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Sunday, May 3, 2009

*Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

I made this cake for a friend's birthday.   Victor suggested I make an iPod Touch cake but I really couldn't figure out how to pull that off, so I went with the iconic image from the Watchmen.  For those not familiar with Watchmen, one of the characters, The Comedian, wears a smiley face button.   The Comedian is killed in the opening sequence...pushed out a window actually and his smiley face button lands next to him and gets splattered with blood.  So, that image is the inspiration of this cake's design.    Included is a picture (bottom) of the smiley face before I added the blood splatter since I thought it turned out pretty cool and I was afraid I was going to mess up the splatter.  

It was a devil's food cake with buttercream icing.    
(* Post title translation for the non-Latin speaking, non-comic book loving crowd:  Who watches the watchmen?)

Just an eggs-cuse to eat cake!

Ahh, Easter rolls around again.  This year it came around a little too fast, leaving little time for me to create decorative sugar eggs, bunny cookies, or homemade peanut butter eggs.    Feeling a little low on Easter spirit, I whipped up these little egg cakes on Easter morning.     The eggs were vanilla cake with buttercream icing.  

Irish Soda Bread

This could possibly be the first recipe that I ever made by myself. We learned how to make Irish Soda Bread at Campfire Girls when I was like 9 or 10 yrs old and I still use the same recipe. I have introduced Victor to the joys of Soda Bread and now he too is a fan. Without further adeui...

2 cups flour
2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon butter
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 cup raisins (optional)

Sift dry ingredients. Cut in the butter with a knife until it resembles crumbs. Add buttermilk. Mix until moistened (work in raisins now if adding them). Turn onto flour cloth. Gently knead for 1 minute. Shape into a ball and then flatten into 7 inch circle, 1 1/2 inch high. Press a cross into the top of the dough with the back of a floured knife. Brush melted butter on top (optional).

Back at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes until golden.

Enjoy plain, with butter or jam!

St. Patty's Day defeats

The reason I haven't really posted since February was because I lost my baking mojo around St. Patty's Day.   The next letter in my Cookies A-Z quest is I.   The timing was perfect: it was March and therefore all things Irish are all the rage.  I selected Irish Lace cookies.  Disaster.  I even made them twice.  The first time, the recipe I found on the web had the incorrect proportions of flour to oatmeal.   These "cookies" turned out be like tasteless flour patties with some random oats tossed in (Victor politely said they were "pretty good"...which was very sweet but not at all truthful).     The second time, I decided to use olive oil spray to coat my baking pan rather than butter it...resulting in the cookies completely breaking down into one giant cookie pan full of greasy oatmealish-brown sugary mess.       

After those less than stellar offerings, I decided to go with one of my old standard recipes that has treated me well in the past: simple cutout cookies.    In an effort to make they a little bit unique, I added mini chocolate chips.   For reasons that now seem obvious, the mini chips caused the cookies come out all lumpy and bumpy....The cookie pictured above is pretty much the only one that came looking like a shamrock. 

Super Easy Key Lime Soup!

Many people confuse condensed milk and evaporated milk...or maybe that is just what I tell myself since I seem to do it about once a year.  Anyway, I needed evaporate milk for something but ended up  buying a few cans of condensed milk instead.   So, I started looking around for some good condensed milk recipes and found this Easy Key Lime Pie recipe on   Who doesn't love Key Lime pie?  It's extremely refreshing!    While the recipe did live up to it's "easy" descriptor,  the "pie" (and I use that term lightly) really doesn't stay together at all.    It's super tasty, but a bit of droopy mess and a little hard to serve.  Next time, I might try mixing some Cool Whip into the pie mixture before pouring it into the crust....

Easy Key Lime Pie
1 graham cracker crust
1 - 14 oz can Carnation condensed milk
1/2 cup lime juice (I used Whole Food organic lime juice)
2 cups Cool Whip (I love Cool Whip)

Mix milk and lime juice until combined.  Pour into pie crust.  Chill until set.   Top with Cool Whip when serving.