Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hellooooo Hello Kitty!

Another milestone completed: a shaped cake order. A character cake, to be precise. When Wendy first asked me to make her daughter Zoe's third birthday cake a few months ago, I was nervous. She had always ordered her kids detailed character cakes from renowned Deerfield Bakery for their birthdays. Actually, at the time she asked, she was serving her son Cal's Percy 3-D tank engine cake (from the cartoon Thomas and Friends, duh). Just looking at Percy was somewhat mind-boggling - how did Deerfield bend, curve, and stack cake to look like a tank engine? However, I stopped sweating when Wendy said Zoe loves Hello Kitty, which happens to be the simplest cartoon face currently popular among children. Thank god Japanese anime decided characters should be missing either a mouth, nose, or eyes on their single-plane faces.

Regardless, I had never made a cake like this before, so it was pretty fun to figure out exactly how to do it. It just took a little planning, such as where to find her facial features, how to make the bow, etc. I decided to bake the cake in two 12" rounds; Wendy requested a light flavor, so I decided upon an orange-zested white cake. I then blew up a printed picture of Hello Kitty, laid it on top of the stacked layers, and carved her out. I filled the cake with vanilla buttercream and a thin layer of raspberry preserves, then gave Hello Kitty a crumb coat so that her final coat would be extra clean and white, like the actual character. I made her bow with the scraps from the outer edges. Because none were wide enough to form the entire bow, I had to divide it into 8 separate pieces and put it together like a puzzle, using frosting as the glue. I lightly frosted the surface of the bow and then dipped it into a bowl of sparkly pink sprinkles to meet Wendy's one request - "Can her bow be sparkly pink?" Sure, Wendy. I then gave the cake a final coat of frosting, added her licorice pinwheel whiskers, licorice disc eyes, and gummy candy nose, and then laid the bow carefully in place. Ta-da! Hello Kitty!

I suddenly got a stab of regret that the cake did not say "Happy Birthday, Zoe!" anywhere, as I feel this is usually important to children - mostly to signal ownership to other siblings that this is NOT their cake to pick at or stick their face into (ahem, Cal...). So, I piped a pink frosting "Happy Birthday Zoe!" onto the cake board. Another pang of ambition washed over, urging me to make the letters sparkly pink to match the bow. Big mistake - yet another example of me not knowing when to be done with a project. I sprinkled the pink glitter sprinkles over top, then looked at the mess and wondered how the hell I was going to get the glitter out from in between the loops, circles, and lines of the letters so that we could actually read "Happy Birthday Zoe!" again. I tried blowing but realized it was going to blow pink all over the pristine white cake sides. I tried scraping with a toothpick, then a toothpick covered with a bit of paper towel to create a wider, sweeping surface. Oh wait, don't they make things like that already, called Q-tips? Idiot. So I grabbed a few Q-tips, then figured the most effective way to get the sprinkles out of unwanted areas would be similar to how I wanted them to stay there - by sticking them with frosting. I dipped the Q-tip end in frosting, stuck some errant sprinkles, wiped them on a paper towel - and then repeated 78 more times. I got it to the best point I possibly could, wiped the foil as clean again, and then decided I was done - mostly because I now only had 15 minutes to get dressed to go to the party and was covered in pink glitter sprinkles.

Once the cake safely made the drive to Zoe's grandparents' condo and landed on the dining room table, I felt better. Hello Kitty was beautiful, and actually a lot more well done than I figured I was capable of - a similar feeling to Traci and Stephen's wedding cake. All the party-goers were similarly wowed, and Zoe made me happy when she actually knew what the cake was when it landed in front of her to blow out her candles (seriously, I may have cried if the three year-old was like, "I don't know what that is, Mommy"). Her little cousin Gus was also so impressed he asked to borrow his mommy's phone to take a picture.

The cake ceremony went something like this:

1. Wendy having a dilemma about where to place the candles so as not to mess up Hello Kitty's face. We settled on the left ear. Luckily she was only three so there weren't many candles to clutter it.
2. Zoe blowing out her candles three times. After each she would go, "Again!" Wendy said only three times since it was her third birthday. Her eighteenth should be fun...
3. Zoe grabbing the gummy nose and popping it into her mouth. After three seconds of sucking on it she decided she did not like it, and very thoughtfully placed it back in the center of the cake. Luckily it was all family so no one minded a little birthday girl slobber. That's good luck, right?

