7.27.2012

Cake Baked in a Tin Can

This week, I have been a baking fool. Seriously, too much baking. But it's all been completely worth it because most of it was for my football season ebook! Originally, I wanted my ebook to be one hundred percent finished by August 1st. Last week, some friends were asking me how it was going, and I realized just how close to August it really was. So I freaked out a little bit. I had only made and taken photos of three of the ten recipes I wanted to include in this ebook. I have now conquered six of them, so it's well on its way! Probably won't be finished by the first of August, but hopefully soon after.

After all the baking I did for my ebook, I realized I hadn't written a blog post in over a week, so I decided to bake something, tiny, easy, and super cute.


Recently, I've been having huge issues with leftovers. And by that I mean, there are always baked goods in my apartment! I invite people over, I take them to meetings, I am always bringing them places (like when I went to the movies last night) and I still always have leftovers.

So. If I'm just making something for a blog post, I try to bake smaller batches. I've been using my 6 inch cake pans more often, and today I used something even smaller!




I've been wanting to try this for so long, just because the idea seemed really cute. I also think it's perfect for when you get a cake craving but don't want to make a whole cake. This teeny cake is the perfect size for two people - or one, no one will know if you eat the whole thing ;) - but you don't even have to cut it. You can just dig in!

There aren't any special recipes for this cake. I just used a basic yellow cake recipe, some store bought frosting I had left over from one of my ebook recipes. If you'd like a good yellow cake recipe, I recommend this one by Bakerella. There's also a super easy buttercream frosting recipe on that page, too.

As far as cans go, I think any tin can will work. I used a family sized chicken noodle soup can, so this cake isn't as small as it could have been. Personally, I think smaller equals cuter, so I'll have to try a regular sized can soon.

When it comes to baking this cake, make sure you get a thick coat of non-stick spray on the inside and then line the bottom with parchment paper. I filled mine about 1/3 full and baked it at 350 for 15-20 minutes, until the top was slightly golden brown. The time will differ depending on the size of the can. Just make sure you watch it and check on it frequently.

I was surprised at how much mine rose while it was baking. After it cooled, I ended up chopping off the top half and using my cake saw to divide the bottom half into four layers. Then I frosted it and, of course, decorated it with sprinkles.


I wanted to cut a tiny little slice just to see how cute it'd be. As you can tell, my frosting to cake ratio was a little off, but I like a little bit of cake with my frosting so it was all good. Anyway, can't wait to make another one of these in a smaller can!

7.17.2012

S'mores Brownies


Last week, I posted some beach themed cupcakes from Seagrove, Florida. My new favorite place on Earth. 

One night while my family was at the beach, our usual crew got together with six other family members that were staying in Panama City, which isn't too far away. I wanted to bake something again that would be easy and possibly use up some of the leftover ingredients I had from the beach cupcakes

I decided something with a crust would be best. First, I thought about a pie, but I wasn't sure if it there would be enough for everyone. I also didn't want to have to do any major decorating. S'mores are pretty popular in the baking world right now, and I'd been wanting to make something similar to the s'mores cupcakes two of my friends made a month or so ago. I scrolled through Pinterest and Foodgawker and decided brownies would be easiest. 




S'MORES BROWNIES

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
Brownie mix (You don't have to use a mix, any brownie recipe will do!)
1 bag jumbo marshmallows

  • Spray a 9x13 inch pan and preheat oven to 350.
  • Stir melted butter into the bowl of graham cracker crumbs. Mix well and press into the bottom of the 9x13 inch pan. 
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • While the crust is baking, mix up the brownie batter. 
  • When the crust is done, remove from oven and pour brownie batter over crust. Then put it back in the oven.
  • Bake according to directions on brownie mix or whichever brownie recipe you're using. 
  • While the brownies are baking, cut the jumbo marshmallows in half. You probably won't need all of them. I used a little over half a bag. You just need enough to completely cover the brownies.
  • When the brownies are done, lay the marshmallows on top.
  • Turn the oven to broil and put the brownies back in the oven. Broil for about a minute, or until the marshmallows are golden brown.
    • IMPORTANT. Do not walk away from the oven during this step. Seriously, I suggest just standing there and looking through the little window on the oven door and watching the marshmallows because they burn very easily. I have heard many alarming stories of marshmallows that have caught on fire in ovens this way.
  • Let the brownies cool and serve!
    • If you run a knife through hot water each time you cut into the brownies, it will be much, much easier. I didn't figure this out until I had cut about half the brownies and it was just a sticky, stringy mess. Tasty, but messy.


Sorry for another short post! I didn't get many pictures of these because we were in a huge hurry to go out to dinner and I didn't have my camera at first and I was having a wardrobe malfunction and everyone was waiting on me... Story of my life! But my next post will be longer, I promise!

7.12.2012

Beach Cupcakes


I'm at the beach this week! Actually, this is the last full day my family and I are going to be here. 

My aunt and uncle have a super cute beach house in Seagrove, Florida, and we stayed there for the first time back in May. There were just five of us that time, but this is our annual family vacation. There are usually about eleven of us, plus or minus a couple of cousins and their girlfriends (all my cousins are guys, except for one) and it's always something I look forward to every year. This year, five other family members were staying in Panama City, so all seventeen of us went out for dinner and back to the beach house for s'mores brownies! (That's going to be a completely different blog post!)


