A Flag Cake for a Flag Day Birthday

I just realized that I never shared a picture of my birthday cake here!

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In addition to the beautiful cake, there were also “trick” candles…and you know what they look like? Sparklers! Perfect for my Flag Day birthday!

The First Feast of 2015

Yesterday marked our first feast of the New Year…pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, roast carrots, cherry Jell-O, and crescent rolls, with a champagne cake for dessert:

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I’m already looking forward to all of the other special celebrations we’ll be having this year!

Ladybug Turns Seven!

Today is Ladybug’s seventh birthday. I’ve been looking forward to this birthday for almost a year. Here’s why:

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Last year, not long after Ladybug turned six, American Girl announced that they were retiring the one doll Ladybug had always wanted…Molly. She thought this meant that she was never going to be able to have her. What she didn’t know, was that I went out and bought Molly the day they announced the retirement, and put her away for this birthday. Ladybug was confused when she opened the box, and then ecstatic. I’m so happy we could do this for her!

For the first time, she requested a non-decorated cake for her birthday. She decided she wanted me to make the Schlafly sticky toffee pudding cake. I was happy to comply!

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Happy birthday little Ladybug!

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Tasty Tuesday–White Russian Cake

For the Closing Ceremonies of this year’s Russian Olympics, I tried a new twist on my standard booze soaked cake…a White Russian cake. I used a premixed White Russian cocktail from Kahlua, but you could also substitute vodka and Kahlua in the proper proportions. I think this was one of the best cakes I’ve ever made!

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Cake:

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
  • 1 cup Coffe-Mate Italian Sweet Créme non-dairy coffee creamer
  • 1 cup White Russian mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Filling/Frosting:

  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant white chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup Coffe-Mate Italian Sweet Créme non-dairy coffee creamer
  • 1/4 cup White Russian mix
  • 2 cups heavy cream, whipped

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour three 8- inch pans.

Mix together the cake mix, 1 cup creamer, 1 cup White Russian mix, eggs and oil until blended. Distribute cake batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, making certain the cake layers do not overbake. Allow to cool completely before filling.

To make the White Russian whipped cream filling: Combine pudding mix, 1/4 cup White Russian mix and 1 cup creamer. Set aside for 5 minutes until thickened. Fold the whipped cream into the White Russian mixture. Use to fill and frost top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tasty Tuesday–Black Forest Cherry Torte

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I wanted to try something new for our Oktoberfest celebration this year…usually I just make apple strudel. So, I decided to try an authentic Black Forest cherry torte. By authentic, I mean that it had to be made with kirschwasser, in the traditional German way. It was a bit of a challenge finding kirschwasser, but I did finally track it down. I also had to splice together several recipes in my quest for authenticity, but I was very happy with the result, and my family requested that the recipe go in my “permanent file,” so I guess it was a success!

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  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 15 oz. cans pitted sour cherries
  • 3/4 cup kirschwasser (or a little less, if you want a more subtle flavor)
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 cups sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil, and 1 tablespoon vanilla; beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Loosen edges, and remove to racks to cool completely.
While cake layers are baking, drain cherries. Combine cherries, kirschwasser, 1 1/4 cups sugar and cornstarch in a 2 quart saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool before using.
After cake layers and cherries have cooled, combine whipping cream and confectioner’s sugar in a chilled medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Reserve 1 1/2 cups whipped cream for decorating cake; set aside.
With long serrated knife, split each cake layer horizontally in half. Tear one split layer into crumbs; set aside.
To assemble, place one cake layer on cake plate. Spread with 1 cup frosting; top with 3/4 cup cherry topping. Top with second cake layer; repeat layers of frosting and cherry topping. Top with third cake layer. Frost side of cake. Pat reserved crumbs onto frosting on side of cake. Spoon reserved frosting into pastry bag fitted with star decorator tip. Pipe around top and bottom edges of cake. Spoon remaining cherry topping onto top of cake.

Tasty Tuesday–Orange Poppyseed Cake

I tried this recipe on a whim last week for our tea party, and I’m so glad I did. It’s delicious, not too heavy, and was enjoyed by everyone, which makes it the perfect addition to our tea party rotation. I’m sure you could turn this into a lemon poppyseed cake if you so desired…I could also see adding an extra tablespoon or so of poppy seeds to the batter, if you wanted it to be heavier on the poppy seeds!

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  • 2 tablespoons poppyseeds
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • Orange glaze (recipe below)

In a small bowl, soak poppyseeds in milk for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 325. Generously grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter until smooth, gradually stir in sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in orange zest, vanilla extract, and poppyseed mixture. Stir in flour mixture and orange juice alternately in three additions, beginning and ending with flour. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and cool 15 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan and invert onto a cake plate. Spoon orange glaze over warm cake.

Orange Glaze

1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice

In a small bowl, combine sugar and orange zest. Stir in orange juice until smooth. Spoon over warm cake.

Tasty Tuesday–Irish Tea Cake

I tried this recipe for the first time a few week’s ago for our St. Patrick’s Day tea party, and it was a huge hit! It’s a nice, simple butter cake, delicious with a dusting of powdered sugar. You could easily double the recipe, though, and use it as a layer cake with frosting instead!

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  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 inch round pan.
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the batter alternately with the milk. If the batter is too stiff, a tablespoon or two of milk may be added. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack, then turn out onto a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar right before serving.