I Am Baker

Caramel Cashew Bars {Baking with My Baking Addiction}

Hello! I’m Jamie from My Baking Addiction, filling in today for the lovely and talented Amanda. I’ve forever been a lover of all things I Am Baker, so I couldn’t resist Amanda’s invitation to guest post. From a brand new cookbook deal to a charming site redesign – Amanda’s on top of her game and I couldn’t be more honored to fill in for her today!

In case ya haven’t figured it out by now, Amanda makes cakes. And not just any cakes – gorgeous, creative, delicious cakes that leave people in awe of her talent. Yup – I’m kinda obsessed with her creations! With that being said, there was no way that I was making a cake to share with you. If you can believe it, that thought actually crossed my mind until I got a grip on reality! Instead, I’m sharing a recipe for Caramel-Cashew Bars.

I’m kind of a sucker for those holiday baking displays in the middle of the grocery store. Come on, I can’t be the only one sucked in by the canned pumpkin pyramids! On my most recent trip, I ended up with 3 bags of cashews, 2 bags of mini marshmallows, and too many cans of pumpkin to count. Some may call it a bit of an obsession, I like to refer to it as preparedness – ya know, stocking up for Winter – kinda like a squirrel, except this nut is obsessed with cans of pumpkins!

With all these sweet holiday confections overflowing my pantry, I knew I had to find a recipe to put everything to good use. These Caramel-Cashew Bars start with a buttery foundation of crushed shortbread cookies, then topped with a sprinkling of miniature marshmallows and a layer of sweet, gooey caramel.

I’m pretty sure these guys will be a superstar on any holiday dessert table you decide to offer them up on. Different enough to be memorable among the pumpkin pies and Christmas log cakes, but familiar enough to be comforting and perfect with a generous cup of hot cocoa. I hope you love them as much as I love Amanda for letting me hang out here today.

Caramel-Cashew Bars

Ingredients

3 cups finely crushed shortbread cookies (I used 32 Keebler Sandies Simply Shortbread Cookies)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
36 caramels, unwrapped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups chopped salted cashews
2 cups miniature marshmallows

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with foil – be sure to extend the foil a little over the edges. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine cookie crumbs, butter, and sugar. Press the cookie mixture firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan creating an even layer of crust. Bake crust in preheated oven for 15 minutes or until it starts to lightly brown around the edges. Remove pan to cooling rack.
3. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt caramels and cream until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and cashews. Sprinkle the marshmallows evenly over prepared crust. Spread the caramel-cashew mixture over the marshmallows as evenly as possible.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the caramel is set. Remove to wire rack and cool completely.
5. Once bars are cool, use the foil overhang to remove the bars from the pan and cut into squares.

Notes

-Bars can be stored arranged in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
-Recipe slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

About Jamie

Jamie Lothridge is hopelessly addicted to sugar, sprinkles, and Top Chef. She started her blog as a way to justify having copious amounts of each in her life.

When she’s not in front of her stand mixer, or behind her camera, she can be found teaching middle school, hanging with her fiance, or watching the Food Network.

You can follow Jamie on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for her recipes, random thoughts and latest addictions.

I Am Baker

Creepy Millipede Cake

I get asked a lot of questions about cakes. One of the most common questions I get is, “What can you do with a 9×13 cake?  I don’t want to bake a layer cake.”

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I happen to really, really like layer cakes.  Might even have a small obsession with them.  Like making them twenty five layers and rainbow inside obsession.

But every now and then its nice to just make a cake like mom made.

Well, minus the creepy millipedes.

You know what I mean.

So I found this picture of a giant millipede.

photo from here

That sucker is like a foot long.  I do not like looking at pictures of creepy crawly things but I do like you so I sucked it up and moved forward.

This cake is a marriage between wanting to make something fun out of a regular old 9×13 cake and wanting to do something seasonal. (Halloween)

Hence the creepy crawly millipede cake.

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After icing the cake with white frosting, I just added some black food coloring to the remaining frosting.  I always use *Americolor Gel Food Coloring when I need to achieve deep, rich color.

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Since I am more familiar with the tiny millipedes in real life, I knew I wanted to add some to this cake.  They are what really got me… since those little rollie pollie ones look EXACTLY like the real thing.

Pretty much my skin has been crawling for a week now.