At the beginning of the week, we had the beach-house-half of our crew come over to our condo for dinner. I really wanted to make beach themed cupcakes on this trip and decided to go ahead and make them so we could have them for the rest of the vacation.

First off, let me go ahead and tell you that these cupcakes are sooo easy to make. I wanted to make something that wouldn't take much time to bake and decorate, so if you use a box mix and buy frosting from the store, it takes no time at all! And then there's more time for you to spend down on the beach.


BEACH CUPCAKES

1 box yellow cake mix
1 can vanilla frosting (I also used a packet of Flavor Creations for fun! The cinnamon roll flavor.)
1 can blue frosting (I used the Betty Crocker kind that comes with decorating tips, as seen in the picture above.)
1 box graham cracker crumbs (you can always buy graham crackers and crush them yourself)
Cocktail umbrellas

  • Bake cupcakes according to directions on box. Let them cool completely before frosting.
  • Pour graham cracker crumbs into a small bowl. 
  • Using a knife or a frosting spatula, frost half of each cupcakes with vanilla frosting and sprinkles with graham cracker crumbs or turn cupcakes upside down and dip into graham cracker crumbs.
  • For the blue frosting, I used Betty Crocker's canned frosting that comes with decorating tips, but if you want to make your own blue frosting, go for it!
    • Pipe or spread the blue frosting over the other half of the cupcakes. 
  • Then stick an umbrella into the sand half of each cupcake.
    • I got these umbrellas at Walmart, but I think they can also be bought at party stores like Party City.



7.05.2012

Toll House Pie



This week has been pretty exciting. Last Saturday, some really great family friends we haven't seen in too long came over to our house for dinner. We grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, had baked beans, the best crock pot hash brown casserole, ate pie, and re-watched the Crimson Tide win their fourteenth national championship. (Props to my dad for that last one.) That weekend was also filled with a bridal tea, cute snacks, a birthday party, and more great friends I hadn't seen in forever.


I didn't think I was going to have any 4th of July plans besides watching my old dorm implode (I'll get back to that in a second), but it turned out to be pretty eventful! The night before, my friends grilled out at their apartment, and everyone else brought or prepared something. There were hamburgers, corn, watermelon, beer macaroni (yeah, that's a real thing), and of course, 4th of July cupcakes with pop rocks and sparkler candles that were blown out while Whitney Houston sang the Star Spangled Banner in the background. So we kind of celebrated the 4th a day early. But after watching a 13 story building collapse, hanging out at the pool, and dinner with old friends and new friends, my roommate and I finished out Independence Day by biking to the amphitheater and watching fireworks in downtown Tuscaloosa. 


And now things should be pretty calm for a couple of days, which is why I figured I should go ahead and write about this pie!


This is another recipe from my grandmother's collection. I'm not sure if she ever made it, but I've wanted to try it ever since I saw it. I've never made a pie before, and it turns out that this one is super easy. Especially if you buy a pie crust at the store, which is what I did because I didn't think I was going to have time to make one. But if you do want to make your own pastry pie crust, here's the recipe my grandmother cut out of a magazine.



TOLL HOUSE PIE
Granny's Recipes 002
2 eggs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (Or mini chocolate chips)
1 pie crust (homemade or store bought)


  • Prepare pie crust according to instructions, or set out store bought pie crust to thaw.
    • After the crust has thawed, place in pie pan according to instructions above.
  • Preheat oven to 325. 
  • In a medium bowl, beat eggs on medium speed until foamy.
  • Add flour, sugar, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat until well blended. 
  • Cut butter into 1 inch cubes. Then blend in butter.
  • On low speed, mix in chocolate chips.
    • As you can see in the pictures, my sort of sank to the bottom of the pie. If you don't want this to happen, you can use mini chocolate chips instead.
  • Pour pie filling into prepared crust and smooth it out with a spoon or rubber spatula.
  • Bake pie at 325 for 1 hour.
  • Let pie cool and serve with ice cream.




Now back to my old dorm imploding. 

My sophomore year of college, my roommates and I decided to live in Rose Towers, an ancient thirteen story dorm. When we signed up to live there, we didn't know a new dorm was being built where the parking lot was. We woke many mornings to drills, horns, and blasts, but it was actually kind of cool to watch the progress of the new building. I thought the construction was pretty annoying at the time, but looking back on it, the worst part of living in Roach Towers was that it was just old and gross. 

It may have been dirty and decrepit, but I have some really great memories from my time there. And even the bad memories are kind of funny now when we look back on them. The first week when our room flooded, family dinner nights, roommate guitar hero jam sessions... Still, I was really excited to see it collapse. Then, about a week ago, I remembered I started this blog in that old twelfth floor dorm room and it has completely changed the path I was on when I started college. 

But it looked so cool when it imploded. Seriously, one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life. 

My roommate, one of our friends who was visiting, and I woke up super early, made a Starbucks run, and arrived at the viewing area that was set up in a parking lot nearby. I was so surprised by the number of people that showed up. There were students, families, old people, babies. It was crazy. And I made sure to get it all on video so I could share it with you. :)





And here's another video with an aerial view and an after shot.