Happy Birthday Strawberry Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

IMG_3433     IMG_3400IMG_3402 My Moms birthday was this past week, and naturally, I made the cake for our big family birthday gathering. (and I bought and made dinner and cleaned everything up, although the mister did do all the dinner dishes) Word to my sisters… You guys suck! (but I still love you)

Every year my mom asks for the same cake. Strawberry with Lemon frosting. Then a few years ago, other people in the family started asking for the same one. Now there is a weird strawberry cake thing going on between some of my family members. They have taken claim of the strawberry cake and don't want me to make it for anyone else but them. They think that because I make them this awesome cake that they are somehow special. Well guess what people.. Your only special for one day, then you go back to being normal.

I have a family full of a bunch of weirdoes.

Anyways, My mom said she wanted the usual strawberry cake, but as cup cakes, or actually she asked me to make the little square cakes. I was kind of confused when she said square cakes because well, what the hell was she talking about? But then I remembered that a long time ago I use to have a square cupcake pan. (I lost in somehow) So no, I couldn't make the cakes square, but I sure could make them cute. And cute as hell is what I did.

IMG_3120Cake Stuff. Flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt whisked together in a bowl. Butter, a little oil, vanilla, eggs and buttermilk. Then of course we have strawberries cause it wouldn't be a strawberry cake with out them.IMG_3135First things first. Wash, trim and dice up the strawberries. Stick them into a pot and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of sugar. Heat on low and let the strawberries cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until they turn into a thick syrup. IMG_3144The sugar and the butter get beaten together until light and fluffy. Then goes in the oil, eggs, and vanilla. The milk is then added to the strawberry mixture. Add half the dry mixture to the wet, mix, then mix in half the strawberry mixture to that. Mix the rest of the dry in and finish off with the strawberry mixture.

Pour batter into well greased and parchment lined baking sheet (or pans).  Stick cake into preheated oven for about 35 minutes, rotating cakes after 15 minutes. Cake is done when it starts turning a light gold brown and a cake tester stuck in the middle comes out clean. IMG_3178Cake gets pulled from the oven and set on a rack to cool.

I actually wrapped the cake when it was cool enough and stuck outside for a few hours. It didn't completely freeze, but it was close. Frozen cake is easier to cut then soft non frozen cake. No necessary, but if you have the time…. 

While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.  Powdered Sugar, a stick of butter, cream cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla get mixed together until it turns into a big bowl of thick lemony frosting. IMG_3362Tomato can cutout. (I couldn't find my biscuit cutters)  A biscuit or cookie cutter would probably work a little better.. The cakes kept getting stuck in the can. IMG_3382Frost the cake!! Place frosting into a piping bag or a big plastic zip lock with the tip cut off.  2 rounds to a cake. A squeeze of frosting goes on one, topped with another and given a little smoosh. A nice big dollop of frosting on top then….IMG_3400 Sprinkles!!!!  Or sliced  strawberries (my mom doesn't like sprinkles..I know)

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So freaking cute. I don't know if I can make a normal cake again.

Mom gets the bigger 3 tiered cake.. and a few more of the little ones. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

-C


Strawberry Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

makes 16 two tiers cupcakes or can be made in three 8 inch cake pans

The Cake

  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup or  one Stick Soften Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1 Cup Sugar plus 2 Tablespoons
  • 1 lb Fresh Strawberries (Can use Frozen, just let them thaw )

The Frosting

  • 4 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Stick Soften Butter
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese (Half a block)
  • Zest of a Lemon
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 375

Grease a parchment lined  13x18 high rimmed baking sheet and dust with flour. If you baking sheet isn't as big as mine, use whatever size you have and make a few cupcakes on the side. Or make one , 3 tiered  cake with 8 inch cake pans.  I trust that you can find a way to bake all this cake batter.

Wash, trim and dice strawberries. Toss them in a medium sauce pan and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place on low heat and cook for about 10 minutes  until  strawberries break down and turn into a thick syrup. Take of heat and let cool.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder and soda in a bowl and whisk together, In another large bowl, add butter and sugar together and beat on medium until light and fluffy. Add in oil, vanilla and eggs. Beat together. Now add the milk to the  strawberries and mix together. Beat in half the dry into the wet, add in half the strawberry mixture, then the rest of the dry, and finish off with the rest of the strawberry mixture. 

Pour batter into prepare baking sheet (or pans) and place in oven. Check cake after about 15 minutes and rotate to help insure an even bake. Bake for another 15- 20 minutes, or until cake  starts to turn golden brown and a tester (toothpick) comes out clean.  

