Tag Archives: cake

TWD: Lots of Ways Banana Cake

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we’d all have a wonderful Christmas.

Coulda shoulda woulda…

All of the above could be the tagline to my life lately.  But we won’t go into that.  Let’s just say that when I saw this recipe in the book eons ago I had completely different plans for it.  Flexibility is a virtue, right? 

I “played around” with this one by opting for one layer and skipping all add-ins.  I topped it with chocolate ganache and whipped cream.  Probably the biggest change I made was going gluten free.  I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour.  And, you know what?  Two of the three of use who ate this aren’t trying to be gluten free and we all had seconds.  Take that, wheat flour!

For the full recipe visit: Kimberly at Only Creative Opportunities.  This one is a keeper.

Next week:  chunky chewy blondies.  probably not gluten free.

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TWD: Dressy (for some) Chocolate Loaf Cake

So, even a lazy half-hearted blog can influence the way my family reacts to my baking.  I made the Dressy Loaf Cake on Saturday night (pre-father’s day since we were going to be gone on Father’s Day.  That is a disappointing story maybe best saved for another time).  I asked Will what he thought and this was his response, “I liked the cake but had some issues with the frosting.”  Issues?  Who says that?  More specifically, what 8 yr old boy says that?  I’ll tell you…an 8 yr old boy who can’t just eat his cake in peace because his mother must have reviews to report.  That’s who.

I do, however, have to agree with his “issues.”  The cake was good; loved the jam in middle (some Cherry, Pomegranate, Kiwi blend from Costco).  The frosting was a little too tangy for me.  I think I would substitute a fudgy frosting next time. 

PS  did you see the cake plate up top?  Sorry, even though I made this cake within about a hare’s breath of the longest day of the year, I still managed to finish it in the dark.  You’ll have to settle for the mangled version.  Anyhoo, the cake plate!  It is my fifth attempt at owning one.  My dear dad purchased it for me for $2 at a church garage sale.  Will it last long enough for me to get his money’s worth?  Jury is still out on that one.

Bottom Line:  good cake; meh frosting.  The full recipe is at Amy Ruth Bakes.

Next week:  rum drenched vanilla cakes.  We have a family reunion coming up this weekend.  Vanilla cakes are definitely in the wait and see how exhausted I am category.

TWD: (the humbling) Swedish Visiting Cake

My camera is still acting weird and I haven’t had time to figure it out.  This was taken with my phone.  You should have seen the others….

I was wrong.

That sentence is a line of demarcation between maturity and immaturity, right?  For example, my kids never just say, “I was wrong.”  There are – always – a number of qualifiers attached.  “He started it.”  “I didn’t mean it.”  “I didn’t know the towel rack would snap if I hung from it like Tarzan.”  And my personal favorite recently uttered by my second-grader in defense of making of fun of his brother on the playground after school, “I was stressed out from a full day of school.”   

So, let me proclaim my (fragile) maturity to the world.  About this cake…I was wrong. 

You see, I smirked a little when a couple of other members mentioned on the P & Q that they couldn’t believe this cake had been chosen before.  Of course it hadn’t been chosen, I thought.  It looks like the most boring cake in the book.  On my own, I guarantee I would never have considered trying this recipe.   I was fully prepared to give a mediocre review.

But, I am letting myself mess up the kitchen for baking once a week so I thought I would go ahead and make it.  I did make one change to the recipe.  I knew I probably would be biased against this cake with just the lemon zest for flavoring.  For me, a dessert has to go for the lemon full throttle or skip it all together.  I had some lemon chips (think yellow chocolate chips) waiting to be used.  I threw a little over a half of a cup in and…awesome.  I liked it so much better than I thought I would.  Who knows?  I may even make it again.  I think it would be great with chocolate chips (no lemon zest) or the apple version that was posted in the P&Q (I thought of going for that one this time but, frankly, couldn’t muster the enthusiasm for peeling apples).

Variations:  Addition of above mentioned lemon chips.  If I had time to figure out my camera woes, I would post a picture of them.  I also skipped the sliced almonds on half.  I would skip them altogether next time.

Bottom line:  VERY easy and surprisingly good.

For the full recipe, visit Nancy at The Dogs Eat the Crumbs.  Next week:  sweet cream biscuits.  I have made these already.  Hallelujah!

TWD: Coconut Lime Tea Cake (it smelled good…)

So, I actually have pictures for this one.  A victory to be sure.

It was late when I finished and I had to pack it up early.   This is the best I got.

I made this earlier in the month when my mother-in-law had her knee replaced.  My husband went up to Nebraska to stay with her for a few days and I loaded him down with food for the both of them.  I decided that since we weren’t huge coconut lovers, sending the cake up to her was the only justification I had for making it this month.

We don’t cook with this much.  I used it in beans and rice once and was almost burned in effigy.

The only problem with sending a TWD creation to someone that has just undergone major surgery is that it is difficult to get a full review.  She was tired (duh) when he picked her up from the hospital and they didn’t cut into it.  The meds made her sick to her stomach the next couple of days and she didn’t eat much of anything.  It just didn’t seem appropriate to query, “How is your mother doing?  Has she started physical therapy?  Is anyone going to eat my  #^&%* cake?”

I assumed she could pack it in her freezer for the numerous visitors to come.  But she sent half home with my husband, who, in fairness, did eat a small slice after a day or two solely for review purposes.  The half that came back here got good reviews from my mom.  My sister-in-law ate some in NE and asked for the recipe.  It was DAYS later so it must keep well.

Variations:  I went with the coconut/lime version.  Apparently, that worked.

Bottom Line:  Very moist.  Very easy.  Smelled great.

