two skinny jenkins

100210 – Joe’s Birthday (cup) Cakes
100212, 3:20 pm
Filed under: DESSERT | Tags:

Red Velvet Cake

This has been Joe’s birthday cake every year for the past 20-some years.  This was the first year that I have taken on the task of baking the cake for him.  His mom  reassured me that the recipe impossible to mess up.  This was meant to allay my fears – but it mostly added to them.  I would be the first one to mess it up… especially on a weeknight… especially being just my third cake baking endeavor ever.  In the end, it turned out that my MIL (mother in law) was right, and the cupcakes were DELICIOUS.

  • 1/2 Cup butter
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 oz. red food coloring [this is 2 bottles, I only use 1 bottle and then fill the bottle with water and add to make up for the liquid]
  • 2 T. cocoa
  • 2 1/4 c. plain flour [not cake flour]
  • 1 scant t. salt
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. buttermilk (I used 4T dried buttermilk and it came out fine – just add it and water as you would regular buttermilk)
  • 1 t. baking soda [try to get the lumps out before you add it]
  • 1 T. vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grease and flour two 8″ pans [or use cupcake papers if you make cupcakes, or a sheet pan]
  3. Cream butter, sugar, and eggs in your mixer with the paddle attachment.
  4. Mix together coloring and cocoa and add to mixture.    This stuff is a mess.  My white mixing bowl is now a pretty pink mixing bowl.
  5. Add salt and flour with buttermilk and vanilla (do not mix any longer than necessary or it will toughen the cake).
  6. Alternately add soda and vinegar and don’t beat hard, just blend. Bake in two 8″ greased and floured pans. Layers may be split to make 4.
  7. Fill two baking pans or muffin tins.  Bake for 15-20 minutes for cupcakes, 30-40 minutes for cakes.  Cool completely before icing.

Frosting for red velvet cake:

  • 3 T. flour
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 c. butter
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  1. Cook flour and milk on low heat until thick. Cool completely.
  2. Cream sugar and butter and vanilla until fluffy. [You can’t really overdo this stage]
  3. Add flour/milk mixture.
  4. Beat until mixture is like whipped cream.
  5. Spread on layer. Sprinkle with coconut or chopped nuts if desired.
  6. Keep cake cool (the icing is best cold).

090721 – Anniversary Cake
090721, 9:48 pm
Filed under: DESSERT | Tags: , ,

Anniversary Cake

Today was Joe’s and my two year anniversary, and I wanted to mimic our wedding cake as a gift to Joe.  I found this recipe on that sounded just right.  Of course, i had to improvise a little bit, as usual. It took nearly all day to make.  I wanted to make sure that i did things right and gave the cake sufficient time to cool before decorating.

The cake was way too heavy.   This is the second cake i have ever made in my life (the first being my father’s birthday cake back in April).  I guess i should have known that pound cake was heavy.  The texture of the pound cake was all wrong for this otherwise light and fruity flavored cake.  If you couldn’t tell, this was nothing like my wedding cake.

The Cake:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 C low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 2 C cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/2 t salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 C sugar
  1. Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cake pans and line bottom of each with a round of parchment or wax paper. Grease paper and dust pans with flour.
  2. Whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk together flour and salt in another bowl.
  3. Beat together butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add flour and egg mixtures alternately in 3 batches, ending with egg mixture and mixing until just incorporated.
  4. Divide batter among pans, filling each one to 1 inch from top. Put 12-inch pan on upper rack and other pans on lower rack 20 minutes. Gently turn pans around and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cakes comes out of each with a few crumbs adhering, 10 to 20 minutes more, depending on cake size. Transfer each one as done to a rack to cool.
  5. Cool layers slightly (12-inch layer for 20 minutes), then invert onto racks. Peel off paper, turn cakes right side up, and cool completely.
  6. Put each layer cut side up on a plate. Brush tops generously with syrup. Stir jam until smooth, then spread about 1/3 cup on one layer. Invert another layer (on plate) onto jam.  Spread about 1 cups frosting on top of layer. Scatter a layer of blackberries over to cover frosting. (If berries are 1 inch or larger, first halve them lengthwise.) Slide the third 12-inch layer, syrup side up, onto berries (discard cardboard) and press down gently. Spread about 1/3 cup jam on layer and invert last 12-inch layer (on cardboard) onto jam, discard cardboard.
  7. Spoon 1 1/2 cups frosting onto top of 12-inch tier and cover cake with a thin coating.

Lemon Syrup:

  • 1/2 C lemon juice
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/4 C water
  1. stir sugar into lemon juice until fully dissolved and add water.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 4 (8-ounce) packages neufchatel cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 box confectioners’ sugar
  1. mix cream cheese on medium speed in an electric mixer until soft.
  2. add butter and sugar (slowly) and mix on low speed until fully combined.
  3. keep refrigerated, pull it out of the fridge about 10 min. before applying to the cake to soften.

090403 – Dad’s birthday cake!
090403, 10:10 pm
Filed under: DESSERT | Tags: ,


so, i was struggling to find a tasty and somewhat healthy cake to make for my dad’s birthday last weekend.  In the tasty department, i kept running into some very similar chocolate cake recipes on some popular cooking sites.  They all used packaged cake mix, which i was extremely reluctant to do, but having tasted the results, i would definitely do it again.

while decorating the cake, i found it was very helpful to refrigerate the whole thing after the white icing was on for about 15 minutes before applying the red icing.  i’m not sure why, but the icing tended to slide down the sides of the cake.  before laying the cakes on the pedestal, i dusted it with extra confectioner’s sugar.  after placing the tiers, i used my mom’s trick of sliding pieces of parchment paper under the edges of the cake before icing, and then removing them once it was set.


  • 1 box of devils food cake
  • 1 small package of instant pudding
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce + 1/2 cup veggie oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups semisweet chips (the whole bag!)


  • box of confectioners sugar
  • 1 stick of light butter, softened
  • 2 T milk
  • 5 drops of peppermint oil
  • dash of salt

cake directions:

  1. preheat oven to 350°.
  2. mix all ingredients except the chips.
  3. fold in chocolate chips.
  4. pour into two 9″ baking pans sprayed (i used spring-form pans and they worked GREAT).
  5. bake 44-45 minutes.  it was perfect at 44, but another min. wouldn’t hurt.
  6. let cool on wire rack for a while (maybe 30-35 min – until fully cool).

frosting directions:

  1. cream 1 1/3 cups sugar + butter.
  2. add remaining sugar + milk + shakes of peppermint oil.
  3. refrigerate for 30 min.