Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rainbows Pride and Love!

Happy Pride Month, peeps! I love rainbows and I love equality. Pride Month is right up my alley! In the interest of full disclosure, I saw this recipe on All Recipes as a "clown cake" and went, 'OOOoo, pretty rainbows!' And then I saw Yahoo's sweet Pride color bar and a light bulb went off. HEY, I can kill two birds with one stone: challenge of a new recipe and support my gay friends and family!

First thing's first, I used a box cake and went by it's specifications. The All Recipes one has it's own that I didn't think was necessary based on the fact that it was just food coloring basically. Second thing, and I can't stress this enough, USE TWO BOX MIXES. I used one and somehow made 12 cupcakes out of a box that insisted it would make 24... Like the other 12 got lost in a black hole somewhere. Gone for eternity... And doubling the recipe will just plain make handling the six separate colors easier.

Okay, so they look like a psychedelic trip from the outside which, when I first saw, got me a little heartbroken because I wanted beautiful layers. Then I bit into one:

HURRAH! I evened out some of the first layers with toothpick to the edges but after the first three, I knew it would come out fine when it started to cook down.

Adapted from All Recipes, submitted by lovestohost

2 boxes white cake mix
egg whites
purple food coloring gel
blue food coloring gel
green food coloring gel
yellow food coloring gel
orange food coloring gel
red food coloring gel

1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare cupcake pans with liners or by greasing.

2. Use egg white option of cake box directions. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy, about 1 minute. Add the cake mix, water, and canola oil; continue beating for 2 minutes on medium speed.

3. Divide the cake batter into six separate ziplock plastic bags. Use a toothpick to scoop a dab of food coloring into each bag. Seal and mix inside bag; add more food coloring, if necessary, to reach the desired shade. Repeat with the remaining colors and bags of batter.

4. Cut corner of bags and pipe 1/6 of the first color in the bottom of all liners. Repeat with the next colors (rainbow going purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and red) until cups are 2/3 full.

5. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes clean, about 18-20 minutes. Cool in the pans for 5 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Top with your favorite icing (mine is vanilla buttercream)!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Birthday, No One!

I've been in search of an awesome ice cream flavor because it's summer. Summer = ice cream, always. But over the last few years, I've made all my favorites: cinnamon, pistachio, coffee, coconut, German chocolate, bacon. I kid! The bacon wasn't just a favorite; it was THE favorite. kidding. So while I could make variations of these favorites, I kinda wanted something new. Well. This sounded awesome and while I never order cake batter ice cream at Cold Stone, it always seemed really good.

This is one of those ice creams that tastes like CREAM. Maybe that's the thing with homemade that I'm not used to. Some people like it. I'm on the fence... But it has actual cake mix in it so it's fine frozen but, man, don't let it melt because it becomes this mutant blob of non-solid, non-liquid goop. Not that you would let it melt but still. It's a weird concoction.

It's REALLY strong, though, and hard to eat much of. That's okay; this recipe doesn't make much. It's nice to have something novel to make/try but I don't think I'll be making it again.

Source: All Recipes, by Ekho

1 cup milk
1/2 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup white cake mix, sifted

Whisk together milk, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, cream, and cake mix in a saucepan until well blended. Cook over medium-low heat until mixture reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C), stirring frequently. Remove from heat and place in the refrigerator or freezer until liquid is cold.

Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions until it reaches "soft-serve" consistency. Transfer ice cream to a one- or two-quart lidded plastic container; cover surface with plastic wrap and seal. For best results, ice cream should ripen in the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pies for your hands!

If y'all don't know by now, I'm here to tell you: I LOVE STRAWBERRIES. And I have some kind of physical compulsion to buy them when they're so beautiful and fresh in the store. So I get home and have a couple containers of strawberries and say, 'Now what?'

This time, the 'what' was hand pies. I'm in constant search of an awesome pie crust and I think my search may be over. I found the strawberry hand pie recipe from Good Things Catered but their dough recipe called for buttermilk which I did not have. So I found one from Epicurious and holy cow. It came out damn near perfect. Flaky and buttery! I don't even care about the filling as long as the crust is good!! To be honest, it's my favorite part of pie. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and it would've been perfect! I can't wait to make it in a whole sized pie and see if it comes out as good.

The recipe from Good Things Catered calls for 3 cups of strawberries and that was a little too much for the pie dough that I had. I cut that by a cup but kept the sugar content because my strawberries were actually a tad tart. I wish I would've tasted before I baked; I would have added more sugar. So TASTE YOUR BERRIES and then judge how much sweetness needs to be added. Mine needed a bit more.

But overall, this was a smashing success, mostly because I CONQUERED PIE CRUST. And they're so darn cute! Lookit the widdle hand pies!

Adapted from: Epicurious (Original recipe for full pies here.)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening (preferably trans-fat-free)

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 to 7 tablespoons ice water

Freeze cubed butter and shortening until frozen; 15-30 minutes. Combine flour and salt in food processor to mix. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with some small (roughly pea-size) butter lumps. Drizzle 5-7 tablespoons of ice water over mixture while lightly pulsing until just incorporated. Do not overwork dough, or pastry will be tough. (Personal note: I usually process until it forms a ball and this time, I decided not to. I used 6 tablespoons of water and the mixture did not pull together. Instead, it was clumpy but when I pressed with my fingers, it held. There were dots of butter visible in dough.)

Turn dough out onto a powdered sugar-dusted work surface and form together. Cut pie dough in half and form into two disks. Wrap both portions in plastic wrap and freeze. Pastry dough can be chilled up to 2 days ahead.


2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (or cubed; make small pieces)

2 Tbsp granulated sugar

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment.

In medium bowl, combine strawberries, granulated sugar and lemon juice and set aside.

Let frozen pie dough disk defrost, 30 minutes to an hour. Dough should be very cold and hard to roll out. Roll onto a powered sugar-dusted work surface to about 1/8 in thickness, moving and turning over constantly to avoid sticking. Using round pastry cutter (or trace knife around small plate), cut out about 5-6 inch rounds.

Place round onto baking sheet and place about 2-3 Tbsp strawberry mixture into center.

Using pastry brush dipped in a small amount of egg, brush the edge of half of the round. Fold dry edge onto egg brushed half, forming semicircle shape, and press edges together to seal with the tines of a fork.

Brush the top of the pie with egg mixture and sprinkle with sugar. Use a small knife to make a 1 inch slit in the top of the pie for steam to escape. Repeat with remaining pastry dough.

Place in oven and bake until tops are beginning to turn golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 7-10 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm or at room temperature.