So St. Patrick's Day is this weekend, and this is green, right?
(Can I just mention that I have a hard time liking a holiday whose only purpose I've seen is to have an excuse to pinch people?! So I read more about it this year, and concluded that the symbol should be a THREE leaf clover. Look it up. But I digress.)
OK, no, that's not really why I made the cake. My son's birthday was coming up, he loves Minecraft, and begged for a Creeper cake. Fortunately he only wanted its face and didn't really care if each pixel was a different color than the next. so he got this simplified version. But he wanted it green. Inside too. But white cake.....
Here's what I used:
one 8x8 square cake pan
one white cake mix plus ingredients to make it
2 cups of homemade frosting (1 stick of butter, 1 lb. powdered sugar, see below)
one 6-oz box lime gelatin
3 Tbsp. semisweet chocolate chips
one milk chocolate Hershey's bar (regular size. Or use 3 Tbsp. milk chocolate chips.)
Grease and flour your pan really well, then bake the cake until done. Meanwhile, bring one cup of water to a boil, add the gelatin, and stir to dissolve. Don't add the other cup of water the box calls for. You'll have about 1 1/3 cups of gelatin liquid. Set it aside.
When the cake is done, let it cool in the pan 10 minutes, then invert it onto a cooling rack. While the cake is still warm, carefully spoon about 1/2 cup of the gelatin mixture on it, spreading it so it soaks in evenly.
Once the cake is completely cooled, make the frosting: Beat 1 stick of softened butter until it's smooth, then add about a pound of powered sugar and 1/4 cup of the gelatin mixture (warm it slightly if it's too solid to pour). Beat until smooth. If it's too thick, add a little more gelatin mixture; if too thin, add more powdered sugar. (If you notice the dark specks in my frosting, they're caused by experimenting with a half avocado in the frosting. It never did end up as smooth as I wanted, but it gave an interesting earthy appearance.)
Frost the top and sides of the cake, then pipe a border around the top. Leave NO GAPS in the border. Pour the remaining gelatin onto the top; the border serves as a dam to keep it there. The ideal pouring temperature is slightly warm to slightly cool- you don't want it so warm it melts the frosting, nor so cool it forms lumps all over the top.
When the gelatin has just started thinking about setting up (slightly thicker than egg whites), pull out a ruler and a chef's knife. Score the gelatin, pressing down into the frosting below, in an 8x8 grid pattern, which is one square to one inch. Make your chocolate facial features by following the instructions in the slide show.
Are you craving a moist, flavorful cupcake? Maybe you'd like gourmet cupcakes to serve your sweetie on Valentine's Day?
The 'extras' added here- coconut extract, shredded coconut, lime juice and zest- make these cupcakes Coconut-Lime. Feel free to substitute whatever other flavors you like. Any flavor cake mix will work. You could make a pretty pink-speckled frosting for Valentine's Day by using one mashed strawberry in the frosting. Since it's contributing liquid, omit the lime juice.
1/2 cup white cake mix
1/4 cup water
a little coconut extract (about 1/16th tsp)- or other flavor, optional
Put a paper cupcake liner in each of two custard cups or microwaveable mugs. Beat the mix, water, and coconut extract together until smooth. Divide between the two liners. Microwave each one for about 35-45 seconds or until there's just a small wet-looking spot in the center. Let cool.
A very simple filling is a spoonful of vanilla Greek yogurt. Poke a hole in the cupcake with a spoon, lift the torn part up, and drop about a tablespoon of Greek yogurt. Jam is a good filling, as is pie filling or frosting. Just use less of these because they're so sweet.
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 Tbsp. sour cream (or Greek yogurt, cream cheese, or butter, depending on the flavor you want)
dash of salt
a little vanilla (1/16th tsp)
about 2 tsp. lime juice (or lemon if that's all you have. I used lemon juice and added a drop or two of lime essential oil.)
powdered sugar (about 1 cup)
Beat together the butter, sour cream, and salt. Stir in the vanilla and lime juice. Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar and stir until smooth. If it's not thick enough yet, add more powdered sugar until it is.
Spread on the cooled cupcakes, then top with some toasted coconut and finely grated lime zest.
If you want chocolate frosting, simply add 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder to it.
This weekend I participated in a moms' retreat- our own little 'Education Week'end, you might say. (See here
for one of the addresses we heard.)
We each brought food for either the dinner or brunch the next day. Most of the ladies there try to eat very healthfully, and some of them have dietary issues like gluten intolerance, so I made a gluten-free, dairy-free (CF= 'casein free'- the protein in milk) cake.
