Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pink Velvet Cake 2.0


I am definitely on the right track. I used Wilton’s gel food coloring. Rose this time, as opposed to the pink I used before. Who knew rose was more of the color I wanted. I decided to go with a completely different recipe than before because I really didn’t like the one before, and once again, I am on the right track. I may have overcooked it and that is why it was dry, but I think it was a tad on the dry side. A little more oil maybe would help. I stuck to the recipe for the most part. I added a little more chocolate to the batter because all the other recipes called for much more than this one. My co-worker gave me this recipe and said that it can’t be messed up. Well I guess she is right, but who knows.

[Printable Recipe]

½ cup Crisco

1 ½ cup sugar

2 eggs

1tbsp vanilla

5 tbsp red food coloring (I used a big glop of PINK gel)

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cocoa (I used 1 ½ tbsp)

1 cup buttermilk

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vinegar


Cream together Crisco and sugar


Add the eggs, vanilla and food coloring and mix well.


Sift flour, salt and cocoa together.

Add alternately with buttermilk


Mix vinegar and baking soda together in cup and fold into the batter DO NOT BEAT

Put in greased and floured pans


Bake at 350 for 35/45 mins. (I am pretty sure it was like 40 mins.)

Cool on racks


The bottoms kind of fell apart... but you can see the pink in them


The icing recipe she gave me was easy and when I made it, it looked great. Light and fluffy, but I made it on Saturday and didn’t ice the cake till Sunday. I don’t know if it was because I kept it in the fridge or what, but it got very wet, and was very hard to put on the cake Sunday morning. But it still tasted good, just didn’t look as pretty.

The icing
[Printable Recipe]


¼ cup butter

½ cup Crisco

1 cup sugar

3 tbsp flour

2/3 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla


Cream together butter and Crisco

Then add sugar, flour (one at a time) milk and vanilla.

Beat for 10 minutes.


Overall, I think this recipe could work, I will be trying it again. Maybe the extra cocoa made it a little dry. Who knows. I decorated it for Mema's birthday and we all pigged out :-D Though with the icing being so thin and wet, I didn't attempt much decorating because I didn't think it would hold.

I <3 mema!
I <3 mema!

Princess practice cake

Today I made my practice princess cake (say that 3 times fast)

The cake mold was easy enough to use, and I just used a boxed cake mix. I had to cook it for almost an hour though. I put chocolate chips in to help hold it together (a trick my teacher offered us on the first day if we used cake mix from the box). The cake release stuff I used on the pan was amazing. It worked so well. It was worth the $3.99 I spent on it! I wish I had been using it all along.

making barbie decent
making barbie decent
the back
the back

As it was a practice cake, I didn’t do many of the things I would normally. I didn’t level the cake, the stars were a little messy, but for the most part everything was the same. I am still working with the mom to see what colors I am going to do for the real thing. Pink I know, probably the same. I am going to change the design a little bit. I will post pictures of the whole process. Today’s cake was made while I stayed home from work with day 3 of a migraine. Saturday is when I make my first ever order! :-D

she has a ghetto lean ;)

Haha I used my name and age for the practice, mainly because I know how to spell it :-D She is also leaning a little, but we can fix that next time too!

Dad is taking what is left with him to work tomorrow. Enjoy! ( stop by and steal some if you want)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cake Class 2.1

Tonight was the first night of Course 2.

We learned a couple new boarders, and how to make ugly rose buds ( I need to practice more of those)

We worked on our roses more.

We are going to be making a lot of flowers in this class. I didn't take any pictures tonight. but I will try to take some next week. I left class with a migraine. I have had it off and on since Sunday. I have 3 posts to finish, sorry I am neglecting you. My weeks have been busy. Will get back into it soon!

I have my first cake order! Due Sunday! YAY!!! Mom and I are practicing tomorrow/Wednesday. Will post pics.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Cake Class 4- Completed Course 1

The Proof
The Proof


While I did learn how to make roses, and pretty sprial flowers, a lot of this class was review for me because my momma taught me a little when I started making cookie cakes, I also taught myself some.

