January 31, 2012

Pin It Indian Spiced Vegan* Chili

Taken From: Daily Garnish

Week 5
Although red velvet cookies are awesome, they weren’t really going to provide me with anything substantial that I could bring to work for lunch, so another new recipe was tested!

I really like the Daily Garnish, and we have so much in common! She is a runner who lives in Seattle…and that’s really it.  I would never describe myself as a “country music maniac,” nor do I have any culinary training, and I definitely do not have a baby (which she blogs about a lot) but still, a few things to go off of.

I’ve never made chili before and found a couple yummy sounding recipes on her site (this was the other recipe I thought about trying) so I decided to give the Indian Spiced Vegan Chili a try.

This one won out because I liked the idea of mixing it up and using Indian spices, and because it was paired with naan (I love Trader Joe’s Tandoori naan, it’s super squishy), plus I needed a break from lentils (have made this twice in the last month).

This recipe was delicious!  I made it the day before I planned on eating it so the flavors would permeate the chili as much as possible.  I think I had it simmering for ~4 hours.  I made a few adjustments and totally nullified the “vegan” aspect of this chili.  I added turkey sausage because I like a meaty chili, and browned the sausage before adding the onions to the pot.  I also added ~ 1/3 cup brown sugar to this recipe as it was simmering.  My friend Matt makes a mean chili and he sweetens his with brown sugar.  I think it gives it a nice flavor and actually worked really well in this dish too. Lastly, I left out the jalapeno, because I am a total baby when it comes to spicy food.  Even the tablespoon of chili powered and 3 tablespoons of curry powder ended up being a bit much for me, but I’m trying to build up some sort of tolerance.

I brought this over to my sisters last night for post yoga dinner.  (Yoga at Grace Cathedral is free every Tuesday evening if anyone is ever interested.  It’s super low key and relaxing with live musicians and singers). The chili reheated nicely and this recipe will definitely enter my seemingly endless soup rotation.

Chili hanging out with the cookie jar
Chili in all his glory

Chili admiring his reflection in the toaster

January 30, 2012

Pin It Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Taken From The Curvy Carrot (Isn't that a cute blog name? Bonus points awarded.)

Week 5
My soon-to-be sister-in-law Jen sent me this awesome link to a site called FoodGawker. I may be behind the times in hearing about this but it is super cool!  FoodGawker is a site that allows you to visually search and discover new recipes, and all the photos and recipes are submitted by food bloggers from around the world. It is very cool way to browse recipes and a good time suck if you have any to kill.

Similarly, I recently downloaded an app on my phone called PunchFork that my friend Kristen told me about.  It’s also visually based, and is a good way to search a more consolidated list of recipes from a few select food blogs.  Smitten Kitchen and My Baking Addiction are both contributors so needless to say, I’m a fan. However, you should be careful when using this site/app in public, as it has been known to induce unexpected drooling.

The first thing that caught my attention about this recipe besides the word “cookie” obviously, was the red velvet. I don’t know what it is but I love red velvet.  To be honest, I’m not even sure if I can explain why. Most often I’m eating red velvet in cupcake form and one of my favorite parts then is the cream cheese frosting.  I think I’m just intrigued by the flavor.  It’s not super chocolaty but there is still that coco flavor, and they are SO red, which seems so unnatural and enticing at the same time.  I really don’t know what it is, but I will try anything red velvet and these cookies were no exception.

I saw these cookies and decided they were next on my list to try.  Actually I couldn’t even wait 24 hours after finding this recipe (and it would have been even sooner but I was out of flour).

The only thing I did differently was I used the liquid kind of red food coloring and I added it right before the white chocolate chips.  Not sure if I would recommend this change in when the dye was added because I soon discovered that it’s a lot harder for the dye to mix in evenly once it is in its firmer, doughy form.  This is no doubt why she says to add it earlier (duh), but I thought I was saving a step since she had to add more in the end to get it the color right. Anyway, I baked them for 10 minutes and they turned out perfectly, crispy on the edges and chewy on the inside, just how I like them. Final verdict: awesome cookies.

