cook these at the 350 degrees at the same time with the turkey, and just cook them for longer.  It's totally up to you, depending on the time you have!

Peel and slice about 2 lbs of carrots, on the bias and place on a cookie sheet.  Cover with canola or olive oil and season with kosher salt.

Roast at 425 degrees for 30-40 minutes (OR at 350 for the hour the turkey is in there!)

They're done when they're fork tender and have begun to brown on the edges.

Drizzle all of them with good quality (REAL) maple syrup to coat and a couple good pinches of ground ginger, then place them back in the oven for about 5 minutes to caramelize.

Remove and serve with Rosemary-Candied Walnuts (recipe below) and whole parsley leaves.

*Rosemary-Candied Walnuts

In a small saucepan on medium heat place 3/4 cup raw walnut pieces with about 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves (break them up a bit in your hand before throwing in), a couple pinches kosher salt, about the same amount of light brown sugar and a drizzle of canola or olive oil.

Cook until the walnuts have toasted and have been coated in the mixture.  Taste and check seasoning, adjusting if necessary.  They should be equally sweet and savory.

(These nuts can be made days in advance and kept room temperature as long as they're in an airtight container.)

DONE.  Happy Thanksgiving to ya!!


What to serve for dessert?

Try my Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie

Or Pecan-Pumpkin Bars

Or Brown Sugar Apple Cake


Oh yeah...remember that carcass you boiled down? Look at how much meat came off for you to use in your soup/pot pie...

My, how resourceful you were.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Quick Tip Video- Storing Your Tomato Paste

If you're a long time Everyday Champagne follower (first of all, thank you for that), then you may have already seen me give you this tip (but I'm hoping perhaps you forgot?)  It was forever ago...I was pregnant with my second child, it was shot on my old phone which was propped up on a stack of books on top of the coffee maker in the corner, I had incredibly unattractive hair (growing out a pixie is never I right, ladies?) and therefore now feel it just isn't relevant anymore.

Buuuut the tip is still great...which leads me to today.  I believe so strongly in this Tomato Paste Tip that I shot a brand new video just so you guys could see it (again).  

So thanks for watching (again) and have a great day!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie...or should I say Cream Cheese Dickinson Squash Pie...?

There are a lot of people who dislike Pumpkin Pie out there.  And I am not one of those crazy pumpkin people who will start throwing things at you when I hear that.  Promise.  (Pumpkin people be crazy.)  I love pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, but I also love pecan pie...I basically just love the hell out of some pie, ya'll.  But the complaint I get about Pumpkin Pie is that it's too...bitter, maybe a little sharp in flavor?  And whenever I hear people tell me that, I always come back with,

'Yeah, but you've never had MY Pumpkin Pie.  I put cream cheese is mine...rounds out the flavors and takes away that edge.'  

And I always get the same response-

'Huh.  Now that actually sounds good.'  

It just makes it taste better, the cream cheese.  Simple as that.  It isn't enough to make it taste like cheesecake, it's still very much a Pumpkin Pie, but it's just enough to richen it up a bit and give it an incredible mouthfeel.  The cream cheese isn't even something that you would be able to just makes it...better.  Trust me.

And while we're on the subject of Pumpkin Pie, lemme talk a bit about something that's gonna get me in a LOT of trouble with some of you.  I use canned pumpkin in my pie.  In my delicious Pumpkin Pie, I use canned pumpkin.  I am not a lazy cook, nor am I lazy in any facet of my life, I believe in farm to table, I believe in natural and real food being better for you than processed food.  I'm THAT person.  But when it comes to Pumpkin Pie, you gotta go canned.  I'm sorry.  Cook those pumpkins for something else, I still want you to cook them if you bought them.  If not for the smell alone, but crank open a $1.29 can of pumpkin puree when you're making your pie.  DO NOT BUY THE PUMPKIN PIE FILLING.  I'm talkin' the plain, pumpkin puree.  It tastes better, it's a better texture, it's just better.  Wanna know why?  It aint even pumpkin, ya'll.  Yeah...Libby's created their own squash variety called the Dickinson years ago.  It looks a lot like a butternut squash, and that's what they use for their 'canned pumpkin'.  Yup.  (Libby's be lyin'.)

