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Posted by on May 22, 2014 in BettyBecca Bakes | 2 comments

Marriage is a Piece of Cake?

Marriage is totally NOT a piece of cake, but today I’m arguing that every marriage needs more cake. The top tier of a wedding cake is consumed on a couple’s first anniversary, and a cake is baked every year to celebrate a birthday. Therefore, annual anniversary cakes make total sense as a next step, right? Sound logic.

The cake we saved for our first anniversary was stored in a freezer that was affected by an electricity outage over an extended period due to an ice storm. I didn’t feel like it was safe to eat by the time our anniversary rolled around, so I asked a local baker to recreate one for us…6” round with buttercream with dot details. Every year since then (save our 5th anniversary last year as we were traveling and enjoying an incredible meal on the beach to celebrate), I have baked our anniversary cake.

I recently saw where a local bakery is offering a fresh cake to celebrate the first anniversary, and as much as I love the tradition, I can’t help but love this idea, too. Our 6th anniversary is in a couple of weeks, and I’m already plotting what our cake will be. Sometimes I find a good recipe to try, and sometimes I want something classic like white cake and buttercream. As you can see on year three’s cake, I decided to do a little ruffle practice (which I definitely need more of!).

Mmmm…cake. Is there anything better? Do we really need an excuse to eat cake? Every year of wedded bliss is worth celebrating, don’t you think?

anniversary_cakes_text.jpg

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Posted by on Jan 10, 2013 in BettyBecca Bakes | 0 comments

Birthday Cake Redemption

Last year, I royally screwed up Mr. J’s birthday cake. I forgot the eggs…wah wah. I like to warm up my eggs a little before baking, and I left them in their warm water bath instead of mixing them in the batter. The result wasn’t TOTALLY disgusting, but it wasn’t great either. The cake was flat…both physically and taste-wise. I ended up cutting rounds of cake with a biscuit cutter and layering it in ramekins with the peanut butter butter cream I’d made. It was cute, but not the best result ever.

This year, I decided I was going to really do it up big, and I think I had success. I made a chocolate and peanut butter lovers delight: Devil’s Food cake (only 5 layers), peanut butter butter cream with whipped cream frosting, and cookie crunch filling…OH MY! He insisted I go write down my methods immediately so he could have this cake again next year. Woo hoo!

Yes, this cake does take a while to make, but it was so so worth it to make up for last year and see the happiness his face!

And just in case you were wondering how two people eat a 5-layer cake with tons of other holiday sweets lingering around…I froze 3/4 of it in slices for easy consumption later!

And here’s what I wrote out for future birthdays to come. Note: I would like to try spreading the cookie crunch layer over all 4 filling opportunities. I think it’s a little too thick the way I did it here. However, Mr. J insists that it’s the perfect ratio and that I should never, ever mess with it (hence the note to self at the top).

Mr. J’s Favorite Famous Fabulous Peanut Butter Birthday Cake

DON’T MESS WITH THIS … OR ELSE! (HE’LL KNOW)

Prepare Cake Layers

Prepare 2 boxes of Devil’s Food cake mix according to package instructions using warm ingredients

Using 3 – 8” cake pans, put 1 ½ cups of batter in each pan sprayed with cooking spray (this will be half of the batter)

Cook until centers aren’t jiggly, about 15 minutes. This was trial and error for me since the layer is thinner than what the package instructions indicate since it’s spread over 3 pans instead of 2. I also have very dark pans that cook rather quickly. The jiggle test is really your best bet…just gently shake the oven rack (wear a mitt, of course).

Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Place a dinner plate lined in wax paper over the top of the pan and invert to remove the layer. Remove all layers. Don’t try to dump the cake pan upside down when the layers are still warm. One of your layers will die…that’s why I had 5 layers instead of 6. It was ok though…we just used that layer as a sample to make sure the cake was ok 😉

Clean cake pans (carefully, they’ll still be hot), spray with cooking oil, and put 1 ½ cups of batter in each. Cook those and cool in pan completely on wire rack.

Frosting

Make Peanut Butter Butter Cream

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
18 oz. creamy peanut butter

Cream together with hand mixer in a larger-than-you-think-you-need bowl.

Add 2 ¼ cups of powdered sugar gradually, mixing after each addition.

Add 2 teaspoons vanilla and 2 Tablespoons of milk or cream (I used almond milk this time).

Fluff on medium power for 5 minutes.

Make whipped cream

Chill bowl and whisk attachment in freezer for at least 10-15 minutes before beginning.

1 – 8 oz. container of regular whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar

Add both ingredients to bowl of stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until thick. Watch carefully!

Carefully fold whipped cream into butter cream. Beat with hand mixer briefly until well incorporated.

Cookie Crunch Filling
Mock Dairy Queen Icecream Cake Crunch

1 package of regular Oreos
1 – 7.25 oz. Magic Shell topping

Pulse 2 out of 3 rows of Oreos in food processor until course crumbs form. “Discard” 3rd row of Oreos.

Warm bottle of Magic Shell under hot water. Shake well according to package instructions. Empty entire bottle of topping over cookies.

Pulse 5 – 6 times to incorporate cookie crumbs and topping. Set aside until ready to assemble cake.

Assembling Cake

Equipment I used: glass cake stand, cardboard round (not required but nice to have), straight spatula (like this one, offset would work well, too) to transfer and smooth out frosting, cake decorating turntable (I have this one, again not required but nice to have), frosting bag and coupler, and two cake decorating tips. I used a large round one for general use to spread icing evenly over the outside of the cake and the filling layers. I also used it to make the well to contain the cookie crunch filling. I used a star tip to add decorative details. I’m definitely still working on the patience, gentle hand, flick of the wrist, and equal spacing needed for making an attractive cake border. Practice makes perfect…oh darn!

