My Mommy’s Birthday Cake!

Today is my mommy’s birthday! We celebrated her birthday with my grandparents on the 11th, though. I was still fasting (it was my last day of the fast) but I knew I had to make her a cake anyway.

My mom is an amazing person. She is compassionate, smart, sarcastic, funny, and just all around the best! She is a huge chocolate lover, something she passed down to her children, but she shockingly prefers yellow cake to chocolate cake. Living in our family of chocoholics, she hardly ever gets to have yellow cake so I knew that’s what I had to make for her birthday.

Now I have a confession to make…I used a box cake :( I know…I’m so ashamed. But here’s my excuse: I still wasn’t feeling 100% and so I wanted something a little bit easier. Also, I have never made a yellow cake that beat a box cake mix. I have a recipe that I really want to try but I didn’t want to make it for the first time on a cake as important as this one and then not have it turn out! See! I’m really thoughtful!

Here’s the key, though, if you make a yellow cake from a box mix- you HAVE to get the kind that’s made with butter. Not oil, butter. This makes the cake so much more delicious.

With butter!

I made the MOST DELICIOUS chocolate frosting from one of my favorite bloggers, Sugar Plum. I’ve talked about this frosting before and it is seriously outstanding. Here’s the cake before I frosted it!

I think this is one of the prettiest cakes I’ve ever made. I made extra frosting so I’d have a ton to fill the cake and lots to frost it! It worked out really well. Then I decided to make chocolate drizzled strawberries for the top.

This was really fun to make! And my family said it was one of the best cakes I’ve ever made- they liked the simplicity (somethings most of my cakes lack ;)

Tonight we’re all going out to eat to celebrate :) I’m pretty excited for it!

Sugar Plum’s Chocolate Frosting

I made 1.5 of this recipe for this cake. You don’t have to but I like a lot of frosting!

2/3 cup granulated sugar +1/3 cup
1/3 cup all-purpose flour +1/6 cup
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder +1/5 tablespoons
1/8 teaspoon salt +a tiny extra
1 cup milk +1/2 cup
1 cup unsalted butter, softened +1/2 cup
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted + 1/2 cup

In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, salt and milk until it boils. Whisk the mixture frequently until it gets very thick (about one minute). Strain the mixture into a small bowl and cool it completely in the refrigerator or freezer.

When the strained “pudding mixture” is cooled, beat butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in “chocolate pudding” mixture until well combined, about 1 minute. Beat in melted chocolate until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Spread frosting onto cake layers.

I shared this post over at Tasty Tuesdays and Sweets for a Saturday and on Foodie Friday and This Chick can Cook!

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Alright…School.

I really truly had one of the greatest summers ever and I am so grateful for everything I got to do and experience. Even after I got home and wasn’t doing anything, I enjoyed just relaxing. I didn’t really want school to start because a lot of times it can be not so enjoyable and stressful. But school started again…as it does every year. And, you know what? It’s gone pretty well so far! For the first year in a long time, I don’t have a teacher that I sense is going to be bad- so far I like all of them!

It doesn’t really feel like school has started yet. This weekend feels like it’s just part of my summer vacation :) Thursday was my first day and it was a half day. After school, Celina and I went out and got pedicures! A pedicure was my birthday present for her (in June) but because summer was so busy, it hadn’t happened yet. We decided to do it for the start of school! It was a lot of fun and I love how my toenails turned out. Oh if anyone in the Spring Hill area needs/wants a place to get their nails done, I would totally recommend Luxy Salon in the Crossings. I’ve been there twice now and they’re always really nice and do a great job!

See my super awesome tan line on my feet? I know you’re jealous.

So that night, my family went to the fair! It was so much fun :) I had been planning on going to the fair just to take pictures and eat food. And that I did! I also caught part of a very interesting hypnotist show!

Mmm…funnel cake :) So tasty!

To see all my fair pictures go to http://www.amiliaphotography.com/?p=766 :)

Friday was our first full day of school…and it went well too :) Some things aren’t great yet…I don’t know where to sit in some of my classes and I don’t feel motivated to do any homework..but I’m hoping everything will start feeling more normal soon. Friday evening I returned to the fair with my friends and rode some rides! That was pretty awesome too :) Oh and I had a deep fried oreo which was super yummy!

Then on Saturday I baked banana bread and went and saw The Help at the movies. So yeah…still feels like I’m doing things in summer mode! Even as this year gets going and school becomes more hectic, I’m hoping to maintain a positive attitude. I would love it if I liked my senior year!

