Monthly Archives: June 2011

Raspberry Lemonade Cake

So I realized I am really bad at following directions in a recipe. On the bright side, it ends up more of an “adaptation” that way.

Last night I was planning on making a cake for my new cake stand. I had purchased all of the ingredients for both the cake and a jello mold I wanted to eventually try with a new jello mold my mom gave me (it’s old actually, just new to me). I was getting ready to start and I just thought “It’s a little silly to be baking when it’s so hott outside!” So then my husband suggests I make the jello mold instead. Sounded like a good idea, so I started making the jello. Then I realized I had bought fresh raspberries for the cake, and they weren’t going to last long. So I made both. Two new recipes in one evening? Not such a good idea…

The jello I’m not even going to talk about. Just know that I will try it again one of these says and it will make it onto this blog! It just doesn’t deserve it this time.

The cake. Mmmmm the cake. I was thinking the whole time that at least I didn’t mess up the cake like I did the jello! At least I can follow some directions.. HA. I got to the end and realized I made a big boo-boo, but it ended up tasting absolutely AMAZING and I will intentionally make the same “boo-boo” every time I make this cake! It was so good in fact, that a coworker ordered one from me for a party this weekend! So I baked the same cake (the same way!) both Tuesday and Thursday this week. I took more pictures the second time around, because the jello incident had me too frazzled to remember the first time around!

The original recipe is here. What follows is my “adaptation.”

Raspberry Lemonade Cake

Ingredients:

1 box Betty Crocker supermoist white cake mix

1 can frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed)

1 3oz box raspberry jello

1/3 cup vegetable oil

4 egg whites

fresh raspberries (about 2 cups)

1 16oz box powdered sugar

3 tbsp milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 stick butter (1/2 cup) (softened)

1 container frozen whipped topping (thawed) (I used fat-free)

 1. Heat 1 cup of water over low heat. Wisk in packet of jello. Keep stirring until all the powder is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

2. Preheat oven to 350, or 325 for dark/nonstick pans.

3. In large bowl, beat together cake mix, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup jello, 1/4 cup lemonade concentrate (shake the can before you open it!), the oil, and the egg whites on low speed for about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides on bowl and beat on medium speed for at least 2 minutes.

*Pause* Look how pretty the batter is! It reminds me of bubblegum!

4. Pour batter evenly into 2 cake pans. I used 9″. Tap them on the counter to even the batter out. Bake for about 25 minutes, cake is done when toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

5. As soon as you take the cakes out of the oven, poke the tops with a fork every inch or so. Each hole becomes a pocket of “wonderfullness” as the original receipe says!

6. Stir together the rest of the can of lemonade and the remaining jello juice. Carefully spoon over the cakes so that it seeps into all the little holes! Let cool completely (at least 1 hour).

*Pause* The first time around I couldn’t figure out why there was soo much liquid. Maybe because the original directions said 1/2 cup lemonade, half of which goes into the cake, so there is onyl 1/4 cup left to add to the jello and spoon over the top of the cake. Me not paying attention, used the whole can, which is like 5x more lemonade than you’re supposed to use. The result was a tart-sweet cake that was very very moist and amazing. I imagine the original recipe results in a sweet (rather than tart) taste and not so moist.

7. When cake is completely cool, remove the first from the pan by inverting onto a clean flat cutting board. Then invert again onto either a cake plate/platter or onto a cardboard cake base. Use a long bread knife to level off the top of the cake. Doesn’t have to be perfect, but it will help it be better balanced.

8. For the frosting, mix together powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla until very smooth. I like to add white food coloring to brighten it up, but you don’t have to. Once it’s all smooth, carefully fold in the whipped topping.

9. Plop a hefty portion of frosting on top of the bottom cake and smooth to the edges. Invert the second cake onto the (clean) cutting board, then carefully invert again onto the top of the other cake. Because the cakes are now so moist, be really careful not to break or crumble the top cake!

*Pause* I was pretty much freaking out trying to flip a sopping wet cake over on top of another cake. I was soo scared it was going to fall apart! Especially for the second cake because it was for someone else!

10. Plop a bunch more frosting on the top of the cake and start spreading. Use a lot and never let the spreader touch the cake surface, that’s how you get crumbs in your frosting! Do the sides and top separately, never spread from side to top in one motion, or the other way around. It helps keep a clean shape.

*Pause* At this point, my house was pretty warm, and my frosting was melting off my cake as I frosted. I popped both the cake and bowl of frosting into the fridge for about 15 minutes, and it came together better and was much easier to work with. I recommend the AC being on if it’s a hot day and you’re frosting a cake!

11. Top the cake with fresh raspberries, or serve along side the cake when cutting.

The ones above are the Tuesday version, on my new cake pedestal. The top one is kind of a bad picture so you can’t tell, but the pedestal is clear purple. So pretty! I served the raspberries on the side the first time.

