My Birthday Cake

Every year I make myself a birthday cake.  I have absolutely no problem with this as I enjoy making cake, but I do hope that as my kids get older and more confident in the kitchen that they will consider surprising dear-old-mom.

This years cake is nothing like I have ever done before.  I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed and sassy lately and this cake is a pretty good reflection of those emotions!

Oreo Ice Cream Cake covered in Whipped Cream

Its based the design for this cake on one I have been thinking a lot about lately.  My mom made it when we were little in a metal 9×13 cake pan.  She called it Better-Than-Sex-Cake.

I asked her, “What’s sex?”

She paused.  Squinted her eyes, smirked a little and said, “Eat your cake dear.”

I was eight so that was just fine by me.

Oreo Ice Cream Cake covered in Whipped Cream

Her cake had Oreo’s and ice cream and hot fudge and peanuts and a little caramel and whipped cream.

My cake is Oreo, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, Oreo, cream cheese frosting, and brownie/Oreo crumbles topped in whipped cream.

To decorate I put Cool Whip into a pastry bag with an 8B tip and piped out dollops.  I saw this cake on Martha Stewarts site and used it as my inspiration.

Whipped Cream Dollops using a 8B tip

 

I gotta tell you, if you are using this type of decorating start by making them with whipped cream.  Its SUCH an easy medium to work with and is so forgiving.  It took maybe four minutes to frost my entire cake.

Oreo Ice Cream Cake covered in Whipped Cream

This cake is far from pretty to look at inside.  Its a massive jumbled mess of the most rich ingredients known to man.

And that is exactly what I was going for.

Let me break down the layers a bit more.

I used a 9×9 pan and laid a piece of parchment in the bottom.  The parchment was longer on the ends so that it stuck out the sides of the pan.  I then placed 2 packages of Oreo pie crust, which is 12 ounces of Oreo crumbs, into a bowl.  To that bowl I added 2 tablespoons of melted butter and combined with the Oreo.  Take a 1/4 cup of crumbs out of the bowl and set aside.  I then pressed the remaining mixture into the bottom of my pan.

For the ice cream layer, I bought a rectangle box of ice cream.  I removed the entire ice cream from the box and cut 1/2 sections length wise.  I used about six, and then strategically placed them into the pan right over the Oreo crumbs.  They laid completely flat.

I then poured about 1/4 cup of hot fudge over the ice cream and smoothed it with an offset spatula.  Pour the 1/4 cup of Oreo’s that was set aside over hot fudge.

Put the pan in the freezer for at least two hours.

Next I prepared the cream cheese layer.  This was 1 8oz. block of cream cheese at room temperature combined with 1 cup of powdered sugar.

I removed the pan from the freezer and smoothed the cream cheese over the top of the Oreo Layer.

Now this is the crazy part.

Oreo Brownie in a Skillet

 

Remember this thing?  (Oreo Skillet Brownies) I made one, let it cool, then put the entire thing (no ice cream) into my KitchenAid food processor.  And reduced it to crumbs.  Awesomely awesome brownie-Oreo crumbs.

To that I added 4 tablespoons of melted butter (right into the food processor) and pulsed for about a minute.

That brownie mixture was then pressed into my pan, right on top of the cream cheese layer.

Oreo Cream Cheese Brownie Ice Cream Cake

This is the cake removed from the pan, flipped out onto a serving plate.  The brownie is on the bottom now and the Oreo layer on top.

Are you still with me?  Cause I am pretty sure this cake is certifiable.

Oreo Ice Cream Cake covered in Whipped Cream

I couldn’t get a perfect looking piece, and to be honest I didnt really try that hard.

This stupid little birthday cake is my greatest creation OF ALL TIME.

Well, that may be an overstatement.  But it is pretty darn delicious.  Just please, do not ever, for all that is holy in this world, try to figure out how many calories are in one piece.

Better Than Sex Cake

We are better off not knowing.

 

Red Velvet Cake with Peppermint Whipped Cream

This cake is basically a wintery version of my Chocolate Pumpkin Cake.  I have been wanting to do another version of that cake for a year now, and this seemed like the perfect way to do it.

Red Velvet Cake Covered in Rich Chocolate Ganache and Topped with Peppermint Whipped Cream #cake #Christmas

Other than the flavors, I did a couple things different with this cake.

First I baked two full red velvet cake recipes.  Each entire recipe went into one 8×8 pan.  (Make sure the batter does not fill the pan more than half way.)