Not too bad for my first time
Not too bad for my first time

Next week starts course 2. The best part for me, I don't have to make a cake, or make more icing. Sucks for those who eat my practice cakes. I am declaring this weekend a bake free weekend, and Matt and I are going to play outside in D.C. Unless it rains, then I will sleep a lot, read and watch a lot of tv. Maybe go to the mall. So pray for SUN! :-D

Today was my sweet, sweet classroom aide's birthday. I couldn't muster the energy to do one more cake over the weekend, so we are celebrating her birthday tomorrow.

I am pleased with her cake, though the one boarder is now sliding off...(I cheated on the cake icing...I used Betty Crocker. I was realllly tired today after work, I fell asleep holding my laptop while checking emails. :-D)

The cake is pretty though, I need to make about 1000 more roses so I finally make them look like they do at the bakery.


Happy Birthday Glenna, thanks for being such a good worker, the babies and I love you!

Funfetti Cookies

[Printable Recipe]

Funfetti Cookies
Funfetti Cookies

I don't normally like cookies not from scratch. It is rare that cookie dough in the tube or tub gets baked (consumed from the tub... is a different story), however, I had these cookies a while back at the annual turducken feast. They were very yummy, and very easy to make. Which was good because I made a lot of things, in a short amount of time.


1 box Pillsbury funfetti cake mix

1/3 cup oil

2 eggs

Combine mix, oil and eggs in bowl.

Mix well (it takes a long time, to get all the powder incorporated, but make sure you do)

I used a medium scoop and scooped them onto the cookie sheet. Flatten with hand (directions on recipe said use a bowl and wax paper, I was lazy, my hand did fine, just not perfect circle cookies.)

Cookie dough
Cookie dough

Bake 375 for 6-8 mins (it took mine 7ish)

let cool on rack.

Cookies cooling
Cookies cooling

Take tub of funfetti icing, dump sprinkles that come with in icing and stir- ice the cookies. I added more sprinkles, because who doesn't love sprinkles?


They were very soft and moist, and very sweet. I liked them, and I think the fam did too. Next time I will double the recipe, I only got 23 out of it, the recipe said 3 dozen, they must have made small cookies, mine weren't even that huge. Who knows.

You should definitely make this.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Baking marathon

This am, I had a little baking marathon. I made a pink velvet cake, the icing, lemon bars, and funfetti cookies. All before the 3:30 Maryland game. :-D Score! (still have to ice the cake though)

Will blog about them all soon, but I am off to Cirque du Soleil tonight and family dinner tomorrow (hence the baking marathon)

Check back to see how pink velvet 2.0 turns out :-D

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A quick run through of cake class 3

But first, as requested a picture of mom's birthday cake...


It leans a little, and the icing was acting weird so not my best work...oh and I forgot to take a picture before I cut her and dad a piece. I brought it home Sunday night, as of this evening it is gone. Hope the Walkersville Volunteer Rescue Company enjoyed :-D

Last night at cake class 3, we learned how to make shells, and pretty spiral flowers and clowns. I was alright at the shells, but I defiantly need practice. I didn't take any pictures of my shells because my hands were a mess.

The clowns were creepy, but I guess kind of cute. They sit well on cupcakes and edges of cakes.

Creepy ClownCreepy Clown

of course normally you would tint the icing for the clown, but this was my practice clown, I didn't tint him.

We had to bring in cupcakes, and after we practiced on our practice board we decorated our cupcakes. I practiced the spiral flower on mine. I really like how they turned out. So did the teachers at The Bee... they were all gone when I left. :-D


pretty spiral flower cupcake
pretty spiral flower cupcake

Sorry this post is so short, I just finished a midterm for my FCC class, it was 3 pages long. I am tired.

