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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

French Vanilla Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

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It’s time to make a birthday cake for a special friend. His favorite color is blue, so there was really nothing else I could have done. I decided to make a French Vanilla Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting.

Honestly, baking doesn’t come easily to me, I really have to work at it. I do take help where I can. For this recipe, I used a box cake mix. Listen, there are some really good ones available. It saves a lot of time, you don’t need to measure out all the ingredients, so why not?

I am going to be adding a secret ingredient to my cake that will make it extra moist and delicious. I’ll tell you about that in a minute. Let’s get started.

I’m starting out by using three boxes of Duncan Hines French Vanilla cake mix.

Offset Spatula

French Vanilla Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Baking Time: 25 to 55 minutes (times may vary depending on oven and the different size cakes pans used for this recipe)
Equipment: 5″, 7″, and 9″ cake pans, parchment paper, Stand Mixer, hand-held electric mixer, 3 medium-sized mixing bowls, 1 large mixing bowl, 3 cake cooling racks, piping bag with a star tip

Note: It’s important when baking that all the ingredients be at room temperature.

Ingredients:
3 boxes of Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake Mix, 16.5-ounce box
9 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups of water, divided into thirds
1 cup of vegetable oil, divided into thirds
3/4 cup of ricotta cheese, divided into thirds
3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature, (for greasing pans)
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour (for pans)

Ingredients For Frosting, Double Batch:
4 sticks of softened unsalted butter
2 8-ounce bars softened cream cheese
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
4 cups of powdered sugar
2 drops of blue food coloring (more if you’d like the color to be darker or you may want to choose a different color).

Directions:
The first thing that you need to do is to prep all three of the cake pans with butter, parchment paper to fit the bottom each cake pan, and flour. You want to butter the pans first, then lay down the parchment paper in each one. Butter the tops of each circle of parchment paper. Next, flour each pan. Sprinkle a little flour into the bottom of the pans then roll the flour around so the bottom and sides of the pan are floured. Shake off any excess flour into the sink and then the pans are ready.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Using a hand mixer, on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients from the box to the wet ingredients, scraping down the side of the bowl to ensure to incorporate the flour, until just combined. Do not overmix. Transfer the completed batter to another large mixing bowl. Repeat this process 2 more times. All the completed batter should now be combined in the large bowl.

Place the 3 cake pans into the oven and bake for the following times.
Using a toothpick or cake tester, after 25 minutes, check on the 5″ cake, then at 45 minutes, check on the 7″ cake. Then again at 55 minutes for the 9″ cake. Remember these time may vary slightly.

Transfer the three cakes to cooling racks and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Then use a knife to loosen the cake around the edges of the pan. Place the cooling rack on top of the pan then invert the whole pan rack included upside down. Lift the cake pan slowly to allow the cake to fall free from the pan. Repeat this process for each cake. Let the cakes cool on the racks completely before frosting.

Directions For Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the softened butter and cream cheese. Cream those together for just a minute until combined. Next, add the vanilla extract, mix until combined. Next, slowly add the powdered sugar until all 4 cups have been added. Mix until completely combined. Finally, add the food coloring one drop at a time. Two drops total should be perfect for a pastel blue.

In an earlier post, I talk about a bakery supply company called D & G Occasions. This is where I purchased the white roses for this cake. You can visit  D & G Occasions by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

Using an offset spatula, starting with the top and working downwards and around the outside of each particular cake. Once the cake is totally frosted, fill a large pitcher with super hot water. Dip the offset spatula in the water, shake off the excess water. Run the spatula around the top and rim of the bottom two cakes as well as the outside of each cake. This will smooth out any imperfections on the frosting. If needed, add more frosting to the needed areas. Again, smoothing it out by using the offset spatula that’s been dipped into the hot water.

After each layer of the cake has been frosted, using a piping bag fitted with a star tip, make stars around the second and third layer. On the top layer make a border of your choosing. Place the candied roses around each layer of the cake. There it is my French Vanilla Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting.

When you’re ready to decorate, let your imagination run wild.

 

D & G Occasions

 

 

 

 

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Double Fudge Peanut Butter Brownies

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It can get a little stressful in my house when, Steve’s team, the Miami Dolphins are playing. If they’re scheduled to play the New England Patriots, well, that’s a whole different kind of worry. As a loyal fan, he takes game day very seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I love football too. I thought, how can I make this night extra special.

I thought, how about one of his favorites, brownies! Because I’ve been busy myself, I decided to take a little help from the store and make these semi-homemade. I dashed up to the grocery store and picked up a really good box brownie mix, and then added a few extra surprises to make my Double Fudge And Peanut Butter Brownies.