Also, I did not level my cakes.  This was not a good idea!  I highly recommend that you make sure your cakes are leveled to the same height.

Red Velvet Cake Covered in Rich Chocolate Ganache and Topped with Peppermint Whipped Cream #cake #Christmas

Bake two red velvet cakes in square pans.

Prepare Milk Chocolate Ganache.

Prepare Peppermint Whipped Cream.

You will also use straws, and offset spatula, a piping bag and 1M tip.

 

Red Velvet Cake Covered in Rich Chocolate Ganache and Topped with Peppermint Whipped Cream #cake #Christmas

 

To assemble this cake place your first red velvet layer on the cake stand.  Cover in about 3/4 cup of chocolate ganache.  I love the look of letting it spill over the sides, but you can do whatever you prefer at this step.  Place other red velvet cake on flat surface and cover with about 3/4 cup of ganache.  Set aside.

Cut a straw into four equal sections.  Place the straws into the cake.  I make sure the straws are at least 1-inch in from each side and in each corner.  The homemade whipped cream is not sturdy enough to hold the weight of the top layer of cake on its own, that is why I add the straws.  Just be sure to tell your family when you cut into the cake.

Cover cake in about 1 1/2 cups of peppermint whipped cream.  I level the whipped cream to the height of the straws with an offset spatula.

Take other red velvet cake and center it on top of the cake on your cake stand.

Using a 1M tip, pipe out nine fancy swirls at least 2 inches high.  Cover in red and chocolate sprinkles.

I would recommend serving right away, but cake will keep for one day in the fridge.

Red Velvet Cake Covered in Rich Chocolate Ganache and Topped with Peppermint Whipped Cream #cake #Christmas

The Peppermint Whipped Cream is amazing.  It’s subtle, not overpowering.  Light.  Refreshing.

Such a perfect compliment to the rich Red Velvet and chocolate ganache!

I can’t recommend this cake enough.  It is seriously the PERFECT cake for any holiday celebration!

Relief in Action {2013 Desserts for the Deserving}

I am participating in a sponsored campaign hosted by Advil®, as a part of the Advil® Relief in Action campaign. I received compensation for this post. While all opinions stated are my own, I make no claims about Advil® as a product or its effectiveness.

 

In July of 2011 I wrote about a desire to do something kind for someone else.  A family we knew had just had their first baby and some friends were putting together a meal schedule for them… making sure that they had hot meals throughout the next few weeks.  Since I had just had my fourth baby, I knew all too well how much those kind gestures can mean.

That little story morphed into something greater.  People wanted to be a part of it, they wanted to reach out to the folks they knew were in need of an act of kindness and Desserts for the Deserving was born.

Without even knowing it, we exemplified Relief in Action.

A Gift for a New Mom!Cookies Made Especially for a New Mom

I simply asked people if they knew anyone who could use a little bit of joy.

“Do you know someone who is dealing with health issues?  Who lost a loved one?  Who has been out of work?  Who is raising their kids on their own?  Who has had the flu for two weeks?  Whose child has a birthday coming up?  Who always brings your garbage can up for you on garbage day?  Who brings so much joy and happiness to others that you want them to experience a little of their own?”

I then asked people to nominate someone.  Anyone.  Yourself. And they did. Within a very short amount of time there were more than one hundred nominees.  I had to close the comments at 165, I just didn’t know how I could say no to that many people and had no idea how I was going to make 165 dozen cookies!

But then I started reading and my heart was overwhelmed for these folks.  SO many needs!

 

Desserts for the Deserving

 

At that moment I realized that this had grown bigger than me, and I knew I could not do it alone.  So I enlisted your help.

I asked bakers if they would be willing to step up and make a crafty gift or baked good and ship it to a stranger. I asked for you to design it, create it, and pay for it all on your own. I was certain that people would laugh me off the Internet and that no one would have the time nor the inclination to help.

Again, you proved me wrong in a big way.

After my initial plea, it was mere hours before every single nominee was accounted for. I cried so many tears that day, in gratitude and hope for the changes you would be making in people’s lives!  Since that blog post I have never stopped receiving volunteers.  People email and say, “I know it’s over, but I would love to help in some way.”

 

Rose Spritz Neapolitan Cookies

Rose Neapolitan Spritz Cookies 

Your selflessness and desire to be a force of good is amazing to me.

