Category Archives: cakes and cupcakes

Zebra cake

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The most popular thing I have ever posted was the zebra cake I made for Sam’s birthday…
zebra cake

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But I wish I had done zebra cake on the inside too! It is really easy and looks pretty cool! Also, the rainbow cake that is all over Pinterest is made with the same technique…maybe I will make us a rainbow cake for gay pride week….Sorry, back to the zebra cake.
After years and years of trying many different cake recipes, I have come to the conclusion that Betty Crocker and Duncan Heinz are just better cooks than me. I know they might not be the healthiest options, but come on, we’re talking about cake here! Who cares if it’s healthy, it just has to taste good, and it saves you time so you can focus on the fun stuff like the icing…or making a zebra pattern. I don’t think there is anyway I would have the time and effort to make this from scratch…But, if making it from scratch works for you, hey, you go girl…or boy…don’t want be stereotypical here, right? Men can make cakes too, right?
So….start by mixing up two batches of cake mix, one chocolate, and one vanilla.

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To scoop out the cake mix, you will need two different half cup measuring cups, as long as you put an even amount of each, and you use a different cup for each mix. Get your cake pans ready by spraying them with a little oil. Then start scooping. Gently pour 1/2 cup of the vanilla,

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Then, chocolate…

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Then keep pouring, alternating chocolate and vanilla until you are out of mix…

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Yup, that’s it. Bake in the oven according to the instructions. I have also learned that actually following the recipe and baking times on the box generally works pretty well…who would have thought??
It will look something like this when it comes out of the oven…

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Here’s the cool part, check out what it looks like on the inside!!!

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I forgot to take a picture when it is actually iced. It looks great with icing!
I really want to try this with different colours of cake…maybe I’ll make John a rainbow cake for his birthday!
By the way, here’s what our backyard looks like right now…it’s a disaster! We are still in the demolition stage of the reno.

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Only four more days of school….CAN’T WAIT UNTIL SUMMER!!! I love being a teacher!

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Instant Raspberry Shortcake Dessert!

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This is a classic dessert at our house. I make it for company, I make it for us, and I even bring it camping! Yes, it is that easy.
You need those sponge cakes they sell at the grocery store, whipped cream and some fresh fruit. This is great with peaches, strawberries, or raspberries.
Start by washing the fruit well.

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Put the cake into your serving plate…

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Put a layer of whipped cream…

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Then a layer of fruit…

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Then another layer of whipped cream…

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And a piece of fruit for the top to make it look pretty..

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Then enjoy! The whole process takes about 30 seconds. Note that you can’t make these ahead of time, they do not store well, they have to be eaten right away. But, you can wash the fruit ahead of time. I bring the fruit to the table and make them right at the table.
Yummy!

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Samantha’s finished cake

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I have had several requests to see what Sam’s finished cake looks like after I reposted the zebra cake base a few days ago. I actually made and wrote about this cake last summer, but for some reason in the last month, it has become one of my most popular posts…
So, here is the original post for how we finished the zebra cake!

So… yesterday was Samantha’s birthday party, so we finished her cake. The theme of her party was build-an-animal (like build-a-bear) so she wanted a cake that matched the theme. This is the sketch of the cake that Sam drew originally…

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We made the base in a zebra skin pattern the day before….Check out my last post if you want details on how to make the zebra pattern…

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Then we made the animals out of fondant (we made the same stuffed animals we will be making at the party) to do this, we looked on the Internet for pictures of fondant animals, then made a quick sketch…

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Here are the animals…I will show you Samantha’s animals in a minute.

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Then Dylan and I rolled out a big flat piece of light blue fondant. To make clouds, we rolled little balls of white, the rolled them both together.

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We used waxed paper to lift the rolled clouds and cover the top part of the cake. I used some of the leftovers to cover a couple small cupcakes. (I made a separate batch of cupcakes for a couple of the kids coming to the party that are wheat free, gluten free, and dairy free because of allergies.)

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Then, for the rainbow, I rolled out a little of each colour into a snake, that was wider at the bottom..

