Tag Archives: cake

from the file pit: rocky road cake

29 Jul

Sometimes you have an idea, and before you can stop yourself you tell other people about this idea, and then later, once you have time to reflect, you’re honestly not sure if your idea is a good one, or if maybe next time you should shut the hell up and not tell the Internets that you’re going to do something, because now you have to do it whether you like it or not.

Unless you’re talking about training for a half marathon.

But! When I finally reached into the file pit because I was so fed up with myself and was just like, “OH FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY AND DECENT, JUST PICK A F*&$ING RECIPE ALREADY AND GET ON WITH IT,” this recipe was literally the first one in the pile, which I am taking to be a sign that this idea of working my way through the recipe files my younger self hoarded many moons ago was a good one. Also, the fact that there even exists a recipe for Rocky Road Cake is proof that Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit all love me and want me to be happy. Add that to the fact that it was on top of all the other hundreds of recipes, and well, clearly I am brilliant.

The recipe is so simple, though, that I’m not actually sure it constitutes as a recipe. It’s basically like, “mix together some boxed devil’s food cake, some water, some other stuff, and beat that for a couple of minutes, then stir in the chocolate chips and marshmallows and peanuts and WAA-LAA YOU HAVE A CAKE AND YOU CAN EAT IT TOO, SUCK IT, MARIE ANTOINETTE.”

Sorry for the crappy photos taken on my phone.

Sorry for the crappy photos taken on my phone.

I have no idea where I found this recipe, but I have a hunch that my old boss had a book of cake recipes that she brought in for me to check out once, which I did, as evidenced by the fact that there are several similar-looking Xeroxed pages in my file pit, all with different, luscious cake recipes. If this recipe did not come from my old boss, then your guess is as good as mine from whence it came. Maybe it came from the Holy Spirit. I dunno, I’ve never been super clear on what He/She/It actually does, but maybe part of its heavenly mission is to drop cake recipes into unsuspecting file pits. I’m not going to claim I know what goes on beyond my eyes and human limitations.

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen this photo. Oh well.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen this photo. Oh well.

With the addition of the chocolate chips, this cake has a fabulously soft and moist crumb. The peanuts add a nice salty crunch, and work better than I think almonds would, as in a traditional rocky road ice cream. Also, it’s a bundt cake, and who doesn’t love a good bundt? What is incredibly disappointing, however, is that the mini marshmallows melt completely into the cake (adding to that good crumb) so you have none of the lovely bits of mallow like you get in the ice cream. Which, coincidentally, is my favorite part of the ice cream.

Would I make this again? Yes, because it’s too easy not to. Would I figure out a way next time to get the marshmallows to not melt into oblivion? For sure. Do I think Young McPolish was right to throw this recipe in the file pit? Absolutely.

Again with the crappy, cell phon photo. So sorry.

Again with the crappy cell phone photo. So sorry.

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csb february: lemon velvet squares, or, i made this cake a long time ago and forgot to take notes and now i can’t remember a damn thing

26 Feb

Let the record show that I made this cake right away. Like, immediately after it was announced. Like, the SECOND it was announced.

Okay, maybe it was a few days after that. Or a week. Or it was Super Bowl Sunday. Whatever, the point is, I made this cake a long time ago, and was so busy patting myself on the back for a job well done and getting another cake made on time that I A) forgot to take notes while I did this cake write up—though I most likely said to myself, “Oh, I’ll just make mental notes! Mental notes are fiiiiine! I’ll totally remember this experience!” and 2) I never actually wrote the post.

And here we are.

GAH.

Needless to say, the Super Bowl was many several weeks ago, and since then I’ve been very busy with, errrm, hmm. Well, I’m sure whatever it was I’ve been busy with it was terribly important. (House of Cards.) (And cheese popcorn.) And as such, I have been picking through my brain to remember my thoughts on these lemon velvet squares, and here’s what I can recall:

I added extra lemon juice to the batter because I was worried that the orange juice also in the batter would overpower and dilute the lemon flavor. And these are supposed to be lemon velvet squares, yes? Yes. And good thing I added that extra juice, because I was right—I definitely was getting more orange flavor than lemon. That was kind of disappointing, I’m not going to lie. Historically I was never a big fan of lemon, but in the past couple of years I’ve really turned a corner and want to shout lemon’s name from the rooftops. So when I’m eating something that has lemon in the title, I want to taste the lemon. Not orange. (I love orange, don’t get me wrong, but calling something lemon and then tasting orange is just screwing with my brain and tastebuds.)