What is all the more amazing to me is the sacrifice that went into many of your choices to volunteer.  One volunteer had just had major surgery.  One volunteer had just gone through a painful and disruptive divorce.  One volunteer had arthritis and baking literally caused her pain.  One volunteer made so many cookies that she baked for 2 days straight causing her to have back and neck pain.  People volunteered knowing that it meant discomfort and even physical pain and it’s you that the Advil® Relief in Action campaign is honoring and supporting.

Relief in Action recognizes volunteers’ hard work and their determination to not let pain stop them from helping others. I am so thankful and grateful to the men and women whose selfless actions brought so many people joy!  Your desire to be a part of something bigger than yourself was inspiring.  Your willingness to sacrifice money, time, and comfort is so empowering to all!  I salute you and am in awe of your energy and strength and passion!

I will soon be putting a call out for volunteers for 2013 Desserts for the Deserving.  I can’t wait to see how you will bless those around you!

But more than that, I want to encourage everyone to do something kind today.  Right now.  Bless others so that they may also be a blessing.

One of the greatest gifts you can give children is the desire to serve others.  Volunteer together!  My kids and I often bake cookies and deliver them to neighbors and friends.  Not only do we enjoy the process, but we all love that warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you bless someone else.

Volunteer at your local nursing home.  Donate clothes and food to charities and people in need.  Sign up with VolunteerMatch.org and get opportunities emailed to you.  Do a random act of kindness for someone in your own family.

To get involved with the Advil Relief in Action campaign, you can share a photo of your act of volunteering with the hashtag #ReliefinAction on Twitter or Instagram as well as follow @ReliefinAction on Twitter and Instagramor So go ahead and head over to www.advil.com/reliefinaction to learn more!

Food Styling Challenge: Savory Simple

Food Styling Challenge

 

The Food Styling Challenge is all about showcasing talent for styling food. I have asked 12 amazing bloggers to pick any chocolate cake recipe they want and style it anyway they want. The catch? They only have $25 to do it! Join us on the journey to see how they can transform a cake stand into a work of art!

Jennifer from Savory Simple is hugely talented and I am so honored she agreed to participate in the Food Styling Challenge.  She can take light and airy images as well as dark, moody and texture filled pictures. Her pictures move me.  They invoke emotion.  They tell a story.

She is awesomely talented and I hope you will spend some time on her beautiful blog!

For August’s Food Styling Challenge Jennifer made us a Chocolate Espresso Layer Cake.  I get excited just thinking about it!   Be sure to stop by Savory Simple and get the recipe for her Chocolate Espresso Layer Cake!

 Chocolate Espresso Cake from Savory Simple

Did you find the Food Styling Challenge to be easy or difficult?
I found the food styling itself to be pretty easy but cakes can be challenging since I don’t make them on a regular basis. As I discuss in the post, I love making layer cakes and working with chocolate but they make me nervous. There are so many moments that could go so very wrong and there’s really no turning back. So the food styling itself isn’t necessarily a huge challenge but in my opinion the food needs to be beautiful in order to have truly beautiful photos.

 

Chocolate Espresso Cake from Savory Simple
Was the spending limit a challenge?
Not at all! I’m very lucky to live close to a place called Antique Row. It’s a small, quaint street located in a historic village lined with around 10 antique shops. Some of them are quite pricy but many are very reasonable and filled with the sort of props I love styling my photos around. I see similar products sold online for around 4x the price plus shipping. I highly recommend looking for props at local antique and thrift stores.

 

What are your favorite props to style with?
I love working with tarnished silver, pewter and dark bowls and plates. The fit with the moody image I’m often trying to create with my photos.

 

Chocolate Espresso Cake from Savory Simple
What is your favorite part of the challenge?
Sometimes, when I’m not feeling the food or the setup, photo shoots can be a real chore. But when I love the subject and the way it fits with the props, I find the experience inspiring, soothing and joyful. Chocolate is one of my favorite subjects to shoot and I already love working with antiques. Everything about this challenge was a pleasure. Thank you for including me!
 

Chocolate Espresso Cake from SavorySimple.net

Isnt that just stunning?  Thank you so much Jennifer!

