Monday, September 3, 2012

Red Velvet Cookies From Cake Mix

Red Velvet is one of those odd flavors that is hard to explain what it tastes like. It's somewhat chococlatey but not really. I've made a few different cookies from cake mix, and its actually really easy and pretty cheap. I decided to try red velvet because I am partial to the red velvet flavor-I like it but not enough to want more than one cupcake. So lets jump into baking! 
What you need:

1 box Red Velvet cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup veggie oil

Frosting and sprinkles are optional. 

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 375. Mix the cake mix with eggs and oil. make sure all the powder is thoroughly mixed in. The mix will be thick like any other cookie dough but not quite as stiff. I've seen a few different recipes where you can add white chocolate chips or almonds or regular chocolate chips but I decided to go without. Roll into balls like you normally would with cookie dough. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let them cool comletely.

I added a whipped cream cheese frosting but I think the cookies would have been just as good without the frosting. I only put about a teaspoon or so on the cookie because I don't like too much frosting and I didn't want the cookie to be overwhelmed. Then just for looks I put chocolate sprinkles on top and they turned out pretty good! I wish they were a little more cakey and fluffy but these ones came out in perfect rounds and crunchy on the outside like most cookies do. 

As for kitten as I'm sure you're wondering-she's great. Cute as ever. She recently decided that my dresser drawer was going to be her new bed.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Oreo Cupcakes

It's been a crazy couple weeks because I have been bouncing between both my jobs and working a ton! But I did manage to fit in a little vacation to Lake Tahoe with my family and best friend Ivory so now it's back to the daily grind. I haven't gotten to bake a lot lately because I've been so busy so while I had about a 2 1/2 hour break between the two jobs I happened to fit in baking some Oreo cupcakes. So let's jump right into it!

What you need:

1-2 packages or Oreos (I used the knock off brand)
1box mix white cake mix
veggie oil
1 container white frosting

What to do:

Mix the cake mix as directed and preheat your oven. While the oven is preheating I crushed up about a row and a half of the oreo cookies. They are nicely divided into the three rows so that's how I measured how much to put in. This could be varied depending on how chunky you want your cupcakes.

This is what it looks like after a few bites
Once you put the liners in your cupcake tin, place a whole oreo in the empty liner. This is the base of your cupcake, trust me, you'll thank me later because it's a nice surprise! Then take the crushed up oreos and mix them thoroughly into the cake batter. Then pour in the cupcake liners filling them. Now I've made these before and the middles seemed to sink in a bit but this time I put 1/4 cup of batter, filling them to the brim of the tin and they came out perfect.

Bake at the time directed and then set aside to cool. Meanwhile crush up some more oreos, leaving some for toppers if you want to make them a little more gourmet looking. Mix in the crumbs into the frosting. I attempted to pipe the frosting but I didn't have a big enough tip and it kept getting clogged. So I just forfeited the tip idea and put the frosting on the cupcakes. It isn't professional looking but because I cut whole cookies in half and used them as toppers, the imperfections are subtle.

And while my cupcakes turned out how I wanted them too, I did come a across a weird moment. I went to the bathroom to wash my hands because my kitchen sink was so full of dishes and came across kitten drinking the water that was dripping from the faucet. I had noticed a few times when she would come jump on the bed and lay with me that her head was wet but didn't think too much of it because she likes to mess with her water dish. But alas, a conclusion has presented itself and the truth is out! Ain't she adorable!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

S'Mores Cupcakes

What I love about Kitten is that she likes to be wherever I am. If I'm getting ready in the morning she will sit on the toilet or the edge of the counter and watch me put make up on and do my hair. If I'm watching TV, she sits in the living room and watches me watch TV. And if I am cooking or baking she sits on the kitchen table chairs and watches. So of course I had to snap a quick picture of this cuteness, even if she looks bored out of her mind. 

So back to cupcakes; I love S'Mores anything. And I love cupcakes so awhile ago I got the idea of putting them together and the outcome was amazingness.  These were probably one of the most complicated (and messy) cupcakes I've made, but they tasted amazing. 

S'Mores Cupcakes

So here's what you need:

Graham crackers
Mini Marshmallows
Devil's Food Cake Mix
Veggie Oil
Butter or Margarine

What to do:
Crush up the graham crackers into crumbs almost like a powder. Put a Teaspoon of the crumbs in the bottom of your cupcake liner. (adding a bit of margarine to the mix can help it compact) Mix your batter as directed and bake 350 for 18-20 minutes. Poke with a tooth pick and if it comes out clean they are ready. Cool completely. 

Now here comes the messy and complicated part. Use a double boiler or one pan with water and one on top with your mallows, and melt the mallows like you would for rice krispies. 

While that was melting I put together a piping bag with an long tip that is used for injecting cupcakes but you could probably uses any circular tip to do this. Or even cutting out a small cylinder in the middle of your cupcake for the mallow filling. 