With Daddy (Chris, left) and Auntie Laura (right).
The first time she blew out her candles.
Laura probably explaining the nose in an enticing way that made Zoe think she would like eating it.
Zoe requested to eat the bow, so I was happy I made it entirely of cake and that it was edible. However, it had no filling and was covered in gritty sugar, but she still ate it - and didn't spit it out and put it back on the cake.

I also remembered to do what I forgot at the wedding - take a picture of the cake slice. The cake was well received, and Zoe's grandfather, who owns a cake baking company and used to own bakery industry magazines, said it had "good cell structure." I couldn't agree more (I think I know what that means?) - it was dense and moist, yet the flavor was extremely light. The raspberry provided a nice fruity contrast to the citrus in the cake, and the buttercream was silky smooth and complimented the cake nicely, rather than overpowered like sugary frostings on birthday cakes often do (such as Deerfield's character cakes). There were only about two pieces left after all was said and done, as compared to 85% of Percy that was leftover at Cal's birthday. Take that, Deerfield.

Looking forward to my next shaped cake!

Monday, March 26, 2012

An Ode to My Chocolate-Peanut Butter Love + Mix's Birthday

Those of you who go way back with me can probably recall many a chocolate-peanut butter dessert that I have made. It is one of my absolute favorite combinations, one I experimented with many, many times in my early baking career and to which I often return. It's comfortable.

My high school friends probably remember receiving chocolate-peanut butter buckeyes in their Christmas cookie trays. My college friends probably remember that decadent Super Bowl when I made layer bars of 1. brownie, 2. caramel and pretzels, and 3. peanut butter filling and Reese's Puffs cereal, and 4. chocolate frosting. My old coworkers probably remember their mid-day sugar coma when I brought in a brownie torte layered with chocolate frosting, peanut butter filling, and Reese's candy. My roommate now probably remembers the moment when she first discovered my obsession, much to the dismay of her peanut allergy. My boyfriend probably remembers how he did not like chocolate-peanut butter desserts until he met me, after which I slowly converted him into a chocolate-peanut butter lover.

Despite this chocolate-peanut butter obsession, you have probably noticed that there have not been that many chocolate-peanut butter combinations featured in the posts of this blog. Yes, I have been trying to diversify in an attempt to be a well-rounded baker, not a chocolate-peanut butter baker. But I feel that has only turned me into a carrot cake baker....

Anyways, as it had been awhile since I had made something chocolate-peanut-buttery, I was elated when my friend Andrew commissioned a birthday cake for his boyfriend (Scott) Mix's birthday. "He loves chocolate and peanut butter." YESSSS, because I DO, TOO. I dug up old chocolate-peanut butter recipes from the vault and sent a few to Andrew, but also included one I had seen recently on the blog Sprinkle Bakes, which was the most ridiculous cake I had ever seen. The behemoth featured alternating layers of chocolate cake and Reese's-studded cheesecake, with caramel and peanuts in between the layers, all enrobed in whipped chocolate ganache and chocolate curls. I did not think Andrew would actually pick this cake as it was enormous and sounded like something off a "Man vs. Food" challenge (actually, it's a copy of a Cheesecake Factory cake - so not too off), but I figured I would give him options - like, maybe he'd only want the cheesecake OR the cake part. Plus I was kind of scared of the chocolate curls, so I secretly hoped he did not pick it.

Andrew replied that because it was Mix's 25th birthday, we may as well go all out with the most ridiculous cake either of us had ever seen - the one on Sprinkle Bakes. Well, crap.

I was thinking to myself that I could make it easier by just pushing chopped Reese's candy into the sides instead of doing the dreaded chocolate curls when I read the next line of Andrew's email: "I really like the chocolate curls." Well, crap again.

