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Category Archives: Cake & Frosting

A Brony Birthday Party

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My little sister (that’s her with the black ponytail) threw a My Little Pony birthday party for her boyfriend last week.  That’s right, he’s a Brony.  A brother who likes My Little Pony.  I love that he’s secure enough in his masculinity not to have any shame about it!  He was so excited about the party and while she was taking millions of pictures of him posing with ponies, he declared it to be the best birthday party of his life.

Although I’ve sworn off decorated cakes (multiple times), she talked me into making the cake for his party.  (What convinced me was her offering a really strange amount of money – not like $20 or $30, but $32.73.  It was so weird and funny I had to say yes! lol)  It was a super-simple cake and I thought I’d share how to make one if you ever have need of a rainbow or MLP cake.

You only need a round single layer of cake.  If you make it in a 10″ pan, a cake mix will fit in it and the finished cake will serve up to 16 people, although it will be pretty difficult to serve.  I made mine in an 8″ pan and baked the rest of the batter into cupcakes, so this cake only served 8 but with the cupcakes it would have served 20.  You will also need red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and sky blue frosting for the rainbow.  Pack the frosting into disposable pastry bags, preferably fitted with couplers, though you can just slice the tip off the bag to pipe the frosting directly onto the cake out of the bag if you don’t own a lot of couplers or don’t want to buy them. If you are going to make this into a My Little Pony cake, you will also need extra green for the grass (I used a lighter green than in the rainbow). You’ll need some flower sprinkles (I used these) and a grass tip (Wilton #233, and ignore all the other tips – I didn’t end up using them).  If you want to make a pond, you’ll need some clear piping gel and sky blue gel coloring (available at Walmart by the cake decorating supplies in the arts & crafts section).

Slice your cake in half and squeeze/spread frosting onto one side. I made too much red so that’s the color I chose to use.

Sandwich the halves together.

Place the cake cut-side down to your platter or cake board.

Squeeze frosting onto the cake, starting at the middle with the red (I had to build it up a little to make it higher since it dipped down), making stripes in this order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  I just squeezed it out from my coupler without a tip and I thought this made the perfect width of frosting for each stripe.

Repeat down the other side and fill in the bottom of both sides with sky blue frosting to make it look like you’re looking through to the sky underneath the rainbow.

If you’re going to make a MLP cake, figure out where you’re going to put the ponies, then pipe a blue border to outline where your pond(s) will be.  Using your (clean) finger, spread a thin layer of blue frosting over the platter or cake board so that the silver (or other color of the board) doesn’t show through the piping gel.  Tint enough piping gel to fill the pond(s) with sky blue gel color and spread into the pond, creating some ripple effects with your spoon.

Pipe grass onto the rest of the platter and when you run out of light green, use up the rest of your darker green, then panic and use up your yellow.  Then realize there is no other color left that is suitable for grass so be really strange and spread some orange over the rest of the platter, hoping it won’t look too weird if you write a birthday message across it.  Sprinkle your flower sprinkles all over the grass.

Realize the orange is just wrong, and scrape it all off, rejoicing that you found some extra blue you had set aside in a bowl.  Use it to pipe a border for another lake and repeat the steps to create a second lake.  Rejoice that you saved a little bit of white frosting and tint it green to go around the lake, then steal some of the flower sprinkles to put on the new grass.  Much better.

To serve, cut it in half down the middle, then cut each half in half, angling toward the center.  Essentially, you are cutting it the way you would if it was right-side up, but from the side instead of the top.  Cut each thick slice in half and use a spatula or cake server to draw out one of the bottom pieces (most likely two pieces will come out and you’ll have to pull the top piece off onto another plate.  Once the first piece is out, serving the others is pretty easy as they just start falling onto your spatula.

TASTE THE RAINBOW!

Whoa. It’s like a rainbow…IN MAH MOUTH.

 

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Tennessee Banana-Black Walnut Cake with Caramel Frosting

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We celebrated Father’s Day early this year!  OK, truth be told, I made this cake for Father’s Day five years ago.  This is probably the longest it’s ever taken me to blog a recipe, but with the Black Walnut Banana Bread recipe I shared earlier this week, I figured it was about time.

