Monday, June 25, 2007

Wait, those aren't socks... baking experiments

Dear sock yarn,

I owe you an apology. My socks should have been finished a long time ago. But a crazy couple of weeks at work and a great big pile of indulgent summer reading have eaten up much of my free time. (and don't get me started on the little dog who steals knitting and drops stitches)

I have managed to get a bit of baking in - though with varying degrees of success.

Last week, I improvised a recipe based on one I found in The Garden of Vegan. What started as a fairly simple no-bake cookie became no-bake Chocolate-Cranberry-Mudslide cookies. I think I made about 11 substitutions too many (particularly since there were only about 4 ingredients). Should you get it in your head to make some no-bake cookies, only you are out of brown sugar, so you decide to use maple syrup and a bit more oatmeal, and you don't have chocolate chips but they say you can susbtitute raisins, but those are practically the same as cranberries, and then you think you might miss the chocolate, so you add some cocoa, and since it will be chocolatey, maybe you could use a bit of mudslide mix as a liquid sweetener, and you're measurements are totally out the window now so just add some peanut butter to make sure it holds together... seriously - step away from the kitchen. This is what happens:

They were not good. Sometimes when you are craving junk food and you really want a Blizzard, it is probably better to just get in the car and drive to Dairy Queen. Lesson learned.

This weekend offered a slightly more successful baking endeavor: a lemon raspberry cake. Although I'm thinking it needs a better name than that. Cake seems fancier if you call it a gateau or a torte or something pretentious like that.

My friend Kim had a baby last week (little Erin, who has adorable dimples, but alas, no blue cardigan, because like the socks, I haven't finished it either). So, she and her husband decided to have a cookout this weekend. I'm sorry, what?!? You gave birth 4 days ago, so now you think you should clean your house and cook dinner for people? nuts I say. nuts!

So, I offered to bring dessert. And since I didn't give birth 4 days ago, I thought the least I could do was actually make said dessert.

Pictorial recipe! fun stuff.

Step one: gather your ingredients. If you don't have the ingredients, you should go buy them or make something else. You cannot ask anyone else to eat no-bake Chocolate-Cranberry-Mudslide cookies.

I'm a big cheater, so I started with white cake from a mix. You just need to make sure it is an "add water, eggs and oil" type of cake mix and not a "just add eggs" or something mix.

Step two: Substitute lemon juice for about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the water. If you were willing to squeeze and zest a fresh lemon, you could use a bit less. If you're using the bottle of concentrate like me, use a bit more.

Add water until you get the amount called for on the package. If you use a big measuring cup, there's less math.

Step three: Bake the cake according to the package directions. If you wanted to be really fancy, you could divide each layer in half and alternate between jam and frosting, so you have a 4 layer cake. If you are already running late for the cookout, 2 layers is fine.

Step four: Spread raspberry jam on one cake. I like to use the spoonable fruit-type product with little or no sugar added, because this is pretty sweet already. Spread a bit of whipped frosting (yeah, it's from a tub) on the other half.

Step five: Make a sammich.

Step six: Cover the outside with more whipped frosting. Then add a bunch of fresh raspberries. I think fresh berries are the secret to the dessert on the cover of every summer issue of Good Housekeeping ever published. But they're on to something - if you camouflage the frosting with fruit you don't ever have to learn how Martha Stewart makes her cakes so smooth and perfect.

Voila! Cake...or gateau...or whatever. This one honestly tastes good. I promise.

If you happened to get the inaugural issue of the craftfetish mini-idea books, you've seen this recipe. If you missed it, leave a comment with a pretentious cake name suggestion and I'll send you a copy (at least, until I run out of them).

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At 12:15 PM, Blogger ami said...

I can't think of a name for the cake, but it looks damn yummy :D

So yummy I might go home and make one!

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Barb said...

Oohh, a contest! :)

How about "Raspberry Dream"?

It looks yummy! I may have to substitute strawberries for raspberries tho.

Oh, and it's really easy to smooth out the frosting. :) I just have my hubby do it for me! ;)

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

I love that cake. My daughter votes for "Strawberry Mountains"


At 9:02 AM, Blogger Briana said...

I'm not good at names but yummmm!!!


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