Saturday, December 31, 2011

Banana buttermilk cupcakes

Banana Buttermilk Cupcakes
This past week, our older sister and brother (plus his family) have been visiting from Tampa, FL. We have had amazing food. In addition to my sister's famous gumbo, we've enjoyed German food from Leavenworth, WA, some vendor foods from Pike's Place Market in Seattle, and various foods from the International District in Seattle. I don't think I've been hungry since Christmas Day, but I haven't stopped eating since then. Plus, I've barely cooked!

Tomorrow for New Year's Eve, I plan on making a Nutella Brownie Pie, but my siblings also requested a cake for tonight's dessert. "You're always posting photos of cakes on Facebook, but you haven't made us any dessert yet!" Wah, wah, wahhhh. Wanting to try something a little different, I thought of a cake that my friend Celia wrote about over at her blog, The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia. Coincidentally, I had some ripe bananas sitting on the counter. Kismet.

Fresh out of the oven. Simmer down now! (SNL reference. Anyone?)
Though it is a tiny bit denser than a regular cake, these cupcakes are not like the texture of banana bread. They were super moist and sooooo tasty. I topped them with cream cheese frosting and walnuts, which elevated their level from delicious to "punch a baby in the face" scrumptious. I ate two cupcakes. TWO. I should be ashamed, but I'm just too darned happy with these little cakes! 

Tomorrow's dinner includes: roast turkey with sausage stuffing and gravy, prime rib with mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, steamed lobster, roasted oysters, strawberry rhubarb pie, and Nutella brownie pie. Then death from overeating. Next week, I will only eat chao/lugaw/rice porridge.

Happy New Year! Many blessings to you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Peppermint Ice Cream Cake

Hello there! My first semester of seminary is over! After finals yesterday, I cried a little (a lot), and had a long shower (tall drink), and am feeling much better today!

Peppermint Ice Cream Cake. Photo: Elizabeth P.

Last week, two of my friends threw a Christmas/White Elephant party. Along with a white elephant gift, we were asked to either bring a drink/cocktail or food. I brought sorbet & champagne cocktails and a peppermint ice cream cake.

First, I'd just like to say that Martha Stewart's SORBET & CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS ARE MY NEW FAVORITE DRINK. Also, I am sorry to say that I don't have a photo of one from the party to post here. We happily drank them up, and didn't think to photograph it. It's super easy to make, though. Literally, you spoon some sorbet into a glass (we used raspberry sorbet), and then fill the glass with champagne. The next morning, I received a text from my friend, "Girl! Those champagne cocktails did me in!!!" I think that's the best review it could possibly get.

The makings of a peppermint ice cream cake
The peppermint ice cream cake was also incredibly easy to make, and I think everyone enjoyed it. At least, I really enjoyed making and eating it. It had soft chocolate cake, layered with minty ice cream, whipped topping, and crunchy candy cake sprinkles. It's a great seasonal dessert, and can be adjusted with different ice cream flavors, depending on your preference or the season.

Look at all that food in the background! Yet, only the pigs in a blanket are gone. Photo: Elizabeth P.

Chau's Super Easy Peppermint Ice Cream Cake 
(Makes one 9x13 cake)

1 box chocolate/devil's food cake mix, divided
eggs, oil, and water called for in the cake recipe (I substitute coffee for water to enhance choco flavor)
1 container of peppermint ice cream (1 container usually has 1.5 qts)
1 - 8 oz of your favorite whipped topping (I was lazy, I used Cool Whip)
3 candy canes or a bunch of peppermint candies, crushed to make "sprinkles"
1 - 9x13 pan
nonstick spray

  1. Preheat oven according to cake mix directions. I was using a shiny aluminum pan, so I reduced oven heat by 25 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Do your best to divide the dry cake mix in half. (About 1 3/4 c. from 18 oz box of mix).
  3. For the eggs, oil, and water/coffee, here's how I broke it down: 2 eggs (my cake mix recipe called for 3 eggs for full cake); half the amount of oil (half of 1/3 c. for me); a little less than half of the amount of liquid called (a full cake mix called for 1 1/4 c, so I used 1/2 c. for the half cake. Remember, you have 2 eggs, so it's okay to use less than half the liquid).
  4.  Mix it all together! 
  5. Pour it in the pan sprayed with nonstick spray! 
  6. Bake it for about 10-15 min, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean!
  7. Once fully baked, allow cake to cool for 1-2 hours, until fully cooled. 
  8. After cake has cooled, let ice cream sit on counter to soften (about 20 min). You'll know it's soft when you can use a spoon or spatula to mix the ice cream. NOTE: If you can't find peppermint ice cream, you could mix crushed candy canes into softened vanilla ice cream.
  9. Remember, cake should be cooled. Spoon ice cream onto the cake, and spread it out evenly over the cake. 
  10. Top with whipped topping and crushed candy canes/peppermint candies. Freeze for about 1-2 hours.
  11. Eat that jank.