Entries Tagged as 'sweet stuff'

Rainbow Cake Redux

08.06.17

You may recall, four years ago I attempted to make (Spearmint Baby’s) Rainbow Cupcakes for Holdy’s First Birthday. It did not go well. This year, because she is Holdy who loves rainbows and being difficult, Holdy requested a Rainbow Cake for her Fifth Birthday. So here we go again.

This time, I was gifted Wilton’s Easy Layers! 6 Inch Round Cake Pan Set to ease the process a bit.

Rainbow Layer Cake Easy Layers! 6 Inch Round Cake Pan Set @ohbotherblog

These five smaller pans make one whole cake box. I made a box cake according to the instructions and split the batter “equally” into five different bowls.

Make a Rainbow Birthday Cake @ohbotherblog

Make a Rainbow Birthday Cake @ohbotherblog

We used a combination of McCormick Neon Food Coloring and Traditional Food Coloring to achieve our desired color combos in each bowl of batter.

Make a Rainbow Layer Cake @ohbotherblog

I greased each pan with butter and cut circles of wax paper to fit in the bottom of each pan. I then “equally” filled each of the five baking pans with their respective colored batters and baked at 350 degrees. 

Make a Rainbow Layer Cake @ohbotherblog

I checked them after 10 minutes and left them in for a total of 15 minutes.

Make a Rainbow Layer Cake @ohbotherblog

The cakes all came out of the pans really easily and I set them to cool on a wire rack.

Make a Rainbow Layer Cake @ohbotherblog

I then followed The Bearfoot Baker’s instructions on how to freeze a (layer) cake before frosting it. I wrapped each layer of cake in two layers of plastic wrap, one layer of foil, and placed them in large ziploc bags (two to a bag).

The next day, I thawed the cakes in their wrappings for about 20 minutes. I then leveled the tops of each layer with a serrated knife, cutting off the “dome” to make them flat for stacking.

I stacked the layers on top of each other, with a (big ol’) smear of icing in between each layer.

Make a Rainbow Layer Cake @ohbotherblog

Because the layer pans make the sides rounded off, I also levels the sides with a serrated knife to make the “tower” even.

Make a Rainbow Layer Cake @ohbotherblog

If you’ll notice, my cake tower is already leaning a bit. Oh well.

You’ll also notice that your cake looks like a hot mess at this point. This is where the Crumb Coat comes in.

Spread a thin layer of icing all over the cake–it’s okay that cake crumbs get smeared in because you’ll be doing the “real” layer of icing later.

Make a Rainbow Layer Cake @ohbotherblog

Pop that sucker into the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set.

Then take ‘er out and add your icing.

Make a Rainbow Layer Cake @ohbotherblog

I should note that the humidity and the transportation of my cake took a bit of a toll on the tower and it started to sag slightly on the backside, I guess collapsing on the weight of itself? Possibly I should have smooshed the layers down a bit firmer on top of each other?

Make a Rainbow Cake @ohbotherblog

So yeah, it looked a little saggy, lol. But it doesn’t matter, because all the glory comes when you cut into that bad boy.

Make a Rainbow Cake @ohbotherblog

Make a Rainbow Cake @ohbotherblog

Note: it is not easy to cut thin slices of this cake because of its height, and the top-heaviness. So big slices it is!

Make a Rainbow Cake @ohbotherblog

The cake was a huge hit. And bonus: it tasted great too!

Make a Rainbow Cake @ohbotherblog

Rainbow Layer Cake
Yields 8
A beautiful 5-layered cake that's fun and colorful
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Ingredients
  1. Wilton Easy Layers! 6 Inch Round Cake Pan Set
  2. Butter (for pan greasing)
  3. 1 box cake mix
  4. 3 eggs
  5. 1 cup water
  6. 1/2 cup oil
  7. Serrated knife
  8. 2 jars of white icing
  9. Food coloring (McCormick Neon for Pastel Colors)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut 5 circles out of wax paper to fit bottoms of pans
  3. Grease pans with butter and place wax paper in bottom
  4. Follow cake mix instructions
  5. Split batter as evenly as possible into 5 bowls
  6. Add food coloring to each bowl to achieve desired color
  7. Pour colored batter into each respective cake pan
  8. Bake in oven at 350 degrees
  9. Check after 10 minutes
  10. (Total bake time should be around 15 minutes)
  11. Cool in pan for 5 minutes
  12. Remove cakes from pans and cool on wire rack until completely cool
  13. Wrap each cake layer in 2 layers of plastic wrap, 1 layer of foil and place in ziploc freezer bags
  14. Place cakes in freezer for anywhere from 20 minutes to longer (overnight)
  15. Remove cakes from freezer and allow to thaw in wrap for about 15-20 minutes
  16. Unwrap cakes and level layers by cutting the domes off the top with a serrated knife
  17. Stack layers in desired order with a layer of icing in between
  18. Press down gently on layers to limit space between layers
  19. With serrated knife, vertically level layers to remove individual rounded edges and make even
  20. Apply thin layer of icing -- "Crumb Coat"
  21. Place in fridge for 20 minutes to allow Crumb Coat to set
  22. Final layer of icing on the tower
  23. Decorate as desired
oh, bother. blog | a working mom in a Pinterest world. http://ohbotherblog.com/

