For my daughter’s 2nd birthday I wanted to make a cake that she’d appreciate not only for its sugar content but for its appearance. This kitty cat cake was perfect for my animal loving girl!
All you need for this cake are 2 8-inch round cakes, no need for a uni-tasking cat shaped pan. And you don’t have to do much cake shaping, either. Leave one cake whole and cut the other in to a head, ears and tail.
This next step is the hardest. Using your favorite frosting recipe, this is mine, stick the pieces together and then frost the cake, being careful around the cut edges. This first coating of frosting is your crumb coat, so a few crumbs are ok and it doesn’t need to be totally covered. You’ll do that next.
Put the cake in the fridge for an hour or two, then frost another time to get a pretty, smooth and crumb-free layer.
Now you can decorate! I colored some of my vanilla frosting pink and then I just bought a tube of black icing (this one from Wilton) because making your own black icing can be tough.
She was so excited when we put this cake in front of her. Thankfully at 2 she didn’t care that it wasn’t perfectly frosted or that it kinda looked like a rabbit 🙂 Happy Birthday, sweet Betsy!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! And happy birthday to my sweet niece Maren who is having a great 2nd birthday party in Brooklyn today that we are sadly not attending. My parents will be there to help celebrate the big day with my sister’s family. Happy Birthday, Maren!
We don’t really do St. Patrick’s Day, but I was seeing so many fun rainbow and pot o’ gold crafts, snacks and baked goods on blogs and on Pinterest that I just had to make this rainbow cake. I’d originally seen rainbow cakes in layers, which I think is so beautiful and orderly. But I do not have enough cake pans of the same size, nor do I have the patience and willingness to make 3 cakes, then wash and dry the pans and make 3 more. So I found this rainbow cake on Hostess with the Mostess who links to Omnomicon’s tutorial for making this fun and easy rainbow cake that only requires you to have 2 cake pans of the same size! Perfect.
I used the cake recipe from Omnomicon, which is simply 2 white cake mixes and 3 cups of Diet Sprite. No oil, no eggs, no joke. So I suppose this cake could be considered “good” for you. But then I used a not so good for you buttercream instead of the cool whip and pudding frosting that she uses. The cake in its entirety is kind of like ordering a diet coke along side your big greasy hamburger.
The cake recipe honestly had me a little worried. Was this diet soda thing really going to work? Well, it did! For the most part anyway. The cake took a little longer to bake, about 40 minutes, and even then it was so moist that it fell apart a little after being removed from the pans. One layer split almost totally in half, but I was able to squish it back together with the help of a bit of frosting. It was also stickier than normal cake mix cakes. I let the cakes cool upside down on racks and when I went to take them off I had more breakage because it had stuck to the rack. Again, frosting repair was needed. Here is but one of my frosting repair jobs.
But even with the problems that made cake assembly a little difficult it was oh so very tasty, moist and delicious. I think with cupcakes you could use this cake mix + diet soda method and be quite pleased with the results since you don’t have any layering to do, and there’s less guilt involved. I think you might only get 12-18 cupcakes out of one cake mix and 1 1/2 cups of diet soda. 2 cake mixes and 3 cups gave me what a cake mix with the usual eggs and oil would have. But there might be some deflation due to mixing the batter once all together and then again to make the colors. I don’t know. I am not a scientist.
Dividing and coloring the cake batter was pretty simple. I used a scale to get the same amount in each of my 6 bowls, but you could easily eyeball it and not suffer any serious consequences if you were a little off. You really should use gel colors if you want the lovely bright colors. The food coloring you use for dyeing Easter eggs won’t cut it. I used Wilton gel colors. If you do any cake or cookie decorating at all, you should have some of these.
Grease and flour 2 8-inch cake pans and fill the first pan with red, orange and yellow. Pour the red in first, right in the center of the pan. Follow with the orange, also right in the center and try your best to make it a circular shape (mine was kind of amoeba shaped) and the do the same with the yellow. In the second pan fill with green, blue and violet. If you are a science nerd you noticed that I left out Indigo from ROYGBIV. Feel free to divide your batter into 7 and make yourself some indigo colored batter, but I took a short cut and liked the ease and equality of 3 colors in each pan.
