Archive for the ‘Cakes’ Category
It is beginning to look a bit like Christmas … and that means there are all kinds of get-togethers, at the office, in the neighborhood, etc. This is an old stand-by, one of my favorite “go-to” recipes, especially when I haven’t planned ahead for something special! I’ve got a meeting at work tomorrow morning and decided I needed to bring something in to share. I conveniently keep the ingredients for this yummy cake on hand at all times.
1 box yellow cake mix
1 box butterscotch instant pudding
approx. 1 Tblsp. Poppy seeds (original recipe calls for 2 oz. — a small spice container — but, in this case I think “less is more” and can get 3-4 cakes out of one container)
1 cup water
2/3 cup oil
In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients (except
powdered sugar). Add water, eggs and
oil. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds,
until well combined. Mix on medium speed
for 2 minutes. Pour into lightly greased
Bake at 350° for 40-45
minutes (until tester comes out clean).
Let cool about 10 minutes and invert onto plate. This also works well in loaf pans. Cool
completely and then dust with powdered sugar.
Or in English…”Let the good times roll!”
It is times like these that I really miss Pensacola (Florida). Today is Fat Tuesday. If you live anywhere other than Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, or Mississippi, this might mean a few beads and some masks. However, if you are a true southerner, Mardi Gras season is a lifestyle. The New Orleans’ influence spread throughout the south and it is not unusual for people to take a day or week off of work to celebrate. Beads, beer, bushwhackers, beignets, and more are found in abundance at parties, on the streets, at masquerade balls, in parades, schools, and workplaces. Mardi Gras is a time for everyone to celebrate life and happiness and for many, the preparation for Lent. Fat Tuesday is a day of serious indulgence before Ash Wednesday.
You cannot throw a Mardi Gras party without the ultimate Fat Tuesday centerpiece…the King Cake. This cake is a Danish creation rolled up jelly roll style and filled with cinnamon, raisins, and more.
The tradition is that each person takes a piece of cake hoping to find the plastic baby inside (I think my cake was cut perfectly…the baby reaching out for someone to pull it from the cake!). Whomever finds the plastic baby in their piece is crowned King or Queen for the day. They are also supposedly obligated to host the Mardi Gras party the next year and supply the King Cake.
You can order your cake from an authentic bakery in New Orleans or elsewhere in the south. They are shipped all over the nation around Mardi Gras. OR you can make your own! It really is not difficult, though it does involve yeast and rising time. I found an excellent recipe here at allrecipes.com.
Instead of doing all the proofing, rising, and kneading on my own, I stuck the ingredients in my bread machine. For most machines you start with the liquids first (I did use warm milk and softened the butter in the microwave). Then you put all the dry ingredients in and make a well in the top of the mound of flour. This is where you put the yeast (no proofing and letting it bubble in with the sugar, etc.). When using a machine you do not want to let the yeast and liquids mix (I also keep it away from the salt) until the heat is spreading through the dough.
You see though, I only have a 1.5 pound bread machine. The most dry ingredients (I think all combined) you are supposed to put in the machine is 4 cups. The recipe calls for 5.5 cups of just flour. Guess what happens when you don’t follow directions?
Oops! Hee hee, silly me! Really though, I would probably do it the same way again, even though my dough tried to escape from the machine! It was still a time saver and still rose perfectly fine.
After the first rising you roll the dough out into a rectangle and sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the rectangle. Then roll it up jellyroll style beginning on a long side, pinching the seam firmly together.
Repeat the process with the second half of dough and place on a piece of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet, forming a ring. Again, press the two ends together on each side of the ring, firmly sealing the ring. Here is the ring after cutting slits in it, and again after the second rising.
HOW DO I LET MY BREAD RAISE??? Thank you for asking! I preheat my oven to 175 degrees and then turn it off! Crack the oven door open with a wooden spoon and after it has had about 5 minutes to air out, put the dough in the oven. This should provide the perfect temperature for the next hour or so to allow your bread to rise.
After it has fully risen, bake it in the preheated oven, cut a small hole in the bottom and stick the baby inside and drizzle the topping over it. I let my cake rise for a LONG time. This caused two problems. One, I should have baked it for about 5 minutes less (possibly even shorter). The outside was SO tough. But the inside was still great and it tasted wonderful. Two, I had to quadruple, yes, quadruple the icing recipe so I would have enough to cover the cake.
Make sure everyone knows there is a baby in the cake before they start eating! These days with choking precautions, etc, a lot of people will simply put the babies on top as decorations.
