Thursday, November 26, 2015

Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Christmas Tree Cake

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BakeInTheFun #CollectiveBias

I always get a little nostalgic around Christmas time. Don't you?  What I love about this time of the year is that for an instant time seize to exist and we get to remember what it was like to be a little kid. One more time.
I'll spend hours talking to my mom reminiscing about all those times we've baked together for Christmas.

When I was little every year my dad made our very own Christmas Tree. Unique and beautiful. My dad never brought a whole tree from the woods,  instead he  trimmed the branches from several trees so he could  build one tree for us. I remember as the time passed by on December 23rd and it was getting darker outside I became restless. I'd go check on him how he was doing, impatiently asking when the tree was going be ready. Then late at night he brought it up from his workshop downstairs. It was magic.

Let's start the Holiday Season with  great sweepstakes. Just by voting on your favorite  photo  you are entered in a drawing to win one of eight brand new Kitchen Aid mixers!

Holiday #BakeInTheFun 

To kick off my Christmas baking I've decided to bake a Christmas Tree Cake. I've had the tree cake pan for years and it was time to put it to good use.
I picked up Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Cake Mix, Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Vanilla Flavored Frosting, M&M’s® White Peppermint candies, M&M’s® Holiday Milk Chocolate  and Great Value Milk at my local Walmart. I was able to find everything pretty quickly in the seasonal isle and milk was in the refrigerated dairy section. Also, be sure to print this coupon
to save $1 on ANY TWO(2) M&M’s® Chocolate Candies, 8oz or larger.

Christmas Tree Cake
1/2 of the Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Cake Mix
1 Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Vanilla Flavored Frosting
1/2 cup M&M’s® White Peppermint candies
1/2 cup M&M’s® Holiday Milk Chocolate
1cup Great Value Milk (I used milk instead of water to make the cake batter)
1/2 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350F.
Butter and flour tree cake pan and set aside.

Use a small food processor to chop up the  M&M’s® White Peppermint candies.

In a mixing bowl combine  1/2 of Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Cake Mix, Great Value Milk, oil and eggs. Beat on low until moistened and then increase the speed to medium high and beat for additional 2 minutes. Stir in chopped M&M’s® White Peppermint candies. Pour cake batter into a prepared cake pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. If you see that the top of the cake is browning too fast, cover the cake with foil dome to prevent excessive browning.
Cake is done once toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and let cool completely before frosting.

Cover your surface with wax paper and then place the cake sitting on a cooling rack on top of it.
To frost the cake you first need to microwave the Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Vanilla Flavored Frosting. Scoop out the frosting into a microwave save dish, melt the frosting slowly,  in 5 to 10 seconds increments until it becomes more fluid. Then pour the thinned frosting over the cake. Use a spoon or spatula to move the icing to cover the whole cake. Let the icing drain onto a wax paper.
To decorate the cake use sprinkles form Pillsbury™ Funfetti® Holiday Vanilla Flavored Frosting. Sprinkle the whole cake. To make the garland  use  M&M’s® Holiday Milk Chocolate, alternating green and red candies.

 Here is my festive Tree Cake.

You maybe asking why did I use milk instead of water to make the cake batter?  Milk is good for you.
Milk is naturally - nutrient - rich with calcium, vitamin D, potassium and it  is also  a great source of protein.  Did you know  that milk is needed at your local food bank? There are so many hungry children and families that are missing out on the essential nutrients supplied by milk. Food banks don't have enough milk to provide for  those families in need. You can help by making a small donation to pourmilklove.com or purchase 2 bags of M&M’s® at Walmart (9.4 oz bags or larger) and up to a gallon of milk will be donated to the drive.  Join Feeding America in The Great American Milk Drive - delivering a gallon of milk – and all of the essential nutrients, including protein, that it provides – to a family in need in YOUR local community.

Be sure to check out more  Holiday Recipes **** here.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

R2 D2 Star Wars Mini Cheesecakes

I'm addicted to my new mini cheesecake pan. It is fun to use and produces perfect mini cheesecakes. They are 2 to 3 bites in size.
I put it to a good use  again and made these Star Wars inspired cheesecakes. Instead of traditional crust I used  half of oreo cookie. So simple and effective. 
Someone asked my on you tube : " how does lemon and chocolate go together?" I personally love this interesting flavor combination but if you prefer something more subtle, option for vanilla or lemon oreo cookies.

R2 D2 Mini Cheesecakes (makes 12 mini cheesecakes)

Pattern Batter
3 egg whites
3tbl room temperature butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-2 tbl water/lemon juice

Cream butter, add powdered sugar, beat until creamy, add egg whites and beat until incorporated, add vanilla extract and on low speed add flour.
Divide batter into  portions. Keep most of the batter white, then color  some with blue, and small portions with black and red
Fill piping bags with batter. Pipe the pattern onto small parchment rounds.
Freeze for 20-30minutes.
Spray mini cheesecake with non stick spray. Transfer frozen pattern rounds into the pan.

Cheesecake Filling
1 1/2 blocks of cream cheese
1/4 cup non fat plain Greek Yogurt
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
zest of one lemon
1tsp vanilla extract
1tbl corn starch
Oreo cookies, halved, filling removed.
Beat cream cheese, add sugar,egg, beat well after each addition. Add yogurt, lemon zest, vanilla and corn starch. Divide batter into prepared cake pan. Place half of the oreo sandwich cookie on the top.
Bake at 325F for 18-20 minutes.
Take out of the oven and let cool at least for 4 hours or up to overnight.
These can be made several days ahead, store in the refrigerator, in an airtight container, in one layer.

Tools you need:
Small Spatula to lift parchment rounds 
Parchment Paper
Food Colors by Americolor , you need royal blue, black, super red

Learn how to make my Star Wars cheesecakes, I show you step by step  in my video.

 To celebrate  new Star Wars movie I joined  my you tube friends in a Star Wars Collaboration. B
Be sure to check it out here

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