Sing Your Heart Out

Yesterday I went to the fair’s singing competition, Sing Your Heart Out, because my sister was singing! She’s such an amazing singer. There were some super talented kids there. There was a grade school, middle school, and high school division. It was a rather…long night. (Hem hem for next year you should have separate nights for each division).

My sister sang Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis and just nailed it! There were a lot of other girls from her singing classes there (J. Kelley Studio) and they all did incredible. At the end of the night, the results were presented. Aaaand my sister didn’t win. But she really should have. She at least should have placed (and I’m not saying that just because I’m biased. I’m really not!). The judging was totally crazy…the high school division wasn’t judged right at all either. We were all shocked with the results. It was all very disappointing. The awards ($500 and $1000) were given out really awkwardly, too. The judges (crazy people) didn’t say anything at all, the M-C’s presented them without any sort of fanfare…I mean really! It was strange. So many of the girls were upset about the results (they had a right to be). Oh well…I guess that’s just how it goes. To make my sister feel better (for not winning) and my mom, youngest sister, and me feel better (for sitting there for 5 hours) we ate funnel cake. It was delicious!


My Sister’s Birthday and the Biggest Cake Ever

Yesterday was Celina’s birthday- she turned 13! She is an amazing person, a super talented singer, really smart, and beautiful! We had a really fun time celebrating. My mom, two sisters, and I went and saw Rio in the theater. It was a cute movie with fun music and now I really want to go to Rio de Janerio. Celina got a couple of Wii games for her birthday, one of which was the Harry Potter Lego game. We played that quite a bit yesterday- it’s really fun! We just go around smashing everything we can…hehe. After BBQ chicken and rolls and corn for dinner, Celina, my mom, and I went swimming. The water was sooo warm. I liked it though. We had a lot of fun fighting over pool toys :) Then we went home and ate the cake that I’d spent a lot of the day making.

What cake you ask? Oh it was pretty intense. I made an Oreo Cake. Now this cake is not calorie free. However, a slice of this cake really doesn’t have more calories than watermelon, so don’t feel bad about eating it! The process of making this cake was pretty involved and there were times where I just about lost it. But in the end I think it was worth it! (Be warned, this is a long post!)

I started by making the two chocolate cake layers. I used the Pioneer Woman chocolate sheet cake recipe (best chocolate cake ever!) and baked it in two 9″ pans.

You start by mixing together your flour and sugar and whatnot.

That is not butter. Nope it’s not. It’s…umm..tofu.

Add your tofu and cocoa mixture to the dry ingredients.

And mix ’em together! With a wooden spoon! It really is so much fun! Now you need buttermilk but I never have buttermilk to I just take milk and put a ton of lemon juice in it. Then you add your eggs, vanilla, and baking soda. It starts fizzing and stuff! I always feel like it’s some sort of science experiment. Oh here’s a hint, when a recipe calls for baking soda, you have to put it in. Hem hem…not that I’ve EVER made this recipe and forgotten the baking soda. And I’ve definitely not done that twice. Nope!

Now I learned a while ago how to fold parchment paper so you can easily get the perfect circle. It’s so easy! And your cakes really won’t stick to the pan at all. Look up how to do it! I’m sure there are plenty of videos of how to do it.

So I put the batter in the pan and stuck it in the oven for 20 minutes. I thought they were done but I realized a little while later that one of the chocolate layers was still kinda raw…the only thing I could at that point was cut away the raw-ish part (it was only one section in the middle). I hacked up that cake layer and then flipped it over and made it the bottom of the cake. And nobody will ever know. Unless they read this.

After the chocolate cake layers were done, I made the chocolate frosting for the outside of the cake. This frosting is from Sugar Plum and is one of my favoritest chocolate frostings ever! I’ve altered this frosting before to make it into nutella frosting, too. It’s really good. But I didn’t do that this time. For this frosting you make a pudding-like mixture first.

Milk.

Flour. Sugar. Cocoa. Some other stuff. (I do this picture thingy for fun…if I were you, I would follow the recipe I put at the bottom of the page instead of my perhaps-not-accurate picture captions.)

You whisk this mixture together until it gets really thick. Then put it in a bowl and put it in the fridge/freezer to cool it.

After it’s cool, you need to strain it. I hate straining this mixture so much. It’s hard to do and I get chocolate everywhere and I ended up breaking the strainer. Straining this mixture is a delightful, easy process. Once it’s strained, you cream some butter tofu.

