Tag Archives: cake

Confetti Cake with Fudge Frosting

First, I want to apologize for my absence this week. I made a rice pudding which I wanted to write about, but frankly, it was so disappointing and looked so unappealing (there were definitely references to bathroom behavior by my bf. Yes it was that bad looking), that I didn’t even take any final pictures. Maybe, one day when I’m bored, I’ll bring out my half-done photos and discuss it. Plus, I had friends over last weekend and cooked up a storm, so I just wasn’t in the mood to cook this week. (I made my goat cheese and asparagus quiche, the lemonade layer cake, and a green bean recipe. I forgot to take pictures of the green beans though, so I’ll have to make it again and document). Alas, I had nothing to really write about until now.

When I get sad about going to California and leaving my bf (which is often), I do my best to console myself by thinking about the things I am looking forward to having around. First on the list, being close to my family again (no offense guys but being able to attend and watch Giants games on the television is a close second).  Part of my thinking-about-family time includes planning all of the nummies that I want to make for them. (If you haven’t heard of the word nummies, you need to hop on the bandwagon pronto).

 

Fabulous Pink Cake

This cake is my recent obsession.  I have two nieces who I’m particularly fond of and I will finally be around to celebrate their birthdays. Look at the cake below and tell me that doesn’t scream “little girl birthday cake”. I have visions of three little round tiers with pink frosting and edible white pearl accents. Way over the top? Most definitely. But if a little girl birthday isn’t the occasion for over-the-top-ness, I don’t know what is. So my mission: Find a way to create this cake and this frosting and then make it in three small tiers. Due date: December 16. I know I have started a really long time in advance, but I figure one I get the tiers right, it can be recreated for any holiday. Fourth of July with red and blue sprinkles and white frosting: awesome. Halloween cake with orange and black sprinkles: check. Christmas with red and green sprinkles, with white frosting and holly accents: most definitely. I am obsessed, I know.

Step one: make the cake with sprinkles. This was my task last night. I decided, since I have so much time between now and my due date, that I can afford to take it one step at a time and make sure I get them right. (Plus, I didn’t have any powdered sugar, so I couldn’t go with my usual frosting methods and had to try something new).

First, I made the vanilla cake (from a box, gasp! I know, how could I?). But seriously, those box mixes are mighty delicious. I sprinkled a bunch of sprinkles into the batter before I poured it into the pan. Not the best idea. They all sort of sunk to the bottom while the oven finished heating up (my oven has been wacky lately and takes forever to get hot). So next time, I’m going to try sprinkling them on top of the cake once it’s in the pan and then letting them sit for just a minute so they can sink into the batter, but not to the bottom.

These were the only multi-colored sprinkles I had in my pantry, so I used them. They taste good and expand nicely in the cake, but they are too big. So you end up with spots of color and then pieces with no color at all. Maybe, I didn’t use enough, but I don’t think so. Next time, I’m definitely going to try the multi-colored sugar sprinkles (you know, the ones that are nice and tiny). Also, this type of sprinkle has brown sprinkles in them, which is weird once you have brown frosting on the cake. It makes it look like there was some sort of frosting debacle. But, I consider this test run a success because I can make the cake better next time.

I baked the cake at 350 for about 30 minutes until I could insert a toothpick and it came out cleanly.

Next up? Frosting. Once the cake was cooled, I put the sugar, light cream and butter in a sauce pan and brought the mix to a boil was stirring constantly. Then, I turned down the heat to medium and cooked the mix for two minutes (while stirring).

Then, I added the chocolate chips, stirred until smooth, and turned off the heat. I poured the vanilla in, stirred again and let the frosting cool for about ten minutes. The frosting is REALLY rich. They aren’t kidding when they say fudge. I probably would use a little less chocolate chips next time, although the chocolate monster that is my bf would disagree, he loved the frosting.

Once the frosting had cooled a bit (it doesn’t have to be totally cool, just not hot or warm. More lukewarm), I poured it on the cake and let it sit. I was really worried because the frosting was rather runny, but once it cools and hardens, it was perfect.

As you can see from this photo, the sprinkles were all clumped at the bottom, but boy was it delicious!

 

 

Frosting Recipe:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cream (or light cream)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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I Will Have My (Birthday) Cake and Eat It Too!

