Birthdays on Birthdays….A Story of Two Cakes

Once again, I’ve waited forever to write a post. I’d say sorry, but its been a pretty shitty month in so mannny ways that I’m really not sorry. I had other biz to deal with. BUT…the winds are changing, so to speak, so I’ll fill you in on some the kitchen shenanigans I’ve been getting myself into these days.

There have been a few birthdays this month! and lord knows I love a good birthday celebration (example, other example, one more). This past month had not one but TWO birthdays to celebrate. So let me begin the story of two cakes.

Once upon a time…I had a terrible job (in part I’m joking but I’m mostly serious). And at that job I met some people…some of them were great. One such lady was my pal KT (check out her super gay blog and her adorable dog blog). KT had a birthday at the beginning of the month and I got to make her a celebratory cake–a Blueberry Cream Cheese Layer Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting…yup, I got classy this with this one (click for the full recipe from Veggie and the Beast).

Kt's cake

I won’t walk you through the play by play…mostly because I have no visuals, but I WILL give you some best practices. First, this cake is WORK…if you don’t have a mixer, maybe rethink making it. Personally, I do not have a mixer and I was having some challenges. Additionally, if you have never browned butter before, maybe google it first so you know what you’re looking for. Overall the cake was a big success, but maybe the birthday girl will comment her thoughts (not so subtle hint for you to comment on this post KT).

The second birthday gal and I go wayyyyyy back…like 26 years back. Because the birthday girl was my Mom! Dear old (practically ancient at this point) Ma got yet another year older. I won’t invade her privacy by putting a number on it…but in a few years when she turns 50 I tend to tell the world lol. (Love you momma).

I had a few days off work (Jewish Holidays woot woot) so I decided to head to the homestead to celebrate in person. As my sis is currently living the high life in the Dhabs I was reppin’ for the both of us. And I feel like I nailed it.

When asked for her preference of cake my mother was fairly vague…something chocolate. So some quality time spent with google resulted in finding the perfect recipe. It’s super moist…to the point you think you made it wrong. But it totally turns out great.

Look how great they look

Look how great they look

So my gram has an electric mixer. It makes baking cakes and making frosting SO MUCH better. I did a quick google search for frosting because the cake recipe author “didn’t record any measurements”…ok….But it’s super easy. I’m pretty sure I used this guy.

Why don't I have a mixer?!

Why don’t I have a mixer?!

A perfectly respectable looking cake

A perfectly respectable looking cake

So I frosted the cake and was pretty happy…I mean, look at how symmetrical it is! But I just felt like it was too “every day” to be my mom’s birthday cake….so I decided to spice it up…and maybe it got a little out of hand.

So maybe I went a little extreme...

So maybe I went a little extreme…

This was the final product. I assume it was satisfactory as there was none left the next day.

But here are some celebration pics! (in case you want to pretend you were there)

Look who made it on the blog! welcome to the internet mamma

Look who made it on the blog! welcome to the internet mamma

ugh happy couples...if I didn't like them so much I'd punch them lol

ugh happy couples…if I didn’t like these two so much I’d punch them lol

Also, I would be remiss to NOT introduce you to the best addition to my life: Frizz…aka Ms Frizzle. She is KT’s puppy and I love her. Like so much…and those of you who know me in real life know how rare that is.

Frizz loves to give kisses...just LOOK AT HER!! Gah I love it

Frizz loves to give kisses…just LOOK AT HER!! Gah I love it

ALSO I have an update for you! in my last post I told you all about how I was a beast and put up my curtains. Well I totally jazzed them up and now they’re AWESOME!

lights

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Birthday Cake the Classy Way

So it was recently my college roommates birthday (Happy Birthday Girl!!). My friend C and I decided to make dinner for her, so I offered to make a cake…because as you know, I love birthdays. (Evidence here, here, and here).

I decided to make something from scratch so I searched the interwebs for a recipe I thought was worthy. It didn’t take long to find a good one.

Dry Ingredients

 

Melt the butter, cocoa, and water

Melt the butter, cocoa, and water

How you make buttercream

How you make buttercream

Batter

So the batter is a little more liquid than boxed cake, but I think its because its a fudge cake.

I only have one cake pan….and I thought the batter would all fit. Turns out there’s more than I thought….so rather than double the bake time by using the same pan (no thanks) I had an epiphany. I noticed that a bunt pan is the same circumference! I decided to use my one cake pan and the bunt pan…which would make for a fun layer cake.

Funfetti Frosting Layer...Layer of Champions

Funfetti Frosting Layer…Layer of Champions

Frosted with Vanilla Frosting

Frosted with Vanilla Frosting

30 Minute Chocolate Fudge Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks butter
1 cup water
3 Tbs cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk***
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Mix flour and sugar in a bowl. In a sauce pan mix cocoa, butter, and water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Mix into the dry ingredients. Mix well, once cooled slightly add eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla. Pour into greased pan and bake at 350 for about 20 mins.

