Saturday, January 16, 2010


January is a heavy birthday month for me. In fact, just one week in January is a heavy time for birthdays for me. My dad and my sister both celebrate their birthdays in January, only 5 days apart. Then there are my sisters Gabby, Tricia, MacKenzie, and Sarah, as well as my Aunt Terry. And I'm sure there's more as well. Needless to say, it's been a busy week for me birthday-wise.

Actually, I'm exaggerating a bit. I only had to make one cake this week. See, we purchased a few cakes from a fundraiser through my dad's school, and one of them was a coffee cake. My dad had sampled it and really loved it, so we saved the one we bought in December in the freezer until his birthday, when we enjoyed it. And boy, did we enjoy it! We also ordered a red velvet cake with cream cheese glaze icing from the same place, but that wasn't nearly as good as the coffee cake. (imho, it was not dense enough, and I wasn't a fan of the glaze icing. Give me a dense red velvet cake with rich cream cheese icing any day of the week!)

So that leaves me with my sister's birthday, where I'm in charge of both the cake and the "appetizer"...fruit kabobs. So guess what that means?

Yup! A new cake recipe! :-D

First is the chocolate chip pound cake, as seen below.

Pretty, isn't it? It really did turn out great. I had made this cake for my birthday, but I used regular sized chocolate chips. This time, per request of my sister, I used miniature chocolate chips. And I think it looks great! (and if the batter gives any inclination, it tastes great too! ;-) ) I found the recipe on, so, courtesy of them, here's the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Pound Cake

3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. (2 sticks) butters, softened
6 eggs
1 1/3 c. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1-12oz. pkg. (2 c.) miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In medium bowl, combine flour, salt, and soda. Set aside. In large bowl, combine sugar and butter; beat well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream and vanilla extract. Gradually blend in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into greased and floured 10 inch round pan or 10 inch tube pan. Bake for 70-75 minutes (70 did the trick for me). Cool on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

I really love sour cream-based pound cake recipes. I feel like they are more moist, and just generally tastier, than those without sour cream.

So what about the icing? Well, I knew that my sister loved buttercream, and I really like the look of fondant, so that was a no brainer...buttercream base with fondant overlay and decorations. I was perusing , where I came upon this awesome meringue-based buttercream icing recipe that I wanted to try, which you can find . Italian Meringue Butter Cream, or IMBC for short. It looked really cool, and I knew it was going to be a challenge. What's interesting is that it does not use powdered sugar, like my usual buttercream recipe; instead, it uses a sugar syrup. Well, I tried it, and wouldn't you know, it took me over 30 minutes to make it! Ridiculous! I can't afford that kind of time to make an icing. At first, I thought it tasted great. Once I took another taste, though, it seemed really buttery, and not so sweet. And then I tried piping with it, and i had a lot of difficulty with my small round tip...and I even used a bigger one than I usually do! One batch makes about 9 cups, and that was too much for me; I ended up tossing the last bit of it, sad to say. So, I probably will just be sticking to my Wilton Recipe from now on. I am hoping that the icing tastes better with the cake than alone. *sigh* I guess I can't expect all experiments to turn out perfect, now, can I? If you would like to give the buttercream a try, feel free to use the recipe at the link provided. There are some great photo tutorials, as well. I'm just not a huge fan...but if you try it, I hope you like it!

So, my sister wanted white and blue polka dots for her cake, so I obliged. Only, I had some extra blue and pink fondant from my last cake, so I also made purple (with her permission, of course), and I mentioned aqua to her, and she was all for it. At first, when I was planning this cake, I was frustrated that she didn't give me more direction and told me to "have fun" with it...but in the end, that's exactly what did happen...I had a lot of fun! The colors worked really well, and it really was fun creating color and size patterns with the circles. Picture are included below, so that you can see for yourself.

So, that's the cake! I think, overall, it turned out pretty good. I love that I'm learning as I go along. I really think I would have preferred if the lettering on top were in fondant, but I did not have letter and number cut outs, nor did I have a stencil. So, I guess I'll just have to reserve that for next time!

Oh, and Happy Sweet 16th, Marygrace!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Welcome Recipe!

I'm Noeleen. This is my blog. I love to sing, bake, and create many things.

Okay, enough with the First Grade Level introductions. I just need an outlet for everything going on in my head, and this is what I've got. I'm enamored with blogs that I read about the recipes that I want to try and such. I haven't read much about music or crafts, but I figure I'll incorporate them anyway.

So for today, why don't we start with a recipe?

I've been salivating over sensational sweets on flickr recently, especially cupcakes. I finally got to the point where I was so fed up with craving them, I needed to make my own. The problem is, no one in my house will eat cupcakes except me due to the fat content and everyone watching their I went fat-free. I also had an 8 oz. block of fat-free cream cheese, so I looked up a recipe for fat-free cream cheese icing...and I found the same recipe in many places, so I'll re-post here.

Fat-Free Cupcakes

1 cake mix (take your pick)
1 12 oz. can of diet soda (the type depends on the cake you pick)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, or whatever the box says to do. Put the cake mix in a bowl. Add the soda. If it's a yellow, white, red velvet, strawberry, or any other light or colored cake mix, use a clear-colored diet soda. If it's a chocolate cake mix or any other dark variety, use a caramel-colored diet soda. Mix well. DO NOT add any of the other ingredients printed on the box...the glory of this cake is that all you need is the mix and the soda! Mix on medium speed for a minute to get the mix wet, then on medium-high to thoroughly mix it together. Once it's mixed, spoon the batter into lined muffin pans. The batter will fill 24 cups about 1/2 full or so...maybe a little more than 1/2. To evenly distribute the batter, I use a cookie scoop, or one of those nifty spoons that has the lever inside to get all the batter/dough out of the scoop. Mine is of high quality because I just bought it for a great price at an outlet store in Lancaster, PA, and I am super excited to use it for whatever I can...but I digress.

Bake the cupcakes for about 17-22 minutes or so, depending on what the box says. Mine was a Duncan Hines Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix with a Diet Coke, and it took about 17 or 18 minutes to bake evenly. Take out of the oven, and let cool in the pans for at least an hour. Once cooled completely, you can ice them. Which leads me to...

Fat-Free Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz. package of fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 8 oz. tub of fat-free whipped topping
1/2 cup Splenda (okay, I cheated and used granulated sugar. It was delicious!)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (it doesn't have to be clear. Your icing is still going to be bright white).

Whip your cream cheese with a mixer. Mix in the whipped topping. Follow this with the Splenda (sugar) and vanilla. Voila! A lovely icing.

When I made mine, I let the whipped topping and cream cheese sit out for a while, so it was super soft. After I mixed it, the frosting was almost a liquid texture. So I refrigerated it for 45 minutes, which helped a little. I took a disposable piping bag and cut the tip off so that I had a wide circular opening, and then piped the frosting in a swirl. Well, the frosting was so creamy, it sort of collapsed. I guess this is a frosting that you can't expect to pipe and keep its shape, but it's definitely a spreadable frosting.

So there you have it! A guilt-free dessert for you to try! Sad to say, I did not take any pictures...but they really aren't anything to write home about, aesthetically speaking. I just bought some diet Orange Crush, so I think next time I'll try an orange creamsicle crush in yellow cake mix with cream cheese frosting.