May 27, 2010

We celebrated one year!

Monday was a momentous occasion for us----we celebrated our first wedding anniversary!  We've been through a lot in the last year.  But no matter what life gave us, we took each challenge as an opportunity to grow together in love and as a couple.  We celebrated the day by enjoying a fancy dinner at The Capital Grille in the 'Burgh and then went home to enjoy the top tier of our wedding cake.

For those of you that don't know, my sister and I made my wedding cake.  It was a hybrid of real and fake tiers with sheet cakes being served from the kitchen.  Our top tier was a decorated cake dummy.  In order for us to do the traditional wedding cake sampling on our anniversary, I had to make a replica of our cake as a substitute for the fake one.

Here's how it turned out:
Courtesy of my iPhone---sorry for the poor lighting.
And, for comparison sake,  a shot of the original:

At the request of my Mr., the anniversary cake was fondant-covered carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and filling.  It was yummy!   I tweaked the recipe I've used in the past and swapped out some of the fresh grated carrots for a few jars of carrot baby food.  This intensified the flavor and made it very moist.   I was really impressed with how it tasted.

I know some couples enjoy eating their frozen tier, but fresh-baked cake is better than frozen any day.   Ours was delicious!

Here is the recipe, in case any of you are interested:

  •   2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
  •   2 tsp. baking soda
  •   1/2 tsp.  ground cinnamon
  •   1/8 tsp.  ground allspice
  •   1/2 ts salt
  •   2 cups  sugar
  •   1 cup  vegetable oil
  •   2 lg eggs; at room temperature
  •   2 tsp. vanilla extract
  •   3 cups grated carrots (swapped with four 4-ounce jars carrot baby food)
  •   One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple; well drained
  •   3/4 cups  chopped walnuts (I omit these because I don't like them)
  •   1/2 cup raisins
  •  8 ounces cream cheese; at room temperature
  •  4 tbsp. (1/2 stick)  butter; at room temperature
  •  1 tbsp. half-and-half or milk
  •  1/2 tsp. almond extract
  •  1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  •  4 cups  confectioners' sugar   (1 pound)

To make the cake: 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, tapping out the excess flour. Sift the flour,baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt together and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer at high speed, beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla until well combined, about 1 minute. Mix in the carrot baby food. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, and mix until smooth. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the pineapple, chopped walnuts, and raisins. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake until the top springs back when pressed lightly in the center, about 1 hour. Cool completely in the pan on a wire cake rack.

To make the frosting: 

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter, half-and-half, and almond and vanilla extracts until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low speed, gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar.

Spread the frosting over the top of the cake. Cut into 15 pieces. If desired, garnish each piece of cake with a walnut half.

Copy Cat Pizza Hut

Sometimes you can't imitate an original, but sometimes you can---and it turns out tasting very yummy!

The other day, I made copy cat Pizza Hut Pan Pizza and I was thrilled with the results!

Here is the recipe I used.

From cdkitchen:

Pizza Hut Original Pan Pizza Recipe

Ready in: 1-2 hrs
Serves/Makes:   4

1 1/3 cup Warm water (105F)
1/4 cup Non-fat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon Salt
4 cups Flour
1 tablespoon Sugar
1 pk. Dry yeast
2 tablespoons Vegetable oil (for dough)
9 ounces Vegetable oil (3 oz. per pan)
Butter flavored Pam

Put yeast, sugar, salt, and dry milk in a large (2 qt.) bowl. Add water and stir to mix well. Allow to sit for two minutes. Add oil and stir again. Add flour and stir until dough forms and flour is absorbed. Turn out on to a flat surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Divide dough into three balls. In three 9" cake pans, put 3 Oz. of oil in each making sure it is spread evenly. Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball to about a 9" circle. Place in cake pans. Spray the outer edge of dough with Pam. Cover with a plate. Place in warm area and allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. 
For Each Nine Inch Pizza: 
1. Preheat oven to 475F 

2. Spoon 1/3 cup sauce on dough and spread to within 1" of edge. 

3. Distribute 1 1/2 Oz. shredded mozzarella cheese on sauce. 

4. Place toppings of your choice in this order: Pepperoni or Ham Vegetables Meats (cooked ground sausage or beef) 

5. Top with 3 Oz. mozzarella cheese 

6. Cook until cheese is bubbling and outer crust is brown.

If you click on the link above for the recipe, you can get the details on making the sauce.  I just used a bottle of store bought.  (I am lazy!)

I swapped some of the flour for whole wheat (about 1.5 cups) to make it a little healthier.  I used two 8" cake pans on one 10" pan because that is what I had on hand and I used way less oil to coat them than the recipe calls for.  The pizza did take a little bit of a time investment with all the kneading and rising, but it was worth it.  We both really enjoyed this recipe!


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