Wednesday, June 29, 2011

20 Layer Cake

I cleaned my room yesterday. Woohoo! It was getting a bit ridiculous, if I do say so myself. I will, however, mention that a lot of the problem was kid stuff. Now that we finally have The Girl's room painted and put back together, she might be able to move out of mine :)

I found my latest issue of Taste of Home under my bed. Amazingly, I didn't sit down to read it until I had finished my room. I must have a fever or something.

I found a recipe for a Red Velvet Crepe Cake that just looked amazing. Jeff was off golfing with my nephew for his birthday, so I figured that was a good an excuse as any to bake a cake. That and I have been looking for a reason to make this frosting again. Yes, it's that good.

If I would have read the instructions before starting this, I might never have tried it. I was thinking I would bake a cake and slice the cake into layers.

I was wrong.

Gonna warn you here. This is not a relaxing cake to make. It's not difficult, it's just not something you walk away from. All in all it took me probably about an hour and a half to get it all put together. Make sure your counter tops are cleared of any clutter as you will need every inch of space available! You are going to make a lot of little cakes here.

Add 2 3/4 cups milk, 1 cup flour, 3 eggs, 3 egg yolks, 1/4 melted butter and 3 teaspoons vanilla to a red velvet cake mix and beat well. Isn't that gorgeous? I am officially in love with red velvet cake.
Pour 1/3 cup of the batter into a hot, lightly greased 8 inch skillet. The original recipe called for 1/4 cup, but I couldn't get it to spread out enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Also, if you have a pan with short sides, use that. I only had my regular skillet and it made it difficult to get the cooked cake out. Turns out they also make crepe pans. I may have to investigate that further.

**Actually, as an update to this...I have made this cake many times now, and one day it occurred to me that crepes are closely related to pancakes...that I make on the griddle. A griddle is perfect for these layers and greatly decreases the time it takes to make it!

It also says to tilt the pan until the batter all spreads out. That didn't work for me. I used the measuring cup to spread it around.
The batter is a little bit thicker than pancake batter, so it takes a little convincing to get it to coat the entire pan and even then I couldn't get it to spread out evenly.
Cook this until it starts to bubble and appear dry on the top, just like pancakes do. I cooked mine for a little over a minute. Flip it over and cook for about 20 seconds.
Now, if you have never made a crepe before (like me), your first few will not be pretty (unless you have a crepe pan, then you might luck out). It is not easy to flip those suckers. That's okay. The one on the left got eaten by The Kids because it was deemed too ugly to be a part of a cake. The one on the right isn't too pretty, but it was never noticed once it became covered in frosting and other borderline cakes.
Once you have all your batter converted into crepe cakes, start assembling the cake. Put one layer down and frost. Here's a warning. Your layers are not thick. You only want a tiny bit of frosting, maybe a heaping tablespoon, to cover the layer. If you go overboard on the frosting, you won't even notice that there is cake in there when you take a bite. That would be tragic. You might as well save yourself some trouble and just east the frosting out of the bowl.
Add a layer on top and frost again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Just keep going until you run out of layers. The original recipe called for two cakes to be assembled, but I just made one big one. I contemplated trimming up the edges of the cake to make it easier to frost evenly, but ended up just leaving it like this.
 This is a messy endeavor and I didn't even show you the counter by the stove. Just be warned.
 Finish frosting the cake with a generous layer on the outside.
 The Girl insisted on sprinkles.
How incredible does that look? As with the Carrot Cake, this is a LAYER cake. Be careful on the slice sizes!
This cake makes me happy. And it's tasty. I think you could use a white cake mix and tint it any color that you wanted. The Girl wants to make a blue and red one for Independence Day. If I can get my kitchen cleaned back up in time, we might attempt that.

Click here for Printable Recipe.

20 Layer Cake
adapted from Taste of Home
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) red velvet cake mix
2-3/4 cups whole milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, milk, flour, eggs, egg yolks, butter and vanilla; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes.
Heat a lightly greased 8-in. nonstick skillet over medium heat; pour 1/3 cup batter into center of skillet. Lift and tilt pan to coat bottom evenly. Cook until top appears dry; turn and cook 15-20 seconds longer. Remove to a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter, greasing skillet as needed. When cool, stack crepes with waxed paper or paper towels in between.
To assemble the cake, place one crepe on a cake plate. Spread the cake with one rounded tablespoon frosting to within 1/2 in. of edges. Repeat layers until all crepes are used. Spread remaining frosting over tops and sides of crepe cake.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Candied Bacon

I've been going through something of a breakfast crisis for quite awhile now. Typically, at this time of day, I can eat the same thing over and over and never get tired of it. 

My big issue during the school year is that breakfast has to last me ALL morning long. Once that first bell rings, I don't have a break until lunch. Somewhere around third hour, my tummy is letting me know that I might want to consider some nourishment. 

So I am trying to find something that is easy, fast and filling. Not too tall of an order, is it?

Well, I haven't found my perfect breakfast yet, but, I have stumbled across something that might just tide me over.

There are dozens of people out there recommending Candied Bacon (or Pig Candy as some like to call it) as an addition to your table. It has taken me forever to try it, but now that I have discovered this monster, there is no turning back.

Coat a slice of bacon with a thin layer of brown sugar. You don't want to over do the sugar layer; the best results seem to occur when you can just see the bacon beneath the sugar.

Place those strips onto a broiler rack. Be sure to put a layer of aluminum foil underneath this or you will never use this pan again.
 Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

This is amazing. For me. The Girl liked it all right for someone who doesn't like bacon in the first place. Jeff said it was okay. Really? I thought he would devour it. Hmm. That was just fine with me as there was more for me to snack on later.

And again later. Seriously, I dreamed about this stuff.

I think I could make this at the beginning of the week and have it for breakfast every day, as long as I didn't eat it all on Monday.

Definitely give this a try, even if you first reaction is questionable.

Click here for Printable Recipe

Candied Bacon
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 pound thinly sliced bacon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil, and position broiler rack on top of pan. Lightly coat the rack with the vegetable oil. Add the brown sugar to a shallow dish. Press 1 side of each slice of bacon firmly into the sugar to coat well. Arrange the slices of bacon on top of the broiler rack in a single layer, sugared-side up. If there is any sugar remaining in the dish, sprinkle it on top of the bacon slices evenly. Bake until the bacon is crisp and the sugar is bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then to a plate or serving dish to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.