Monday, September 19, 2011

Live from the East Coast

Lots of exciting things have been going on since we last chatted (which is why I've been MIA) and there are plenty more to follow in the coming weeks (can you say wedding fever??) so unfortunately I'll be flying under the radar again soon.

I did, however, want to take this time to keep you updated on a few significant life events:

1- My Dad and I made it to the east coast in one piece. Once we got out of Texas we hit rain almost the entire way forcing us to stop more than we would have liked, but it did allow us to go by each of our alma maters and pick up new sweatshirts (it's the little things that make road trips great). We chatted about everything under the sun, from military to politics, religion and family matters.. it was a great couple of days.

2- In the past couple of weeks I've managed to make not 1, but 2 wedding cakes.. check these little beauties out...

Danielle and Ricky wanted something simple with pearl accents and fresh flowers. They went with a small strawberry cake for display and cutting and served guests with a couple of large sheet cakes.. Shortly after dropping this off I picked my Dad up from the airport and we began our trek to VA.

I've been friends with Eric and Steph since high school so making their wedding cake was extra special. They went with alternating tiers of Chocolate Guinness Cake w/ Baileys Buttercream and Wedding White w/ Vanilla Buttercream. I literally started preparing this cake the day after our roadtrip and transporting their cake was quite an adventure, but I was so happy to be a part of their special day.

3- It's go time. The wedding countdown has begun and I have a lot to do in the next 13 days (insert stressful thoughts here) Thankfully I haven't started my new job yet, so I'll be running around all over the place getting things done...I can't wait!!

I'm going to try and get another post in before the wedding, but I can't make any promises.. I've got a "guest book" to make (can't wait to show you the finished project) and lots of other goodies to take care of so I may be MIA for another few weeks. 

Oh, and did I mention that I have to start baking MY wedding cake this weekend??

Happy Baking!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Margarita Jello Poke Cake

Well folks, it's my last week in Texas.

It's been a good run, but I'm ready to be back on the east coast. Ready to have seasons, be in driving distance to the beach, mountains, friends, family, greenery... and most importantly not have to drive 1 hour to a decent mall!

Let's be honest, I wasn't cut out for Texas. Now don't get me wrong, I love a good chicken fried steak, rocking cowboy boots, two-steeping, and jammin out to some good old Texas country music, but this 107 degree heat for 70+ days straight has been brutal and the highway system they've got going on just doesn't work for me (why don't Texan's know how to merge?).

That doesn't mean that we haven't had a good time while we've been out west and it most definitely doesn't mean we haven't made some wonderful friends these past couple of years.

And that's where this cake comes in. For the past couple years, some of our good friends here have a killer summer BBQ complete with ice luge, corn hole, flip cup, burgers, dogs, and lots of other good food- including this cake.

While perusing the isles one day this summer I came upon this Margarita Jello....(can someone say fantastic idea?)

...and then I found a recipe for a jello poke cake- It was just too good to be true.

Now the sad part is, that when I went back to get some more recently, I couldn't find it :( but that doesn't mean you couldn't substitute it with some lime jello!

The cake was a huge success. So much so, that I didn't even get to get a picture of it in all it's glory among the smorgasbord of foods that afternoon.

Margarita Jello Poke Cake
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker
Makes one 9x13 sheet cake

1 box white cake (I used Betty Crocker Super Moist White)
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup veggie oil
4 egg whites
1/4 cup margarita mix (non-alcoholic)
1 box Margarita flavored jello*
3/4 cup boiling water
2 TBS tequila
2 TBS triple sec
1/4 margarita mix
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS tequila* opt
1 TBS triple sec* opt

Preheat oven to 350. Spray pan with cooking spray and lightly coat with flour.
In small bowl, mix jello and boiling water. Add tequila and triple sec, mixing until everything is dissolved.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix, 1/4 cup jello mixture, margarita mix, water, egg whites and oil and beat until well combined.
Pour into pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
Transfer to cooling rack.
While cake is still warm, use a fork to poke holes throughout the whole cake.

Mix 1/4 margarita mix with remaining jello mixture and pour evenly and slowly over cake.

Cool completely, at least 1 hour.
Once cake has cooled, in a large bowl beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, tequila and triple sec and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Frost cake while still in the pan. I don't normally keep cakes in the pan, but for a BBQ it was easy to transfer and easy to clean up.

Place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Daddy Tom gets in on Sunday evening and we begin our trek east, but not before I make a wedding cake for some friends this weekend though!

So while all of you out there are sharing good food and laughs with good friends, we'll be driving..driving into the sunset...well I guess sun rise technically since we're driving east...

But the real question is this: What do you talk to your dad about for 24 hours? I'm open to suggestions.

I'll be MIA just for a bit and the next time you hear from me I'll be back in VA! Until then..

Happy Baking!