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I try a lot of stuff from Pinterest.  Here I will catalog my attempts…and give them a thumbs up or thumbs down based on my own experience so you know which ones to try and which ones to kiss goodbye!

July 6, 2014 – Pink Lemonade Cake

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If you read my most recent blog post, you know I am trying to work less this summer.  Aside from play dates and child entertainment, much of that time has been gobbled up by boring, painful tasks like cleaning out closets, sorting out of season clothes and cleaning.  But, I have been trying to spend some time doing things I enjoy.  One of those things is baking.  And if you are going to bake (or cook or craft) you are on Pinterest.  So, for 4th of July, I tried a new (to me) recipe from Pinterest.  It has been pinned to my desserts board for some time now so I was excited to try it. I was baking with my eldest daughter so it had to be simple.  As I mentioned in my first Pinterest test (Saban Pie: June 30, 2014) I often use short cuts.  Cooking with kids makes this more important (in my opinion) for many reasons. I want them to enjoy it, hold their attention and have a good result so they feel empowered and inspired to continue to bake.  This recipe uses the ultimate shortcut – boxed cake mix and canned frosting.  Here is the pin for your reference.

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This recipe is easy but not too easy so you feel like you are baking but it’s not a huge mess.  Perfect for kids.  And, this recipe is extra rewarding because not only does it taste really good, but I think mine turned out prettier than the one pictured in the pin!

Cake

You start by combining the lemon cake mix according to the package directions which, in my case, involved eggs, water and oil.  Then, you pour 1 cup of batter into a bowl and mix in one package of pink lemonade frosting creations powder.  Until this cake, I hadn’t ever tried frosting creations but I had heard of them and was excited to use them for the first time.  The basic concept behind frosting creations is that you take a frosting base (which is white) and essentially a vanilla buttercream.  Then you ‘create’ different flavors based on the frosting creations packets you choose to stir in.  In this recipe, not only do you use the frosting creations powder in the frosting but also the cake itself.

1 cup of cake mix with frosting creations packet mixed in.

1 cup of cake mix with frosting creations packet mixed in.

Once you have stirred one packet of frosting creations into 1 cup of reserved cake mix batter, you pour half of the yellow batter into a bundt cake pan.

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Then, you pour the 1 cup of pink batter over the yellow.

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Finally, you pour the remaining yellow batter on top of the pink.  See – you feel like you are baking something really complicated but it’s actually super easy!

Photo Jul 03, 8 35 11 AM

Then you pop the bundt cake pan into the oven at 350 for 35-40 minutes.  After your timer beeps, check your cake with a cake tester or toothpick and remove the cake when it comes back clean. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

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Let me pause here, while the cake cools.  Why is it so important that your cake cool on a wire rack?  I used to turn my cake out on a paper towel or waxed paper but finally broke down and bought wire racks.  WOW!  What a difference.  When you use a wire rack, it allows air to circulate around the whole cake and the main benefit to this is that it cools more quickly. But, it also keeps the bottom of your cake from getting ‘sweaty’ and too moist.  Not only is texture a very important part of cake enjoyment but if your cake is too moist on the bottom, it is messier when you remove it from the cake plate affecting its presentation and making clean up harder and stickier.

Photo Jul 03, 1 37 46 PM

Once your cake is completely cooled, put it on a dish. I put mine onto a travel cake carrier since we were going to my parents for 4th of July.  You may notice that I lined mine with strips of parchment.  I like my cakes to look pretty so, when I have to ice a cake on its serving tray, I line it with parchment so I can quickly and easily get rid of the extra icing dribbles.  You will see how in a minute.  Now the fun part!  ICING!  Grab your tub of frosting creations frosting and scoop out 1/4 cup and put it in a ziplock baggie.

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Take the remaining packet of pink lemonade frosting creations powder and mix it into the tub of icing.  Photo Jul 03, 1 40 23 PM  Photo Jul 03, 1 40 33 PM  Photo Jul 03, 1 41 33 PM Once you have it well mixed, scoop it into a ziplock baggie.  Nuke the pink icing baggie for 30 seconds.

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Snip a tiny hole in one of the corners of the bag and drizzle it generously over the top of the cake.

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Then, take the ziplock with the white icing and nuke it for 20-30 seconds. Snip a tiny hole in one corner and drizzle over pink frosting.

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Let the icing cool and set up for a few minutes, then gently pull your strips of parchment out from under the cake.  Voila – clean cake plate!

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Though this version is delicious and very summery, I think I am going to puree some strawberries next time and fold them into the batter to make a strawberry lemonade version.  I will let you know how that turns out!

