Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Watermelon Flavored Cake

My oldest daughter gave me the inspiration for this cake.
That girl seriously loves watermelon!

When I told her that I was decorating a cake to look like a watermelon,
she excitedly asked, "Will it taste like watermelon too?"

could I make a cake that tastes like watermelon?
After some brainstorming and research, the answer is "Yes!".

Watermelon puree and Jell-O give this cake it's flavor, and it is fantastic!
And the frosting is SO good...I just want to eat it with a spoon!

Watermelon Cake 
adapted from Chaos in the Kitchen
    Watermelon Cake
    • 1 box white cake mix
    • 1 (3 oz.) box of watermelon Jell-O powder (reserve 2 teaspoons for frosting)
    • 1/2 cup watermelon puree
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup oil
    • 4 eggs
    • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
    • red food coloring
    Watermelon Cream Cheese Frosting
    • 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
    • 5 cups confectioners' sugar
    • 2 teaspoons watermelon puree
    • 2 teaspoons watermelon Jell-O powder
    • red and green food coloring

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of 2 eight inch round pans with wax paper, and spray the sides with cooking oil.

    In a large bowl, combine cake mix and Jell-O. Add water and oil; mix on medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add watermelon puree and beat until blended. Add red food coloring a little at a time, until you reach desired color. Place chocolate chips and a teaspoon of flour in a ziploc bag; shake to coat. Fold the chocolate chips into the batter. Pour into pans and bake for 30-35 minutes.

    In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together. Beat in watermelon puree. Gradually add sugar and Jell-O, beating until smooth. Color 1/3 of the frosting green, color the remaining 2/3 the same color as the cake.
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    Things to Note:
    • To make puree: Cut chunks from the center of a watermelon and remove any seeds. Put them in a blender and hit the puree button!
    • The chocolate chips in my batter sunk to the bottom while baking, and didn't quite achieve the "seeds" look I was going for. After I posted this recipe, several astute readers gave me the solution to that problem: Coating the chocolate chips with a small amount of flour keeps them from sinking! But I think I will leave out the chocolate chips in the future.
    • Trim the brown edges off the cake before frosting.
    • Use pink frosting between the layers and on the top of the cake. Spread green frosting on the sides and outer edge of the top. Press mini chocolate chips on top for seeds.


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    Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    Patriotic Mini Star Cakes

    "Oh, say can you see..."

    These red, white and blue Mini Star Cakes make me feel all patriotic.
    I made them with vanilla cake, whipped cream,
    fresh berries and strawberry sauce.

    They would be a fun treat for your Memorial Day BBQ
    or Fourth of July celebration!

    Making Mini Star Cakes

    Prepare your favorite vanilla cake batter. Divide the batter equally into 3 bowls. Use food coloring to make one bowl of batter red and one blue. Bake as directed and cool. (I baked mine in 8 inch square pans.) While the cake is baking, make your whipped cream and strawberry sauce.

    Whipped Cream
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla
    • 4 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
    In a large bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Beat in vanilla and sugar until stiff peaks form. (Do not over-beat, cream will become lumpy and butter-like.)  Store in the refrigerator.

    Strawberry Sauce
    • 2 cups pureed strawberries (fresh or frozen)
    • 4 tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice

    Level your cake tops if needed.
    Use a star cookie cutter to make star shapes from each cake layer.

    Remove the cake scraps around the outside of the stars.
    (I'll show you what to make with these later!)
    Use a spatula to transfer a red star to a plate.

     Put your whipped cream in a decorating bag, and snip off the tip.
    Cover the star with whipped cream: Make an outline, then fill it in.

     Arrange sliced strawberries on top. 

     Layer with a white cake star. Cover with whipped cream and blueberries.

    Layer with a blue cake star. Cover with whipped cream and strawberry sauce
    (let it drip down the sides). Garnish with strawberries and blueberries.

    Now let's make something with those cake scraps...
    Mini Trifles!

    Cut the cake scraps into cubes.
    Layer all ingredients in a glass or mason jar, in the same order as above.

    If you aren't a fan of whipped cream and fruit on your cake, you could put frosting between the cake layers instead and sprinkles on the top.



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    Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    Gooey Chocolate Marshmallow Cake

    What is your favorite comfort food?

    This scrumptious cake is mine.
    Moist chocolate cake topped with gooey chocolate marshmallow frosting...
     heaven on a plate!

