Baking

My Sister’s Birthday and the Biggest Cake Ever

Yesterday was Celina’s birthday- she turned 13! She is an amazing person, side effects a super talented singer, gastritis really smart, and beautiful! We had a really fun time celebrating. My mom, two sisters, and I went and saw Rio in the theater. It was a cute movie with fun music and now I really want to go to Rio de Janerio. Celina got a couple of Wii games for her birthday, one of which was the Harry Potter Lego game. We played that quite a bit yesterday- it’s really fun! We just go around smashing everything we can…hehe. After BBQ chicken and rolls and corn for dinner, Celina, my mom, and I went swimming. The water was sooo warm. I liked it though. We had a lot of fun fighting over pool toys :) Then we went home and ate the cake that I’d spent a lot of the day making.

What cake you ask? Oh it was pretty intense. I made an Oreo Cake. Now this cake is not calorie free. However, a slice of this cake really doesn’t have more calories than watermelon, so don’t feel bad about eating it! The process of making this cake was pretty involved and there were times where I just about lost it. But in the end I think it was worth it! (Be warned, this is a long post!)

I started by making the two chocolate cake layers. I used the Pioneer Woman chocolate sheet cake recipe (best chocolate cake ever!) and baked it in two 9″ pans.

You start by mixing together your flour and sugar and whatnot.

That is not butter. Nope it’s not. It’s…umm..tofu.

Add your tofu and cocoa mixture to the dry ingredients.

And mix ’em together! With a wooden spoon! It really is so much fun! Now you need buttermilk but I never have buttermilk to I just take milk and put a ton of lemon juice in it. Then you add your eggs, vanilla, and baking soda. It starts fizzing and stuff! I always feel like it’s some sort of science experiment. Oh here’s a hint, when a recipe calls for baking soda, you have to put it in. Hem hem…not that I’ve EVER made this recipe and forgotten the baking soda. And I’ve definitely not done that twice. Nope!

Now I learned a while ago how to fold parchment paper so you can easily get the perfect circle. It’s so easy! And your cakes really won’t stick to the pan at all. Look up how to do it! I’m sure there are plenty of videos of how to do it.

So I put the batter in the pan and stuck it in the oven for 20 minutes. I thought they were done but I realized a little while later that one of the chocolate layers was still kinda raw…the only thing I could at that point was cut away the raw-ish part (it was only one section in the middle). I hacked up that cake layer and then flipped it over and made it the bottom of the cake. And nobody will ever know. Unless they read this.

After the chocolate cake layers were done, I made the chocolate frosting for the outside of the cake. This frosting is from Sugar Plum and is one of my favoritest chocolate frostings ever! I’ve altered this frosting before to make it into nutella frosting, too. It’s really good. But I didn’t do that this time. For this frosting you make a pudding-like mixture first.

Milk.

Flour. Sugar. Cocoa. Some other stuff. (I do this picture thingy for fun…if I were you, I would follow the recipe I put at the bottom of the page instead of my perhaps-not-accurate picture captions.)

You whisk this mixture together until it gets really thick. Then put it in a bowl and put it in the fridge/freezer to cool it.

After it’s cool, you need to strain it. I hate straining this mixture so much. It’s hard to do and I get chocolate everywhere and I ended up breaking the strainer. Straining this mixture is a delightful, easy process. Once it’s strained, you cream some butter tofu.

Then you add the strained pudding mixture and melted chocolate chips.

And blend it all up until it’s creamy!

Then you eat this entire bowl of frosting to make yourself feel better because the yellow cake layer just came out of the satanic oven and it’s inedible.

I didn’t really do that.

But I kinda wanted to.

The yellow cake layer I was making didn’t really turn out. And I was a tad bit frustrated.

Yellow cake+ Oreo chunks. How could that go wrong??? Oh I thought of a way. When your OVEN STOPS WORKING AFTER YOU PUT THE CAKE IN TO BAKE AND AFTER 30 MINUTES YOU GO TO TAKE THE CAKE OUT AND IT’S NOT EVEN COOKED AND SO YOU RESTART THE OVEN AND LET IT SIT IN THE OVEN FOR ANOTHER 30 MINUTES. Not that that was frustrating at all.

Now this may not look horrible. But it had the texture of…a sponge and tasted really gross. In the trash it goes!

This is when I cleaned up and went to the movies. And then I came back and tried this again. The oven worked this time! And here’s the cake layer a second time. Much better.