The cake was pretty good, but it was not what I had pictured in my head. You say lemon squares, I think of those gooey on top, powdered sugar-coated squares/bars, you know what I mean? And this is definitely a cake, not a bar. That’s not a bad thing! But the simple topping of powdered sugar on top did kind of get lost on it, so were I to make this again I’d A) up the lemon juice quotient and decrease the amount of orange juice and 2) top it with the suggested lemon glaze.

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I’m not sure what is supposed to be velvety about this cake. The crumb? The crumb was good—not too dry, not too sticky—but soft, luxurious, and velvet-like I would say not. It was certainly better than some of the other cakes we’ve baked so far from this book, so maybe that’s a point in its favor? We’ll go with a point in its favor. But next time: More lemon! Less orange!

Bake on, bakers.

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csb cake december 2013: streusel squares, or, i kept confusing this with strudel, which was a huge disappointment

27 Dec

The day after Christmas I was left alone to my own devices while Swede took his nephews to see The Hobbit 2, Hobbitier Than Before. I was sitting on the couch, binge-watching White Collar Season 4 (More art forgery! More sneaky times!), when I realized I hadn’t made the December cake.

So I did something so very, very bold.

Instead of skipping this month’s confection, I hit pause on the Netflix and got my ass off the couch and made the cake.

December 2013 Cake 1

At which point I realized some things about this cake. In no particular order:

One: It’s streusel, not strudel. And in case you were wondering, there is a difference the size of the Grand Canyon. And I was on the wrong side of it. To say I was disappointed when I finally got it straightened out in my head is an understatement. I blame the confusion on the holiday madness we just weathered. Trust me, I won’t make the same mistake again.

Two: I shouldn’t have bothered making this cake. It would have been time better spent, IMHO, if I had stayed planted on the couch watching Neal Caffrey and Agent Burke fight white collar crime. I don’t mean to sound so cynical, but at best this cake was meh. The streusel topping was rather flavorless and seemed to contain an obscene amount of flour, and the cake itself was kind of bland. It was nice and dense, though, I’ll give the cake that.

Three: The way the directions are written makes me think that the author has WAY too much time on her hands. Six to eight minutes to beat in sugar a tablespoon at a time? Are you fucking kidding me? Listen, lady, I have things to do and television to watch. And there is just absolutely no need to beat in sugar for six to eight minutes, one tablespoon at a time. If you have time for that, bully for you. But this case of sculpture forgery isn’t going to solve itself, sister.

Four: Superfine sugar. This recipe calls for superfine sugar. Normally I get superfinely annoyed when I have to buy special ingredients in such large quantity (the sugar came in a package the size of a quart of milk), but for this one, I happily chucked the container in my cart. You know why? Bartending. It says right there on the container: Great for baked goods and cocktails. I’m happy I can bake, Swede is happy he can make liquory drinks, and I’m happy even more because I get to sample said liquory drinks. Mayhaps while I bake. Fun for everyone!

Five: Next. I’m ready for the next cake. And the next season of White Collar, for that matter.

December 2013 Cake 2

csb november: applesauce spice cake, or, yay!

20 Nov

Welcome to the kickoff cake to the 2013-2014 Cake Slice Bakers baking season, Interwebers. Excuse me while I pat myself on the back for not only getting this cake baked, but getting it baked and posted On. Time.

WOOT.

I believe this newfound sense of timely baking is definitely a foreshadowing of how the coming baking year will be. And in a word, that means it will be totallyphenomenalHFSdeliciousness.

Tell your friends.

We’re baking this year from Great Cakes by Carole Walter, which is quite possibly one of the most bizarre cookbooks I’ve ever encountered in that there are approximately five pictures total in the book. No page after page of luscious pictures of lovely cakes piled high with frothy whipped cream or some such enticing you to make baked good after baked good until your pants don’t fit.

cake book

Weird.

Anyshoes, this month the winning vote went to the Applesauce Spice Cake with optional brown sugar glaze. I don’t know why one wouldn’t opt for said glaze as A) It’s not frosting, and thus very, very easy, and 2) It involves the trifecta of baking goodness: Brown sugar, butter, and heavy cream.

It should also be noted that this recipe uses shortening which I didn’t know still existed and which I don’t like to think about too hard because let’s face it: Shortening is more than a little odd. It’s shelf-stable and….slippery. I mean, Velveeta is shelf-stable, too, but at least that has a vague cheese flavor. And it’s not nearly as slippery.

