If there’s fruit in the cake it counts as Breakfast Food!

strawberry cake1

My sweet treat this week was a very delicious Strawberry Yogurt Cake.  And since it contained fresh fruit and yogurt I declare it both good for you and breakfast food!!

This is a really yummy cake and I highly recommend this recipe.  It was pretty simple recipe and I only made one little change to it.  This was the first time I’ve used a recipe that had me zest a lemon into the flour mixture first instead of the butter/sugar mixture.  I was a little apprehensive of that but it really did help the zest be distributed throughout the cake and it seemed like the flavor of the lemon was much more prominent.  I think it may be because mixing it with the butter and sugar may beat it too much that it loses some of its zip.  I’m going to have to try this with other cakes to see if it’s true. Yep, make more experimental cakes to test this theory…oh the things I do to help society make better desserts. I really do deserve a medal or maybe a crown. I love crowns!  But we’re getting away from the point here. What I wanted to point out is that fresh lemon flavor with the strawberries just made the cake for me.

Now for the strawberries, the recipe called for 12 ounces of diced strawberries.  I can never figure out sometime if they mean 12 ounces of whole strawberries or 12 ounces of diced strawberries.  Because we’re talking about 2 very different things there.  I used a 1lb container of strawberries and I sliced them instead of dicing them.  I thought that dicing them would make them a little mushy after cooking and I would rather have large pieces of strawberry.  I’m glad I made that decision.  The only thing I would change for next time is I would have saved a handful of the slices to sprinkle on top of the batter once I got it into the pan.  Even though they didn’t all sick to the bottom I didn’t think they were very evenly distributed towards the top of the cake. And then of course I made your standard powdered sugar glaze for the top.

strawberry cake

But overall I would give this recipe a big A+.  It’s a great cake for social gatherings like breakfast, brunch or just to have friends over for afternoon tea and cake (which we don’t do enough of that)  It’s not overly sweet and the strawberries and lemon give it a great zip.  In fact, I’m going to go cut myself a nice big slice of this right now!

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It was a weekend of Cake!

This weekend was all about cake and cupcakes!  Going away from my Pinterest list this weekend for a very special birthday and for the 4th of July.

First up was the birthday party for my niece, the adorable little Boo who turned the big 1 this year.  I love that I get to do the birthday cakes for her and her big sister.  Since she was turning one we had the regular birthday and the smash cake!  Her birthday party was butterfly themed so I immediately jumped on line and ordered a Butterfly shaped pan from Wilton.  This is a very cute pan and came with the decorating designs already shaped into the pan.  But here’s the problem, once you put your crumb coat of frosting down you pretty much lose the design and just have to free hand it.  Luckily for me, I live with an artist that is much more skilled and steady handed than I when it comes to the decorating. While I did do the purple sparkling center and the outline of the wings he did everything else.  Thank goodness!  And since I had some batter left over I made a few cupcakes as well.

DSCF3558I used just your basic vanilla cake recipe and a simple cream cheese frosting.  I always add about a half a lemons worth of juice in my frosting just to give a little extra zip.  And then I dipped the cupcakes in different colors of sugar sprinkles.  The picture doesn’t do them justice cause they really shimmered in person.

DSCF3557For her smash cake I used the same recipe in a 6 inch cake pan and once again I had my trusty friend Anthony do the writing for me.

Next up was the 4th of July!  I think cupcakes are always a good thing to bring to a large party so I did red and blue cupcakes with vanilla frosting.  Now with these I used a box mix…go ahead…be shocked.  But I am not a snob of the box mix.  In fact I look at it as pre-measured dry ingredients.  It’s what you do with them that makes a difference. The first thing to remember when using a box mix is to NOT over beat the batter. I know the package says to beat the batter for 2 minutes but to me that is just way too long. And even if you see small clumps they will cook out. Next, I substitute milk for the water, melted butter for the oil and I add an extra egg.  From there I mix in different flavors, a little dry instant pudding mix or just same plain old vanilla. And lastly, watch the time and rotate the pan half way through cooking. Most ovens don’t cook evenly and temperatures can vary so much, so keep a good eye on them.

4th of July

I covered them in the classic sprinkles and they were pretty damn tasty! And patriotic…see…red, white and blue…see what I did there!

So, next week I’ll get back to trying new recipes off of my Pinterest list but for now I’m going to sit back and enjoy a classic cupcake…or two.

Shortbread…it’s still a thing!

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I can’t remember the last time I made shortbread and I don’t know why I don’t more often.  It’s buttery and delicious and super easy to make.  Seriously, give this a try.  The recipe I chose this week was White Chocolate Peanut Butter Shortbread Magic Bars.  Again with the overly long name.  I think “magic bars” could be left off but that’s just me.

The recipe is very easy to follow and I didn’t run off and do my thing with this one. Except the recipe said to bake for 40 to 45 min but mine was done in 30.  So let that be a little lesson, keep an eye on your baked goods all ovens run a little different.  And my oven is a special little flower that needs a lot of attention and a good oven thermometer.

The thing that bugs me sometimes with recipes is the measuring of chocolate chips.  Do any of you actually measure them out cause I don’t.  I just eyeball it.  With the shortbread I used about a half of bag of mini chips and for me that was plenty.  I think if you get too many in there you might as well just use regular size chips.

