Sunday, September 28, 2008

Operation Baking Gals

Last month I was surfing blogs and came upon Operation Baking GALS (Give A Little Support). This is a group of bakers dedicated to sending goodies to soldiers serving in Iraq. I'm always looking for a good reason to bake, so thought this would be a great one to get involved with. I missed the first few rounds but asked to be included and got a team this time around. My team is hosted by Stephanie of Mostly Useless Drivel . Our team is Team Daleske and the link will take you to a story about our soldier. Just amazing what the blogosphere will make happen. I'm happy to be a part of this endeavor. I'm sending along my chocolate chip cookies and hope the guys enjoy a little bit of home while they are doing such a brave job of defending our country.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Texas Sheet Cake

Another birthday cake for work. This was the first recipe I ever made on my own. I made it in 8th grade home economics (that's what they called the class in the dark ages -- LOL). I'm not sure how Texas got to be the namesake for this cake, but it's a good one and very easy to make.


2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick butter
1 cup water
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Mix together the sugar, flour, baking soda and set aside. In a saucepan melt 1 stick of butter, 1/2 cup oil, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup cocoa powder. Add the melted cocoa mixture to the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla, stirring until you have a smooth, rather thin batter. Pour into your prepared pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting.

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 stick butter
1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted (about 4 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted)

Mix the milk and cocoa in a saucepan. Add the butter and over medium heat stir until the butter melts. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the pecans. When the cake is just out of the oven, spread the frosting evenly on the hot cake.

Italian Cream Cake

Before Hurricane Ike made his unwelcome visit we had a couple of birthdays at work. The birthday girl requested this cake, so voila.


2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks butter)
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 eggs, separated
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted)
2 cups coconut

For frosting: 8-ounce package cream cheese softened, 1/2 stick butter, softened 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1-pound box confectioners sugar, 1 cup coconut, 1 cup pecans (toasted)

To make cake layers: Preheat oven to 375°F. and lightly butter and flour three 9 inch round cake pans, knocking out any excess flour.

In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Into another bowl sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat flour mixture into egg mixture alternating with buttermilk until combined. Add vanilla, coconut, and chopped pecans. Beat egg whites in another bowl until they just hold stiff peaks and fold into batter gently but thoroughly. Divide batter among pans, smoothing tops, and bake about 30 minutes until cake layers test done. Cool cake layers in pans on racks and cool completely.

Make frosting: In a bowl with an electric mixer beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar, beating until creamy, add coconut and nuts.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Recovering From Ike

Thank you to everyone who asked about how I was during and after Hurricane Ike. This picture was taken yesterday on the Causeway to Galveston where many, many boats came up on the highway. Oh my goodness, what a storm that Ike was. I live about 15 miles inland from Galveston and I evacuated into North Houston thinking that would be far enough away. This storm was hard to get away from. I was very fortunate and only lost a big tree in my front yard that thankfully fell the right way and not against my house. I lost most of my fence in the back yard and my pool was very full of debris. I lost power for a week and still do not have Internet access other than dial up (remember how slow that was??) Lots of challenges, but I feel completely blessed in comparison to so many others. Life gets better day by day and improvements are starting to be seen. Still thousands of people without power or water and much rebuilding and cleaning up to do. I haven't had a chance to catch up on everyone's blogs so will have a lot of catching up to do. Take care and hope to have something good to blog about soon.