the no-party birthday

04.06.14

Party pooper @ohbotherblog

As I stand holding the third invitation we’ve received to a carnival/circus-themed kid’s birthday party this year—this one complete with big-top tent, popcorn machine and balloon-animal-making clown—I feel both relieved and slightly guilty.

Holden’s second birthday is this Saturday. I’ve opted not to throw her a big party this year because I. just. cannot. I think the party I threw for her first birthday was cute and not really too over-the-top and even that was more effort than I care to spend this year. I mean, don’t tell me you’ve forgotten about those damn rainbow cupcakes.

Rainbow Cake Fail @ohbotherblog

So for Holdy’s birthday, we’re taking a trip to the zoo and then we’re inviting grandparents over for a cake that I will (hopefully) make. I like to think I’m not depriving my child or traumatizing her by not throwing the big party.

I enjoyed having a summer birthday growing up and, if the weather was nice, we’d spend the day at the pool and I’d get a thrill if my birthday was announced over the loud speaker. I was usually able to invite a friend to the movies and then we went back to my house for cake and ice cream. It was enough for me.

Part of my inspiration in starting this blog is that I think we as parents/homeowners/cooks/humans are placing too high expectations on ourselves to lead a Pinterest-worthy life. It’s exhausting.

Birthday tradition: clock photo showing birth time @ohbotherblog

So I’m taking myself out of the game on this one. I can’t compete with the photo booths and handmade decorations and popcorn bars. There will be no clowns or paper garlands or custom party favors. There will be zoo animals, and birthday pizza, and a (hopefully) handmade cake and, of course, the birthday clock photo. And it will be enough for me. And for Holden.

Let’s all just cut ourselves some slack.

oh and p.s.—this is the cake I’m attempting tomorrow night: The Best White Cake Recipe. Just because I’m not throwing a Pinterest-worthy party doesn’t mean there won’t be Pinterest fails.

Remember this one?

Pinterest FAIL: Oh Happy Day's mini cakes @ohbotherblog

pinterest win-ish: rainbow cookies

07.12.13

Holden and I were invited to a Holiday Cookie Swap tomorrow, which sounded like tons of fun… until I realized I had to make cookies in advance in order to have something to swap. Duh.

I actually love to bake cookies—my mom and I have our own little Christmas cookie sweatshop every year the weekend before Christmas. But I wasn’t entirely prepared to have cookies ready for this party. So I decided to a cheat a little and get some help from Betty Crocker.

Now, because I don’t want it to actually look like I just made some cookies from a box (well, pouch), I remembered a Pin I saw not too long ago.

If you’ll recall, me and rainbow-colored baked goods don’t always get along, so I figured, at the very least I’d have a fun Pinterest Fail to share with ya’ll. Instead I’m calling this a quasi-win.

The recipe for the Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies comes from Souders Cookery.

Dr. Suess Cookies
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
11 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
11 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 17.5-oz. bag Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix
  2. Liquid food coloring (McCormick Neon shades work well)
  3. Rainbow sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix cookie dough according to instructions.
  3. Divide dough evenly into five bowls, and color each with a different color liquid food coloring.
  4. Roll each color of dough into grape-sized balls.
  5. Combine a ball of each color and quickly roll into a larger ball. It will look like a little beach ball.
  6. Then roll that ball between your hands and the counter until you have a cylinder about 12 inches long.
  7. Starting from one end, roll the dough into a coil, twisting the cylinder as you go (this is tough to do).
  8. Roll edges of the cookie in sprinkles.
  9. Bake the cookies for 10 to 11 minutes, or until done.
Notes
  1. Original recipe said this yields 3 dozen cookies. I think 1.5 dozen is a more accurate count (though I could have just made mine way too big).
Adapted from Souders Cookery
Adapted from Souders Cookery
oh, bother. blog | a working mom in a Pinterest world. http://ohbotherblog.com/
Here’s the recipe breakdown, visually:

Rainbow Cookies - Dr Suess Cookies @ohbotherblog

The best way to really mix the food coloring into the dough is… with your hands. I threw on a pair of disposable gloves (which I own for reasons involving my dog that you don’t want to hear about) and went to town:

Rainbow Cookies - Dr Suess Cookies @ohbotherblog

The balls really do look like little beach balls once you combine the five different colored grape-sized balls. Wrapping the cylinder into a coiled cookie whilst twisting it is not an easy thing to do.

Rainbow Cookies - Dr Suess Cookies @ohbotherblog

Because my cookies are nowhere near as airy and perky-looking as the recipe photo I’m calling this a Pinterest Win-ish. I’m wondering if I should have followed the box instructions for drop cookies as opposed to cut-out cookies. The neon colors still make them look pretty cool though. The end result:

Dr Suess Cookies @ohbotherblog

Also, this recipe says you’ll get three (3) dozen cookies out of it. Unless I made my cookies waaaay too big (which is a possibility), I’d say 1.5 dozen is more realistic. I actually got 15 cookies out of this recipe… which is not enough for the Swap tomorrow, so I’ll be making my gingerbread men (also out of a box) to supplement.

And while we’re truth-telling, these cookies are pretty time-consuming, what with the splitting of the dough into five different colors and rolling grape-size balls and coils and cylinders and whatnot. So I didn’t actually do myself any favors by cheating. But they look pretty, so oh well!

#30pies

28.09.13

Pumpkin Pies made with Ice Cream @ohbotherblog

So by now I’m sure you’ve heard about the woman who is making her boyfriend 300 sandwiches in the hopes of earning an engagement ring (more or less). Well I’m taking that chick’s sandwiches and raising her 30 pies. Pumpkin pies to be exact.

Some dear friends of mine are hosting a Harvest Dinner tomorrow night at their (very cool) barn and I’m bringing dessert. The conversation went a little like this:

“Hey, can you make your pumpkin pie for the barn dinner?”

“Sure, of course.”

“Great. Now can you make 30 mini ones?”

I’m actually being dramatic (shocker!); making 30 mini pies is not a huge deal at all. My pumpkin pie recipe makes two 9″ pies already, so I basically just have to double my recipe. The real problem I foresee is transporting them.

But anyway, my pumpkin pie is pretty damn good because—get this—I make it with ice cream instead of sweetened condensed milk. The recipe I use is adapted from an Allrecipe’s submission called Cindy’s Pumpkin Pie, which I’ve been using for about 10 years.

Pumpkin pie recipe made with ice cream @ohbotherblog

Cindy uses some funky measurements, so I’ve adapted those over time. And, instead of using vanilla ice cream, I use pumpkin ice cream. Boom!

Here’s the recipe:

Meg's Pumpkin Pie
Serves 16
An easy pumpkin pie recipe that uses ice cream instead of sweetened condensed milk.
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups pumpkin (or vanilla) ice cream, softened
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 1 15 oz. can of pureed pumpkin
  4. 3/4 cup white sugar
  5. 1/2 tsp. salt
  6. sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)
  7. 2 (9 inch) unbaked pie shells
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425℉. Place ice cream near the warm oven to soften.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Stir in the pumpkin puree, sugar, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Mix in soft ice cream until smooth. Pour filling into two 9-inch pie shells.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce temperature to 350℉, and bake an additional 30 to 40 minutes, or until filling is set.
Adapted from from Cindy's Pumpkin Pie Recipe
oh, bother. blog | a working mom in a Pinterest world. http://ohbotherblog.com/

Note: For the mini pies, rather than first baking for 15 minutes at 425℉ and then 30-40 minutes at 350℉, I baked them for about 30 minutes at 350℉.

Oh, and if you want to check out that girl’s sandwiches, here’s her 300 Sandwiches blog.

pinterest win: chocolate chip raspberries

31.07.13

chocolate chip-stuffed raspberries @ohbotherblog

Okay, this is about the level of cooking I care to tackle these days.

Holden is obsessed with berries and I’m obsessed with chocolate. Today during dinner, I had a flashback to a Pin I saw a while ago for chocolate chip-stuffed raspberries and I decided to give ’em a whirl.

Literally the easiest thing you can possibly do. If this in any way turned into a Pinterest Fail, I would have given you full license to take me out back and shoot me.