House Update:  on the market.  We have had lots of showings but no one seems to appreciate its charms just yet.  Keep your fingers crossed cuz I don’t know how long we can keep it spotless with the small people who live with us.  The other day, I glanced in a bathroom before a showing and noticed that one of them had a left a little “present” in the toilet.  That’s not going to sell the house.

Next week: mocha (no) walnut bundt cake.  My kitchen activity has decreased CONSIDERABLY since this house nonsense started, but I might make this for Easter.

TWD: Cocoa-Nana Cake

After last week’s hullabaloo over the Chocolate Oatmeal Almost Candy Bars, I am finding myself with a little writer’s block this week.  It isn’t that I am not enthused by the idea of chocolate and banana together.  One of my favorite on-the-fly desserts is to melt a tablespoon or so of chocolate chips which I then lovingly dip my banana into.  It’s just that I am crashing from my high.

So, I made this.  And I included the banana.  I only made 1/3 of the recipe (see last week’s overindulgence; see also Wii Fit which says, “Oh!” every time I step on the balance board.  I curse you, Nintendo).  Will ate most of it.  He gave it a thumbs up.  I do, too.  Frankly, as opposed to many on the P&Q, I could taste the banana.  And that was fine with me.

Next week: more chocolate!

TWD: Perfect (Birthday) Party Cake

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While you never stop learning in life (and boy some of the lessons are fun, aren’t they?), you do pick up a few tips as you muddle through.

1.                    Play to your strengths.  In other words, avoid your weak areas.  Run from them.  After over a year of seeing my how my interpretations stack up against a host of others’, I think we can all agree that my decorating/construction skills are lacking at best.  There was the leaning tower of tiramisu cake and who can forget the saddest little jack-o-lanterns ever?  Considering those masterpieces, I wasn’t about to attempt to slice a cake this thin in half.  Fool me 837 times and I finally get it.  We enjoyed a two-tiered cake.

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As for layering frosting and jam?  Yeah, right.  You let me know when mangled goo looks appetizing and I’ll try the layering.  Fresh blueberries all the way.

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2.                    Know your audience.   It was Patty’s birthday and Patty…LOVES whipped cream.  Really loves it.  This gave me the perfect excuse to skip buttercream which 1) is complicated and 2) is not my favorite.   Despite the pounds I rip through baking, I don’t really love the taste of butter.  But we’ll tackle that paradox another time.  I tried to make a chocolate whipped cream to account for the glaring lack of chocolate in Patty’s birthday cake.  I didn’t have the 4+ hours to tackle the version in the back of BFMHTY so I opted for a Maida Heatter version.  It was good but decidedly not very chocolatey.

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Overall, I liked this cake.  I taste tested the batter (natch) and it was better than I expected.  I went with lime zest because I thought it would go well with the blueberries.  In the end, however, it was still white cake, which will never make my heart sing.  I offered a small layer of white at our wedding for the purists but I didn’t go anywhere near it.  I suppose there are occasions where this would be the perfect cake but those occasions probably call for elegant cakes.  If there is one thing my cakes aren’t, it is elegant.

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My “helper.”  He is only in it for the sink “concoctions.”

The full recipe is at mix, mix…stir, stir by Carol.

Next week:  Brownies!  I don’t want to jinx it but I haven’t been disappointed by a Dorie brownie yet…

TWD: Not so fast…it’s a Whopper Cake

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Happy Father’s Day to two great dads!

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Well, it’s not exactly Roasted Coconut Pineapple Dacquoise.  I didn’t have an opportunity to make this ahead of time so it fell on father’s day weekend for me.  I have known the father I live with (Jamie) for almost 15 years and, in that time, I have never seen him eat anything coconut or profess any opinion about it whatsoever.  No german chocolate cake, no pina coladas.  Nuthin’.  For all I know, he could be a total coconut snob who will only deign to eat it within minutes of it falling off the tree (not likely here on the plains).  Or, he could be allergic.   Maybe he ate 15 Mounds bars in one sitting in junior high and hasn’t been able to look it in the eye since.  It’s anyone’s guess…I do know he isn’t so into meringue.  My dad likes coconut but I couldn’t see him drooling over the rest of it.  The final kicker was the kids’ ardent and vocal desire to make a “whopper cake” from the back of a library book.

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Whopper cake in; dacquoise out.  I really hate to skip a week and try my best not to.  This is my 3rd miss out of 63 (63!!) weeks.   If it hadn’t been father’s day, I probably would have sucked it up and made this sans coconut.  While I would like to promise that I will get back to this one, that may be wishful thinking.  But, who knows, when we get to the end of the book I might be tormented by those few recipes I didn’t get to.  If the dacquoise becomes my telltale heart, I’ll find some willing recipient.

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As for the whopper cake, I sadly admit there are no Whoppers or equivalent malted candies anywhere in the cake.  The title refers to the cake in the book, which is baked in the back of a truck bed.  Silly Grandpa gets a little crazy with the measurements for his wife’s cake.  It was very easy and good, but not my favorite chocolate cake.  I did, however, use a recipe I found in my clippings book (so last century) for Satin Frosting.  It was in a NY Times article in 2006 and they “borrowed” it from the Joy of Cooking.  SUPER easy and a great glossy finish.  I will definitely be making it again.

Satin Frosting

Ingredients

  1. 1 c. heavy cream
  2. 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate chopped
  3. 3 c. powdered sugar
  4. 6 tbsp butter (I let mine soften)
  5. 1 tsp. vanilla (I forgot this)

Boil the heavy cream.  Add the chopped chocolate and wait 10 minutes.  Scrape into food processor.  Add melted butter, powdered sugar and vanilla.  Process until smooth and then process one minute more.  Let sit at room temperature until desired thickness.  I don’t know exactly how long that would be.  I processed mine, ate a quick lunch and frosted away.