Friday, October 25, 2013

The Joy of Baking

So a while back (heck everything is "awhile back" since I haven't blogged in FOREVER), I shared with you all some cakes that I baked and shared my ambitions to make a coconut cake for my first wedding anniversary.  Since we had a destination wedding in Oregon and traveled the Pacific Northwest for about a month ... there was no saving the top (heck there wasn't even a top) to eat on our special day.  So I got to work looking for the perfect cake recipe.  My inspiration actually came from the same blog that I found the chocolate cake recipe.  I tweaked it a bit.  Added coconut and coconut extract to the batter and the cream cheese frosting then patted coconut around the sides.  It was so good.  The cake was super moist and had a yummy coconut flavor throughout.
It is a tad messy to frost but I just kept scraping and patting.  

My sister Debra's birthday was in August.  Her favorite cake has always been funfetti.  Read my previous post about funfetti gate.  So when I saw Allison over at Long Distance Loving posted some funfetti recipes I thought it was just meant to be for me to make her favorite cake well cupcakes.  The recipe I used was from Sally's Baking Addiction.  
I used larger sprinkles in the mix and the tiny sprinkles to decorate.

Then my sister Nicole's birthday was right after our wedding anniversary and since she was kind enough to watch Daisy while we were on fall vacation I definitely wanted to surprise her with that amazing chocolate cake for her birthday. (Use coffee extract ... I have no idea where to find espresso powder other than William Sonoma.)  I think I received about 20 text messages from her telling me how awesome this cake was ... it's definitely yummy.  I didn't think Paul would let it leave the house and if we didn't have our anniversary cake I am pretty sure there would have been a big chunk missing when she opened the cake box.  (tip ... giving a cake as a gift ... you can buy cardboard cake boxes from Michaels for about $2 ... definitely gives it an extra bit of fanciness!)
My pantry is becoming a bit "Martha Stewart" like.  It is well stocked and organized.  I found a pumpkin chocolate chip cake recipe online and thought about making it.  So while at the supermarket set to buy the canned pumpkin I saw these on an end cap ... 
$1.88
Add melted butter, TBSP water, egg and tada!
Snickerdoodles ... my absolute favorite cookie.
The next best thing (yet hard to find) is cinnamon ice cream ... OMG so yummy!

However, as great as Ms. Betty Crocker can be, I mean they look great, but they just a tad disappointing. The flavor is just lacking and they leave a weird taste/feeling on your tongue.  So as easy as they were to make sometimes the sure thing is just putting in the hard work and making them from scratch.  

Since I went with the impulse buy I decided against making the pumpkin chocolate chip cake and made chocolate chip cookies instead ... 

I added oats to mine.  The trick I find with making the best chocolate chip cookie is to cream the butter until it's fluffy.  Sometimes I'll use the food processor but even a hand mixer will do the trick it will just take longer.

I think my next cake to make will be have to be red velvet.
Do you enjoy baking? What's your favorite cake or cookie?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

She's Alive!!!


Can I just say that Bride of Frankenstein was the best Halloween costume I ever rocked.  I mean I went all in .... wig and everything ... and I am not ashamed to say that I made slight alternations the year after and rocked it again.  

So Saturday I am headed over to see the girls (aka my nieces).  We are going to two fall festivals and then trick or treating.  I'm always confused as to when kids go trick-or-treating these days ... weekend or the actual day of Halloween.  Either way Paul and I usually escape to a nice dinner out because well ... we're the only ones not tracking around neighborhoods with kids.  I know it sounds mean but I leave a bowl of candy out in the driveway.  So either one kid is hitting the M&Ms jackpot or the kids pick it up as they pass.

So what are your Halloween plans?  What's your favorite costume?
P.S. Homemade costumes can always be the funniest and the best.  I remember when my sisters went as dice and then the next year Christmas presents.  Yep ... creativity at its finest there.

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