Slightly flattened before going in the oven

Fresh out of the oven

Stacked cookies are cute, plus all the blogs are doing it :p

So many cookies!

Pin It Roasted Butternut Baked Penne

Taken from How Sweet It Is

Week 4
I recently stumbled upon the blog How Sweet it Is, and have found a bunch of exciting new recipes. I decided to try the Roasted Butternut Baked Penne for a Friday night dinner. This recipe was very easy and got me using some ingredients I’d never cooked with before: sage and mascarpone, yum.

I ended up using the “steam in a bag” butternut squash from Trader Joe’s as they were completely out of fresh squash the day I went (a whaaa?!).  Anyway, the steam in a bag squash worked well, but using a roasted squash probably gives it a richer flavor.  This dish is very cheesy, which obviously equates to delicious in my book.  My only note is that next time I would mix the sauce and cooked pasta in a separate bowl before putting into a baking dish.  It proved to be a little difficult to coat all the pasta once it was in my casserole dish because it’s so deep, plus it made that terrible person-eating-with-their-mouth-open smacking sound that would have driven my sister Sharon crazy.  I would also add more sage leaves to the top of the dish, mmm….maybe covering the whole thing in sage leaves instead of just using them as decoration.  I only used as few as I was mimicking the photo on How Sweet It Is, but I think sage in every bite would have been awesome! Aside from that, this was a great dish that I would definitely make again.

As a side note, How Sweet It Is also has a lasagna version of this dish that was the predecessor to the penne version, in case anyone is looking to make a larger dish.

Ingredients, nothing too crazy

Ready to go into the oven, using my Nana's casserole 

I know you can't hear it, but the cheese was making this amazing crackling sound, AKA perfection

Pin It Brown Butter Double Fudge Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies

Taken From How Sweet It Is

Week 3
The minute you click on that link above, you know it’s gonna be good!

I love cookies, love them.  I recently realized that they are by far my favorite dessert item and will trump most other options when I'm given the choice. Because they are my favorite, I’ve been into a not-so-healthy-habit lately of making a new batch every week.  Luckily I’ve got friends and co-workers who are always welcoming baked goods, so I’m not forced to eat entire batches of cookies on my own.

I found this recipe and thought it seemed like the perfect chocolate combo! 

Because I don’t have a kitchen scale I made the dough a bit differently than she describes. I followed her directions as far as the ingredients and amounts, but instead of making two different batches of dough, I made one large batch and divided it in half before adding the coco powder. (I also did not mix the coco powder in with the flour and other dry ingredients, but just added it separately at the end).  I added the coco power to the half batch that was still in my mixing bowl, then mixed in the chocolate chips.  I mixed in the chocolate chips by hand into the other half batch in a separate bowl.

At first, I assembled the cookies as she suggested, (taking one chocolate chip half and one double fudge half, placing the round ends together with the rough edges out) but when I  baked them, they did not turn out as pretty as hers.  They didn’t look so half and half, but more like a chocolate fudge blob surrounded by a chocolate chip halo or vice versa. After the first batch, I changed up my method and gently joined one chocolate chip half and one double fudge half (rough sides together) and rolled them into a ball.  There was definitely still a half and half finished product so I think I would recommend this method instead.  Super good cookies, plus the finished product is a nice visual twist on your standard chocolate chip cookie.

Pin It Loaded Baked Sweet Potato Soup

Taken from How Sweet It Is

Week 3
I loved this recipe, and really I’m all for any excuse to put goat cheese in every meal. It was also very easy, and like all the other soup recipes I've talked about, it made a ton. I love being able to cook one major meal and live off of it for the week.

I ended up using all vegetable stock, because sometimes chicken stock weirds me out, but the chicken stock probably gives it more flavor.