Be sure to check out these past participants!
January-Dine & DishWhite Chocolate Cake February-Verses From My KitchenChocolate Cake
March-Inspired by CharmOreo Cake April-Tidymom

Chocolate Cake from Tidymom

May-Family Fresh Cooking

ChocolatePancake Cake

June- Picky Palate

Double Chocolate Butterfinger Layered Cake

July-Raspberri Cupcakes

Food Styling Challenge: Raspberri Cupcakes

Chocolate Chocolate Raspberry Cake

I had visions people.  Visions of chocolate and raspberry and hearts galore.

Chocolate Chocolate Raspberry CakeNormally when I think of a cake I sketch it out… fine tune any weird ideas and thoughts… and go for it.

I totally went for it.

And it failed.  Nothing  turned out the way I had envisioned.  But since I adore you and know that you will love the flavors of this cake, I am going to suck it up and show it to you anyway.

That is it though.  Just flavors.  As far as techniques and tutorials… well all that is going to have to wait until I can make this cake and not cry upon completion.

If you are going to make it I would I would maybe just use the raspberry filling in between the layers of the cake and for the crumb coat, then cover the entire exterior with the chocolate glaze.  It will be pretty… but most of all delicious.

Now, are you ready for the inside? *cringe*

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream Mini Hearts Inside

 

Lets just not discuss it and move on ok?

Chocolate Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Ingredients

    Raspberry Buttercream
  • 2 sticks room temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
  • 2 tsp water
  • 4 cups powder sugar
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate (I used chips)
  • 6 tbsp butter

Instructions

  1. For Raspberry Buttercream:
  2. Combine powder sugar, butter, jam and water in stand mixer. Start on low for 30 seconds, then turn to medium and mix until fully combined, about 2 minutes.
  3. For Chocolate Glaze:
  4. Place butter and chocolate into a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until chocolate is melted and butter is incorporated. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
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The combination of chocolate and raspberry has been around forever and there is a good reason… its stinkin awesome.  I especially love the flavors of the rich chocolate cake with the sweet raspberry frosting covered in the semi-sweet chocolate glaze.  Its a party in your mouth.  And I cant believe I just said that cause I detest that saying.  But its late and I cant think of anything else.

I used this recipe for the chocolate cake.  Its tried and true and fabulous and you will love it.

Chocolate Cake with Three Raspberry Buttercream Heart Carved Inside

 

Gah.  I cant stand it.

Lets ignore it and go look at this cake.

Mini Heart Cake- Surprise Inside Cake

Now that is what a mini heart should look like.  ( I made that cake almost a year ago… it was for my birthday!)

Gotta go.  Must make something pretty immediately.

 

Black Velvet Whoopie Pies

I have never made a whoopie pie before.  I don’t know whats wrong with me?  Its basically the most awesome perfectest invention ever.

Thank you awesome inventor of the Whoopie Pie.

I found this recipe through McCormick.  When I think about McCormick I have visions of highly organized pantry’s with shelves lined with every imaginable spice and extract flavor and food color.  Visions of happily smiling children and husband sitting around the table as I carry over the perfectly seasoned pot roast while wearing my heels and pearls.

Clearly I am fantasizing.  About spices.  And food coloring.  And its not the first time.

Black Velvet Whoopie Pies

Ingredients

  • 1 package (15 1/4 to 18 1/4 ounces) German chocolate cake mix with pudding
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons McCormick® Black Food Color
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • For the Filling:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Orange Extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Red Food Color
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Yellow Food Color

Instructions

  1. For the Cookies, preheat oven to 350°F. Beat cake mix, water, cocoa powder, oil, food color, eggs and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just until moistened, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.
  2. Spoon 1 tablespoon of batter, 2 inches apart, onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. (Cookies will spread so avoid crowding them on baking sheet.)
  3. Bake 8 minutes or until cookies are puffed and spring back when touched, turning baking sheets halfway through baking. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
  4. For the Orange Filling, beat all ingredients in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. To assemble the Whoopie Pies, place 1 tablespoon filling on flat side of 1 cookie. Top with a second cookie, pressing gently to spread the filling. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling.
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 I love the simplicity of black and orange for Halloween.  I love that this treat could not be easier yet it has a big impact.  I love that I made them while most of my kids were napping so that no one knew how many there really were and I had to explain to no one why I ate 13 at once.

I now have such a deep affection for the Whoopie Pie I wrote it a little poem.

Whoopie, whoopie, in the form of pie

I love the site of you in my eye

In my belly you will soon be

Cause you are delicious.

The End.

I think I should stick to baking.

 

July 4th Cake

I have made a flag cake before.  It was ok.  But I wanted to kick it up a notch.  Make something really wild that no one* had done before.

