Tag Archive | Birthday

Cornaby Texas Sheetcake

If you look around there are a lot of versions of Texas Sheetcake floating around in family recipe books and on various cooking blogs. The similarity here is that the title refers to a rich, but tender from scratch chocolate sheetcake with chocolate frosting which has traditionally been served at many events from weddings to school lunch.

I have long loved this recipe, but I find that I love it even more after adding Ultra Gel to the mix. Because of altitude issue I previously always had to muck just a little with the flour to liquid ratio trying to get things right so the very center of this cake didn’t fall, but with the Ultra Gel to balance the liquid issues it comes out lovely every time! I topped my cake with the traditional chocolate frosting, then did some decorating with a little bit of left over raspberry mango buttercream which was a really fun contrast flavor. I’ve also baked the cake and topped it with raspberry jam and served it up with ice cream and that was a killer application too!

Keep an eye on this spot this weekend as we’ll be bringing our Labor Day edition of Canning secrets with Ultra Gel and Thick Gel, including replacing Clear Gel in your recipes and our killer apple pie filling recipe!

Cornaby Texas Sheetcake

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 tsp baking soda

2 Tbl Ultra Gel

2 cup butter

1 cup water

1/4 cup baking cocoa

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 tsp vanilla

Mix flour, sugar, baking soda and Ultra Gel together and set aside. Combine butter, cocoa and water together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil (This can also be done in the microwave). Add butter mixture to the dry mixture and mix well. Add eggs, vanilla and butter milk and stir to combine. Pour into greased and floured jelly roll pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until tests done. Cool and frost with your choice of toppings.

If you want to use this batter for cupcakes or a 9×13 dripper pan increase the baking soda to 2 tsp and the buttermilk to 3/4 cups.

A Cake ready to Party!

As part of a large family, I’m the oldest of six, I’m lucky to have a lot of nieces and nephews and over the years have been asked to make a lot of different cakes for them.  Some have turned out a lot better than others, but they’re always fun.  I have one niece in particular who pretty much asks for a different cake every year.  She’s had princess cakes, treasure chests, dragons…I never know what to expect.  This year I got the call that she wanted a white cake with a disco ball on the top.  I was a little surprised, but figured the hardest part would be finding a disco ball…cause I love her but I didn’t have time to figure out how to make a disco ball out of candy, nor could I think of anything that would really give us that mirror quality, not even poured sugar.  The ball ended up being easy, as I found Christmas ornaments at WalMart and one was a beautiful blue mirror ball.  :)

So all in all the cake came together quickly.  I made my Cheater Chocolate cake in two rounds with a cookies and cream filling, white icing with sprinkles and a disco ball topping.  I think it turned out well and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with for next year.

cheater chocolate cake

Blast from the Past – Spider Cake

It is well known that I have a complete lurve hate relationship with my camera.  It’s a nice little thing considering what I paid for it, and in general it shoots pretty good pictures.  Not amazing pictures, mind you, though I suspect about half of that is camera and half of that is the operator needing to learn more about food picture composition…but I digress.  Anyway, I was recently downloading pictures when the memory card came loose, revealing an onboard memory which held about ten photos!  These were photos from last October which I thought were lost and gone forever dreadful dorry Clemintine…  however, they are not lost and gone, but present and even accounted for.

The first set I’ll share today is the birthday cake Bunneh made for me last year.  The cake itself is pretty basic carrot cake with cream cheese icing, but I love the decorating, particularly as it’s classical ‘engineering art’ from my engineering guy.

Here you go!

Easy Chocolate Orange Cake

It was Bunneh’s birthday a  couple of weeks ago and my day  was…how do i gently say…crazy!!!  So I knew I needed a cake, but there just seemed to be no time.  I couldn’t fail the bunneh though, so I went for simple, but ever so tasty.  I’ve talked about Cheater Chocolate Cake before and this is a yummy adjustment on that recipe for a fresh but decadent cake.

Easy Chocolate Orange Cake

1 box devil’s food cake (I like Duncan Hines or Pillsbury)

1 9×13 sized dark brownie mix

zest of one orange

juice of one orange

Combing cake mix and brownie mix in a large bowl.  Follow the recipe on the back of each box adding 1/2 cup Ultra Gel to the dry mix and substituting the fresh juice for some of the water.  IE: If the total in the recipe is 1 1/2 cups water and you got 1/2 cup orange juice, add 1 cup water and 1/2 cup juice.  Fold zest in last before pouring batter into a greased and floured 9×13 dripper pan.  Bake until tests done.  Serve with favorite chocolate frosting.  In my case I made a Ultra Gel chocolate whipped cream and added more orange zest to that!

Decorate with candles only if husband is under forty….