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Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it after I rolled it out, before I put it on the cake. You will see it on the finished cake.
Then, to cover the seams between the two layers, I thought it could use a bit of grass, I rolled out a strip of green fondant, and snipped a fringe with a pair of scissors…

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Then I rolled the ends so they were pointy like grass, and put the whole thing onto the cake…

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Then we added the animals and rainbow. Here is the finished cake!

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I almost forgot, here is the cake Samantha made for John’s birthday. She decided that she wanted to decorate a cake for John because It was actually his birthday the day of her party, today! Happy birthday john!

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Note, if I were to make animals like this again, I would plan to leave them to dry for a couple days before putting them on the cake…I took these pictures right when I finished making them, but by the next morning, because the were still wet, they had all slumped down a little bit…I had to use tooth picks to keep them upright.

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Peanut Butter Cups – No bake -don’t have to dirty a single dish!!

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Ok – So here it is… Peanut butter cups that are made from four ingredients; chocolate chips, peanut butter, icing sugar and a bit of butter! Wait, it gets even better… I found a couple similar recipes on line, but I have adapted the recipe to be even better…not only does they taste amazing (trust me, they are gooood!) But I have modified it so that the only thing you have to wash after making these is the spatula I used to scrape the peanut butter out of the jar!
So, like I said, four ingredients needed: 1 cup of peanut butter, a couple tablespoons of butter, a half of a cup of icing sugar, and about a half of a cup of chocolate chips.

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I started by adding a couple handfuls of chocolate chips into a sandwich bag, and melting it in some hot water. I lined a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

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Then, I cut a corner off of the sandwich bag and Dylan helped me squeeze a little chocolate into each cupcake liner.

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Here’s a tip: If you tap or bang the cupcake tin, the chocolate will settle and spread out evenly across the bottom of the liners.
We stuck the chocolate in the freezer and while we were waiting, I used a cup to hold open another sandwich bag and filled it with the peanut butter, icing sugar and butter. I zipped it closed, and gave it to Dylan to mix up. (In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the sandwich bags are my brilliant idea to avoid dirtying any dishes…it’s also a whole lot more fun to mix stuff by squishing it!)

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So after we got tired of squishing the peanut butter, we took the cupcake pan out of the freezer, and cut a hole in the corner, and squeezed out a little peanut butter filling onto each liner. Once agaain, the trick here is to bang or tap the tin to settle the peanut butter.

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Then put it back in the freezer…

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Then I melted some more chocolate chips in another sandwich bag, and squeezed out som chocolate for the top.

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Now for the best part…toss out the sandwich bags, and eat!

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Two-ingredient cake

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I have two big weaknesses when it comes to food; candy and cake. So, whenever I see a recipe for either one that sounds good, I usually give it a try!
So, I have seen the two-ingredient cake recipes popping up on Pinterest lately. The idea is that you use a can of pie filling and a package of cake mix to make a cake…what??? I know, it sounds crazy enough to work!
I decided to try a version of the recipe I saw using a can of pumpkin pie filling, but I thought I would try it with a chocolate cake.

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The process is simple, dump the can of pie filling and the cake mix into a bowl.

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Then, beat it for a couple minutes with an electric mixer.

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I decided to make muffins or cupcakes, so I spooned the batter into muffin tins.

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They came out moist, and pretty tasty! They do have a bit of a different flavour, but they are good. The kids loved them too!
I think next time I will add some chocolate chips! Or, I might even try another batch with a different kind of pie filling. I think cherry pie filling and chocolate would be really good! What about peach and vanilla! Mmmmmm

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Santa Snacks

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Once again, at work it is potluck time at work, and by 7:00, I really didn’t feel like baking up a storm…it’s only fun when I have tonnes of other things to do…when I have to bake under pressure, it loses some of it’s appeal.
So to make a long whiny story short, I needed something quick, easy, and good enough to serve at a potluck. So, I did what I always do when I need an idea, I looked on Pinterest. I found these ideas that I thought were cute…

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So I bought some Two-Bite Brownies, a container of vanilla icing, and a couple containers of strawberries.

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I filled an icing bag with the icing. A trick to filling an icing bag is to use a glass to hold up the bag, by folding it over the rim of the glass. My plastic glasses are the perfect size…

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Then I washed the strawberries and cut off the stems, so the widest part of the strawberry was flat.

