Posts Tagged ‘Cakes’
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.
I have been collecting Gooseberry Patch cookbooks for years, ever since I received the first one, Celebrate Autumn, as a gift from my SIL Rhonda back in 1997. I even had a recipe accepted for publication in their first edition of Quick and Easy (that will have to be in another post!).
For a few years the owners kind of strayed away from their roots with all kinds of other kitchen and household stuff. I hadn’t received a catalog in a long time and chalked it up to not ordering anything in a while. I recently discovered they are back on track and are concentrating on their publications (and no more catalogs). They have a wonderful blog with lots of free recipes, including this one for Fruit Cocktail Cake which is from their cookbook, Dinner$ on a Dime. I had never heard of this cake before and just had to give it a try, especially since I had all the ingredients on hand … and needed something to blog about since I haven’t been very creative since Christmas!
1 ½ cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
15-oz. can fruit cocktail–regular pictured here, but I actually used “Light” (do NOT drain)
Beat eggs. Add the dry ingredients (sugar, flour and baking soda). Add the undrained fruit cocktail and mix well.
Pour into a greased 9” x 13” baking pan.
Bake at 350° for 30 to 40 minutes, until cake tests done with a toothpick inserted in center.
Optional: Top with a dusting of powdered sugar. Makes 12 servings
And the verdict: it was easy, cheap, and tasty! This cake was moist and kind of spongy. I used the light fruit cocktail, because a cup and a half of sugar seemed to be enough sweetener! I think I’ll pick up a couple of cans of fruit cocktail to have on hand in case I ever need a last minute dessert!
Gooseberry Patch cookbooks can be purchased on their website, in local stores such as JoAnn’s and Cracker Barrel, and from Amazon.com. This is not a paid advertisement, I just love their cookbooks!
When we look back over the year, Threaded Together has come a long way. We went from one post in January to posting more than 3 times a week now. We talked my sister-in-law into joining us and Marissa challenged herself to bake an amazing dessert every day for 30 days. We joined the crafting community and have met some amazing people. We found fantastic projects to try and shared a few of our own. We have had lots of people stop by and see what we have to say, leave us awesome comments, and for the that we are thankful. We appreciate you!
I think that the best part of our top ten viewed posts is that all four of us had a post on the top ten list! Here are the ten most viewed posts of 2010:
And the #1 MOST VIEWED POST this year?!?!?! Amazingly enough, it is a post that was just posted on December 6! This post also had the most Facebook shares!
What does the future hold for Threaded Together? Hopefully lots more crafting, cooking, and sewing. We are so excited to share our holiday gift ideas with you over the next few months, tasty new recipes and fun projects!
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!
Other than those minor things, it really was an enjoyable experience. I learned so much about my own abilities and different techniques working with fondant. I used two different types of fondant – rolled fondant to make the creatures and marshmallow fondant to actually cover the cakes. I have found that the rolled fondant works much better when it comes to molding things than the marshmallow. But the marshmallow tastes so much better (in all the opinions of the people I have polled) so I prefer to use it to do the covering. As usual, I made all of the fondant myself, which I still prefer doing as well. The extreme heat made it difficult to work with the fondant at times. I felt like the Cake Boss when the edges of his Empire State Building were falling off in the heat. My A/C is already working double time with it being 104 degrees outside though, so there was little I could do about it!
I would have to say that Mario was the most difficult to make (go figure, the one I wanted to have the most detail!) and I had the most fun making Yoshi and the mushroom head guys. My 8 year old was ready and willing at all times to tell me what creatures I should be making, what they should look like, and what I was doing wrong with them!!! :) Credit is also due to my husband who thought of making the warping pipe (the green thing off to the side). I had extra cake and didn’t want it to go to waste! It became a cute way to show that little E is turning 5!
So now that I have sufficiently de-Crisco-d my kitchen, I can officially say I am done! The cake is ready to go to its Super Mario home tomorrow and I am sure little E will love it. His mom came over today and she thinks he will too. That is the most important part and I cannot wait to find out.
