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Monday, June 9, 2008

When you get handed lemons....



I signed up for another 8 weeks of cake decorating but unfortunately the class was canceled....but I want to improve so I am going to keep on truckin'. Although I was learning alot of decorating techniques, I was growing weary of cakes with buttercream icing. Since the choice of cake and decorating is now mine, my plan is to scale back a bit on the decorating and concentrate on my baking techniques.

I decided to make a white jello poke cake from scratch. This cake was a white cake recipe taken from a cupcake recipe book I have (A Baker's Field Guide to Cupcakes by Dede Wilson).
Unfortunately, I wasn't making cupcakes. I wanted to make rectangular jello poke cake....so I figured I would just follow the cupcake recipe and pour into a 9x13 pan. I figured this plan would work since a box cake allows you to make 2 9-inch cakes, 1 9x13 cake or 24 cupcakes. What I didn't realize until I was pouring the batter into the pan was that this recipe only made 18 cupcakes. Grrr...that meant I didn't really have enough batter to make decent sized cake. But I am not easily deterred! I simply baked my barely there cake into a nice flat mini-cake. Once cool and out of the pan, I made the jello, poked the cake and poured the jello over the cake. Chilled that for a few hours while I pondered my next cake recovery move...I decided to cut the flat cake into 3 strips and then layered them with some whip cream in between each layer. As is typical with my desserts, it tasted good but was not very visually appealing (which you can verify for yourself by the photo above). It looks more like some sort of hero sandwich than a cake.

A Date with Destiny



Back to the A to Z cookie effort.....Date and Walnut cookies. The cookies bake up a bit cake-like and are quite tasty. It's an easy recipe but requires a lot of nut and date chopping. My poor pre-arthritic hands...but luckily I could console my aches and pains with a tasty date and walnut cookie at the end of my efforts.

From Cooks.com:

DATE COOKIES
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, etc)
1/2 cup butter
2 cups flour
1/2 cup chopped dates
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat eggs in a separate bowl, then add to butter and sugar mixture. Stir.

Dissolve baking soda in 1 teaspoon very hot water. Add dissolved soda, dates, vanilla and nuts, stirring well. Finally, add flour and mix until well combined, about 45 seconds on medium speed of an electric mixer (or beat with a wooden spoon).

Drop onto ungreased cookie pans, parchment paper or silicone baking sheets. Bake at 350°F until cookies are lightly browned on edges, about 12 minutes.

Tee for two...



Since my cake decorating class is currently on hiatus, I wanted to see if I could challenge myself to come up with a cake design on my own for let's say, a golf tournament (Victor is holding a golf tournament in October). I made a yellow cake with the standard buttercream icing and a shit-load of green food coloring! The sand traps were made from ground up sugar cones. The "hills" were created by placing a cupcake on top of the cake and then building up an icing "hill" around it.

One issue I have with this cake is all the food coloring...but when you make a golf cake, pretty much everything ends up some shade of green.