Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Complete Cake Mix Magic!

Complete Cake Mix Magic
300 Easy Desserts Good as Homemade
by Jill Snider

Paperback, 288 pages

Cake mixes are very popular for busy households as they provide a fool-proof kit and method for baking up a fresh and yummy cake in your own kitchen - but you can take those cake mixes a step further with this book! Add in fresh ingredients and pantry staples and you can turn your basic cake mix into a delicious masterpiece to delight your guests.

There are 300 different recipes to create all types of cakes, each starting with a mix you can find at your local grocery store. Each recipe is laid out clearly with tips and hints to deliver a perfect dessert every time.

The Introduction teaches you about Baking Equipment, Know Your Ingredients, Cake Baking Tips and Techniques, Tips for Frosting Layer Cakes, Tips for Finishing Cakes, Tips for Storing and Thawing Cakes. 

Contents include:

    Single Layer Cakes
    Multi-Layer Cakes
    Tube and Bundt Cakes
    Angel Food Cakes
    Cheesecakes
    Coffee Cakes
    Loaves and Muffins
    Cookies
    Bars and Squares
    Other Desserts
    Special-Occasion Desserts
    Frostings, Glazes, and Other Toppings

Here are a couple of cake recipes that you can test out in your home - I chose some holiday ones so you can show off to family and friends!

Caramel Cashew Cheesecake, page 140, Entertaining – Cheesecakes
This dessert is a knockout - it will dazzle your guests.

•    Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C)
•    10-inch (25 cm) springform pan, greased

SERVES 12 TO 16

CRUST
1    package (18.25 oz/515 g)     1
    white cake mix
3⁄4 cup    finely chopped roasted     175 mL
    unsalted cashews
1⁄3 cup    butter, melted    75 mL
1    egg    1

FILLING
11⁄2 lbs    cream cheese, softened    750 g
1 cup    granulated sugar    250 mL
4    eggs    4
1⁄4 cup    whipping (35%) cream    50 mL
2 tsp    vanilla    10 mL

TOPPING
1 cup    granulated sugar    250 mL
3 tbsp    water    45 mL
2⁄3 cup    whipping (35%) cream    150 mL
1 cup    coarsely chopped     250 mL
    roasted unsalted cashews

1.    Crust: In a large mixer bowl, combine cake mix, cashews, melted butter and egg. Beat on low speed for 1 minute or until a soft, moist dough forms. Press evenly over bottom and 11⁄2 inches (3.5 cm) up sides of prepared pan. Chill while preparing filling.

2.    Filling: In a large mixer bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add cream and vanilla, beating just until blended. Pour filling into prepared crust. Bake for 70 to 80 minutes or just until edges are set and the center has a slight jiggle to it. Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cake. Cool completely on a wire rack.

3.    Topping: In a saucepan, over low heat, heat sugar and water, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high and boil, swirling the pan often until the mixture turns amber, about 10 minutes. Carefully add cream (mixture will bubble up). Bring to a simmer, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in cashews. Cool to lukewarm. Carefully spoon topping over cheesecake. Chill overnight or up to 3 days before serving. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.
Variation: Omit topping. Serve with a drizzle of caramel or chocolate sauce.

TIPS
•    The topping looks amazing, but the taste of this cake is so good that it works as a plain cheesecake, too.
•    The filling puffs during baking and settles on cooling.
•    Don't overbeat cheesecake fillings. This can cause them to crack during baking.


Excerpted from Complete Cake Mix Magic by Jill Snider © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca All rights reserved: May not be reprinted without publisher permission.


Chocolate Candy Cane Cake, page 254, Holiday – Special Occasion Desserts
This holiday cake is simple to make but very festive.

MAKES 12 TO 16 SERVINGS

•    Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
•    13- by 9-inch (3 L) cake pan, greased

CAKE
1    package (18.25 oz/515 g)     1
    devil's food cake mix
3    eggs    3
11⁄3 cups    milk    325 mL
1 cup    mayonnaise    250 mL
1 tsp    peppermint extract    5 mL

FROSTING
1    container (15 oz/450 g)     1
    ready-to-serve buttercream
    frosting
1⁄4 cup crushed candy canes    50 mL
    Whole small candy canes to decorate

1.    Cake: In a large mixer bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, milk, mayonnaise and peppermint extract. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

2.    Frosting: Stir crushed candy canes into frosting. Spread frosting over top of cake. Decorate with whole candy canes.
Variation: Replace candy canes with hard mint candies to enjoy this cake year-round.

TIP
Crush leftover candy canes and stir into vanilla ice cream.


Excerpted from Complete Cake Mix Magic by Jill Snider © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca All rights reserved: May not be reprinted without publisher permission.


Cranberry Almond Coffee Cake, page 162, Holiday – Coffee Cakes
Don't limit this cake to the holiday season. The tart cranberry taste and crunchy almond top are a hit year-round.

SERVES 12 TO 16

CAKE
2 cups    fresh cranberries    500 mL
1⁄4 cup    all-purpose flour    50 mL
1    package (18.25 oz/515 g)     1
    white cake mix
3    eggs    3
11⁄4 cups    water    300 mL
1⁄3 cup    vegetable oil    75 mL
1⁄2 tsp    almond extract    2 mL

TOPPING
3⁄4 cup    sliced almonds    175 mL
1⁄3 cup    packed brown sugar    75 mL
1⁄2 tsp    ground cinnamon    2 mL

•    Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C)
•    13- by 9-inch (3 L) cake pan, greased

1.    Cake: In a small bowl, toss cranberries in flour to coat well. In a large mixer bowl, combine cake mix, eggs, water, oil and almond extract. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Stir in floured cranberries. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.

2.    Topping: In a small bowl, combine almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix well. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for
30 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Serve warm or cool.
Variation: Replace cranberries with fresh blueberries or raspberries.

TIP
When cranberries are in season, buy a few bags for your freezer. Thaw slightly and pat dry before using.


Excerpted from Complete Cake Mix Magic by Jill Snider © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca All rights reserved: May not be reprinted without publisher permission.