Do you have a favorite recipe, one you come back to time and time again? This is my come-back-to recipe. Not only is it delicious, but it has that “wow” factor, which is definitely a bonus. I’m not gonna lie, this cake takes work, but it is totally worth it. Plus, you can make the cake ahead of time, so it’s not so labor-intensive in one sitting. What’s nice about this cake is it’s versatility. The first year I made it, it was for my son’s 3rd birthday, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar was the theme. It had fondant (which I did not make–I used the brand Satin Ice, which tastes wonderful!) covering the cake and I made cut-out fruit wrapping around it. (“On Monday he ate…”) Even though I made this cake two years ago, my son still talks about it. That’s how memorable this cake was.
The fondant caterpillar took longer than I thought it would to make. But I thought the little guy turned out pretty cute.
In March of last year, I made the same cake, but it was an ombre blue cake, for my sister’s baby shower. I didn’t use fondant, but used sprinkles to cover the top of the cake, so it didn’t appear so plain.
For my son’s 4th birthday, I made the same cake. (Matthew asked for a shark cake for his 4th birthday, which we then turned into a shark-themed party. My husband wanted to point out the hour it took him to make the watermelon shark. He’s quite proud of it.)
I don’t know about you, but February seems to have snuck up on me. The older I get, the faster time goes by. I mean, didn’t Christmas just happen? And now the stores are clearancing Valentine’s stuff to make room for St. Patrick’s Day and spring. Did I miss something? What happened to slowing down and enjoying the moment? Granted, I have been guilty at times of rushing through things, planning too many outings and get-togethers in a single day, and telling my 18-month old son, “Hurry! We’re going to be late!” (Which now looking back, I just have to laugh, as toddlers have no concept of time, and rushing something is not in their mind-set. It’s me who needs to get my act together sooner. Someday I will learn my lesson.)
So in an effort of slowing down a bit, I decided to make something that our little family would love. (And since we’re a sweet-loving family, it wasn’t hard to figure out what I was going to do.) It didn’t require a lot of time, just a little effort to create a sweet moment. And with a toddler, that moment was…well, just a moment, but that wasn’t the point. He’s going to grow faster than I want, and these little moments are what I am going to remember–when we took time out of our busy day to spend a moment with the one who matter the most.
Truffles, cake bites, cake balls, cake lollipops–they’re all the same thing. Continue reading
Pacific Northwesterners love snow. I say this because we don’t get it very often and it usually doesn’t last. Yesterday was our first snow of the season, and it was a very light dusting. My one-and-a-half-year-old son was intrigued by the large white stuff floating down from the sky and kept pointing out the window. He was also licking the window pane, but that’s another story.
With the weather so cold and the wind so biting, I decided to make a summer-y cake, to make myself feel warm and fuzzy inside. Plus, I just bought another 6-inch cake pan, and really wanted to make a cake for two. This cake makes way more than two, but it’s so cute and little, and well, I’m a sucker for those things. And I couldn’t have just one piece either, so it makes me feel better knowing it’s a small cake.
You can buy these small cake pans at any cake decorating store; I’ve even seen them at Jo-Anns and Michaels. They cost around $5 apiece. For the middle of the cake, I used a raspberry filling. It might sound like an odd combination, but trust me, they work together perfectly. (I have to admit, though, I cheated on the filling–I bought it at our local cake decorating store. Gasp!! Anyway, you could cheat like me, or make your own. Raspberry preserve would also work just fine.)
Some tips with this cake: Continue reading
Cake balls have become one of my favorite desserts to make. I don’t make them all fancy and wonderful like Bakerella does, (she’s amazing!); mine are just plain and simple. And I’ve learned a lot in the two years that I’ve been making them. In this post I’ll tell you some tips I’ve learned along the way through trial and error. This post isn’t a tutorial, but if you’d like one, check out these posts here and here I made over a year ago and this past July, respectively. Just please be kind to me and naivety. As I said, I’ve learned A LOT.
So here are my top-10 things to do/not do when making cake balls. (And they are in no particular order.)
1. To melt candy melts, or chocolate, (which I’ve done before too), do not use a double boiler to melt the cancy coating. Or, if you do, make sure it’s still not on the burner and the stove top isn’t on. You’ll melt the cake balls, which will make it very difficult to coat, since most of it will end up being clumps in the candy melts.
2. Don’t use too much frosting. Start with 1/2 of the can and then work up to 3/4 of the can if need be. It’s a lot easier adding more than taking it away. (To see if you have just the right amount of frosting, make sure there are no traces of frosting in the cake. Then grab some cake in your hand and gently squeeze. If the shape holds, then you have just the right amount.)
3. Watch the microwave. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned the candy melts!
4. Shortening is your best friend when the melts are too thick. Put in 1 tablespoon at a time and fully mix it in to thin it out. The candy melts should be the consistency of heavy cream.
5. Take your time. This can be said for everything, but it’s important to not be rushed or distracted. Continue reading
It never fails, no matter how hard I try. Every time I go to the grocery store I buy bananas, and every time I do, I always think to myself, “I will eat one banana a day.” But at the end of each week, the bananas still sit, slowly ripening and turning brown. And I continue to say to myself, “Well, since I’m not going to eat them now, I will make something with them.” And usually, they just end up in the freezer. Hmmm…I recall a post I did about all the bananas in my freezer not too long ago.
However, this time I actually did what I think I’m always going to do. (Yes, I’ll admit it. I feel a little proud of myself.) Today, with my 3 very-brown bananas, I made a cake. And it was a delicious cake. Moist and tender with just the right amount of banana-goodness. I wanted to eat it for breakfast. It has fruit in it right?
This cake tastes best when you have very ripe bananas. When the peel is all brown and the banana is so soft, you’re afraid if you pick it up, you’ll squish it–that kind of very ripe banana. You can always freeze them when they get to this point and then when you want to use any, just set them out to thaw. And there’s a generous amount of frosting to fill the middle and the outer part of the cake. Continue reading
I love chocolate. It’s hard to go a day without any. Sometimes I put chocolate chips in the fridge, so they’re nice and cold, and then eat them as a snack. However, I have never liked chocolate ice cream. Ever. Won’t touch the stuff. And I usually don’t care for chocolate cake (Devil’s Food Cake, German Chocolate Cake, you name it), but every once in a while, I have a hunkering for a small bite. Weird, I know. And when I have a craving for chocolate cake, I make this super easy, super simple Texas Sheet Cake.
You will need these ingredients, plus powdered sugar. (Since I bake a lot, I buy powdered sugar by the 50-pound bags and put it in plastic bins. It looked ugly in the picture, so I omitted it.)
Make sure you have good quality vanilla. Not all pure vanillas are made the same, and it makes a HUGE difference. And certainly don’t buy imitation vanilla. (Why they tempt people with this, I don’t know.)
You need 2 sticks of butter, water, and cocoa powder in a saucepan. Bring it to boil. (Make sure to stir it occasionally!)
Remove from the heat and allow the chocolate to cool down to room temperature. You don’t want to cook the eggs before they go into the oven. Add all the dry ingredients, including the eggs and sour cream, in a separate bowl.
Slowly add the cooled chocolate and mix until it is all moistened.