One Stop Away From Crazy Town

Besides kids and cakes, what else do you need?

Drool-licious February 23, 2012

Filed under: Cake,Recipes — Jen @ 5:41 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Okay, so we’ve created a new word. Just go with it.

 

I have great friends. Whether I’ve known them for 4 months or 4 years or more…they’re great. They let me whine and moan. They let me go crazy when I need to. They get me out of the house when I really don’t want to, but they know I need to. They really support me and let me be me. And usually they keep their snide comments to themselves or at least wait until I’m out of ear shot. Thanks guys!

 

One of the #1 things I LOVE about my friends? They let me bake them cakes, which lets me experiment on them. I don’t mean mad scientist experimenting, but food experimenting.

 

One of said friends asked me to do this birthday cake last week. Not only did I get to try out a new cake filling, but I finally had a chance to try out one of my “Someday” decorating techniques: camo buttercream.

 

On the menu is a triple chocolate cake with rocky road filling and decorated with a soldier theme. Rocky road is traditionally chocolate ice cream, nuts and marshmallows. I knew I wasn’t doing ice cream, so I switched that to a light whipped ganache. Then I folded in mini marshmallows and toasted chopped almonds. Yum-O! I couldn’t wait.

soldier cake 1-3

 

Triple Chocolate Cake

From Cake Central

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Triple Chocolate Fudge cake mix
  • 1 (3.9 oz.) box chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
  • 1 C. sour cream
  • 1/2 C. milk
  • 1/2 C. vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare your cake pans. This cake was 9×13, so I sprayed my two cake pans with Wilton’s Bake Easy.
  2. Put cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil and eggs into a large mixing bowl. I just dumped it all into the bowl of my Kitchenaid stand mixer. Blend on low for about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase mixer to medium and beat for another 1-1/2 minutes — the batter will look like a thick pudding. Fold in the chocolate chips, making sure they are evenly distributed.
  3. Pour the batter into your prepared pans and spread smooth with a spatula.
  4. Bake in your preheated oven for 28 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. A 9×13 in my oven takes 40 minutes to cook through. Once the cake is done, remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

 

Quick Light Whipped Ganache Filling

From The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate I used Ghirardelli Premium Semi-Sweet Baking Bar
  • 4 oz. dark chocolate I used Nestlé’s Dark Chocolate Baking Bar because that’s all that was at the store otherwise I would have gotten Ghirardelli.
  • 1 lb. heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Refrigerate your mixing bowl and beaters.
  2. Using a double boiler melt the chocolate pieces with 2/3 cup of the cream. This will go quicker if you’ve broken the chocolate into pieces. Remove from heat before the chocolate is fully melted and finish melting by stirring constantly. Set aside until no longer warm.
  3. In the chilled bowl beat the cream until traces of beater mars just begin to show distinctly. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and beat just until soft peaks form when the beater is raised.

 

Rocky Road Filling

  • One recipe whipped ganache
  • Mini marshmallows
  • toasted, chopped almonds (or walnuts)
  1. Not really much of a recipe. I folded marshmallows and almonds into the ganache until I was happy there were enough of each to be evenly distributed. And no, I didn’t taste test it every step of the way so that I would be able to tell you that this is one fantastic filling. Nor did I stand in the kitchen at 7 a.m. with the leftovers and a spoon and eat any of it for breakfast. Nope. Didn’t happen.

Here is a cross section of the assembled cake:

soldier cake inside 2-2

Look at those yummy marshmallow bits!

As far as decorating this bad boy, the camo effect is a lot easier than it looks. Time consuming? Yes. But I think it was worth it, and I’d be completely willing to do it again. There are so many wonderful camo cakes out there, but for a quick and easy tutorial check out Dillicious Cakes’ tutorial album on Facebook. It’s better than anything I could try to explain, so check it out!

Once your camo is done, you take this cake:

DSC_0138-2

Add a “dirt hill”, 1 Nutty Bar, 12 malt balls, a handful of Army men, and you get this:

soldier cake 1-3

 

 

Happy Birthday D! I’m honored to have been a part of your special day.

 

Week 2: Divine January 17, 2012

DIVINE. Relating to God, gods or goddesses: connected with, coming from or caused by God or a god or a goddess.

So when one of my BFF’s chose this word to describe these cupcakes I was more than a little flattered. I mean…I’ve never been called a goddess before! (Well, at least not by anyone other than the voices in my head.) What we have here are Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Candy Cane Kisses and White Chocolate Peppermint Buttercream. I found inspiration for these cupcakes over at Half Baked. I wanted to include peppermint in a way that did not include making my own peppermint bark (good lord, who has the time for that?) and ended up over at Picky Palate where she used Hershey’s Mint Truffle kisses to add a sweet surprise inside. Then I found a great White Chocolate Peppermint Buttercream over at Becky’s Cakes.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes The base for these is, again, this recipe from Cake Central. Feel free to use the chocolate cake recipe of your choice. Just make sure to sub prepared hot chocolate for the listed liquid. Ingredients

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge cake mix
  • 1 package instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 C. sour cream
  • 3/4 C. prepared hot cocoa (specifically I used one .71 oz. packet Nestle Rich Chocolate mixed with 3/4 C. warm milk)
  • 1/2 C. canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 24 Hershey’s Candy Cane kisses

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place cake mix, pudding, sour cream, prepared hot cocoa, oil and eggs in a bowl and mix on medium speed until well combined. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full, and then place one candy cane kiss into the center of each cupcake pressing to the bottom. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes. Yield 24 cupcakes

Becky’s buttercream turned out wonderfully. I believe I ended up using 2 tsp. peppermint extract, as well as just a bit more than the 3-4 Tbs. heavy cream asked for. All butter buttercream has always been a favorite of mine. “Everything’ better with butter!” If you’ve not tried all butter buttercream then you’re in for a treat. It’s not as sweet or “heavy” as shortening based buttercream, but it’s also more delicate. The heat of your hands when working with it can soften it enough that you have to put it in the fridge to let it set a bit before using again.

