MINI Thanks!

My beloved, recently-acquired, neglected-in-a-previous-life, 2012 MINI Cooper has been in the shop quite often since we bought “him” used. Ringo has been a bit of a problem child, but so far most of the issues can be attributed to a failure to keep up routine maintenance by a previous owner. Besides, he’s so handsome, I’ll forgive him a lot.

Ringo

At any rate, we have been very pleased with the mechanics at the shop who are doing the work for us, and feel like they have really gone the extra mile to work with us in getting the car brought up to speed.

As a gesture of appreciation, I wanted to make them a special cake to say “thanks”. If you’ve seen my previous post regarding cakes, you know this is something that I am just beginning to be interested in. I baked my first “grown up” cake a few weeks ago, and now I just want to do more and get better at it.

To make this cake more personalized, I wanted to add the MINI logo. Since my piping skills are kind of non-existent at this point, I thought it would be cool to create the logo in chocolate, as a topper. A little research turned up this Castin’ Craft, which is FDA approved and can be used to create your own molds for casting just about anything, chocolate included!

CastinCraft

I found the product very easy to work with, and after making a practice mold of a sunburst, I was ready to make my MINI emblem. Fortunately, I had a keychain I could use to make the impression. The mold only has to set up for about 20 minutes, though I did let it sit a little longer. When done, the silicone is pliable and rubbery and the keychain popped right out. I rinsed the mold and dried it, added my melted chocolate and let it set. The chocolate also popped out easily. I added a little edible silver metallic paint to more closely resemble the actual emblem, and aside from my messy painting, I think it turned out really well.

I’m still experimenting with frostings, and though the frosting was perfect on my practice cake the day before, this time, it was extremely dry and didn’t do well, at all. So I whipped up a different recipe for the piping and I liked it much better! I will try frosting with it on the next chocolate cake I make.

finishedCake

It’s not as close to perfect as I would like, but that’s okay! I learned a lot, and I’m looking forward to my next experiment! I already have plans for a special St. Patrick’s Day cake!

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Berry Easy

If you are looking for something quick and nutritious for breakfast, a snack, or (like me, this evening) for dinner, consider this: A toasted plain bagel, delicious dairy-free plain cream cheese from Kite Hill, and fresh fruit. I sprinkled a little chia seed for extra nutrients. And, because February is heart health month, it’s important to note: it’s all cholesterol free, thanks to the almond-milk-based cream cheese and accidentally vegan bagels from Costco!

Vegan Southern Cream Cheese Cake

I’m not a cake maker. For that matter, until a few years ago, I wasn’t a maker of anything. Last week, I decided I was going to make a nice cake. I turned to YouTube, watched a few videos, ordered a few “must haves” from Amazon,  and got started. I had a beautiful inspiration cake, but created my own recipe, using a mashup of recipes I found on-line. Technically, my cake isn’t an Italian Cream Cake, because, as Tad pointed out, I’m not Italian. But it is a tasty, moist cake with a lot of toasted pecans, toasted coconut, and cream cheese icing. I guess we can call it a Southern Cream Cheese Cake.

My cake doesn’t look a whole lot like the inspiration because I need to work more on making icing for piping. I learned a lot, and hope to make more cakes in the future. Nothing too elaborate, just good, classic cakes.

MyCake

Southern Cream Cheese Cake

Vanilla Crazy Cake (One 8” round or square layer)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white vinegar
5 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions
1.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a greased baking pan.

2.     Make 3 depressions in the dry ingredients – two small and one large. Pour the vinegar and vanilla in each of the two smaller depressions, and the vegetable oil in the large one.

3.     Pour water over the entire thing and mix until smooth.

4.     Bake on the middle rack of the oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Let it cool, then top with your favorite frosting and enjoy!

*This is supposed to be a one pan recipe, but since I doubled it for two layers, I used a large bowl for mixing. There are several flavors of Crazy Cakes, I love the chocolate one! Be sure to look them up.

For the Southern Cream Cheese Cake, I added approximately one cup of shredded coconut and about 1.5 cups of toasted pecans into the batter, stirring in after all the other ingredients were mixed.

Frosting

Ingredients:

•1 pound (4 cups) of Powdered Sugar

•1/2 cup Butter

•8 oz. Cream Cheese*

•3 teaspoons of Vanilla

Instructions

1.Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a mixer until blended.

2.Add powered sugar a cup at a time and continue to mix until sugar is incorporated.

*I used Kite Hill Almond Milk Cream Cheese. To finish the cake, I covered the sides in Toasted Coconut and the top in Toasted Pecans.

Please leave a comment if you try my recipe!

 

Thanks!