The pumpkins we buy before Halloween to carve or decorate our homes with around Thanksgiving, those adorable Cinderella round beauties?  Well if you cook those, they're 90% water and mostly hollow, plus incredibly stringy (especially the big ones) so you're almost wasting your time.  Even when pureed, and strained, you still can't achieve that same texture you're gonna get from the canned pumpkin.  You're just not.  But if you really and truly don't wanna use a canned product, and you aren't a Libby's farmer, then use butternut squash for your next pumpkin pie and trust me, it'll taste a hell of a lot better than your pumpkin pie you made last year from your pumpkin patch pumpkin.  Butternut squashes, (and the Dickinson variety) are sweeter, fleshier, creamier...just all around better than pumpkins.

Knowing this information is perhaps a bit dangerous though...I may have messed with your pumpkin-happy worlds a little too much over there.  I mean...we may have to start changing the way we say things this time of year now... We may have to start seasoning our squash pies with squash spices and sipping on squash lattes.  Or...we can all just continue to live in ignorant bliss and pretend I didn't teach you anything today.

But please, just please, if you're gonna make my Pumpkin Pie, and you can't bear to cook something yourself that isn't an actual pumpkin, just open the damn can.  

*Cream Cheese Pumpkin Pie

First you'll need to blind bake your crust*.  You do this so it gets a head start in baking and won't end up being soggy once your filling has set.  All you do is roll out your pie dough, transfer to your greased DEEP DISH pie plate, press it down, crimp the edges if desired, and then poke the bottom with a fork several times to keep it from bubbling up.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes. (And if it cracks, no biggie.  It'll be hidden by filling, remember?)

Turn your oven down to 350, set it aside and allow it to cool a bit while you make your filling...

In a large mixing bowl combine the following...
-1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree 
-8 ounce brick neufchatel cream cheese (I prefer the flavor of reduced fat, believe it or not), SOFTENED.  (It has to be completely room temperature/soft or else you will have what's known as the cottage cheese effect...little tiny white pieces that will never, ever, be mixed into your filling.)
-3 large eggs
-3/4 cup light brown sugar
-1 cup evaporated whole milk (I use this because it's really creamy but isn't as rich as heavy cream. You can use whatever milk/cream you prefer but I strongly suggest you stay away from anything less than a 2% milk fat.)
-splash vanilla extract
-splash almond extract
-pinch kosher salt
-1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Using an electric beater, blend everything until creamy and completely well mixed.

Pour batter into your blind baked pie shell (if you happened to use the pre-made, pre-rolled, store-bought kind (no shame!), chances are it'll have shrunk down and will no longer be up to the edges of the pie plate, in which case you will have more filling than there is room for in your crust.  You can do one of two things, just pour as much as will come to the top of your crust and save the rest for a tiny little pie or bake it off in ramekins as a pumpkin custard OR just pour it in there anyway and cover the edges of the crust, thus completely hiding it.  It'll still taste good.)

Cover any exposed crust with an aluminum foil ring to prevent it from burning and bake at 350 for 25 minutes, then remove the foil ring and bake for another 25 minutes or so until there are a couple cracks that have begun to form around the edges and the center of the pie has the slightest shimmer when you shake it.

Allow to cool and serve room temperature.

A little whipped cream never hurt anyone either.

(*For my standard butter pie crust recipe, click HERE.  For my gluten-free pie crust recipe, click HERE.  And to watch me show you my pie crust tips, visit my YouTube channel HERE)

Quick Tip Video- How to Cut an Onion

Hey guys! Happy Tuesday to ya!  So I'm working on putting out more quick videos featuring helpful kitchen tips, something I haven't done in awhile.  And today's subject- dicing an onion.  It may seem like a no-brainer to some of you, but due to the amount of people who have asked me to teach them how to do properly cut an onion, I'm thinking more of you are gonna benefit from this than not!

If you have anything else I can help you with in the kitchen, please, as always, ask me!  Whether it's Thanksgiving wine pairings, the best way to cook a steak or, to boil water, I'm your girl.  (Maybe I'll turn your question into a video!)  Leave me a comment or fill in the email box on the blog, or just email me old school style at:

Thanks guys!!  Now enjoy the show...

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Brown Sugar Apple Cake- the sequel

ATTENTION!!!!!  If you're looking for a Thanksgiving dessert alternative (or addition) this is the recipe for you!!!  

So I created this cake 2 years ago, and it was killer.  A very popular recipe.  So good.  It's a cake made completely with whole wheat flour, studded with chunks of fresh apples, marbled with cream cheese, containing no oil or butter, with reduced sugar and then glazed with a very decadent salted caramel frosting.  You don't miss the low sugar or lack of added fat in the cake at all, you don't even mind that it's 100% whole wheat... because of that damn frosting.