You know a cake is good when you can still remember the flavor five years after you ate it.  This cake is what turned me onto using black walnuts in banana bread – the pairing is ever so perfect.  And the caramel frosting just puts it over the top!  Enjoy it for Father’s Day, or Mother’s Day, or just because you really need this cake in your life. Because you do.

Tennessee Banana-Black Walnut Cake with Caramel Frosting

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Cake:
1/2 cup (3 1/4 oz) solid vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 large overripe bananas
1/4 cup (2 oz) buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (8 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (4 oz) chopped black walnuts

Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup (7 1/2 oz) packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream, plus more as necessary
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 (16 oz) box confectioner’s sugar
2 cups (8 oz) finely chopped black walnuts, for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.

For the cake: In a medium bowl, stir together flour and baking soda; set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together shortening and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add flour mixture, mix until just combined. Stir in black walnuts.

Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool in pans on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare frosting. Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar and cream. Cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Transfer to a large bowl.

Using a handheld electric mixer, beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. If frosting is too thick, add 1 tablespoon heavy cream at a time until consistency is right. Sandwich 2 layers of cake with icing. Ice the outside of the cake. Surround sides of cake with crushed black walnuts.

*Cook’s note: DO NOT substitute English walnuts for black walnuts.

Chocolate Italian Love Cake


I made this for our Valentine’s Day dessert because 1) it’s “Italian” (I put that in quotations because honestly, I think the only reason it’s called “Italian” is because there is ricotta cheese in it), so I thought it would go well with our Spaghetti & Meatballs, and 2) it’s a Love Cake, therefore perfect for Valentine’s Day. :)  However, I’m sharing this with you today, a regular non-Hallmark holiday day, because it’s simply a fantastic cake that should be enjoyed and made for those you love on any old day, not just days designated for celebrating your loved ones.

This cake is every bit as good as it looks.  I don’t like ricotta because of the texture, but it really works with this cake.  It’s not a heavy cake, which is dangerous, because it’s also addictive and the “lightness” makes it easier to trick yourself into thinking that eating half the pan by yourself isn’t all that obscene.  Not that I’ve done that or anything.

Chocolate Italian Love Cake

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1 package chocolate cake mix (I recommend using Betty Crocker brand), and the ingredients needed to make the cake according to the package directions

  • OR your favorite chocolate cake recipe that makes as much batter as a cake mix

2 lbs. ricotta cheese
4 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (5.9 oz.) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 1/2 cups cold milk
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, defrosted

Preheat your oven to 350*F and spray a 9×13 inch pan with nonstick spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together your cake mix according to the directions on the box or prepare your favorite chocolate cake.  Spread into prepared pan and set aside. In another bowl, beat together the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Carefully pour the ricotta mixture over the cake batter, trying to get it evenly distributed, then spread it as best you can over the cake batter with a spatula. The layers will switch during baking!

Bake the cake for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Once the cake is cool, whisk the pudding mix and milk together until smooth and slightly thickened. Gently fold the whipped topping into the pudding until incorporated. Spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cooled cake. Do not spread it over the cake if it’s even slightly warm or it will melt and ruin the topping. Cover the cake and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. It tastes even better the next day.

Veronica’s notes: 1) I do not recommend my favorite chocolate cake for this recipe as it makes a lot more batter than a box mix and your pan would probably overflow if you tried it. 2) I have a stack of 9×13 baking dishes because I use that size more than any other. My largest one is a Pyrex dish and I highly recommend you use your largest one too – preferrably a Pyrex dish because they seem to be the largest.  I know every 9×13 dish should measure 9×13 but apparently they do not…or maybe some companies measure from the inside and some from the outside.  This recipe fills it up to the top so you really need to use a large dish.  3) If you live in an area that sells 5.1 ounce pudding mixes, that’s fine – it’s the size called for in the original recipe. You only need a cup of milk if you have a 5.1 ounce box, according to the original recipe. 4) I know ricotta can be expensive so if you have an Aldi in your area – go see if they sell ricotta there. Mine sells it for $1.68 for a pound. It’s also good quality! And get some pumpkin puree while you’re there – it’s usually $1 (or less) for a can and is very good quality. :)

Recipe source: adapted from Chew Nibble Nosh

Iron-Woman Ginger Cake


I don’t usually post on Saturdays, but I’ve had the honor of being a guest contributor for whattoexpect.com, a site I go to every week to see my baby’s progress!  I really hope you will visit to check out my recipe for Iron Woman Ginger Cake.  It’s so nice to have healthier options (especially ones that taste good) during the holidays, and this cake definitely fits the bill!

