Monday, July 6, 2009

Necessity, Mother of Invention!

Necessity has definitely become the mother of invention. Need that perfect cake for a little girl's fantasy birthday party but have very limited funds? You begin by pulling out your meager supplies and commence creating. That has certainly been the case for me over the last 23 years. Many of the talents I have started out of necessity and I've expanded from there. No, this is not a post on how to create a decorated cake, but one on recipes.

I'm sharing with you the cake recipes that I've developed over the years by using your most basic essentials and getting extraordinary results. You yourself can make a "box cake" and have friends and family clammering for more or begging to get your prized recipe!

Heidi's Box Cake Extraordinaire
I make the cake at least 1 day in advance

1 box cake (your favorite flavor)

Follow box instructions for cake then add:

3/4 cup mayonaise (I'm a bit less exact when it comes to's usually a dollup here and a pinch there)


Lemon Cake Mix
Also add:
Juice and zest from one lemon

Chocolate Cake Mix
Also add:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Carrot Cake Mix
Also add:
3/4 cup finely grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup crushed pineapple (drained or decrease your water by about an 1/8 cup)

Bake cake @ 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes checking for doneness. Immediately remove cake from pan by inverting onto flat board/plate that is covered with waxed paper. Completely cover cake with plastic wrap(do not cool first) and freeze.

Next day, remove cake from freezer, leaving it in wrapper and allow to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Frost (don't forget to remove the plastic wrap first). This technique locks in the moisture.

Butter Frosting (frosts a two layer cake)
1 cup butter (don't even think about using margarine)
1 cup shortening
2 lb bag powdered sugar
6 Tblsp milk
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter and shortening together, add sugar 4 Tblsp milk and beat, adding remaining milk and vanilla until you have a light and creamy consistancy.


Lemon Butter Frosting
Omit vanilla
Use juice of 1 lemon in place of milk
May need to add some milk to get a light consistancy

Chocolate Butter Frosting
Melt 4 oz semisweet chocolate in 4 Tblsp milk (can melt in microwave 30 seconds @ a time)

Add melted chocolate to creamed butter and shortening then add remaining ingredients decreasing milk to allow for milk in the melted chocolate. Beat as above.

For a wonderful dark chocolate variation use this Ganache recipe for topping your cake or as a filling to a two layer chocolate cake.

Chocolate Ganache
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat cream in pan to just before boiling. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before pouring over cake.

I hope you try this recipe at least once and let me know what you think! Be creative yourself and share what variations you come up with. My cakes certainly had humble beginnings, but you have to start somewhere! I've posted my most recent cake that I made for my daughter Whitney's wedding. I hope this cake recipe becomes one of your "favorite things" as it has for me!

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