Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cherry Angel Food Cake Magic

Is there any other cake that you can just eat, and eat, and eat, and...well eat?
The light airiness, just the right amount of sweet, and the great taste of angel food cake make me love it. Whenever there is angel food cake around, watch out. I can ever just eat one or even two pieces. I don't know what it is about it.
So when a friend of mine told me that you could bake a boxed angel food cake mix with just a can of cherry pie filling, I couldn't believe it.Since cherries happen to be my favorite I just had to it. And it worked, and instantly became one of my favorite desserts. It is so simple and people think that you spent forever preparing it. So here is my version of a little dessert I refer to as magic...Cherry Angel Food Cake.

Cherry Angel Food Cake
1 box angel food cake
1 can cherry pie filling (I'm sure any pie filling flavor would do, if cherry isn't your favorite)
Preheat oven to 350°
Combine angel food cake mix and cherry pie filling in a large bowl.
Stir well until no dry cake ingredients remain.
Pour into an ungreased tube pan. It tends to overflow in a bundt pan.
Bake 40-50 minutes, or until top is a golden brown and bounces back when touched.

The cake doesn't rise as much as a regular angel food cake, so it might look a little saggy in the middle.
Place on one side of the pan on a cooling rack.
I rotate it about every 10 minutes to a different side so it can pull away from the edges.
Then inset a knife and swipe around edges to loosen any spots that are stuck (typically where a cherry is touching the pan).
Then invert on a serving plate.

You can serve it at this point and it is simply amazing. With a dallop of whipped topping...YUM! can make your divine whipping frosting...

Whipped Frosting
2 cups whipping cream
5 Tbsp confectioner's sugar
1 tsp almond extract

Beat whipping cream in mixer on high until it starts to thicken.
Add confectioner's sugar and almond extract and continue to beat at a high speed for another 3-4 minutes until it begins to hold peaks.

Cover the cake with a layer of the frosting to hold in the crumbs.
Then add another layer using the back of a spoon to create a decorative touch!
Serves about 12 slices.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes and Frosting

Oreos. Delicious. Everybody loves them. Nobody can resist them, especially with a glass of milk.
Until I started selling cupcakes, I never realized how many people love cookies & cream cupcakes. Even in an entire cake form! (I have made a wedding cake out of cookies & cream...seriously).
Many recipes that I find seem to have a chocolate cake batter, with an Oreo stuck inside on the bottom, with a crushed chocolate sandwich cookie frosting. That's all fine, but I prefer a creamy batter with bits of the cookie baked throughout it all.
So after some trial and errors with several recipes, I found my favorite. I'm not sure where I came across it, but it makes a scrumptious dense cake. These dry out quickly, so please don't make them too far in advance of the event they are intended for...if they last until the event!

Cookies & Cream Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
3 egg whites (I use the egg whites in the carton)
1 cup crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (aka Oreos) I use 10 double stuffed cookies

Preheat oven to 350°
Prepare 24 muffin cups with liners

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and add the sugar.
Add in the milk, butter and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes.
Add the eggs whites; beat an additional 2 minutes.
Place cookies in a ziploc bag and crush with a rolling pin or meat tenderizer.
Stir in crushed cookies by hand.
Spoon into liners so they are half full. They rise quite a bit while baking (trial and error has taught me this)
Bake 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
Transfer to cooling rack.
Cookies & Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups confectioner's sugar
8 or so crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (I use a food processor for these, it makes it easier for piping)
12 additional cookies, cut in half for garnish

Cream butter, cream cheese and vanilla together until fluffy.
Beat in confectioner's sugar until a stiff consistency is obtained. 
Stir in crushed cookies.
Pipe onto cupcakes using a #12 tip.
Place cookie on top of frosting, cut side down.

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

One day at work we were having a pot luck, and I promised I'd bring in a dessert. I didn't want to make the usual cookies or brownies, so I searched for something new and different that nobody has probably had before. I remember one day at a previous job someone had made a margarita cake, and I wanted to try it, but in cupcake form. So after some searching and some fiddling with the recipes to mold it into something that I thought would be a great recipe. And a hit it was!