Decorate it with some beads and Mardi Gras colorfulness and you are ready to party with the best of them! So here is my ode to Pensacola Mardi Gras…I’m with you even if only in spirit.
Do you ever have those days? You know, the ones that you wake up totally unaware of how terrible it is going to be?!?! I certainly do and this day was no exception. The day proved to bring on a serious match for me.
In one corner, 5 inches tall and weighing in at 5 pounds, born from a serious love for all things chocolate, the infamous Chocolate Bomb cake. His opponent, 5’10”, blankety blank blank pounds, brunette, known to her friends as Betty “the Beat” Crocker…Marissa. The battle began in the early hours of the afternoon. Marissa started out with a quick mix, tossing all the ingredients she had at the Bomb. After throwing in some serious heat (350 degrees to be exact), the Bomb took a shot back and came out swinging and burning. Marissa went at him again, pouring in a whole other round of flour power, beaten eggs and some pudding to make him extra gushy. She came out ahead after this one and the two proceeded on to the next round. The Bomb resisted the gooiness of the ganache and went all grainy on Marissa…creating the necessity for ANOTHER repeat. He was trying to slowly wear her down and stomp all over her gusto and glory. Marissa, “the Beat,” wasn’t through yet. Oh no. She melted the Bomb’s ganache the second time like the Wicked Witch of the West. She covered the Bomb with a right, then a left, then a solid pass around the top of him. It looked like there was no hope left and he was done for. Finally defeated by the super mom. But wait. What’s this? Marissa is getting into the car to leave and what does the Bomb pull out in the final minutes of the match??? That’s right! He slides to the right and INTO the wall of the ring, smooshing his ooey gooey frosting all over the ropes! His beautiful icing detail work all a mess! Marissa has been conquered!!! She falls to the ground as the crowd is yelling “boos” and “oos.” She cries back, hands over her eyes “Not right now kids! Leave Mommy alone!!!!”
That was at 6:32. The cake was supposed to be in my friend’s hands at 6:30. I ran into the house, scraped off the damaged buttercream, whipped up a new batch and re-iced the details. I managed to get it over to her house by 7:00 after threatening my son’s life if he were to tilt, drop or squish that cake. Well, not really, but I’m sure HE felt that way!
I have made this cake a MILLION times. It is by far my favorite, and popular with everyone else who has tried it. I am certainly no master baker, but I am proud of my Chocolate Bomb. I guess we ALL have our off days.
Are you ready for some football??? Okay, so the game is really over and the Packers won already. However, my big task of the day was creating a Super Bowl cake for a party and I wanted to share it before I got into bed tonight. The party was for some die-hard Steelers fans. Hopefully, they’ll atill be friendly people tomorrow after the loss! It was a close, good game and fun was had by all, so I would definitely deem it a success! Here is the Super Bowl cake I made. I basically copied a cake I found on the internet related to Super Bowl 2009. I made very few changes to work with what I had and this was the result:
I was pretty darn happy with the result and so were the people hosting the party. No fancy flavors here…just one layer of chocolate and one layer of vanilla (11 x 15). The icing is all fondant except for the black and white lettering. This took four cake mixes, two batches of fondant and three batches of buttercream icing. A LOT of sugar to deal with today!!!
Maybe next time Steelers!
I broke my foot. I think. If not, I definitely sprained it. Well, it may just be horrendously bruised. Whatever the case, it HURTS! Surely some crazy lady down in Florida who has broken both feet on separate occasions in the last six months, sent her no good, super voodoo bad luck up to me in Virginia and I am in some serious pain. I’m not naming any names or anything, but thanks Jennifer!
I am supposed to be running a 14K in 9 days. I have my first ever marathon scheduled in less than 7 weeks. ARGH!!! The doc’s visit is this afternoon, so I am on pins and needles to hear what he has to say about my poor little foot. What am I going to do with myself now that I can’t run my 40 + miles this week? Bake! Hey, if I’m going to sit around and do nothing, I am going to make sure those are some GOOD calories I am earning! Of course, during my first whole day of “taking it easy,” I cleaned the kitchen, went to the library, Wal-mart, and the Dollar Tree, took care of my dogs and my two kids, and baked a cake! I know, I know, I know. I don’t want to hear about it. Especially from you Mom!!! I am being careful and keeping the weight off of it as much as possible. Unfortunately, life does not stop with a hurt foot, especially when the hubby is out to sea. See!!! It is true, EVERYTHING needs fixing as soon as they LEAVE!!! ;o)
I am trying to look on the bright side of the situation and use this as an opportunity to catch up on the things I usually don’t take the time to sit and do: knitting, internet searching, and cake inspiration hunting to name a few.
