Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Merry Christmas...and a Cake

I'm guessing most of you are gearing up for your Christmas celebration, while we are winding down from it!

Not to worry, we still have a big Christmas Eve soiree at my parents' house, but we had our own big Christmas party/ dinner at our house on Friday night. Matt's parents were in town for a few days, and my family came over to join in on the fun. And they were all my guinea pigs, because I decided to make a new cake and it was a big gamble!

I love Christmas - it's my favorite holiday of the year. For me, it means a more relaxed time with less travel, the horses get a little vacation, and family and friends all come together when during the rest of the year, we're often too busy. The mail is full of good tidings, the kitchen always has an assortment of deliciousness available (oink oink), and lights twinkle from houses around the neighborhood.

This year was extra special with a little girl, experiencing her first Christmas and all the fun that goes with it. She may not understand it all yet, but she was loving the attention and the party atmosphere the other night. In fact, she refused to go to bed - she insisted on coming back out and chattering with our guests until they all went home! In fact, she's still winding down from the excitement two days later, she's a pistol.
Ok so I look a bit weary but you can also see my wine glass was empty. Doesn't Lyra look cute?
So here's my gift to you....I hereby present the Candy Cane Cake. With modifications. I'll post the original recipe, and then will add my two cents and changes below. I needed to make it easier and tastier, in my opinion, but mostly easier. Hello, I have an infant and a full farm. How was it? Delish - I had raves from everyone.

Everyone except Matt, who muttered as the cakes were cooling..."I'm not really a peppermint guy." In the true spirit of Christmas, I serenely replied, "Tough noogies."

From all of us here at TMF, we wish you a joyous holiday and a fantastic 2013 ahead!

Candy Cane Cake (My modifications are in parenthesis!)

1 pkg.  chocolate cake mix (I used Devil's Food)
1 pkg.  (3.9 oz.) JELL-O Chocolate Instant Pudding
4 eggs
1 container  (8 oz.) BREAKSTONE'S or KNUDSEN Sour Cream
1/2 cup  oil
1/2 cup  water
4 squares  BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, chopped (Didn't use this)
18 small  candy canes, coarsely crushed (about 1 cup), divided (I used a tablespoon and a half of peppermint extract instead - the candy wouldn't melt entirely making a crunchy cake. Who wants a crunchy cake?)
1 tub  (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed (Forget this. Especially if you're traveling this cake, the layers will slide all over and you'll end up with a Candy Cane Catastrophe. And you have to keep it refrigerated. I have the most spectacular - and easy - vanilla frosting below!)

Make It

HEAT oven to 350°F.
BEAT first 6 ingredients in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Stir in chopped chocolate and 2 Tbsp. crushed candy. Pour into 2 (9-inch) round pans sprayed with cooking spray.
BAKE 35 to 40 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 min. Loosen cakes from sides of pans; invert onto wire racks. Carefully remove pans. Cool cakes completely.
FILL and frost cakes with COOL WHIP. Sprinkle with remaining crushed candy just before serving. Keep refrigerated.


As you can see from my photo, I nixed the crushed candy canes in favor of whole candy canes in heart formation. I figured not everyone would want a ton of peppermint, there was plenty within the cake itself. Also, the candy canes do melt into a puddle of red and white goo, so once your guests have left and you have some leftover cake, remove the candy canes and give them to me. The horses love them!

Ok, here's the vanilla frosting. I stopped everything I was doing to burst into the living room where Matt, Lyra and his parents were sitting and I exclaimed, holding the beaters, "You have GOT to try this!" They all looked at me like I had six heads, and then they sampled it. I do believe the leftover frosting in the bowl was mysteriously cleaned out before I washed it....and it wasn't me!

Fluffy Vanilla Frosting

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. With an electric mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Reduce speed to medium. Add the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed; after every two additions, raise speed to high and beat 10 seconds to aerate frosting, then return to medium-high. This process should take about 5 minutes. Frosting will be very pale and fluffy.
  3. Add vanilla, and beat until frosting is smooth. If not using immediately, frosting can be refrigerated up to 10 days in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth again, about 5 minutes.
Enjoy - and Happy Holidays!

2 comments:

BeBe said...

oh my goodness that cake looks delish!! Both my sisters have baby girls who are having their first Christmas's too.

Happy Holidays xx

KC said...

Happy Holidays Bebe! The cake is delish, I'm about to go cut myself a giant slice.
Congrats to your sisters, how exciting! I bet you're going to enjoy teir first Christmas as a spectacular auntie! xo