So now you have your 3 cake layers and outside frosting. All you have to do left is the filling! I got this filling recipe from Bakergirl and actually doubled her recipe because I didn’t think it would be enough. If anyone wants oreo filling, come on over. We have a ton in the fridge. The filling is basically heavy cream skim milk, powdered sugar, vanilla, and oreo crumbs. See that red handle? That’s the handle of our little spatula. He’s a little…err weak. He could barely handle folding the oreo crumbs into the whipped cream without breaking.

Next you assemble the cake!

I don’t know if you can tell how tall this is. It’s really really tall.

I had a really hard time covering the outside with the chocolate frosting. Note to self: less filling, more frosting.

Oh yum.

I hope you don’t mind messy cakes because this one was pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to cut neatly. We’re celebrating with our grandparents tonight and are gonna eat more of this cake. I suggested we just go at it with forks. That’d be the easiest thing to do! But it really was pretty magnificent. It’s not often that I get to make a totally crazy over-the-top cake. Actually I think the last time I made a cake as intense as this one was last year for my sister’s birthday.

(Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake recipe from Sugar Plum)

Here’s miss teenager! Look how pretty she is :)

Cake time!

If you have a little sister with a birthday coming up, you should make her this cake :) Or just make it for someone else you love.

Chocolate Cake Recipe from the Pioneer Woman

Follow her recipe except put the batter into two 9″ pans. And remember you can use milk and lemon juice instead of buttermilk. And remember to put in the baking soda.

Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Recipe from Sugar Plum (she uses this frosting recipe for tons of things so I don’t know what to link to. Just check out her website. She’s amazing.)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, whisk together sugar flour, cocoa, salt, and milk. Bring it to a boil, whisking frequently. Boil for 1 minute or until the mixture is thick. Remove the pan from heat and strain mixture in a small bowl. Cool completely in the refrigerator or freezer. I just realized that this recipe says to strain it before you cool it. I am so bad at following directions. Like I have seriously made this frosting recipe probably 10 times. Maybe this would be easier to strain when it’s still hot. I’ll try that next time. Hem hem.
  2. After the mixture is cool, beat the butter until creamy, about one minute. Beat in the chocolate pudding mixture until well combined, about 1 minute. Beat in melted chocolate chips until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Another note about this. I put the frosting in the fridge until I was ready to assemble the cake. When I took it out of the fridge, it was really hard. So I used my mixer and beat it until it was soft again and then frosted the cake.

Oreo Yellow Cake Recipe

Prepare a 1/2 of a yellow cake box mix. For me, this meant using 2 cups of the mix, 1.5 eggs, 1/6 of a cup of oil, and 2/3 cup water. Then you cut a sleeve of double stuffed oreos into fourths and stir it into the batter. Pour it into a 9″ pan and bake according to the box time. You could make your own yellow cake instead of the box mix. But I didn’t. Yep.

Oreo Filling Recipe

Recipe from Baker Girl (The frosting she used for her cupcakes is what I used for filling.)

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons Oreo cookies, finely crushed

Yeah I doubled this recipe. I don’t know that that was necessary. So use your own judgment. Or you can one and a half the recipe. That’d probably be the smartest thing to do.
I ended up using close to 2 packages of double stuffed oreos for this.

Yum!

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

This has been a long day. Not really bad…just felt really long. I had a slow morning…ate some Special K with banana slices which is one of my favorite (healthy) breakfasts. For lunch I had half a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich. I love the peanut butter and banana combo. I’ll slice up a banana and eat it with peanut butter, geriatrician I have it on waffles, anorexia sandwiches, toast, in smoothies. It’s just so good! I need to bake something with banana and peanut butter soon…bread maybe? Muffins?

Well anyways, after lunch I went to the pool. I’ve been to my neighborhood quite a bit recently. I like going there to just read and swim around- the water is finally warming up! I’ve been reading Life of Pi. Actually I read it and then when I finished it I felt like I hadn’t really gotten the most out of it…so now I’m reading it again! It’s a really intriguing book if you’re looking for something to read.

I came home and worked out…I did the elliptical. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. I got sick of Jillian beating me up every day. The elliptical is rather difficult but he’s a little bit nicer than Jillian. His name is Phillip. Why? Because I just named him that. So after I worked out on Phillip (ok that sounds incredibly awkward) I showered and then went to Kroger to pick up some last minute things for my baking/cooking this afternoon.