So once the mallows melted I let it cool for a few minutes and then put it in my piping bag. (This is the messy part) I then filled the middles of all my cupcakes. Its really crucial that the cupcakes are all the way cooled and that your mallows are somewhat cooled too because the first time I tried injecting the mallows when the cupcakes were still warm inside they cupcakes just absorbed the mallow and the mallows disappeared

Although now that I think about it using mallow fluff probably would have been a lot easier because it's already the consistency that you want to inject the cupcakes with. So using my bag and tip I injected the cupcakes and put them in the fridge to chill. 

I then frosted the cupcakes with a chocolate frosting and dipped them in the remaining graham craker crumbs. I used some of the remaining frosting to attach extra marshmallows. I wanted to toast them to give it that s'more authenticity but that got really dangerous, really fast because all I had was a small lighter. 

Voila, S'mores cupcakes. If I were to do this again I would use marshmallow fluff, for not only the filling but as the frosting too. I would dip it in the graham crumbs again and maybe bake it on a low temperature for a few minutes to see if that would make the mallow stiffen up like it would over a fire. But that's still in the experimental phase so if you have any suggestions let me know!

Overall the reaction I got when I gave these to friends was great! They weren't expecting the mallow in the middle and that was the cherry on top to their excitement of getting cupcakes in the first place. So thank you to Sarah, Kiel, and Dean Morris for being my test dummies! I will be trying this out again and experimenting with different toppers. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cotton Candy Funfetti Cupcakes

What I love most about one of my jobs is that I can always count on people to eat anything that I bake.Especially Sarah. :) She's got a sweet tooth like mine so we bond over eating food that is bad for us. So when the bossman sent  out a memo saying we'd be having a team party I immediately was thinking, "yes I get to bake!" And so I made something quick and easy because I didn't want to have my oven on longer than necessary due to my small apartment already being so warm.

And so I made this sweet treat.

Funfetti Cupcakes with Cotton Candy Frosting

What you need:
Funfetti Cake Mix
Veggie Oil
Duncan Hines Frosting Creations Frosting & Cotton Candy Flavor Pack

I love the Frosting Creations because its so easy to mix a flavor and not have to worry about whether or not it's going to taste okay. And they have a lot of different flavors that are fun. I want to experiment and put the flavor pack in the batter to see if I could use it as a batter flavor; but that's for another day.

What to do:
Mix the funfetti cake mix as directed and bake at 350 for 18 minutes. Make sure to let them cool completely.

While waiting for them to cool mix the frosting. Take the plain frosting and add the flavor packet. Use your knife or spatula to make a hole in the middle of the frosting and dump the packet in there. Mix thoroughly.

Once your cupcakes have cooled pipe or frost with a knife onto your cupcakes. I added some sprinkles for a little bedazzlement but isn't necessarily needed.

And speaking of bedazzlement, kitten is a natural diva model herself. I just can't help but be obsessed with this cute face!

Peanut Butter Cup Cake and the Baking Fail

Kitten watched the destruction of my kitchen
and my epic baking failure. 
Recently I decided to take on the challenge of making a birthday cake, my initial idea was ice cream cake! DUH! It's been so hot out that ice cream would be the perfect solution. I should've kept this idea to myself because I failed miserably and it was so awful. So I started out making an ice cream cake the way I thought made sense, soften the ice cream, put it into my 9x11 pan and freeze it over night. Well all is good so far but then I had two 1-1/2 layers added on top, let the freeze and then decided to frost it. This is where things went haywire. My apartment is SOOOO hot that I couldn't get through 2 minutes of frosting before the ice cream was oozing out the bottom. So I would put it back in the freezer and chill it then attack again. This would have worked had the weight of the cake not been squishing the ice cream layer on bottom. So it wasn't just the heat affecting the ice cream it was the cake itself. So after I get home from work, its about midnight and I need this cake done by morning, I decided maybe I can just rearrange the layers. And then it hits me: how the heck am I supposed to get this cake to the party anyway without it melting? My AC in my car isn't working and to my surprise my ice chest is too small. UGH! By this time I'm nearly in tears because I am such a perfectionist. But then I took a breath and decided I would just have to make a regular cake in the morning before the party and just have to live with it. So at 7:30am I'm at Walmart getting new supplies and baking this dang cake. Thankfully the results were good and everyone loved it! So here is the alternative cake that I made, Peanut Butter Cup Cake.

Peanut Butter Cup Cake:

What you need:

Chocolate Cake Mix
Vanilla Cake Mix
Veggie Oil
Peanut Butter Cups, cut in 1/4, and chopped.
2-3 containers of Chocolate Frosting

What to do:

If you have seen my Moose Tracks Cupcakes I did the same process to make the marbled cake. Mix the chocolate and vanilla in separate bowls then swirl together in a pan. I used a 1 cup measuring cup and did probably 2-3 cups of both chocolate and vanilla in my greased 9x11 inch pan. Bake as directed, 350 for about 18 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Chill and set aside. You should be able to make 2 layers which is all you need.