Then you add the strained pudding mixture and melted chocolate chips.

And blend it all up until it’s creamy!

Then you eat this entire bowl of frosting to make yourself feel better because the yellow cake layer just came out of the satanic oven and it’s inedible.

I didn’t really do that.

But I kinda wanted to.

The yellow cake layer I was making didn’t really turn out. And I was a tad bit frustrated.

Yellow cake+ Oreo chunks. How could that go wrong??? Oh I thought of a way. When your OVEN STOPS WORKING AFTER YOU PUT THE CAKE IN TO BAKE AND AFTER 30 MINUTES YOU GO TO TAKE THE CAKE OUT AND IT’S NOT EVEN COOKED AND SO YOU RESTART THE OVEN AND LET IT SIT IN THE OVEN FOR ANOTHER 30 MINUTES. Not that that was frustrating at all.

Now this may not look horrible. But it had the texture of…a sponge and tasted really gross. In the trash it goes!

This is when I cleaned up and went to the movies. And then I came back and tried this again. The oven worked this time! And here’s the cake layer a second time. Much better.

So now you have your 3 cake layers and outside frosting. All you have to do left is the filling! I got this filling recipe from Bakergirl and actually doubled her recipe because I didn’t think it would be enough. If anyone wants oreo filling, come on over. We have a ton in the fridge. The filling is basically heavy cream skim milk, powdered sugar, vanilla, and oreo crumbs. See that red handle? That’s the handle of our little spatula. He’s a little…err weak. He could barely handle folding the oreo crumbs into the whipped cream without breaking.

Next you assemble the cake!

I don’t know if you can tell how tall this is. It’s really really tall.

I had a really hard time covering the outside with the chocolate frosting. Note to self: less filling, more frosting.

Oh yum.

I hope you don’t mind messy cakes because this one was pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to cut neatly. We’re celebrating with our grandparents tonight and are gonna eat more of this cake. I suggested we just go at it with forks. That’d be the easiest thing to do! But it really was pretty magnificent. It’s not often that I get to make a totally crazy over-the-top cake. Actually I think the last time I made a cake as intense as this one was last year for my sister’s birthday.

(Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream Cake recipe from Sugar Plum)

Here’s miss teenager! Look how pretty she is :)

Cake time!

If you have a little sister with a birthday coming up, you should make her this cake :) Or just make it for someone else you love.

Chocolate Cake Recipe from the Pioneer Woman

Follow her recipe except put the batter into two 9″ pans. And remember you can use milk and lemon juice instead of buttermilk. And remember to put in the baking soda.

Chocolate Frosting Recipe from Sugar Plum(she uses this frosting recipe for tons of things so I don’t know what to link to. Just check out her website. She’s amazing.)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
Directions:

In a saucepan, whisk together sugar flour, cocoa, salt, and milk. Bring it to a boil, whisking frequently. Boil for 1 minute or until the mixture is thick. Remove the pan from heat and strain mixture in a small bowl. Cool completely in the refrigerator or freezer. I just realized that this recipe says to strain it before you cool it. I am so bad at following directions. Like I have seriously made this frosting recipe probably 10 times. Maybe this would be easier to strain when it’s still hot. I’ll try that next time. Hem hem.

After the mixture is cool, beat the butter until creamy, about one minute. Beat in the chocolate pudding mixture until well combined, about 1 minute. Beat in melted chocolate chips until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Another note about this. I put the frosting in the fridge until I was ready to assemble the cake. When I took it out of the fridge, it was really hard. So I used my mixer and beat it until it was soft again and then frosted the cake.

Oreo Yellow Cake Recipe

Prepare a 1/2 of a yellow cake box mix. For me, this meant using 2 cups of the mix, 1.5 eggs, 1/6 of a cup of oil, and 2/3 cup water. Then you cut a sleeve of double stuffed oreos into fourths and stir it into the batter. Pour it into a 9″ pan and bake according to the box time. You could make your own yellow cake instead of the box mix. But I didn’t. Yep.

Oreo Filling Recipe by Baker Girl (The frosting she used for her cupcakes is what I used for filling.)
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons whipping cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons Oreo cookies, finely crushed

Yeah I doubled this recipe. I don’t know that that was necessary. So use your own judgment. Or you can one and a half the recipe. That’d probably be the smartest thing to do.
I ended up using close to 2 packages of double stuffed oreos for this.

Yum!