Sweet and bittersweet. Cool. Chocolate. What’s not to like? Did I mention a monkey could probably actually make these?

Go ahead. Treat yo self.

pinterest fail 004: mini cakes

30.05.13

Pinterest FAIL: Oh Happy Day's mini cakes @ohbotherblog

top (good looking) photo by Paul Ferney for Oh Happy Day

So after my massive FAIL with my first attempt at Holden’s smash cake, I wanted to try again. While I figured out the rainbow cupcakes this time around, I experienced a second heartbreaking fail when it came to the smash cake.

I had been eyeing the super cute mini cakes that you make in soup cans on Pinterest for a few years. Oh Happy Day has a gorgeous and (I thought) easy-to-follow tutorial for mini cakes on her site. I was envisioning making Holden’s smash cake white, with multi-colored frosting in between the layers. Adorable, right?

From Oh Happy Day’s tutorial, it looks like the mini cake should go like this:

  1. Regular box cake mix
  2. Empty a soup can. Clean it out. Flour it.
  3. Fill the can halfway with batter.
  4. When the cake is finished and cooled, cut it into layers.
  5. Frost in between the layers.
  6. Admire the cuteness.

Did it actually work out that way? Spoiler alert: no.

So I mixed up the batter and floured the can. I think I went wrong right from the start because I used a larger pineapple-chunk can when I probably should have just stuck with a little Campbell’s can. Why do I always try to go bigger?

Mini Cakes Fail Step One: the mix @ohbotherblog

Then I filled that can halfway (the rest of the batter I used for my rainbow cupcake win):

Mini Cakes Fail Step Two: fill the soup can halfway @ohbotherblog

And I baked it up. Let’s be honest, it wasn’t looking good:

Mini Cake Fai Step 3: deflated top @ohbotherblog

My cute little cake was looking a little… deflated in the middle. Not wanting to make the same mistake I did with the first batch of rainbow cupcakes and overbake, I took it out of the oven. Oh hey, look at that: the cake isn’t cooked at all in the middle, yet it’s baked on the outside! It’s a big hollow ring o’cake!

Mini Cake Fail Step Four: Take the cake out of the can  @ohbotherblog

So clearly the cutting-into-layers-and-frosting-them-with-cute-rainbow-icing part didn’t work out. Again, pretty sure this whole fail is due to the fact that I consistently choose the wrong cake mold, haha. Now you know: it is possible to pick the wrong kind of aluminum can.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do about her smash cake now. Not sure if the mini cake is worth a redo or if I should just suck it up and buy something. There definitely will be rainbow cupcakes at least!

Seriously though, check out Oh Happy Day’s mini cake tutorial if you want to give these a shot. Her whole site is beautiful and she has so many great party ideas.

pinterest WIN: the rainbow cupcake!

25.05.13

Pinterest WIN: Rainbow Cupcake @ohbotherblog

you read that right. take two on the rainbow cupcakes was a success. (in case you’re just catching up, I want to do a rainbow/colorful theme for Holden’s first birthday party, which is two weeks away. My first attempt at making Spearmint Baby’s gorgeous rainbow cupcakes was a raging Pinterest fail.)

I did everything the same this time around, but instead of being aggressive and trying out my huge Wilton cupcake pan (I was thinking smash cake), I kept it reasonable and went with your standard cupcake.

Rainbow Cupcake, Take 2: Pinterest Win @ohbotherblog Rainbow Cupcake, Take 2: Pinterest Win @ohbotherblog Rainbow Cupcake, Take 2: Pinterest Win @ohbotherblog Rainbow Cupcake, Take 2: Pinterest Win @ohbotherblog

It was late so I got lazy with the icing and just went with Betty, but I’ll make my own for her actual party. I usually make Magnolia’s vanilla buttercream icing, but I may try something new. I’ve had my eye on that coconut milk frosting that’s all over Pinterest (another fail on the way?)

Rainbow Cupcake, Take 2: Pinterest Win @ohbotherblog

So this is how I eat a cupcake:

How to eat a cupcake: tear off the bottom and place on top. BOOM: cupcake sandwich @ohbotherblog

Tear off the bottom, plop it on top. BOOM: cupcake sandwich.

Rainbow cupcake Pinterest win @ohbotherblog

Thanks again to Spearmint Baby for the inspiration!