This weekend I get to bake for my family again! I am going to try lemon bars from scratch, funfetti cookies and some form of birthday cake as my Mema's birthday is Sunday! But the best part of my weekend (besides seeing Matt) is we are going to see Kooza, the Cirque Du Soleil show that is in Baltimore. This was my Christmas/Chanukah present and it is finally here! I can't wait. If you know me, you know my life goal is to see them all... maybe when I hit the lottery. :-D

Attempt 2 at Pink velvet is coming soon, I have been given a new recipe. Get excited. I will have fun stuff for you soon!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Chicken Kitchen

[Printable Recipe]

Chicken Kitchen with Mustard Curry SauceChicken Kitchen with Mustard Curry Sauce

If you have ever had the pleasure of eating at a Chicken Kitchen you are so lucky. I was introduced to this yum yum on my first trip to Miami, spring break 2006. Matt always talked about how good this is, but it wasn't until I had it that my life was changed. Ok, exaggeration, but I find myself craving it often. CK is located in FL(there is one in Orlando mom and dad Tracy), TX and CO. Being in Maryland we don't have it. It makes us sad. The famous CK Chop Chop is yellow rice, grilled chicken and the sauce of your choosing. The mustard curry is the most popular, but they offer sweet and sour, and bbq.

Matt, having grown up eating CK and missing it most, found the recipe for the famous mustard curry sauce, made it, and we have found the almost perfect replication.

Now I have said before I am a picky and plain eater. I don't like the curry sauce, I use sweet and sour sauce. But it is still super good to me.

What I use, unless I have leftover from China Wok
What I use, unless I have leftover from China Wok

We make the basic Chop Chop.


chicken tenderloins

Goya yellow rice

2 tbsp Mayonnaise

1 tsp Yellow Mustard

1/2 tsp Curry Powder

1-2 tbsp Water


Matt always makes his sauce while I start cutting up the chicken. I watched this time, but it is simple, mix the mayo, mustard, curry and water.

pre water and mixing
pre water and mixing

Finished sauce
Finished sauce

It shouldn't be too thin, but it is personal preference how thin it is. You don't want it watered down too much. Matt puts it in the fridge to chill until the rest of the meal is ready. The recipe should be doubled or tripled depending on how many people are eating. Matt doubles the recipe when it is just us eating (just him using the sauce) but he also eats enough for 2. I think the couple times we have made this for my family we doubled the recipe, and made it twice.

I take the chicken and cut into small pieces.

That's a lot of chicken
That's a lot of chicken

Once the chicken is cut, start the rice according to the packaging. It takes 25 mins to cook.

cooked rice
cooked rice

I spray my pan with PAM and put in the chicken. img_2273

Season with garlic salt and pepper. The pieces cook pretty quickly, I like to let them get a little brown.


When everything is ready it is time to eat.

Put a bed of rice on the plate, add your chicken and sauce, mix and eat.



CK serves with a pita, we skip it. Your choice.

Those who have had the real deal, and our version have said they are very similar. I agree. Now we get CK without flying to Miami!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Cake class 2

First let me tell you...the amount of icing I had to make to take to class was disgusting! She said , double the recipe, then double it again. WOW!

4 cups of Crisco, 4 lbs of powdered sugar! Made me like icing a little less. Making the icing was a MESS. Matt's kitchen was cloudy with powdered sugar and my black kitchenaid was grey.

I baked my cakes, and made my icing and off to class I went.

Tonight we worked on stars, zigzags and writing. Also how to level, cut in half, and stack a cake. Then how to ice it, and make it look nice. She did it so well last week, made it look so easy. It wasn't. I didn't take pictures of this process because it was very very messy, but I promise when I make it again (next weekend for momma's birthday) I will have Matt take pictures.

After we got our cakes iced, she said to tint our icing what ever color I wanted and decorate using our cake as a practice board. I found a new icing color at Walmart last night, that I think may be the winner for my Pink Velvet Cupcakes ( I want to put a link to the post here, but I can't figure it out, the link button is grayed out, Wordpress users help?!) Anyway, wanting to see this color in action I make pink, then I decided why not make a cake for Jacki , Tony and Anna! YAY!

Since I am taking them dinner tomorrow, I will also bring them dessert. :-D

Anna's Cake
Anna's Cake

OH! I forgot to mention! I signed up for course 2... it starts March 30. I will learn lots of flowers, fancy borders and basket weave :-D This time no hidden costs! I have everything I need in my kit! :-D

I can't wait to make cakes and decorate them for fun, or even better, for others!