I tried a couple different decorating techniques with these before ending up with the 2-tone swirl above. Becky had striped her icing bag with red food coloring and then piped it on. I tried that, but yeah….didn’t like that.  I tried putting 2 colors of icing (white & red) in one icing bag and piped, but hmmm….still not quite there yet. I ended up sticking with the easiest way I know to do 2-tone icing.

     

These were first intended as after school snacks for The Middle Child’s Daisy troop; however due to a snow day that was cancelled. Then I thought, “Perfect! New Year’s teacher gifts!” You know…because I was too lazybusy to get it done in time for Christmas. BUT I just couldn’t resist slicing into one of these to show you.

Enjoy!

 

Week 1: Voluptuous January 10, 2012

Filed under: Cake,Recipes — Jen @ 3:40 pm
Tags: , , ,

Well…the challenge got off to a slow start. I’ve pretty much been sick for the last three weeks, so finishing this cake has been quite the accomplishment. The last several days have been (try to) sleep, cough, drink some coffee, cough, throw in a load of laundry, cough, drink some coffee, cough annnnnd cough some more. In between all that the monsters needed attention, if you can believe that. I guess in Indiana it’s frowned upon when you don’t feed your kids. Go figure. So the cake came together in pieces. One day I baked the cakes, another day I made the buttercream, a third day I made the filling and then put it all together. Low and slow.

As I mentioned in my previous post I’ve wanted to combine peanut butter and chocolate for months now, and boy did I ever accomplish it with this cake. I initially found this idea on (gasp!) Pinterest, which led me to Flikr. How to describe this cake? When asked, my husband said voluptuous. I would borrow a much loved phrase from my son: Sweet mamma potato! Dark chocolate cake with a peanut butter ganache filling and iced with a peanut butter buttercream. Ultra rich and ultra decadent, this cake is definitely not for the faint of heart.

I used my tried and true chocolate cake recipe, which is originally from The Cake Mix Doctor, but I found posted on Cake Central. I used Pam’s filling recipe, and the peanut buttercream is one I found on My Cake School. I’m not including the buttercream recipe here since this is a paid site, but you shouldn’t have any problem finding one. As long as it has some variation of PB, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla then you’re good to go.

Dark Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Cake Central

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (3.9 oz) box instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 C. sour cream
  • ½ C. Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate syrup
  • ½ C. canola oil
  • 4 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325°. Prepare your cake pans. (For this cake I made 2 8-inch layers. Any more than this and you should probably double the recipe. This recipe can yield 1 10-inch cake, 1 9×13 or approximately 31 cupcakes.) Combine all ingredients and blend on low for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stop and scrape down the sides. Increase the mixer to medium and beat 1½ to 2 minutes. The batter will be thick and should be well combined. Pour batter into pans, place on middle oven rack and bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched. The original recipe says this should take 28 to 35 minutes, but for me it’s been consistently 40 minutes. Meh…different ovens and all that jazz.

Peanut Butter Fudge Filling

  • 8 oz. Nestle dark chocolate morsels (Pam’s recipe calls for semi-sweet chocolate, but I didn’t have any. The dark chocolate was OK, but if I were to make this again I would go with SS.)
  • 8 oz. heavy cream
  • ½ C. creamy peanut butter
  • ½ C. Reese’s peanut butter cups, roughly chopped

Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small sauce pan heat the cream until it just begins to boil. Pour it over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate melts. Whisk in the peanut butter until it’s well combined and smooth. This makes 2½ cups of filling. Set aside ¼ of the mixture (Don’t ask me how long it took to do the math, but that’s equal to 5/8 C.) Once the rest of the chocolate mixture is cooled completely gently stir in the chopped peanut butter cups.

To Assemble:

Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate. I piped a PB buttercream dam, but I’m not entirely sure it was necessary. Fill in with the PB fudge filling. (The filling recipe made much more than was actually needed. I don’t think I even used half of what I had.) Place your second cake layer on top. Using the reserved filling (remember that 5/8 cup? Yup…that’s the one.) spread a thin layer on the outside of the cake, a sort of ganache crumb coat. Refrigerate until the ganache is set and firm to the touch. Once this has set, ice the cake with the PB buttercream of your choice and decorate with any extra peanut butter cups.

I would keep this refrigerated BUT you’ll need to let it set out before serving to give the ganache time to soften otherwise you’ll have a chocolate PB mess on your plate. This is VERY rich, so a small slice will do ya.

My word, I need a glass of milk just looking at it. Enjoy!

 

 
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