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So there you have it.  I see a Cake Challenge post in the futuree.  Maybe even a candy post.  Maybe I will just snuggle up next to this cake in bed because its so beautiful.

But that might be weird.

I do know one thing, and that is that I have a few more Halloween cakes to share!

Hope you like Halloween as much as me!

*Link is through Amazon Affiliate.

 

I Am Baker

Chocolate Spider Web {Cake in a Jar}

Spiders in jars.  Spider webs made from chocolate.  Black and orange everywhere.  It must be ‘that’ time of year!!

(I also made spiders and webs in 2009 on petite fours!)

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Its Halloween!  Well.  In like a month and a half it is.

But its definitely fall… and I adore fall.

What I don’t adore about fall is every spider known to man trying to make its way into my house so it will not perish in the bitter winters of Minnesota.  We have some big spiders around here.

I digress.

I wanted to do something fun with cake in a jar and also wanted to add a little somethin somethin to the outside.  So I found a way to write messages or pictures on the inside of the jar as well as add lots and lots more calories with chocolate on top!

It was a good day in my kitchen.

And it can be a good day in your kitchen too.  These are super easy!

To write on the inside of a jar I used a chocolate cake and made a white cake to fill the jars with.  If you dont want to make two seperate cakes, simple reserve about 1/4 cup of your white cake and use food coloring to tint brown or black.

One cake recipe made approximately six jars.

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After I piped the cake into the jar, I popped it into the microwave for eight seconds.  Maybe ten seconds, but no longer.  I just wanted the chocolate batter to set in place so it wouldn’t fall when I poured thewhite cake batter in.

I added 1/2 cup of white cake to the jar and then baked for about 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

This was tricky… some baked fully in 18 minutes, some took about 25 minutes.  It really depended on where it was placed in my oven.  So just keep a close eye on them!

And if writing inside your jars isn’t enough, I am also gonna show you how to make chocolate spider webs that fit snuggly over the rim of your jar!

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You do not NEED to use a wide mouth jar for the chocolate spider web, I just prefer it.

*These are the jars I buy.  Also, I used  these candy melts.  Just popped them in the microwave for 30 second intervals until the chocolate was completely melted.

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I grabbed the jar with my left hand, then slowly moved the rubber band from the jar to my wrist.

While the chocolate is sturdy, if it ever broke it was when I was removing the rubber band.  So be careful during that process!

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Seriously that easy.  Less then ten minutes from beginning to end!

I also piped out BOO! and a pumpkin and other fun stuff for the kids.

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While the words are fun (you know I am so excited to do jars with red velvet Christmas greetings in them!) I think my kids liked the spiders best.

Ok, ok, so did I.

But if you happen to have arachnophobia, don’t ever google “spiders in jars” like I did and slowly torture yourself looking at huge creepy crawly heinous beasts while trying to find a template for your jar design.

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But do grab yourself a spoon and tell the kids to ‘break’ into their jars.

They are as fun to eat as they are to make!

 

*Linked to an Amazon Affiliate page.

I Am Baker

Baking with Bakers Royale

Hi everyone, this is not Amanda. In fact hello, my name is Naomi Robinson of Bakers Royale. I’ve blog-jacked iambaker while Amanda is speaking at The Creative Connection with Blogher.

Being here is like being in wonderland. I’ve been a long time reader, fan- some call it stalking, but let’s not get caught up in semantics. Let’s just agree that like many of you, I’m a little infatuated with Amanda’s sugar sculpting skills.

So while she is busy juicing everyone at the conference with her goodness and creativity, she has been kind enough to share her space with me. With that, I thought I would gear you all up for the upcoming holiday season with three easy no-fuss, no-bake, gift-giving chocolate treats.

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Rocky Road Chocolate Bark – A three ingredient no bake dessert that comes together in just 20 minutes.

 

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Peanut Caramel Clusters – Candy making made easy with just three ingredients.

 

Salted_Caramel_and_Whiskey_Truffle_Bakers_Royale_2_copy
Salted Caramel and Whiskey Truffle – Classic chocolate truffles modernized with salted caramel and dressed up with whiskey for adult consumption.

 

Thank you so much Naomi, for sharing your beautiful treats and photographs here!  Me thinks I need to invest in a new camera! (and photography lessons!)

As Naomi mentioned, today I am off at a conference in Minneapolis.  If you happen to be attending, please do come up and say hi, I have a sweet little surprise to share!

