Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Birthday Cake and The Freshman Cook Gets a Makeover!!

A few weeks ago, a friend of a friend had an impromptu Birthday party. Since no one had given much thought to the Birthday Cake, my husband volunteered me! Now, don't get me wrong, I love to bake. Anything, pretty much anytime. But I only had 2 hours to have it completely ready to go. So, I grabbed a box of Devil's Food cake mix, and made my favorite cake from The Cake Doctor, Anne Byrn. I have posted cakes in the past that I have made from her book. I just love it, because the cakes are so moist. (I think I have said that before! :o)!!) But the question of how to decorate the cake was really driving me crazy.! I thought about peanut butter, reese cups, chocolate chips, all of the usual cast of characters. Time was flying by, and going to the grocery was out of the question. Here is what I finally came up with.

Chocolate Cherry Double Layer Birthday Cake
1 box Duncan Hines Devil's Food Cake Mix
3 tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 13 cups Buttermilk
1/2 cup Corn Oil
3 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Mix all the ingredients together in your mixing bowl
Mix on low for 1 minute, then scrape the sides of your bowl,
and mix on medium for 2 minutes.
Pour into 8" pans, and bake for 30-40 minutes.
Remove from oven, cool on rack.
After 5 minutes of cooling, take a knife or offset spatula
around the edge of the cake, between the cake and the pan.
Let the cake continue to cool for 15 more minutes.
Release cake from the pan. and let it continue to cool
on the cooling rack.
I made Chocolate Ganache for the frosting. 
Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips in a double boiler on the stove.
Add 1/4 cup of heavy duty whipping cream. This is my normal
recipe, but I ended up adding another 
1/4 cup of whipping cream because I wanted this ganache to 
drip down the cake.
Mix the ganache until completely smooth.
Cover the top of the bottom layer with ganache.
Cover the ganache with a thin layer of
cherry pie filling.
Top with top layer.
Cover top layer with ganache. 
Add some additional ganache on top until it drips
down the sides and looks pretty.
Add a circle of cherry pie filling in the middle of the top layer.
Happy Birthday My Friend !!

The Freshman Cook Makeover!!

If you have read The Freshman Cook in the last week, you know that this blog, just received a fabulous makeover. It all started when I won a contest hosted by Ashton of Something Swanky. My prize was a full blown blog makeover designed by the incredibly talented Leah over at Just Call Me Blessed!!! Am I lucky, or what!! I emailed Leah answers to her questions about what I was looking for, and she hit the nail on the head.!!! She designed the gorgeous header that you see now, and I just love it!! I hope you do too! If you are looking to make some changes in the design of your blog, you must contact Leah. She has an etsy shop so you can check out what she does, and she is such a patient person to work with. She gave me detailed instructions on how to install the features she designed. Of course, she will  install them for you, but I was curious and wanted to learn how to do it myself. If you are looking to make any changes in your blog, or your facebook page, maybe a button for your blog, or you just want something different, contact Leah. You will be so glad you did!! Thanks, Leah! You are the best!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Secret Recipe Club~ St. Patrick's Day Cookies

It's time for the Secret Recipe Club reveal, and I am so excited! I was assigned a really great blog this month. It is called Art From My Table, and it is written by Chellie. She has posted such a wonderful array of so many different foods, that I had a difficult time deciding which recipe to choose. After a lot of internal debate, I chose her "Stained Glass Cookies", and I am so glad I did.  They were the perfect choice!
 Old Fashioned Sour Cream Cookies
printable recipe
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Sour Cream
Apple Flavored Jolly Ranchers
(about 1 per cookie)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Unwrap your jolly rancher candies, place in a plastic
zipper or zip lock bag, and crush with a hammer, or
like I did, with the end of a big flashlight.
(I couldn't find the hammer) :)
Place your shortening, sugar, egg, and vanilla in your bowl.
Cream together.
In a separate bowl, mix together your salt, baking soda,
and flour. 
Add to the shortening mixture, alternating with the sour cream.
Start and end with the flour mix. Roll out your dough and cut out
your shamrocks. You may want to place the dough in the 
fridge for about an hour before cutting it out.
These are the cookie cutters I used. I cut out the large
shamrock, and moved the cutout to the baking sheet.
Then I cut out the small one.
Fill the open area of the shamrock with some of the 
crushed jolly rancher.
Bake for 7-8 minutes.
Cool on rack, allowing for the centers to harden.
Be careful, the centers are very hot!