I can do this, I told myself. I actually looked at the recipe rather than allowing myself to intimidated by the sheer enormity of the project and realized it was not that hard - more so time consuming:

1. Bake a cheesecake. Check.
2. Bake a chocolate cake. Check.
3. Sub peanut butter filling for caramel filling to make it more peanut-buttery. Check.
4. Make chocolate ganache. Check.
5. Whip ganache into a frosting. (Never done it, but sounds easy.) Check.
6. Write "Happy Birthday Mix!" on top of cake, per Andrew's request. (Writing scares me as it usually takes me a couple tries, and I'll only get one chance with this cake since I can't disrupt the ganache. I will just concentrate VERY hard.) Check.
7. Make chocolate curls. (GAHHHH. But, after watching the video, it actually seemed really easy, giving me newfound hope). Check-ish.

I started first with the cheesecake. Her recipe was kind of weird (no idea what the pudding mix was there for), so I just used my own, which is wonderfully dense yet light in flavor. I added in some chopped Reese's. The batter divided between two pans still turned out what I would consider full-sized cheesecakes. I knew then this thing was going to be a monster. I topped those with peanut butter filling and peanuts and moved on.

Next, the chocolate cake. Her recipe is actually the same as mine, so that was consoling. Oftentimes I wonder how good bloggers' recipes are, as they are not usually professionals (then again, I blog and I'm not a professional either....), so it's comforting to see similar recipes to some of your own that you know are good - gives them a bit of credibility. Only thing I also do is add some shaved chocolate to make it even more dense and chocolate-y. So I made those, then layered them with the cheesecakes:

Altogether this probably weighed a good 10 lbs or more and was 9 inches tall. A veritable sugar and cream monster (but only about one stick of butter! Shocker!). I then made the ganache, which was pretty standard. I poured a little over top to make a shiny coat, then whipped the rest to make the frosting. I really liked this form of chocolate frosting and am glad I was pushed to try something new, as I definitely see myself incorporating it into my future decorating.

And now, the writing... I made some peanut butter frosting, loaded a pastry bag, and took a deep breath. I tried to visualize the writing already on the cake as I piped so I was basically tracing lines. It turned out a million times better on my first try than it ever has in the past, which was a blessing. Phew.

But there were still the chocolate curls. I watched Sprinkle Bakes' embedded video again as a refresher. Looks so easy, but I still suspected it was not. I melted the chocolate, poured it onto a baking sheet, and allowed it to cool. I got out my spatula, which was not quite the same as hers, and prayed it would work. And I scraped... and scraped... and scraped. At first they were not coming out very curly, and I got frustrated. Finally, a couple good curls emerged, and I got the feel for the spatula angle. I scraped and scraped and scraped until I had a huge bowl of curls ready for decoration. See, not so bad!

Pressing them into the sides of the cake was when it all became real and worthwhile. They looked so gorgeous and professional. Again, I was so happy I stepped outside my comfort zone and ended up adding a new skill to my repertoire.

Here are some pics once I finished in the kitchen:

The fun thing about this order was that I was also invited to the party and could therefore see the cake enjoyed, as well as finally taste the fruits of my labor. I brought one of my cake stands to make it pretty:

After some delicious homemade pizza and beer, it was time. Andrew and Ted lit the 25 candles:

Mix acted like he hated even more attention from his surprise party, when I secretly think he loved it ;)

He blew out quite the blaze:

And then the cake was destroyed enjoyed by all:

Some of the best parts where the giant crumbs that formed on the knife and plate.

So all in all, the second most enormous cake I've made (after the wedding cake), and one of the prettiest for sure (again, probably after the wedding cake). And one of the most delicious - so many tasty individual components that also came together nicely: the moist cake crumb, the zesty cheesecake, the crunchy peanuts, the sweet-and-salty filling, the silky ganache, the almost-bitter curls.... Mmmm, just typing that made me want to go find a chocolate peanut-buttery snack....