Remove from oven and let completely cool.  (Not necessary, but once cake is cooled , wrap with plastic wrap and stick cake into the freezer of a little while before cutting the circles.. its makes it a little easier)

While cake is cooling, make the frosting. Place all ingredients in a big bowl and beat together until a nice soft but sturdy frosting forms.  If. you frosting seems to thick add in a  splash of milk. To thin.. add a little more sugar. 

When the cake is cooled, get to it. With you cookie or biscuit cuter dipped in powdered sugar, cut as many circles as you can. 

Fun Time!! Frost the cakes. Place frosting into a pastry bag, or like me, a large zip lock bag with the tip cut off. Partner up all the cake rounds and go through and give one of each of the pairs a good dollop of frosting. Top with the remaining cake, give it a lithe smooshto make sure they stick, and squeeze a nice dollop of frosting on top. Finish off with sliced strawberries and lots of sprinkles.

Sing Happy Birthday and eat!

From Scratch Oreo Cookies Yea!

IMG_3311 What is better for a bake sale then Oreo cookies?  Oreo cookies made from scratch!.

So when my sister called and asked me to make something for my nephews bake sale to raise money for his basketball team, I couldn't say no. (or I  didn't want to say no cause any good excuse to bake right!) Plus I had just found this awesome recipe on one of my favorite blogs, my name is yeh, for home made Oreos that I have been super excited to try, so it kind of worked out. But before I committed to the Oreo, I wanted to just double check with my nephew and see what he might want me to make because it was his bake sale. 

This is the conversation we had. And yes, it was through text.

Me- "Hey bud, what do you want me to make for your bake sale? Cupcakes, cookies, donuts, or brownies"

Jack- " Yea!"

Me- "Yea what?"

Jack- "Make that."

Me- "Make  what?….Hello!! What do you want me to make? Should I make Oreos?"

Jack- I WANT OREOS!"

Ok.. So it took a little while, but we got there. And after the  the basketball game and the super successful bake sale..

ME-"Did you see the Oreos?"

Jack- "What do you mean?"

Me- "The Oreos I made for the bake sale…the ones you wanted me to make"

Jack- "There was a bake sale? I want Oreos"

Yup, that's the attention span of my 13 year old nephew. Little shit head. But for real, I had so much fun making these cookies and I am definitely going to be making them again. Plus they were a super hit at the sale.

I am the best aunt! (and sister!)

IMG_3210Cookie Time! Whats going on here is brown sugar and butter  have be beaten together until nice and fluffy Then a good big splash of vanilla and another 2 big splashes of coffee are added to that.(I sacrificed my last few sips of my coffee for these cookies)  The dry stuff, flour, salt and cocoa powder, are whisked together, waiting to be added to the wet.  IMG_3213Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and mix. I ended up just using my hand and kind of squish mixing everything together until in tuned into a nice lovely uniformed dough.  Form the dough into 2 balls and give each a few kneads to get any air bubbles out. Place dough back into bowl and stick in the fridge to sit for 10-15 minutes( it makes the dough a little easier to work with)

IMG_3235Once the dough has had a little time to rest and cool, remove from fridge, one ball at a time. Place on a lightly cocoa or powdered sugar dusted surface and roll out the dough. Grab any size circle (or other shape) cookie cutter and get to shaping the cookies. Notice the tin can in the bowl? I could't find my biscuit cutters anywhere but the can was the perfect size, and it worked really well. Keep a little bowl of either powered sugar of cocoa to dip the cutter in in between making the cookies. It really helps the dough from sticking and breaking. 

When you have cut out your cookies, use a spatial and place them on a baking sheet. You can try to transfer with you hands, but you end up messing up the shape and most of them will break anyway.

Stick the cookies in the oven for about 15 minutes a batch and continute to roll and cut out the cookies until you have no dough left. 

IMG_3272 While the cookies are getting their cool on, make the cream filling. All you need is a stick of butter, about 4 cups of powdered sugar, some vanilla and a few splashes of heavy cream. Beat that all up until nice and creamy thick and spoon it into a pastry bag (I used a big old ziplock bag) to be piped on the cookies. IMG_3302Filling the cookies is for sure the best part. Separate the cookies into pairs and pipe a big blob of filling onto one of the two cookies. Take the names cookie and place on top, giving it a little smooth to the disperse the cream. Keep doing that until the cookies are all filled.

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Stacks of cookies… Sold to the highest bidder! I was told that they sold out within the first half hour at $1.50 a pop….Should have charged $5…. for a good cause right?

And yes, even though he was being a space head and didn't even care that I just  made him like 50 bucks for his team, I still saved the kid one.He just had to give me either a hug or 5 bucks for it.

