Archive | February, 2011

Strawberry Goodness

26 Feb

Two weekends ago I made a birthday cake for my niece who turned 3. The cake was  made mostly of 2 layers of 11 x 15 inches. I only have one 11 x 15 pan, so I figured I would just bake one layer, let it cool and flip it out of the pan, and then start over again. The only problem was…..when I started over again I forgot to put parchment paper in the bottom of the pan to keep it from sticking. I don’t usually do this for smaller cakes, but for larger ones I have problems with the cake coming out cleanly if I don’t. I remembered it for the first layer, and it came out beautifully. The second layer……not so much. 😦 So my new plan went like this: bake one layer, let it cool and flip it out of the pan, start over again, stare in a mixture of frustration/disbelief when the second layer crumbled to pieces, drive to the grocery store to get more ingredients, and start over for a 3rd time (to get a total of 2 cake layers that I could actually use). I was glad that I’d started early enough in the day to give myself plenty of “wiggle room” and still have the cake ready on time. Even though the second attempt had broken in  half when I tried to turn it out of the pan, I tasted one of the crumbled pieces and it was very good! I couldn’t imagine throwing away all of that cake. Instead, I realized this as a perfect opportunity to make the easiest trifle I’ve ever eaten. My mom used to make it when visiting family for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we simply referred to it as “Strawberry Goodness.” The name fits it quite well, and it’s so easy to make. This also gave me an excuse to finally use the pretty trifle bowl that my husband’s grandmother gave me as a wedding gift. Here’s how it works:
I actually put in one new step this time. Generally, mom just crumbled the cake into small pieces and started layering the ingredients. Instead, I put mine on a baking sheet first and re-baked them on 350 for another 5 minutes. This suggestion came from my sister, who saw something similar on a Food Network show. The idea is, the cake is going to be mingling with cool whip while it’s hanging out in the trifle bowl. By re-baking it for a few minutes after it’s cut into squares, it gives it just the slightest hint of a “crust.” That way, the cake doesn’t get soggy from the cool whip. This step was never even necessary when my mom took it to holiday dinners, because it was always gone in a very short amount of time. I thought I’d try it out just to see if it would work. If you want to include this step, be sure to bake it only for a few minutes. We don’t want to make croutons here. 🙂

You’ll also need plenty of strawberries, and some cool whip. Don’t these look delicious?

This is the dish that has been waiting to be used (ever so patiently) for the last year or more in my cabinet. It was very glad to see the light of day.

Once you have the strawberries sliced, the only thing you  have to do is make layers of it all. Start with cool whip, then cake, and then strawberries. Repeat this and then add a little more cool whip on top (just because it looks prettiest that way).

I also usually add a couple of strawberries slices on top too, just for good measure. 🙂

Look how pretty it is when it’s all finished!

Once I’d finished making this, I really wished I hadn’t waited over a year to use that trifle bowl. It was easy to make and not so bad looking either! So of course my next reaction was to go online and look up other trifle recipes. 🙂 I must try a new one in the near future. I found several that sounded really good. So here’s what I’m asking you to do: vote on what I should make for the next blog update. Here are the choices:
Fresh Peach Trifle

Chocolate Trifle

Apple Caramel Trifle

Whichever one gets the most votes is what I’ll make next week. 🙂

Random Thought for the Day: Spring training starts today. This makes me very  happy. 😀

The End.

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Putting a New Spin on It…

20 Feb

First of all I’ll have to apologize for not having any pictures of this cake in progress. I just have a couple of pictures of the final  product. This was mostly due to the fact that it was already after 10:30 when I started this cake, and I was kind of in a hurry to just get it done and go to sleep. 🙂 But even though I don’t have any step-by-step pictures to share, I still wanted to show the finished cake. It was a big hit. 🙂 I saw this design on the Wilton site about a year ago, and knew it would be the perfect cake to make for my dad this year…..because he just turned the big 5-0! I liked how this cake had a fully functional spinner on top, so it was kind of like a cake and a toy all mixed in to one. And without any further ado, here it is!

Some of the parts are hard to read in this picture, so here is a list of all the things to “spin”: Gary is older than…

-The Moon

-Dinosaurs

-The Universe

-Moses

-Dirt

-Anyone I Know

As you can imagine, my dad has a pretty good sense of humor. My sister caught this picture, and I think it’s pretty cool that she snapped it while he was in mid-spin. 🙂 And of course my  niece liked the cake too. She thought the spinner was an airplane propeller. 🙂

That’s all for now folks!

Up Next: The easiest strawberry dessert I’ve ever made.

Random Thought of the Day: I LOVE this weather. 🙂 My best friend and I actually went out to the beach for a little while yesterday, and it’s only February! I’m so glad that we are now to the point of going outside without coats and scarves. 🙂

The End.

Simple, yet tricky.

6 Feb

The subject of today’s post is…for the most part…very simple. As in, push-a-button-on-the-microwave simple. But the very last step can be a little tricky. Let me show you what I mean. I’ve had my eye on this little candy mold for quite some time. You can buy it at Michael’s for only $3.

I thought that making a tiny little bowl out of chocolate would be such a cool way to serve a dessert! The mold isn’t very big, so it would need to be a small serving of dessert, but if it was any bigger it wouldn’t be as cute. 🙂 The first step is to melt some chocolate bark in the microwave. If you can press start and then use a spoon to stir the melted chocolate, you can make these little molds. It’s that easy.

There are actually two pieces to this mold, in order to form the little bowl. The next step is to fill the bottom half of the mold about 1/3 of the way to the top. Still very easy so far.

Once all three molds are filled, place the other half of the mold on op and click in the little tabs. It’s getting very difficult, I know. 😉

Oops! I filled the top one way too much. That’s ok,  I’ll just break off the extra from around the top of the bowl and eat it. 🙂 After the top is on securely, turn the mold upside down and tap it to make sure the chocolate fills in all the way to the top of the bowl (which is now on the bottom). See how simple this is? Then place in the fridge until the mold starts to look frosty. Once it does, place in the freezer for two minutes. Here comes the *only* tricky part of this project, and it’s really not all that bad: getting the bowl out of the mold without cracking it. I cracked a couple of these, like the one here:

Even with the little crack, I think these are so cute. And I’m sure if I practiced a little more, I would get better at getting the bowl all out in one piece. And here’s the best part: filling it with ice cream!

Maybe even add a little caramel to the top?

Or if you really wanted to be sensible about dessert, you could go for berries and a little dollop of whipped cream. I went for the ice cream myself, but thought the berries did make a cute picture. 🙂

I think strawberries would look cute in one of these too, but I didnt’ have any of those on hand for a photo op. Maybe  next time. 🙂 I think these would be really cool to make if you were having people over for dinner. They are easy, don’t take much time, and would look impressive. 🙂 And of course, they could be made ahead of time. What do you think of them? I need to try a white chocolate bowl too. Maybe later this afternoon. 🙂

Up Next: I have no idea. Next weekend I’ll be in Perry for my niece’s and dad’s birthdays. So I might not get around to posting anything then, but at some point I will show you all pictures of their birthday cakes. I can’t wait to make them!

Random Thought of the Day: Superbowl Sunday. Honestly, I don’t really care about the game. But I wonder what the best commercial will be? And I wonder what the wait time would be on a pizza if you called one in just before game time? I would hate to working in a pizza place today! I just know they will all be swamped. That’s all. 🙂