Snickers Poke Cake

Baking date: February 20, 2016

I asked my son Alex what kind of cake he wanted for his 14th birthday and I got a resounding – but not unexpected from a teen boy – “I dunno” response. I went through some of the cakes I have saved on Pinterest, and came across a recipe for Snickers poke cake.  Both he and his dad like Snickers, so I suggested the cake and he responded “sure.”

Here’s the inspiration cake:

The cake is fairly simple to make. I used a devil’s food box mix (adding a tablespoon of vanilla to the mix) for the base cake. When spreading the whipped topping/caramel mix on top of the cake after you’ve poked holes and drizzled caramel sauce, I would wait for the cake to cool completely. I ended up with some of the warm, moist cake coming up as I spread on the whipped topping mix.

The part that took the longest (aside from baking the cake) was chopping the Snickers.

Here’s my version:

When I asked my son “how was the cake?” he responded with “it’s good.” I’m going to consider that high praise from my teenager, who is a kid of few words.

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White Russian Bundt Cake

Baking date: November 15, 2015

My very good friend Rebecca’s birthday fell on a Monday this year. But that was fine because on Sunday, I was busy baking her a yummy cake. She is a big fan of White Russian cupcakes and a White Russian cheese cake I have made previously, so I wanted to stick with that flavor theme, but try something different.

Thank goodness for Pinterest. Where else would I ever find inspiration for so many recipes? After a quick search on White Russian desserts, I found the inspiration cake recipe:

white-russian-bundt-cake

The recipe is pretty straight-forward and the time for cooking didn’t require any adjusting. When it was still in the pan right out of the oven, I brushed on some Kahlua to let that soak into the cake.

For the glaze, I don’t know how they got it to look so white in the inspiration photo because the Kahlua gives it a light mocha look. There was PLENTY of glaze — I feel like you could cut the glaze recipe in half and still be fine. Also, I would have waited for the cake to cool a bit more before applying the glaze.

This is my finished product:

IMG_0591

My friend took some of the cake to work, where she said it received rave reviews.

Cheers and Happy Birthday, Rebecca!

 

 

 

Breast Cancer Awareness Cakes

Baking Date: October 3, 2014

In the month of October, I bake goodies for the women in my life who have battled breast cancer. It’s just a small way of saying thanks for being a warrior in the fight – we all support you!

The first cake I made was for one of the moms from my son Alex’s baseball team. She was selected to be the 2013 Orioles Honorary Bat Girl. This October is the third anniversary of her initial diagnosis of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.

Hope is a very important word to her because originally, the doctors gave her little hope as she also has a heart condition. But she continues on every day, helping others, and making sure to cherish every minute. She appears to be in remission right now. She has two sons and a daughter.

For her, I made a cake using the Duff Pink Camouflage cake mix.  The picture on the box makes it seem like it is very easy to create perfectly round drops of the tri-colored batter:

So perfect!

So perfect! Because Duff has many baking helper fairies, I’m sure.

Well, this is actually what it looks like when someone like me follows the directions on the box:

This is how the cakes came out of the oven:

Looks ok, right?

Looks ok, right?

Baker’s note: where the different colors of cake came together, the cake started to separate, which you can see in the picture.

I iced it using a basket weave technique I saw on YouTube. I used Wilton Rose icing color to dye canned vanilla icing.

The basket weave technique

The basket weave technique

I topped it off with star-shaped candy melts in bright white, with H-O-P-E written on the stars with Wilton pink sparkle gel frosting.

HOPE

HOPE

Her family claimed it was the best tasting cake yet (and I’ve made them quite a few). Here’s a picture of the inside of the cake:

I'm calling this a win

I’m calling this a win

And here’s what the box shows it should look like:

Close enough, I say.

Duff has a staff. I don’t.

Baking Date: October 5, 2014

The next cake I made is for another survivor. This year, she celebrated 7 years in remission.  I had made her a 5 year cake a few years ago.  She is also a mom from my son’s baseball team. She has two sons.

I used the same cake mix, but didn’t do circles or the three colors. Instead, I just did swirls of hot pink batter:

Another technique

Another technique

This is what is looked like after coming out of the oven:

IMG_6175

A big swirly mess!

Baker’s Note: The cake did not separate like it did when I used the drop batter technique as instructed on the box.

This cake was decorated using canned vanilla icing. On the top of the cake, I used the spatula that I had spread the icing on with to make the little “peaks”. I dipped the spatula on the icing and then lifted it quickly. There is a ribbon-shaped candy melt on top, in bright white with pink sugar sprinkles inside. Around the top edge of the cake, I placed pink sugar pearls. Around the base of the cake, I piped stars in the vanilla icing dyed hot pink.