I actually used a cake mix- Pamela's Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix
- which uses evaporated cane juice for the sugar, and organic grains. That way everyone could eat happy. Everybody- regular wheat-eaters included thought the cake was absolutely delicious.
By the way, this brand of cake mix makes two 8" or 9" layers. Not all of the GF cakes mixes do. Some, like Betty Crocker, only make one 8" layer. So take that into consideration if you're pricing them.GF CF German Chocolate Cake
Bake and cool one chocolate cake, using a two-layer sized gluten-free mix, or from scratch. One good recipe is at Living Without
.(This recipe calls for 1 c. coffee, to intensify the flavor- if you don't prefer to use coffee, use hot water instead and 1 Tbsp. molasses. Reduce sugar by 1 Tbsp.)Lower-fat, Dairy-free Coconut-Pecan Frosting (also egg-free)
3 Tbsp. potato starch or tapioca starch, OR 5 Tbsp. rice flour
3/4 evaporated cane juice or brown sugar
1 c. coconut or rice milk
¼ c. coconut oil
¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla
½ c. pecans, toasted and chopped fine
1 c. shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
Stir together starch and sugar, then gradually mix in milk. Add coconut oil and salt, then heat and stir over medium-high. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbling. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, pecans, and coconut, reserving 1 Tbsp each nuts and coconut for garnish. Chill first if spreading on a tall cake, frost immediately if spreading on a sheet cake.
A surprising amount of people think you can't make frosting without powdered sugar. I shouldn't be too surprised; I used to think that, too!
Frostings made without it are usually exceptionally smooth; powdered sugar sometimes comes across as a little chalky. This is because at least some brands add cornstarch to the powdered sugar.
Anyway, here are some creamy, fluffy, dense, or fudgy frostings you can make without using powdered sugar: Enjoy!Chocolate Blender Frosting- or caramel, coconut-chocolate, hazelnut-chocolate, and more!
version made with milk chocolate chips
Cream Cheese Cloud Frosting
Blueberry Cream Cheese Cloud Frosting
The frosting in the photo above is Apricot Cloud Frosting: use pureed apricots in place of the pureed blueberries, also add 1-2 tsp. almond extract.
Cooked Frosting (the cooked version of Cloud Frosting)
Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting (doesn't go runny)
Ganache(may be whipped)
Seven-Minute Frosting- includes variations for Peppermint Frosting, Seafoam Frosting, Strawberry Fluff Frosting, and Chocolate Fluff Frosting.
With a name like “Tres Leches” (“Three Milks”), you’re not going to get a truly authentic recipe without using dairy, but this one has the creamy moistness of the real deal. If you can have dairy products, use the ‘tres leches’ mixture from my other, traditional, Tres Leches Cake
Make the ‘tres leches’ mixture:
1 14-oz can coconut cream (NOT cream of coconut), divided
3/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil, or dairy-free margarine
1 tsp. vanilla
1 14-oz can coconut milk
Combine 2/3 c. of the coconut cream, sugar, and oil/margarine. Boil until thickened and darker; it took about 8 minutes in my microwave. Add the vanilla and remainder of the coconut cream. Set aside to cool.
Make the Vanilla Cake
from Living Without magazine. I made it without eggs, as well (more allergies); instructions for doing that are included below the recipe. (However, I didn’t have egg replacer, so I replaced the 4 eggs with 1/2 c. applesauce, 2 tsp. baking powder, and 3 Tbsp. water.)
When the cake is done baking, let it cool for ten minutes, then poke holes with a skewer, every inch all over the top. Pour the coconut cream mixture over the top. Refrigerate at least 3 hours; overnight is better.Whipped (coconut) cream topping
1 14-oz can coconut cream, well chilled
3 Tbsp. sugar, honey, or corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
Whip all together until fluffy, then spread on top of cake. Using the honey or corn syrup will help stabilize the cream so it doesn’t go flat as quickly.
To get REALLY stable whipped cream, soften 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin in 1 Tbsp. water, then dissolve (12 seconds in microwave works). Let cool slightly before pouring slowly into partially-whipped cream.
So- it's a little past the fact now, but I had so much fun I wanted to share it...
We had a main dish that looked like dessert- this "carrot cake" is really meatloaf and mashed potatoes.....
And a dessert that looked like a main dish.
So here was the whole meal.
The actual cake, the spaghetti and meatballs, was made using the Sauerkraut Cake recipe
The original idea came from someone's two-person 'cake', made using two hamburger patties as the cake layers, frosted the same as below.