For the garnishes, I just stuck with crumbled goat cheese and crispy shallots, which made it soup-er delicious.  I thought two kinds of cheese might be a bit overkill (maybe not overkill per se, but definitely less healthy) and I’m sure the bacon would be really good for all you bacon lovers out there, which I’m pretty sure is everyone that eats pork and maybe even a few that don’t. I actually had a professor once that was a vegetarian, but she ate bacon…it must be that good.

Anyway, this was a delicious, easy recipe that I will definitely be making again.

January 29, 2012

Pin It Lemon Lentil Soup

Taken From Natural Noshing

Week 2
So to continue with my current soup obsession, I found this recipe and thought it sounded interesting and different.  For starters, I had never used turmeric in anything, so I figured it would be good fit for my Week 2 recipe.

As I have found with most soups, this recipe was fairly easy and straightforward. I skipped the jalapeno as I can’t handle spice at all, but I’m sure it would be good if you are into that. I also skipped the nut garnish as I didn’t have/want them.

This made quite a large batch and kept nicely throughout the week. It had a tangy, lemony flavor and I thought the sour cream/plain yogurt garnish was a very nice compliment to the turmeric.  I really like Indian food but have a hard time with it because it is always too spicy for me.  This was a good way to get some of those same flavors while skipping the heat. I have actually made this recipe twice now (and somehow still never got a picture?! Hadn’t quite sorted out this whole blog documentation thing yet). My only real complaint is that the cumin aroma (which I think smells like a sweaty armpit) sticks in your kitchen for a day or so.

While perusing this blog, I haven’t found a ton of things I was inspired by (seems like quite the health nut), but this recipe ended up being really good.

Photo courtesy of Natural Noshing

Pin It Pizza Muffins

Week 1
So my boyfriend Tom has been suggesting for months that we make “pizza muffins.”  I was never really sure what he wanted; a muffin with pizza ingredients or a mini pizza made in a muffin tin.  Well, once I got my jumbo muffin tin I was ready to find out!

After much deliberation, we decided to go with the muffin with pizza ingredients mixed in.  I found a cornmeal muffin recipe, and again, wanted to make sure they were going to be moist (dry muffins are yuck). I found this recipe on Simple Daily Recipes, so now we had a starting point.  I only partially followed those instructions so I will provide my modified Pizza Muffin recipe below.

Pizza Muffins *


For muffins:
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, melted & cooled
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 eggs, beaten

For pizza muffins:
Shredded mozzarella
Mini pepperoni
Regular sized Turkey pepperoni (or any other pizza meat of your choosing)
Pizza sauce/marinara

Heat oven 450ºF degrees. Oil muffin tin.
Mix together all the dry muffin ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mixed all the wet muffin ingredients together, then mixed the wet into the dry. 

Making them into Pizza Muffins
Mix a couple handfuls of shredded mozzarella and mini pepperoni into the dough (you can really include as much as you want, the more the better in my opinion). Scoop dough into jumbo muffin pans to about 3/4 full (I used my large ice cream scoop for this).  Using a pastry bag, inject pizza/marinara sauce into center of each muffin (gently, to avoid spillover). This part is a little tricky, and if you do get spillover, you can just pat a little extra dough on top of the spill. Top each muffin with turkey pepperoni and more cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.

You can also heat up some additional marinara for dipping.

* Pizza Muffins are a Tom (vision) and Rebecca (executer) creation.

These ended up being really good.  My first batch didn’t really have enough marina injected into the middle, as it was hard to tell how much was going in, but they were still delicious.  My favorite part was how the outside of the muffins got all crispy from the cheese that was mixed into the dough.

Happy pizza muffins

See the crispy outside?!