Mmmkay I think I am done writing - time to find that snack ;)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

All the Personal Baking I Have Neglected to Write About

As I mentioned in my last post, I have done quite a bit of personal baking the last few months that I'd like to share with you. These are fun because they are typically more experimental than my regular orders. However, regular orders, please note that you can order these as well ;)

1. Red Wine Red Velvet Cupcakes (late November): I had recently stumbled upon a recipe for red velvet cake that used red wine as the "red" part. I liked this idea infinitely better than using red food coloring, so I had to try it out. The cake was phenomenal. Not exactly red, but whatever - the red imparts no flavor anyway. This red did, though. The wine gave a slightly boozy flavor, which paired nicely with the cocoa, and the tangy cream cheese frosting smoothly rounded it out. The batch was enormous and made enough to give my yoga friend Colleen a going-away gift (which was appropriate since she was moving to Napa to sell wine), as well as birthday treats for my friends Maggie and Nicole.

2.  Thanksgiving:  This year I decided I wanted to be a big girl and host Thanksgiving for my family in Chicago. There were twelve of us total, which was quite the undertaking for a first timer. But, I pulled it off. We had maple-bacon roasted turkey; cornbread stuffing with bacon, sage, and caramelized onions; truffle macaroni and cheese; The Palm's creamed Spinach; green beans with candied bacon; and crumble-topped sweet potato casserole, which my mom made. Quite the spread.

Bacon-wrapping the turkey.
(From left) My cousin Courtney and brother Alex.

The maple and bacon-soaked stuffing was incredible.

For dessert, I made a Maple Cream Cheese-Glazed Pumpkin Carrot Bundt Cake and a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie. My aunt also made a pumpkin roll and a delicious pumpkin dip with gingerbread chips.

3.  Chocolate Cake with Orange-Zested Cream Cheese Frosting and Chocolate Shavings (early December):  I made this cake for our CorePower graduation dinner at Uncommon Ground. I tried to make it look like the CorePower bullseye "O" and was fairly successful, until I closed the box top and the static cling picked up the chocolate shavings from the center and scattered them all over the top of the cake :( Regardless, it was enjoyed thoroughly by all, though I question our palates' judgments after so many bottles of celebratory wine. Yes, yogis party, too.

4. Buffalo Wing Cupcakes (late-January): These were a fun experiment for the Super Bowl. I had seen them on the blog Cupcake Project and was very intrigued. The cake struck right between sweet and spicy; it had Frank's Red Hot sauce and blue cheese baked in. The frosting was a blue cheese-cream cheese mixture, only lightly sweetened. And then there was a buffalo wing on top. The overall flavor was good, though somewhat strange to place within the flavor realms we are accustomed to. The balance between sweet, spicy, and salty placed them in the group of other food combinations I find difficult to categorize, such as chicken and waffles. So overall, quite good and interesting, but I don't know if the world needs this new food combination.

5.  Blood Orange Ricotta-Mascarpone Cheesecake (early-February): My friends Andrew and Mix, the kings of dinner parties, threw a tapas party in January. Naturally I was really excited, as I had studied abroad in Spain and knew plenty of delicious tapas recipes. However, Andrew threw me a curve ball by asking me to also make dessert. If you are not aware, the Spanish are not well known for their desserts. My host family normally ate fruit for dessert after dinner. When they tried American treats I baked, they thought everything was extremely decadent, which was probably fair as I usually go big or go home, but I also found this indicative of their lack of good desserts as a culture. So I struggled to think of something to make. I wanted to take advantage of the seasonal citrus, and oranges grow in Spain, so I started there. The ricotta-mascarpone cheesecake is most definitely Italian, but whatever - if the Spaniards had their way we'd be eating just oranges or oranges on top of flan, which I absolutely hate.
Please excuse Ted's hand.
I also did some "healthy baking" in the last couple months, which I will post about soon. Don't worry, I was not trying to make unhealthy things, e.g., chocolate cake, healthy. More like I was trying to make things we presume to be healthy but are not, e.g., granola, healthy. So check for that soon.

But even sooner check back for a cake that is absolutely unhealthy and fantastic :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

All the Orders I Have Neglected to Write About

As I was uploading pictures to my computer, I realized how many orders I have not posted about since Thanksgiving. I'm going to try to be better about that going forward, but things have been busy (more about that later). So, without further ado..