***I made buttermilk by taking just under 1/2 cup milk and adding 1/2 Tbs of lemon juice. Let sit for a couple minutes…and BOOM buttermilk.

Photo by Jenn Sheehan :)

Photo by Jenn Sheehan 🙂

See….it’s a cool effect. If there had been a little more time I would have filled the whole with something…a cupcake, fruit…something. But for this time I left it open.

I did make a fun decorative banner to top the cake though. Here’s how you do it.

What You’ll Need:

fun paper (I used scrapbook paper
skewers
dental floss

Cut out some triangles

Cut out some triangles

I started by folding the edge of the paper over, and cut small triangles.

Then I cut a length of dental floss and tried it to the skewers.

To attach the triangles, I put a dab of glue and placed them over the floss (the glue makes it so they stay). Let it dry and BOOM classy cake decor.

Sometimes I’m a Spaz in the Kitchen…

So those of you who’ve met me know that I am not the model of balance and grace…quite the opposite in fact. And this has been especially true lately. An alternate title for this post was actually going to be “That time i became Frienemies with Pancakes” but then that didn’t fully encompass the span of my clumsiness.

So I had avocados and corn on the cob left over and I needed to use them. I found a great recipe for Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad (here) that would be perfect. Incident One of being a spaz. EVERYONE knows that when you de-pit an avocado you ‘chop’ the pit,not STAB. Even as I was doing I was thinking…this is dumb Kristine….and then OWWWWW. Yup…I stabbed myself in the hand. Nice going, champ. Kitchen Fail ONE.

Not even a week later the spaz in me struck again. I was just giving voice to my love of pancakes by whipping up some chocolate chip pancakes NBD right? WRONG. The pancake was essentially finished cooking when I gracefully flipped one right outta the pan. Without thinking I grabbed it to toss it back in…another genius plan. My middle finger, with laser sharp accuracy mind you, landed firmly on the molten core of a chocolate chip. OH.MY.GOD. That biz hurts….A LOT. I got a big ugly fiery hot blister on my that stayed on my finger for 2.5 weeks. I’ll spare you the photos…which exist because obviously I need to send things like this to people like my mom lol. I have a bit of a mixed history with pancakes. About a week before I returned to America from Peace Corps, I was fixing myself a batch of pancakes when I flipped a pancake onto the stove. MESSY. In my attempt to clean it up I rubbed my hand all up on the still-on-the-active-burner frying pan. I still have the scar on my hand as a momento. So this latest debacle places us firmly the frienemies category.

And I’ve been dropping just about everything I touch (and weirdly things I don’t touch at all) in the kitchen ever since.

Here’s a little something I whipped up the other day for my cousin’s baby shower. I made some chocolate cupcakes with Diet Pepsi frosting (Diet Pepsi being one of her fave things).

For the cake I just used a box and prepared it as instructed. HOWEVER, if you can sub out all the ingredients the box says to add with a can of soda for an extra light, lower fat, cake.

You can find the recipe HERE. Its a chocolate glaze that actually tastes like Diet Pepsi. I let the glaze dry and then dusted them with powdered sugar.

Dinner Time

So there is a fruit and vegetable stand right outside my T stop that sells really cheap and yummy produce. Its incredibly convenient…and WAY cheaper than what I pay at the grocery store. I was feeling a serious need for some veggies on Monday so I picked up a few things before heading home.

I ended up grabbing a huge zucchini, 3 big potatoes, a lemon, a bunch of bananas, and four apples…all for the bargain price of $8.50. BEST. On my ride home I decided what I would whip up for dinner.

Here’s what I ended up making:

I made some herb roasted potatoes, Parmesan crusted baked zucchini, and lemon and herb grilled chicken tenderloins.

For the potatoes I peeled and chopped them first. Then drizzled them with some extra virgin olive oil, and seasoned them with salt, pepper, garlic flakes, montreal chicken seasoning (so good, from McCormick), some thyme, and some lemon.

For the zucchini I peeled and sliced them. Then I dipped them in whole wheat flour, egg, and a mixture of Italian breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and spices. I baked them on a cookie sheet for about 10-15 minutes (until they’re golden brown on top).

For the chicken I briefly marinated the tenderloins with some olive oil, spices, and lemons. Then I slapped them on my trusty George Foreman grill until they were cooked through.

I found a really interesting desert idea on Pinterest that I decided to try as well.

You can see the full recipe here. But to summarize: you only need banana, peanut butter, cocoa powder,an egg, vanilla and a little sugar and BOOM 2.5 minutes in the microwave later you got yourself a cake. I topped mine with some fat free cool whip. Its really easy to make and tastes pretty good.

All in all it was a great end to a less than pleasant Monday.