Baked Ziti

[Printable Recipe]

Yummy ziti and burnt texas toast
Yummy ziti and burnt texas toast

I am taking a friend of mine who just had a baby dinner tomorrow after work, so I decided to make dinner for my family too. I knew I wouldn't feel like making this tomorrow, then driving to PA after work, so I decided to make it tonight. There are a million versions of Baked Ziti out there. Mine is pretty simple, and unfortunately for you (or fortunately) not exact. I tried to measure things, but I just couldn't do it. Sorry.

What you need:

Everything you need
Everything you need

1 lb box ziti

15 oz ricotta cheese

1lb 10 oz spaghetti sauce

2 cup Italian blend cheese shredded

1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded

2 1/2 tbsp Parmesan cheese (not exact measurement but close estimate)

garlic salt to taste

oregano to taste

pepper to taste

1/2 cup hot pasta water


Preheat oven 350

boil ziti until tender (I add a little salt to the water)

Drain. (make sure you keep 1/2 cup of pasta water)

In a large bowl, mix sauce, seasonings, ricotta, Parmesan cheese and hot water.

Sauce and seasonings
Sauce and seasonings

Add ziti and mix.

Add 1 cup of Italian blend cheese and 1/2 cup mozzarella. Mix well.

Pour into pan.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

Over with the rest of the remaining shredded cheese (1 cup Italian blend and 1/2 cup mozzarella)
ziti before baking
ziti before baking

Cover with foil and bake for 40 mins, last 5 mins take foil off and let cheese brown a little. I used the broiler to get it done faster. (Austin was HUNGRY)


I made my family's first, and then made my friend's. I had 20 mins left on the timer when I put their dish in the refrigerator. It really isn't hard work at all!!!

You can make this ahead up to 2 days if kept in fridge, 2 months if frozen. Take out of fridge and cook (may need extra couple mins.)If cooking from the freezer, let it thaw first.

The best thing about this meal is you can change it however you wish. I like mine cheesy, but you don't have to have that much cheese, you can use different types of cheese, I have seen many that call for provolone. Dad said that he wouldn't mind meat in it, I personally don't like meat in my ziti. You could add veggies to it. The possibilities are endless.

If you make this for your family, let me know what variation you use!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The only reason to go to Red Lobster

[Printable Recipe]

Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits
Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits

I don't eat seafood, not even shrimp or crabs (GASP I KNOW?! The only excuse I can give is that the 9 years I spent not in Maryland did not foster the love of crabs that all other Marylanders have). My family on the other hand eats the stuff. Yuck. My best friend and her family enjoy it, and have a personal discount when they go to Red Lobster. So I have been to RL more times than I can count. I order my chicken fingers with a little hint of embarrassment, then remember that I order these 6 out of 10 times at other places and move on to the reason I agree to set foot through the door in the first place. The biscuits. They are cheesy, and garlicky and HORRIBLE for you. The worst part is, that you know this, and you still can't keep yourself from having a 2nd or 3rd(shutter) I have found a recipe that claims to be the same as the RL one. So I decided to try it out, adapting it a little to fit my taste (which is quite simple and plain... seriously, PB no J, waffle no syrup...)

I am not in the mood to make biscuit dough from scratch. It is Friday, I averaged only 4-5 hours of sleep every night this week, I just want a quick dinner and a movie to fall asleep to. Sorry boyfriend. Bisquick it is!

2 Cups of Bisquick

1/2 cups COLD water

3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I am using mild because bf and I aren't big fans of sharp)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried parsley ( using Italian seasoning because it is all we have and we don't need extra spices right now)

1/4 cup butter

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

Heat oven 450. Combine Bisquick, water and cheese in bowl.(I added a little garlic and seasons, just a little)

The Dough
The Dough
Roll out on lightly floured surface 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits and place on ungreased pan. (I was lazy, I skipped this step and just dropped clumps on and flattened, I also used a little pam on the cookie sheet).

My drop biscuits
My drop biscuits

Melt butter and spices (I only used 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, and no parsley)and brush on the biscuits. Bake 8-10 mins. (This was more like 11 mins 30 seconds, but this could be because I took the chicken out of the oven at 350 and put the biscuits in and then turned it up to 450).