Since I was covered in Crisco every step of the way, I wasn’t able to take pictures of the process. Probably a good thing since I tried to get the messy parts out of the way while my husband was gone! The last thing I need is proof of how the place looked! I will give you a quick run down of how it all went. We estimated the entire process took about 16 hours from start to finish. I used:
- 4.5 bags of powdered sugar
- 2 bags of marshmallows
- 1 container of glucose
- .5 containers glycerin
- A LOT of Crisco (makes everything not stick to everything else until you want it to!)
- The equivalent of 4 cake boxes (but I made mine from scratch)
- A lot of icing color
- 1 box of unflavored gelatin
- 12 eggs
- a few cups of oil
- I think that about covers it
I modeled the figures by their colors. I started with red and made the heads of the mushrooms and the backs of the turtles, etc. Then picked the next color that I would need on the most things that had red so I could build onto those pieces. So on, and so forth. Then I baked the cakes and let them chill before making the icing to top the cake. I put a crumb layer of buttercream icing on all the layers before putting them together and chilled them until the icing was set. I then colored and put the marshmallow fondant on top of each layer. Here is where I built the layers, putting measured and cut plastic dowel rods into the bottom layer which then supported the tiered plastic plate holding the top layer. After the layers were built I started placing the figures, really wherever they would sit! By the way, these were all dried by the time I did this. If I had ten people working for me, I would have tried to do this cake in a matter of hours, unfortunately that is not possible as a one-woman crew! After it was all done this evening, into the refrigerator it went!
I really do hope little E thinks it is the best cake ever and I hope to get many more opportunities to make such awesome cakes!
I should also say my husband is happy the cake is done because he has felt neglected this week when it comes to my baking. Apparently, the 36 scones I made him the other day have not been enough to put an end to his baked goods hunger. Sheesh!
How in the WORLD have I never done this before?! For at least a decade, I have baked a million cakes of all shapes and sizes. I make the batter, whether from scratch or a box, grease and pour it into the pan, and stick it in the oven to cook for half an hour. When the cake comes out of the oven it tastes delicious (usually). If I am baking it to just keep at home I plop some icing on it without thinking twice and savor the taste. If I am baking it to decorate and give to someone else, at least one more step is usually involved.
When you bake a cake, the edges of the pan cook first and the batter stops rising up the sides. Of course, this means the only place the cake can rise is in the middle. I am pretty sure everyone who has baked a cake has gotten a nice dome in the middle, more often than not. The fix to this problem when it happens is to level the cake by slicing the dome off the top. The end result is a shorter cake and a whole lot of wasted scraps that you usually just have to throw out. I cannot stand it when I have to throw food out!
I remember my grandmother wrapping these silver things around the outside of her cake pans when I was young. I had no idea what they were for back then, and as I grew older I didn’t put any stock into something like that affecting my cakes. How could a silver wrap change my cake?
Turns out, A LOT! Those silver wraps are called Bake Even Strips (though other companies produce them as well). Their one and only function is to make the cake bake evenly all around the pan and to eliminate that dome top. The strips range from about ten to twenty dollars and are sold in small and large sizes. You wet the strips and wrap them around the cake pan and the result is a level cake.
HOWEVER, if you are like me, the last thing you want to do is spend $20 on some funky strips. Another option for this is to create your own and it takes two seconds.
Get an old bath towel (or anything terrycloth) and cut a slit in it about 2 inches wide. I did this going across the short side of the towel. Use this slit to rip the the towel the rest of the way (it just takes longer to use the scissors to cut all the way across). You now have a two inch strip of towel between two and four or five feet long. Wet the strip with cold water until it is soaking wet and wring it out just once. You want it to be thoroughly wet, but not dripping. Wrap the wet cloth around your cake pan and secure it with a large safety pin.
