The Opinionated Foodie: The Love (or Not) of Food and Everything That Goes with It


A Mother’s Day Mess: The Pioneer Woman’s Coffee Cream Cake

Mother’s Day is all about the desserts.

On Mother’s Day, our family always eats lunch after church at a restaurant, and then we usually return to our house for dessert. Actually, we eat dessert before and after lunch. It’s our day, and the girls like dessert.

Please don’t judge.

At church on Mother’s Day, our youth hold a dessert auction to raise money for the youth fund. I always am willing to participate to help out the great cause.

Of course, I also consider it a competition. My goal is to make the cake that has the highest bid and shows the old ladies up. I haven’t done that yet, but I still keep trying.

This year, I made my strawberry cake and Trisha’s key lime cake. The key lime went for $55, and the strawberry went for $50. The highest cake went for $85, so if you take both of my cakes together, I won! Sorta.

I wasn’t brave enough to enter The Pioneer Woman’s coffee cream cake in the auction, because I had never made it before and I only wanted to enter a sure thing into the auction. Also, if I sell it, I don’t get a bite. I decided to make it and save it for before and after lunch on Mother’s Day.

The recipe was easy enough. I split the batter into two round cake pans and baked them up. While the cakes were baking, I made the creamy filling. The snag and mess occurred here. PW’s recipe called for whipping cream, which I guess makes sense. However, I only had half and half, and I didn’t realize the difference it would make. My filling was delicious, but not thick at all. It was more like gravy on top of the first layer of cake.
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When I placed the second layer on the other with the filling, it all splurted out of the sides of the cake. Luckily, my cake stand had tall sides.
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I pressed on and iced it for the big dessert day.

When we cut the cake, the flavor was so, so good even if the cake was so, so messy. It had the right mixture of coffee and sweetness and soft cake.
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The only weird thing about it was that the cake had a slight inexplicable green tint.
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Regardless of the color and the mess, it was still good. Now I know that whipping cream is the key, and the color is curious.

Maybe next year it will make it to the youth auction and bring in the big bucks.



Snow Day Mississippi Mud Cake

Snow days-or ice days around here-mean baking.  I have the time to try something new on these special days, and it is great fun.

We got out of school today in the early afternoon due to the impending white gloom on its way, and Mr. Opinionated got off work a little early too.  I perused several cookbooks before he got home from work trying to decide what to bake.  I was thinking of maybe a new sweet potato pie recipe or maybe a coffee cake.  Both, however, were shot down.

“How’s about a Mississippi mud?” he asked.

And so it is.

Snow day baking is the epitome of making do-I can only do with what I have on hand.  I had plenty of eggs, sugar, flour, butter and such.  I didn’t have plenty of powdered sugar and oil, though. And, I was not about to leave the house only to slide from here to the store.

So, the question of this snowy, bleak day is: Will this cake idea work?

The recipe is the same as my momma’s with some minor snow day-necessary modifications.  I used 1 and 1/4 cups of water instead of 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of oil.  I had heard that that would work and was the secret to my friend’s super moist cakes.  Instead of oleo, I used salted butter.  I didn’t have a whole box of powdered sugar, and so I used the 2 cups I had. I also added a cup of pecans that I roasted for seven minutes in the oven while the cake was in.  That’s a Paula Deen thing.  I also had to substitute marshmallow fluff instead of marshmallows; I used most of a 13 ounce jar.  Last thing, I baked my cake for 25 minutes instead of 30 minutes to help achieve the muddy quality I was looking for.

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The cake came out of the oven fine.  I poked holes across the top of the cake with a toothpick to prep it for the creme.  Spreading the marshmallow creme was a challenge, so I plopped it on the top of the cake and covered the whole thing with aluminum foil to let the creme melt a little.

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That took a while, but it worked.  The creme spread so nicely that I decided to add a little extra.  Wallah!

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Then, I sprinkled the pecans on the top.

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The warm icing went over all of that, and then the aluminum foil went back over the whole thing to rest.  I noticed the creme poofing a little, but I thought that would be a good idea to keep the whole thing warm and gooey.

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Looking back, I don’t think I should have done that.  My warm and gooey cake looked more like a hot mess than a chocolate cake.  The warm cake and warm icing turned the topping into a mesh of marshmallow, chocolate icing, pecans.  It didn’t look too much like the mud I was looking for.  Mississippi Slosh Cake, anyone?

