It’s A WINNER!! Let’s Eat CAKE!

Yes! A Winner! Finally!!

Let’s Eat CAKE!!

Banana Chocolate-Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

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The cake batter went together super easy – and once the sour cream and mashed bananas were mixed in it was one of the Best tasting cake batters I’ve ever snitched at!

The peanut butter frosting was also very easy, and actually ended up like it was supposed to –  very light and whipped.  With a super good flavor!

To be honest I’m not a great peanut butter fan when it comes to peanut butter cookies, cakes, frosting, etc.  (I LOVE peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, however!!)

And I certainly wasn’t sure about the flavor of banana and peanut butter.

So, I hedged a little, and instead of frosting between the layers with the peanut butter frosting (although there was certainly enough of it) I made a light, whipped chocolate frosting.  We Have A WINNE! Let's Eat CAKE!

The cake batter has mini chocolate chips in it, but other than using chocolate chips/candy for decorating the top, that’s the only chocolate called for in the recipe.  So I wanted a little more chocolate and a little less peanut butter.

I also made the recipe in three 9″ cake pans rather than two 8″ pans as the recipe calls for  – well, actually they say to use two 8″ square pans, which I don’t have, anyway.  The recipe makes a Lot of batter, and heeding Julie’s experience with her disaster cake I thought it best to use three pans instead of two.  Good thing I did – all three pans were close but not quite over the edges of the pans when the cake was done baking.

The cake itself was nicely moist and very flavorful.

The recipe suggests using chocolate chips and chocolate candy such as Hershey’s Kisses to decorate the top (see their photo).  I didn’t want to buy a whole bag of kisses – and a whole bag of chocolate chips, for that matter – just to use a few on the cake, so I scoured through the store to see what else was available.

I found the perfect things!  One was a a Nestle Toll House chip called “DelightFuls” – I’d never heard of them but maybe you guys have?  They are basically regular-sized chips that are filled with peanut butter – they also have ones that are filled with mint, or raspberry, etc. – and they come in a small bag.

We Have A WINNE! Let's Eat CAKE!

The other thing I found was Reese’s Pieces “Mini” peanut butter cups – they are unwrapped and only about a half-inch tall, and also come in a small bag.

So those are what I decorated the cake with!  Turned out really good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like most of these kinds of cakes that we’re making, this one is Very rich.  

We Have A WINNE! Let's Eat CAKE!

Finally –  a cake good enough to share with neighbors! And I’ll also take some into work on Monday!  YAY!!

 

 

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/banana-chocolate-chip-cake-with-peanut-butter-frosting-51117350

 

Apricot Almond Layer Cake

Let’s Eat CAKE!

Apricot Almond Layer Cake

Apricot Almond Layer Cake  Apricot Almond Layer Cake is a rich, elegant dessert or ‘sweet treat’ to serve with tea.  At first, I described it as just  ‘good’ . . . but not ‘wow’.  The  second day it was a little better, even though the meringue gets a bit soft (mine was soft and chewy to begin with).  Overall the flavors blend together nicely, especially the second day. Even after a few days (yes – it lasted that long….quite rich so serving slices were small) it was still attractive to serve and tasted good. Apricot Almond Layer Cake

The photo accompanying the recipe shows a bright orange ‘apricot’ colored layer.Apricot Almond Layer Cake Since I used non-sulfured apricots, so they were dark to begin with.  I think the bright orange apricots might turn dark after cooking into the compote anyway, so would not maintain the pretty bright orange as in the photo! (as in so many published recipes, the photo was probably photo-shopped or un-cooked apricots were used). The flavor is subtle and very nice. I think I might use the ‘compote’ for other recipes such as with waffles, pancakes, or even French Toast; or possibly paired with cheese and crackers!

The Almond-Crunch was a fascinating process and works really well. Apricot Almond Layer Cake I recommend it for any recipe with ‘nut-crunch’ or ‘praline’ type additions or toppings!! I’m also thinking topping for ice-cream or perhaps lovely pumpkin pie?

The recipe seemed to make a large volume of meringue. Even after carefully drawing out the circles and piling on the fluffy meringue, I had lots left, so I daubed on some smaller circles. Another idea for this dessert – making individual servings!