Once the layers are chilled the level them and frost the bottom layer with chocolate frosting so that the second layer can stick to it. I added the 1/4 cut peanut butter cups for a little extra something in the middle.

The top with the second layer that has been leveled as well. Frost the whole cake with the chocolate frosting. I attempted to pipe Happy Birthday and that didn't look good at all but I just went with it because I didn't have the time to fix it.

With all of your chopped up pieces of peanut butter cups (this gets messy) squish them into the side of your cake and let the frosting act as a velcro wall. I piped the top edge with chocolate to make it look a little more polished but you don't necessarily have to.

Final Product

Even though everyone loved the cake, and it was delicious, I was really disappointed with my frosting skills. Especially after seeing my friend Melina make this beaut! So you can see why I want to open a bakery with this girl! She's so AMAZING!

Melina's cake she made 

But I've come to the conclusion I will just stick to cupcakes because cakes are just too overwhelming for me and at least with cupcakes you can make mistakes and people don't really notice. Cakes are observable from all sides. Cupcakes aren't as out there. So with struggle came a success...and a bit of jealousy the Melina is so much better at piping than me haha.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Raspberry Crumble Bars

With summer comes the heat and I have definitely been feeling the lazy bug that goes hand and hand with the heat. Kitten has too. She sleeps and lounges so much that it make me feel exhausted and worn out. She often likes to lay on her back and I have no idea why but it's so adorable that I just can't deny giving her a treat for being so cute. But I also wonder if it's just a way for her to air out and cool down. If only it worked like that for everyone, but unfortunately I have neighbors so I can't exactly lay spread eagle like she does (not to mention it'd be kind of weird anyways if I did). But with my army of fans I stay as cool as I can. 

Anyways, I've found that along with the summer heat, you want to eat things that keep you cool and refreshed; which is usually fruit. So to celebrate the summer heat here is a great recipe to beat the heat and tastes great!
It's hard to tell they are bars but don't they look delicious!

Raspberry Crumble Bars

What you need:
3 cups flour
1 -1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon corn starch
4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (though any berry substitute will work as well)

What to do:
Grease a 9x11 inch pan. In a large bowl combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in the shortening (I just used a fork to do this because I didn't have any other tools to cut the shortening). The mix should be crumbly. Add in the 2 eggs and the extract and mix well. Press in 2/3 of the crumble mix into the pan.

In another bowl combing the cornstarch and sugar. Add the berries. Frozen berries do not need to thaw before hand just break them apart and add them to the mix. Toss or stir the mix until the berries are pretty evenly coated in the cornstarch and sugar mix.

Toss the berry mix over the crumble mix in the pan and spread as evenly as possible. Sprinkle the remaining crumble mix over the berries.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until the bars are golden brown. Keep refrigerated. And enjoy!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Dad's Zucchini Bread

One thing I really love about the summer and early fall is all the gardening my family used to do. We used to live in the valley where there was really rich soil and we got to add the manure from my grandparents cattle farm so it was an extra boost in our garden. One thing we always grew was zucchini. We would have competitions with my grandparents to see who could grow the biggest ones. And when I say we grew zucchini, they weren't your average ones you buy at the store that are only like 6-7 inches. The ones we grew were like almost 2 feet long and at least 6 inches wide. They were absolutely enormous! I have a picture somewhere I'll have to find so you can actually grasp the concept of how big they were.

Anyway moral of the story is that we would have so much zucchini we wouldn't know what to do with. I mean we put it in our eggs for breakfast and fried it for dinner. But my dad LOVES to make zucchini bread with it because it makes a million and one loafs. Okay that was a slight exaggeration but with the amount of zucchini we had it seemed like we made a million and one. So I'd like to share the recipe so that it can bring you as much yumminess as it does for my family!

What you need:
 3 cups flour
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2/3 cup veggie oil
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon (sometimes I add just a tad more because I like cinnamon)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 eggs

Preheat 350 degrees and grease your bread pan.

Mix all the ingredients together; I don't think order makes any difference to the outcome of the bread. Make sure batter is well blended and then pour into pan and make it relatively evenly distributed.

Bake 45-55 minutes (on the bottom shelf) or until tooth pick comes out clean. Remove and cool.

I baked it on the center rack and every time I put a toothpick in it came out somewhat doughy so I kept baking the bread for longer but you also have to know your oven and I wouldn't bake mine any more than 50 minutes. And I think the bottom rack cooked it thoroughly the first time so I didn't have to keep putting it back in for a few minutes at a time.

And since we walked down memory lane, here is a picture of Kitten when she was still just a baby! Those were the days when she was a mini cat not a full adult