Inside goodness

January 28, 2012

Pin It Dark Chocolate Chip Comfort Cookies (and some baking tips)

Taken from Bakerella

Week 1
(So I was super amped about my resolution (which wasn’t even official at this point) and apparently had some time on my hands, so I went a little crazy in Week 1, 4 new recipes J)

If you have never heard of Bakerella her site is awesome. She is basically the pioneer on the revolution that is the cake pop/cake ball, and has a whole book on it! The first time I made cake pops I was using the recipe/instructions from Sugar Derby , but I’m pretty sure she took it from Bakerella. I made red velvet cake balls for my brother-in-law’s birthday back in July and they were awesome. Also, Sugar Derby has a bunch of awesome, unique baking ideas.  She has a new funny fascination with making really small things, mostly because they are cute.
Red Velvet cake balls for Matt's birthday
While I am a bit off topic let me digress further and talk about my cookie baking tools.  It took me a bit to get a system that I was happy with, so I feel it is only right to share.

So, I had been using these coated non-stick baking sheets and hated them! They were coated with a dark non-stick finish and they were burning the bottoms on all my cookies!  Very sad and frustrating.  So I talked to my friend Bonnie and she said she always uses parchment paper.  So I bought some parchment paper and that did fix my burning issue, mostly, but I still hated those pans.  So then I talked to my mom and she told me about her insulated baking sheets. There is a layer of air trapped between the aluminum which promotes even baking and eliminates burning. Awesome! Once I starting using those, I never had burned cookies again.  From there I was pretty happy with my system, but felt wasteful about using parchment paper every time I baked cookies. I was composting it but still thought there had to be a better way.  Awesomely enough, my roommate Nikole had heard of these silicon baking sheet liners called silpats and got my one for my birthday, love it!  It’s easy and reusable, so no more parchment paper.  It’s also supposed to be very effective when making cookies with lots of fixins’ like the turducken cookie (Oreo wrapped in chocolate chip cookie), and many of the Sugar Derby’s cookie recipes (I was making a lot of these at one point).
Turducken cookie
The other thing that I feel is a necessity is my cookie scoop. It makes nice, uniform cookies. My mom used one of these when I was growing up and the sound of the scoop scraping against my metal mixing bowl is very reminiscent of my childhood and all my mom’s cookies baking sessions (especially in preparation for a sibling's Bar/Bat Mitzvah).

Okay, back to the point.  I found this recipe on Bakerella and thought the chocolate on chocolate (always the kind of cake I requested as a kid for my birthday) seemed like just what I was craving. I was also intrigued by the use of the peanut butter.  For my first batch, I just used my mini cookie scoop and plopped blobs on my silpat/cookie sheet. I didn't really feel like rolling them into balls, but I soon realized why it was necessary/recommended.  I think it must be the peanut butter (a thicker form of fat in these cookies) that makes them spread less while baking and end up puffier cookie. I've found that it goes like this as far as types of fat and degree of cookie flatness (starting from flattest to puffiest): 1:1 crisco/butter combo, butter, crisco, margarine, other fats, i.e.peanut butter & cream cheese.

So, because I did not roll the first batch into balls, they end up a little poky and lumpy looking.  After that, I rolled the rest into balls and they looked much prettier.  I also had a ton of salted caramels that my friend Allie had brought me from France so I decided to put a surprise in the middle of these cookies.  I took a small scoop of dough and wrapped it around a caramel, then rolled it into a nice, smooth ball.  Man, was that a good idea! It made these cookies very rich and decadent so really you wouldn't be able to eat more than one in a sitting (not an issue I have with my other fresh-out-of–the-oven cookies).

Also, I left out the nuts because I'm not a huge fan, but I'm sure they are good rolled in the nuts as well.

So, in the end, these cookies were super good and very rich, yum.

Photo courtesy of Bakerella

Pin It Cream Cheese Banana Nut Muffins

Taken From My Recipes

Week 1
So my sister Sharon gave me a jumbo muffin tin for Hanukah and I was very antsy to try it out.  I had a ton of frozen bananas in my freezer (my roommate Nikole and I went through a phase of never being able to finish our  bunches of bananas before they turned too brown to eat, so we ended up with quite the collection in our freezer) so I thought giant banana nut muffins would be the perfect thing. I Google recipe searched for a moist banana muffin recipe, because there is nothing worse than a dry muffin.  I came across this recipe and thought the cream cheese seemed like a great way to ensure moist-ness.

