Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Candy Corn Cake...Happy Halloween!

Hey peeps, Happy Halloween!!!  I hope you have not lost hope in Pops and Podge.  We are here, just busy!  Claudia is about to pop any day now or so she wishes. She actually has another three weeks to go until we welcome baby girl #3 into this world.  Can't wait to meet her!  
I have been busy with a little baby of my own.  A conference I have been working on for over a year is coming to fruition in two weeks from today.  And of coarse my sweet little girl Savannah and Boston too!  Busy summer turned right into busy fall.  Oh time, I wish I had more of you.  Anywho, enough about us, let's talk about cake!!
I have made up this little Halloween special, just for you (and for my mom's birthday).  It's a 6 inch three layer deal with different colored layers just like a candy corn! 


Don't be like me and in a hurry accidentally frost the layers differently than the order of the cakes.  Silly me.  Don't you love my little boy in the background with his finger in the frosting.

Enjoy! And be safe!
Happy Halloween,
Christie

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rolo Cupcakes

     Fall is in full swing, and I feel as though my baking desire has increased 100 fold. There's just something about baking on a rainy fall day that brings a sense of warmth and security to me. Most of the time, I love the smells that come out of my oven (I've had some disasters now and again), and I feel as if my inner domestic goddess comes out when I've baked something that is pleasing to the palette. Anyone else ever feel like that?
     If you want to have that feeling that I'm talking about, then you should probably try making these Rolo cupcakes. I made them for a church event, and got several rave reviews from my friends.  I felt like a million bucks, because these cupcakes were so easy to make, but they are so rich and sinful!!


     I started by making a delicious chocolate base that was "semi-homemade".  You see, the recipe I was originally going to follow was wwwwwaaaaayyyyy too complicatedd  for me. Making the batter wasn't too involved, but then it called for a salted caramel frosting, followed by drizzling with a homemade ganache. Although it sounded scrumptious, I really didn't want to put in a lot of time making the salted caramel frosting (it looked somewhat complicated) and I didn't want to make the ganache... So, I stuck with the basics. The batter simply came from a cake mix, and had other ingredients mixed in. I made a simple chocolate buttercream frosting, and drizzled some caramel (from a jar) on top. After making the batter, here's how the rest of the process went down...

I filled the lined cups with the chocolate batter, and then set a frozen Rolo in the middle of the batter. Easy, right?



  I baked the cupcakes, let them cool completely...


   Added chocolate buttercream frosting (I tried really hard to do the signature swirl from the show "DC Cupcakes", but it didn't work out... hmmmm....), drizzled some melted caramel on top, and then topped it all off with another Rolo.

Ta Da!



     Nom, nom, nom!!! So, if you want to seem like a domestic genius, but don't want to spend a lot of time or effort with a recipe, then you should be sure to try this one!

Happy Baking!
Claudia


Cupcake Batter
1 (18.25 ounce) package Devil’s Food Cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs; lightly beaten
1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon of vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Line (2) 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
3. Mix together the cake and pudding mix, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs, water and vanilla until well combined and smooth.
4. Evenly divide the batter amongst the prepared pans. {I use an ice cream scoop}.
5. Gently push a frozen Rolo into the center of the batter and smooth the surface making sure to cover the candy with batter.
6. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch. A small divot may appear in the center of the cupcake, no worries though because you’ll cover that with frosting.
7. Cool cupcakes thoroughly on wire rack.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
3-4 tablespoons milk
 
 In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. If the icing is too stiff, add a little more milk. If the icing is too runny, add more powdered sugar. It all depends on what consistency you like!

 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I am a Mormon...

So those of you that follow our little blog here, might already know that Claudia and I are Mormon.  This weekend we had the opportunity to listen to General Conference.  A time we come together in our faith and listen, be inspired and uplifted, learn and share the words of our church leaders and Prophet.  You may have seen this all over Pinterest lately and have been wondering why you keep seeing these words.  We have been inspired to share that we are Mormon and we know it, we live it and we love it!  Ann Dibb set the stage for a wonderful opportunity to share this proud statement among our members and non-members a like.

Here is the 16x20 pdf and jpeg if you would like to download it.  Otherwise just enjoy these words by Ann Dibb.



Happy Sharing,
Christie

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

REAL Italian Bruscetta!

Were trying to postpone Summer around here and we are soaking up every bit of sunshine still left in the sky!  Tomatoes also remind me of summer, even though they are not just past their peak.  I still had to break them out and make me some delizio (delicious) bruscetta!  One of my favorite classic Italian dishes.
Okay so, I am not saying there is a right way and a wrong way.  But to the Italians there might be?  For those of you that know me, you may know that I studied abroad in Florence, Italy for a little over 4 months, more than 10 years ago.  It still kills me today that people pronounce bruscetta, bru-sh-eta.  Just so you know, it is pronouced bru-ske-ta.  Just sayin'!  Now, when you make it or order it, you will know how to say it right. Today, I am going to teach you the secret to making bruscetta the way the Italians do :)

Ingredients 


  • 6 or 7 ripe plum/roma tomatoes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, 1-2 minced, 1 whole
  • 4-8 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped.
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 loaf rustic Italian bread or in a pinch French bread



  • Directions

    1 (Time Saver-this step is optional) Prepare the tomatoes first. Parboil the tomatoes for one minute in boiling water that has just been removed from the burner. Drain. Using a sharp small knife, remove the skins of the tomatoes. (If the tomatoes are too hot, you can protect your finger tips by rubbing them with an ice cube between tomatoes.) Once the tomatoes are peeled, cut them in halves or quarters and remove the seeds and juice from their centers. Also cut out and discard the stem area. Why use plum tomatoes instead of regular tomatoes? The skins are much thicker and there are fewer seeds and less juice.
    -If you choose not to remove the skins, then just cut up your tomatoes into somewhat smaller pieces.  Use your finger to get the seeds out.  The less seeds the better.


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