Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

grandma's orange cake

a few weeks ago my family had a birthday party for my grandfather's 85th birthday.  my uncle hosted the party and as usual, i was in charge of dessert.  his email to me went like this:
O.K. you are my go to person for desert. There is a cake Grandma use to make. It is an Orange Glazed cake and it is awesome. Your job is to call Grandma and get the recipe and make it. As I recall it is a sheet cake with a glazed topping and you stick holes in it and pour O.J.
so here's what i ended up with:

start with a box of yellow cake mix and a box of instant vanilla pudding
add 1 cup cold orange juice...

1/2 cup vegetable oil...

4 eggs...

and 1 tsp orange zest
beat on medium speed for approx. 2 min
pour into a greased 9x13 in glass baking dish
bake at 350 for 30-35 min
add 1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup white sugar, 3/4 cup orange juice, and 1 tsp orange zest
to a saucepan and set over medium-high heat
stir gently as it melts
bring to a boil for 2 minutes
when the cake is still warm out of the oven, poke holes in it with a fork
slowly and evenly pour the liquid mixture over the cake
after the cake is completely cooled,
add some powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange zest to a small bowl
stir with a small whisk...
allow to sit and stiffen up for about 3 min
slowly pour over the cooled cake
use a spatula to gently spread the glaze (if needed)
take a moment to admire that beauty.
...but don't let any of your drool land on the cake.
and naturally, reward yourself by digging in.

grandma's orange cake.

zest of 2 oranges, divided into 3 teaspoons (1 tsp for each step)*

1 box (18.25 oz) yellow cake mix
1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold orange juice
*1 tsp orange zest

1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
*1 tsp orange zest

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp powdered sugar
4 tsp orange juice
*1 tsp orange zest

-preheat oven to 350.  lightly grease and flour (or use baking spray) a 9x13 inch baking dish.  add cake ingredients to a large bowl and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  pour into prepared dish and bake for 30-35 min.
-combine syrup ingredients in a saucepan.  stir mixture as it melts, and boil undisturbed for 2 minutes.
-while the cake is still warm, poke holes in the top of it with a fork.  pour syrup slowly and evenly over the cake.  allow to cool completely.
-when the cake is completely cool, stir glaze ingredients in a small bowl and allow to stiffen for 3-4 minutes.  pour evenly over cake.  if needed, use a rubber spatula to spread over any empty spaces.
-can be served immediately or stored at room temperature for 2-3 days.

this is probably the best cake. ever.

go forth!

p.s. also works great to bribe the front desk guy at the gym into letting me in for free.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

will's dirty thirty birthday cookies

 (aka chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips)

my friend and co-worker will recently turned thirty.  he loves sweets and requested something with white chocolate in it.  i thought chocolate cookies would be the perfect vehicle... it is dirty thirty after all!

start by adding flour, cocoa, baking soda, & salt to a medium bowl

mix well and set aside

next add butter and sugar to a large mixing bowl

beat until light and fluffy

add 2 eggs & 2 tsp vanilla extract
beat well

gradually add flour/cocoa mixture
beat until fully combined
add 10-12 oz white chocolate chips
stir in.
drop rounded teaspoons of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet.  bake 8-9 minutes

cool on cookie sheet for 2 min, then transfer to wire rack

will's dirty thirty birthday cookies (aka chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips)

2 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pkg white chocolate chips (package sizes vary between 10-12 oz depending on the brand)

preheat oven to 350
stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  set aside.
in large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
add vanilla and eggs, beat well.
gradually add flour/cocoa mixture, beating until fully combined
stir in white chocolate chips
drop rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet
bake 8-9 minutes.  (will puff while baking, and flatten while cooling)

you know what else i noticed after i made these cookies?  the white chips kind of stand out the same way grey hairs do!  happy birthday will, you old geezer!

Friday, February 18, 2011

epic fail friday

blueberry muffin fail.
this is what happens when you get greedy with the streusel topping

Monday, February 14, 2011


happy valentine's day, lovers!

last night, i made some brownies with a boxed mix and
then i cut them out with a heart shaped cookie cutter.

are you feeling the love?

hugs and kisses to you all.

Friday, February 4, 2011

baked french toast

i got this recipe from my lovely and delightful co-worker Jenn, and made it for a girls brunch on christmas eve.  i brought the leftovers home and my family liked it so much, they asked me to make it again for the morning after christmas.  then i made it again the next day.  yep.  3 times in one weekend.  so, make this baked french toast at your own risk, but please don't hold me responsible for your lack of self control.

start by slicing some french bread into 1 1/4 inch slices & dry slightly

spread tops with neufchatel cheese and arrange in greased casserole dish

whip together 6 eggs, some milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, & nutmeg

pour mixture over bread slices.  cover and refrigerate overnight.

next morning, take dish out of fridge 45 min before cooking

mix topping  of butter, brown sugar, nuts, & corn syrup. spread over bread slices

bake 40-45 min until puffed and golden.

confession:  when i first tried this recipe, i didn't realize there was supposed to be a second layer of bread on top of the slices covered in neufchatel.  so basically you want little sandwiches.  the dish was a little soggy, but still delectable.  i made it 3 times like this and nobody wanted to beat me up.  next time, however, i'll add the second layer of bread and it'll really soak up the excess batter.

baked french toast.  

2 baguettes french bread, sliced to 1 1/4 inch thickness & allowed to dry slightly (can be acheived more quickly by placing in a warm oven for a few minutes)
8 oz. block neufchatel cheese, softened
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup cream or half and half
1tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/3 cup softened butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans or walnuts
1 tbsp light corn syrup

grease 9x13 baking dish with sides.  spread cheese on half the bread and arrange to fill dish in one layer.  add a second layer of bread on top (without cheese).
in a bowl, combine eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, cinnamon & nutmeg.  mix well.
pour mixture over bread slices.  cover and refrigerate overnight

next morning- (this is the note on the original recipe given to me) - make sure you take the pan out of the fridge about 45 min before you cook it, otherwise it'll suck.
preheat oven to 350
in a bowl, combine butter, sugar, walnuts, and corn syrup, mixing well.
spread over bread slices (spreading is easier if topping [read: butter] is really soft, as bread will be soaked)
bake 40-45 min until puffed and golden.

delicious as-is, or can be served with maple syrup if you wish to achieve hyperglycemia.

thanks again to co-worker Jenn for sharing this amazing recipe!

Thursday, February 3, 2011