This was my 2nd
This was my 2nd

You could make this healthier for you by using fat free cheese and using the butter sparingly. My cheese however was not fat free. O well.

The Results: They were almost perfect. The seasonings were perfect, they were nice and buttery, the only thing I would do differently is add more cheese, probably up it to 1 cup. Of course I had more than one... Matt had 5 6. I guess he liked them :-D We will definitely be adding this to our rotation, but maybe make it a little bit healthier.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Class 1

I didn't touch any tools. I also didn't know what I was getting myself into. Next week I have to go to class with 2 cakes baked and 4 batches of icing made. I also need a lot of tools. The "steal" $22.50 class just got a lot more expensive. However, I enjoy doing this, and I could see myself selling cakes one day. So, with the help of a 50% off coupon, I am buying the kit and diving into this. I am really excited, and excited about all the things I am going to learn, I just hope I can use it, and I hope that I didn't take on too much, with my FCC class too. I honestly don't know what I was thinking I was going to be decorating, I guess I thought we would be decorating Styrofoam cakes, or ones they made, haha I really have no clue. But I can't wait. Course 1 in March, course 2, which is fancy flowers and boarders in April, and course 3 sometime after, course 3 is wedding cakes and fondant, 2 things I am less interested in. One thing is for sure, presents for me will be easy in the near future, there are plenty of things at Michael's I want to decorate with. :-D I will have pictures after next weeks class.

Cake decorating class

I am very excited about my new class. Every Monday for the next 4 weeks I will be learning how to decorate cakes.  Soon I will be pro, or something. I will post pictures if the things don't suck. Check back for updates on the class. :-D

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pink Velvet Cupcakes

I have this dream of a wedding cake* that is pink on the inside...but I want a red velvet cake. So I decided to see if it is possible to use pink food coloring instead and get my pink cake. Attempt #1 I used pink gel coloring. The cupcakes are a rose color, pretty but not exactly what I was looking for. Maybe next time I will get neon food coloring drops and try that.

* No I am not engaged... I am just a girl and I think about these things.

Pink Velvet Cake
Pink Velvet Cake

The recipe is as follows

Makes 12 cupcakes

1 - 1/2 cups cake flour (sifted)

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder ( i used a little more than 2 tbsp)

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp vinegar

PINK gel food coloring (I used the back of a spoon and put in a glob - added more til i got a pink color see picture)

3/4 cup sugar

4 tbsp butter

1 egg, room temp

Preheat oven to 350 and put liners in the cupcake pan

Sift the cake flour first, then sift together the cake flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt into a bowl (not your mixing bowl) The Dry

In another bowl whisk together buttermilk, vanilla and food coloring then put aside.The wet

In the mixer bowl beat sugar and butter until fluffy, about 2 mins on med/high. Add the egg. Once incorporated add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture by alternating.

Fill liners abt 2/3 full. Bake 20-22 mins. Ready to bake

Let cool then frost and decorate.

I used regular butter cream on 6 and the traditional cream cheese icing on the other 6.

The recipe for the cream cheese icing is as follows.

8oz cream cheese, room temp

2 sticks of butter, room temp (1 cup)

1 tsp vanilla extract ( i ran out, only had about 3/4 tsp)

1 lb powdered sugar.

Cream the butter and cream cheese in mixer. Add the vanilla, gradually add powdered sugar. Scrap down the bowl often.

Put into a decorating bag with the star tip (sorry I don't really know technical terms yet :( ) and pipe onto the cupcakes, decorate as you wish.

Results: The cake was not the color I was hoping for, and a little on the dry side. I am going to try 4tbsp of oil instead of butter (as seen on Throwdown with Bobby Flay, the challenger said that was her secret to moist red velvet cake) but I wanted something to base the change off of. I was disappointed in my first red velvet attempt. The cake was very dense. Maybe it was the cake flour? or the butter? I don't know. I will try again soon and report back. I will figure out the perfect combination.

Butter cream icing was normal and yummy. Very sweet.

Creamcheese icing : Matt's roommate Kevin said "the cream cheese icing was smooth and rich, without being too sweet. i was a big fan."