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It should also ALSO be noted that spice cake may just be my favorite kind of cake. And also also ALSO I went apple picking this fall and had all intention of using said apples in this recipe. Which I kind of did in the form of applesauce. (Though technically it was pear-applesauce.) But I totally had to buy a fresh apple for the grating/chopping (both directions were given, neither were clarified) (I went with grating) (which, have you ever grated an apple? Very juicy.) (also, also, also, ALSO because I was wary that chopped apples vs. grated apples wouldn’t meld nicely into the batter as it baked). Which is my way of saying I meant to make this cake earlier and then it got to be the night before our cake-posting day and well, here we are.

Instead of making a big huge bundt cake (does anyone else immediately think of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding when they hear the word bundt? “Oh! It’s a caaaaake!”) I broke this one out into mini bundt pans. And instead of drizzling the glaze artistically over each bundt, I simply filled the center well of the minis with glaze. (Because on a scale of 1 to 10, how artistically do you really think I can drizzle glaze? I’ve got 2:1 on -12.) Warm and soft (but not mushy), the cakes had a lovely spice flavor, though I couldn’t really detect all that much apple flavor.

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No matter. They were still delicious, and relatively easy to put together, minus the conundrum of whether to chop or grate the apple, and also—sorry to note this so late—directing bakers to beat in the sugar a tablespoon at a time over the course of three to four minutes.

Odd.

But it works.

Spatulas up, Interwebers. The baking has begun.

photo friday: cake, please

8 Mar

I have a confession.

Before this week, I’ve made Rice Krispie treats exactly once in my life.

It feels really good to get that off my chest.

But now, NOW! Now I’ve got two more makings under my belt. See, Mare Beh Beh of the Funeral Directors texted me last week and she was all, “Woman. Can you make a rice krispie cake?”

And I was all, “By you, do you mean a general you or me specifically?”

And she was all, “Both.”

And I was like, “Okay.”

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A quick turn to the googler turned up a couple of recipes, which were easier to make than you ever could imagine. And to be precise, I should clarify that these are cake batter flavored  rice krispie treats, not so much a cake that tastes like rice krispie treats. Though I bet that would be tasty, too. Anyway, I whipped up a batch for Beh Beh’s brother’s surprise party (as he’s not a fan of cake, but IS a fan of the treats), and then on Sunday, since I had half of a huge box of leftover Rice Krispies that would have gone stale if I didn’t do something with them….well.

You do the math.

No, wait, don’t do the math. Unless you want to. Math was never my strong suit in school, and if you felt the same I don’t want to be responsible for sending you into a hyperventilating panic attack thinking I’m going to start demanding equations of you.

So  I’ll just leave it at Yay! Rice Krispie Treats! Cake!

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csb catch up: fresh strawberry cake, or, yet another awesome failure in the kitchen isweari’mnotasdumbasilook

25 Jul

Because of recent events, like moving and starting a new job, I totally fell off the motherfucking baking train.

(You didn’t know there was a baking train, did you? Well there is. And it smells like vanilla and pumpkin pie and unicorns. Ta daaa!)

Which is kind of a huge disappointment to me, because though I never expressed it on paper, in my head  I really wanted to achieve the goal of baking all 12 months of the Cake Slice Bakers this year. And I was on a pretty good track (here, here, here, here and here—WOW, there have been some epic failures) and then SPLAT. I moved. And am a bit vagabondish, without a kitchen to call my own.

But a few weekends ago I decided I could just as easily call someone else’s kitchen my own (NOBODY HAS TO KNOW! EXCEPT NOW YOU DO!). The Swede and I were watching the Chicken Nugget for the weekend, and on Saturday night, while Chicken Nugget snoozed soundly and The Swede jaunted off to the Mad Hatter’s Ball with a friend, I pulled out my sister’s Kitchenaid and various and sundry ingredients, and set to work to catch up on the cakes I’ve missed.

Erm, well, at least one cake I’ve missed.

Full disclosure: Post-goodnighting the Chicken Nugget and pre-departure for the ball, The Swede, His Pal Dave and I may have partaken of this, which The Swede and His Pal Dave picked up on their earlier afternoon outing to a local distillery:

Stand back! Wild turkey's a-foot!

I regret nothing. (Also, for the record, I only partook of the gin.) (WHAT?)

Though it may explain the phenomenal shitshow of a cake that would come later.