XOXO,

Veronica

Thankful Thursday #116: birthday cake

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I was blessed to celebrate another birthday this week – my 33rd! So thankful to celebrate another birthday.  It may mean I’m older, but hopefully it means I’m wiser too.  And it also means I’ve almost lived long enough to see my life-long dream of having a baby fulfilled, so there was no sting at all affiliated with turning another year older.  :)

Every year, my only birthday plan is to eat a piece of cake.  If I can have a piece of cake on my birthday, I’m a happy girl.  I’ve only posted maybe 200 recipes for cake on my blog, so you might have noticed I’m a fan.  But my sister, Danielle, thought I needed an actual celebration, so she decided to throw a little pizza party for me at her shop.  Imagine my surprise to get gifts to boot!  I didn’t celebrate my birthday growing up, but I felt like a kid again, or what one probably feels like that celebrates their birthday. :)

Danielle is crackin’ me up how she is holding little Mariam to feed her! I was feeding her but needed a cake break, then I got schooled on how to feed babies, Danielle style. Dad, Dennis, Owen, and Margo’s middle daughter, Norah, are in the other room.

And I got my piece of cake too.  It’s a new tradition for Dennis to make my birthday cake because for me, that’s the ultimate gift and thankfully, while baking (or cooking) isn’t really his thing, he’s willing to do it for me every year that I ask (this year makes three cakes he’s made for me).  I picked out an easy one this year since he went a tad overboard last year (lol – see below the recipe).  He rocked it!

Coconut Orange Cake

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Printable recipe with picture

Cake:
1 (18.25 oz) Duncan Hines Orange Supreme cake mix, plus ingredients called for on box
1 cup (3.5 oz) flaked, sweetened coconut

Frosting:
1 (15 oz) can mandarin oranges, plus more for garnish if desired
1 (5.1 oz)large instant vanilla pudding mix (not prepared)
1 cup (3.5 oz) flaked, sweetened coconut
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Brush Miracle Pan Release on the bottom and sides of two 8″ or 9″ cake pans, or grease and flour them; set aside.

Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions. After you’ve finished mixing the cake, stir in 1 cup of coconut. Bake according to cake mix instructions for the size of pans you’re using. After cooked through, remove from oven and turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Prepare frosting: In a large mixing bowl, mix the mandarin oranges with their juices with an electric mixer until crushed. Mix in the instant pudding mix and coconut and mix well. Fold in the whipped topping until combined.

Using a cake leveler or a long serrated knife, cut the tops off both of the cakes to get a flat surface. Take one of the cakes and place the cut side up on the cake plate. Add a layer of frosting. Place the 2nd layer cut side down on top of the frosting layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with mandarin orange slices if desired.  Chill in the fridge for several hours before serving.

Recipe source: Sweet Tea and Cornbread, as seen on Jam Hands

Love cake as much as I do?  Check out some of my past birthday cakes:

2010: Easy Coconut Layer Cake

2011: Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte

2012: Den’s Birthday Cake-tastrophy

Raspberry Zinger Poke Cake

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So I’ve turned into a food blogger rebel.  I don’t cook or bake, and when I do its favorites I’ve already posted recipes for.  Also, I’ve been eating a lot of Taco Bell.  Bad food blogger!

Speaking of Taco Bell, I can’t believe I’ve managed to keep it under wraps for so long, but I think I might have ITBES.  I may or may not drink the sauce packets to get me through to my next Taco Bell fix.  I even put the sauce on my hard boiled eggs and I can almost pretend I’m eating real Taco Bell when I’m snacking at work.  I feel a Taco Bell intervention coming my way, so I’m packing my bags, ready to flee to the nearest Taco Bell to set up permanent residence.  Pretty sure the employees will protect me from you crazy non-ITBES people.   YOU CAN’T MAKE ME QUIT TACO BELL!

