March brought a lot of new recipes through the Crafty Cafe and I'd like to share a few of those with you... eventually. Today, since it's the day after my birthday AND my premiere post over here in the Cafe, I'll talk about dessert first. Is there really any better way to begin?
Three cakes have waltzed in and out of the Crafty kitchen in the past 3 weeks and they are all worth mentioning, eating and making again and again and again.
I'll work my way backwards through my cake baking, let's call this a cake walk, shall we?
For the twin's birthday party last week, I found this monkey cake via Parenting's website. When I get the creative spark to make something I just google whatever it is and find something I like. I googled "how to make a monkey cake" and found this:
"PERFECT!," I declared, 4 days before the birthday party.
That's just how I roll.
The cake part was a recipe from My Kitchen Cafe. She has never led me astray and this cake was so perfectly moist and delicious, hence the name of the cake,
Super Moist Fudge Bundt Cake.
from Erin W. and Melanie C. & My Kitchen Cafe blog
1 devils food cake mix
1 4-serving instant chocolate pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream (not low-fat or fat-free)
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl.
Blend with an electric mixer for 1 minute. Stir down sides.
Continue to mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared (i.e. greased and floured) bundt pan.
Bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool 20 minutes.
Invert onto serving platter.
**if you're making this in 2 9-inch cake pans, you'll only bake it for somewhere between 22-28 minutes.keep checking with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean and be careful not to stick it into a gooey chocolate chip!
In a word, mmmmmmm.
But to better describe it I'll add that it is super easy to make. I used a Dark Fudge/Chocolate cake mix, as that is what I had on hand. The key to the chocolately-ness of this cake is the chocolate chips. They added that something special to it and put it over the top. I baked mine in 2 9-inch baking pans so that I could make my cake a double layer cake. The batter was nice and thick, too. Perfect for licking off of the beater!
To frost, I made a simple chocolate buttercream frosting: butter, cocoa, powdered sugar, milk, vanilla (?). simple stuff. much better than buying the can. again, trust me.
Cake number 2 hails from an issue of Country Living magazine.
Go here for the recipe for Praline Turtle Cake
Sweet, sweet, sweet is the best way to describe this cake. I liked the picture from the website better than mine it wasn't as appetizing. I would certainly make this again, but it wasn't as well received by the little people as the Monkey Cake up above.
The best part of this cake is that you only need a bowl and a spoon to stir it all together. No mixer at all!
You do need to heat the butter, brown sugar and sweetened condensed milk on the stove for a bit, but it's not hard at all.
Using the parchment paper on the bottom of the pan made clean-up easy and enabled the cake to pop right out of the pan.
As is often the case for me, I just made my own quick fudge sauce instead of buying a bottle at the grocery store. I had all the ingredients in my pantry/fridge and there were no extra added perservatives thrown in to boot!
4 oz German chocolate
3 Tbs water
1/4 cup sugar
Combine above ingredients in a saucepan and melt over low until nice and smooth.
Remove from heat and add:
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 Tbs butter
Makes 3/4 cup of chocolate sauce. Perfect amt for the Praline Turtle Cake recipe above!
Last, but definitely NOT least was the Italian Cream Cake I made for my cousin Karen's Surprise Party last month.
I've had this cake dog-eared for years but never brought myself to bake it because of this one ingredient: coconut oil. I absolutely LOVE coconut. Mounds, Almond Joy, macaroons, mallo-cups, coconut shrimp... you name it, I love the flavor, texture and scent. However, there are many people in my life that do not have the same affinity towards it (my dad, my husband and my aunt, Marsha). SO, it has taken me this long to find someone who truly appreciates the coconut for it's worth and yummy flavor. I was thrilled to make this cake for the occasion.
This is a Cooking Light magazine recipe and although mine was a bit crumby, the flavor does not disappoint! Another double layer cake-- my 9 inch pans certainly got a workout these past 3 weeks- and this one takes a bit more work b/c you have to beat the egg whites- nothing my kitchen aid can't handle, though.
Italian Cream Cake
Source: Cooking Light
2 teaspoons cake flour
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 cups cake flour (about 8 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large egg whites
FROSTING:1 tablespoon butter; 1/2 cup (5 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese; 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar; 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cake, coat bottoms of 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray (do not coat sides of pans).
Line bottoms of pans with wax paper. Coat wax paper with cooking spray, and dust with 2 teaspoons flour; set aside.
Place 1/3 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating well.
Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
Combine 2 cups flour, baking soda, and salt; stir well.
Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
Stir in pecans, coconut extract, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat).
Fold egg whites into batter; pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake at 350° for 23 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes on a wire rack. Loosen cake layers from sides of pans; remove from pans. Remove and discard wax paper. Cool completely.
To prepare frosting, place 1 tablespoon butter and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until smooth (do not overbeat). Add 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat well.
Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread with one-third of frosting. Top with other cake layer.
Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
**I toasted some coconut and sprinkled that on top of the cake to gild the lily just a bit.
Nutritional Info: CALORIES 322 (25% from fat); FAT 8.8g (sat 4.6g,mono 2.8g,poly 0.8g); IRON 1.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 45mg; CALCIUM 33mg; CARBOHYDRATE 56.6g; SODIUM 221mg; PROTEIN 4.7g; FIBER 0.5gWW Points: 7