Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Shocking New Favorite- Oatmeal Cake

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{printable recipe here}
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't like coconut, and I don't like oatmeal. Last weekend we had a dinner party to go to and we were supposed to bring dessert (seems to happen frequently). I was busy painting in the garage and hadn't decided what to make yet when my friend emailed me a recipe for Oatmeal Cake that she was making for her daughter's birthday. I had all the ingredients on hand and my tall man loves oatmeal so I figured it would be perfect- I could take a hit for the team and make something with coconut and oatmeal.

The first step is to boil some water and soak some oats to soften (then put your kids down to nap), then you use the creaming method (just like cookies), add the oatmeal, dry ingredients, and pour into the pan, bake it off- totally low-maintenance. Since the cake is flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg, I snuck in some whole wheat flour. The color and flavor of the spices mask the difference in taste from the whole wheat and no one is the wiser. While the cake bakes, you make the caramel-y frosting with a whole bunch of yummy things- butter, brown sugar, vanilla, evaporated milk, nuts and coconut. Spread it over when the cake comes out of the oven and enjoy as soon as it starts to cool.

Then stand back and be totally surprised when I actually liked this cake! Really, with oatmeal (totally undetectable), coconut and nuts in the frosting, I LOVED this cake. It goes to show that I can really trust Naomi. And maybe I'm growing up. And that I need to make this cake again. The ingredients are cheap and easy, you could make it by hand with a big bowl and spoon. It's flexible- different nuts, or none, more coconut, or none, whatever. My son could make it. It's SO good too. I'm totally making this again, and maybe this week. I had hand surgery Monday and only have one good hand but this cake is that easy and delicious (and no chopping or anything) and I owe my peeps for taking care of me. This is good payback cake. Yum.

I'm doing another review from CSN Stores. Yes you've heard about them all over the blogs, but it never ceases to amaze me all the things they carry! From modern bar stools to kitchen tools. We got my Bosch from them for Christmas and I'm looking forward to getting some accessories for it. If you have any favorites please let me know! I'm thinking about the Bosch blender or maybe some new bread pans. Any advice?

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Oh Wow Anne Strawberry Actually Likes Oatmeal Cake (maybe even coconut...)
{printable recipe here}
from Celisa Smith

1 1/2 c. boiling water
1 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 c. flour (I used 1/2 whole wheat)
1 tsp. cinnamon (I always use a little more)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (I always use less- just a dash)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Pour boiling water over oats and let stand until cool. Cream butter with sugars for one minute then add the eggs and beat until fluffy. Stir in oats and water mixture. Add flour with other dry ingredients and blend into creamed mixture. Pour into greased and lightly floured 9X13 inch pan. Bake 350 for 35-45 minutes or until done. Spread topping on baked cake as soon as it comes from the oven.


Topping:

1/2 c. butter
1 c. brown sugar
1/3 c. evaporated milk
1 c. coconut
1 c. nuts, chopped (I used pecans)
1 tsp. vanilla

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add sugar. Blend. Add remaining ingredients and spread on baked hot cake. Place under broiler for a minute or two if you like a crisp topping. Serve cake with ice cream and fruit if desired.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake
{printable recipe here}
Sheet Pan Chocolate Cake is far from a new invention but I love this stuff. I made this pan for a church event a few weekends ago. I had no idea how many people would be there so I liked the flexibility of a big pan, to slice big or small depending on the numbers (as opposed to strictly portioned cupcakes, my usual cake choice!) This Texas Sheet Cake recipe comes from my mom and there's a few things I love about it. It's cheap and easy to make- and tasty of course! The chocolate color and flavor is more intense than most similar cakes I've tried because the cocoa is boiled with the liquid before you bake it. It's a quick step that makes all the difference. The frosting is also boiled for the same effect. Stir in a few marshmallows (and nuts if you like) right when the cake comes out of the oven and ice it immediately. The end product is a beautiful, easy to make cake that tastes amazing. It's far from health food but great for a party (just make sure you send guests home with any extra slices or you'll be in trouble!) Serve it with ice cream for an even more decadent, but totally comforting treat.

One last thing, before I go make my dinner (My tall man cannot live on dessert alone unfortunately!) I'm sure you heard, but just in case, today only you can get a $20 Amazon Giftcard for only $10 from Living Social. Oh man. We've snapped a few up already because you can buy pretty much everything from Amazon (think of the Mixers, Silpats, Gadgets, Baking Sheets, even TVs- that one's on my husband's wish list of course!) You can even use it for diapers (not as fun but it's pretty great to have them come straight to the door!) I've bought a few things from Living Social and haven't been disappointed. If you buy a gift card please let me know what fun things you get! And wish me luck, that my card gets spent in the "Home and Garden" (my favorite department)- not "Electronics!"