So anyway, I set about my merry baking way for the fresh strawberry cake with white chocolate chips which was the chosen cake for June. I scooped, I whisked, I sliced, I threw shit in a bowl, vaguely looking at the directions and measurements. Because it was Saturday night! I was living it up! F YOU, 2 teaspoons of vanilla! I can’t find you, SO I’M LEAVING YOU OUT!* One cup of white chocolate chips MY ASS! WE’RE ADDING THE WHOLE BAG! AND SOME GIN! FOR GOOD MEASURE! WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT THE MIXER? STOP YELLING AT THE MIXER OR YOU’LL WAKE THAT BABY UP. AND THAT WILL PUT A SERIOUS CRAMP IN YOUR BAKING. AND GIN. BECAUSE YOU KNOW HE’LL WANT TO SHARE.

And after all of that, I ended up with an oozy, falling apart hot mess that once again had to go BACK into the oven to finish baking, and even then it was served up was STILL a hot messandItotallyforgottotakepicturesofitIblamethegin. So instead you can have a picture of the luscious strawberries that went into the cake.


Surprisingly, it tasted pretty good. The Swede had some for breakfast the next morning, as did the Chicken Nugget.**

(Yes, I let him eat cake for breakfast. THERE WAS FRUIT IN IT. What are aunts for? Cake with a side of veggie sausage patties is a perfectly fine breakfast.)

But then again, that kid will eat anything, so I don’t really trust his judgment.

But here, have a picture of him anyway to make up for my lack of cake picture. He’s so disappointed in Aunt Molly and her shoddy cake-making skills as of late. Whatever, kid. Have another veggie patty, buck-o.

WTF, woman? Where's The Swede? There's got to be at least one responsible adult around here.

*Seriously, why can I never find/am always out of vanilla?

**Don’t worry, I didn’t actually put gin in the cake. We don’t start our kids on liquor-soaked baked goods until they’re at least three years old, so he’s still got another year to go. 

the cheesecake challenge

23 Jun

I’ve tasked The Swede with devising challenges for me to complete each week. Much of it has to do with my lack of initiative and motivation, but that’s another post for another day.

The first week of challenges, he gave me a writing-based challenge and, for purely selfish reasons, a food challenge.

“Make a cheesecake,” he said. “And then write a blog post about it.”

I pondered. I debated saying no. I’d never made a cheesecake before, and it seemed quite tricky. Plus, I don’t own a springform pan, which in all the cheesecake recipes I’ve encountered, seems to be an essential piece of equipment in the making of said cheesecake.

But I do love cheesecake.

And I do love a challenge.

And The Swede’s alright too, so I accepted the cheesecake challenge, and then waited until just about the last minute (all challenges are to be done within a week’s time, those are the rules and I am nothing if not a fan of rules. RULES RULE! What? Never mind.) to actually, you know, make the cheesecake.

I scoured my cookery books and the interwebs for a recipe, before settling on one that met my own internal criteria for a virgin cheesecake-making mission (it must be easy, and it must not require a springform pan. The end.). And of course I found luck in the greatest cookbook ever, which is devoted to all things cream cheese, the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Collection. Their luscious lemon cheesecake seemed perfect for the summergoodtimes that had cropped up. And by cropped up I mean it’s gotten very hot in these parts.

F-ing swamp.

What?

Oh right, the recipe.

AWESOME.

Seriously, Interwebers, this recipe couldn’t be easier.

Just throw these ingredients together:


Oh, and sugar. Sugar is not pictured in this photo, because sugar was off doing her makeup. Or because I forgot to pull her out of the cabinet.

But no worries, she made it into the bowl!

Also: who knew sugar was female?

Whip the ingredients together until it’s all smooth and lovely, and pour it into the pie crust.

And then bake it.

As I mentioned before, I’ve never made a cheesecake, and the direction, “bake until the center is almost set” seemed vague at best. Also, NO ONE MENTIONED THAT THE CHEESECAKE WOULD PUFF UP LIKE THE PILLSBURY DOUGH BOY.

But I went with my instincts, and took into account the crackled top of the cheesecake to make the executive decision that it was, indeed, fully cooked. And made sad faces at the pie when it was so high above the crust, because that is NOT what it looked like in the picture.

My sad faces were for naught, though. I left the house a little later for dinner with a friend, only to return in a few hours to find a deflated, and very lovely looking cheesecake.

I’d show it to you, but The Swede ate it too fast for me to snap a photo of it.

Which means this challenge?

TOTAL.

WIN.

Here’s the recipe, complete with directions. It’s so easy, I’m pretty sure a toddler could make it.

Luscious Lemon Cheesecake

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2   eggs

1 graham pie crust (6 oz.)

PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Beat cream cheese, sugar, peel, juice and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs; mix just until blended.

POUR into crust.

BAKE 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.