*There is a reason no one had done it.  Its crazy. 

IMG_3277.flagcake

I decided to make a cake that was twenty five layers.

Um.  Why would one decide to do something that is seemingly impossible and has no historical accuracy or reference?

IMG_3237.flagcake

I don’t know.

Banging. Head. Against. Wall. Repeatedly.

I think I had too many cups of coffee the day I decided to make this.

 

IMG_3331.flagcake

That being said, I decided to continue my blogs ‘ruffle’ theme and make vertical stripes on the exterior.

IMG_3393.original

Pretty little red, white, and blue ruffles.  I think I am addicted.

How does one serve a twenty five layer cake?

IMG_3449.flagcake

By chopping it in half thats how!

Then I cut myself a slice, hummed at little America the Beautiful and had a bite.

IMG_3532.julyfourthcake

Red Velvet Cake with White Cake with buttercream frosting.

Here’s to you!  I am hoping you are enjoying your long weekend, that you are soaking up the sun, that you are giving yourself a break and relaxing, and that you are with people you love.

Happy 235th Birthday America! You dont look a day over 200. ;)

*****
See my other patriotic desserts here!

Red, White & Blue Pancakes

Patriotic Cupcakes

Patriotic Rose Cake

Red, White & Blue Surprise Inside Cake

Mothers Day Ideas {10 Great Cakes Mom Will Love!}

Edible ideas that is.

But I guess you knew that.

Since that is the whole point of this blog.

10 Mothers Day Cakes that will bring tears to Mom's eyes!  ~With Full Tutorials!~

Anywho!

I have got a ton of fun, new ideas for cakes and cookies and treats this year, but I RAN OUT OF TIME!!  Mothers Day is just a few short days away!!

So, here is a round up of some of the ideas I have had in the past.  The cookie one is still my favorite.  Might be my favorite of all time.  But then again, I love cookies.

 

Mothers Day Garden Party (hint: there is a DOUBLE rainbow cake in there!)

Mothers Day Cake and Garden Party

Rainbow Dot Cake

Fun & Easy Rainbow Cake!

 

Mothers Day Cookie Jar

 

Mothers Day Cake

Look close… there is a sweet message in those swirls!

Hidden Message Mothers Day Cake

 

Black Eyed Susan Cake (even though this was for a bridal shower, I know mom would love all those flowers!)

Black Eyed Susan Cake

 

And of course, there was the Vanilla Lemon Cake

Daffodil Cake

Sweet Daffodil Cake and a FULL tutorial!!!

 

Cherry Cake

The Most Perfect Cherry Cake!

Hope that helps!  If you were looking for ideas for Mom that is.

Or even if you were just hungry.

Eating cookies and cake is fun.

***

A sweet reader (or seven!) reminded me of the Rose Cake and

IMG_8836.stamp

Hydrangea Cake

IMG_6463.stamp

Sorry I forgot! :)

 

Halloween Petit Fours

I have never worked with fondant before.

But I kinda liked it.

IMG_9530.coolerlight-2

I am rolling out fondant for ‘petit fours’.

If you clicked on the link above you saw that I chose the easy version and used Oreo Cakesters.

Now that I have a little experience under my belt, (not to mention a few Oreo Cakesters, yummy!)  I just might try and make them from scratch next time.

IMG_9535.coolerlight

I’m pretty sure that there is supposed to be a smooth edge and no folds at the bottom.

Oh well.

IMG_9538.lightcooler

I have a theme in mind.. can you guess? :)

IMG_9547.lightcooler

IMG_9560.cooler

Listen.  I have to be honest.

I tried to be hip and cool and make something very festive and seasonal.

But I cant!

I don’t like bats.  I don’t like spiders.  So I knew if I was going to be making them they had to be pretty.

I do not want to eat (much less look at) a scary spider or a rabies infested bat!

So I made them white.

IMG_9574.cooler

These are my petit fours.

Halloween style.

I am pretty sure thats an oxymoron of some sort.

IMG_9586.lightcooler

IMG_9609.coollight

IMG_9612.coollight

This is my version of a spider.  White fondant covered in white sprinkles.

IMG_9623.coolerlight

Although I think fondant tastes like poo, it was really fun to work with!

In addition, a sweet reader pointed me in the direction of her homemade marshmallow version.

I just might have to try it.

Then maybe, I can actually eat what I make.