Anne Strawberry's Texas Sheet Cake
{printable recipe here}
For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a medium saucepan, combine and bring the following ingredients to a boil, then remove from heat and set aside:
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup butter

Meanwhile, combine the following and mix for two minutes in your mixer (or by hand, whatever, this is happy, easy cake!):
2 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk (I never have this on hand, so I just sour 1/2 cup milk with a teaspoon or so of vinegar, it only takes a minute but adds a lot of flavor)
1 teaspoon vanilla

After the wet team is well mixed, gently mix in the dry ingredients:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt

When everything is nice and mixed, turn the mixer on low and slowly pour in the boiled chocolate. Stir until just combined and pour into ungreased half sheet pan (a regular cookie sheet or jelly roll pan, as show above).

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, until the cake looks set and springs back slightly when you touch it. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.

For the Frosting

Combine the following ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to boil, then remove from heat and set aside:
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk


Add in the following ingredients and whisk until nice and smooth.
16 ounces powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

After it's shiny and smooth, stir in:
1 1/2 cups minimarshmallows
3/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans, almonds, etc)- optional

Set frosting aside and pour over cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Spread it gently to cover the whole cake and let set for a few minutes. Garnish with additional nuts if desired.

This cake keeps well for a couple of days, just keep it well covered. It doesn't ever last at our house long enough to go bad, though!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Orange Poppyseed Muffins

Orange PoppySeed Muffins 
I love to try a fancy, new dessert recipe but I also really appreciate a simple Tuesdays with Dorie recipe like these muffins. Right now it's citrus season and the trees are beautiful and heavy with delicious fruit, so I had a hard choice to make between lemon and orange for these babies. I went with orange merely because my little man asked so nicely (it is his favorite color still!) These muffins came together quickly and were super yummy, especially after the glaze went on top. I even subbed in 1/3 whole wheat flour and no one was the wiser. I can't seem to get my muffins to stay fresh more than one day (tips anyone?) but I am going to make these again for Sunday breakfast for sure. My favorite muffin from Dorie is still her Orange Berry muffins but this was a fun chance of pace. Get the recipe from Betsy or from Dorie's wonderful book here or try my favorite Lemon Poppyseed Muffin recipe. It's a classic. Just take it easy on the mixing and have a quick and special breakfast! Come back later this week for my first try with fondant (and overly ambitious pirate cupcakes for my little man's birthday!)

PS- I used some silicone muffin cups for the first time. NOT recommended in case you were wondering! I scored a whole stack of heart shaped ones for a buck at Goodwill at thought it would be fun, but instead of getting heart shaped muffins I have blobs in muffin liners that need to be washed (lame!) I do, however, 100 percent recommend buying a few Silpats to line your baking sheets. No more burned cookies or muffins, easy clean up, a million uses- I can't say enough about these things.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

TWD- Blueberry Banana Cream Pie

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It's a new year! I know everyone is in the middle of resolutions and things but why not start with a chocolate cookie, right? This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is a spicy, chocolaty cookie- midnight crackles to celebrate the new year and TWD's three year anniversary (I can't believe how the time flies!). I modified the recipe and wrapped the dough around mint three musketeers (Target Christmas clearance!) But obviously, you aren't looking at chocolate cookies, since I forgot to grab the pics from my mom's camera and my brother couldn't figure out how to get the pictures emailed to me for some reason. Card reader drama he claims, but I love my card reader, and my mom's, since we bought it too. Whatever the case, my cookie pictures are in limbo for tonight!)

So we have pie instead. I made a whole bunch of pie crusts for a Christmas party and while my kitchen was covered in flour and butter I made a few extra to freeze- pretty much no more effort and a lot of benefits. We had ripe bananas, ready to go blueberries, and whipped cream waiting to be used, so banana cream pie was on the menu. After I baked up the crust I layered in bananas, pastry cream (no cinnamon, per my mom's request), blueberries, bananas, pastry cream, and whipped cream on top for good measure. My family gets a lot of baked goods and sometimes they shrug off totally yummy things, so I was prepared for that response but instead I had two big guys vying for the last slice of pie (my tall man won out, with the husband claim, but my brother said I owed him a pie for all his babysitting). The pie was a hit- even with teething Baby Strawberry.

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See the full recipe and a sweet post on the TWD site (the actual cookies) or buy the book (it's a great investment, but I'll be honest, it might make you need to invest in some new jeans too!) As for the banana cream pie, I looked for the recipe on my blog and found it at the first of January 2009- apparently it's proper new years food (although since it is new years, I'm grateful the pie is all gone and it's oatmeal for breakfast instead!)