To make this one, started with about 1 to 1 1/2 lbs of burger and make it into meatloaf
, pat it into a 7" circle with vertical sides, and bake it in an 8x8 square baking dish. When it is done, toast about 1/2 cup bread crumbs in the still-hot oven (I used panko because that's what was in the cupboard); about five minutes is all it will take. After the mealoaf has rested about ten minutes to firm up, cover it using about 3 cups of mashed potatoes. (I made them using potato flakes.) To pipe the carrots, soften about 2 oz. of plain cream cheese; tint half orange, and half green. Put each color in a ziptop baggie and snip a small corner off; squeeze a carrot shape first, then make 2-4 small green lines for each carrot top. I used a pastry tip for the swirl on top (filled JUST the decorating tip with potatoes, and shoved my clean thumb into it); you can skip that part, use a bag and tip, or snip an 'M' shape in the corner of a ziptop baggie to pipe out of.
To coat the sides, press a handful of crumbs against the side, repeat all the way around. Serve warm, and refrigerate any leftovers, of course!
There will be another post later showing how to make the 'spaghetti casserole'. :D
Apparently this was a popular cake for April Fools' Day back in the 1960's. It tastes nothing like sauerkraut, and any bits you find in the cake resemble coconut. (The white bits you see in this photo are hazelnuts I threw in.) The sauerkraut gives moisture to the cake, just like adding shredded carrots or zucchini would. My mom is already planning to make this with just plain shredded cooked cabbage.
I haven't tried the frosting recipe that comes with it; I was out of mayonnaise, and made a whipped ganache instead (8 oz. chocolate melted into 8 oz. whipping cream, cool to room temperature and whip it). I imagine the mayo version tastes quite a lot like the chocolate-sour cream frosting I've had before- a little tangy and really delicious, only this recipe also calls for coconut and pecans.... mmm.
Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sauerkraut, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped pecans or other nuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9" cake pans. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix half of this into the sugar mixture. Add 3/4 c. of the water, beat in, then beat in the rest of the dry ingredients. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well combined. Fold in the sauerkraut and pecans, using a spoon or spatula. Bake about 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on a rack.
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted (one 11-12 oz. bag)
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2/3 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
2/3 cup pecans, chopped
Whisk together the melted chocolate and the mayonnaise. Set aside 2 cups of this. Add 1/3 cup each of coconut and pecans to the remaining frosting to make the filling.
Spread half of the filling on one cake layer, top with another cake layer, spread with the other half of filling, and put the last layer on top. Frost the whole cake with the reserved 2 cups of frosting. Press the last 1/3 cup each of coconut and pecans into the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until time to serve.
See here for another way to decorate and serve this cake!
Hey, I know what this is starting to look like... and no, I really don't make cupcakes ALL the time!
I had a quarterly lunchtime get-together with some friends, and we all brought food. So that's my excuse this time around. That said, everyone flipped over these cupcakes, and insisted that I share the recipe.
True to form for me, there is no single-page recipe for this: I took a regular cake recipe, added applesauce and spices to it, filled it with something complimentary I had in the cupboard, and made my favorite frosting, using cream cheese in it this time.
If you have a copy of The Chameleon Cook
, the plain (yellow) cake recipe is on page 74, and the frosting recipe is on pages 76 (Boiled Milk Frosting) and 78 (Cloud Frosting variation). I made a half batch of frosting; it ran out on cupcake #19. If you like a lot of frosting, especially when it's fluffy, creamy, and not too sweet, make the full batch. If you like a strong cream cheese flavor, instead of using 2 sticks (8 oz.) butter and 8 oz. cream cheese, decrease the butter to 1 stick (4 oz.) and add an extra 4 oz. cream cheese (total 12 oz.) To make it even more rich, reduce milk to 1/2 cup, Ultra Gel or flour down to 2 Tbsp, and sugar down to 1/2 cup.
For the cupcakes:
Take any white or yellow cake recipe, or a boxed mix
Use the same ingredients and instructions as the recipe or box says, except:Add 1 cup applesauce or pumpkin puree
to it, and reduce the liquid the recipe calls for by 1/2 cup (this means reduce the milk to 3/4 cup if you're using my recipe)
Applesauce or pumpkin puree, for cooking purposes, acts like about 50 % water.
Stir in any or all of these spices: using all of them gives a full, round flavor, but if you only have cinnamon, it'll still be good:1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
, or 1 Tbsp. grated fresh, or 1-2 Tbsp. chopped crystallized ginger :-)3/4 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
If you like, also add 1/2 c. chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts, and/or 1/2 c. raisins
Bake according to regular instructions.