Apricot Almond Layer Cake

 

 

 

Apricot Almond Layer Cake

 

 

 

Get the recipe: Apricot Almond Layer Cake

 

 

 

 

Coffee-Chocolate Decadence!

Let’s Eat Cake!

Coffee-Chocolate Layer Cake with

Mocha Mascarpone Frosting

 

Coffee-Chocolate Decadence!

Let’s Eat Cake!

  What could be better?!         Coffee-Chocolate cake with a rich Mocha frosting – Oh My! The recipe shows a picture of a dark – almost black – cake and frosting so I was totally intrigued. After reading through the recipe I became a bit apprehensive  realizing the lengthy process and the number of steps involved: mix, bake, cool, mix, chill, mix more, frost some, chill again, frost more, chill more, un-chill to serve at room temp… whew!

I was also curious just how an almost black cake would result from mixing (white) mascarpone cheese & (white) whipping cream with dark chocolate and dark coffee Coffee-Chocolate Decadence! Coffee-Chocolate Decadence!

… NOT going to happen — and it didn’t!

But it WAS rich … oh – so rich and decadent!

AND… It was EASY!!  I allowed two days of baking and frosting to assure myself  enough time for all the steps and time required for mixing and chilling.

 

This is a delicious chocolate cake with VERY RICH frosting

My pans were a good size and baked almost evenly….one layer seemed to sink just a bit on one side while cooling but didn’t affect the layering (a little more frosting in that section!!) Once cooled, they were individually double-wrapped  (in plastic then in Ziplok bag) and refrigerated until being frosted.

Coffee-Chocolate Decadence! The process of frosting the cake (one of the many ‘steps’) is a good one to remember and probably use for others: brush the crumbs off with a pastry brush; put the layers together with the filling/frosting; spread a thin layer of frosting around the sides and over the top;  then chill another 10 minutes before finishing the frosting. … I figured it was to keep the whipped cream frosting from warming too fast (the chilled cake layers helped too) but I think it is good idea for any layered cake frosting. It also gets any extra crumbs confined.

It was a nice straight up cake to begin with but once I slathered on the second layer of frosting, it kind of ’rounded’ out and looks a little plump! Coffee-Chocolate Decadence! I  could have ‘straightened’ it up again making flat sides (and losing a little frosting), but decided to leave it. I added the chocolate curls to the top and around the bottom to dress it up.

The mascarpone cheese must help hold the whipped cream frosting together (I’m thinking the commercial bakeries that offer whipped cream frosting must use something similar so it holds up and doesn’t begin to weep and sag.  The mascarpone certainly makes it RICH!

The coffee adds a lovely flavor – especially in the frosting. It could almost be a Tiramisu cake if it was a white/yellow cake vs chocolate cake (I might give that a try!)  AND – as I have said a couple times now —  there is NO WAY this recipe is going to look like the picture – At least in color! But since I knew that, I am not disappointed in anyway with the outcome.

The cake looks a little dense but has a lighter texture that it appears. Both the cake batter and frosting have a delicious – almost chocolate toffee – taste. The baked cake has a lighter coffee flavor than the batter and goes well with the frosting.

ALL reports are thumbs up!! After his second piece (with tea the next morning), hubby rates it on par with (his memory of) cakes from our favorite Dimmer’s bakery.  Our granddaughter had a piece with Gpa this morning and could only eat half of her small piece (its very rich!) but had no problem finishing it later and then asking for more. Other family members raved and raved and asked when I was making it again! Our neighbor LOVED it and said it was one the best chocolate-chocolate cakes she’s ever had.

Yaaay!!  Another winner!

 

Let’s Eat Cake! – Watermelon Cake?

Let’s Eat Cake!

Watermelon Cake! 

Let's Eat Cake! - Watermelon Cake?

 Funny thing is. . . during our first conversations about this cake ‘challenge’ we had some discussion about who might want which cakes… pick and choose? or random drawings?

