Lemon Cake Mix Cookies

13 Apr

Before school started this year, a friend of mine gave me some cookies she’d made from a cake mix. They were strawberry, and were surprisingly good! I don’t usually use boxed cake mixes to make cakes. I prefer to do those by scratch. But I’m very interested in using cake mix for things OTHER than cake. Weird, a little? Yeah, I guess.

I’d been craving something lemon-y and had a box of lemon cake mix that I bought thinking I’d make some lemon bars or something. But then I remembered those cake mix cookies and I couldn’t get them off my mind. So I made them at 7:30 on a Sunday morning. Haha I couldn’t wait until a more normal baking hour to find out what they’d taste like.

Every time I make something with lemons, I think of Giada on the Food Network. She puts lemons in EVERYTHING. And always mentions how “fresh” they make her food seem. I swear she’d put lemon zest in chocolate milk if they’d show it on TV. So Giada….be proud.

I googled a recipe and found this http://www.browneyedbaker.com/2009/10/12/lemon-burst-cookies/ . I didn’t have any lemon extract so I just used the lemon juice and lemon zest. I think they tasted just fine without it, although I’d definitely use some if I had it on hand. I think theses have the right amount of “chew” to them. I DON’T like cookies that are too crunchy. I’m definitely keeping this recipe handy. And rolling them in powdered sugar before baking them makes them extra pretty.

All you have to do is……

Start with a lemon cake mix

Add eggs, lemon zest and juice, and vegetable oil
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Have a baking assistant inspect your batter
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Drop by spoonfuls into powdered sugar and roll into a ball
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Bake for 10 minutes.
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Thank you, brown eyed baker! Whoever you might be. 

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Root Beer Float Cake

6 Apr

My mother in law found a recipe for a Root Beer Float cake on facebook. I’m not much of a root beer person, but she likes it and so does my hubby. If you are a “root beer person” I think you’ll really like this cake.
I mostly followed a Duncan Hines recipe. Except I didn’t use a box of Duncan Hines. Or Betty Crocker. Or any other cake mix. I didn’t have a cake mix on hand so I sifted together a subsitute. Here’s the recipe how I made it, but the original can be found on the Duncan Hines site. (Just use a box of yellow cake mix instead of the first four ingredients.

Whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbsp. baking powder. Here’s your “cake mix.” (but much cheaper!)
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Then continue with the Duncan recipe by adding 2 eggs, 1 1/4 cups root beer and 1/4 cup vegetable oil.
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I used Jones because hubby says that’s the best. The cap said something about a distant relationship. Fail. That has nothing to do with this cake. 😉 Except if you’re thinking of the distance from the oven to the table. That’s a pretty far stretch, Jones. 😉
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All baked it looked like this. Now, I took the VERY easy route today. I baked it in a 9×13 pan (needed about 28 minutes on 350) and left it there. Didn’t bake round cakes to make them look pretty, and didn’t even flip out the sheet cake onto a platter. Just sliced it right out of this.
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I can honestly say that the icing was THE easiest icing I’ve ever made. Only two ingredients: a package of “Dream Whip” powder and another 1/2 cup of root beer. The root beer needs to be cold for this to work well, and I also placed my mixing bowl into the fridge to chill as well. (Although the recipe doesn’t mention that part. Just for safe measures)
Here’s what it looked like before being mixed. I was slightly skeptical. I’d never used Dream Whip before.
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Looked nothing like icing. But after only about 2-3 minutes I had this! Very smooth and it had fluffed up quite a bit. 🙂 I slathered this on top of the cake and called it a day. Not the prettiest thing I’ve ever baked, but I knew two people who would still think it was pretty great. And sometimes that’s the only thing that baking should be about.
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After I tried it, I actually liked it too! Much better than plain old root beer. 😉
I think I’ll be trying more icing varities with Dream Whip in the future. I really like that stuff.

Brownie Batter Dip

18 Mar

Thank you, Stacia, for pinning this recipe. 🙂 I saw the picture on Pinterest and I’m so glad I did!

Very easy, and it’s always fun to dip things in chocolate. I liked it with pretzels best, but I always love chocolate covered pretzels, so that’s no surprise. I’m not a fan of chocolate covered strawberries, but if you are I’m sure this would be great for strawberries. I tried it with vanilla wafers…..ehh….not bad. But not as good as the pretzels.