When cool, add filling if you like. I used Dulce de Leche
, thinned with enough water that the caramel didn't hold its shape anymore (maybe 2 Tbsp. water to 3/4 c. caramel). But use whatever you have or can make, such as homemade or jarred caramel sauce, unwrapped caramels melted with milk or water (try 1 Tbsp. milk/water for each 10 caramels). If you have a decorating bag with a tip, you can fill the bag with caramel, poke the tip down into the cupcake, and squeeze the bag until the cupcake swells with the filling. I have a bag, but didn't want to mess with it this time. The other way I fill cupcakes is by cutting out a cone-shaped section from the top of the cupcake. Lift it up, put a spoonful of filling in the hole, and replace the top of the cupcake. Frosting the cupcakes will hide those surgery marks. See the photos below.
If you're making mini cupcakes, an easy, non-messy way to get batter in those little cups is with a small ice cream scoop. Use a regular-sized scoop for regular-sized cupcakes.
To fill a cupcake, run a knife around the top, with the blade angled so the tip is in the center, about an inch down.
Lift up the top, and the cupcake is ready to fill! How much you add is up to you. Any less than 1/2 teaspoon just disappears into the cupcake, so use more than that. Add too much and it will spill over the top... so you'll figure out what you like pretty quickly. That said, I used what fit on a regular spoon, about 1 1/2 teaspoons. Put the top of the cupcake back on, then frost.
Aren't these so cute? I saw them in a magazine someplace last week; wish I could remember which one it was! Anyway, when there was a bake sale at school a couple days ago, it was the perfect excuse to make them!
You can make any kind of cupcake; I chose an applesauce cake recipe to go along with the look. These also got a caramel filling, topped with caramel frosting, rolled in sprinkles, and then poked with a clean craft stick.
Mix up a batch of cake batter, either from scratch, or using a yellow, white, or spice cake mix: to make it applesauce cake, replace half
the oil or butter in the recipe with twice as much
applesauce (you can replace all the oil, but the cupcakes will be a little bouncy- fat adds tenderness). For a 24-cupcake batch (same size as for a 9x13 pan full), also add 1 Tbsp. cinnamon. If you have them (or like them!), you can also add a total of 2 teaspoons of other spices: ground cloves (go easy here!), nutmeg, ginger, and/or cardamom. Bake as usual. When cool, fill them if you like. I used a sweetened condensed milk caramel (see Making Tres Leches Cake
, second paragraph down), mixed with an equal amount of vanilla pudding to make it go further, since I was making 5 dozen. Use whatever you like- homemade or jarred caramel sauce, butterscotch pudding, sweetened cream cheese (2 Tbsp. sugar per 8 oz. cream cheese), cream cheese frosting, or whatever sounds good with apple or caramel.
Make a batch of caramel frosting (see second page here
); leave the pan over low heat to keep it warm and soft. If you want sprinkles on the edges, pour a layer about 1/4" deep in a wide bowl or on a plate.
Dip the top of a cupcake in the warm caramel frosting.
Let excess drip off for a couple seconds...
then twist the cupcake so the drips end up on the frosted top.
Put the cupcake on its side in the dish of sprinkles, then rotate it around to coat the edges all around.
Set it on a tray for easy transporting, and insert a craft stick.
Done! (Wasn't that awesome?)
My version of the finished cookbook. What will yours look like?
Title page: this is as close as I get to scrapbooking! The book also has a table of contents and an index.
Each section has a tabbed divider stuck onto the page. I just used the tabs you find in the office supply section of a store.
The first recipe of each new section gets a colored 'scrapbooking' paper behind it.
I’ve put together a cookbook of basic recipes and cooking concepts (like how to take a basic yellow cake recipe to make any number of variations). It was designed to be portable and highly useful. I hope it is! I had non-cooks, college students, and young missionaries in mind. It’s typed in 3x5/4x6 card format, so you cut out the cards and slip them into the sleeves of a small photo album. This collection fits perfectly in a 72-sleeve album. If you only find bigger ones, you can use the extra spaces for blank cards to write recipe notes on, or slip a photo of the food in the sleeve next to the recipe. If you like the photo idea, I already have pictures of lots of them. Email me if you want them, firstname.lastname@example.org Rather than give a link to the whole cookbook, I’ll put an installment of it once or twice a week here on my website. That way you have time to really look through the recipes, at a manageable pace. The first one is below:Cakes and Frostings page 1 Cakes and Frostings page 2Note on printing these pages: the links open to GoogleDocs. To print, select GoogleDoc's print button, don't do Control-P or you'll print the browser page and only get half the recipes.