Jul 23, 2012

cake decoration

I love making cakes because I love eating cakes, but I absolutely hate decorating cakes. I can never manipulate the frosting quite well enough to create the picture that's in my head. I really should take a cake decorating class. I guess I'm not really one to care about what a cake looks like. It matters a lot more what a cake tastes like. But since most of my cakes are gifts for my friends and family, cake decoration is really something that I need to learn.

This past weekend, I threw a baby shower for my friend and two hours before the party, I was frantically searching on Pinterest for ideas on how to decorate the cake. I had originally wanted to create this rosette filled cake that I saw from I am Baker.

photo from I am Baker

Then when I actually tried to pipe those rosettes, they were all different sizes and different shapes. It was completely hideous!! I scraped it all off and tried again. This time I was inspired by this picture from Design Sponge.

photo from Design Sponge

When I actually tried it, it came out pretty decent. I think I still need to work on making the loops and top prettier. It was a lot easier to do, just drawing loops with a star tip.

Now I thought the top looked so naked. So I decided on making a bunting for the top. I just love the look that it creates. That was really quite simple, you just cut little triangles and string them along. I used lollipop sticks for the ends and voila. There are no new recipes for this cake, but I just wanted to share my cake decorating dilemmas. I would love new ideas and tips on how to get the frosting to look like the ones in the stores!! Especially a whipped cream frosting. Well, practice makes perfect, I just need to keep baking!!

Jul 16, 2012

Mexican Lasagna

It's been too long!! I'm so sorry, I have been traveling and just really busy with everything that's happening. I bring this apology with an awesome recipe!!! You will forgive me after you make this Mexican Lasagna, it's so good!! I made it for some company we had the other night. I always tend to make casseroles when we have company, it's just so much easier and there's always enough food for everyone.

This Mexican Lasagna comes from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I love her recipes and if she likes a recipe, I know I will too!! The sauce comes together really quickly and it's made with pretty much everything you have in your pantry and fridge already. The added sour cream and cream cheese adds a bit of indulgence to this lasagna. I didn't use as much cheese as the original recipe, and I didn't think the lasagna suffered. This makes a hefty lasagna so be sure to invite some friends over!! Enjoy!!

Mexican Lasagna
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
dash of ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, white or yellow
9-12 no-boil lasagna noodles (or cooked regular lasagna noodles)
2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (see note)
1 cup sour cream, light or regular
8 ounces cream cheese, light or regular

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9X13-inch pan and set aside.

2. In a large 12-inch skillet, brown the ground beef or turkey and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink. Drain the grease. Add the minced garlic and tomato paste. Stir to combine well and cook for about a minute. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, oregano and salt and pepper. Mix well. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir to combine. Add the black beans, and corn. Mix well and heat through, about 5 minutes.

3. Remove the skillet from the heat. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer three (or four, depending on the brand of noodles you use) noodles over the sauce. Spread 1/3 of the sauce over the noodles. Dollop 1/3 of the sour cream and 1/3 of the cream cheese (just pinch off chunks and toss them on top) across the sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheeses. Repeat the layers two more times until all the ingredients are used.

4. Cover the lasagna with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes more, until the lasagna is hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into and serving.

  • * Original recipe uses one six ounce can of olives.  I don't like olives, so I left it out.  
  • * Original recipe uses 2 cups of mozzarella and 1 cup of cheddar cheese.  I only used 2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese. 


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