1.  Brown Sugar-Glazed Crumble Apple Pie (early November): A friend Ben had approached me about baking him an apple pie (his favorite) just because, but never followed up. His girlfriend Jenny took matters into her own hands and ordered it for their anniversary.

2.  Thanksgiving: Oh my. I think I have not posted about this because it was such an enormous undertaking that I just wanted to forget it for awhile afterward. I think I felt that way at the time as well, because I didn't really take any pictures. But, the count was the following:
    • 2 Carrot Cakes
    • 1 Gluten-free Carrot Cake
    • 1 Flourless Chocolate Cake
    • 1 Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie
    • 1 Brown Sugar Glazed Crumble Apple Pie
    • 1 Gluten-free Pumpkin Roll
    • 1 Loaf Pumpkin Bread
Table of goodies: carrot cakes, flourless chocolate, and pumpkin bread.

I also baked a Maple Cream Cheese-Glazed Pumpkin Carrot Cake and a Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie for my family as well. Oh, and made our entire Thanksgiving dinner.... So yeah, make sense now why I haven't posted? Even typing this now makes me slightly stressed.

3.  Lemon Cake with Lemon Curd Filling, Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting and Berries (early January): My coworker Jackie ordered this for her boyfriend Justin's birthday. I was really pleased with how this turned out. The cake was really dense, almost like a pound cake. The curd was tart and refreshing. The whipped cream cheese gave a little bit of sweetness, along with the natural sugar in the berries. And it was pretty to boot. The exposed sides added a bit of elegance, so I may be trying that out more in the future. It works especially well with really moist, dense cakes that don't necessarily need frosting with every bite.

4. Red Velvet Cupcakes (mid-January): A "second-degree" order, if you will - a high school friend of my college friend Colleen asked me to make a dozen red velvet cupcakes for her and another friend's birthday. I totally forgot to take pictures, but they looked like ones I have made in the past.

5. Baby's First Birthday Chocolate Chip Cookies (late January): This one I was pretty pumped about, as it showed earlier marketing attempts had paid off. You may recall back in August I voluntarily catered the Irish Entrepreneur's Breakfast, and that a woman, Jennifer, emailed me after about making cookies for a baby shower, which I unfortunately had to decline. Well, she followed up in January about making those same chocolate chip cookies from the breakfast as favors for her daughter's first birthday party. I packaged them three to a goodie bag and wrapped them up with a pink bow and a Dolce + Decadence label. Jennifer loved them and said the cookies were a hit. 

6.  Carrot Cake Balls (mid-February): This may be a "fourth-degree" order. Because I was really busy back in September, I did not have time to make my friend Erin a birthday cake, and I promised her I would make one eventually. Well, eventually was early December. Erin loves cream cheese frosting, so I was thinking carrot cake, but at that point I was so tired of making carrot cake that I tried to think of ways to mix it up somehow. We discussed carrot cake balls, but Erin was concerned she wouldn't get her cream cheese frosting fix from this. I decided to try something different - rather than dipping the balls in chocolate as is normally done, what if I dipped them in frosting? I melted the frosting slightly until it was thin enough to dip and coat the ball, then rolled the ball in chopped pistachios and pecans. They turned out really great, and Erin loved them. She shared them with her boyfriend, who brought them into work and shared with his coworker, which led to this order...

Erin's boyfriend's coworker thought these were the best things he had ever eaten, and asked what was the minimum order he could place for himself. I figured I could make 15, so we did that. And thus he got his own plate of carrot cake balls.

So those are the orders from the past couple months. Look for my next post about some personal baking that I did in that time frame as well. Also, check back in the near future for a post about one of the most ridiculous cakes I have ever made. It will be pretty epic...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Caving to Food Porn: Pinterest Impulse Baking

Another thing I don't normally do on this blog: post recipes. When deciding the purpose for this blog initially, I figured there were enough recipe blogs out there in the world that another was not needed. My hunch was confirmed with the recent creation of Pinterest, where one can find no end to all the recipes that are floating around in the blogosphere. However, it somehow simultaneously managed to achieve the opposite effect: Pinterest also makes me want to be a recipe blogger.

