Friday, June 28, 2013

Make it SOON: Margarita Cake

If only I had a picture of the entire cake to show you... alas, I didn't think about sharing this gem of a cake until AFTER we nearly devoured it all up!

A friend of mine makes a similar cake that is very good too and that's where my fascination with Margarita cake came from in the first place.

I can't recall if I didn't have the recipe or if I decided to make this on the spur of the moment (usually THAT is the answer), but I happened upon the Cake Mix Dr's version of this cake and whoa... it is so super good. I decided to make this for a group of friends of mine who happened to be getting together on the day of the Pope's election. He's from Argentina and well, I decided a Margarita Cake was the BEST way to CELEBRATE! 

(I am not ashamed to say I LOVE an excuse to make a CAKE!)

Three words to describe this cake:

Okay, that last one is more than a word, but really, the glaze/icing part of this is boozy and tart and all that!

Margarita Cake

The Cake:
1 box of yellow or lemon cake mix- I always reach for lemon supreme- Duncan Hines, I believe
1/2 package vanilla instant pudding mix (4 TBS)
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup fresh lime juice - I have been using the little bottle of lime juice from the produce section- works well in a pinch, but you still need a lime for the cake/glaze!
1/4 cup Tequila
2 Tbs Triple Sec
1 tsp grated lime zest
4 large eggs

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted (may have skipped that)
1 Tbs each of tequila, triple sec, & lime juice
1-2 tsps lime zest


1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour (very well) a 12 cup bundt pan. 

*don't skip the greasing and flouring step... the last time I made the cake, I did this step but must not have checked to make sure I did it very well and my cake stuck. It still tasted great, but it looked a little less appetizing. 

2. Place the cake mix in your mixer and turn it on low to break up any lumps. Then add the pudding mix (4 Tbs only!) through the eggs into the mixer. Turn on low and mix a minute or two. Scrape down the sides and mix on medium for 2 minutes until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a rubber spatula, scrape all around the bowl making sure all the dry ingredients are fully incorporated into the wet. The batter will be thick and should be smooth.

3. Pour into your prepared Bundt pan and place in the oven for 40-45 minutes. The top of the cake (well, bottom since it's in a bundt pan) should spring back when you press on it. Insert a toothpick to make sure it's down- it will come out clean with a few dry crumbs on it.

4. Let the cake cook on a wire rack 10-15 minutes- another important step. (Rushing this step may have been the other reason my cake stuck a bit.)
Run a knife along the sides of the pan and don't forget the middle part! Tap the pan on the counter a few times and then invert it onto your cake plate. Before you lift it, I tap the top with the handle of a spatula. Let the cake cool again- 25 minutes longer.

5. While the cake cools, make your glaze. Place powdered sugar, triple sec, tequila and lime juice in the mixer bowl. Add lime zest if you'd like. (I added lime zest to this as well- the original recipe says to garnish with lime slices, but I like the flecks of green zest in my glaze). Whisk until the powdered sugar is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Spoon over the COOLED cake. (alternatively, you can poke holes into the top of the cake and then spoon the glaze over the cake). Let the glaze set for 10 minutes and then serve!

A bundt cake like this will serve 12-16 people- all depending on thick you make your slices!

Monday, June 24, 2013

White Pizza

It wasn't too long ago that I shared with you The Pizza Dough that Changed My Life. It truly has. I don't exaggerate much (stifles laughter).

We were getting home from a few days away the other day and I thought pizza would be a great option for dinner because it's easy. Now I realize when I say that, that most people grab their take out pizza flyers and start perusing what place they're going to order from that night. However, they don't call me Crafty for nothing and well, when I think pizza, I think of making the dough and throwing some toppings on it! (hey, I buy DelGrosso's pizza sauce, so there you have my "easy" button)

So, really, when I tell you that this dough is so simple to make... can you just trust me and try it sometime? It really is THAT good and once you get the hang of it, you can have pizza in about an hour. And if you're all organized and have the dry ingredients already portioned out in zippie bags, you're going to knock this one out even faster!

okay, okay, onto the actual pizza recipe!

I'm about 28 weeks pregnant now with bambino number 6 and the worst part of pregnancy for me every.single.time is the heartburn. Tomato sauces seem to be the major culprit but really, when we get down to brass tacks, I think anything that goes down is bound to give me heartburn at this point. The good news is, is that in 2 more months and a few weeks, the heartburn will go away for good and I will be holding a brandy new baby!

where was I? oh yes, pizza.

I thought if I cancelled out the red sauce and went with a white sauce, I might "help" the heartburn stay away or something along those lines. Nah, it didn't work, but good gravy am I glad I did some searching around and found THIS recipe which I combined with some swiss chard (that I GREW on my back PORCH- say what!?!?), sautéed mushrooms, grape tomatoes, mozzarella and feta.  We had ourselves a winning pie!

Crafty's White Pizza ala Annie's White Sauce
This sauce recipe makes enough for ONE half of my pizza dough. We used a traditional red sauce on the other pie.

Pizza dough

White Sauce (from Annie's Eats Spinoccoli Pizza)
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup whipping cream/heavy cream
1 garlic clove- I like Trader Joe's crushed garlic
3-6 Tbsp parmesan cheese
little S&P

Toppings of your choice:
(in the picture above)
swiss chard
sautéed mushrooms
mozzarella cheese
grape tomatoes

parchment paper
pizza stone

Step 1: Make your pizza dough about an hour before you'll need it and up to a day before you'll need it. You can keep it in the fridge after you've kneaded it a bit and it will rise perfectly. I take it out about 30 minutes or more before I'm ready to roll.

Step 2: Make the white sauce. Melt butter and add flour. Whisk together and cook about 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the cream to combine making sure you incorporate after each addition. Add garlic and S&P. let simmer a bit to thicken. Remove from heat and add parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust S&P to taste.

Step 2.1: Preheat your oven to HOT- 425 works.

Step  3: Roll out your dough. I divide my dough into two and roll it out on a piece of parchment paper. This just makes it easier for me to slide it onto the HOT as HADES pizza stone.

Step 4: dress your pizza. First, brush some olive oil onto the edge of your pizza crust. I sprinkled some granulated garlic on top of that (parmesan would be nice, too) Add a smathering of sauce. A thin layer of mozzarella and then any other toppings you want.

Step 5: Take a upside down sheet pan and SLIDE your pizza onto it (you're using this as your makeshift pizza peel)... then slide it onto the hot pizza stone. (alternatively, you can use the sheet pan right side up with your pizza on it, if you don't have a pizza stone (but really, you should... it makes the crust soooooooooooo good)

Step 6: Bake about 15 minutes or until the cheese on top is just how YOU like it.

Step 7: VERY IMPORTANT- if you're using a pizza stone, let your pizza rest up a bit on it after you take it out of the oven. This step ensures the crust will be crisp on the bottom. It retains an amazing amount of heat  and will keep your pizza hot!

Step 8: enjoy!