Today is my second favorite day of the year, a very close second behind Christmas. I am one of those obnoxious people who makes a huge deal out of their birthday. I guess because there are 4 birthdays in my family in one week (no that’s not a typo, there is one on the 21st, the 22nd, the 24th and the 28th) and my birthday has always fallen on Memorial Day weekend, it just kind of became one big weekend of combined celebration. While I can’t always celebrate with my family on my b-day, I still maintain the weekend approach. I apologize to everyone, I know that’s annoying. This year, I have a wonderful weekend planned, with theater, dinner out with my wonderful bf, brunch with friends and even a massage. But of course, no birthday is complete without a wonderful cake. While I really appreciated my bf’s offer to make the cake, I also wanted it to taste yummy, so I politely declined and insisted that I enjoyed the baking process as well as the eating (which isn’t a lie, I really do).

Here are some highlights of my day before I get to the main attraction. In addition to some wonderful presents, my parents sent me these gorgeous flowers. I also had delicious pancakes and bacon this morning. Probably my favorite breakfast ever.

This picture does a better job of showcasing the incredible lilies. Seriously, these things are gigantic and make the entire apartment smell beyond fantastic. Anyway, I will get to the point…This cake is definitely one of my favorites. It’s an amazing combination of sweet and tart. Even bf who doesn’t like lemon loves it, and I mean loves it. I am the first to admit it’s not the prettiest thing. It won’t be gracing any magazine covers or anything, but when it comes to taste, this little guy hits a home run.

Lemonade Layer Cake

from Cooking Light 

Cake:

  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 3 tablespoons thawed lemonade concentrate
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
  • Cooking spray

Frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons thawed lemonade concentrate
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

I started by putting the softened butter, lemonade concentrate, lemon peel, sugar and vanilla in a big bowl. Using my hand mixer (while day dreaming about a standing mixer), I combined these ingredients.

Then I added the two whole eggs and the additional two egg whites and mixed together again. A quick tip about separating eggs: you can buy a little do-hickey thing to do it for you, but I find that it doesn’t work very well. Nothing compares to the old tried and true method of pouring the egg into your palm, letting the whites run through your fingers, and GENTLY tossing the yolk back and forth between your hands until all of the whites have fallen into the bowl below.

Next, I put the dry ingredients (baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour) in a separate bowl and whisked together. The whisking is an important step in this cake for two reasons. 1) It makes sure the baking powder and soda are dispersed evenly and thus the cake rises evenly. 2) It brings air into the dry ingredients resulting in a fluffier, lighter cake.

Then, I added 1/3 of the dry mixture to the big bowl and mixed it together. After it was mixed in, I added 1/2 of the buttermilk and mixed again. I added another 1/3 of the flour, mixed, then the rest of the buttermilk, mixed, and finally the last 1/2 of the flour and mixed again. The resulting batter is on the left. It’s incredibly light and fluffy, which is exactly as it should be!

I poured half of the batter into each greased 9 inch pan. Another tip: after spraying the pan, gift it a sharp smack against the counter. This step will reduce the bubbles in the spray.

I baked both cakes at 350 for 20 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick and remove it cleanly. Then, I let the cakes cool in the pan on wire racks for 10 minutes.

After ten minutes, I cut around the sides of the pan with a knife and laid a piece of parchment paper over the top of the pan. Then, I put the rack over the parchment paper (upside down) and flipped all three pieces together so that the pan is upside down on the parchment paper and the rack. With a few taps to the back of the pan with a knife or your palm, the cake should come right out. The parchment paper is helpful when you go to plate the cake. The top is always a little sticky because the cake is so light, so the parchment paper keeps the cake from sticking or sinking into the rack.

The frosting has to be in the fridge for an hour before you spread it on the cake, so I always start while the cakes are baking. First, I combine the cream cheese, lemon peel, vanilla and butter until it is smooth.

Then I added the powdered sugar slowly (about a cup at a time), mix and then add more. This way you don’t end up with powdered sugar all over the kitchen and your clothes. Once the frosting is done, cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for an hour.

After the frosting is cooled, place one of the cakes on whatever plate you want. (Keep in mind the cake should stay in the fridge when you are done serving so you want a plate or dish that will fit). Then cover the top of the first layer with frosting. I know it seems like there isn’t enough frosting, but I swear you’ll have extra, so don’t be stingy with this layer.

Then place the second cake on top.

Next, frost the sides of both and the top of the second layer.

Finally, cut in and enjoy!