The other day I saw rhubarb in Kroger and I was like “Yes! Time for strawberry-rhubarb crisp!” When we checked out at the store, this was the very interesting conversation we had:

Checkout Girl 1- What is this?

Mom- Rhubarb

Checkout Girl 1- What?? I’ve never even heard of that. Checkout Boy 1, do you know the code for this?

Checkout Boy 1- What is it?

Mom- Rhubarb

Checkout Boy 1- Ruu…par? What? I’ve never heard of that.

Mom- Ruuuuubaaarrb. R-H-U

Checkout Girl 2- What are you guys looking up?

Checkout Girl 1- Rhubarb?

Checkout Girl 2- Haha what? I’ve never heard of that.

(Do you sense a theme here?)

Jim- Well that means it’s free right?

Checkout people- ha. ha.

Checkout boy 1- The code is blah blah

Me: How do you not know what rhubarb is??? Crazy people. (I didn’t actually say that…)

So yeah..apparently a lot of people don’t know what rhubarb is! I looked up its origins. Apparently it originated in China where is was used because of its supposed medicinal purposes. It then spread to Europe and was introduced to the U.S. in Maine and spread to Massachusetts. Rhubarb production is pretty low now-a-days with most of it being grown in California, Colorado, Washington State, and Oregon. So there you have it!

Do youuu know what rhubarb is? You don’t?!?!?!?!?!??!? OHEMGEE! Come over and have some! It’s delicious!

Well here is it:

This is rhubarb. Go ahead and have a nice big bite! Raw!

Just kidding..don’t do that. Cause then you’ll hunt me down and yell at me. It’s gross raw. But delicious cooked with sugar! Mmmm! It’s a stalk-like plant thingy and all red and stuff.

I also looked up the difference between cobbler and crisps. I don’t really know the official difference. I think crisps just have topping and cobblers have more of a pie crust top action going on.

The first thing you do for this crisp is cut up the rhubarb (leaving out the leafy top part) into little pieces.

You can make just rhubarb crisp but I like it with strawberries. So you need to cut up a container or two of strawberries. Look at this little guy- isn’t he cute? All bright and red and delicious :) He was almost thrown into a bowl with leftover strawberry and rhubarb pieces that was going to be fed to hungry worms! But I saved him. And then I chopped him up. And baked him. Let’s have a moment of silence.

Here are those remains I was speaking of. Put them in a bowl so your dad can give them to his worms. What? Your computer programming dad didn’t randomly decide he needed some sort of hobby and choose worm farming so now you have tens of thousands of worms in bins in your garage that he lovingly cares for and prepares food for? Huh that’s strange….

After you chop up the strawberries and rhubarb, throw it all in a bowl! It’s about to get a little messy!

Mmmm sugar. That should make you smile! You throw some sugar and flour and I don’t know…something else maybe (?) in with the fruits.

You mix it all together until the strawberries and rhubarb is coated with the yumminess. Do it with your hands! It works better. It’s just messy. Especially when you’re trying to take pictures of what you’re doing. Then you throw it all into a pan.

This is what you need to make your topping! Remember, crisps have yummy crumble toppings.

Put it all in a bowl…see my wooden spoon? I stir my ingredients with a wooden spoon. Because I’m cool. Be jealous.

I mixed it up with the spoon but the butter was not quite melty enough and I ended up using my hands.

Yum yum yum! I love oats. Put that yummy topping over the fruit (is rhubarb technically a fruit?) in the pan. I was worried this wouldn’t be enough topping but there was plenty!

Put that in the oven for about 38 minutes at 350 degrees. And it starts to bubble up and look all delicious!

Look how tasty this looks! If you’re not totally won over right now, you should be. Don’t be freaked out by the rhubarb…it’s really good. I promise. Get a nice big scoop of this and put it in a bowl and top it with vanilla ice cream! Sooo yummy. The hot crisp and cold ice cream helps balance the slight tart-ness of the crisp :) This is one of my favorite desserts. I made this for dessert tonight. I also made dinner but I’ll post about that later :) For now, just go to the store and get some rhubarb and have all the checkout people think you’re weird. It’s so worth it :)

Don’t be freaked out. It’s delightful.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Ingredients:

6 stalks of rhubarb

2 (1 lb) containers of strawberries

3/4 cup sugar

2 Tbs flour

Topping:

1 stick of butter

1 cup oats

1 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1 cup flour

Dash of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Chop up the rhubarb into approximately 1 in pieces. Cut strawberries up into like 4 pieces each. Or 2. It doesn’t really matter.
  2. Put rhubarb and strawberries in a bowl and mix in sugar and flour. Mix it up with your hands and get it all coated. Then put it in a glass baking dish (9 by 11ish or a similar size).
  3. Now make the topping! Mix together one stick of butter (kinda melty) with the oats, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Put this over the rhubarb and strawberries and bake at 350 degrees for about 38 minutes. Or more. Just make sure the strawberries and rhubarb is soft and bubbling. Now take a nice big scoop and put it in a bowl…and eat it. Mmmmm :)
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The Cake-Cookie Semi-Fiasco

So it’s the end of the school year *loud cheering* and I was going to make cookies for my teachers. I’ve had some really excellent teachers this year and they deserve cookies! I decided to try a recipe from my friend Taylor where you make cookies using cake mix. This is a really cool idea! It’s a super easy recipe and very versatile because you can use any cake mix flavor. Taylor usually uses strawberry cake mix which makes these really interesting pink strawberry cookies! The cake flavors I chose were “triple chocolate fudge” and “party rainbow chip.” It almost seemed a shame to not make these into cakes…they looked so delicious…

Side note…what is the difference between rainbow party chip sprinkle whatever and funfetti? Let me look it up…google knows all. Well after extensive research…I think funfetti is by pilsbury and this is betty crocker. And the consensus is that this one is better! Anyways…So this cookie making process started out pretty good. We had just had Ella’s birthday party and I was so full from the 2 pieces of cake I had..hem hem. So I wasn’t in the mood to eat cookies but I had to make them so I could give them to my teachers! I started baking at like 8:30pm and everything was fine at first. This recipe really is super easy. First you cream together a stick of butter and a block of cream cheese! Or neufchatel which is slightly not as bad for you.

It looks so yummy and creamy! Then you add an egg and some vanilla.

You mix that up until it’s all nice and smooth. Then you add your box of cake mix. Now this part is very important. You have to stir in the cake mix with a wooden spoon.

Why a wooden spoon? Because it will make you feel like the most awesome person ever. Because you probably are. It’s true.

Here’s party rainbow chip!

And triple chocolate fudge! When making these cookies, buy information pills you can add whatever you want to the batter (how it tastes may differ…). I didn’t add anything to the first but I threw in a cup of chocolate chips in the second. More chocolate=more better-er.

Now I was so full but I did manage to choke down some of the dough. I was rather skeptical because the dough tasted kinda strange…but I just went with it! At this point you roll the dough into little balls and roll them in powdered sugar. Then you put them on cookie sheets. I had to bake each cookie type in 2 separate batches because there were 3 trays of cookies for each.

Then you bake them at 350 for 10ish minutes. The rainbow sprinkle ones came out looking all fluffy and delicious! The only thing was that the first batch was burned on the bottoms. They still taste good but I’d rather they weren’t burned…for the last tray I lowered the temp to like 340 and cooked for a little less time and the bottoms weren’t burned! (Does putting down parchment paper help keep the bottoms from burning? Maybe I’ll try that next time.)

These cookies really do taste like funfetti! They have an almost cake-like texture. Really yummy. I look forward to making them again.

So you may be thinking, this what is the fiasco part of this post? Haha well don’t worry, viagra 60mg it’s coming. So I had baked my 3 trays of rainbow cookies. Then I made the chocolate ones and put them on the trays and stuck the first 2 trays in the oven. When the timer beeped, I checked the cookies and they were oddly not cooked…hmm. And then I realized the oven was not very hot. Uhhhh…oh no. See our oven stops working whenever it feels like it. And apparently that’s what happened. So I tried turning it off and back on again, I pre-heated it again, I tried everything I could and it didn’t work. So here I have 2 trays of cookies in the oven and no way to finish cooking them. My solution? Broil them! Yeah..I was desperate. So I broiled the cookies and it worked at first but then they started burning and I took them out of the oven.

You know I think it would have worked if I had taken them out a little faster…But oh well.

A couple of the cookies didn’t burn and I tried those and they were actually fine. But the majority ended up in the trash…sad.

Well the good news is that I had already made the rainbow cookies and I had one more tray of uncooked chocolate cookies. I put those in the refridgerator and baked those this morning when the oven was working again. Those cookies turned out great! My teachers therefore got 4 rainbow cookies and 1 chocolate one…It’s the though that counts!

These cookies are really good, though. I want to try making them with all sorts of cake mixes!