I read some of the reviews on this recipe before I tried it and a couple people said you could cut down on the sugar (2 cups did seem like a lot). I ended up using 1 ½ cups and that was plenty.

I thought they turned out great.  They were moist and banana-y and huge! Like almost Costco sized muffins, and anything that is Costco sized is awesome in my book. Also, I love my new jumbo muffin tin, so many possibilities!

Pin It Carrot Miso Soup

Taken from Smitten Kitchen

Week 1
So I am a little behind “real time” in my posts as getting this blog rolling was not something I was on top of when I started my recipe adventures (mostly because I had not decided to do a blog yet) so I’m going to try and get caught up in these next few posts.

I think my sister Leah originally introduced me to Smitten Kitchen for a scone recipe, although I know she has a very popular site.  I follow her via my Google reader (a great way to have all the blogs you follow consolidated into one place) so I frequent her site for new recipes.  Due to the fact that it is “winter” (I don’t actually think that mid 60’s and sunny technically counts as winter, but you won’t see me complaining) and I am totally obsessed with my immersion blender I am super into making soups right now. They are generally very easy to make, and make large enough batches to last me the whole week. I thought this one sounded different and interesting so I gave it a go. It was also my first time buying miso and before that, I had no idea what form it actually came in (or ever thought about what it was made of).  Turns out it comes in a small tub and is kind of a solid paste, made of soy beans.

The soup turned out really well, clean tasting and yummy.  My only complaint was the sesame oil garnish.  I find sesame oil to be a very overwhelming flavor, and even as a garnish, it totally commandeered the flavor of the soup.  After eating it the first night, I did not use any sesame oil garnish after that, and it was better in my opinion.  I also used mini carrots (by default) and I would definitely NOT recommend this (which I’m sure most of you would say, “a-duh” to). You have to slice all the carrots and it would have been much easier using regular sized carrots. Also, as I’m writing this I just realized that I left out the ginger (maybe by mistake, maybe because I didn’t have any).  Next time I try this recipe I will have to include that because I think that would provide a little more flavor and a nice zing.

02/02/12 Update: I made this soup again last night (with the ginger this time) and it was super good. Not an overwhelming ginger flavor but a nice touch.  I recommend not skipping that ingredient (whether on purpose or by accident J)

January 27, 2012

Pin It Looking back at 2011- Part 2

So I have a few more recipes that I tried out and thought I would share.  I failed on a few in that I forgot to take pictures (?!), however, the recipes were still successful and that’s mostly the point anyhow.
Here are some highlights from 2011…

Gingeriest Molasses CookiesTaken from Sweetapolita

These were super good! I love the ginger molasses Starbucks cookie and wanted to try my hand at making my own.  I found this recipe and made them when I was home in Seattle over Thanksgiving, the family loved them.  I did some more searching and found a site that had the “actual” Starbucks cookie recipe. It’s the same ingredients and the same proportions (pretty much) so I knew I was on the right track. I made them again and gave them out as part of my holiday treats, and they were a huge success! They are only a slight pain because you have to roll them into balls then roll them in sugar, but they are worth it. What I learned is that chilled dough works best (end up with thicker chewy cookies), and it’s super important not to overcook them as you want them to turn out soft and chewy (how I prefer ALL my cookies).
Chilly dough rolled into balls and sugar

Cookie close-up

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms - Taken from Shutterbean

This is one on my new favorite food blogs. She makes some really interesting stuff and I found quite a few new recipes on her site.

