Chunky Chocolate Chip Cake ~ Cake Slice Bakers October

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We, the Cake Slice Bakers have come to the end of our road with Great Cakes by Carole Walter. For this month’s selection, we have the option of baking whatever we like. I chose the Chunky Chocolate Chip Cake. It’s very simple, easy to pull together and packs a mean chocolate punch. The original recipe included nuts but I chose not to add them in the off chance that my granddaughter would want to have a slice. Instead, I doubled up on the amount of chocolate chips.

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Now please don’t take this the wrong way but you know what your mouth feels like when you eat a whopping spoonful of peanut butter? Yeah, one bite of this cake with double the chocolate chips feels like that. Oh but that is a good chocolate feeling!!

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I also decided to bake in a loaf pan rather than the 9×13 pan called for in the recipe. Guess I went a little rogue on this one didn’t I.

Whenever I have a naked or semi naked cake, I like to brush the tops and sides with a bit of simple syrup. This helps to seal in any loose crumbs and the moisture.

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For the glaze, I used two that I had on hand. One was light the other dark. The two combined lent a silk texture to the outside of the cake. A full covering would have been excessive. Ha, that sounds funny coming from me!

Since we began with this book last November there have been moments of triumph and several frustrations. As with most things in life, you hang on and do the best with what you have. I along with my fellow bakers am looking forward to our next year of baking.

In accordance with our baking groups protocol, it is suggested that we not share the recipe here without the author’s permission. Please visit the other bakers blogs to see what they have chosen this month.

I’ll also take this Chunky Chocolate Chip Cake to several link parties this week.

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Wedding Plans so Far

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We haven’t gotten knee deep into wedding planning just yet but we’re getting close. I’ve been on the other side of planning weddings for a long time and now that my daughter is getting married I get to see if from a different point of view. So far there has been one dress fitting with another scheduled soon, and one trip to a florist that wasn’t very inspiring. However, Charisse did visit another florist and came away very pleased. As she was looking through the books the florist told her that nowadays brides are choosing from Pinterest rather than catalogs. All Charisse had to do was bring up her boards on her Smartphone. Cross that one off the list.

For many years she has told me that I wasn’t going to do anything for her wedding other than to just be the mother of the bride. We both had visions of us drinking champagne and getting mani and pedis. When our sons were married I made their cakes, granted their shindigs were smaller and more informal than what Charisse and her fiancée are planning. Then came the reality check in the form of how much even a modest wedding can cost. It was somewhat of a let down to find out that the cake of her dreams would cost $4.00 a slice for a buttercream iced creation.

Wedding-Planning

With a preliminary guest list of 300 I’ll let you do the math on the cost of a cake from her preferred (other then me of course :)) source. Our thinking now is to order a small tiered cake for show and pictures and have several sheet and or dessert cakes at the venue to be cut and served by the staff. We will make those cakes the week before and freeze them. Wrapped properly, they will be fine on the day of. Our oldest daughter who also has a way with all things sugar will be home and baking with me. That’s as close as I’ll get to being the cake lady for her wedding. We’ll see how that pans out.

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The bride to be also decided to have a coordinator for the day before to run the rehearsal and to manage everything the day of. We can handle everything else up to that point, I think. We’re also on the second color palette. Now it is coral and turquoise. Her initial choice was jewel tones but that wasn’t quite appropriate for a summer wedding. The collage pictured gives you an idea of the colors we are going for. Don’t you love how I keep saying, “we”? I’m doing my best to not be super opinionated about what they should or shouldn’t do/have. So far, so good.

Today’s couples have so much information available on the web and wedding inspiration is right at their fingertips. This can be a good and bad thing. The more choices you have the more confusing and overwhelmed you can be.

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Did you know that there are cake designer apps available? Oh my gosh the times have changed! Once upon a time brides-to-be came to see you with pictures torn from the few bride magazines that were available. Nowadays wedding cakes are more like works of art and are complete show pieces. Add to that shows like Platinum Weddings and David Tutera’s My Fair Wedding and expectations are through the roof.

Call me old fashioned but spending a million dollars for a wedding is way over the top. Being saddled with debt from your mega wedding is not the best way to begin a marriage. I’m certainly not bashing anyone who chooses to do so and if someone came to me with a limitless budget I’d do my best to give them what they want.

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Setting a budget, realistic expectations and planning ahead are keys to a memorable and stress free celebration. Baby girl’s wedding is July 18, 2015 so we still have lots of time. Wish us luck and I’ll keep you posted along the way!