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Then I spread out the brownies, and iced the tops, trying the make the outside neat, put the strawberries on top, then piped a pom pom “blob” on top.

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Repeat the process a few times and you have what I’m going to call, Santa Snacks.

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For the lunch, I washed the strawberries at home, filled the icing bag, then an hour before, I put them together, they literally took less than 10 minutes! I think they would look great on top of a cheese cake too.

Werthers worthy candy recipe!!

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Anyone who knows me knows that I have always had a bit of an obsession with candy. I could live without chocolate, or ice cream, but not candy. So I do like to try out new recipes when I find them.
Today, the kids and I are going to try making homemade caramels.
I have modified a couple recipes to form the following recipe. You will need the following ingredients:
Honey, brown sugar, corn syrup, vanilla, butter, table cream, and coarse salt.

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The first step is to mix 1 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of corn syrup, 1/2 cup of honey and 1 tbsp of vanilla extract in a big pot.

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Heat it on medium until it has melted. It starts looking like this…

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As it boils, it changes colour and consistency….

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While you are waiting, cut the butter up into small cubes…great job for your helpers!

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In a separate pot, heat a cup of cream to a simmer.

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Then, melt the butter by adding it to the boiling sugar mixture.

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Then, after all the butter has melted, mmmmm…pour in cream, mmmmm…

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Then let it boil until it reaches 260 degrees. Or the hard ball stage.

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Look at how the colour has changed…

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Let it sit in the pot for a couple minutes.

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Then, pour onto cookie a sheet lined with wax paper.

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Wait a few minutes and sprinkle with salt. I used coarse salt, trust me, the salt is the best part!

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Then, once it has cooled, crack it into pieces.

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Yummy! My advice is to be careful when storing. I don’t think I let the temperature get quite high enough because if I stack these on top of each other, like in the picture, they end up being a solid piece. So, I have to put wax paper in between layers. But, they taste delicious!

Forty-five second cake!! For real!

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I have seen various versions of this on pinterest, the ones I have seen use cake mix, and I have heard mixed reviews. Apparently, they aren’t that good. But, a friend of mine at work told me about this recipe, and she said it was really good, so I wrote down the recipe, and thought I would try it out. Hey, what have I got to lose, a whole minute?
The recipe is simple…
1 tbsp of butter
1 tbsp of cocoa
2 tbsp of hot water
2 tbsp of flour
2 tbsp of sugar (I have been using 1 1/2)

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I melt or soften the butter by mixing it with really hot water

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Then, mix in the flour, cocoa, and sugar.

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Then, mix it all together… We added a few chocolate chips too…

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And cook it in the microwave for 45 seconds.

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Let it cool, and enjoy!

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It is delicious! It is moist, rich tasting, and is a little denser than normal cake. I would like to try some variations, like trying some sugar substitute instead of white sugar. Hey, what about trying to add some homemade marshmallows?? Yummy.

I want S’more Banana S’mores!

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Next time I go camping, I am bringing a dozen bananas cause these were sooo good, they might even be better than s’mores…..
On a sheet of tinfoil, slice a banana in half, but don’t cut through the skin. Then, stuff it with marshmallows and chocolate chips…

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And wrap it in tinfoil. Then, find a nice spot in the coals of the fire…and leave it there for a few minutes… (btw, on the other side of the fire you might be able to see apples toasting stuffed with brown sugar and oats…I’m trying that one next!)

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This is what it looked like when it came out of the fire:

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So, I cut it into slices and then we ate it with a fork. It was delicious! Not to mention much easier and neater to eat than s’mores!

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Quick and easy rainbow cupcakes

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We had my daughter Samantha’s 8th birthday party for her friends last month where we made a birthday cake according to her specifications… Here is the finished drawing, and her sketch…

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So on her actual birthday, we had our families over for a swim and BBQ. Because I spent so much time on her first cake, I wanted something quick and easy for this party. I found a version of this on pinterest (where else) so I made a few small changes…
I started by baking a normal batch of vanilla cupcakes, and iced them with blue icing…

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Then at the grocery store, I found a package of rainbow candy and a pack of mini marshmallows…

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Then, we decorated the cupcakes with the rainbow candy and three marshmallows on each side..

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Not my best work for sure, but they were definitely quick and easy!