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Chocolate Mug Cake

This past weekend I was going out of town and so I was avoiding going to the grocery store at all costs. I really didn’t want to go buy food, only for it to go bad. This logic is flawless, but my sweet tooth wasn’t having any of it. I had heard about mug cakes before and decided the time was right to give them a shot. I found this recipe by searching online. It was good, certainly an easy, last minute option. But I can’t help but thinking it could be better. Sure some fresh whipped cream or ice cream would have helped a lot, but I think if I had cooked it for about 30 seconds less, or even put a little less flour in the cakes, they’d be better. But in a pinch, this is a great option.

Chocolate Mug Cake

from Food.com

I started by whisking together the dry ingredients for one cake. One bummer about this cake is that you really need to make one cake at a time. Although, I really shouldn’t complain, it takes about 5 minutes max.

I then added the egg and mixed the ingredients together until it was nice and gooey, like this.

I then added the other liquid ingredients and mixed together until the batter was smooth. Then I poured it into a large mug and microved for 2-3 minutes.

I cooked mine for just under three minutes. I always err on the side of caution when it comes to cooking or baking. I never want to make anyone sick, so when I am cooking something for the first time, I’d rather it be dry than undercooked. I sprinkled a little powdered sugar on top of my cakes, but I think less cooking time and some ice cream would make this treat perfect!

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Easter Weekend

Christmas is my favorite time of year, without a doubt. I love my Christmas cookies and everything else that goes along with it. But homemade goodies aside, is there really a better holiday or time of year for sweets than Easter? I am going to raise my hand for the class and offer an answer: no!

Honestly, look at these yummies. So delicious!

These cakes were my contribution to our big Easter celebration. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny took quite a bit of fussing. My aunt started by making two round carrot cakes. Once they cooled, I cut them in half. I then frosted together the two halves so that they stood up on the flat sides. Next, I cut out a small triangle a little below the 1/3 mark on the cake. I then used half of that triangle and put it in the back as the tail. I know these descriptions are confusing and I’m sorry I didn’t get more pictures of the steps. I really intended to document my process, but these were the circumstances I was battling: my grandmother has a beautiful and charming home, but the kitchen is tiny! Also, there were ridiculous numbers of people around me, coming in and out, including my cousin’s new baby! Needless to say, I got a bit distracted.

Anyway, after putting the cake together, I then frosted the entire thing. This was no easy task. The cakes really should have been refrigerated, but they weren’t. So they were really crumbly. I had to use a ton of frosting and a combination of a knife and my fingers to cover the cake. Then, I cupped coconut shavings in my hands and gently pressed them against the cake, starting at the top. Next, I pushed two black jelly beans into the cake for eyes and a larger pink jelly bean for the nose. My aunt also helped me by cutting out the ears, which I stuck into the top of the head piece. For extra decoration, I sprinkled coconut and green sprinkles around the bunnies for grass and then some extra jelly beans.

One final amazing moment of my weekend came on Sunday night. A family friend had been visiting Tanzania and brought back huge backs of spices. Aren’t they gorgeous? They also smell glorious.

What did you do for Easter? What were your favorite things?

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The Chocolate Fiasco of 2011

As you all know, I recently received a new cookbook “500 Chocolate Delights”. It has been wonderful, but it seriously let me down this time. I had another work event and I was hoping to make Devil’s Food Cake Bars. Basically it’s a Devil’s Food cake, sliced in half, filled and topped with a soft meringue frosting, then sliced into bars. The result was far from it. In fact, I was so angry last night, my kitchen was filled with swearing and the occasional thrown oven mitt.

This is what happened. I followed the recipe exactly. Like, read it five times just to be sure I didn’t make any mistakes, exactly. I used an 8×8 pan. The exact same ingredients. Everything. Even now, I have not the slightest idea what went wrong. The only thing I can guess is that there somehow was a typo or a mistake. I think the cake would have worked alright in a 9 x 13 pan. But here is where I get confused. The recipe said it would produce 10 bars. A 9 x 13 pan would produce far more than 10 bars. So that would require two major typos- hardly the work of a professional editor.

My other guess, is that the measurement of 4 cups self-rising flour was a typo. In theory, this option makes far more sense. 4 cups of flour seemed like a lot to my inexperienced eyes. And the batter certainly seemed like it made an awful lot. Yet, again I run into confusion. As you will see below, the top layer of the cake was baked. I tried it and it was amazing. Wouldn’t the cake taste all wrong if there was too much flour?