Jana

Easter feasting

So yesterday was Easter and also Bunneh’s birthday.  It doesn’t happen often that the two happen on the same day, but this year was a happy circumstance.  And no I’m not going to tell you how old Bunneh is.  He’s just the right age for me.  :)

Most of the time Bunneh’s birthday would be a day for me to eat, but he’d found a beautiful rib eye roast and he was dying to try something new, so for his birthday I let him do the cooking.  I know it sounds weird, but it made him very happy.  He coated the roast with garlic and herbs, then cooked it for about 30 minutes at 500 degrees.  After that he turned it down to 240 and just let it low and slow its way to the right temp.  Dinner was finished off with a bit of spaghetti squash and some lovely fried potatoes.  It may not be other people’s idea of an Easter feast, but for us…holy yum.

So here’s our feast…and some random kitty pictures, cause she’s just so cute.

Happy Tuesday

I took a blog break this weekend to celebrate my birthday.  No, I’m not going to discuss which birthday this one was, but needless to say I’m still younger than both the Bunneh and Julie.  :)  Strangely that will always be the case.

For this lovely weekend we spent a lot of time making food and I was treated to a dinner out from both my boys and my husband, two different dinners.  So today I am waxing thoughtful about the two experiences.  We went to TGIFridays on Saturday and The Market Street Grill last night.  Now, these are two very different kinds of establishments with a very different kind of menu at each, but it’s not the food that I’m pondering.  The foods were exactly what I expected of the respective restaurants.  It was the service which made all the difference.

In one case we were seen to…adequately.  No one died and the food arrived eventually and everyone got pretty much what they ordered, but it really seemed like our waitress could care less whether we were there or not.  She didn’t even comment on the pile of presents and obvious fact that we were celebrating until we were on our way out the door.  We had to specifically ask for things like a dessert menu (we didn’t order any) and we never got drinks beyond the water we started with.  She had no suggestions for what was good on the menu and wasn’t sure what was in some of the dishes or how many people the appetizers would serve without going back to the kitchen to ask.

Contrast this with waitress two.  She was pleasant and smiling from the moment we arrived.  She immediately asked if we were celebrating something special and acknowledged our celebration.  She knew the menu inside and out and had obvious favorites.  The way she described the stuffed shrimp made a sale on the spot.  She made one mistake with a side, which she fixed graciously and was apologetic about.  We always had full water glasses and she gave us an opportunity to order more drinks later in the evening, so I ended up with a lovely Diet Coke with a huge old wedge of fresh lime – I LOVE IT THAT WAY – Ahem.  When we ordered dessert she laughed and told us the frozen key lime pie was fantastic, but prepare to pucker.  We’d had it before, so knew she was right, but the comment convinced people near us to look at the dessert menu.

Both bills came to about the same amount, but one waitress got a much better tip because she did the little things which made our meal memorable and special and made her stand out.  I’m left wondering how much of the two behaviors are a symptom of the establishments in question and how much personal choice?

Points to ponder.

Jana

Decadent Brownie Trifle – Three recipes in one!

This last weekend was the birthday of a good friend who has a love for trifle.  In my book trifle is a layered dessert using cake, fruit, custards and occasionally jello.  The first trifle recipe was published in England in 1596 and since then it’s gone through numerous variations and varieties.  This particular version is a chocolate lovers delight.

Decadent Brownie Trifle

1 large sheet of brownies (this can be from a box or from scratch, but you’ll want at least a 9×13 dripper pan full) cut into squares

1 large batch chocolate pudding, divided (Scratch recipe below, though a large box of jello will do in a pinch)

1 batch Ultra Gel Whipping Cream, divided (below)

6 ounce blueberries

1 pound strawberries, sliced

3-4 bananas, sliced

1 small bar dark chocolate, shaved – garnish

Combine half of the pudding and half of the whipping cream to make a light chocolate mousse.  This will be one of the layers.

Layer brownies, fruit, pudding, brownies, fruit, mousse, brownies fruit, whipping cream, garnish with fruit and shaved chocolate bar.  Keep cold until serving.

Ultra Gel Trifle

Ultra Gel Whipping Cream

1 pint whipping cream

1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar (to taste)

1/8 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp Ultra Gel

Place cold cream into the bowl of an upright stand mixer, or a glass bowl with a hand mixer.  Whip cream until it just begins to thicken.  Add all ingredients while continuing to whip.  When the mixture is thick and frothy remove from bowl and refrigerate upto a week.  Do NOT over beat.

Ultra Gel Chocolate Pudding

2 cups cold milk

3/4 cups sugar

dash salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

6 Tbl Ultra Gel

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine milk, sugar, salt and vanilla until sugar is dissolved.  Gradually add Ultra Gel, stirring with wire whisk.  Microwave for 2-3 minutes, add chocolate and stir to melt.  Microwave additionally 1-2 minutes at a time until chocolate is melted through smooth.  Serve warm, or cool.