Today’s inspiration came from a lovely liquor sitting on the shelf of my bar…Bailey’s Irish Cream. I wanted to create a recipe on my own completely from scratch that held all the terrific tastes of a classic Bailey’s drink – the Mudslide. There are a few things I will do differently next time, but I was so excited to hit the nail on the head the first time!!! It was delicious and a perfect treat to sit and talk over with a friend and a couple of mugs of hot cocoa. Just look at the marbling in that cake!!! It was even prettier to cut into! I marbled a chocolate cake recipe (next time I will add the Kahlua to actually make it a mudslide) and an Irish Cream cake to create the amazing flavors in this dessert. Each bite was so good it most certainly must have been bad!!!
I think I am going to have to keep the recipe for myself, but I still wanted to share in my excitement and the cake came out so gosh darn pretty, I just had to post it! I went searching for mudslide cake recipes so I would have SOMETHING to share with you and came across this one. It is very different from mine, but probably worth trying if you really want a go at it on your own (though it should be noted that they posted that the cake turned out dry by some peoples’ account).
*UPDATE!* First and foremost, this cake has been aptly renamed JoAnna Banana Cake after my wonderful MIL who came up with the idea. Secondly…OH. MY. GOSH. This cake was F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S. I brought it to a neighbor’s for a New Years Eve party and I am pretty sure I saw eyes rolling back into some people’s head in ecstasy. I know, paints quite a picture, hmm? When I posted this I had only tried some extra cake with some extra peanut butter frosting. Putting it all together in the cake with the layers of peanut butter frosting and the chocolate on top made this one of the most remarkable cakes I have ever eaten in my life. The cooking style of the banana cake made it incredibly moist and a terrific choice to mix with the peanut butter and chocolate tastes. I can claim no credit for this because if it weren’t for JoAnna Banana it never would have happened!
After a conversation with my mother-in-law the other day, my husband and I decided I just had to try to create this cake. My MIL had whipped up a quick lunch for herself the other day – slices of banana bread with peanut butter on top. She told my husband about it and they joked how if you stuck them together and dipped them in chocolate it would be the perfect meal. So, well, WHY NOT??? The challenge was on. I went searching for a few banana cake recipes but none of them were exactly what I wanted. I found one that was close enough and put my own spin on it. I added a few ingredients like chocolate chips and pudding mix and changed a few other things like sour cream instead of buttermilk.
To fill the cake I used a peanut butter buttercream recipe that I ADORE and my ever faithful chocolate ganache to top it off!!! Peanut butter sandwich dipped in chocolate! I only wish my MIL was here to taste it. I am sure she would LOVE it.
Banana Peanut Butter Chocolate Sandwich Cake. I know the name is a mouthful, but you should try the cake! It really is a party in your mouth. Very rich with the crazy combination of bold flavors, but I don’t feel like it is too much. All three, the chocolate, banana, and peanut butter hold their own in this cake and combined make it EXPLOSIVE! That, of course, makes it perfect to bring to the new years celebration we are attending tomorrow.
Thanks for the idea J! It’s awesome! (Pics to come later).
My husband loves those incredibly unhealthy, gooey, sticky bundt cakes that you can buy in the grocery store bakery. When we were first married, that is what he requested every year for his birthday. Eventually we moved to other treats, but he still loves those cakes. When I saw a picture and link to recipe for Orange-Lemon Cake in this month’s Taste of Home Simple and Delicious magazine (LOVE that magazine!), I knew that my husband would love it. It turned out beautiful, tasted pretty good and he loved it!
In a mixer or large bowl, mix the first five ingredients together.
Pour into a pan. The recipe calls for a fluted pan but I used a sunflower pan with a middle (something I won’t do again…see below!).
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. My cake had to bake for about 45 minutes. Let cool for 10m and put on a wire rack to cool completely.
After cake has cooled make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar and orange juice. Pour glaze on cake. As you can see, the glaze is not the gorgeous white color that it is in the magazine picture. Does anyone know how to get that beautiful bright glaze color?
Next time, I would probably use a bundt pan of some sorts. The sunflower pan has a middle and when I was pouring the glaze, it pooled in the middle of the cake. When you are finished, you have a beautiful cake that tastes pretty good too!