If you were hoping I’d screw it up again so I had another Pinterest fail, don’t be sad: I also tried Oh Happy Day’s Mini Cakes last night. So yeah, I have another fail to tell you all about. But we’ll save that for another post.

let’s try this again

24.05.13

Rainbow Cupcakes, Take 2 @ohbotherblog

I’m attempting the rainbow cupcakes again tonight. Wish me luck!

pinterest fail 003: the rainbow cupcake

08.05.13

Holden’s first birthday is fast approaching (ack!) and I’ve been pinning and planning a colorful “You are my sunshine”-type party.

I fell in love with Spearmint Baby’s Rainbow Cupcakes when I was putting together my First Birthday Party Idea Board. I love them for the guests’ cakes but also for Holden’s smash cake. I love to bake, so I wanted to give these a shot, but I thought I’d better try a “practice round” first. Good thing I did…

Rainbow Cake Fail @ohbotherblog

So where did I go wrong? First of all, let me say that Shari at Spearmint Baby’s instructions are super clear and easy to follow (plus they’re gorgeous!), so this was all totally my bad.

I think it all started with me attempting to go right for the smash cake with my Wilton Giant Cupcake Cast Pan. So that’s a no-no right from the start.

don't use a Wilton Giant Cupcake Pan for rainbow cakes @ohbotherblog

But I digress, here’s what I did:

  • I used a regular ol’ box of Betty Crocker white cake mix. Shari recommends using a recipe that uses egg whites and oil instead of butter (your colors will supposedly come out better and cupcakes will brown less – ha!)
  • Divided the batter into six bowls.
  • Added the food coloring to each bowl. I used McCormick’s neon pack for my pink, green, blue and purple. Per Shari’s instructions, I mixed yellow from a regular dye pack with the pink to make the orange (which was really more of a salmon).

rainbow cake batter in bowls @ohbotherblog

So pretty! I totally stole borrowed the idea for those gorgeous shots straight from Shari (seriously–check out her post!). So far so good, right? Here’s where it all went wrong.

Rather than lining my muffin tin and going for your standard cupcake, I had to be a showoff and go right for the big guy. Okay, so here’s what came next:

  • I used a rubber spatula to fill the giant cupcake bottom and top with each color, layered on top of each other: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, pink. Shari recommends using a fork to layer the batter if you go the preferred regular ol’ cupcake method. Pshaw.

rainbow cake batter in the pan @ohbotherblog

Then I baked the cake as directed by Mrs. Crocker. However, once the timer had gone off and I peeped at my creation, I started to get a bit concerned: it seemed the inside of the cake wasn’t baking as quickly as the outside. I decided to leave it in a bit longer.

rainbow cake fail @ohbotherblog

Oops. So as evidenced by the brownish-pink exterior, I left the bad boy in too long.

I was about to chalk this up as a massive, massive failure, but as I was picking the cake up to trash it, I noticed something beautiful:

Rainbow cake colorful inside @ohbotherblog

The inside of the cake was filled with gorgeous, vibrant layers of color! Hope had been restored!

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to try again, this time with regular-sized cupcakes. I think being able to control the temperature in smaller batches will make this a success. I have a whole month until her party to try again. I may need to come up with an alternative for her smash cake, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

And yes, you better believe I still ate the crumbled-up cake. It was delicious; don’t judge me.

The other silver lining? I didn’t mind clean-up because it was so pretty!

rainbow cake cleanup @ohbotherblog

Rainbow Cake: 1. Meg: 0.

Next time: victory will be mine!

(oh, and I totally submitted this to Young House Love’s Pinterest Challenge, Spring Edition, and on Bower Power, Sparkle Meets Pop and RedBirdBlue)

cadbury eggcake

29.03.13

cadbury eggcake from Just Cupcakes

image from Just Cupcakes.

 

Just in time for Easter, it’s the Cadbury Eggcake. Rich chocolate cupcake with a Cadbury Egg baked directly inside? Um, yes. Did I make it? No. C’mon. But I am responsible for its existence in my hometown. Seriously.

Two years ago around this time, I posted a link to a blog post on the Facebook Timeline of a local bakery, Just Cupcakes. It was for a Cadbury Egg cupcake: a cupcake with a Cadbury egg literally baked inside.

I asked the baketress if they could make them for Easter and she agreed… and the rest is history. The cupcakes literally sell out every year, with people waiting in line for them to be pulled out of the oven.

They have to be eaten with a fork and you will probably wish for death after you’ve eaten the whole thing, but they are so, so worth it.

Check out Just Cupcakes here. I may or may not have shipped the cupcakes to internet friends in the past who have requested them… just sayin’.

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