I’m including a link for the recipe below.

If you can sit out a block of cream cheese to soften……and you can work a mixer……you can make this. 😀

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What else would you pair with this dip? Leave a comment if you have a good idea for the next time I make this. 🙂 I also saw a picture of it with marshmallows, but I didn’t have any so I didn’t try those. Maybe a Nutter Butter?

http://www.somethingswanky.com/brownie-batter-dip/

Ruby’s Cupcakes :)

2 Mar

A few weekends ago I helped put together a baby shower for my sister. If you know me, you know cupcakes were involved. 🙂 Since I would be traveling for the party, with a baby in tow, I needed something cute that I could make ahead of time.

Fondant cupcake toppers.
Bingo.

These actually were not hard to make at all. I rolled out some fondant and cut out white circles and teeny white hearts.
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Then I tinted the extra fondant pink and cut out little onesies.
Adorable. As it turns out, Hobby Lobby and Michaels don’t carry a mini onesie cookie cutter. Had to order it online.
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Attaching the two is as simple as brushing on a little water with a paintbrush and layering them. It turns out that “water” is another name for “fondant glue.” Pretty nifty.
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If these were for anybody else, they would probably be done at this point. But, come on. These were for my sister. They needed an extra touch. So, I took out a fondant tool that looks like the tiniest pizza wheel you’ve ever seen….and gave the onesies some stitching. Much better.
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The night before the shower my sister helped me make this ruffly cake. 🙂 Pretty.
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The little lady should be making her appearance in about 2 1/2 months! Can’t wait to see how cute my newest niece will be!

Up next: probably a pinterest recipe I saw called brownie batter dip. Sounds like something I need to dip a pretzel into!

Less than 2 months until Abigail turns 1! What flavor should her cake be? Leave a comment to vote. 🙂

Valentine’s Day

3 Feb

Sigh. Big, huge, overemphasized SIGH. Yesterday my husband was nice enough to run around the house chasing Abigail all day so that I could decorate the first cake since she’d grace our lives. (Actually, she took a TWO HOUR nap on the day he watched her. I rarely get over 1 hour. What’s up with that?) I’ve done some baking and made a few cakes that I just iced, but not truly decorated one. I’m really grateful that I got the chance to this weekend, even if didn’t turn out quite the way I’d imagined. I’m out of practice!
I didn’t sprinkle out enough powdered sugar when I rolled out my fondant (but I did make my own for the first time in a year!:D), I didn’t get it as smooth as I would have liked, and I just wasn’t overall happy with the finishing polishes. But, the things that bugged me are more noticeable close up, so the pictures are pretty good. 😉

I baked a heart shaped cake to make a box of chocolates, similar to the one I posted on my last blog entry. But this time I didn’t make a lid to go on top. Because I didn’t want to hide the oreo truffles that I made to fill it! I got the decorating tips from bakerella.com again. I’m pretty sure she’s going to start charging me if I use any more of her material for my blog. Hers turned out much more polished looking than mine.

I used wax paper to trace my cake pan and make a template for the fondant.
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Then I kind of made a sandwich from two fondant hearts and the cake. And of course, a little icing spread between to help the fondant stick.
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After that, I cut a wide strip of fondant to go around the sides of the cake. I couldn’t roll out a piece long enough to cover both sides at once. So there’s a seam in the fondant, but that’s ok.

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Now that the box is assembled, it’s time to make the truffles. Oreo truffles, from…..guess which website? If you just said bakerella.com outside, you get a gold star. Now, these truffles were very easy to make. And I like them pretty good….but to me that are just TOO rich. You use a food processor (or in my case a Ninja blender, because my fabulous mom got me one for Christmas) to crush the oreos. Then mix in a softened block of cream cheese. Roll into balls, and dip into chocolate. Easy, but so rich I could only eat one at a time. I like treats that I can eat by the handful. 😉 I think they were a good addition to this cake, but not something I’ll be making often.
But…..look how yummy this looks! 🙂 I like making smoothies with my blender, but let’s get real. A blender FULL of oreos looks much more tempting. 🙂
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Not many pictures of the process of making the truffles. You have to work QUICKLY while dipping them to make sure that you get them finished before the chocolate bark dries.
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Ta Da! Here’s the final product. If I made this cake all over again, I’d make the truffles smaller. There are gaps in the “box of chocolates” that are bigger than I’d like…..but NOT big enough to fit another truffle. Lesson learned. Of course, if I make this cake again I’ll probably do the lid with the bow on it like last time. It was just so cute that way.
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Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!
My next project will be some cupcake toppers for my sister’s baby shower. But I won’t be posting the idea for them until after it’s all said and done, because I want it to be a surprise. 🙂 I think she will like them!