So while I’m totally out of control when it comes to doing all the things a good food blogger should do, I at least have a few photos saved from the days when I was a good girl and taking photos of things I’d baked and cooked.  Such as this Raspberry Zinger Poke Cake.

I made this for Den’s birthday last December, right about the time the last Raspberry Zingers were disappearing off store shelves.  Sad times for Raspberry Zinger lovers.  Well cry no more, for you can still get your fix with an easy poke cake!  It’s not exactly the same, but it’s good stuff, nonetheless.

I created this with help from Suzie’s recipe and Renee’s recipe, and it couldn’t be easier.  Poke cakes are especially good for warmer weather (if you are fortunate enough to be enjoying some right now) because they are served cold, and are really refreshing on a warm day!  Or, let’s be honest, it’s also quite nice on a cold December day as well.  At least we thought so. :)

Raspberry Zinger Poke Cake

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1 white or yellow cake mix* (also water, vegetable oil and eggs/eggs whites as instructed on box)
1 box (3 oz.) raspberry-flavored gelatin
1 c. boiling water
1/2 c. cold water
1 container (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed
¾ cup shredded sweetened coconut

Bake cake according to package directions and cool completely. Pierce cooled cake all over with a fork. In a small bowl, stir gelatin and boiling water until sugar is dissolved. Stir in cold water. Pour over cake, cover, and refrigerate 2 or more hours (overnight is fine).  Frost with whipped cream and sprinkle coconut over the top. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Serve cold and refrigerate any leftovers.

*Pillsbury brand not recommended.

Recipe source: adapted from Two Dogs In The Kitchen,  with inspiration from My Kitchen Adventures.

Blueberry-Lemon Pound Cake

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Secret Recipe Club

I’m so happy to return today with my recipe for the Secret Recipe Club! I was assigned to a beautiful blog called NY City Eats and wow, Lacy is so gourmet.  She’s a professionally trained chef who graduated from The Institute of Culinary Education in 2010.  Impressive!  As are her recipes, and I was pretty much in awe of all the fancy ingredients she incorporates into them.  (Check out this pizza video-it is so professional! And even her “simple” pizzas sound and look so fancy.)  Being less of a cook, especially not a gourmet one, and more of a baker, I felt more at home when I looked through her dessert recipes, which happily were plentiful.

I happened to inherit 16 pints of blueberries and a crate full of lemons from my Grandpa (long story, will tell it later), so I searched for something I could use them in from Lacy’s blog.  I first ruined her recipe for Low Calorie Banana Blueberry Muffins by making it sugar-free (was testing out Swerve’s sweetener) and under-baking them.  They were awful and I won’t share my adapted recipe, just visit the link for hers, which looks much better.

Again on the hunt for blueberry-filled recipes, I found her Mixed Berry Bundt Cake and made my own blueberry-lemon version almost as soon as the muffins were trashed.  After clicking back through all the “adapted from” links to find where the recipe originated (a difficult feat in this age of food blogs, and I gave up after five clicks), I discovered this was a lower fat version of the Elvis Presley Pound Cake I’d been wanting to try for years.  It has less sugar than the original recipe I’d saved to my computer back in 2009, but I made it with the smaller amount and found it to be perfectly sweet.  I did, however, use the whipping cream called for in the original recipe, rather than yogurt as I was out of yogurt and didn’t want to go to the store.

The cake was buttery and dense, as a proper pound cake should be, and I loved the taste of the lemon and blueberries in it.  I believe the cake would be best eaten the same day it’s baked, as it was a little dry on day two.  Eating it fresh also helps the appearance, as the blueberries will be more whole (the juices get absorbed as time goes on, making them shrivel up inside the cake as in the pictures.

Please check Lacy’s healthier recipe, which looks very moist and delicious.  Thank you for sharing it, Lacy, I so appreciate you helping me use up some of these blueberries!  And we so enjoyed eating it!

