Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chocolate Sheet Cake

So when I was growing up my grandma used to make the best chocolate sheet cake ever. It was a staple at everyone's birthday's. She doesn't bake quite as much anymore but my aunt still makes it all the time. I have wanted to get the recipe from her forever and just always forget! Anyways so I was playing around the other day and see Pioneer Women's Chocolate Sheet Cake Recipe and it looked really similar to the one I remembered.
I decided last night I would try it out. It looked really pretty but I was so tired I didn't even taste it! I brought it to work today for all my favorite work friends to try. After checking with my aunt I think the recipe is for the most part the same but the one I remember has a small amount of cinnamon in it! Dang...that would have be good to add! So this one is really good but I hope I can make the family recipe soon...cause it's amazing!

I did have a few mishaps I ran into last night as I was baking. First the recipe calls for buttermilk, which I don't ever have in the fridge and secondly I knew I was going to be cutting it close on the cocoa powder. I decided it was too late for a store run and I would just improvise. For buttermilk, I added 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the milk and waited and few minutes and voila you have buttermilk! For the extra cocoa powder, I was right I was about 3 tablespoons short. So I added 1 ounce (1 bar) of unsweetened chocolate to the butter mixture for the icing.

I think the cake turned out great even with all the changes I had to make! I will say that I think I prefer the one my family makes but this one was great too! I never even had to break the mixer out!

Pioneer Woman Chocolate Sheet Cake

Combine in a mixing bowl:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan, melt:
2 sticks butter (use the salted butter, if using unsalted make sure to add more salt to the flour mixture)
Add 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa. Stir together.
Add 1 cup boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat.
Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In measuring cup, pour 1/2 cup buttermilk.
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.
While cake is baking, make icing:
Chop 1/2 cup pecans finely. (I omitted these)
Melt 1 3/4 sticks butter in a saucepan.
Add 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. (I had to improvise and use unsweetened chocolate bars cause I ran out of cocoa powder)

6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb minus 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Stir together and pour over warm cake. (Make sure to stir until powdered sugar is completely disolved.)
Cut and enjoy!

Print This

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cake Pops!

I have been wanting to make cake pops for months now after I saw them on Bakerella's site and popping up all over the blog world. I just never got around to it. This weekend I had a few things to go to and didn't want to show up empty handed so I finally decided to try them out.
They are super cute! I can't believe it took me so long to make these. I don't know why they are so much cuter on a stick, they just are! It did take me a little while to figure out the best way to use the flower cookie cutter. I had to make the balls a little bigger since my cutter was 1.5 inches wide. Also they definitely are easier to work after being in the freezer for about an hour or so.
The process took me a little longer than expected so I was really not sure how I was going to serve the cake pops. At the last minutes I filled a glass with M&M's and put the pops in there. If I had more time I would have color coordinated the M&M's with the colors of the pops but either way it worked out.

I didn't get too many photos of these either, just the last 4 leftovers I brought home with me. So next time I hope to get more photos to share.

Cake Pops (Orginally by Bakerella)
Make your favorite flavor cake balls (see recipe)

Put in fridge for several hours or about an hour in the freezer will help speed things up.

Remove. Begin to shape into cupcakes using a small flower-shaped cookie cutter. Take the chilled ball and roll it into more of an oval and then slide into cookie cutter. Push it into cutter until about half fills the cutter and the rest sticks out of the top in the shape of a mound. Then push the shaped cupcake carefully out of the cookie cutter from the bottom. Set right side up on a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Continue with remaining balls.

Once shaped, cover and return to freezer. (5-10 minutes)

While cupcake shapes are chilling, begin to heat up your chocolate bark.

Brown or white chocolate bark for the bottoms. Pink or whatever color chocolate for the tops.

Follow the instructions on the package for melting. Most recommend heating for 30 second intervals at a time and stirring in between. You can also do the double boiler method.

When you are ready to dip, remove from freezer and set up another wax paper covered cookie sheet.

Take the cupcake shaped mixture and dip bottoms into the melted chocolate - just to the point where the mounded shape starts.
Remove from chocolate, turn upside down and wiggle so that the excess starts to slide down slightly.
Then lay on the wax paper upside down. If you want them to be lollipops, then go ahead and insert the lollipop sticks while the chocolate is still wet. Continue with rest of the cupcakes. You can also leave some without the sticks. They’re just as cute as Cupcake Bites.
TIP: Dip end of your lollipop stick in the melted chocolate before inserting into chocolate bottoms. Not sure if this helps a lot, but it couldn't hurt.

Dry completely. (15-20 minutes)

Once dry, dip the tops of the cupcakes in the pink or other chocolate color. You may need to move it around a little to cover all the exposed areas.
Remove from the pink/white chocolate and turn right side up. You may need to hold and rotate it if there is any excess so that it doesn’t drip down too far.
Continue holding and place an m&m on the top and add sprinkles. Let them dry in a styrofoam block that you have already poked holes into.
When completely dry serve as you wish. I placed mine in a glass half full with M&M's. Enjoy
The few pitful pictures I took late that night after getting home! Ill have to get better ones next time :)
The next day at work, one of my devoted tasters enjoying his afternoon snack! (Haha-Kevin)
Print This

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Cake Balls

On a quest to find a "go to" yellow cake recipe, I somehow stumbled upon Bakerella's site, and sat there for hours as I poured over all her posts. I was drawn to the Red Velvet Cake Balls, I needed to make them immediately! I am so glad I did...they were amazing!! I took them to work the next day to let my co-workers give them a try and they loved them!

They were such a hit, I made them the following week for a family BBQ...and score...they LOVED them as well! Although the first few times they didnt look so pretty, once you make a few you get the hang of it. It does take some serious patience and is time consuming, but totally worth it.

