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Monthly Archives: April 2011

Red Velvet Cake

I am having some mixed emotions as I write this post.  I am ashamed and excited at the same time. It started on Wednesday night this week when I was seriously in need of cake.  It was that time of the month and I was craving something sweet.  There on my kitchen table was a box of Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix and a can of cream cheese frosting that I was actually going to return (yes, I have no shame in returning things).  I had bought them when I was planning to make Bakerella’s Red Velvet Cake Balls to ship to my brother but ended up going with raspberry and cream cheese brownie bites instead.  Ok, back to my need for cake.  Just this past weekend I made a layered chocolate cake for an engagement party by doctoring up a cake mix and then making my own mocha buttercream.  It was such a success that I figured I would jazz up the red velvet mix and hopefully satisfy my urgent need for cake.  Fast forward to my cooled and frosted cake…oh my goodness…it was DELICIOUS!  Granted, the frosting most definitely tastes like it comes from a can but I didn’t have any cream cheese at home to make it myself.  I took the cake to work yesterday and only told one friend the truth behind the cake.  Everyone knows I always bake from scratch so I didn’t want to reveal that I had used a cake mix even though I was sure the frosting would give me away.  I asked my friend to taste it without the frosting at first and give me her honest opinion.  She loved it and told me I could make it for her any day of the week.  That cake was gone quicker than anything else I have ever brought to work!  I got compliments yesterday on how good it was and today one co-worker even told me it was better than the red velvet cake she recently had at her friend’s wedding!  My eyes and taste buds have been opened to the world of cake mixes. They were BOGO free at Publix yesterday so I am stocked and ready to experiment!

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Duncan Hines red velvet cake mix
  • 1 small box Jello instant chocolate pudding mix (3.9 oz I think)
  • 1 cup sour cream (used Daisy’s)
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix all ingredients in large bowl.  Pour batter into 2 buttered and floured 9″ cake pans (or use baking spray).  Check for baking times on the cake mix box as it can vary depending on the type of pan you use.  Mine were done in about 35 mintues.
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Posted by on April 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Cake Slice Bakers: Cold Oven Cream Cheese Pound Cake

Have you ever heard of a cake being baked in a cold oven?  Well, if you haven’t you are not alone.  When this month’s cake was announced I was surprised to learn you do not pre-heat the oven.  This “technique” is supposed to result in a crisp crust on the pound cake.  This pound cake was delicious and not as dense as your typical pound cake.  The recipe calls for lemon zest along with fresh ginger.  I left out the ginger as I don’t like it and quite honestly why make something the baker herself won’t like? LOL  I wish I would have added more lemon zest and some lemon juice as the flavor was not as pronounced as I would have liked.  I did add a lemon glaze on top (lemon juice + powdered sugar) but it still wasn’t enough lemon flavor for me.  Granted, this wasn’t supposed to a lemon pound cake but I am a lover of lemon desserts!  As usual I shared this with my co-workers and everyone loved it.  Click here to see what my fellow bakers thought about this cake.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh lemon zest
Method:
Adjust oven rack to the lower-middle position.  Grease a 12 cup bundt pan and dust with flour.  Combine the butter, cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
With the mixer on medium-speed add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla, ginger and lemon zest.  Turn the mixer to low-speed and add the flour mixture, half a cup at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Mix batter for 30 seconds on medium-speed.
Spread the batter into the bundt pan and place the cake in a cold oven.  Turn the oven to 325 degrees F and bake without opening the oven door until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 65-80 minutes.  Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert it onto a cooling rack.  Cool completely before slicing and serving.  Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
 
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Posted by on April 20, 2011 in Cakes

 

First Time for Everything

This adventure started with someone asking me for a favor.  The question of the day was “would you make my engagement cake?”  The anxiety started when I realized the party was for 40-50 people.  My baking supplies consist of some 8-10″ cake pans, a 9×13″ pan and a bundt cake pan so you can understand the anxiety.  I calmed down a tad when I got an update on the count…it was now down to close to 35 people.  Even with the lower amount I still did not have the resources to make one cake to feed the entire crowd.  I wanted to help out but the only way was to make to separate cakes.  The soon-to-be bride agreed so a chocolate layer cake and strawberry cheesecake it was.  I knew I would use Dorie Greenspan’s Tall and Creamy Cheesecake recipe as I used it before with much success.  I am not a major fan of chocolate cake so I do not have a “go to” recipe. After some time on the internet I came across a recipe that many people claim to be the best chocolate cake recipe.  Initially I found it on Leigh Anne’s blog Your Homebased Mom but also saw it on several other blogs.  I was hesitant at first because this meant I would have to use a cake mix.  The recipe doctors up a cake mix by adding sour cream, instant chocolate pudding mix, chocolate chips, extra eggs and milk.  The verdict?  There was no reason to doubt as the cake was delicious.  I frosted it with a mocha buttercream…so good!  Now, I wish I could say the decorating process went just as smoothly.  I was quite nervous about this part as I never did much decorating other than frosting a cake in a “homely” manner.  Again I searched the internet for some tips and came across one where you use a foam paint roller to smooth the buttercream once it sets.  The problem came when time was passing me by and the frosting still needed to firm up some more.  I thought I would speed up the process by placing it in the freezer.  I left it in there much longer than I should have and the buttercream was rock solid.  I tried to let it “defrost” a bit to be able to smooth it out with the paint roller method but it would not budge.  As if this was not enough I now had to pipe directly onto the cake because my initial idea did not work.  The plan was to pipe “Congratulations Marley & Jesus” in melted chocolate onto a silpat and freeze it.  Once frozen I was planning to peel it off the silpat and put it on the cake.  My hands were shaking like a leaf but I managed to get it on there.  Even though it didn’t turn out exactly as I would have liked everyone loved it and that’s the most important part!  Besides, don’t you think the perfect (crack-free) cheesecake makes up for my lack of decorating experience?

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in Cakes

 

S’mores Brownies

Yesterday I was simply in the mood to bake.  Yes, I am usually in the mood but for the most part it is always something that I plan ahead to make.  That was not the case last night.  I was going for something quick that I could do while watching American Idol.  I had some marshmallow fluff and graham crackers left over from the Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Cake challenge with The Cake Slice Bakers and therefore decided to go with brownies.

I used the Nestle Cocoa Chewy Brownie recipe and simply added some graham cracker pieces to the batter.  Once I spread the batter in the pan I swirled in the marshmallow fluff.  The batter is quite thick so this was not the easiest thing to do so maybe next time I will try using mini marshmallows.  I didn’t measure the graham crackers or marshmallow fluff….just added what felt right (sorry).  I took them to work today and they were very well received.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2011 in Bars, Brownies