Here’s the whole recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 Lemon Cake mix
  • (stuff on box)
  • 2 packets Pink Lemonade Frosting Creations
  • 1 can Frosting Creations Starter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray bundt cake pan with non-stick spray.
  2. Mix cake mix, eggs, oil, and water (according to package directions)
  3. Pour 1 cup of batter into a measuring cup. Stir in 1 packet Pink Lemonade Frosting Creations.
  4. Place half of remaining lemon cake batter in the bottom of your bundt pan. Carefully pour the pink lemonade batter evenly over the top, and then pour the remaining lemon cake over the pink lemonade batter.
  5. Bake 38-40 minutes, until a toothpick at the edge comes out clean.
  6. Once cool, remove cake to a serving plate. I
  7. Open the can of frosting. Place 1/4 cup of it in a small microwave safe bowl. Set aside for the moment. Stir the remaining frosting creations pink lemonade packet into the can of frosting. Remove spoon and foil, and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, and place in a ziploc sandwich bag. Seal the bag, all but 1/2” at one end, and cut off the opposite tip. Pipe over cake in a firecracker type pattern.
  8. Heat reserved white frosting for 10-15 seconds in the microwave. Place in its own ziploc sandwich bag and repeat the drizzle process. Chill until set before cutting.

 

June 30, 2014 – Saban Pie   thumbs up I love to bake…cakes, pies, cookies, all of it! I have done quite a bit of baking and I have to say, I am a pretty good baker.  When baking, I will try a lot of new things and am not scared of complex recipes.  I enjoy making things from scratch but I try to balance complexity with pay-off.  If something has a lot of ingredients or steps I try to figure out if all that work will pay off in a truly unique flavor or texture. If not, I am going to find a short cut.  In the example below, I used one of my favorite short cuts: frozen pie crust! The recipe below is for a delicious, rich chocolate pie that has become a family favorite over the past few months.  It originally came from Women’s Day Magazine and they called it Tar Heel Pie but I am an Alabama fan, so I call it Saban Pie.  It’s very southern and fits right in with SEC football and all sorts of other southern things! This pie is very easy to make…and I’m not just saying that to make you feel bad if you mess it up. It calls for ingredients you likely already have on hand. Ingredients You start by melting a stick of unsalted butter and then mix a cup of semisweet chocolate chips into the melted butter and stir until smooth.  (FYI: Mini chips melt faster and you squeeze in a bit more chocolate yumminess into the batter). Once you have the chocolate chips and butter mixed together, you dump in the remaining ingredients: granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, flour, salt, 2 eggs and coffee.  Yes, you read that correctly – COFFEE!!  It really makes a difference in the pie. I use the Folgers instant coffee single packs which have 1 tsp of coffee which is exactly the amount you need for the pie! Ingredients 2 You just dump it all in and mix it up with a spatula or spoon.  You don’t even have to get out the mixer and there are very few dirty bowls/utensils when you are done! Mixed upHere is where my shortcut comes in.  Pie crust is one of those things that is sort of tricky to make and doesn’t always yield a markedly better result.  Having to make home made pie crust is one of the things that might keep me from making a pie.  But, in my opinion, I think frozen pie crust is just as good and is so easy to use!  I prefer Pet-Ritz brand which is made by Pillsbury.  For this particular pie, I like the deep dish version. Pie crustI don’t take the time to thaw the crust so once the batter is ready, I pour it into the crust. Plus, by not thawing, it takes the crust an extra few minutes to start baking so it is less likely to burn. Almost doneThe batter is thick so you will really want to scrape it all out of the bowl…then you are ready to bake!  You just set preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 30 minutes. 350 degrees While the pie is baking you can clean up your very small mess and watch your kids lick the bowl.  Just look how much my youngest enjoyed it.  She liked it so much that she carried the bowl around and started licking it directly from the bowl.

   Licker 2  Licker

After about 30 minutes open up the oven and ‘check’ your pie.  At this point, it is important that you NOT stick a toothpick or anything into the pie.  This pie stays dense and moist – a pick will not come back clean until you have killed your pie.  You have to use your judgement to figure out when it’s done.  The way I judge if the pie is done is by the crust (tan but not too dark) and how jiggly it is.  If it wobbles a lot when I pull the rack, I leave it in for a few more minutes.  For this pie, I ended up baking it for 45 minutes but I always start with 30 and add time in 5 minute increments from there.  Another great trick for baking pies is if your pie crust gets too dark but your pie is not done, you can use a pie crust shield to protect your crust! Finished product Then, you have to let it cool for at least an hour, uncovered.  Preferably 2+ hours.  It’s hard to resist because it will make your house smell wonderful but trust me…it gets better with age.  It is normal for this pie to settle a little after baking which sometimes causes ridges and cracks like you see in mine.  It’s just from the cooling process and adds a little character to the pie. Here is the whole Recipe:

  •  1 store-bought refrigerated rolled pie crust
  • 1/2 cup(s) (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup(s) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup(s) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup(s) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon(s) instant coffee granules
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) kosher salt
  • 1 cup(s) pecans, roughly chopped (I left these out b/c my girls don’t like them)
  • Whipped cream, for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Melt the 1/2 cup butter. Place the chocolate in a large bowl and pour the warm butter on top; stir until smooth. Add the brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, coffee,1/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix to combine. Stir in the pecans if using.
  2. Pour the chocolate mixture into the pie crust and bake until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let stand for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

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