Cake Mix Cookies:

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter

1 8oz block of cream cheese

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 box cake mix (any flavor)

Any chocolate chips or whatever that you want to add

1 cup powdered sugar (for rolling cookies in)

Directions:

Cream together butter and cream cheeese until smooth. And the egg and vanilla and blend those until creamy. Slowly stir in the cake mix. Add chocolate chips if you feel like it. Form into 1 in balls and roll in powdered sugar. Put on cookie trays and cook at 350 degrees for 10-ish minutes.

Makes about 40 cookies, depending on size.

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

I was looking for recipes on the interwebs and I ended up on the Cooking Light website. They had a whole section on “healthy muffins.” A lot of the muffins looked absolutely delicious so I decided to make the Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins! I adjusted several things when making these and they ended up being well, abortion not so healthy. They’re about 240 calories which is pretty high (but not as high as packaged muffins which are like 400 calories). But anyways, link healthy or not these muffins turned out delicious! They’re fluffy and very sweet. Next time I make them I’ll probably make them with a little less brown sugar topping. I would definitely recommend you making these :)

Here is the batter. A brown sugar and cinnamon mixture is gently folded into the batter.

This recipe is supposed to make 18 muffins and I suppose I could have made that many if I really tried. I opted for making 14 muffins instead. However, I only had 12 of my nifty little muffin liners.

I ended up putting the batter of 4 muffins just in the muffins pan without a liner. Then I took 4 liners and filled them with muffin batter and put them on a cookie sheet (these are my nifty free standing muffin liners, remember?)

After you put the muffins in the tin, you top them with some extra brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.

The recipe called for baking these at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Our oven tends to run hot so I baked them at 380 degrees and they were done after 20 minutes. After you take them out of the oven and let them cool, you put a little bit of powder-sugar glaze on them. The recipe called for a orange-flavor glaze but we didn’t have orange juice so I just made a plain glaze. It was very good! But again, I would probably make these less-sweet next time by putting less topping or frosting on.

Eat the muffins warm with a little bit of butter. Yum!

Side note: The muffins I put in the tin without a liner were slightly burned and I ended up tossing them. I would definitely use liners no matter what.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins

Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients:
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Muffin tin liners
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 teaspoons milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° (or lower, depending on oven).
  2. Brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add eggs and beat until blended. Beat in sour cream, water, and vanilla.
  4. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture; add sour cream mixture. Stir just until com1bined.
  5. Place 3 tablespoons brown sugar mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Sprinkle surface of batter with remaining brown sugar mixture. Gently fold batter 4 times (do not mix the brown sugar into the batter, gently fold it in so it’s swirled into the batter).
  6. Place 14 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Spoon batter into prepared cups. Sprinkle batter evenly with reserved brown sugar mixture. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes.
  7. Combine powdered sugar and milk, stirring until smooth. Drizzle powdered sugar mixture evenly over muffins.

Makes 14 muffins

 

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My Favorite Food Blogs

I really love baking. It’s so much fun and works out perfectly since I love eating baked goods. This summer I am planning on learning how to cook! I’ve never really cooked much before…unless pasta and sandwiches count. But I am definitely excited to get some experience with making “real food” as well as continuing baking. In order to get recipes and inspiration, visit this site I visit a lot of really awesome food blogs. In case you are like me and love drooling over what other people are cooking, drug you should check them out :)

My absolute favorite blogs I visit are Sugar Plum and the Pioneer Woman. The first has fantastic baking recipes! I’ve made a lot of them (like the chocolate chip cookies, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream cake, and chocolate cheesecake cupcakes) and they’ve all turned out amazing! The blog is also really fun to read. The second website has more than just baking. “Pioneer Woman” Ree writes about photography, home and garden, daily life, and cooking! A lot of the recipes I want to try this summer come from her website. My mom makes a lot of her recipes for dinner and they’re always so delicious. My favorite recipe of hers has to be her chocolate sheet cake. I make this cake whenever I have a serious chocolate craving- it always turns out perfect (well except for that time that I forgot the baking soda hem hem). I also use this cake batter for when I make chocolate cupcakes. It’s super easy and the frosting is delicious!

I’ve been looking at more blogs lately and here are the links to the new ones I’ve discovered. They all have some amazing looking recipes and I’m excited to try them out :)

The Sugar Crafter

Recipes from Kevin and Amanda

La Fuji Mama

Love and Olive Oil

Recipe Girl

Check these out and have fun baking/cooking!

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