Homemade Funfetti

Funfetti. Always a crowd pleaser. Vanilla cake with fun sprinkles inside. And the piece de resistance…Rainbow. Chip. Icing. Definitively the best part of the funfetti experience. It was my coworkers birthday and his favorite cake is funfetti. I decided that I would find a from scratch recipe in order to avoid the box and try to prove myself that I could do it. I found a recipe. Hate to say it butthe recipe was essentially a vanilla cake with sprinkles scattered in the batter.

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Yes, still delicious, but I thought there would be more pizzazz to it to make it that fun treat we all loved as kids. For my first time, I didn’t figure out how to make the rainbow chip frosting from scratch so I caved and bought the can of it – withOUT the rainbow chips.  I wanted these to be to a T so I fell for the “Funfetti” frosting.  Fail.  I should have stuck with my gut.  Funfetti frosting is vanilla frosting with sprinkles to throw about. For my next attempt since it’s such a huge hit, I found the actual recipe to make rainbow chip frosting. The secret…the chips are colored white chocolate! I am very excited to try this on my next turn to break the box conundrum of funfetti.

 

Carrot Cake

April is a VERY busy month for birthdays.  Brendan starts it off on the 16th, his brother is on the 17th, and then my Dad is the 18th.  After making the cookies and cream cake I was shot, but knew I had to get back on the horse and make a cake for my Dad; his request, carrot cake.  Traditional carrot cakes require nuts and raisins.  I eliminated those, probably to my father’s dismay, but if he wanted me to have a piece of birthday cake, I would have to make some adjustments, as would he :)

My border collie/black lab, Lexi, decided to help me with this cake, and ate my stub carrots after I could no longer grate them without grating my fingers as well.  Here she is enjoying her healthy treat!

I thought I would go out on a branch and attempt to make some cute little carrot marzipan pieces for the cake to add some decoration.  That didn’t happen.  The marzipan I bought from the baking aisle at Stop & Shop was rock hard.  Such a waste.  Needless to say, next time I attempt to use marzipan and make cute little shapes, I will try to make it from scratch, or use something different all together.

Here is the cake, plain jane but delicious all the same!

Cookies and Cream Cake

As you all very well know from my oreo cheesecake post, I love Oreos.  Can’t get enough of them.  I decided I was going to branch out for Brendan’s 25th birthday cause I was having a party with a bunch of our friends and family for him turning a quarter century, so I chose to do a Cookies and Cream CAKE from Annie’s Eats!  I am by no means a cake decorator.  I love my piping bag because it makes everything look pretty.  This cake, drove that point home that I have only mastered the piping bag, and not the spatula.  But, nonetheless, the cake was delicious!  (even if it had a crack down the middle of one of the layers)

The cake is a Hershey’s perfect chocolate cake.  I think the name says it all.  The filling, was the cookies and cream.  A creamy layer, with crushed Oreos.  To die for!  Then the cookies and cream was spread across the top of the cake.  Chocolate frosting smeared around the cake and (sparsely) decorated.  I believe my frosting was a little too liquidy because the piping I tried to do around the edges wouldn’t hold.  Needless to say, I smoothed them over with my spatula and kept going.  Then a few decorations of halved Oreos on the top with some drizzled Hershey’s syrup and we were good to go!

Brendan loved it and I was truly proud of my former non-cake decorating skills being able to pull this off and present it to our friends and family to celebrate the quarter century milestone :)

Chasing Away the Winter Blues with an Igloo Cake

My former coworker was having a rough time adjusting last winter, as we all were due to New England getting walopped with snow, so I decided to make a cake to cheer her up that I had seen in Food Network Magazine; easily the best magazine out there for foodies like myself.  I saw a fun idea to make an igloo cake!  Now, probably not my best judgment to getting anyone out of a winter blues funk, but it was a fun cake to enjoy!  Though I have to say, very labor intensive with the decorations.  Next time I am trying to get someone out of a winter funk, I may attempt to make a beach instead with some crushed graham crackers for sand rather than embracing the imminent and prominent snow.

I decided that if I made this cake again, I would only use a pyrex bowl for the dome part of the igloo, and not make an 8-inch round cake to put on the bottom.  Having 2 separate cakes for the igloo dome unfortunately meant doomsday and the cakes crumbled.  Exhibit A:

Nevertheless, I put the cakes together anyways and made this igloo:

This would be a perfect cake to do with kids, because the decorating of the winter wonderland takes some imagination, and honestly, what kid doesn’t love throwing some confectioner’s sugar around to make a winter wonderland?  I have the say the best part was making the ice cream cone trees by using a spatula and making tree boughs with the icing.  So simple, and so pretty.