Even now as I talk through it, I am no closer to solving the riddle of the Devil’s Food Cake Bars. Does anyone have any ideas? I would be eternally grateful. So grateful in fact, that I will send you a batch of the finished product once I get it right, or any dessert of choice. Because this whole mess is driving me insane!

So for your amusement, I thought I would include a few pictures of the exploding, overflowing chocolate blob. You can see the bits of cake on the bottom of the oven that first gave me an indication that something was wrong (they started to fill the apartment with smoke).

 

Here is a close up to show you just how much the cake was actually overflowing.

 

So please give me ideas as to what might have gone wrong!

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Christmas morning coffee cake

Happy holidays to everyone! I hope all of my lovely readers had a wonderful holiday whatever holiday you enjoy. I am sorry for my brief absence, I have been enjoying some busy family time, as well as tons of cooking! There has been simply too much to document, so I’m going to be writing about my assignments over the past week. This past week has been so hectic, but Christmas yesterday was lovely. I made this coffee cake on the 24th for breakfast yesterday. It is super easy and delicious, although is slightly more complicated if you don’t have a cuisinart or some sort of chopping device. I found the recipe a few years when I was browsing on McCormick’s website. Here it is: http://www.mccormick.com/Recipes/Breakfast-Brunch/Cinnamon-Sour-Cream-Coffee-Cake.aspx

 

First, I sprayed the pan with a non-stick spray and then floured it. I also pre-heated the oven to 350 degrees.

 

 

 

 

Next, I prepared the crumbly stuff for the top. I mixed together the flour, sugars, and cinnamon.

 

 

Then I cut up the butter into small cubes and added them to the cuisinart. After you chop it up, the mixture should look like course corn meal. I then set this aside.

 

Next I made the cake. One of the things I love most about this recipe is how easy it is. Theoretically it’s cheating because you use a box of white cake mix. But at the holidays when everyone is busy, who really cares? It still tastes awesome. Anyway, you add an egg, sour cream, the melted butter and vanilla to the cake mix and stir until it’s blended. Then you put it in the pan. This step is a bit messy. I use a combination of my fingers and a spoon to push it flat and into the corners. It’s not to pretty, but it gets better I promise.

Then, I sprinkled the topping all over the cake. Make sure it covers all of the batter. Then I baked it for 30-35 minutes, I did about 32, or until you can insert a toothpick into the cake and not get big clumps of batter. The cake also starts to pull away from the side of the pan. The picture to the left is what is looks like when it’s done. It’s delicious hot or cold. For those of you with full fridges, good news! It can be stored covered on the counter. It was a delicious Christmas morning treat.

Sneak peak for tomorrow’s post………

 

 

 

 

 

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Chocolate Filled Russian Tea Cakes

Last night I finished my graduate school applications. It was a big personal moment. Today, my bf finished his exams for his first semester of law school. You could say these 24 hours have been monumental. We needed a treat.

Because I am going home to California early next week for the holidays, there really isn’t much in the house and I’m loathe to bake a huge batch of goodies. These little nummies were just perfect! They don’t make a huge batch, I didn’t need to get any other ingredients, and my bf could take some when he goes to his home tomorrow. I got the recipe from foodpress.com, but here is the link: http://therecipehoarder.com/2010/12/08/chocolate-filled-russian-tea-cakes/

The recipe calls for chocolate stars, but all I had was semi-sweet baking chocolate. So I chopped it up into a bunch of tiny little pieces. Basically you want the pieces to be just a tad larger than chocolate chips and other than that what kind of chocolate you use is up to you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then I mixed together the powdered sugar, the butter and the vanilla. Then I added the flour, nuts and salt and mixed again.

 

 

 

 

Next, I took a tablespoon of dough at a time and put a little piece of chocolate in the center.  I then molded the dough around chocolate into a little ball.

 

 

 

 

This is what the entire tray looked like. In the future I will try and make them a little rounder all the way around. I cooked them for 10 minutes at 400, until the bottoms were golden brown.

 

 

 

 

While the cookies were baking, I mixed together the powdered sugar and the sprinkles. I didn’t have the colored sugar, so I just used Christmas sprinkles. Then as soon as the cookies were done, I rolled them one at a time in the bowl. It’s sort of a messy process, so I put them on a rack over a cookie tray when they were done.

 

 

This is what the cookies look like when they are done. They are amazing! The chocolate stays nice and melty on the inside and they are a wonderful change of pace when it comes to desserts. They are also so easy and quick- a perfect mid-week treat.

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