 


 

I Am Baker

Buttercream Sugar Cookies

I sorta went nuts.

buttercream sugar cookies

The plan was to make some Rose Cookies for a friend.

I ended up not making a single rose cookie.

But lots of others.

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Sugar cookies with chocolate buttercream and a raspberry on top.

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Chocolate sugar cookies with buttercream and a cherry on top.

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Cherry cookies with chocolate buttercream and chocolate sprinkles.

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And a bunch more.

I couldn’t stop.

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They are so easy.

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And SO yummy.

I didn’t even consider busting out the thesauruses for yummy.  Cause that is by far the best word to describe these cookies.

Yummy.

I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe for the white and pink cookies. (To make them cherry flavored, simply add cherry extract instead of almond extract)

The perfect crusting buttercream.

And then chocolate buttercream. And chocolate sugar cookies.  I would share the recipes… but I need to tweak them first.  Right now they are SO chocolaty and SO rich its hard to taste anything else.

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Hopefully a tutorial soon.  But right now I need to hit the gym.  And when I say gym, I mean sauna.

Just sayin.

*****

I am giving away a Keurig Coffee Machine and $400 in additinoal prizes!!
Click here to enter.

I Am Baker

Baby Pea Baby Shower Cake

Sweet Maria and Josh from Two Peas & Their Pod is having a baby!  They will soon be welcoming their first child into the world, a sweet little boy.

A few friends from around the blog-o-sphere decided to get together and host a virtual baby shower!  

Happy Baby Shower guys!

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I decided to make Maria and Josh a little cake with a "baby" pea on it.  

The pea pod itself was designed after these amazing cookies from Bridget at Bake at 350.

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To make this sweet little baby pea pod, I simply baked two cakes in these wonderful little pans.*  

After baking, I removed one of the mini cakes from the pan and chilled in the freezer for about one hour.  Once the cake is nice and firm I carved out the "pea pod" shape.  With the other cake I made cake pops.

The cake pops are covered in tinted buttercream that I just heated to get a runnier consistency.  I simply dipped them in the frosting and let them dry.

I used the same buttercream (in its original form, not heated) to cover the pea pod, simply using a small offset spatula to smooth out the frosting as much as possible.

 

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And here is where I keep it real folks.  

Maria is the QUEEN of cookies.  She makes the most amazing cookie creations!  I wanted to add some cookies to the interior of her cake so it was extra personalized for her.

I made her Oreo Cheesecake Cookies.  I also made her Rolo cookies.  (Both completely swoon worthy.)  Then incorporated them into the cake.

Then managed to overcook the cookies and under cook the cake.  It was not pretty. #bakingfail

But now I have been sufficiently challanged and I WILL make it happen.  Maybe for baby number two???

 

IMG_7847.babypeapodcake

Be sure to check out all of the other amazing ladies that are spending today loving on our sweet Maria!

 

Drinks

Simple Bites - Lemon Balm infused Lemonade

Ingredients, Inc. - Healthy Fruit Punch

Food for My Family - Lemongrass Soda

Heather's Dish - Mixed Fruit Punch

She Wears Many Hats - Mini Pistachio Smoothies

Georgia Pellegrini Watermellon Agua Fresca

 

Appetizers/Savory Bites

With Style and Grace - Truffle Popcorn

Family Fresh Cooking - Baby Peas & Cheese Frittata

Barbara Bakes - Creamy Orange Fruit Dip and Fruit

Aggie’s Kitchen - Pasta Salad with Balsamic Basil Vinaigrette

Reluctant Entertainer - Nutella Berry Bruschetta

 

Dessert

TidyMom - Baby Blue Velvet Cake Truffles

Brown Eyed Baker - Pavlova

Picky Palate - Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Sandwich

What’s Gaby Cooking - Coconut Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing

Cookin’ Canuck - Nutella & Cream Cheese Swirled Blondies

Kevin and Amanda - Baby Blue Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookie Cups

Sweetopia - Decorated Sugar Cookies

Mountain Mama Cooks - Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Sweetapolita - Decorated Sugar Cookies

Bake at 350 - Petit Fours with fondant pea pods

RecipeGirl - Baby Button Cookies

RecipeBoy - Mud Cups with Gummy Worms

Add a Pinch - Blackberry Tartlets

Dine and Dish - Oven Baked Cinnamon Apples

Vintage Mixer - Mint Chocolate Pudding Shots

Dorie Greenspan French Lemon Cream Tart

 

Crafts

Wenderly - Handmade Sweet Pea Cards

Our Best Bites - How To: Make a Diaper Cake Centerpiece

 

 A HUGE extra thank you to these two ladies for hosting and organizing this wonderful Virtual Baby Shower!