Place the pan in the oven as always (make sure the excess towel isn’t hanging down onto the oven coil or anything) and bake at recommended time. This might increase your baking time. I have had to add ten to twenty minutes onto the few cakes I have already used this method on. I wish I had a picture of a domed cake to compare with the LEVEL cakes, but that will never happen now. There is NO WAY I will ever go back to baking without the towel around the edges. It is far too easy and simple and takes no time at all for beautiful cakes!
WOW!!! What a difference! The cakes shown here were all baked with towels around them. I didn’t cut the sides off or level any of them. The result is a beautiful evenly baked cake all the way around! Also, these are reusable, so just re-wet them next time you are baking another delicious cake!
Can I please tell you how excited I am that this thing is almost over? I cannot even believe I have made it this far. I really am not that interested in tasting my creations anymore. I think there is a reason why it isn’t too uncommon to find thin bakers. It’s because it doesn’t take long to not want to even SMELL sugar anymore, let alone eat it. If I owned a bakery, I don’t think I would ever be able to eat a cake again! Phmph.
So, now that my venting is out of the way, another day of technique it is. I was going to try to do butterflies and calla lilies. The butterflies were a bust and the calla lilies were a success. At least I am one for two! I have learned something every important this month about my trusty marshmallow fondant. It isn’t so trusty. There is a reason why cake decorators don’t use it. It doesn’t set well. It is fine for basic decorating and covering cakes. But once you get into the more extravagant things such as calla lilies and Mario Bros figures, you really need something that is going to stand on its own. I have stayed away from using gum paste because it tastes horrible and I don’t want to put something disgusting on one of my cakes! I may have to give in to this at some point if I want to continue with the decorating aspect though!
So, back to the point of all of that. I tried to make 3D butterflies but the fondant just would not set, so the butterflies were just a floppy mess! The picture here does show the proper way to dry butterflies so they will be 3D! I would have put their bodies and antennas on and decorate them a little after drying. So much for that!
The calla lilies, however, were fairly easy to do. I use d a heart cookie cutter to cut out white fondant. I wrapped the heart around a paper cone (pointy part of the heart is the top of the flower, not the base) and left it out to dry (never really did). I rolled up a couple pieces of yellow fondant to insert later for the stamens. The results are below. They are so easy to do considering how nice they look when they are on cakes!
I LOVE raspberry. Raspberry drinks, raspberries in parfaits, just plain old raspberries out of the plastic container. I tried pretty hard to find a raspberry cake, with no success. Lots of cheesecakes and layered desserts with cool whip. No cakes. So, I decided to use one of my “from scratch” recipes and put a raspberry twist on it.
Since a lot of the desserts I found with raspberry in them also involved lemon, I decided to fill the cake with lemon curd. I heated a small jar of lemon curd, just until spreading consistency, in a small saucepan. It was just the right amount of filling for the middle of this cake.
Not one to waste materials, I used my marshmallow fondant from yesterday for the topping. I cut squares out of the fondant using a cookie cutter. After they were cut I dipped them in sprinkles and made a checker pattern on top. For the side I used the lemon buttercream icing that I also covered the whole cake with (not the filling) for a crumb layer. There is a reason why I am only showing you the top of the cake though and that is because it does not look pretty everywhere else! I didn’t take any special measures like piping a trim around the edges of the cake to make a smooth transition from fondant to buttercream. Since you are the only people who are going to see it, I didn’t think it would matter much!
I am not going to taste this dessert tonight because I am going to wait until my husband can share in it with me! I’ll let you know how it tastes tomorrow!
Raspberry Lemon Cake
- 2 1/3 c. unbleached flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 c. white sugar
- 1/2 c. oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 c. milk
- 1/2 c. raspberry syrup (I buy mine from Starbucks)
Lemon Buttercream Icing
- 4 cups sifted powdered sugar
- 1/2 c. butter, softened
- 1/2 c. shortening
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp milk
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix in oil, then eggs, then milk, then raspberry syrup, mixing only until blended each time. Our batter into 2 greased 8” round pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Spread lemon curd as filling in between cake layers and top with lemon icing.
