Friday, June 28, 2013

What Flavor IS Birthday Cake? Pt. 1 (really, the only clip on YouTube I really found appropriate for 20/20 and short too).

This is my own investigative journalistic report. My personal 20/20. To answer the question "what flavor IS birthday cake?"

One day of the year, each special human is provided with a block of sugary covered sugary goodness to celebrate surviving another year since birth. Yay humans! But is the block of sugary covered sugary goodness chocolate? Vanilla? Peanut butter? Ham? Broccoli? Who am I even asking here?

Basically it comes down to one answer: it's personal. So through the time length of this blog, I'm providing myself yet another challenge to determine and create a multitude of birthday cakes to find the true celebratory flavor. The one stipulation: the cake must be for an individual's birthday and must be a flavor combination of their choosing.

I think one of the most important pieces of creating a birthday cake is personality (something, personally, I feel grocery stores highly lack in). Everything from flavor to color to shape to texture must exemplify the person for whom the cake is being created. Because it's their birthday and they get what they want. Duh.

For this particular cake, Sherry, as we will call her, loves eclairs. So, bam, make an eclair cake. And with the wonderful technology that is the internet, my brain was filled with ideas for how to create such a celebratory creation. So simple, yet refreshing delicious for an end of June birthday. The longest part of making this cake was letting it set in the fridge for about a day, but totally and 100% absolutely worth it. To give the cake a tiny bit more summer flair, I added fresh strawberries. Ladies and gents, I present to you with no further ado, the eclair cake recipe (no baking involved).

Eclair (Birthday) Cake
                                          There's actually no sponge cake inside of it. The secret's in the pudding. 

1 (1 lb) box of graham crackers
2 (3.4 oz) boxes instant french vanilla pudding
3 1/2 cups milk
1 (8 oz) frozen container cool whip
1 container strawberries, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 Tbsp softened butter
1/3 cup of chocolate milk
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla

Also, going to need a 13 x 9 disposable foil container.

Prep Time 10 - 15 minutes
Set Time 22 - 24 hours

Butter or grease, lightly, the 13 x 9 disposable foil container.
Combine milk and pudding. Mix until all lumps have disappeared (use a whisk). Throw in the frozen cool whip and continue to stir until consistent throughout the mixture.
Layer graham crackers across the bottom of the container (single layer). Use half of the pudding mixture to cover the graham crackers completely. Sprinkle fresh strawberries across the pudding. Place another layer of graham crackers on top of the strawberries and pudding. Use the remaining mixture to cover the second layer of graham crackers and sprinkle with remaining strawberries. Place a final layer of graham crackers on top of the second layer of pudding and strawberries. Cover last graham crackers with chocolate frosting.
Refrigerate covered finished cake for 22 - 24 hours. And then party, party, party!

Do you want a birthday cake made for you and to be featured as a post on this magnificence blog of culinary wonderfulness? Leave a comment below and you may be in luck (or let me do you the favor...this goes both ways, buddy). 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This Shit Is Bananas B-A-N-A-N-A-S

Man, this song brings my back to 8th grade when I made my mom stop at K-Mart on Thanksgiving so I could buy this CD. And even to this day, I am no hollaback girl. Cause that shit is bananas B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

Let me set the scene: as I arrived home from the grocery store with fresh produce, I stepped foot into my extremely small kitchen to see some starving bananas. They were soft, droopy, and presented with brown spots, indicating their time to enter the banana retirement community. And as I thought for one single second to throw them away, I changed my mind. As I looked those bananas in the eye, I felt a sense of pity, of defeat, that I had let these bananas down by not eating them and instead buying younger, more satisfying produce. And that's when I realized the true purpose of these old people bananas: Banana muffins.

And what's one more challenge at 9:30pm, so I decided to make them vegan. Instead of butter, I used vegetable oil and instead of using eggs, I used applesauce. These muffins are chocolately (cause I added dark chocolate chips), sweet, moist, and most of all B-A-N-A-N-A-S. They are perfect for the breakfast on-the-go or an afternoon snack.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins
                                The old bananas rekindle friendship with their pre-muffin friends. 
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup applesauce
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dark chocolate chips

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 - 17 minutes
Total Time 25 - 27 minutes
Yield 15 muffins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spray a muffin time with non-stick spray (well, unless it's a non-stick pan...then you can skip this step).
Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
Combine wet ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly pour dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Mix in dark chocolate chips.
Divide batter into muffin tins, filling each tin about 3/4 of the way up.
Cook muffins for 15 - 17 minutes. Set aside to cool when finished.