Friday, June 24, 2011

Super Good Chocolate Cake

I made an awesome chocolate cake that I've been wanting to try for a few months. I finally had the opportunity (ie: other people to eat the cake with me instead of me eating all of it) and it turned out great!If I had the patience to wait for it to cool before frosting it, it would have turned out ever better, but it tasted super good, and no one was complaining about looks either. I loved the frosting recipe. It was easy and way better than canned chocolate frosting (even though I do like chocolate canned frosting, just not vanilla. Eww.) It would probably do better with actual cake pans instead of pie pans too.
The recipe came from the Hershey website, so it had to be a keeper, right?! It really is!

Cake Batter Ingredients:
2 cups Sugar
1 3/4 cups Flour
3/4 cup Baking Cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 cup Boiling Water (I just heat water in the microwave for 2-3 minutes)

1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter or Margarine (melted)
2/3 cup Baking Cocoa
3 cups Powdered Sugar
1/3 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Mix dry ingredients for cake together well before adding eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Mix well for a few minutes (I use my kitchen Aid with the wire whisk). Add boiling water and mix slowly (so you don't burn yourself). The batter will be thin, but don't worry! Pour batter into greased pans (I don't bother flouring) and bake at 350 degrees for the time needed for the pan size listed below.
Makes: One 9x13 pan (35-40 minutes), Two 9 inch pans (30-35 minutes), 24 cupcakes (20-25 minutes), or One Bundt cake pan (50-55 minutes). You know it's done when you jiggle it a little and it doesn't jiggle back or when you put a toothpick in and it comes out clean. If it seems to be getting brown around the edges, but not done in the middle, turn the oven down to 325 degrees and cover the cake with tin foil checking it every five minutes.
While the cake bakes, make your frosting. Melt the butter. Mix in the cocoa. Then add the powdered sugar and milk in little bits (1 cup powdered sugar-mix-1/3 cup milk-mix-repeat until you have used all that the recipe calls for). I used my small hand mixer for this because it's supposed to make two cups of frosting and my big mixer is a little overkill for that.
I still don't understand how you put in 4 1/2 cups of ingredents and end up with two cups of frosting....It must be all those taste tests... Frost when your cake is cool and your frosting won't just melt into the cake like mine. I think raspberry jam would be a yummy filling in this too. I added chocolate sprinkles on top and then covered the whole cake with my largest bowl to protect it from hungry eyes and fingers (ie: kids). I did end up taking half of the cake home and ate all the rest in a few days. I love desserts! Obviously. Look at the majority of my recipes...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rainbow Cupcakes

Maybe you've heard of these. I saw them a while ago on Our Best Bites and decided that they would be perfect for a party I was hosting for House Party with Expo Washable Markers. It was a fun party with all their new washable markers and House Party sent me 15 sets of markers and dry erase boards to give away to people who came to my party. It was fun. Anyway, these cupcakes were delicious.
I used a from-scratch recipe for the cake mix because I didn't have any white cake mixes and I wanted to try this recipe. I ended up making the yellow cake mix since I used the yolk of the eggs and it didn't matter because I was dying the layers in the cupcake anyway.

For the cake batter I doubled the amounts below to make 24 cupcakes and then looked at the recipe again and realized that the recipe below was already doubled, so I guess I used twice as much batter as I should have. This recipe should still make 24 cupcakes, but they won't be as overfilled as mine were.

Cake Batter Ingredients (or you could use cake mix-whatever makes 24 cupcakes):
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

I mixed the dry ingredients in my mixer and then added the shortening. I mixed it in until it was all crumbly and then added the eggs and milk and vanilla and kept mixing until it was all uniform and didn't have any big clumps.

I liked this recipe. It was simple and I knew for sure that I wasn't adding any ingredients that my friend's kids would be allergic to.

After it was all mixed, I pulled out six of our big cereal bowls and added 1/2 cup of batter to each bowl so I would have the same amount of each color. I made Red, Yellow, Orange, Green, Blue, and Violet (Purple). ROY-G-BIV. I left out Indigo. I think it's kind of made up anyway. I used gel food coloring. I think you know how to make orange, green, and purple without help, but if you don't, leave a comment and I'll help you out. =)

I wanted red on top of the cupcake, so I started with purple on the bottom and worked my way up. I used too much batter at the beginning and by the time I got to red, the batter was just about to the top of the muffin liner. I recommend about a Tablespoon of each color.

ONE GREAT TIP: TO SPREAD COLOR TO EDGE OF LINER, GET A CUP OF WARM WATER AND DIP A FINGER IN IT AND THEN SPREAD BATTER OUT TO THE EDGE. REDIP YOUR FINGER WITH EACH CUPCAKE AND EACH LAYER. I also spray my liners so the cupcake comes out easily.It's kind of time consuming, but these cupcakes are so fun and delicious, it's worth it.

See? I filled them way too full. The muffins grew into each other and the tops were trying to fall off when I took them out of the muffin pan. I think both orange and red were over the tops of the muffin liner. Still---delicious, moist, not too crumbly, and devoured.
See the pretty layers?
I was going to make some thick frosting, but decided against it when I saw how huge these were and remembered that it would be mostly kids eating them anyway and that I only had half a bag of powdered sugar! Opps. I dipped them when they were still warm too and lost a few muffin tops before I finally started frosting them. I kind of like the glazed taste.

The frosting/glaze was 1/2 cup butter, 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar, with 1/4 cup milk.
Like I said, they were delicious and they were devoured and they didn't leave crumbs all over or stain any kids.
This little guy liked his. They still ate the frosting first, but they all finished the whole cake part too. That's saying a lot for kids. Most just eat the frosting.
I made it in my bundt cake pan this week as well. It turned out great, but it had to cook for about 40 minutes to be done in the middle. When the edges were turning brown at about 20 minutes, I turned the oven down to 300 degrees to finish it off.

Here is what it looked like. I only used four colors instead of six this time too. I could probably do a double batch of batter (or two cake mixes) in my pan.
Still delicious. =)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Peanut Butter Cups

Sorry it's been such a long time since I posted a new recipe. I've just been making my old standbys and quick and easy meals lately because of our new baby.
I made these peanut butter cups a few months ago with the pouch of store bought peanut butter cookie dough in my mini muffin pan and added the mini Reese's after they were cooked to the middle. One of those semi-homemade treats. They are just as good that way, but I like this recipe better and there isn't as much salt in it or preservatives, I guess.
Here is my mom's recipe for peanut butter cookies.

The Very Softest Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup Margarine
1 cup Peanut Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
2 ½ cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
Chocolate Chips, Stars, or Kisses, anything chocolate you like.

Mix margarine, peanut butter, and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until creamy. Add dry ingredients.
Option #1-May add chocolate chips here if desired. Don’t mix with mixer after adding chocolate chips. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar for this method. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes.

Option #2-If using chocolate stars or kisses, add right after the cookies come out of the oven (while they are still on the cookie sheet). OR spray mini muffin tin and spoon some dough into the cup. Press it down so it fills the cup. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes. When you take muffin tins out, place one of these cute peanut butter cups right in the middle. Let cool and then pop them out and make some more. Store in airtight container. Makes about 60 cookies. Enjoy with a glass of milk. Cook them longer if you like they more brown. Even the ones that were nearly burnt still tasted good.
Enjoy! We sure did on Memorial Day Weekend. Andy's cousin asked me if he could trade me some brownies he made for my cookies. I'd say that means they were yummy. =)