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Cake without a box... You can do that?! {Wednesday Wins}

So, let me preface this post with the fact that my mother is extremely talented in the kitchen!  She is amazing, and any talent I have in that area comes straight from her!  But, when I was a kid, being naive and not paying a lot of attention, I didn't really know that you could make cake or brownies without a box.  When I reached teenage years, Mom started branching out a little more.  Probably because we were old enough that she could usually get us to try something new before we were set on the fact that we hated it.  Not that I could ever hate dessert!  But, she makes so many things from scratch that I think cake just wasn't usually one of them.  I mean, why bother when cakes from mixes are delicious?!

However, I really wanted to make some cupcakes last week and didn't want to drive all the way to the store to buy a cake mix (Geez, it's like TEN WHOLE minutes!).  So, I hopped on trusty Pinterest for like hours and found a recipe for yellow cake from scratch.  I actually found quite a few recipes, but I narrowed them down by things I had in my kitchen (What was the point of going to the store to get something weird when I could just buy a cake mix while I'm there!) and by the reviews the recipes had received.

I finally found one that looked promising and headed to the kitchen!  I also kept in mind that these particular cupcakes were destined to be Boston Cream cupcakes, so even if the actual cake part wasn't stellar, they would still be stuffed with pudding and topped with chocolate icing.  So it wouldn't be a complete waste!

Man-oh-man!  I had no idea that the cupcakes were going to turn out that well!  Thomas and I honestly couldn't tell that they weren't from a box.  They were so light and fluffy and moist and tasty!  Yum!  And then I still added the pudding and icing, and woo-wee those things were good!  So, here's the recipe for the yellow cake!
Yellow Cake or Cupcakes
From: Scratchy Mama
Makes 24 cupcakes or two 9 inch round cakes

Ingredients:
1 cup margarine or butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans or line two cupcake pans (about 24 cupcakes) with paper liners.  
  2. In a mixing bowl cream butter and sugar together using a mixer. Beat until fluffy, several minutes. 
  3. Add eggs, beating after each addition.  
  4. In a separate bowl, toss together the flour, baking powder and salt. 
  5. In a measuring cup, mix the milk and vanilla. 
  6. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix well. 
  7. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes for 9" cakes and about 18-20 minutes for cupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 8-10 minutes, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a rack.
And now you have some delicious dessert!  But if you want to continue on to make Boston Cream Cupcakes, here's how.  Special note: I made the pudding and cupcakes the day before putting them all together so that the cupcakes would be fully cooled and the pudding would be set, but you could definitely do it all in one day.

Make vanilla pudding according to the package directions.  I used a small box (one that makes 2 cups) and used almost all of it.  Then, put it in the fridge to firm up.

Using a knife, cut a cone out of each cupcake.  I found that a serrated knife worked really well.  Once you have the separated cone, cut the tip of it off.  This gives you room for the filling while still being able to put the top back on.  So, you will have all of these little cones of cake that you don't need.  Oh, darn!  I guess you'll just have to eat them!
The cupcakes at the top have had the cones cut out and then the tip of the cone cut off.  The bottom ones are already filled with the tops put back on.
Now it's time to fill the cupcakes with the pudding.  I spooned the pudding into a baggie and then cut a big hole in one corner to "pipe" the pudding in.  I thought this might be a little less messy than trying to spoon it in.  The difficult part here is to make sure that you don't fill the cupcake too much.  You don't want pudding oozing out when you try to put the top back on. 
Here are the cupcakes after the pudding was piped in.
Once you've got them filled with pudding, put the tops back on and ice with your choice of icing!  I used a ganache-like icing that I thickened up because I didn't want to icing pouring all over and making a mess.  In hindsight, I probably should have just gone with the thinner version because, since you should really store these in the fridge because of the pudding, the icing firmed up too much when it was cold.

Here's the recipe I used without the extra powdered sugar I used for thickness.  I really like the flavor of it!

Chocolate (Ganache-Like) Icing
 From Hidden Ponies

Ingredients:
2 ounces chocolate or 1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons HOT water

Directions:
  1. Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave.  Heat for 15 second intervals, stirring in between.
  2. Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla.  The mixture will be very thick, like a dough.
  3. Stir in the hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.  Remember that it will thicken up a bit as it cools.
 
And there you have some yummy, yummy cupcakes made (almost) from scratch!

Now, I'm off to spend the afternoon in the kitchen baking some homemade bread and some apple pie cookies!  Yum yum!

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