Top 10 Wedding Planning Apps for Android and iphones

http://heavy.com/tech/2013/08/top-10-best-wedding-planning-apps-for-android-ios-iphone-2013/

“>Wedding Wire

Pop Sugar Best Wedding Planning Apps

Wilton Cake Ideas on Google Play

Healthy Solutions Spice Blend ~ Shake it Off

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Having difficulty shaking the salt habit? Try adding spices, seasonings, or herbs instead of table salt. Another good alternative is flavored sea salts. The flavors are more pronounced and you won’t need half as much as you usually use. Recently I found an even better solution than flavored sea salts. I was sent packets of Healthy Solutions Spice Blends to use and review. The views and opinions of this product are entirely my own.
www.spiceblends.com

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After my recent scare with hypertension I have really made an effort to pay more attention to the sodium in everything. Baking as often as I do eating non processed food and lots of veggies and fruit is a must. Boring, bland food is more likely to trigger a backslide than anything else so I am also open to expanding my savory horizons.

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In my class we just started the chapter on nutrition and the importance of reading labels. I always bring in products to give my students a portion size visual aid, and have them read the labels. They were shocked to find out how much sodium was in a popular seasoning mix.

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These Healthy Solution Spice Blends are the perfect solution; they are salt and sugar free, and boy do they smell good. The first one I tried was the Pork and Poultry Rub. I really like the recipe suggestions that are included on the packaging; it takes the guess work out of how to use them. The chicken wings I prepared were very tasty and had a slightly sweet taste to them. Who would have guessed that cranberries were listed as an ingredient on the label? How great would this blend be for your holiday poultry?

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I served my wings with penne pasta, veggies, a light Alfredo sauce and garlic bread. Please check out their website www.spiceblends.com to find out about their Spice Healthy Eat Healthy Club and the recipes. I’m really looking forward to sampling more of these blends.

Hello Kitty Spa Sleepover

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It seems that I operate at two speeds. Warp drive and catching up. Right now I’m moving along at catching up. We packed so much into the weekend and had an absolute blast doing so. Samara came home for MSU’s homecoming in East Lansing. She was late getting in because of the airport debacle in Chicago which derailed our lunch plans with her. But the time we had with her was awesome!

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Gabbi also celebrated her birthday this Saturday with a Hello Kitty Spa Party Sleepover. Say that 10 times fast! Thennnnnnn…Sunday was Charisse’s first wedding dress venture. Oh my gosh I thought they were going to put us out. We didn’t know we couldn’t bring in champagne. Guess we’ve watched too much of “Say Yes to the Dress! After that giggle fest we came home and had Taco Dinner Sunday. I’m tired all over again just thinking about it. All of the pictures are at the bottom of this post.

There were seven girls in attendance and Gabbi’s party and no doubt they had a good time being pampered and then filled with sweet and savory goodies.

By the time I arrived at Charisse’s house to help her set up Saturday morning she already had one room set up. She put this together in a couple of hours. Baby girl has skills!

It didn’t take me long to get the dessert table ready and Gabbi was more than willing to help. That willingness was coupled with the opportunity to eat Twizzlers as she stuffed them into the jars. Charisse didn’t want too much candy on the table, much to my dismay. Along with the cake and water bottles that was it for the table. I made the pink fans and gigantic tissue paper flower. The white fans were premade.

The Hello Kitty cake was chocolate and covered it a super fluffy pink butter cream frosting. I used some of my newly acquired fondant skills to make the ribbon at the base and the fondant bow. I also made cupcakes for the girls to decorate but they never got around to it. They became dessert for Taco Dinner Sunday.

After dinner on Sunday the Mr lit a fire in the pit on the deck. The girls and I donned sweaters and sipped on the Apple Sangria I made earlier in the day. It was very chilly but we enjoyed hanging out and chatting with our girls. Those moments are the most special and create the warmest memories.

Sharing this party at these parties!

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Blondies

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This is my first month as a member of the Fill the Jar Cookie Group and I’m super excited to bake along with them. Cakes have been the mainstay of my baking and I look forward to deviating once again from my comfort zone. It’s nothing to do with me not liking to eat or bake cookies. Most of you know that I haven’t met many desserts that I don’t like. Don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing.
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Working with Fondant

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Well I finally did it. After riding the rollercoaster ride of indecisiveness, I took a fondant cake class. Get this; I even made homemade fondant from marshmallows! Making the fondant and covering the cake was not nearly as challenging as I thought it would be. This does not mean I’m ready to go out and cover a multi-tiered wedding cake, but with practice, I’ll get there.
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Banana Nut Cake ~ Cake Slice Bakers

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Somehow I get the feeling that I won’t be the only one revealing the banana nut cake as our Cake Slice Bakers choice this month. It’s the perfect time of year for it and it’s not unusual for bakers to have lots of bananas waiting patiently in their freezers to be called into service.

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Almond Bundt Cake

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Shopping at Big Lots is fun. From home décor, dinnerware to even some pantry staples I’ve found many bargains there. It’s not the first place I shop for baking supplies but if I’m there and something looks interesting and hasn’t expired, I might try it. Many items are off brands. Sometimes way off, off brands. However when I spied a can of almond paste for $1.25 I thought why not. I’d never baked with it before, and figured for that price I‘d give it a try. Continue reading