Monday, July 21, 2014

Rocking My Inner Betty Crocker

A couple of months back, I decided that I wanted to improve my baking skills and try some new recipes that I had been collecting on Pinterest. I had never been a really good baker and always dreaded when someone asked me to bring dessert to their party when I asked them wha I could make to bring. I decided that it was high time to learn how to bake and set out to try cakes.

I wanted to keep it simple, be able to make delicious cakes that were better than store bought and healthier because I could control the ingredients. I read somewhere that you could still use a boxed cake mix, add certain ingredients and viola! With some time and the proper equipment, you are baking some yummy goodies.

I had an inexpensive stand mixer that I purchased years ago at a discount store, gathering dust on the box in the basement. I brought it out, along with several bundt cake pans that I had managed to accumulate over the years. I started with:
1 boxed lemon cake mix that was on sale
3 eggs
1 and 1/3 cups of cold water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp lemon extract
1 box lemon flavored pudding
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Preheated the oven to 350 degrees F.
Added all of the ingredients except the lemon and coconut and mixed on medium speed for 3 minutes, scraping the bowl down to ensure the batter was well blended and smooth.

I used my lemon zoster tool to remove the lemon zest right into the batter. Then I cut the lemon I half and squeezed all the juice into a cup, catching the seeds so they didn't end up in the cake. My lemon press yielded about 3 TBSP spa of fresh lemon juice. Then I added the juice and coconut right into the batter and let it mix for about 30 seconds more, justo ensure the batter ingredients were folded in nicely.

I sprayed my rose design bundt pan with PAm am for baking. This wonderful spray has the oil and flour mixed in. Then I took a small bristled paint brush and wiped the inside of the pan and the tube in the center to ensure every surface was well coated evenly. This step really helps to ensure the cake comes out evenly and the spray doesn't pool in the petals of this intricate pan.

I poured the batter into the prepared pan, spinning the pan as I did to make the batter distribution balanced. I placed the pan on a folded dis towel and then gently tapped it three times in the counter on top of the towel to release any air pockets before popping the pan into my preheated oven.

I baked the cake at 350 for 50 minutes. While the cake mix said 42 minutes, I found with the extra ingredients such as the pudding and coconut, it needs more time to set up properly. At 50 minutes the toothpick test comes out clean and the cake is ready to be laced in the pan in a rack to be cooled. I left it to cool for 40 minutes before inverting onto a cake platter and dusting with powdered sugar lightly sifted through a small sieve.

I think the cake turned out beautiful and I can't wait to try it for dessert after tonight's dinner.

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