Marla {Family Fresh Cooking} & Lisa {With Style and Grace}

*****

*I recently signed up for the Amazon Affiliate program. (Have you seen the cost of butter lately?!?) I may recieve a small compensation if something is purchased through my blog.  I will try to inform you anytime I am putting a link in one of my posts, should you have any reservations concerning it.  






I Am Baker

Cake Challenge {Grass Tip}

You guys aren’t messin around.

When I placed the idea out there.. the idea that I would create three different cakes from one decorators tip… I had NO idea what I was thinking.

The most commonly requested tip was #233.

The grass tip.

Most commonly used to make grass. In green.

Grass.

And nothing else.

I was stumped.

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I didn’t even own one.  I had to go and buy one.

(actually, I bought four, which really helped when decorating all these cakes!)

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I wanted to make sure all these cakes served a purpose, so this cake is for some friends that just welcomed another baby into their lives.  A sweet little boy!

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I held the tip at a 90 degree angle, applied pressure and make slight circles with the tip.  Then made smaller ‘stacks’ in the inner circles.

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While I will never claim to be an artist (I have too much respect for the people that are!) I really liked how this technique came out.

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I hope its self explanatory, but if not, here is my very technical descriptions.

I took the frosting and made swirly lines and stuff.

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And while I can honestly tell you that all of these cakes are very easy to execute, this was probably the easiest.

And my favorite.  I don’t know why… maybe because it has all the colors in the rainbow?  And I am obsessed with rainbows?

IMG_7102.grasstiprainbowcake

To make this cake I just used the grass tip as you normally would, but didn’t extend the tip to achieve the long grass.  Just short little dabs of frosting.

Thanks for pushing me beyond what I knew!  I had fun making these cakes and hope that our friends and family will have fun eating them!!

So what do you think I should tackle next???

I Am Baker

Zucchini Pound Cake

IMG_6724.zucchinipoundcake

We have a lot of zucchini.  And I was desperate to do something new with it!

So I decided on pound cake.

I have made approximately five pounds of pound cake in the last three days.

But it was of vital importance to me that the recipe I ultimately shared be perfect. 

Perfection.  Perfect-a-ding-a-ling-dong.  The perfecta-nator. 

And after tweaking numerous pound cake recipes I think I have finally created one that will accommodate a lot of zucchini.

And still taste delicious.

AND be made in a way I could easily share.

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I got this fabulous pan from Chicago Metallic.

Chicagowear
Its actually a brownie pan, but works perfectly for this pound cake!

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I just adore the mini size of each little cake. 

The smaller size means that every single person got the experience the beautiful fine outer crumb of the pound cake, but still taste the sweet delicate interior as well.

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Here is the thing.

I made a true pound cake.  I followed Alton Browns directions and tweaked it slightly to accommodate the zucchini.

It was really dense and didnt hold up to the extra moisture well at all.

(I am sure his original recipe is fabulous!)

IMG_6503.zucchinipoundcake

Anyway, long story short, the recipe I ended up with is not a true pound cake, but it does produce the beautiful crumb and velvety interior of a pound cake.

Am I making any sense at all? 

It just occurred to me that I say that a lot.

IMG_6521.zucchinipoundcake

Zucchini Pound Cake

1 cup AP Flour

2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter (room temp)

2 cups white sugar

4 eggs (room temp)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups peeled and grated zucchini

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In bowl, combine flours, baking powder, and salt.  Sift together and set aside.

Grate approximately two medium sized zucchini, or enough to get two cups of drained, dry zucchini.

(the best way to do this is place peeled zucchini in a clean, dry dish towel and squeeze hard)

In mixer, combine butter and sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. (about five minutes) Put mixer on lowest speed and add eggs one at a time until each is fully incorporated.  Add vanilla. 

Add flour mixture, about a cup at a time, until just combined. 

Remove bowl from mixer and stir in zucchini by hand.  Try to make sure there are no clumps.

Place mixture in prepared baking dish.  If using a 10-inch tube pan, bake for 70-80 minutes. 