The picture below I topped with the raspberries so that it would look fancy for my “customer”!

I bought the cardboard base and cake box at Michaels, and taped one of my business cards on the corner.

First cake order is a success! Hopefully he can make it home the hour and a half safely…

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Non-Edible Deliciousness

omg I want these!! they are so realistic looking I want to eat them!

http://www.etsy.com/listing/75736523/special-edition-rainbow-birthday-cake?ref=af_you_favitem

that’s all. ❤

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Best Brownies EVER

Okay so I have mentioned before that I don’t really like chocolate that much. Basically I don’t like chocolate just by itself. No chocolate cake, brownies, chocolate bars… the exception comes in when you add stuff to it. Nougat, caramel, nuts… I love Milky Way, Snickers, Sees caramels in the nuts and chews box.. mmm… So anyway, I don’t eat brownies. Like never.

About a month ago, a coworker and I had a play fight over him eating too many of the sugar cookies I brought in to work… somehow the result of this play fight was him trying to “out do” me and bring something yummier than my cookies. So he brings in brownies. I had to let him down with the news that I don’t like brownies/chocolate, and he INSISTED anyway that I try one. Ugh, fine. I took one and it sat on my desk a few hours before I figured what the hell.. and took a bite.

O.M.G.  – Heaven. In my mouth. Like Seriously.

I was a little too embarrassed to tell him that I was in love with it, after just telling him I don’t eat brownies. I did however, go back for another before they ran out! By the end of the day I did confess that the brownie was the best thing I have ever eaten. He promised he’d bring me the recipe, but kept forgetting… But I decided I wanted to make them for a wine party I was going to last night. (Wine+chocolate=perfect, right?) He was kind enough to finally remember to get me the recipe. And I am now going to share with anyone who happens to read my little blog! Trust me, you’re gonna want to print this one out and keep it!

Caramel Brownies

14 oz bag caramels

5 oz can evaporated milk

box chocolate cake mix w/ pudding in mix

1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

6 oz bag chocolate chips

Unwrap caramels and put in small pot with 1/3 cup (half of the can) of evaporated milk. Turn on low and stir every once in a while to get things melty. We eventually want it to be smooth, but it can get started while we get the rest ready.

Beat together cake mix, the rest of the evaporated milk, and the margarine. It will eventually turn into a ball of dough.

Press half of the dough into the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 6 minutes.

Pull the pan out of the oven and sprinkle 1 cup of chopped walnuts over the top of the dough, followed by the chocolate chips.

When the caramel is good and melty smooth, pour it evenly over the top of the chocolate chips. Don’t drool into the caramel!!!

The rest of the cake/dough mixture goes on top. I tried to smoosh it down and it wasn’t working well with the caramel there. Instead I took small pieces of the dough and flattened it as much as I could with my fingers then laid it on top the caramel. It doesn’t need to be perfect, just as good of coverage as possible.

Sprinkle the rest of the nuts across the top. (This helps hide the holes!)

Pop the pan back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Let cool completely then cut up and serve. These pics arestraight out of the oven. Look at the crispy gooey caramel on the corner!

 

Plated and ready for the wine party!

The brownies were brought out just in time for the red wines, and they paired perfectly! I will definitely be making these again and again and again… you should too!

*PS – they are good cold! We kept the leftovers in the fridge and my husband said it made them even better!*

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Baby Shower #1

This summer there are 2 baby showers I am helping with (and making cookies for!) Both are very good friends of mine, both due in August (within 3 days of each other), both having boys, and both are having sports themed showers!

Shower #1 is a general sports theme. Another good friend of the mom-to-be and myself helped with the cookies, and she brought her cousin too!

*Pause.* I have to be honest up front. I don’t really do sports. I am getting better at getting into baseball for the hubby, but that’s about it. I especially don’t play sports. I won’t even start on how uncoordinated I am, it’s ridiculous. Nevertheless, I thought I knew what all the balls looked like. Good thing I did some google searches for inspiration and didn’t just wing it…

Here are the cutters I used. I had the circle, but bought the rest at cheapcookiecutters.com.

We made baseballs and baseball bats.  I was planning on making the bats brown since I was doing brown already for the footballs (one less color to make, right?) But my husband said NO, they have to be tan. Fine.

Footballs. I like that the laces are on the top rather than the center, it doesn’t look so “fakey.”

Basketballs. Here is where the inspiration came in. If I had done the “wing it” method, I would have done the basketball like this:

Not saying it looks bad, just a little boring. (Don’t mind the crookedness, I just made it in paint to show my point.) Google inspiration gave me an angled look, which is much cuter and I never would have thought of it on my own!