The finished product:

Cinnamon Cake

My dad is one of 5 children, so get togethers are a rather large Irish party usually.  As the resident baker, I decided I wanted to do something with some holiday type spices, and to use my bundt pan that often gets neglected.  I was searching online one day and found a recipe for a cinnamon cake with a delicious butter syrup to pour over it from All Recipes.  This cinnamon cake could have been a great breakfast treat as well, but it was a delectable dessert and the butter syrup was a nice simple topping that didn’t take away from the moist cake; in fact it made it MORE moist without making it soggy!  It was surprising that one small bundt cake could impress such a large family, and feed them all! Usually we are a family who likes their cake with ice cream to satisfy their sweet tooth, but this cake paid a good tribute to the Butter Queen herself, Paula Deen.

Ghiradelli Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

One night, my 2 friends from high school were both going to be in the area, so to get the 3 of us together, I convinced them (though it didn’t take much) to come to my house for dinner and dessert.  Now to be honest, I truly do not remember what was for dinner, but I DEFINITELY remember what was for dessert.  I had asked my friend Kevin what his favorite dessert was and whether he would like it for that night after dinner.  The answer was this: CHEESECAKE.

I was posed with a slight challenge, because as I had done previously, was to use a springform pan in order to make the cheesecake.  Problem was, I had left my springform pan 2 states away!  Now I know what you are thinking, what kind of baker does that?!  You are right in thinking that, and I felt the same way.  It happened due to a pumpkin cheesecake I made for college friends and ended up leaving the leftovers in their fridge, with the said pan.  Not for nothing, I continued my search to find a cheesecake recipe that did not require a springform.  I figured other people must make cheesecakes without them, as they are not a huge item found in everyone’s kitchen, so I searched and searched and found a recipe for: GHIRADELLI chocolate peanut butter cheesecake bars.  A mouthful to say; and a delicious mouthful to eat.

In my personal, and obviously professional opinion ;) , nothing is better than the combination of chocolate and peanut butter.  Well, maybe chocolate and mint, but I know quite a few who will dispute that, so we will stick with the chocolate and peanut butter combination given to us from the heavens.  This cheesecake bar was so smooth and creamy with beautiful layers of flavors, you just couldn’t go wrong; even without a springform!

The delicious bottom layer of chocolate and graham crackers:

And the finished product: (with minimal cracks!)

Cake Balls

Cake balls have been the current trend I had been hearing and seeing on all of the baking blogs.  Even now, Starbucks has followed the trend and came out with their own version of a low calorie cake ball.  They are such fun treats to pop into your mouth with great flavors, and very simple to make for those bakers who do not like making cake and cupcakes from scratch.

I decided to make cake balls for a friend at work because she did not typically like cakes except for Funfetti and I needed to try to get her to think out of the box(ed cake.)  Though I have to admit, I did used boxed cake to make these delicious mint chocolate chip cake balls from Paula Deen. 

First you make the boxed cake according to the directions and bake it, break it into pieces in the Kitchenaid, add the canned frosting with peppermint flavoring, turn the mixer on and watch the magic unfold.  Once the frosting and cake are mixed, refrigerate the mixture for awhile.  Once it is ready, use a melon baller to make the cake balls.  In retrospect, my helper and I should have rolled the balls in our hands as well to make them more ball like to make it easier to dip in the melted chocolate.  Once the balls are rolled, place them in the freezer.  When those were ready we dipped them in melted chocolate and stuck them back in the fridge. 

I brought the treats into work and they were loved!  In my opinion you truly can’t go wrong with mint and chocolate, but that is my own bias. :)  I converted my non-cake lovers into cake eaters with these cake balls, and that was achieving my ultimate goal.  Every day that I can make a believer out of cupcakes or baked goods is a good day in my book!

Cream Cheese Pound Cake

The cream cheese pound cake was another endeavor when making dinner just wasn’t enough time in the kitchen, so I went to the trusty Southern Living cookbook and found this delectable recipe.  With this cake I had captured the scent of a Yankee candle, but with the additional bonus of a tasty treat!  The cake was supposed to cook for about an hour, and as it is noticeable in the picture below, I should have thought about the cake rising above the edges of my bundt pan.

Lucky thing about bundt pans is:

If you turn them over, they are still beautiful and put together :)

Pound cake always asks for the traditional strawberries and sugar, Hershey’s chocolate drizzle, a dollop of whipped cream, or all 3!

This also made a great breakfast food!  It was so dense and filling, the cream cheese truly gave a distinct and wonderful flavor to the pound cake.  This cake also traveled well to pay my dues at my parents house, and was later voted as the best food Brendan had ever eaten! ;p