For lemon icing: cream together shortening and butter. Add lemon juice. Mix in powdered sugar until well blended. Add milk until you reach desired consistency.
The raspberry cake was actually pretty good! I finally tried it today and was presently surprised by its tastiness! I am, however, torn on whether I LOVE the lemon curd filling, or HATE it! :) I think I probably prefer the cake all by itself, so next time I will be putting them in cupcake form with a simple cream cheese icing on top.
The Great Chocolate Melt of 2010! Today was what I would pretty much call a dud. I wanted to continue with my “technique” work. Turns out it didn’t work so well. For the sake of ease and productivity, I used the cupcakes I had previously frozen from the pink and green day. After I defrosted them I covered them with store bought cream cheese icing. Tough, I know!
The special part of today was supposed to be the toppers for the cupcakes. I thought I would practice free form chocolate melting. I went online and found a bunch of typical clipart pictures. Things like shells, hearts, animals, stars, etc. I printed the pictures out on a couple pieces of paper and taped them to a cookie sheet. Over the top of the pictures I taped a piece of wax paper. The idea was that I would trace the outlines of the shapes with a piping bag filled with chocolate, creating the shape to put on the cupcake. Easy enough, right?
Well, the chocolate melting went fine. The tracing even went fine after I practiced a bit (I do not have the steadiest hand for details like that). I chilled the chocolates and took them out to put on the cupcakes. I literally could not get more than one on a cupcake before they all started melting!!! I tried sticking my hands in ice to keep them cold. I put the spatula on ice that I was pulling them up with. It didn’t matter. Even when I perfected the method to get them off the cookie sheet and onto the cupcake, they still continued to melt.
I think the best thing to do to try to remedy this would be put the ICED cupcakes in the fridge before ever putting the chocolate on. That way, the chocolate will stay cold as soon as it touches the cupcake. But still, doesn’t that mean the cupcakes will ALWAYS have to be cold? Won’t the chocolate still melt as soon as you take it out to sit for an event? Anyone have the answers for me?
I am also attributing the melting to the fact that the chocolate is so thin. But that is the whole point of the free form melting. Oh well. As you can see in the pics, the chocolate pieces I tried to stand on their ends melted and kind of flopped over. If I laid them flat on the cupcake it seemed to work better…for the most part!
I took a departure from baking again today to do some more decorating practice. I have a friend whose son is having a birthday soon and she asked me to make the cake. Her boy is a fan of the Mario Bros and is having a party with that theme. Since I have never made Mario Bros figures before, I thought this would be a good place to practice.
Please ignore the colors! This was a practice in MOLDING not in COLORING! I really didn’t want to waste my icing colors on pieces that will never actually get to sit on a cake. Especially since these need to be some pretty intense colors. Bright red not pink, beige not brown (skin), black not blue (Bullet Bill) and I know Mario’s hair should be darker. Those of you who color icing, you know how much it takes to make black and bright red! So for all intensive purposes…pretend!
For the most part it was just a matter of shaping the figures by rolling the fondant into balls and molding it the right way to make it look like the character. I was able to take a few shortcuts. To make the clouds I used a flower cookie cutter and cut the flower in half. To make the bullet (which is blue here, not black) I used a football cookie cutter and just cut one end off. Last but not least, of course, a square cookie cutter for the question mark block. I know Mario looks like a monkey disguised as a trucker. In my defense, I had problems with the fondant being a little too malleable when I made him. The balls that create his head and body kept sinking and making him way too short and fat. Easily remedied, but I wasn’t going to redo him tonight!
Overall, I am pretty happy with the little buggers and glad the first time making them went so well! I know I need to get some play doh to practice or something, but a lot of my issues are usually just in how to make the FONDANT do what I want it to do. It would be pointless to practice with something else that doesn’t act the exact same way.