This is the cupcake that everyone complimented me on and asked if I would sell them...and that really pushed me into selling my cupcakes and now cakes, cookies and other treats.

Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes

1 package white cake mix
4 eggs
8 oz (1 cup) sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups strawberry margarita mix

Preheat oven to 350°
Combine cake mix, eggs, sour cream, oil and water until well incorporated and a few lumps remain. 
Add the margarita mix and combine until mixture becomes smooth.
I use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to spoon batter into cupcake liners.
Bake for 13-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Remove from pans to cooling rack quickly.
Makes 24-30 delicious pink cupcakes.

Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
6 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
2 Tablespoons lime juice (I use the bottled lime juice)
Neon green food coloring

Cream together cream cheese and butter.
Add lime juice and food coloring.
Beat in confectioner's sugar until frosting is creamy and holds a stiff peak.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
Garnish with sanding sugar. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bubble Up Pizza

Who doesn't love a simple Pampered Chef recipe? I know I love simple at my house!
A simple dinner that both my daughter and my husband enjoy is hard to find. I typically have to make those for lunches while my hubs is at work, and he "reluctantly" will eat the leftovers the next day.
So I was nervous when I came across Bubble Up Pizza on Pinterest and it sparked my memory to making it pre-hubby. But to my surprise, he actually enjoys it (with an added sprinkling of red pepper flakes to satisy his spicy tooth of course).
Ingredients are simple, the preparation is simple, and the results are fantastic!

Preheat oven to 375° (I typically bake it at at 400° as I like it to really bubble and brown)

2 tubes refridgerated biscuits (I only photographed one...sorry)
1 jar pizza sauce
1 8oz bag shredded cheese (I like the pizza blend, myself. As you can see, I also am a big store brand user)
Pepperoni, or cooked sausage, hamburger, mushrooms, whatever your favorite pizza toppings are!!

I just tear the biscuits into small pieces, typically 4 pieces per biscuit, of course I use my Pampered Chef mixing bowls ;), and then I add the jar of the sauce, my toppings, (as much as I feel looks like enough) and half of the cheese. I also spice things up a bit and use some additional pepper flakes, a little garlic, and some salt are pretty common in mine)

Mix well, then pour into lightly greased baking dish...I use 9X13, anything smaller takes forever for the middle to bake through completely, cover with the rest of the cheese, then pop into the oven and bake. Typically it takes 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven temperature and how browned you want everything.

Cool slightly, spoon out and watch your family enjoy!

Monday, December 26, 2011

11 Years...

I haven't kept up with my blog...big changes have happened in the past two months. I quit my job that was an hour away from home. I started my own in-home daycare business. It is so wonderful! I get to stay home with my daughter, Sophia, which makes it all worth it. Going from a steady, bi-weekly paycheck to wondering if I'll even have children to watch is very scary. Luckily during the month of December I was kept super busy with my baking business that I just recently started also... 
Santa was extra nice to my family this Christmas. He convinced my husband to purchase me a separate laptop to keep all my business information on...which means TIME TO BLOG! So excited! It was so hard to do it on the computer we have everything we do on it.
But the reason I decided to blog today, no craft or tip included, is that it has been 11 years since my wonderful father, Randy, passed away. He died of a genetic lung disorder, Alpha-One Antitrypson Deficiency.
It was a courageous, long battle that fought. He passed the day after Christmas of 2000. He was so ill and only wanted to make it through Christmas. His goal was met, and he left the world peacefully. I was only 15. As many other children who lose their parent(s) at a young age, I didn't have him there at my high school or college graduation, at my wedding to give me away, there for the birth of my daughter and experience life as a grandparent.
But, he taught me everything he could during our short time together. Life skills and lessons I will never forget and that I am going to pass on to my own daughter.
I love you Dad. I know you are in a better place. Even though time is passing, there isn't a day that I don't think about you. Ever. No day passes without me looking at our last picture together. No matter how many years go by, that will never change. The only thing that will change is me. I have too many goals to accomplish in my life, and you taught me if I put my mind to it, I can do anything, and I will. Thank you Dad.


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