If using the brownie pan shown in this blog post, bake for 45-55 minutes, but begin checking at 40 minutes.  Around the 40 minute mark I placed a piece of aluminum foil over the pan to prevent further browning.

Allow pound cake(s) to cool completely before cutting.

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Tips for success:

Make sure your butter and eggs are at room temperature, especially if you are using the tube pan.

Use well prepared pans.  Either use the traditional butter and flour method or use a good quality baking spray.

Make sure your zucchini is as dry as possible.

Do not substitute flours in this recipe.  

Share it with people you love. (optional, but good for the soul)

 

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I really wanted to share these with some friends who are having a tough time, so I just grabbed some Christmas ribbon (the very cheap kind you get at Wal-mart for .99 after Christmas-it has a soft felt front and a plastic back) wrapped the cake once, then binded with a thin twine.

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They stay good for 1-3 days, more if refrigerated.

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You can also create a simple lemon glaze to pour over.  

If you want to include this in the care package, just put the glaze in a jar or ziplock bag.

Simple Lemon Glaze

1 cup powder sugar

1/2 tsp Lemon Juice

1 tbsp water

Mix and serve. 

*****

If you want to print a recipe but do not want all the pictures, simply highlight the text that you want then choose the print option.  Choose "selection" and only the highlighted text will print.  

I am planning on upgrading to have a "print" button installed for you very soon!  Hope that will help. 

*****

I am giving away a $100 gift card to REI, click here to enter!

I Am Baker

Toolbars and Wedding Cake

They go hand in hand don't ya know?

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I recently got to make a wedding cake for a friend.  Her invitation is just gorgeous, and recreating the flower in all buttercream was a challenge to say the least!  But so worth it.

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This cake was a BIG boy.  The equivalent to five regular cakes.  And all Red Velvet.  

But whats this about toolbars?

I recently had my very own toolbar created!

Screenshot
(click picture to enlarge)

You can upload it right HERE for free!  

On the toolbar you will find everything you wanted to know about my cakes, cookies, and tutorials, as well as a "search" option! (powered by google)

 It is through Alexa, and here is a link to where YOU can create your own.  

You can even install it on your moms computer so she has no excuse about not being open to remember your blog name.  I mean.  Not that that has happened to me.

My sweet friend Cheryl (the amazing Miss Tidymom) told me all about… she even posted her toolbar and some neat details about how hers works!

I Am Baker

Cherry Cake

Happy Birthday Rachael Ray!

On August 25th Rachael is celebrating her birthday.  Her fun and loyal staff over at Everyday With Rachael Ray Magazine thought it would be neat to get the world involved!

If YOU would like to make her a cake click on her facebook page and just post it!  It could be see by thousands of fans!

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I have been wanting to make these birthday cookies into a cake forever.  

They were so fun and easy and I love when my friends let me make them cookies!

 

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I also thought it would be fun to make the actual cake a cherry cake too!  So I tried the Maraschino Cherry Cake recipe from Cooks.com.

I actually followed the recipe ingredients and directions exactly.

Gotta tell ya… I could not even taste a hint of cherry in it.  Now, we all know that my palette is far from refined, but I can pick up on subtle if I am really trying.

And I did try.

I closed my eyes and everything.

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It tasted like a bland vanilla cake.  Boo! Hiss! Wah.

For the frosting I used my favorite full fat buttercream of the moment.

Buttercream Frosting

71/2 – 8 cups of powder sugar (or a 2 lb. bag)

1 cup shortening

1-2 tsp vanilla (if making white frosting use clear vanilla)

1/2 -3/4 cup milk (I have also used whipping cream and whole milk)

Blend all ingredients on low until incorporated, then increase speed and blend for 1-3 minutes until reach desired consistency.

Seriously.  That's how I do it.  I am considering changing my blog name to "i am impatient baker".

 

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One change that was a really welcome addition was adding a 1/2 cup of finely diced maraschino cherries to the center layer.

They saved the cake.  

Subtle.  Sweet.  Bright obnoxious red and turquoise cake with a hint of cherry flavor.

 

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 Interesting fact: I don't like cherries.

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If you have a good Cherry Cake recipe and want to share, feel free to point me in the right direction.

If you want to join me in a slice while I conduct a pity party, then please, pull up a chair.   This could be an all-nighter.

***

I linked this to Tidymom's I'm Lovin It blog party!  Stop on by!