Cola in my Cake!

cola-cake

This week I got to make a friend of mine a birthday cake!  We were having a good Southern Shrimp Boil for dinner so I decided to go a little southern with dessert and I made a Double Fudge Coca Cola Cake.  This cake made famous by one of my favorite restaurants, the Cracker Barrel.

I have to start off by telling you that this is a very odd recipe and I had a few doubts going in.  First you mix the flour and sugar, which is just about the opposite of most cake recipes, and then add the wet ingredients to that.  But I followed the directions and the batter came out beautifully. Bake for exactly 30 minutes and the cake was perfectly done.

The “frosting” was also a little odd and I would call it more of a glaze than a frosting.  You melt down butter, cocoa and milk and while that’s hot add the powdered sugar.  Now this mixture was way too thin to be called a frosting as I know it.  And the directions said to pour it over the warm cake.  Well, I feel like that was a bit of a mistake.  The frosting just ran all over and most of it ended up under the cake.  Which as it turns out wasn’t all together a bad thing because when we ate it it was like their was a chocolate sauce under the cake.

Overall it was a yummy cake.  I only got a little hint of the coke flavor but that’s okay with me cause I’m a Diet Dr. Pepper girl anyway. And I thought it was going to be overly sweet but I didn’t think so.  I served it with French Vanilla Ice Cream on the side and it seemed to me like everyone enjoyed it.  Would I make this recipe again…maybe.  It was pretty quick and simple and sometimes it’s nice to have a sheet cake instead of layer cake.  And I do like to mix things up like that.  So, I give this recipe a thumbs up but I would have to put it in my maybe file for making it again.

 

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Lots of Berries!

berry-bars

This week I made Blackberry Pie Bars. Well, to be honest I actually made Triple Berry Pie Bars cause the frozen triple berry mix was on sale and raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are all delicious and I’m cheap so it makes for a good combination.  And as it turns out it doesn’t hurt the recipe one bit to change-up the berries a bit. I’m actually glad I did cause this thing has a very thick filling and I think just having blackberries would have been a bit too much for me.  I like the contrast that using multiple berries give it.

This is a pretty simple recipe and if making homemade berry pies scares you some I think you should give this a try since you don’t have to roll out a traditional pie crust.  You just have to press this into the pan. Although a helpful hint from me here, whenever I do a crust like this I always freeze my butter for several hours first.  It helps make it easier to cut the butter into the other ingredients and if you work quickly the butter won’t have time to melt.

The filling I found to be very interesting and tasty!  It’s not a traditional berry pie filling.  It has the addition of eggs and sour cream and I think it gives it a great richness and keeps the berries from being to sour.  Sometimes when you’re making a berry pie it’s hard to know if you’re adding too much or not enough sugar to the berries.  This addition of sour cream made the filling creamy and just rounded out everything nicely. The recipe said to bake for 50 min but I had to add another 15 to that. But all ovens are different so just keep an eye on it.

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In the end I would highly recommend this recipe, it’s delicious.  I cooled mine and then let it sit in the fridge over night so it would set up well.  There’s nothing worse than cutting into a berry pie that hasn’t rested and the filling just runs all over the place. When I pulled it out this morning it sliced really well and then I just popped a piece in the microwave for about 30 seconds, topped it with vanilla bean ice cream and had the breakfast of champions!  That’s right, pie bars and ice cream for breakfast…I’m hitting the proper food groups there…berries and milk!  I’m not on trial here!!!!!

Chocolate, Chocolate and a little more Chocolate

choco

We have gone triple chocolate this week! Chocolate cake/cookie type base, Chocolate Cream Cheese center and Chocolate frosting….is it rich?  You better believe it!

This week I made Frosted Gooey Chocolate Cake Bars. Again with the extra long title and a little misleading on this one as well.  I didn’t really find this to be all that gooey but it’s 100% chocolate so I’ll give it that.

The recipe starts out with making a base with a chocolate cake mix.  I’m a big fan of using cake mixes in other ways than just cake so I always like to give these kind of things a try.  The bottom layer is just the cake mix, 1 egg and melted butter.  It is very thick when you finish mixing it together.  The second layer is a chocolate cream mixture, pretty standard stuff.  I didn’t make any changes to this recipe but I wish I had.  I would have added a little more liquid to the base mixture, maybe some sour cream or a little milk.  I found the bottom to be very very dense and almost a little too dry for my taste.  When I tried it last night I just ate the bar by itself but I would have liked some whip cream or ice cream to go with it.  I’m all for chocolate but this needs something to cut it down a bit.

It also recommended keeping it in the fridge, which I did.  I’m interested to see after letting it set over night if the texture of the bottom layer has changed any.  If so, I’ll have to make a not of that later.

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But as of now, I probably wouldn’t make these again.  The recipe was good and it was simple to make but I know I can make other chocolatey things that I would like much better.

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!

shortbread

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.

shortbread2
Yep, I cut them into squares even though the recipe says “bars”.  I’m a rebel!