That damn good frosting.

(You have my heart at salted caramel.)

So I went to make it again the other day but decided to play around with it...just to see if I could make it even better...even healthier?  And I did!  I cut back on the sugar even more, in both the cake batter and the frosting, added some lemon, and added rosemary to the frosting.  It's incredible.  So so good.  And unique.  And awesome.  It could double as a breakfast even, because it's not overly sweet.  But it's also sweet enough to be a dessert.  It has a wonderful balance of sweet and savory... it's just a really great recipe.  I can't say enough about it.

But whenever I make a healthy recipe, desserts specifically, I run several taste tests among different types of people- kids, adults, healthy eaters, un-healthy eaters... I want to make sure that it's not just a good dessert to me, a healthy eating person, but also to the people who are used to high sugar slash 'normal' desserts.  (I'm always making sure you're getting a good recipe from me!!)

And for the first time I thought I would share some of the feedback quotes-

"I like the cake.  I like the apples.  I kind of like everything about it." (-that's my 6 yr old son!)

"I like it.  And I ate it.  And I loved it.  And I like the apples too." ( 3 yr old daughter)

"Wow!!! Really good!  Not too sweet, nice and moist!..." 

"I think it's delicious.  Tastes like Fall." 

"...It was great.  Sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, 
but not so sweet that you feel guilty after eating it."

"I especially love that it was made with all whole wheat flour.  
Things like that I don't feel bad about eating, even for breakfast!"

"...It was fantastic.  Everyone loved it!" 

So, there ya have it, folks.  Sounds like they all agree...

Damn good cake.

*Brown Sugar Apple Cake 
with Salted Caramel-Rosemary Frosting

(yeah, yeah, this is the same picture from the original recipe post.  Sue me.)

First get together your dry ingredients...

In a medium bowl add the following and whisk to combine...
-2 cups whole wheat flour
-1 rounded tsp kosher salt
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1/2 tsp allspice
-1/2 tsp or so freshly grated nutmeg
Set aside

Next, prep your apples...

In another medium bowl, dice 4 cups of granny smith apples (this is 3 large apples or 4 of the smaller sized ones that come in the bag).  I prefer to leave the peels on, always.  

Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon to the apples, stir to coat.  Set aside.

Now, onto the cream cheese mixture...

In a small mixing bowl, add the following...
-1 (8 oz) brick (reduced fat) neufchatel cream cheese, room temperature
-2 TB light brown sugar
-1 large egg

Beat until fully combined and creamy.  Set aside.

Now onto your wet cake ingredients...

In a large mixing bowl combine...
-1 cup unsweetened applesauce
-3/4 cup light brown sugar
-3 large eggs
-splash vanilla extract

Beat until fully combined.

Add your wet applesauce mixture to your dry ingredients.

Fold in your chopped apples...

Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan.

Pour half of your batter into the pan.

Pour in your cream cheese mixture and spread evenly over the batter.

Pour in your remaining cake batter and spread it out evenly.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 min-1 hour, or until it has pulled away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick comes out relatively clean when stuck in the center.  (You don't want any wet batter on the toothpick, but some moist crumbs stuck to it is fine.)

And while your cake is baking, make your frosting (recipe below).

Allow your cake to cool in the pan until you can easily handle it to flip it over onto a serving plate.  (You want a plate with high edges so the frosting doesn't spill over.)

Pour your frosting over the cake and spread it evenly, it will most likely drip over the sides, and not cover all of the cake.  You can choose to either scoop it back up from the plate and cover the entire surface area of the cake, or let it's up to you!

And if you plan on serving the cake immediately, glaze it when it's warm and serve then.  If you're making it to be served later, you can either frost it warm and allow it all to cool or frost it after it's cooled completely and then store it.  Again, it's up to you. 

I believe this cake is best served warm or room temperature, and it's absolutely killer with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on the side.

Just sayin'

*Salted Caramel Rosemary Frosting...

In a medium saucepan, combine the following...
-1 stick unsalted butter
-1/2 cup light brown sugar
-3/4 tsp kosher salt
-1/2 tsp dried rosemary

Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.

Turn off the heat and slowly pour in 1/4 cup half&half (or heavy cream...)

Stir.  Turn the heat back on and simmer for about 30 seconds or so, still stirring, just until you see it start to thicken.

And a good splash of vanilla extract, plus a smaller splash of almond extract.

Take it off the heat again and allow it cool completely before frosting.  (It will thicken as it cools.)