I had only ever made spaghetti squash once before years ago, and it was only okay.  I wasn’t really sure how it was supposed to turn out as I had never eaten it before.  We didn’t eat a lot of veggies growing up. My dad isn’t huge fan of green things so it was a lot of corn, potatoes, and a lot of canned green beans (the kind the squeak when you bite into them).  But that’s cool, you do what you gotta do with 8 kids and we all turned out great, love you Mom!  Anyway, I made spaghetti squash a few years ago at the recommendation of my awesome, hippy dippy co-worker and it was okay (no fault of hers).  Side note, she also told me every meal should start on a bed of lettuce, whatever.  Anyway, now I can’t get enough spaghetti squash, I could eat it for every meal! (Funny story, I did eat it for every meal a few days in a row, gave me quite the gut ache.  I suggest mixing it up a little and toning it down to once a day if you are the kind of person that needs boundaries).  Anyway, moral of the story is, I love spaghetti squash because it’s delicious, versatile, a great alternative to a traditional starch. This recipe was great.  It was very quick, super easy and delicious (3 big pluses).  I know some of you may be thrown off by the raisins (I included them because I happen to have golden raisins in my cupboard from a Matzo Kugel I had made) but trust me they work really well in the dish and are very yummy.  All in all, I’ve made it couple times (yet took no pictures?) and will definitely be including it in my winter/fall recipe rotation.

Photo courtesy of: Shutterbean

I love, love, love Joy the Baker.  She’s coming out with a cookbook in February and I can’t wait! 

The recipe was a little involved, but I had some time and it looked really good.  The biscuits turned out really well and were very easy to make, just takes time as it is an extra step.  You could use store bought biscuits if you are in a time crunch, but these are really yummy if you have the chance.  Everything else was fairly simple, just a lot of chopping, my least favorite part of cooking.  I really need a sous chef.  Specifically for chopping onions. Any takers?

This was a delicious, hearty meal that kept nicely for a few days.  The only thing I noticed was somehow in the end, I ended up with biscuits, but not so much of the goodness under it.  Where did it go?! Was it absorbed by the biscuits?! I’m not sure, but I wasn’t going to complain about having extra biscuits to eat. I would absolutely recommend this recipe and most things Joy makes.

Photo courtesy of: Joy the Baker

Photo of my friend Jenna's finished product after sharing the recipe with her

Peanut Butter CookiesTaken from Smitten Kitchen 

Smitten Kitchen is also one of my favorite blogs for dinner ideas. These were not dinner (although I won’t say I haven’t done cookies for dinner) but they were amazing.  So a little backstory for you: I’ve never liked peanut butter cookies, ever.  I won’t even allow a peanut butter cookie in the vicinity of my cookie, as I feel its overwhelming flavor and scent rubs all up on my cookie, making it essentially a peanut butter flavored whatever-I-was-having, and this is something I am not okay with.  I love peanuts, peanut butter, Nutter Butters (explain that one) but never liked traditional peanut butter cookies….until now.

I had given my younger sister Leah, Ninja Bread Men cookie cutters for her birthday (because I’m the best), but because she doesn't like ginger bread (odd) she decided to use them for peanut butter cookies.  She sent me a photo of her seemingly inappropriate gesturing men with this recipe, and they looked so good, I had to try them!  I used a 2:1 ratio for chocolate chips to PB chips, as I was still skeptical about the whole peanut butter cookie idea, so I wanted to make sure they had a good amount of chocolate in them.  End result, awesome! Great cookie and guess what? Now I like peanut butter cookies! Or at least these ones. I don’t see myself buying any at a local bakery anytime soon, but it’s a start.
Leah's PB Ninja Bread Men

My double chocolate PB cookies

 Salted Caramel Cheesecake - Taken from Joy the Baker

Remember how I said I loved Joy the Baker? Well this is where it all began.  Really the name of this recipe should be Salted Caramel Cheesecake with GINGER SNAP CRUST, as that was a total selling point for me. My friends Bonnie, Kristen and I were hosting a fondue dinner party for New Year’s Eve, and Bonnie found this as a dessert possibility. As I’ve gained the “baker” title of the group, this became my responsibility.  It was a little more pressure than I’m used to but it was totally worth it.

