Best Chocolate Cake Recipe
Adapted from www.kevinandamanda.com
Yields 24 cupcakes
1 box devil’s food cake mix
1 small pkg Jello instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes
I've stumbled across various recipes for these "fauxstess" cupcakes on multiple blogs and recipe sites. It isn't an entirely original idea...but I do have one thing that those other blogs don't. This spectacular picture of me and my sister.
There is something so nostalgic and iconic about those white curlicues on top of the rich chocolate icing. This is my best attempt at the classic cupcake.
Cue the Pomp and Circumstance, it's time to graduate! Okay, the actual graduation ceremonies have all passed, but the parties will go on all summer long. My co-worker's younger brother graduated this year, and she asked if I'd make some sugar cookies for his party.
Making these put me in a nostalgic kind of mood, so I wanted to watch Can't Hardly Wait. It came out when I graduated in '98 (yikes, that was a long time ago!) and is the movie that most reminds me of high school. Sadly, I don't actually own the movie and it wasn't streaming on Netflix. I had to settle for some Dawson's Creek instead. It was a suitable substitute, though it's not nearly as quotable.
Steel Valley's colors are maroon and gold. I was a little nervous about the shade I mixed up...as you can see above it looks a bit too purple. Luckily, the color darkens as it dries.
I used my usual royal icing recipe, but used two different consistencies of icing. One to outline, and a thinned out version for flooding. I'm still not sure how I feel about this method. It worked well with these since I needed a line to give definition to the mortarboard cap, but I don't have the steadiest of hands and I feel like you can see shaky lines more clearly.
I have some practicing to do in order to perfect my piping technique, but I'll get there eventually.
I wanted to make something special for my dad this weekend. Since he likes Boston Cream Pie, I decided to make a simple cupcake version of the dessert.
Okay....I'll be honest. Not only did I want to make something my dad would enjoy, but I was also excited to use my new cupcake corer. Some tutorials suggest layering the cake and filling so it more closely resembles the original dessert, but I figure a little deviation is okay. There are no rules when it comes to this stuff. It isn't even named right! Why is it called pie when it is so clearly cake? Should I be calling these Super Easy Boston Cream Cup-pies? Why do I genuinely enjoy the television show Ice Loves Coco? Some questions just can't be answered.
To keep with the super easy theme, I'm going to make this even simpler and take you through the process in pictures.
Make these for someone you love! I'd wish you all a Happy Father's Day, but let's be honest....I don't think I have too many dads in my readership. Can I call five people a readership?
I got this particular recipe from my Joy the Baker cookbook. She promotes her book as being "a celebration of butter and sugar" and that is certainly true when it comes to these cookies.
Remember when I said I was on the search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie? Well Joy was on a search of her own, and she may just have saved me a lot of time! These are right up my alley. Light and crispy around the edges and slightly chewy in the middle....these suckers are good!
I was oddly excited to use these little pinch bowls for the first time. Maybe because anything in miniature is somehow automatically fun. It could also be because I regularly forget what I've already dumped into the mixing bowl.
This is my new (soon to be copyrighted) word for blogging and baking. No one else could come up with something so brilliant.
Anyway, blaking runs in my family! My cousin Emily just started up a blog of her own, and it is adorable. Read it!
I'm particularly partial to a post in which she references the grocery store scene in You've Got Mail. I only recently realized that the cashier is played by Callie from Grey's Anatomy and it blew my mind. Just some unsolicited thoughts to go along with my plug of The Unsolicited Baker!
I was supposed to do a lot today. Running several errands and cleaning the house were both on the docket. Instead I woke up and decided to make caramels. I wanted to try a recipe from my recently acquired Sugar Baby, by Gesine Bullock-Prado. A word of warning; if you decide to check this out on-line be sure to include the word "cookbook" in your Google search. Unless, of course, you are a young lady looking for an old guy to buy you things. In that case....well, good luck to you.
Sugar Baby is all about COOKING with sugar, not baking with it. There are nearly a hundred recipes in this book, broken down into the various stages of cooked sugar. It all has to do with temperature. The hotter the sugar, the harder the candy.
I opted to make Fleur de Sel Caramels as my first foray into candy making, mostly because I already had all the necessary ingredients.
- Prepare an 8x8 inch pan by lining it with foil and spraying with non-stick spray
-In a heavy saucepan combine cream, sugar and corn syrup over medium-low heat. Heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is melted. Raise heat to medium and stir until mixture comes to boil
-Stop stirring and cook until the caramel reaches 257 degrees on a candy thermometer
-Remove pan from heat, stir in butter, vanilla, and two teaspoons of salt
-Pour mixture into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining salt. Let it sit until cool and firm enough to cut
My grandma used to say "a watched pot never boils". This adage says it all when it comes to making these caramels! I'm sure if I make these regularly I'll eventually feel safe to do other things while it comes to the right temperature. Since this was my first attempt I didn't want to get distracted and burn the candy. So I watched. And I waited. I wasn't checking the clock regularly, but I'd guess it took around 25 minutes total.
The cookbook indicates to let the caramel sit at room temperature "until firm enough to cut". I let it sit until it firmed up, but it wasn't quite cool. As I cut, the caramel was pulling up with the knife, so I let it sit a bit longer. Do not let it sit too long! The caramel will continue to get harder and harder. Luckily I tried again in time, but had I let it go I would have ended up with a solid 8x8 block of candy.
The author claims that these have a soft chew....but these are really pretty hard. Had I realized, I would have cut them into much smaller pieces. As it is now, you have to either shove the whole thing in your mouth or suck on it like a jawbreaker. Basically, there is no dainty way to eat these. Next time I'll pull the caramel off at a lower temperature and hopefully will end up with a chewier candy.
Wrap these up and give them to your friends!
My grandma also used to say that "many hands make light work", so who's coming to help clean my kitchen??
It was recently our friend Steve's birthday, and to celebrate we had a Heaven and Hell themed party. Upstairs was mellow and "fancy" (which really just meant white lights and cheese) while the basement was a louder and rowdier environment.
It didn't take me long to decide on what to make. Angel Food and Devil's Food Cupcakes seemed an obvious choice!
I opted to use box mixes for the cupcakes themselves. I'd never made Angel Food cake before, and recipes I researched seemed kind of persnickety.
The box mix called for water alone, and the batter was unlike any other I'd ever made. It smelled like meringue powder and was a foamy, frothy consistency.
I was excited to make a whipped cream icing for these. It seems so silly, but I was blown away by how simple it was. Whipped cream is exactly what it says it is...cream, whipped. You don't really even need the additional ingredients, but they are there for flavor and to add structure for piping.
I decided to go with chocolate buttercream for the Devil's Food cupcakes. It was a good choice.
I'm a Pittsburgher with a new found love of baking. This blog will serve as a place for me to share both my successes and misadventures in the kitchen.
Other Sweet Blogs
- Bake at 350
- The Decorated Cookie
- The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle
- The Unsolicited Baker