Why, you ask? Because I sit around looking at and reading about delicious food ALL DAY. If you are my Pinterest friend (click here to follow me), you'll notice that the majority of my boards are dedicated to food, whether that be recipes or restaurants I want to try, broken down by restaurant type or meal/course types and sub-types, of course (this hobby is ORGANIZED!). I look at other people's Pinterest food boards and repin to mine. I also have several food-dedicated RSS feeds that stream in all my favorite recipe blogs as well as any food news from Chicago and the rest of the country. I often pin those recipes to my Pinterest boards. Additionally, I have an enormous Gmail filing system of recipes I have found online. I pin those, too. It's a vicious cycle of food porn.

Do I need help? Perhaps. But I don't want it.

So, why be a recipe blogger? Ogling all these scrumptious recipes every day makes me want to make EVERYTHING. The even more ironic part is that not all of it is new to me. Did I know there was such a thing as a grilled cheese with caramelized mushrooms and onions? Of course - I've probably made it before just messing around. Do I want it right now? Not really - I just ate lunch. If I saw a recipe and a picture of a really melty, crispy grilled cheese with caramelized mushrooms and onions, would I want it right now? Absolutely - I'm drooling reading what I just wrote.

And the only way I can justify making a caramelized mushroom and onion grilled cheese (for those foodies out there wondering what kind of cheese this beauty contains - you know who you are and I'd bet we'd be good friends - it was gruyere, aged cheddar, fontina, and parmigiano reggiano) an hour after lunch is for the sake of a blog post, right? For the sake of the freedom of press and our "hunger" for information? Yes. If I were a recipe blogger I could make anything and everything because I have to for my blog.

Tell me you don't want this.
And it's not just grilled cheese. Pinterest food porn makes you want to make everything, all at once. Completely superfluous - things I don't eat normally and wouldn't buy. I had to try making Tuscan white bean soup. And suddenly I was obsessed with making granola. And protein bars - at least they are healthy! Thankfully I've refrained from making all the macaroni and cheese recipes I've pinned thus far. But at the end of the day - and yes, I made soup and granola and protein bars all in one day (superfluous), I still have a lot of homemade soup and granola and protein bars lying around, which is a lot more soup and granola and protein bars than I alone can eat.

Hence the reason for this post: what I would like to call caving to food porn by "Pinterest impulse baking." When my Monday night suddenly opened up, I had no idea what to do with myself. I'm not very good at sitting around, hence why I have three jobs. Maybe I'll "relax" at home, I told myself. "Relax" for me usually means being on my feet in the kitchen for five hours making something that was not ordered through Dolce + Decadence. I got on Pinterest and browsed recipes I had pinned over time, hoping to find something intriguing (which they obviously would be if I pinned them to begin with).

Aside: That's another thing about Pinterest that I find mildly entertaining. I believe for most it is a place to showcase what they would do in their crafty second life, because let's be honest - when am I EVER going to use lace as a stencil to spray paint a design on a lamp shade? Never. Attempt any of the complicated braided hair styles I pinned? Ha. However, I do not want to be a complete Pinterest fraud, so I feel obligated to attempt some of my pins, and the most doable ones for me are recipes.

Anyways... so I am browsing for my Monday night "relaxation" recipe when I stumble upon (wrong site... pun intended ;) a recipe I had pinned awhile ago for Funfetti cake batter bars from the blog Lovin' From The Oven. The author makes a lot of interesting baked goods that pique my interest, Funfetti cake batter bars being one of them. This shouldn't surprise readers, given my attempts at homemade Funfetti (parts I and II). What I found interesting about these bars was that they weren't made entirely with or without Funfetti; rather, the Funfetti cake mix was used as just another ingredient along with the other ingredients necessary for a blondie-esque bar. They also fit my requirement for "relaxation" baking, which is a simple recipe that has only one homemade component (for example, a cake would be two - cake and frosting). This recipe seemed even more perfect when I remembered that my coworker Sarah's birthday was this week, and nothing screams birthday like Funfetti - especially when you scream, "FuuuunnnFETTTTTIIIIIII!!!!!" (It's even more effective after you've eaten the Funfetti and have the sugar coursing through your veins.) And to make this all even more worthwhile, I would blog about it. Now it's justified - I'm a recipe blogger.