Here’s the inside of the swirl batter cake:

Inside of the swirl batter cake

Inside of the swirl batter cake

This also got rave reviews in terms of how good the cake tasted.

The final cake I made was for a friend who also was diagnosed with Triple-Negative Breast Cancer just over a year ago. She has endured chemo, a double mastectomy, and reconstructive surgery. She had to quit her job because of her aggressive treatment of the disease, and the community has had fundraisers to help her family. She has a son in my oldest son’s class, a daughter in my younger son’s class, and a high schooler.

For her cake, I used a regular white cake mix and, saving some of the batter and dying it hot pink. I dropped small dots of the hot pink batter into the white batter in the heart-shaped pan. I didn’t get pictures of that — sorry!  I went with heart-shaped because I had seen these cookies, and thought I could replicate with a cake:

Inspiration Cookies

Inspiration Cookies

I frosted the cake using canned vanilla frosting. I dyed some icing hot pink and used a star tip for the bra and the same tip as for the basket weave for the straps and outline of the bra. I also added a hot pink border, using the star tip. I made a ribbon-shaped candy melt in bright white with pink sugar sprinkles.

I wasn’t sent any pictures of the inside, but I heard it was good.

To all those out there Fighting Like a Girl, stay strong. To those of you supporting someone in the fight, stay strong. And for those who have lost the fight, we honor your warrior spirit.

 

 

Snickerdoodle Cake

Baking Date: May 27, 2014

I have made this Snickerdoodle cake before, but I used canned butter cream icing that I added a bit of cinnamon sugar mix to before icing. I also didn’t try to make it the four-layer variety, as the inspiration recipe called for.

When the sister of one of my son’s baseball teammate’s had knee surgery to repair an injury from soccer, I decided to try it again in all its buttery glory — including the brown sugar cinnamon buttercream frosting recipe.

Here’s the inspiration photo:

The inspiration photo  © Copyright 2009-2014 · All Rights Reserved · Foodie with Family

The inspiration photo
© Copyright 2009-2014 · All Rights Reserved · Foodie with Family

Below is my cake. I didn’t use cinnamon sticks for garnish; I just kept it simple.  A note about the frosting – it makes a ton! I had enough for the four layer cake, 24 snickerdoodle cupcakes, and another 24 cupcakes.

My snickerdoodle cake

My snickerdoodle cake

The cake and frosting received an enthusiastic thumbs up. Get well soon, Lauren!

M&M Basketball Cake

Baking Date: March 8, 2014

Sports are a big part of my family’s life. When we aren’t cheering on our sons in baseball, lacrosse (new this year!), football, and basketball … we are cheering on the local high school teams. We have a number of friends whose kids play on those teams. And some day, we anticipate our junior Lions will be part of the high school scene.

Go Lions!

Go Lions!

One of our oldest son’s basketball and baseball teammates has a sister who plays on the girls high school girls varsity basketball team. Lana has cheered on many of her brother’s games, and we attended her playoff game this past week where the winner went on to the Regional Championship. They won that game, to earn a spot in the Regional Championship final.

We weren’t able to attend the Regional Championship game — our youngest son was sick. It had been awhile since I made goodies as part of my pay-it-forward philosophy, and I had been dying to try out an inspiration cake I had seen on Pinterest:

Reeses Pieces cake

Reeses Pieces cake

I decided to make a cake for Lana to wish her and her team well in the Regional Championship game.  Lana likes chocolate, so I made a devils food cake.

Here’s how my cake turned out:

M&M basketball cake

M&M basketball cake

I did make a few adjustments from the inspiration cake:

  • I asked Lana’s mom if Lana like Reeses Pieces — and she doesn’t. I used M&Ms instead. Thanks Party City for having plenty of orange (and every other color of the rainbow!) M&Ms in stock! Note: this 9″ two layer cake required two 7 ounce bags of the orange M&Ms, and 1 bag of the 7 ounce brown M&Ms for full coverage
  • Instead of vanilla frosting as the base, I tinted vanilla frosting with Wilton icing coloring in orange

A few other nuances that were special for this cake:

Here’s the cake after all the decorating was done:

Lion paw basketball cake

Lion paw basketball cake

Lana Basketball Paw

Lion paw basketball cake side view

I delivered the cake to Lana before her family left for the game. Lana gave me a big hug.