Blueberry-Lemon Pound Cake

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus extra for pan, room temperature
1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) cake flour
½ cup quality heavy whipping cream
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with butter and dust with flour, set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for five minutes, until light, creamy and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Mix in the vanilla. Sift in half of the flour, beat on low until blended, then add the cream and blend again until mix. Sift in the remaining flour and mix just until blended. Add the lemon zest and mix on low until incorporated and batter is smooth. Fold in the blueberries and spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Once cool, whisk together 1 tablespoon of the fresh lemon juice and the powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle over the cake and let it set for half an hour before serving. Best served same day.

Recipe source: adapted from NY City Eats

Click Mr. Linky below to view the other SRC Group C recipes!

Apple Pie Cupcakes

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The Secret Recipe Club

This month I was assigned to Cookin’ With Moxie for the Secret Recipe Club.  Jamie is a beautiful Italian girl who loves to cook, and I was tempted by many of her Italian dishes, but circumstances led me to these wonderful cupcakes instead.  I had volunteered to provide the cake for my sister’s boyfriend’s belated birthday gathering in the park, and had already decided to bring cupcakes since they don’t require forks.  And since Jimmy’s favorite pie is apple,  I just had to make these.  Aren’t they so cool?

Vanilla cupcakes filled with homemade apple pie filling, topped with vanilla buttercream that mimics the ice cream you’d use on real apple pie.  Totally delicious.  And I have to tell you, I actually ran out of filling (more on that in a minute) and used some canned filling for about 4 cupcakes and I was nervous that people would like those better than the homemade ones. I didn’t get to taste the ones with canned filling, but another lady tried both and said the homemade version was SO much better.  So there you have it.  If you want to cheat, do it with the cake (using a vanilla or yellow mix) but please do make your own filling and buttercream.

OK, about running out of filling.  This cupcake recipe makes 32 cupcakes if you fill the liners the appropriate amount–1/2-2/3 full.  I don’t know if others have overfilled their cupcakes (don’t do it, they will spread out on the sides and it will not be pretty), didn’t cut their cones as deep, or just made more filling to fill the extra cupcakes, but there was not enough filling for all 32 cupcakes for me.  So I have adapted the recipe to make more filling.  If you use a mix, which makes 24 cupcakes, refer to Jamie’s original recipe for the filling as that will be the perfect amount.

Another strange discovery I had is that the batter that was left out waiting for a pan to be freed up (I didn’t have a third pan for the extra eight cupcakes) actually baked up better than the ones I put in right away.  So weird, right?  They didn’t brown as much and domed more in the middle instead of spreading out on the sides.  They had a much better appearance.  You can do whatever you wish with that information, as the taste will be the same whether it sits or is baked right away.  Just know that if you have to let some of the batter sit and wait for a pan to be freed from the oven, the cupcakes will not suffer.

I want to thank my Group C hostess, Debbi, for all she does, and April who runs the entire club.  They both keep things running so smoothly it’s easy to overlook all their hard work.  And of course Jamie for sharing this fabulous recipe, which I otherwise never would have made. You ladies rock!  And if you’d like to find out more about The Secret Recipe Club, click the link and join sooner rather than later to get a better place on the waiting list.  It’s a popular club and it can take a long time to get in!

Apple Pie Cupcakes

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Cupcakes
3 cups (12 ¾ oz) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (14 oz) granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk, room temperature

Apple Filling
2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large apples, peeled, cored & diced small (I used Gala & Jonagold)

Vanilla Buttercream
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix well to combine. Add in the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.

Fill the cupcake liners ½-2/3 full.  You should have several cups of extra batter–set it aside. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 18 to 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pans. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely before assembling.  Fill eight cupcake tins with liners and fill with the remaining batter and bake and cool as before.

For the filling, heat butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon and sugar and cook for a minute, until the mixture begins to bubble. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the apples. Mix well. Cook until the apples are somewhat tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

While the apple mixture is cooling, use the cone method to remove a chunk from the center of each cupcake, making sure to leave a rim around the top of the cupcake. Fill the holes with the cooled apple mixture.

