11.10.2011

PIE-CEPTION CAKE

I have some friends that always come up with insane things for me to bake. Josh is one of these friends, and a week or so ago when I was thinking about what kind of cake to make for his birthday, I had the best idea. Seriously, the best idea.

The best part of this idea is that it was his idea. He said, "Beth, you should make a cake that has a pie between the two layers of cake instead of icing." But he told me about it way back at the beginning of the semester, so I didn't know if he would remember it or not.



It's kind of hard to see in this picture, partly because it's dark and partly because I put a chocolate pie between two chocolate layers of cake. You can kind of see it, though.

This cake really wasn't that hard to make. I've seen pictures of cakes with pies baked right into the layers, but I don't think my old oven could handle that.

All you have to do is make your favorite cake, either from scratch or a mix. It doesn't really matter. I haven't progressed into the making-cakes-from-scratch phase yet, but I think it could happen soon.

I chose a dark chocolate cake mix, an Edward's chocolate creme pie, and vanilla buttercream frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
(from Betty Crocker's The Big Book of Cupcakes)

6 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
3-4 tablespoons milk

Mix butter, vanilla, and milk in a bowl and add powdered sugar one cup at a time.



WARNING: you should probably set aside two days for this cake, the second day being the day you plan on eating it. Also, keep the pie in the freezer until you put it on the cake.

I started by taking one of the cake layers and putting the pie on top of it. Pretty simple.



I had some canned frosting left over from something else and I used the rest of it to fill in the top of the pie so the top layer of cake would lay flat. You don't want the top layer to sink in.



Then I put the second layer on top of the pie. I used a 9 inch pie and 9 inch cake pans, but the pie was still a little bit bigger than the layers of cake. You could probably trim the pie if you wanted to, but I wanted to be able to see the shape of the pie inside the cake.




Next, I covered the pie area with frosting to fill in the gaps.




Then I piped on the rest of the frosting. I decided just to use stars, that way I could cover up the pie easier.




I am terrible at piping words, so I just used mini-chocolate chips. One of my friends asked me if that took forever, but honestly, piping the stars took longer than the chocolate chips did.



Since I used a frozen pie, I put the cake in the fidge for a few minutes repeatedly throughout the decorating process. It turned out fine, but I was paranoid that it would start thawing and get mushy.

The birthday boy!
Before you watch this video, you should know that when I was taking it, I thought changing the camera angle half way through would be a good idea. But I didn't think about how it would look on the internet, so you might have to watch some of it sideways.


video

I wish I would have kept recording for another minute because I love their reactions! It's one of the things I love about baking crazy things.

Josh didn't remember that he gave me this idea and that made him freak out even more, which is kind of what I was going for.

The cake itself was really good. I'm really happy with how it turned out and I will definitely experiment with this sort of thing again sometime!

Happy Birthday again, Josh! I hope it was a good one!

11.03.2011

S'mores Cupcakes

College is keeping me sooo busy.  I've haven't posted in awhile because of midterm week, which was followed by fall break week. But I haven't had as much homework this week, and I've been wanting to post about these cupcakes ever since I made them last weekend.


S'more flavored cupcakes are pretty popular right now in the baking world. Most of the ones I've seen have some sort of toasted marshmallow frosting on the top. I decided to make my own version by making a marshmallow filling, mainly because I've always wanted to make cupcakes with some sort of secret filling inside.


I really like how these turned out! I had never used a dark chocolate cake mix before I made these. You don't have to make dark chocolate cupcakes, though. Your favorite chocolate cupcakes will do.


I used a sharp knife and slowly cut a circle in the tops of the cupcakes.


I've heard of a lot of different techniques for scooping out the middle of a cupcake, but I just used the knife and it worked fine.



Next is the filling! I thougt about using the same marshmallow frosting that I used to make my whoopie pie cupcakes, but I decided to try a different one. After searching the internet, I came across this one at Erin Cooks.




At this point, I took my dog outside for a quick walk and snapped a couple pictures of the pretty fall leaves. This one is my favorite.

So back to cupcakes.



I frosted the cupcakes with chocolate frosting and dipped it in crushed up graham crackers. Then I added a few mini chocolate chips for cuteness.



I also covered some of them in mini chocolate chips for the extreme chocolate lovers in my family, which would be my dad and me.

I've been wanting to make a cake version of this because I've seen so many of the cupcakes. I attempted to make a s'mores cake with a pumpkin shaped pan because it was Halloween weekend, but it didn't really turn out how I wanted it to.



It looks pretty cute, and it tasted pretty good, but I had such a hard time with this cake that I almost didn't take it back to school with me. One of the layers stuck to the pan, some of the frosting fell off over night, the top layer sort of fell apart by the left eye. But you win some and you lose some. This lost. But the cupcakes won for sure!