Use your favorite recipe for vanilla frosting or the one below. I love the white frosting against the bright colors of the cake. This cake is a lot of fun. It would be great for a kid’s (or adult’s) birthday party. You can use the same method with cupcakes, just layer the colors with teaspoons of batter. In a 9×13 pan it might be hard to get good layers, so you could just randomly dollop colors for more of a tie-dyed effect. If you do bake in something other than 8-inch cake pans, refer to the baking times and temps on the box of cake mix and then check for doneness, adding more time if needed.
There was a time in my life that I would have turned my nose up at a cookie recipe that used a cake mix. Times have changed.
Like many of my baked goods these days, this one was an attempt to use things I had on hand. I had a cake mix, a jar of peanuts, and chocolate chips. So, I made these cookies. And they are not bad.
These cookies taste like a cake mix, and that’s OK with me. I happen to like that flavor every now and then. The mix I had already had some little chips in it, so add a few more chocolate chips if your mix does not. I used half butter and half margarine since I had half sticks of both in the fridge. These were crazy delicious while still warm and gooey in the middle. They weren’t quite as good the next day for some reason. Just pop one…or two…or five in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to warm them up, and enjoy with a cold glass of milk. Mmmmm…
Switch the chips for whatever you want. Use different nuts. Whatever. Enjoy!
Fudgy Chocolate & Peanut Cookies
1 box chocolate cake mi
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
Beat butter or margarine until smooth. Beat in cake mix, then oil, eggs and vanilla until smooth.
Paula Deen. What a woman. I actually do kind of like her! Yes, she can overdo it a bit when it comes to butter, bacon and cream, but I find her endearing. I’d like her to be in my family so that I could see her a few times a year at family functions. She’d be my Great Aunt Paula who always gives me super tight, full-frontal hugs. She seems like she makes everyone around her happy…or at least full of incredibly rich comfort food, which pretty much equates to happiness, right? Maybe you think I’m wrong, and that’s OK. Regardless of what you think about Paula Deen though, I think we can all agree that this sounds delicious. How can something sweet and gooey, with ingredients like toffee pieces, butter and cream cheese be bad?
This cake is by no means a classy or visually impressive dessert. It’s not something that you would serve at a fancy dinner party, but it would be a crowd pleaser at a pot-luck or at a small, casual family dinner.
When you search “gooey butter cake” on Google, your first results will most likely be Paula Deen recipes. However, she is not the inventor of the cake. It originated in St. Louis in the 1940s and is typically not a dessert cake, but a coffee cake. This Paula Deen version is too rich and sweet to be served as a coffee cake, in my opinion. I found a recipe today for one made from scratch that I plan to try soon. The base is made with a yeast dough that rises around the edges of the butter, cream cheese and sugar filling.
The cake mix makes this recipe very quick. However, the cake mix with the combination of butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and toffee make this cake very rich and incredibly sweet. Some people may not like it (like Ben) for this very reason. I am OK with crazy sweet desserts, so I liked this cake. It should however be served in small pieces so that no one goes into a sugar coma. Here is a link to the recipe.
Gooey Toffee Butter Cake
(Courtesy of Paula Deen, Foodtv.com)
1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 large egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) box confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup almond toffee bits or chocolate toffee bits
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 13 by 9 by-2-inch baking pan.
For the cake: In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside.
For the filling: Still using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Dump in confectioners’ sugar and beat well. Reduce the speed and slowly pour in butter. Mix well. Fold in toffee bits.
Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Don’t be afraid to make a judgment call on the cooking time, because oven temperatures can vary. You want the center to be a little gooey, so don’t bake it past that point!
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares. Just remember that these wonderful cakes are very, very rich, and a little will go a long way.