The Lady Lions won the game on the opposing team’s home court, to earn a spot in the State Championship Final Four:

Lady Lions win

The buses they rode back from the game were escorted to the high school by the local Sheriff and the town’s Volunteer Rescue Squad, with lights and sirens blaring. The girls were greeted by a large crowd of family, friends, and fans.

Once back at the high school, senior Lana got to cut down the net from their home court:

Lana cuts down the home court net

Lana cuts down the home court net

They will play in the semi-final Wednesday, and if they win, go on to the 2A State Championship Game this coming Saturday.  Way to go Lady Lions!

Who could you celebrate in a special, sweet way this week? Keeping paying it forward people!

Winter-themed Peppermint Cake

Baking Date: December 20, 2013

Each year during the holidays, the women from my husband’s family get together for the annual Ladies Luncheon. I’ve been attending since we got engaged.

The host duties rotate each year. The luncheon takes place at a restaurant of the host’s choosing, followed by desserts and coffee at the host’s home. It’s a nice way for the women to get together and see one another for the holidays, without the pressure of preparing, serving, and cleaning up after a big meal.

For the past few years, I have offered to bring a dessert. Each year, I try to make something different. This year, I did a spin on the colorful cake that I originally found for Halloween. This is what it looked like in the spooky colors:

Inside the Halloween rainbow cake

Inside the Halloween rainbow cake

I’ve also done it for Easter, in Christmas colors, for a Ravens fan (very difficult for this Steelers fan), and for a breast cancer battler.

The recipe and prep is pretty easy, but here are some tips:

  • I take the main cake batter (not the divided batter) and make 6 cupcakes with that.
  • Once all the batter is in the pan, I gently shimmy the pan on the counter to get it to settle into the pan and help with the unique design of the cake.
  • the instructions say cook cake as directed on the mix box. Because you are using so much more than one box, I find the bake time needs to be about 55 – 60 minutes. I always use a cake tester to make sure it’s done.
  • The drizzling of the frosting is messy. Make sure you have something under your plate (I use a large paper towel under the cake board, in case the icing oozes off). Once I’m done drizzling all the colors and the icing sets, I then wipe up the extra icing from the board or plate so that it looks neater.

For the Ladies Luncheon this year, the winter-themed twist was adding a little peppermint extract to the white icing. Peppermint extract is strong, so I only used a few drops. That way the taste wouldn’t be overwhelming and you’d get just a hint of peppermint.

So, here is the cake, done with one white cake as the base, and one white cake divided and colored neon blue and royal blue.  The icing was white (infused with a dash of peppermint), neon blue, and royal blue. I topped the icing with white sugar pearls and white and light blue sugar snowflakes.

Winter Peppermint cake

Winter-themed Peppermint cake

I made cupcakes with the extra batter:

And here is all is together:

IMG_1479The inside turned out great — every time you make this cake the inside is unique depending on how the batter settles during cooking.

Here’s the cake after I cut it:

Inside of the winter peppermint cake

Inside of the winter-themed peppermint cake

I hope you have a joyous (and sweet!) holiday season!

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Baking Date: August 17, 2013

Today, our football team hosted the weigh-ins for all the teams in our division.  From 8:00am – noon, swarms of kids, coaches and parents descended on an elementary school across the road from our football field to attend this mandatory event.  For our football program alone, 7 teams of boys (and a few girls this year) must be weighed in to ensure they are not over the league maximum for their age group. Our program alone has over 200 kids.

The host organization has to direct traffic, parking, and pedestrians for hundreds of individuals, which falls to the coaches and a number of parent volunteers. This takes place on a two-lane country road with no shoulder, that separates the school from the park.  We even have one of the football parents who is also an EMT on site — just in case.

This year, I made all the volunteers a treat and took it to weigh-ins around 11:00am.  I figured they had put in a busy morning and deserved some nourishment. My husband was one of the volunteers this year, along with 21 other individuals.

I made Cinnamon Roll Cake.  It’s a good breakfast item, and would probably be great for a brunch.  Some items to note: the 25 – 30 minute time for baking is too short.  I find that 55 minutes is the perfect time.  Also, I’ve used cream cheese frosting instead of the recipe frosting, for more of the “Cinnabon” flavor. I just used a canned cream cheese frosting for this, but put the frosting on while the cake is still warm so that it melts.

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Cinnamon Roll Cake

So, thanks to all the volunteers who helped keep the players, coaches, parents and drivers safe today. I hope a little bit of sweetness was just the thing to make it all worth while.