This was the original post I wrote for these but never had any pictures to share. I have been wanting to make them again and finally my sister bugged me enough to try a new flavor! These really are so much fun to make and this time I tried strawberry cake with cream cheese frosting. They were yummm-o!!

Cake Balls

1. Bake a cake from a mix and follow the instructions on the box. (Use any flavor you like)

2. Let it cool completely.

3. Crumble the cake into little pieces into a large bowl. (Fine consistency)

4. Add a can of cream cheese frosting to the cake crumbles. 5. You can blend together using your hands or large spoon. (This can get pretty messy) Make sure to blend thoroughly! I usually use my hands but this time I tried using the mixer and it worked out perfectly and is definitely less messy!
6. Roll your mixture into balls and place on wax paper or a cookie sheet.

7. Cover with foil and place the balls into the fridge for several hours or in the freezer to speed up this process. It will help to have them chilled later in the dipping process.

8. Once chilled, begin to heat up your bark coating or candy coating. Use heating directions according to package usually in 30 sec intervals. (I used both white chocolate and chocolate to add some variation of color)

9. Dip the balls one at a time in the melted chocolate until covered. (I switch off between forks, spoons and using candy dipping tools. Use whatever works best for you.)

10. Place on wax paper to dry. At this point you can decorate them any way you choose, use sprinkles, drizzle chocolate over them, or just enjoy them as is!

I hope to tackle the cupcake pops next, these seemed to be a little to moist to get the cookie cutter to come off. So hopefully next time that works out better!

Print This

Monday, July 6, 2009

Red, White & Blue Cupcakes

After the Oreo Cake was done I wanted to try something a little more festive for the holidays. So I choose the patriotic cupcakes on Lick the Bowl Good. She did Triple Vanilla Buttermilk Cupcakes for hers but I used her Double Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe for mine since I didnt have vanilla sugar. They turned out so cute! I just love the pretty layers of red, white and blue.

Double Vanilla Cupcakes (adapted slightly from Amy Sedaris)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
1 3/4 cups of sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped (I used 1 full vanilla bean so up the vanilla flavor)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/4 cups of milk

In a medium bowl, mix together the salt, baking powder and flour. Mix well and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together in mixxing bowl, add in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla extract and seeds of vanilla bean. Beat until well combined.

Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk to the butter/sugar mixture. Start and end with flour.

Divide your batter equally into 3 bowls. I used Wiltons Icing Colors, No Taste Red and Royal Blue. The red takes a while to get to the color you want but just add more color as needed.

I scooped the batter into piping bags, I piped red first, then white and topped them off with the blue. This helped keep the layers of colors even throughout.

Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes, mine were done right at 18 minutes. The recipe made about 20 cupcakes.

Vanilla Bean Frosting from Cupcake Bakeshop

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp (1 cup)
1 package cream cheese (8 oz)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
4-5 cups powdered sugar ( I used about 4 1/2 cups)

Cream the butter at a medium speed, add cream cheese and beat until combined. Then add vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, and 3 cups of powdered sugar beat at low speed. Make sure to scrape down sides and blade as needed. Increase to medium speed until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar to arrive at the consistency and taste you desire.

I decorated with red sanding sugar, but I wish I would have had some red, white & blue sprinkles! That would have been better. But these worked out fine.

These turned out great! The icing was a hit with everyone so I will definitly be using it again!

Print This

Oreo Cake

Hope everyone had a nice 4th of July! It went by way too quick for me but it was nice weekend and I got to relax a little. On Saturday we went to my aunt's for a family bbq and I was in charge of bringing dessert. I wanted to try out a couple of recipes so I made an Oreo Cake and then the cutest Red, White & Blue Cupcakes. I first saw the Oreo Cake on Dozen Flours and have been wanting to try it out for a while. The cupcake recipe came from Lick the Bowl and were so cute I just had to make them. That post will follow soon.

Oreo Cake with Chocolate Frosting
20 full-sized Oreos (Should be able 2 1/4 cups of finely crushed cookie crumbs)
1 white cake mix with Pudding in the mix
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
3 large eggs (at room temperature)

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons boiling water
1 stick unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teapsoon vanilla
pinch of kosher salt

Preheat the over to 350F. Spray two 9" cake pans with Pam with Flour. Set the pans aside.

Grind the cookies in a food processor until you have a finely crushed cookie crumbs. Set aside.

Place the cake mix, water, eggs, and oil in a mixxing bowl on a low speed for 1 minute and make sure you scrape down the sides and blade. Increase the speed to medium for another 2 minutes. The batter should be evenly mixxed and colored.

Add the cookie crumbs to the cake mix and blend until evenly distributed. (About 15 seconds)

Pour the batter into the two cake pans and bake side by side in the over for 25-30 minutes. Mine took about 28.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.

Place the cocoa powder into the mixxing bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Use a spatula to combine the two ingredients together to create a small mass.

Add the butter and blend on low until the mixure and the butter blend together.
Add the vanilla and salt and blend until combined.

Add 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar at a time on a low speed until all the sugar gets incorporated. Repeat for the remainder of the powdered sugar. Increase speed to medium for about 2 minutes, until the frosting becomes light and fluffy.

I sliced the cakes horizontally so I had a 4 layer cake. (Actually Scott did this part for me, cause I was busy getting the cupcakes started.)
Place a little drop of frosting on the cake plate to secure the cake in place. Place one of the cake layers cut side up on the plate and frost. Continue for the remaining layers. Frost sides and top and decorate as you wish.

This is where I forgot to add extra oreos to the top of the cake for decoration. I think I got too wrapped up in the cupcakes that came next. Oh well...

But it was really good even without the decorations....whoops!

I will say I wish there had been a little more frosting so feel free to double it if you like more. But I would definitly make this again.
Print This