The conversation went something like this:

ap: “I haven’t looked at the list – I’ll wait until you divide them up.  You can just do it randomly, or all you others can chose the ones you want and I’ll take what’s left.   And what I get makes no difference to me (as long as they don’t have watermelon or licorice in them!)”

hj: ”I” get any with watermelon and licorice!!!  Dibs!  hahaha!   (ewwwww….)

 jm: “watermelon and licorice cakes – ewww – I agree = no thanks on my end !! UNLESS it is a watermelon shape/decorated cake! but no licorice”

And then. . . there it was!

ap: “Speaking of cakes…!!  — “No Bake Watermelon Cake Recipe”

The next ‘round’ of recipes went out with the ‘extra’ recipe for watermelon cake!

 jmThe Watermelon Cake * is up for grabs and would be a good ‘summer’ cake. If anyone decides to make it, please share your experience with us all!!

 hj: “I’ll volunteer to make the watermelon cake “sometime” this summer!”

And now. . . HERE IT IS!!

 “No Bake Watermelon Cake” Let's Eat Cake! - Watermelon Cake?

Simple ingredients:  1 Large Watermelon, Blueberries, Raspberries, Almonds, Whipped cream or Coconut Whipped cream.

Simple instructions:  Cut watermelon in a circle like a cake, ‘frost’ with whipped cream, add almonds to sides, decorate the top with berries.

It was really very easy and makes an attractive and impressive presentation.

One suggestion I have is to take courage and just CUT the circle out. I thought I needed to use as much of the watermelon as possible, so I more or less ‘peeled’ it and ended up with a ‘top hat’ shaped cake. It also didn’t need to be as big of a watermelon as I used (about 8 pounds – wish I had taken a photo of the un-cut melon).

Let's Eat Cake! - Watermelon Cake?

I also experimented with whipped coconut cream to avoid dairy and was pleased.  Use coconut cream (not milk), well chilled with any liquid drained off, sweeten with sugar like whipping cream.

Let's Eat Cake! - Watermelon Cake?

It was really juicy at first. The recipe suggests ‘patting it down” with a paper towel before frosting which I did. It was still juicy when cut, but the left-over stayed almost a week in the refrigerator… and was still very good – maybe even better than the first day!

Should this be categorized as Edible Food Art? Healthy Cake? Gluten Free? Vegan? No-bake or just ‘Cake’ ? It is definitely fun and delicious!

The perfect healthy “No Bake Watermelon Cake Recipe” is from Jennifer Garza. Visit Jennifer’s blog for more exciting information and recipes.

 

 

Let’s Eat Cake! – Heavenly Lemon!

Let’s Eat Cake!

 Heavenly Lemon!

 

Let's Eat Cake! - Heavenly Lemon!

Meyer Lemon Cake

with Lavender Cream

“The floral notes of Meyer lemons meld with lavender in the most heavenly way in this light, golden cake. The secret to the moistness of the tender layers is olive oil—a common ingredient in Provençal cakes—and they take well to the bright lemon curd and loose billows of lavender-honey cream”

  This perfectly poetic description from the introduction in the recipe says it all!!

One might expect this cake to be a bit heavy and dense with the olive oil but is delightfully tender and light and moist.

I really liked the cake –  made with whipped egg whites and lemon juice and will use this cake recipe as a base for other cakes.

This cake was easy to make and everyone who tasted it enjoyed it.

Each taster’s sweet/sour preference varied. Some people thought it was perfect because they like tart. Others thought it needed a sweeter topping to balance the tart. Personally, I thought the curd was too tart. But that can vary with each lemon, too.

The lavender cream had mixed reviews too. It added a nice balance to the curd but the floral taste was a bit different.

Let's Eat Cake! - Heavenly Lemon!!

Let's Eat Cake! - Heavenly Lemon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let's Eat Cake! - Heavenly Lemon!

 

 

 

Let’s Eat Cake! — Take 2

Let’s Eat Cake!

Take 2 —

Let’s try this again!   The first cake of the challenge was a bit of a flop — a funny but frustrating  “Epic Failure“.  Some of us are a bit cautious about our assignments, but we plan to just “plow through and see what happens!”  So here goes . . . “Let’s Eat Cake! — Take 2”

 The Pink Cake

Let's Eat Cake -- Take 2

With some extra time this morning,  I went ahead and made the cake and got it frosted, instead of baking one day and frosting the next. And just to let you know – all this fancy “mix with the paddle attachment, mix with the whisk attachment ” isn’t happening in my house. One little hand mixer is all I have, and it’ll have to do.