I got a hug. (I really wanted the 5 dollars)

-C


From Scratch Oreo Cookies 

Adapted by Molly Yeh from My Name is Yeh!

The cookie (makes about 18 3 inch Oreos)

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup or 2 sticks soften butter (use earth balance for vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons brewed coffee

The filling

  • 1 stick soft butter (us earth balance for vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream (use a nut or soy milk for vegan)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Cookies- In a large bowl cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla and coffee and mix together. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Add dry to wet and mix together unit a uniform dough forms. Dump out onto a lightly cocoa or powdered sugared surface and knead dough a few times. Split ball into two balls, place in bowl, and stick in the fridge for 15 or so minutes.

Preheat oven t0 325 degrees

When dough is chilled, remove one ball at a time, and roll dough out on a cocoa or powdered sugar dusted counter until its about 1/4 inch thick. With a round (any shape would work) cookie cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can. In between sits, dip cutter in a sugar and cocoa to keep the cookie from sticking. Transfer cut out cookies onto a baking sheet with a spatula.  Take scraps, roll into a ball, and roll out again. Keep doing that until you can't cut out any more. (You can either bake a weird shape cookie or just eat the dough)

Bake cookies for about 15 minutes or until the cookie has risen a bit and the tops have lost their glossiness and look cooked.  Remove from oven and let cookies dry on a wire rack.

Make the filling

Filling- Beat together butter, sugar, vanilla, and cream until completely mixed and is at your optimal consistency. Add a drizzle more cream if you want to thin out or add more sugar for a thicker cream. 

Stick the filling into a piping bag or ziplock bag an snip the end. With cookies in pairs, pipe a big dollop of filling onto one of the two cookies. Place the naked cookie onto the filled cookie and give a smooth to distribute the filling.

lick your fingers and eat a cookie. 

If selling at a bake sale, charge $3 a cookie…. If it's for a good cause. 

DIY Marbled Watercolor Stained Glass

IMG_3084I don't know if I have bitched enough about it, but I only have one window in my living space. And as much as I love love love our little tiny loft, I am a person who needs the sun. So when I am home I spend a lot of time siting in front of the window.  Over the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of watercolor painting in front of that window and somehow  between drawings of carrots and  vintage fans, I ended up making these marbled window stained glass hoops. And I am glade I did because these little watercolor gems really do make a big impact on my one source of sunlight. Even when the day is kind of gray and gloomy, having these in the window make the light seem brighter and happy. 

We can all use a bright happy window.

IMG_2825So this project is really easy and fast. I recommend that if you are going to go to the trouble (it's really no trouble) of making one, you might as well make 2 or 5. I actually made a bunch (think Mothers day or Easter presents) and ended up only keeping a s couple. I am going to have to make a few more soon.

You will need-

  • Watercolors 
  • water
  • paintbrush
  • Sketch paper*
  • A pan or tray with a bit of water 
  • Embroidery Circles * (As many as you want to make)

*Notes

  • -I tried to use a few different types of paper and found that the sketch works the best. Watercolor paper was a bit to thick and printer paper just kept ripping.
  • -You can buy embroidery circles at any craft store and they usually have a good variety of sizes. Use the sizes that you like.

IMG_2830Take a piece(s) of paper a little bit bigger then the hoop you are working with and stick it into a pan or tray of water. Let it sit there for a few minutes until the paper is completely soaked.IMG_2832Take the wet paper and, oh so gently, crumple into a ball. This part can be a little tricky. You want to make as many creases as possible without ripping that paper. (I ripped a few pieces) I found that if I folded that paper a few time, then crumpled that it was less likely to rip.

IMG_2850Uncrumple the paper and lay it gently onto the inner part of the hoop. Now the fun part. Go to town with the watercolors. I used 2 colors per piece, but you could do 1 or 3, or more. When applying the color, use big gentle strokes and let the colors kind of meld together. Watch as all the crumple veins soak up the paint. Try using different dilutions of color. I applied some color on thinly and some on the thicker side. But really, you can't go wrong, just keep applying paint until you are happy. I stopped a few times and held it up to the window just to see what it looked like. When it looked good, I was done.

IMG_2844When you are happy with the colors, let the paper dry for a while on the hoop  until it is not longer super wet. I would say about an hour or so, but if you stick it near the heater, it might dry faster. (Just don't stick it in the oven while you are making bread like I did with one.. It just ended up setting on fire. Oops)

Once its pretty much dry, take the outer ring of the hoop and gently place around the inner hoop and tighten. Being super careful, trim the extra paper from the back of the hoop.IMG_3089

Place your pieces in a window and watch them glow.  Yow now have a happy window.

-C