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Regardless, it tasted amazing.  It wasn’t like my momma’s cake; I didn’t taste it and say, “Mmmm…childhood,” or anything like that.  It was amazing, though.  It was warm and gooey and good.  The recipe, however messed up it is, is a keeper.

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Snow days are the greatest.



One Proud Mom: My Daughter’s First Cake

Look at what Miss Helper did!

She recently took a class for kids at our local community college called Cool Cakes.

Don’t you think hers is the coolest?

As you can see, she has the important details every cake needs: purple icing, pink fondant, her initials with one letter backward, a heart for Justin Beiber, a cowboy boot, random squiggles, and an airplane.

This might be the coolest cake ever.

I am so, so proud.



Martha’s Layer Cake

Before Paula. Before Rachael. Before everybody. There was Martha.

Martha Stewart is my hero. I could never, ever be as perfect as she is, but still.

I heart Martha.

I have made lots of her recipes in the past. One of the first was a fried chicken recipe using cinnamon. I was so proud when I made it, and it turned out so delicious. I told my oldest sister about how proud I was that I had successfully made a Martha recipe. She replied, “Sounds great. I’ll try it.”

Too bad I never made it for her.  I was bragging, not volunteering.

She was around, though, when I made this layer cake from Martha’s magazine. It took me all day to make it since I am overly slow when making something for the first time, I burned the walnuts the first time I toasted them, and then I had to wait on my husband to go to the store to buy more.

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Other than those snafus, it was pretty easy. The cake itself was moist and perfectly flavored by the walnuts. The pears were sweet, and the whipped cream on top was fluffy and delish.

Martha Stewart's Walnut and Brown Butter Pear Layer Cake

 

It was worth it. It was not only a Martha recipe that was successful for me again, but it was also my first ever layer cake.

Martha rules.



Christmas Cookie Cake: A Work in Progress

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I have come up with yet another brilliant recipe. 

Of course, I am kidding. I have come up with an idea at least, and it needs a little work.

For the Christmas party we had last weekend, I made Nutella, sugared pecans, and cream cheese wrapped in crescent rolls that were split in two.  They were good, but they didn’t go very far.

After a trip to Sam’s this weekend, I had a jumbo box of sugar cookie mix to work with. Sweet. Since Tuesday was my day to take a Christmas snack for our faculty, I decided to experiment! Woohoo!

Teachers will eat anything. They make excellent guinea pigs.

My first thought was to stuff the sugar cookies with my Nutella, cream cheese, and pecan idea. That, however, would be time consuming. Not interested.

There’s a reason why I don’t make the cute cupcakes that everyone loves. They take too stinkin’ long.

Second thought-make two large sugar cookies and layer the filling like a layered cake. Simple-check. Easy-check. Not too time consuming-check.  So, that’s what I did.

I made the cookie mix as directed on the box, and then I split the mix in half.  In two round cake pans, I flattened each half of the mixture and baked them for nine minutes.

When they cooled, I attempted to the turn them out onto my cake stand. Even though I sprayed the boogers with non-stick spray beforehand, they still stuck to the pan. They messier of the two went on the bottom. 

Then, I scattered the pecans over the large non-perfect cookie and attempted to cover that with Nutella.  It was a hot mess.  The Nutella would not spread and the pecans would not stay put. What I ended up doing was scraping the pecans off and mixing them with the Nutella for a smoother spread.  I thinly sliced an eight ounce block of cream cheese and covered the whole shebang with the cream cheese slices.

Finally, I topped it all off with the second large cookie and a good sprinkle of powdered sugar to cover any character flaws.

The next day, I took my experiment to school and left it on the faculty lounge table for the starving masses. When I went back at the end of the day, most of it was gone which means it was a success.

Again, though, I don’t read too much into that. They’re not what you’d call picky eaters.

What I want to work on is the filling. It was good, but it wasn’t creamy like I like cream cheese fillings to be.  I may cream the cream cheese with a little sugar next time.

This weekend will be the next time.  We have a Christmas gathering for my family.

Oh, the craziness.
Oh, the drama.
Oh, the culinary knowledge.

It’ll all be there in spades, and I think I’ll try this cookie cake again.

Stay tuned, Foodie Friends.



Strawberry Cakes
December 1, 2011, 10:02 pm
Filed under: Food I Make, Random Foodie Thoughts | Tags: , , ,




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