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Coffee really enhances the flavor of the chocolate.

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This worked out great!  It didn’t take that much longer to add these extra ingredients. The fact that I started out with a really good box mix and just added a few extra special ingredients gave Steve the impression that they were made from scratch. I made store-bought brownies seem as though they were homemade.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 33 minutes,
Total Cook Time: 43 minutes
Yields: 16 brownies
Equipment: 8 x 8-inch non-stick baking dish, large mixing bowl, 1 large wooden skewer, a serving platter

Ingredients:
1 17.6-ounce box of Duncan Hines Decadent Double Fudge Brownie Mix, fudge packet included
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup brewed coffee, cold
1 cup of peanut butter, smooth
1/8 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips plus extra for garnish
1/8 cup of Nestle pumpkin morsels plus extra for garnish

Directions:
Note:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. for glass or metal pans, 325-degrees F. for dark non-stick pans. Brownies are done when a toothpick is inserted 1-inch from the edge of the pan and it comes out clean. For 8 x 8-inch pan bake for 35 to 38 minutes. For 9 x 9-inch pan bake for 30 to 33 minutes. Add 3 to 5 minutes for dark non-stick pans.
The brownie mix is a double fudge mix that includes a fudge pouch. I decided to add a few more goodies like peanut butter, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and some new Nestle pumpkin morsels. These extras should do the trick.

Follow the instructions on the box. To the dry mix, I added in a 1/4 cup mixture of the semi-sweet chocolate and pumpkin morsels, mixing the morsels, to coat the chips really well with the dry mix.

For the wet ingredients, in another large mixing bowl, add the cold brewed coffee, egg, water, oil, and fudge packet, mix to combine.

Next, slowly add the dry to the wet ingredients until just combined. Pour the batter into a buttered (to ensure brownies do not stick) greased 8 X 8-inch non-stick baking pan. Next, take 1 cup of smooth peanut butter and place spoonfuls randomly, all over the top. Take a large skewer and swirl the peanut butter through the batter. This way every bite will have some of that creamy peanut butter. 

Bake at 325-degrees F. for 35 to 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack before cutting and serving.

After cutting the brownies, arrange them onto a serving platter and sprinkle the top of my Double Fudge Peanut Butter Brownies with a few more of the different flavored chocolate chips.

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Semi-Homemade Cheddar And Chive Drop Biscuits

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Semi-Homemade Cheddar Biscuits

Growing up in my house it was always a big deal when my parents took my sister and me out to eat. When Melissa was a young girl she and I would have dinner and a  movie every Friday night. Our first stop was to a seafood restaurant where we would have dinner before going to a movie.

Anyway, years later this particular restaurant came out with Cheddar Bay Biscuits they served you before your meal. I don’t know about you, I loved those biscuits.

We’re all really busy these days so I don’t mind taking a little help from the grocery store.

Wow, how did I get so far off-topic!  Biscuits are one of my favorite things to have with a meal. You can pretty much add whatever you want to them. Drop-style biscuits are my favorite, no kneading involved. Today, most grocery stores now carry that restaurant’s brand of box mix for these wonderful biscuits.

Here are my Semi-Homemade Cheddar And Chive Drop Biscuits.

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

Chives (2)

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Semi-Homemade Cheddar Biscuits

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 14 to 16 minutes
Total Time: 21 minutes
Yields: 10  biscuits
Equipment, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 1 large mixing bowl, pastry brush, bread basket

Ingredients:
1 box of Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay biscuit mix
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of Coby Jack cheese, grated
2 tablespoons of fresh chives, finely minced (optional)
2 tablespoons of Ricotta cheese, room temperature
Slightly less than 3/4 cup of water
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder (optional)
4 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely minced, (substitute 1 teaspoon of dried)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl add grated cheese, baking powder, minced chives, whisk to combine. Next, add a little less than 3/4 cup of water and ricotta, stir until the batter just comes together. Do not over mix.

Using two spoons, spoon dollops of the batter onto parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet pans.

Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, and the biscuits are light golden brown.

In a small saucepot melt the butter. Add garlic powder and finely, chopped Italian parsley. As soon as the biscuits come out of the oven, brush that delicious buttery mixture over the top of each one then finish by sprinkling grated Parmesan cheese over the tops. These are my Semi-Homemade Cheddar And Chive Drop Biscuits.

Note: I don’t use their seasoning pack, included in the box, I just use the dry mix.

 

 

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