I was intrigued with the part of the recipe where the chocolate is incorporated into the sour cream.  That all worked pretty well.

The cake itself is very moist, and has a nice chocolate flavor.

The Frosting is another issue! 

First of all – an entire pound of butter???  Yikes! I love butter, but this is way over the top for me.

Secondly, my little hand-beater had a tough time toward the end of the butter incorporation – it got a bit thick for the small beater to handle.

I transferred it all to a larger bowl before adding the raspberries.  I used frozen.  At the price of fresh raspberries in this little town it was cost prohibitive to use fresh with the required 4 cups.  (A lovely raspberry patch would be so nice!)

The  buttercream frosting directions do say that the mixture will appear “curdled” somewhere along the line when beating in the butter, but not to worry as it will smooth out as it all gets mixed in.

Well, before adding the raspberries the mixture was nice and smooth and fluffy.  When I mixed in the raspberries, that’s when it “curdled.” I beat the heck out of it, and it never did go back to smooth and fluffy, so I gave up and just put what I had on the cake.

LET'S EAT CAKE! -- TAKE 2

I would  have liked to have added some chocolate curls, but I didn’t have any chocolate for that.

The frosted cake tastes okay, but that “frosting” has just way too much butter in it.  (It actually tasted quite bland before I added the raspberries.)  When I ate my piece of cake I ended up scraping off most of the frosting.

The chocolate cake itself is also kind of bland, but works well with the raspberry flavor of the frosting. I think the cake batter does need a rich frosting of some kind to make it work.

My take on The Pink Cake:

– it’s good, but not good enough for all of the work.

There you have it!

Top photo by Erin Kunkel

Recipe: Epicurious.com

Let’s Eat Cake! . . . Epic Failure?

 Let’s Eat Cake!

The challenge: Bake one cake a month. Take photos during the process or at least of the finished product. Tell us about the experience and share the photos. Then EAT the CAKE!

In a totally RANDOM drawing done on behalf of each participant by Mr. Tommy, the first round of recipes have been picked and handed out.

First up:

Let's Eat Cake. . .or Not

Yellow Layer Cake with Chocolate-Sour Cream Frosting

Are you ready to eat cake? Let’s get started!

 Ok – here ya go!!!  I was laughing so hard during this!  My helper was complaining that she couldn’t take pictures because I was making her laugh, too.  It was hilarious!

I bought two sets of new cake pans to start this adventure!  I have two “old” pans – don’t even know if they’re nine inch or eight inch.  I needed three rounds for this cake (each split in half so I’d end up w/6 layers), and I wanted to make sure they were all the same size, etc.

Let's Eat Cake . . . or NotThe cake batter was easy to make and I thought it turned out good – fluffy and good consistency.  The cakes took a little longer to bake than the recipe said, and ended up with “crispy” edges – kinda like when there’s too much butter in a chocolate chip cookie and it spreads and gets crispy (?) – so I didn’t adjust for altitude, and I think that I should’ve added more flour (live and learn)!  When the cakes were cooled and I cut them in half, it seemed like the “tops” were bigger than the bottoms, but I wasn’t comfortable trimming around the edges – the cake seemed too “crumbly”.

The frosting recipe was a sour cream chocolate icing – you mix it up and let it get thicker in the fridge as it cools (recipe called for 30 minutes).  Well, I let it set all afternoon and finally decided it was probably as thick as it was going to get.

So. . . I put the first layer on the cake stand, topped it with the icing, smoothed it to the edge, put the second  layer on, topped it with icing, smoothed it to the edge, then the third, etc., etc.  By the time I got to the fifth layer, things were obviously off-kilter and leaning towards one side.  I tried to smoosh everything back to the other side without making too much of a mess – there was a little movement in the right direction, but obviously not enough. Let's Eat Cake . . . or Not I went ahead and put the final layers on and noticed how uneven the layers were (as in, the edges of the layers were radically not even).  I thought I was being careful when placing the cake layers on each time, but I think the spreading of the icing created movement that made everything crooked.  The picture on the recipe doesn’t have the sides of the cake frosted, but I had lots of extra frosting, and thought that maybe I could hide some of the unevenness if I threw some frosting on the side (obviously not!).