And if you made it all the way to the bottom and actually read all of this, I’m including a bonus picture for you. 😀 This is Abigail’s first taste of pancakes. Judging by how many pieces she grabbed in her right hand, I’d say she likes them. 😉
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100th post….and dairy free!

21 Jan

I wish I had something more elaborately decorated to show you for my 100th post. But I just don’t. It’s hard to do anything “elaborately” with a 9 month old in the house. 😉 I do want to show you something that I made for a friend of mine, who has recently started to eat dairy free. She asked me if I had any dairy free cake recipes, and I didn’t, but the idea was something I wanted to look into. I found a couple of recipes, and of course they needed some special ingredients. While I was searching for dairy free ingredients, I found this! 1.21 004

The package looked so cute, and it was much easier to try this than to keep looking for the other ingredients I needed. So I came home from Publix with this mix and with a hope that I could make something yummy for my friend. 🙂 (I found this in the organic section, by the way)

I mixed it up, baked it, and did nothing special on the icing. I was running on little sleep and the deflating feeling that always comes the evening before Christmas break is over. :/ But it certainly looked delicious! 1.21 003

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She was nice enough to give me back a slice of it, and I really liked it! I wouldn’t have guessed that it was dairy free AND gluten free. So if you have any friends/family that have restricted diets, you should give this brand a try! I believe they also had a brownie mix.

Seeing as this is a special post….never knew I’d make it to #100….I’ll show you one pretty picture from a long time ago. I made this cake for Valentine’s Day of 2010….way before this blog came to be. Maybe this year I’ll find time to make another one of these. It really was a fun cake. It would be even better if I made my own truffles for the inside. 😀 This one was a homemade cake, but decorated with a Whitman’s special. 😉

vdqay2010

28 Dec

This Christmas I tried a recipe for a dessert I’d never even heard of before, much less tried to make. My mother in law saw it in a magazine and mentioned it to me: red velvet cheesecake. I’m normally not a red velvet lover. Honestly, the thing I like best about red velvet cake is the cream cheese icing. The actual cake….I could take it or leave it. But I thought a red velvet cheesecake sounded very interesting….and there would be lots of cream cheese in a cheesecake so I thought it was worth a try. 🙂 Even though I’m not a red velvet person, I really liked this cheesecake. My brother in law does love red velvet cake, and cheesecake too. He said that this recipe was “truly the best of both worlds.” My mother in law said that although this was the first time I’d try this recipe, I’d have to start making one each Christmas. 🙂 So go ahead and try it. Don’t wait until next Christmas though. It has a nice, deep red tint to it. Bake someone special one for Valentine’s Day. 🙂
http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/red-velvet-cheesecake-10000001023804/
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It starts with making a chocolate graham cracker crust. YUM. Pretty good way to start something, I’d say.
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Then beat together some cream cheese and sugar. Still on the right track so far.
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Then it needs eggs, cocoa, butter milk (*for baking I ALWA”YS use the milk/vinegar cheat method), sour cream, vanilla, and red food coloring. This will complete the cheesecake batter.
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Mine had a huge crack in the center after baking, like all of my cheesecakes have. But this recipe has a spread to go on the very top, which conveinantly covers it all up…genuis! It’s made of cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
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Here’s an example of what the final product will look like, when taken in extremely poor lighting. 😉 I was in a hurry because I finished the cheesecake Christmas morning, so I didn’t spend much time trying to get a better shot.

A little time consuming, because after baking it must chill for 8 hours before adding the top layer. But I’d say it’s worth it, especially if it makes your family smile on Christmas. 😀