Friday, July 11, 2008

Birthday Cake Disaster

I am not afraid to share my disasters as well as my successes.
I decided to make the cakes for my daughter's 1st birthday and they turned out, not surprisingly, disastrous.
It was not surprising because
  1. I decided to make two cakes
  2. I'd never made either of the cakes before and
  3. I did not start making the cakes until about 2:00 in the afternoon on the day of the party.
I was doomed.

The idea had been that that I would make the cakes the night before so that if things did not turn out I would still have time to come up with alternatives. Drat me and my procrastinating tendencies!

Cake #1-Strawberry

Go on. Say it. You know you want to. It looks like someone vomited.
My plan was to make a small round cake for the birthday girl to eat/destroy and then use the rest of the batter to make a small sheet cake for everyone else.
I found a recipe that looked easy enough and sounded like it would taste good and for the most part it was easy and did taste good. It was the frosting that went horribly wrong. It was like liquid frosting and no matter what I did to it, it would not stop running down the sides of the cake. I decided to just let it harden up a bit and then I transfered it to another plate so it did not look as bad when it was time to serve it.

Cake #2-Chocolate Cream

Except for the fact that it was completely lopsided, this cake turned out pretty decent.
I decided to make the second cake because I was worried that the small sheet cake would not be enough for everyone that would be there and what if some people did not like strawberry cake?
I think a little tweaking on the recipe and some technique practice and this one could turn into a pretty good cake.

So, maybe next time I make birthday cakes I will start them a little earlier and things will go better. I was not too worried about how the small strawberry one looked because I knew it would end up like this:Strawberry Cake
1 package white cake mix
1 package (3 ounces) strawberry flavored gelatin powder
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup mashed strawberries

Strawberry Icing
1/2 cup butter
1 pound confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup mashed strawberries

Combine cake mix and gelatin powder in a large bowl. Beat in oil, eggs, water, and strawberries. Pour into 2 9-inch round greased and floured cake pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool and frost with strawberry icing.

For icing, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar together until smooth. Add strawberries. Spread between cake layers, then frost top and sides.

Chocolate Cream Cake

1 package chocolate cake mix
Whipping Cream
Chocolate Frosting

Following package directions, prepare and bake cake mix in two 9-inch round layers. Cool and split the layers horizontally. (You will only need three of the layers for this cake. Freeze the extra layer for later use.)
To assemble cake: Place one layer of cake on serving plate. Spread evenly with half the whipping cream, to within half an inch of edge of cake. Place another cake layer on top of cream then another layer of cream. Alternate cake and cream for a total of 5 layers, ending with cake layer. Gently press down on top layer to set layers together. Frost entire cake with chocolate frosting.

Whipping Cream
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
3 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a small saucepan, combine gelatin with water; let stand until thick. Stir constantly over low heat until just dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly but do not allow to thicken. In large mixing bowl, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until slightly thick. On low speed, gradually add gelatin, then beat on high until cream is thick.

Chocolate Frosting
4 tablespoons cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

In mixing bowl, mix cocoa and powdered sugar. Add softened butter, milk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Garlic-Cheese Biscuits

As often as I make these, I thought for sure I would have already posted this recipe but apparently not. So here you go:

2 cups Bisquick mix
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (I put in more than 1/2 cup. We like them cheesy!)
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (again, I put in more than this. I usually eye it but I am pretty sure it is more than 1/4 teaspoon. We like garlic.)

Heat oven to 450 F.
In a medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk and cheese with wire whisk or fork until soft dough forms; beat vigorously 30 seconds. On ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by 10 to 12 spoonfuls about 2 inches apart.
Bake 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
In small bowl, stir butter and garlic powder until well mixed; brush on warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet. Serve warm.