How to Tie Dye Cake

Cake

Two weeks ago, for my boyfriend’s birthday, I finally decided try my hand at a tie dye cake recipe  from my “Culinary Couture” Pinterest board. Honestly, I half-expected my cake to look like a poorly-executed Rainbow Brite assassination. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised. Turns out, baking a tie dye cake is, well, a piece of cake.

What you’ll need:

6 different colors of food dye

1 box of white cake mix

2-3 eggs

Water

9″ round cake pan

Direction:

1. Mix the boxed cake mix as you normally would, following the directions on the back of the box.

2. Separate the batter equally into six small bowls.

3. Use the dye to color each of the six bowls with a different color.

4. After spraying the pan with non-stick spray, pour the first color into the middle of the pan. Do not spread out.

5. Pour the second color directly on top of the first, and lightly shake the pan to help the batter distribute evenly across the middle.

6. Repeat step 5 until all of the colors have been used and the batter fills the entire bottom of the pan.

7. Bake according to the directions on the box. Don’t worry if it cracks! That’s what icing is for.

8. Eat all of the leftover batter while the cake bakes.

9. Add the icing and sprinkles.

10. Bam! You’re now the proud creator of a brilliantly-colored culinary masterpiece.

Tips:

1. The colors will darken as they cook, so use minimal dye with the batter.

2. The color will create a marbled effect, so the order of the colors is not particularly important in pouring.

3. If you want to create a layered cake, double the ingredients and cook two 9″ pans simultaneously. Use icing between the layers to hold them together.

4. Don’t worry if your cake cracks! That’s what icing is for.

5. If you’re still feeling lost, check out this great tutorial by Duff.

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Morrocan-Seasoned Quail in Under 30 Minutes

I just had to show off our Disney aprons.

I just had to show off our Disney aprons.

As you likely know, a dear friend and I meet up every month or two to indulge ourselves in a homemade, exotic feast. This time, my roommate decided to join us for extra merriment and cheaper supplies. Now, being college students, we’re forced to work on limited skills, zero space and a tight budget. This week, we were able to make a most delicious, eastern-inspired plate for 4 at under $10 a person. The best part? The whole dinner took less than 30 minutes to make. So whether you’re looking to impress your pals, woo a date or simply treat yourself to a night of delicacies, this one’s for you.

Morocon-Seasoned Quail:

Moroccan Quail

4 frozen quails

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. cumin

3 tsp. cinnamon

crushed red pepper

salt and paper to taste

1. Thaw quail and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Mix spices together in a small bowl and distribute evenly over the quail.

3. Place quails on an ungreased baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes.

"Paint me like one of your French girls."

“Paint me like one of your French girls.”

Squash Medley:

1 yellow squash (diced)

1 zuccini (diced)

2 tbs. cilantro

1/4 cup onion (chopped)

2 tbs. butter

2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

1. Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

2. Cook vegetables until tender, roughly 5-7 minutes.

Couscous:

1 box of couscous, flavor of choice

2 cups water

1/2 cup oil

1/8-1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1. Mix oil, water and couscous spice packet in a large pan.

2. Bring to a boil.

3. Add couscous, cover and remove from heat.

4. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

5. Add tomatoes.

Ginger-ade:

Okay. It's not gourmet, but it's delicious.

Okay. It’s not gourmet, but it’s delicious.

1 2-liter of Canada Dry ginger ale

1 jar of maraschino cherries

1. For each glass of ginger ale, add 1/8 cup of cherry juice and 3 cherries.

2. Enjoy.

Voila!

Tada!

You’ve now created a glorious, gourmet feast for 4 in under 30 minutes. You should be feeling impressed with yourself right now, because I’m pretty impressed with you. If you do happen to try this recipe out for yourself, let me know what you think! I’d love to get some feedback.

Chili’s Molten Lava Cake Copycat Recipe

MoltenCake

The other day, I had an insatiable craving that could only be cured with the decadent glory of a Chili’s molten lava cake. However, instead of rushing off to my nearest Chili’s, I decided to undergo a baking challenge and replicate my own. By making a few tweaks to this overly-complicated Food Network recipe, I was able to bake 6 miniature molten cakes for under $15. Not bad, right?

Trust me, you’re going to want to try this one for yourself.

Ingredients

Cake:

6 tbs. butter

1/2 cup of cocoa powder

1 1/3 cups flour

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking power

1/2 tsp. salt

3 tbs. milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large eggs

Lava:

8 ounces milk chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 tbs. butter

1 tbs. light corn syrup

Directions for Cake

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Use a little melted butter to coat a jumbo-size mufin pan, then dust with cocoa powder. Shake off any excess.

3.  Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

4. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and water together over medium heat and set aside.

5. Combine the vegetable oil, butter, and sugar in a separate bowl. Beat with electric mixer until blended.

6. Add cocoa powder, vanilla, and eggs to the vegetable oil mixture, using the mixer to blend for one minute between each added ingredient.

7. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the dry mixture and heated milk/water.

8. Evenly distribute the batter among the jumbo muffin pan, filling each mold three-quarters of the way.

JumobMuffinPan

9. Bake until the tops of the cakes have domed, roughly 25 to 30 minutes.

Baked

10. Remove from oven when done and let cool for 30 minutes.

Directions for Lava Filling

1. Combine chocolate chips, light corn syrup, butter, and cream in a large microwavable bowl.

2. Microwave on high for thirty seconds, then stop to stir the mixture.

3. Repeat step 2 until all of the chocolate has melted.

4. Transfer into air-tight container for storing, and lick the bowl clean.

LickingTheBowl

Finishing Touches

1. Using the end of a hand-held slicer, cut a small, circular hole through the middle of each cake. Save the scraps for midnight snacking.

2. Wrap each individual cake in Seran wrap and microwave for 30 seconds to reheat.

3. Spoon the lava filling inside the center of the cake until it spills over the top.

4. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for extra satisfaction, and drizzle with caramel if desired.

5. Enjoy your glorious creation!

Tada!

Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana Recipe

zuppa toscana

Nothing compliments a rainy day quite like a bowl of Zuppa Toscana from Olive Garden. Instead of paying $7 for the unlimited soup and salad lunch, though, why not make your own pot for the same price? This recipe calls for minimal cooking skills and flatters a tight budget. The rich, creamy base, with that hearty punch of Italian spices, is certain to leave your wallet full and your soul satisfied. Every time.

I began using a copycat recipe from Food.com but found their directions a bit unclear. After two or three attempts, and a few personal tweaks, at last the Zuppa Toscana recipe is perfected! In less than 3o minutes, you’ll have enough Zuppa Toscana to feed all of tua famiglia! But if you decide to keep it to yourself, don’t worry. I won’t tell.

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Ingredients:

1 lb. Italian sausage

2 large potatoes, diced

 1 large onion, chopped

2 minced garlic cloves

3 cups of chopped kale

2 (8 oz.) cans of chicken broth

1 quart water

1 cup heavy whipping cream

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Steps:

1. Chop up the sausage and brown it in the bottom of a large soup pan over medium heat.

2. Once brown, add the chicken broth and water to the pot and bring to a boil.

3. Add the potatoes, garlic, and onions and cook until the potatoes are halfway done (roughly ten minutes).

4. Turn to low heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Add kale and cream when ready to serve.

6. Salt and pepper to taste.

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Tips:

1. Do not substitute half and half or milk for heavy whipping cream, as the creams helps to thicken the base of the soup. If you’re cutting calories, try substituting the sausage for turkey sausage and adding an Italian spice blend, like this.

2. If, like me, you had never heard of Kale before this recipe, you can find it at most Wal-Marts and Homelands in the produce section.

3. Do not cook the soup after adding Kale, as the Kale will quickly turn limp.

4. For the maximum Olive Garden experience, enjoy with breadsticks over a little Frank Sinatra.

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Questions? Receipe reviews? Feel free to drop a comment below, and be sure to follow my blog for more budget-friendly bites to come!

A Pinterest-Worthy South African Recipe

If you know me, you know that I’m a self-proclaimed lover of exotic cuisine (which can take you down the questionable path of raw jellyfish). So when my dear South African friend offered to let me in on one of her family recipes, I jumped like a honey badger on a cobra. Although she calls it butternut squash soup, it reminded me more of a pureed stew with a curry-esque kick. One bite (or rather slurp,) and I was hooked.

Butternut Squash Soup

Even if you’re no culinary Evel Knievel, I hope you’ll try branching out with this marvelous South African gem. It’s healthy, cheap, and so easy that even your boyfriend could make it. Just follow the 5 steps below, and you’ll be wining and dining Capetown-style in no time.

Time

30-45 minutes

Yield

2 (generous) servings

Ingredients

1 butternut squash (seeded and peeled)

1/2 green apple

1 onion

1/4 stick of butter

1 tsp. curry powder

1 chick stock cube

1 cup milk

1  1/2 cups water

1. Chop the squash, apple, and onion, and sautee them in butter over medium heat.

2. In a separate pan, bring the milk and water to a boil, and dissolve the chick stock cube.

3. Once the squash is tender, add seasoning to the sautee mixture.

4. Combine everything in a large food processor or blender, and liquefy.

5. Pour and enjoy!

For a better time and best results, try pairing this soup with a South African wine like La Capra.

La Capra

Also, from personal experience, I can tell you that butternut squash soup pairs perfectly with bacon-wrapped scallops. Although really, what doesn’t go well with bacon-coated seafood? For an easy recipe like the one we followed, just click here.

Scallops

Do you have a Pinterest worthy recipe you’d like to share? Did you try out this recipe for yourself? Leave a comment below! I’d love to know hear what you think.

Last, but not least, be sure to follow my blog for notifications on new updates!