When Chellie posted this recipe, she designed it to be used
for Valentines Day. She originally posted it as a
decoder cookie, which I found adorable!
It is such a versatile cookie, it can be used for lots 
of holidays and celebrations, and the decoder idea could
 be used for so many different themes~I just love the idea!!

Thank you Chellie for making this so easy for me!
This is a great recipe, and one I will use over
and over again!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A St. Paddy's Day Celebration!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone! Today is always a big day in our house, 
and we are celebrating with~what else? FOOD! 
So, it's Corned Beef and Cabbage, Irish Creme Cupcakes, 
and Chocolate Mint Cakes! Come on over!

Corned Beef and Cabbage
I cooked the entire meal in my crock pot. 
I really like the idea of the crock pot, but for some unknown reason, 
I hardly ever use it. I rubbed the seasoning 
packet all over the beef, and then placed it in the crock pot,
and covered it with water. I cooked it on high for a
total of 10 hours.
About 3 hours in to the cooking, I cut up my potatoes,
and added them to the pot.
I added the cabbage about 9 hours in to the cooking.
I cut the corned beef very thin.
It was so juicy and delicious. Such a great flavor!
My favorite way to eat corned beef?
On rye bread with mustard. Such a treat!!

St. Paddy's Day Chocolate Mint Cakes

This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found in a
cookbook called Entenmann's Big Book of Baking.
They called it Double Chocolate Mint Cake.
I made a few changes, and came up with this
chocolate decadence for St. Paddy's Day!
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon baking Powder
3/4 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tablespoon Milk
1/2 cup Andes Creme De Menthe Chips
(ignore the pic of the chocolate chips)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
I used this pan, and greased and floured it.
To make the batter, mix together the flour,
 cocoa,and baking powder.
Add the butter, sugar, and eggs to the same bowl, mixing well.
Stir in the milk and the mint pieces.
Pour into pan and cook for approx. 18-20 minutes.
Remove from pan and cool.
Let's make our ganache!

1/2 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/4 - 1/2 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1/4 cup Andes Creme  De Menthe Chips
Shamrock Mix Sprinkles
Make a double boiler. Place about 2 cups of hot
water into a saucepan, and place your chocolate chips
into a different saucepan. Put the saucepan with the chips on top
of the pan with the water. Make sure the top saucepan does
not touch the water in the bottom pan. Heat the water, and as you do,
the chocolate chips will begin to melt.
As this starts to happen, add the whipping cream,
 and mix until thoroughly stirred.
Place one of the cakes on your plate. Top with a
heavy spoonful of ganache, and sprinkle with mint pieces.
Place another piece of cake on top and drizzle ganache
over the cakes.
Sprinkle top with shamrock mix.
An inside look~Yummy!

Chocolate Irish Cream Cupcakes with
 Chocolate Irish Cream Frosting
I adapted this recipe from Anne Byrn's book The Cake Doctor.
I love using the cake mix recipes from her book. Not only
are they slightly quicker to put together, but they are consistently
moister. I have made many cakes from scratch, but I have yet
 to find cakes that turn out as moist as these.
1 package Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cup Baileys Irish Creme Coffee Creamer
1/2 cup Corn Oil
3 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.
Mix on low for 1 minute, then stop, scrape the bowl,
and continue to mix, this time on medium  for 2 minutes.
Place cupcake wrappers in a cupcake pan
and fill them with batter.
Cook at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
After checking to make sure if they are done,
remove cupcake pan from the oven, let them cool for 5-10
minutes, then remove cupcakes from the pan,
and let them cool on a cooling rack.
Now, let's make our frosting!

Chocolate Irish Cream Buttercream Frosting
8 ounces softened Butter
3 cups confectioners Sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3-4 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream Coffee Creamer
Mix all the above ingredients together until smooth.
Cover your cupcakes with the buttercream,
and add sprinkles.

May your blessings outnumber
The shamrocks that grow,
And may trouble avoid you
Wherever you go.

Hope you are having a
Happy St. Patrick's Day!