    After I made this cake the first time,
    it became my go-to chocolate cake recipe.
    It is so delicious!

    And did I mention there are marshmallows?

    Chocolate Marshmallow Cake
    recipe from MADE

    Chocolate Cake
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 3/4 cups flour
    • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
    • 2 teaspoons baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup buttermilk (OR 1 c. milk mixed with 1 T. vinegar)
    • 1/2 cup oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    Chocolate Marshmallow Frosting
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    • 6 Tablespoons milk
    • 4 Tablespoons cocoa powder
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups marshmallows

    Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9X13 inch pan. Bring a small pan of water to a boil and keep it simmering while you mix the other ingredients.

    In a large mixing bowl combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Beat with mixer until combined.

    Add 1 cup of the boiling water and carefully stir until it is mixed in. Beat for 1 1/2 minutes with mixer. Batter will be thin. Pour the batter into pan and bake for 35-38 minutes.

    Make the frosting while the cake is baking. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the milk and cocoa. Stir constantly, just until it comes to a boil; then remove pan from heat.

    Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, beat with a mixer until the frosting is nearly smooth. Continue to stir every few minutes while the cake is baking. When the cake is done, add the marshmallows to the frosting and stir until they are coated. Immediately pour the warm frosting over the cake. Gently spread until it covers the cake evenly. Serve warm!
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    I highly recommend serving this cake warm...
    about 30-60 minutes after it comes out of the oven is perfect.
    You will have difficulty not eating the entire cake!

     Want a bite?


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    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    Perfectly Packaged Rose Cupcakes

    Here are some pretty rose cupcakes that you can make for Mother's Day,
    or for Teacher Appreciation Week.

    I love making these buttercream roses...
    they look impressive but are actually quite simple!
    For these, I decided to add another color to the rose tips.

    You will need a decorating bag fitted with a Wilton 1M tip.
    Add some food coloring gel in a straight line, down the inside of your bag.
    I used AmeriColor deep pink, which comes in a little squeeze bottle.

    Fill the bag with your favorite frosting and twist the top closed.

    Starting in the center of your cupcake,
    pipe the frosting in a circular motion, moving toward the outside.

    Now for some cute packaging!
    I saw this idea on Pinterest, and had to try it.

    9 oz. plastic cups are just the right size for cupcakes!
    Simply hold the cupcake directly over the cup and drop it in.

    Wrap each cup in some clear cellophane,
    tie it closed with ribbon and you have perfectly packaged cupcakes!

    To get the cupcake out, you can stab it with a fork and lift it up.


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    Wednesday, May 2, 2012

    Meringue Tulips Cake for Mother's Day

    This cake is for my mom.
    My mom's favorite flower is the tulip.

    She has 100% dutch heritage, and grew up
    in a small Iowa town where almost everyone was dutch.
    Each year, that little town is covered with tulips for the annual tulip festival.

    Here is my mom in her costume and wooden shoes, ready for the parade!

    I made strawberry meringue tulips to decorate my mom's cake.
    They are light, crunchy and sweet...yum!

    Strawberry Meringue Tulips
    adapted from Sweetapolita

    • 3 large egg whites (room temperature)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 package (3 oz.) Strawberry Jell-O
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Preheat oven to 200°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

    Place the egg whites and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed until frothy. Combine Jell-O and sugar, and pour mixture into the mixing bowl in a steady stream. Turn the mixer speed to med-high and beat until meringue is stiff, thick, and glossy (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

    Place the meringue into a decorating bag fitted with Wilton #125 tip (large petal) and pipe the tulips onto the baking sheets.

    Bake for 2 hours, then turn off the oven and let the tulips cool completely before taking out.
    Store in airtight containers or Ziploc bags at room temperature and away from moisture.
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    Making your tulips:

    1. Hold your decorating bag so the tip is vertical, like a teardrop. Make a teardrop shape, stop squeezing, then lift up.
    2. Place your tip above the bottom left side of the teardrop. Squeeze while sweeping to the right with an upward motion.
    3. Repeat, moving from right to left.

    After the meringues were completely cooled,
    I attached them to my cake with a dab of frosting on the back.
    I piped stems with a Wilton #5 round tip,
    and piped leaves with a Wilton #352 tip.

    Pretty, simple and sweet. :0)
    Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

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