The pouring of the sweetened condensed milk on top of the dough before cooking was a new thing for me.  I honestly wasn’t sure if that was going to work or not.  I like to rotate my pans half way through cooking and when I went to turn the pan the milk had kind of pooled and was even runnier than when I started so I was a little concerned.  But fear not by the time it was done cooking the milk had set and caramalized on top making it a little sticky and gooey.  Yum.

After it cooled I frosted it with peanut butter and did my whole Jackson Pollock thing on top with melted white chocolate.  The only thing that was missing was a big glass of milk. Seriously, we were out of milk…I don’t even know how that happens.  But I give this recipe a big thumbs up and highly recommend it.

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Yep, I cut them into squares even though the recipe says “bars”.  I’m a rebel!

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake

icebox2I started out the weekend thinking I was going to make a cake with dark chocolate and raspberry filling and then the San Diego heat wave said….nah I don’t think so lady. I baked my cake and then I had visions of chocolate frosting sliding down the side into a big gooey mess.  So, I went back to my list and looked for a refrigerated dessert and voila we have the Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake.  And that’s a terrible name, it’s too long and I don’t know if I would really classify this as a cake but more of a layered dessert.  But the one thing I can tell you is that it was delicious and was perfect for a hot summer night.

The recipe is pretty simple, especially if you have a kitchen aid, you beat together cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until nice and smooth.  Any dessert recipe that has sweetened condensed milk in it just about always gets a thumbs up in my book.  I love the stuff.  At some point I’ll have to tell ya’ll about my Hot Chocolate recipe that starts with a can of this stuff…yum yum.  But I digress,  next up was adding the instant pudding.  The recipe called for cheesecake flavor but I go my own way sometimes and went with banana. Mostly so I could say BANANA like a Minion. Plus, I love bananas and strawberries together.

Now the hardest part, assembly.  And that should tell you hard this recipe is. Start with Graham Crackers and I suggest leaving them connected together as much as possible because when you add your first pudding layer it will make it easier to spread it out.  Also, on that note, I recommend putting a good amount down to start with and use a small offset spatula to basically frost the crackers.  Add your sliced strawberries and then repeat. You want to top it with a little Cool Whip (and yes, I’m not a Cool Whip snob, it has its place in the culinary world too…don’t Cool Whip shame!) And then I finished it off with some crushed Graham Cracker crumbs.  It makes it all pretty like!  I refrigerated it for about 8 hours and it set up beautifully.

icebox1I used a metal spatula to cut and serve it and it came out perfect.  While eating this I kept thinking about all the different combinations of fruit and puddings that I can use.  I would love to do Lemon Pudding and Blueberries, I think that would be really good too.  And it’s a great dessert for potlucks and picnics.  So, a big thumbs up for this one and if the heat wave continues I see more cold desserts ahead.

The first of many!

If you know me at all you know how much I love a good list and checking things off.  It is one of the most satisfying things EVER!  I still do a good old fashion grocery list every week and my Thanksgiving Battle Plan is pretty amazing and then of course we have my book list where for the past 8 years I’ve read 538 books.  But now I’ve decided to start going through all the dessert recipes I’ve collected on my Pinterest over the last couple years and I have a feeling that this is going to be a lot like my book list…I’ll continuously add things and it’s going to be never ending!

Cooking has always been one of my favorite things to do and I kind of like this little challenge I’ve set for myself here.  Baking is very therapeutic for me and I do enjoy sharing my yummy baked goods with other people.  I mean, what’s the fun of baking a cake if you can’t share it with people.  So, once a week I’m going to choose a recipe off of my Pinterest, make it, share it and then talk about it.

So, this past weekend I made a Nutella Crunch Ice Cream Cake!  I’ll let you soak that in for a second cause yes it was just as delicious as it sounds.  It was also super easy to make.  Ice Cream Cakes can seem a little tricky but they’re actually pretty simple to make and they are just beautiful and can really trick people into thinking you’ve made this really elegant and expensive looking dessert.

First off, I have a particular hatred of recipes that use cereal because the recipe will call for an amount, and in this case it was 6 cups of Rice Krispies, and how in the hell are you supposed to know what size box to get.  I mean 6 cups is a lot!  So, if you try this recipe I will warn you now not to buy the big family box like I did!  Thank goodness I have The Boy here who will hopefully polish the rest of this box off for me. Next up was the Nutella and being the thrifty girl I am I purchased the Von’s brand cause I see no taste difference but I do see a $2.00 difference. And then I used a gallon of French Vanilla Ice Cream and again I used the one that was on sale.  That was it, three ingredients! I followed the recipe as is and it turned out perfectly.  Just to add some tips to the recipe, I left my ice cream out for about 15 minutes on the counter and then took it for a spin in my mixer with the paddle attachment just to help soften it up a bit.  This helped when it came time to stir in the cereal bits. And I will confess that I had a handful of the crunchy topping left over and that alone made a nice little snack!

I took it over to a friend’s house to share while we watched the Tony Awards last night.  It traveled really well and it was easy to slice and serve and everyone really loved it.  I got a lot of “yummies” and “this is awesome”.  It makes me so happy to see everyone enjoying something I made. It makes me excited for this whole challenge!  I haven’t chosen my next recipe yet but I can’t wait to make something else.

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