I followed Joy’s directions to a T as I didn’t want to mess it up, and it totally paid off, didn’t even crack! (Combo of baking it in a water bath and letting it cool for 45 minutes in the oven with the door cracked). This was also my first crack at making caramel, and was very proud that I didn’t burn it (thanks to some pointers from a season salted caramel maker, Bonnie). Really though, I think my favorite part of this dessert (besides everyone’s praise) was the ginger snap crust. I used Trader Joe’s triple ginger snaps, which have little pieces of crystallized ginger in them, making them extra good. The cheesecake was amazing and one of the only things we were able to finish all of at our dinner party (we had way to much food). This recipe was a little involved as there are three separate parts and cheesecakes are a little finicky, but hands down one of the best deserts I’ve ever had and defiantly ever made.
No crack!
Finished product

The last recipe I’ll share was also for our New Year’s dinner party.

Caesar Salad Deviled Egg - Taken from Smitten Kitchen

We had a hard time coming up with appetizers for our fondue dinner party that did not involve bread or cheese (why would anyone not want to eat bread and cheese before eating bread and cheese?!? However we tried to think of our guests), so deviled eggs were a good option.  I found this recipe and thought it seemed like a good spin on a classic.  They were very good, and pretty easy.  Plus, I got to use my new pastry bags and tips to fill the eggs.  This is how my mom always does it so it’s obviously the only way to do it :)  It gives it a little flare, makes it looks fancier and less like blobs of crap in egg whites. We skipped the lettuce leaves for ease but they were still very good. This is always something that goes very fast at dinners in my house so I always opt for more than you would think you need. I think we eneded up with 36 egg halves for a 10 person dinner party. Needless to say, they were all gone. 

Photo Courtesy of: Life as an AmeriCanadian (Kristen)

Pin It Looking back at 2011- Rainbow Doodle Cake

This “exploring new recipes” idea was kind of in the works in the last few months of 2011, so I decided to do a little back-blogging and share some of those recipes as well.

My first real kitchen adventure was the Rainbow Doodle Birthday Cake (adapted from Sweetapolita).

My friends Bonnie and Kristen were turning 27 and I wanted to make them a special birthday treat.  My roommate Nikole had found this recipe months before, thinking it was super cool.  I thought, “Hey, I want to make some super cool,” and away I went!

I went an easier route that Sweetapolita, as I have yet to try my hand at a cake from scratch.  I used 2 boxes of Duncan Hines white cake mix (Pillsbury or Duncan Hines are my mom’s go to boxed cake mixes, never Betty Crocker) and made it as directed.  I then divided it up into 6 mixing bowls in equal parts, ~1 1/4 cup of wet ingredients in each bowl (sorry indigo, you got left out of my ROYGBV rainbow). From there I mixed in a ton of food coloring and baked each layer separately at 325F for 15 minutes in round cake pans.
Cooling cake layers
All stacked up

After all were cooled, I started to assemble the massive Rainbow Brite-esk cake, using canned vanilla Duncan Hines frosting as my mortar.  I was a little concerned that I would not be able to blend the layers nicely, in order to make it appear to be a uniform cake.  However, with enough frosting (2 cans for the cake), anything is possible!  I think it turned out pretty well J

M&M trim

I then decorated it with M&M’s because I thought it could use a little more sugar, and could hardly contain myself at how festive it was turning out J I could have totally added more M&M's but had to restrain myself to a boarder and some lettering.

Bonnie and Kristen turn 27!

We spent the day on a farm up near Brentwood, picking fruits and veggies.  At the end of the day, we settled into our comfy clothes for some well-deserved birthday cake.  We heavily documented the cake cutting and eating, as one should.
Ta da!

Smiley faces

Mongo slices
Festive crumbs

Overall, it was a success.  Very sweet, as it was double the cake and frosting of a normal cake, plus we cut HUGE slices for a more photo friendly rainbow cake. Definitely worth a try if you have an occasion, enough people to eat it and a little time on your hands.