Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tie Dyed Cake Recipe

For my father's 60th birthday, I wanted to do something special. I had decided to make him a psychedelic cake (since long ago, my now middle school math and social studies teacher was actually a long haired hippie). I planned on doing a tie dyed fondant, but I really didn't want to stop there. So I searched and searched, and finally found a tie dyed cake recipe. Now I of course substituted the box cake mix with my own secret homemade cake recipe, and it still turned out perfectly tie dyed. So, you can either use the recipe below, or substitute your own cake recipe and just skip to the dying part. Either way it's a fun cake to make...and eat!

What you need:
1 box white cake mix
12 oz Sprite
6 different colors food gel dye (I used primary rainbow colors: red, orange yellow, blue, green, purple)
2 9" round or 8" square cake pans, greased
6 bowls
White frosting
White fondant plus two other colored fondants of your choosing
Spray food dye in two colors

Preheat oven to 350*
Whisk together cake mix and Sprite until thoroughly combined (it will foam at first, but will go away as you mix)
Separate batter into the 6 bowls. Bowl one should have the most decreasing to bowl six having the least.
Add individual colors to each bowl slowly, mixing well and adding more until each color is vibrant and bright.
Pour half of bowl one into the center of your first pan. Next pour half of bowl two into the center of the pan, layering it on top of the first bowl's batter. Don't worry about spreading it out, it will do it on it's own as you add more batter.
Next add half of bowls 3-6 into the center of the pan, layering on top of each color.
Repeat in the second pan using the remaining batter. ***(see notation at the bottom for a different option)
Now slowly tilt the pans a bit to allow the batter to spread to the edges.
Take a toothpick, and gently run it across, allowing some of the colors to criss cross.
Bake 15-20 minutes, or until your toothpick comes out clean.
Let cakes cool, and they are ready to be decorated!

Option 1: Frosted only
Put a thin layer of frosting (or any other topping you want in between the layers) on the top of one cake.
Put the second cake on top, and frost completely.
Using 2 different (but complementary) colors of spray food coloring (which is easily found at any grocery store), spray a tie dyed effect onto the frosting.
Be creative, doing circles, lines etc.
Add any other decorative pieces (like a peace sign, happy face etc) if you want, and now your cake is ready to be enjoyed.

Option 2: Fondant 
Put a thin layer of frosting (or any other topping you want in between the layers) on the top of one cake.
Put the second cake on top, and frost with a light skin coat (also known as dirty frosting since the layer of frosting is thin enough to see the cake thru it).
Now is when you get creative. There is no wrong way...just like tie dying clothes, it's meant to be natural, organic, and fun!
Roll some of your white and 2 other complimentary colored fondants out in tubes (think play dough snakes).
Lay them side by side, and press together gently (and being creative, mush colors into another in some areas so they bleed together like tie dye).
Now roll them together into a spiral and put aside.
Repeat multiple times until all the colored Fondant is individually spiraled, leaving some of the white to the side to fill in any gaps.
Now put all the spirals together side by side to form a giant circle.
Press them together gently, filling in any gaps in between spirals with the left over white fondant.
Now, using a non stick rolling pin, roll it all out flat and smooth until it is the size you need to cover the cake.
Lay it on top of your cake and smooth down so it adheres to the dirty frosting.
Now decorate further as you wish (I let my then 2 year old son help with this.  He loved making flowers and smiley faces out of the fondant, and the "toddler touch" just added to the psychedelic look).

***when I made mine, I wanted it to be big. So I used larger pans, doubled the recipe, and double layer the batter. So in each pan I placed 1/4 bowl 1-6 and the did a second layer of a 1/4 bowl 1-6 on top. Below is a photo of how it looked prior to going into the oven.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pasta E Fagioli Soup Recipe

I thought winter was over, yet with all the posts I've been reading from friends up north, apparently the cold and snow is now quite over. So, to help everyone combat the cold (even for those of us in the south who are dealing with some nasty rainy days) I decided to post my favorite Pasta E Fagioli recipe. This is one of my favorite hearty soups, and I order it often, yet in ever seem to find one as yummy as this.

3 tsp olive oil
2 lb ground beef
12 oz chopped sweet onions
14 oz diced carrots
14 oz diced celery
48 oz canned diced tomatoes
2 cups cooked red kidney beans
2 cups cooked white kidney beans
11 cups beef stock
3 tsp oregano
3 tsp pepper
5 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce
6 cups marinara sauce
8 oz ditalini pasta uncooked
Parmesan cheese freshly grated
Garlic bread

Sauté beef in oil until beef starts to brown.
Add onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes and simmer about 10 minutes.
Drain and rinse beans and place in large soup pot.
Drain beef and vegetables and add to pot.
Add remaining ingredients (minus the cheese and bread) and stir all together.
Simmer until carrots and celery are tender, about 45 minutes.

Makes about 9 quarts of soup
Serve hot with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top and a slice of garlic bread.