Place 8” cardboard round onto work surface. Place 1-2 Tablespoons of frosting on board. Place first layer of cake top-down. Pipe a layer of frosting on top and even it out. Add second layer of cake (top-up). Pipe around the edges of the cake layer and fill in the well with half of cookie crunch mixture. Add a layer of cake (top-down). Pipe a layer of frosting on top and even it out. Add a layer of cake (top-up). Pipe around the edges of the cake layer and fill in the well with second half of cookie crunch. Place top layer of cake top-down.

Add crumb coat. Chill for 20 minutes. It won’t really set like straight-up butter cream because of the whipped cream, but the crumb coat was still really helpful for keeping crumbs out of the final layer of icing.

Ice cake and smooth out the surface.

Decorate cake with remaining icing and Reese’s cups. I used 6 regular-sized Reese’s total. For the top, cut ¼ wedges out of 4 Reeses. Pipe large dollops of frosting at 4 equidistant points on the top edge of the cake. Place ¾ pieces of Reeses there. Pipe smaller dollops in between these points and place ¼ pieces there. Cut remaining 2 Reeses in quarters. Along the bottom edge of the cake, place small dollops below each of the candy points on the top rim of the cake. Stick the ¼ round pieces in each dollop along the bottom. Alternatively, you could use any size Reese’s cups or Reese’s Pieces to decorate. You could also nod at the cookie crunch and use Oreos.

Store in refrigerator.

 

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Posted by on Dec 6, 2012 in BettyBecca Bakes | 0 comments

Holiday Treats Wish List

My 2010 Holiday Tray

For some, making holiday treats might seem like a chore, but I LOVE it. It’s so much fun. I’ll probably have to curtail my efforts a bit this year, but if I had infinite amounts of time and butter, here’s what I’d make.

These and these, but you already new that.

Birthday bark (I also make white chocolate with crushed peppermint sticks…so good!)

Marinated olives

Sausage balls (secret ingredient: cream cheese)

Spiced nuts (salty, spicy, sweet, or all of the above!)

I like to round out a sweets tray with at least one thing with real fruit in it. I’ve made these Apple Cinnamon Bars with this cinnamon icing for the past two years. They can be a little crumbly, but they’re really good.

Hmm…something chocolate…like these truffles.

Gooey butter bars are a favorite. I tried to make them last year, but I didn’t let them set enough before trying to cut them. #failure!

Cherry cordials for my dad (don’t tell!) – We have a running tradition/joke that involves giving my dad gross amounts of chocolate covered cherries. I think he eventually eats them all, but I don’t know how. Last year, a coworker made a homemade version, and you know that’s right up my alley. I’d love to make these for him, and I might even try one (or a few) myself.

I like to have some kind of cake on my tray. The one pictured above was yellow cake and buttercream from scratch in the XL cupcake pan. I got adorable little gift package cake pans from my MIL a couple of years ago so last year I made a buttermilk bundt recipe in them with lemon glaze (lemon juice and powdered sugar). They were a hit!

Of course I have to have something peanut buttery for Mr. J. How about these peanut butter balls? I could dip them when I’m coating the truffles.

I could go on and on and on…

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Posted by on Dec 1, 2012 in BettyBecca Bakes | 0 comments

Birthday Recap: I’m 27!

This year was extra special now that I have a little Chicken to celebrate with. He, Mr. J, and I went out for a delicious lunch. I had feta and spinach pizza from the Gondolier restaurant in Murfreesboro. I highly recommend it. Fun fact: Mr. J and I ate lunch there right before I went into labor. They have a beautiful baked goods case. If you’re in the area, you should check them out.

While I was in my baking frenzy, I made a birthday cake for  myself. I really love Publix cake (Costco is in close second), but I knew we wouldn’t have time to eat it all before leaving for the holiday. The cake was Devil’s Food from a box (gasp!), and truthfully, I think it cooked a little too long. I made chocolate butter cream and went with the “just get on there” method for icing. I was too worn out to do any piping. I was pleased with my torting. That’s the name of the technique where you slice the cake rounds in half horizontally. I like having extra icing!

On Wednesday night when we arrived at Mom’s house, she had my favorite Chicken Enchiladas. They’re so yummy. I’ll have to post that recipe soon! She got me two bottles of good quality vanilla, which I’m extra excited about.

I got a really neat gift from my Cousin B. She clipped and saved her favorite recipes into a scrapbook for me. She made notes about her experience with the recipe and substitution ideas. I can’t wait to dive in and try some of the recipes out. It’s always good to have inspiration!

So far, 27 is pretty great!

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Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 in BettyBecca Bakes | 0 comments

Help in the Kitchen

Chicken and I made lots of baked goods last week. Here’s a shot of us in action!

I’ve made countless batches of these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins this year. They’re to die for! Even Mr. J likes them! I have made regular sized ones, and mini ones (pictured in the background above). Personally, I think mini muffins require mini chocolate chips. Also, Mr. J insists that muffins not be made in cupcake liners as to not lose the magic that happens on the edges on the bottom, but I had to break the rules and use some for my recent baking frenzy.

You see, I only have one mini muffin pan, and I made a double batch of muffins. I didn’t want to have a huge mess to deal with in between, so I had to do that I had to do. They turned out great.

Add these to your holiday baking list. You won’t be sorry!

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