Friday, August 12, 2011

Cake mix (from scratch)

Many of the cook books I have unfortunately include cake recipes that call for a cake mix. I don't really like mixes because they always seem to get a funky taste after a couple days. They also don't stay as fresh as from-scratch cakes.

Last night, as I was flipping through some recipes, I came across a chocolate cherry cake that I really wanted to try, but it called for a Swiss chocolate cake mix.

I was not going to give up! So I googled for "homemade cake mix." I found a couple of good sites, including yellow and white cake mix over at Chickens in the Road.

For chocolate cake mix I found and tried Shirley's recipe posted on her blog, Choosing Voluntary Simplicity. Here's the results:

I made a chocolate butter cream frosting that has coffee in it. I think it'll be a great complement to the chocolate-cherry cake.

Happy early birthday to me! (Just 12 days early.)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mango fruit leathers and kitchen disasters

Over the weekend I whipped up my first batch of mango fruit leathers.

It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, and the fruit dried a lot quicker than I expected. I'm still learning how to use my dehydrator, but I'm getting better at it each time I use it.

I made three sheets. Two were dried on wax paper since only one fruit leather tray came with my dehydrator. The manual said use plastic wrap, but I'm leery of doing that for various reasons.

Well, that was a mistake! The mango melted into the wax paper! So I had to throw away both batches. I was able to get nine strips out of the fruit leather tray.

I couldn't find fruit leather trays (also called fruit roll-ups) locally, but I found some online. Four new trays should arrive in time for my birthday. I can't wait to try it again!

The other kitchen disaster I had over the weekend involved mayonnaise. I don't usually keep mayo on hand, but really wanted some to go on a tomato sandwich. (Thanks, Brian, for the tomatoes!)

I used a recipe I've used in the past, so knew it would turn out great. But it didn't. I was left with a runny mess. I tried it again, figuring I added the olive oil too quickly. Yep, that was it. So, make sure you add in oil in very small quantities if you ever make mayo!