Let's Eat Cake! . . . or NotThen there was more movement and I hollered that we needed to cut a piece quick!  and get it on a plate. We grabbed a dessert plate and cut a slice and rushed to get a picture of the inside of the cake on the stand.

Let's Eat Cake . . . or NotThen while we were taking a picture of the slice on the plate, the whole cake just started cracking and sliding so I grabbed a cookie sheet for it to fall on – it was hysterical at this point – a slow (but kinda quick as it gathered momentum) mudslide.

Let's Eat Cake . . . or Not

Let's Eat Cake . . . or NotLet's Eat Cake . . . or Not

Wow.  I think the frosting was too “slick” – maybe more powdered sugar?  But I didn’t want to mess with it too much when I was making it – the picture looked like it was very glossy and not too thick with powdered sugar.  Now I know!

None of us were big fans of the taste of the cake, either.  I’ll get the “boys” opinions tonight.  – It had a tang or sourness that’s a little unpleasant.  Which is surprising to me, because I love tangy/sour things – I love buttermilk and sour cream.  But, not so much in this recipe!  What a way to start the cake challenge!  Geesh!

OMG!  It was fun though, and I enjoyed the experience, and the girls and I got a good laugh!  🙂

It’s OK if you start with the epic failure – we can only get better from here!  By the way, neither of the “boys” liked the taste of the cake either – both cut a large-ish slice and neither finished.  It looks like it should be good – it’s just not.  🙁  

Recipe: Epicurious.com

Cake Image:  Stephen Lewis

 

Let’s Eat CAKE!

It’s CAKE TIME!  Let’s Eat CAKE!

…at least once a week

….isn’t that what Betty Crocker, (or was it Duncan Hines or Pillsbury?) led us to believe? 

Works for me!

Somewhere along my journey from childhood, it may have been programmed into me, but I have become convinced that the proper homemaker provides the family with a luscious layer cake every week. Let's Eat Cake!

It hasn’t happened for me….yet.  It remains a standard for me to live up to and now…. we are going to eat cake!

I’ve always been attracted to pictures (& recipes) of pretty cakes. As a child, I would linger over the lovely pictures in the cake section of my mother’s Betty Crocker Cook Book… drooling, dreaming, and wishing I could taste them;

Cake Time! wishing even more, I could actually MAKE one of them – so pretty, they had to taste good too! I never actually made any of the fancy ones (Sunburst cake, or Pink Cake or Queen Elizabeth Cake, or….)

We always made a tried & true ‘safe’ cake  – usually the ‘quick cake’ which was quick – and easy – sort of a ‘dump cake’  – and eaten fresh and hot out of the oven with chocolate syrup drizzled over it….. mmmm…that was actually really good! Still… not the same as I imagined the fancy frosted layer ‘party’ cake would be. Not that I didn’t try once in awhile. Determined to make the ‘perfect’ chocolate layer cake, I would end up with a lopsided, drooping, sagging sorry excuse for a layer cake.

So – when I came across a collection of recipes on the internet for lovely layer cakes (with pretty pictures!) I wanted to make them ALL – so luscious and so enticing! (don’t you just luv the internet? -all those delightful recipes!!)

Let's Eat Cake!

Knowing it would take me a LONG time to make them all, I challenged a few fans (& relatives) to join me in raising the bar and striving to be the proper homemaker with a weekly cake. Realizing that one a week for each of us still might be a bit much in our busy lives (and healthy lifestyles), we decided a one-a-month each would work.

And so it starts – a random drawing of a recipe each month for each of us and we have: One Cake A Week! (Maybe even a Betty Crocker Cake!)

Let the baking begin and . . .

Let’s Eat Cake!

Let's Eat Cake!

 

 

 

Image Credits: General Mills, Betty Crocker.com, Epicurious.com, My Recipes.com