"Relaxation" with a purpose and justification besides relaxation - is that actually relaxation? Told you I was bad at it...

Funfetti cake batter bars.
I got home and started getting out my ingredients. I was curious about the 1 1/4 cup Funfetti mix called for - how many cups of Funfetti are in a box of Funfetti? Since I wasn't sure what to do with the rest of the cake mix after pulling out what I needed, I decided to make as many batches of Funfetti cake bars as the box would allow.

Three. Three batches of Funfetti cake bars. WHY this seemed like a good idea at the time ("I'm not being wasteful!") I have no idea, now that I am surrounded by a bajillion Funfetti cake bars ("I feel fatter just looking at them."). Funny - didn't I mention earlier that Pinterest tricks you into making superfluous amounts of food? ...

Anyways, I tripled the recipe. Which is a lot of butter, if you'll note. Too much, in my opinion, although the end result was buttery fabulousness. We all saw what happened to Paula Deen (too soon?). I'd perhaps cut it to a half cup (one stick) per batch next, so three sticks if using the whole box of Funfetti, and see how they turn out. You could probably even try a little less, although not too much less - haven't you learned anything from Paula Deen? Also, instead of adding more sprinkles, I made the white chocolate "rainbow chips" documented in my homemade Funfetti post. I liked that touch and recommend it, but if you don't want to take the six minutes to make them, I imagine sprinkles taste just fine. Or just adding white chocolate chips - all of the flavor, none of the color magic.

The batter is wonderful, FYI. After filling the pans, I "accidentally" left a blob at the bottom of the bowl that I was forced to lick off the spatula so as not to waste it. If it's acceptable at Next, it's acceptable in my kitchen.

Funfetti cake batter bar...batter.
Here is the recipe for the triple batch (whole box of cake mix), if you want to try it at home. For a single batch refer to Lovin's original post, then let me know what you do with leftover cake mix.
  • 1 box Funfetti cake mix
  • 2 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 1/2 sticks butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  •  1/2 bag of white chocolate chips and food coloring to make "rainbow chips"
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a few pans, since it's a triple batch. Recommendations: three 8x8, an 8x8 and a 9x13, etc. I did two 9x11 and a 6" round. Basically, whatever you've got.
  2. Make rainbow chips: Melt white chocolate in the microwave. Remove and divide among several small bowls. Tint each bowl with food coloring and stir gently to distribute color evenly. Spread white chocolate on a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool and harden. Once hard, chop into tiny rainbow chips and mix all colors together.
  3. In a LARGE bowl, cream both sugars, butter, vanilla, eggs, and egg yolks. 
  4. Gradually mix in flour, cake mix, and baking soda until just mixed. Stir in rainbow chips.
  5. Spread batter evenly into greased pans.
  6. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top is lightly browned and middle still jiggles slightly. Cool completely before cutting, or if you want them immediately, dig in - they are delicious hot and gooey.
Beginning of the collapse.
Some of the prettier middle pieces.
The bars come out looking normal, then suddenly collapse in the middle shortly after leaving the oven and beginning to cool, leaving you with puffed, jagged edges and a sunken middle. Not pretty for presentation purposes, but Sarah won't care what her birthday cake looks like (I hope):

Is that a cake or a moon rock?
They are still buttery, sugary bundles of joy, and the rugged terrain actually creates a textural playground: the crusty edges have a caramelized sugar taste and a dense chew, while the middle pieces are melt-in-your-mouth gooey.

Crunchy, chewy edges. Don't discriminate because they are ugly. You'll regret it.
Let me know if you make these! And a little feedback, please: do you like when I post recipes? Would you like me to more often? If so, I can pepper these in with my posts about my business. I plan to give a few more soon about my adventures in healthy baking, so look out for them. Let me know, either via comment, Facebook post, or email to

Oh, and if you're close enough that my fatass doesn't have to venture too far to find you (god forbid exercising after consuming one of these calorie bombs), I'd love to give you a Funfetti cake batter bar to get them OUT of my apartment...