Soccer balls. Similar situation as the basketballs. Except I really just didn’t know what a soccer ball looked like. And after a google search I realized that most people don’t know what a soccer ball looked like. I don’t want to offend anyone specific so instead of giving photo examples, I will just explain and if you care you can do a google search for “soccer ball sugar cookies” and you can see what I am talking about. Most people make the whole ball out of hexagons (6-sides) when in reality, a soccer ball is made up of black pentagons (5-sides) and white hexagons (6-sides). The second inspiration I got from searching for soccer ball cookies is that most people put the first black part in the direct center of the cookie and expand out. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it looks kinda funny. The one photo that I found that had the correct shapes did not center the black part, but rather did it askew. I loved it!

Okay besides all the inspiration above, I wasn’t going to even do soccer balls unless my friend was coming over to help me. I mentioned I don’t do sports.. that would be ESPECIALLY soccer. My friend however, has played her whole life and so she was in charge of the soccer balls. She did a fabulous job!

And lots of onesies! I love my onesie cookie cutter so much!!

A couple more, just cuz they’re my faves:

The cookies fit in perfectly with all the other sports decorations and with the cake!

Phew! While I didn’t make that many cookies, this was quite a project because there were so many different colors and it was hard to plan how much to make of each color so that I didn’t have to make too much icing or buttercream! It worked out nicely and I now know better exactly how much icing is needed to do a certain number of cookies. I learn more every time!

*PS* Are my picture taking skills getting any better? 🙂

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Sunshine Cookies!

Here in Sacramento it has been yucky weather for the last couple weeks… lots of clouds, lots of rain, and wind mixed in there too. It’s JUNE! Sacramento isn’t supposed to be like this! I  had some leftover dough after doing the graduation cookies last week so I decided to make some sunshine cookies to try to make the clouds disappear and bring on our usual sunny springtime!

I used my spiderweb cookie cutter from my halloween set. And I didn’t feel like making buttercream for just 19 cookies, so I did the outlining in a thicker version of my regular icing (similar to the way the pros do it with royal icing). I used golden yellow and some orange to make them bright and cheery, then ran a toothpick through them for the “firework” look. I did each one different to make a plate of FUN unique sunshine!

Since I did each cookie different, each felt like a work of art. After I finished each one, I would make my husband come look at how beautiful it was. He was trying to play his video games and I don’t think he appreciated the interuptions every 2 minutes…

Here are a couple close-ups:

This one was my favorite…

I forgot to take a picture of the cookies on the bright red platter so I took one on my phone and it turned out TERRIBLE, so you don’t get to see it. Just imagine it looking amazing. 🙂

*The cookies worked! The sun was out all day and it got close to 80 degrees!!*

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Graduation Cookies!

My little brother graduated from college and I made him cookies for his graduation party. He was on the crew team and it has become a big part of his life, so I also wanted to incorporate that into the cookies. Here are the new cutters I bought for his cookies (from cheapcookiecutters.com):

The only boat they had was a canoe and he does NOT row canoes. He gets so offended if you mistakenly call it a canoe or a row boat lol. So I didn’t get a boat.

I was worried about losing the tassel of the cap, but they were easier than I thought they would be.

The oars on the other hand, were a pain in the you -know-what. They are about 4 inches long but only about 1/2 inch wide at the paddle part. the mid section is SO skinny that I had to carefully straighten them all out before I baked them. I broke lots just trying to get them off the pan. Here is what survived:

When it came time for decorating, a few more oars got broken. Good thing I made a ton of those little s**ts.

School colors are dark green and yellow/gold. (I had a hard time getting the green to get dark enough.) The oars were so small I decided not to even outline them, and it worked out okay. I just kept the icing a little farther from the edges and didn’t do too much so it wouldn’t run down.

Here are the final products:

That crew one was my favorite. Too bad it was one of the last ones I did, I would have done more like it!

I did a few funny ones for my brother… he often sat in the seat in the boat called the “stroke seat.” They are kind of like the leaders of pace. I made one that said “Stroke it!” I thought it was hilarious, until I showed my brother the picture and he informed me that I had a misspelling:

The 2- is the symbol for a 2 man race in which each guy has only 1 oar. It’s the boat my brother finished the season racing. (It’s very difficult because if one guy is pulling harder than the other, the boat turns. They have to be precisely together, and the boat is only as fast as the weaker man.) I know my brother was proud of this title, so I did a few cookies with the 2-.

The “row row row your boat” was my husband’s idea. My brother didn’t laugh.

The only platters/trays I had that were big enough for this many cookies were red, and of course not everything goes with red, so I headed to the store to get a new platter or 2 that were more color neutral. I found this serving tray at Target with handles on the sides, and it’s perfect. A couple inches tall so it could actually hold even more cookies if needed!

I officially have a second order placed! A coworker’s husband just graduated so I will be making cookies for their party. Different colors, so it will be fun!

But first, I have a baby shower to make cookies for next week!

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