Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April Appreciation Day

For those of you that are unaware, April 21st is Administrative Assistant Appreciation Day. So if you work in an office that has one of these wonderful persons that keeps your day running smoothly and you didn't do anything for them, shame on you. Without our wonderful April, our office would be a mess and definitely not as entertaining. All week we've been bugging her about this day (we even kept a countdown) and all week she's been fighting it, but we all know she secretly loves it :) right April? ha. I know she'll be reading this at some point.

NOTE: I am apologizing in advance for the photos of this cake and its layers.. being the working girl that I am, sometimes I don't have the opportunity to take pictures during times where natural light is available. Whenever I make things during the week it is more than likely after work sometime and by the time pictures can be taken the sun has set and I am left with fluorescent light.. so please bear with, I'm trying the best I can with what I'm given :) I promise the sweets still taste good!!

Here's a little something about me, if you're going to fight something I'm going to go out of my way to make an even bigger deal about it- so I started calling it April Appreciation Day. And of course, I obviously wanted to make her a cake that was extra cheesy (and extra delicious). Because she brings so much sunshine and happiness in our days I decided to make her a wonderfully purple cake complete with rainbow layers :)

By the end of the night, my kitchen table was strewn with bowls of freshly dyed vanilla pudding, purple icing and multiple layers of the moistest cake you'll ever make from scratch. I tried out a new icing recipe that I found on Tasty Kitchen by Pioneer Woman, that was actually titled 'The Best Frosting I've Ever Had' and to be honest, it was pretty dang good! Let me know what you think!

My Favorite Yellow Cake 
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes 2 8-inch round cakes
Oven temp: 350 Bake time: 35 minutes

2 1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup milk
4 TBS sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350.
Beat sugar, oil, and vanilla extract.
Beat in eggs one at a time.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt.
Add to sugar mixture- alternating between flour mixture and milk/sour cream. Mix until combined.
Transfer to oven and bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick is clean.

The Best Icing I've Ever Had
Recipe found on Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen

1 cup milk
5 TBS flour
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar (granulated NOT powder!)
1 tsp vanilla

In small sauce pan heat milk and flour, whisking constantly until mixture starts to thicken (about 5 minutes). Once thick, remove from heat and leave on counter to cool. When the mixture has cooled stir in vanilla.

In the mean time, beat butter and sugar until combined and smooth.
Make sure the milk mixture has cooled and slowly add to butter/sugar. Beat on high until fluffy and smooth. The icing will be the texture of whipped cream. (I forgot to take a picture of the finished product :/ sorry!)

Honestly though, this icing is super light, fluffy and is just the right sweetness. It doesn't have the gritty or greasy texture that some butter creams tend to have. Not to mention, it is super easy to spread on a cake!

For Aprils special cake I actually sliced each cake into 3 layers- yes, it was tedious and yes, it was totally worth it :) I made a batch of Jello Instant Pudding earlier that evening and separated it into various bowls so I could add food dye to make the rainbow layers. I then followed the rainbow- ROYGBIV- with the exception of indigo or blue? that layer kinda turned the color of both!
cake-red pudding-cake-orange pudding-cake-yellow pudding-
cake-green pudding-cake blue/indigo pudding

Then of course I covered it with a newly dyed Purple Best Frosting I've Ever Had.

The consensus at work?? Fantastic. April had 3 pieces (that I saw), most others were consumed before 9am and I was proposed to (for my baking abilities of course- we still got 2 weeks for MMs arrival ha)

Happy Baking! and Happy April Appreciation Day!