My mom and my sister are lucky enough to share a birthday, and while they get to have the day off, I’m always very busy making their cake. This year, they wanted something springy…in the month of October….even though it still feels like July here….this cake was a tease! It was very delicious, though, and was alot of fun to make. So if you live in North Texas, have a mom and sister with the same birthday, HATE this heat, and are looking for a good birthday cake, make this one! Or if you have nothing in common with any of those things, then still make it to celebrate your cool weather!
Chocolate Cake (Duncan Hines)
- 1 box Duncan Hines cake mix
- whatever else it calls for
Buttercream Frosting (Wilton)
- 1 c vegetable shortening
- 1 c butter
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 8 c powdered sugar, sifted
- 4 tbsp. milk
For the cake:
Make the cake according to the box directions. Let it cool completely on a wire rack before you start icing it.
For the frosting:
Cream the butter and shortening together. Add vanilla. Gradually add the sugar 1 cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl often. When all the sugar has been mixed in, it will appear dry. Add milk and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. (If you want to make chocolate buttercream, then just add 1 1/2 oz. of melted unsweetened chocolate and 1/2 tbsp. of milk.) This will make about 6 cups of frosting.
When the cakes are cool, level the them and stack them on top of each other by: Placing one cake on a cake pedestal or plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top and place the second cake on top of it. Ice the sides of the cake and the top and then decorate.
To make the purple icing, I just mixed about a cup of the white icing with Wilton red and blue food coloring. I dipped a toothpick in the food coloring three times with each color and mixed it with the icing to get the shade I wanted. I did the same for the yellow frosting, but just used Wilton Lemon Yellow food coloring instead.
For these little flowers, I used tip#133. For the dots, I used tip#4.
I used tip#12 for the big dots. I bordered the top and bottom edges of the cake with these dots.
And finally, I used tip#3 on both the top and side writing.
Mac ‘n’ Cheese is every kid’s favorite dinner, but it can become every adult’s favorite, too, when you make it the “gourmet” way. This is not some macaroni and cheese out of a box; this is a rich, bubbly, cheesy-beyond-belief macaroni and cheese that is sure to satisfy the simplest and most sophisticated palettes!
Try it with fish and broccoli (as I did), chicken, steak, pork chops, or just a salad and you’ve got a great, easy dinner! You could also add different ingredients into the macaroni such as bacon, tuna fish, peas, or even mushrooms. You could also try experimenting with different cheeses. I like the classic cheddar, but this macaroni and cheese could be whatever you want it to be!
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Start by melting the butter in a large saucepan.
Add the flour and whisk it up until it looks like…
..this! This is called a “roux.”
Then, pour in the milk. I actually just eyeball this step and estimate the right sauce-to-pasta ratio. Start whisking the mixture immediately and don’t stop until it’s thick and coats the back of a spoon. This mixture is called a “bechamel sauce,” and is used in alot of French and Italian cooking.
After the bechamel sauce comes together, add in the cheese to make it a “mornay sauce.” Don’t you feel so fancy using all these technical terms? Once the cheese is melted, add in the cooked pasta and toss it to coat. If you feel like you have too much sauce or pasta, then just remove a little bit before you combine them. You can always add stuff, but you can’t take it away!
Pour it in a greased baking dish and bake it at 350 degrees until it’s brown and bubbly! Enjoy!