For the frosting, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt; beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until mixture is fully combined.  Scrape bowl, add vanilla and heavy cream, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Then increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice.

To decorate, top each cupcake with a swirl of vanilla buttercream; careful not to hide the lovely apples.

Recipe source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, as seen on Cooking with Moxie

Couldn’t resist sharing this photo of my sister eating a cupcake…

To check out all the other great Group C SRC recipes this month, click the linky man below!

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Triple Lemon Cake

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This is my youngest sister, Lacey, blowing out a tealight candle on her birthday in 2009.  We never remember birthday candles for some reason.  My poor nephew (her son, Owen) had to blow out a lighter on his birthday over the weekend-lol.  Also, you can see how old this pic is from the caramels in the corner–they are from one of the batches I made during my caramel-extravaganza.

Anyway, this cake is another oldie but goodie!  I also made this back in my MySpace days and never got around to posting it because I made it in the winter and wanted to wait until summer to share it.  I’m seasonal like that. (?)  Anyway, three years later and with summer about to fizzle out, I figured I’d better get on it!

I made this for Lacey’s birthday, who is a December baby along with Danielle & Dennis.  December is quite the month for celebration in my family.  Anyway, Lacey loved the Lemony Orange Cake I made for my Dad’s birthday that year, and asked for a lemon cake for her birthday too.  Everyone loved it!  This is a seriously moist, lemony cake and for our lemon-loving family, it was perfect.

Triple Lemon Cake

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Cake:
1 box lemon cake mix
1 pkg. lemon jello
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
4 eggs
Glaze:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
juice of 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 325F. Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Bake in greased and floured 9×13 pan for 45 minutes.

As soon as the cake is out of the oven, whisk together the glaze ingredients. While the cake is still hot, prick top of cake all over with fork and spread with the glaze. Cool completely.

Recipe source: Barbara J., a MySpace friend

Since this blog relates to Lacey, I just had to share these two photos of her that I took at Owen’s party (she is his mama, that’s why he’s so cute :)). She’s so purty. :)

She cuts her own hair and did a funky style this time, making it short on one side and long on the other.  She makes it work.  I also love her earrings–it’s hard to tell but nails and skeleton keys are hanging off them.

CW’s Strawberry Shortcake

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If you don’t know about and who CW is, check out Monday’s post: Meet CW.

Growing up, Mom would make a very particular kind of strawberry shortcake at least once every summer.  She would buy a “Family Style Shortcake” from Dillons, like this:

Then she mixed the tar out of sliced strawberries with honey (to help the strawberry juice come out to play with the honey) and poured that on top, put Dream Whip over that, and served it up once a year in summer after picnics in the park.  Don’t know why, but that’s always when we had strawberry shortcake–after picnics in the park.  Anyway, since we very rarely had anything sweet, this was such a lovely treat and I particularly loved the flavor of the ripe berries with the local, raw honey.

Mom’s simple strawberry shortcake was so delicious, and just the idea of it brings back fond and mouth-watering memories.  But I wanted to be able to create it at home because, although we can still find the exact same shortcake at Dillons that Mom bought twenty years ago, who knows how long they’ll continue to make these and when they stop, I still want to be able to enjoy CW’s shortcake.  And I want my grandchildren, or great nephews and nieces at the very least, to be able to enjoy this shortcake.  And their grandchildren after that.  CW’s shortcake must live on!

Since my youngest sister, Lacey, manages a Dillons deli, I first checked with her to see if she could possibly snag the recipe for me.  In a way, I was happy to hear they weren’t baked in house but shipped in.  That meant it was experimentation time!  I’m not always in the mood to create a recipe from scratch, but I was definitely up for this challenge since the shortcake holds a special place in my heart.

So here’s what I had to go off of to recreate the recipe (yes, I totally stood two inches from the ingredients list to take this picture and yes, I might have gotten some strange looks):

Based on the cake’s texture, flavor, and the ingredients, I decided this cake was pretty much a low-fat sponge cake so I Googled a lot of recipes to create my own that reflected these ingredients as closely as possible.  I did omit the buttermilk since it seemed too fussy to have two different kinds of milk, but did add in some vinegar to replace the acidity lost.  I also didn’t mess with any ingredients cooks normally wouldn’t have in their kitchens, like whey and dextrin.  What is dextrin anyway?

I’m happy to report that while I don’t think I got it spot on, it was close enough that when Lacey tasted it, although she claimed to not remember eating CW’s strawberry shortcake growing up, she looked up with big eyes and said, “I totally remember this taste.  I don’t remember eating it, but I remember this taste!”

The cake from Dillons is crusted with sugar so I did that with mine, though it’s not necessary.  It’s just kinda pretty. :)  The cake I created is very spongy and dry, perfect for absorbing the delicious honeyed strawberry juice.  Because of its texture, I really wouldn’t recommend using it in any recipe that doesn’t have a juicy topping–that juice is really needed to soften the cake.  While the cake is very soft and bouncy to the touch, the texture is tough to cut because it’s so spongy, and it’s hard to cut with a fork until the juices have flowed down into the nooks and crannies of the cake.  Once that happens though, you have tender, strawberry cake magic.

I was pretty impressed with the response I got from this cake.  I shared it with my family twice, serving one cake at our Independence Day barbecue, then froze the second cake (the recipe makes two) and broke it out a week and a half later for our dessert after a barbecue at the lake.  I usually have to ask my family what they think to get any feedback but all I had to do this time was sit back and let the accolades rain down.  Adjectives such as amazing, best ever, and incredible were used liberally.  Honestly, I’m pretty sure this cake now beats out THE Mocha Crunch Cake for favorite family cake.  Check out my nephew gobbling it up at the lake (unless you’re averse to messy kid eaters, then you might want to steer clear):

I stuck with CW’s recipe for the strawberry topping, only using the berries and honey, and it’s just so stinkin’ good.  Please try this topping, even if you buy your cake.  Just make sure your honey is local and raw to get the best flavor.  Also, local raw honey can help with allergies!  Bonus!

For the whipped cream, you can use whatever you prefer–Cool Whip, Dream Whip, real whipped cream, or you can use the recipe for stabilized whipped cream I shared yesterday.  I first made it with the stabilized whipped cream and the second time with Cool Whip and it was loved both ways.  The strawberry topping is the star of this cake and I don’t think you can go wrong as long as you’ve got that.  Who would have thought that honey and strawberries could create such magic?

CW’s Strawberry Shortcake

This cake is perfect for making ahead. Prepare each component in advance, then assemble right before serving.
Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Cake
½ cup nonfat milk
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Berry Topping
1 lb. fresh strawberries
¼ cup local raw honey
Optional: for a patriotic dessert, add 1 cup fresh blueberries

Garnish
1 recipe stabilized whipped cream or whipped topping of choice

Directions:

For the cake, in small saucepan, heat milk until bubbles form around edge of pan. Remove from heat; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 8” round cake pans; set aside.

Sift flour with cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In small bowl of electric mixer, at high speed, beat eggs and cream of tartar together five minutes on high speed, until light and foamy. Gradually add 1 cup of the sugar, beating for an additional five minutes, or until ribbons form. Add vanilla and vinegar and mix just until combined. Blend in flour mixture on low just until smooth. Add warm milk and beat just until combined.

Immediately pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Turn the cakes out onto cooling racks. Place the racks over the sink and while they are still hot, using the remaining ¼ cup sugar, sprinkle sugar over the tops and rub it along the sides of the cakes. Allow to cool completely before wrapping in plastic wrap or putting in gallon-sized Ziploc bags until ready to use. You will only need one cake for this recipe so you can either freeze one for later, or double the berry topping and whipped cream and serve both cakes at once.

For the berry topping, combine the strawberries and honey in a medium bowl and stir for about 2-5 minutes, until the strawberries start to release their juices and the sauce gets thinner and takes on a red color. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. If adding blueberries, stir them in before refrigerating or right before topping the cake.

To assemble the cake for serving, place cake on a plate, then cover with the berry mixture, including the juices so they can seep down into the cake. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes so the juices can soak in, then top with whipped cream, slice, and serve.

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