Oreo…cake? {Recipe time!}

Hi Everyone! I’ve been sitting here for…actually I’m not sure how long. My eyes hurt from looking at survey site after survey site trying to see if I can make a couple extra bucks while I’m already here. So I’ve closed all of those tabs (man, there really were a lot) and have finally made my way back to you. I’ve been trying to make my way back since my last post. It seems that when the kiddos are home on track-out I don’t get a lot of blogging done. And then when the kiddos track back in, well, a lot of time is spent catching up on housework, laundry, groceries, going around the lake, and so on.

But I’m here! Yay! And I realized that we’ve been hanging out for a couple months now, I have yet to post a recipe or cooking post or baking post! I can’t begin to explain how that happened. So I’ll just go ahead and correct that horrible oversight. 🙂

Oreo. Cake. Got your attention? Good. ‘Cause I promise, you won’t want to miss this deliciousness!

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Messy? Yes. Delicious? Absolutely.

DSC09218For Ladybug’s birthday, I made a 2-tiered cake. The bottom tier had two layers of this delicious chocolate Oreo cake with a creme layer in the middle. [The second tier was a white cake with a fluffy chocolate frosting in the middle.]

In preparation for the cake, I hit up a local spice shop that is absolutely wonderful: Savory Spice Shop…although since I don’t live in Raleigh anymore, it is a little bit of a drive for me. 😦 There I bought a box of black onyx cocoa powder.DSC09221

 But what is black onyx cocoa powder? Why is it different from Hershey’s cocoa powder found in the grocery store? The black cocoa powder has been alkalized to the extreme which produces a dark, purplish-black cocoa with a lower fat percentage. The cocoa powder you buy in the grocery store has a higher fat percentage, and since it has more fat than the black cocoa powder, both are required in your baked good.

 Now it’s time to get to work! I do want to take a minute to say that the wonderful people at the Savory Spice Store shared a recipe with me for Almost Oh-ree-oh! cookies, and I adapted it for a cake.

Oreo Cake

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All ingredients ready to go.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder

1/2 cup black onyx cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon + 2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 1/4 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup milk

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

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Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour your cake pan; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, both cocoas, baking soda, baking powder, salt and both sugars. Set the bowl aside.DSC09233

Grab your mixer and, on low speed, cream together the butter and shortening. Once the butter/shortening mixture is shiny, add in the eggs; keep the mixer speed on low. With the mixer still going on low, slowly add in your flour mixture about one cup at a time. In between the cups of flour mixture, pour in some of the milk with the vanilla. About half way through, add in the vegetable oil. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.DSC09241

Once all the ingredients are fully mixed together, pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, then drop the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 25 – 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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For the frosting between layers, I used The Pioneer Woman’s recipe for white frosting (that she used in between two layers of Devil’s Food Cake). It wasn’t as sweet as I was hoping, so I ended up adding more powdered sugar; it still wasn’t as sweet as I was hoping. However, since the frosting wasn’t overly sweet, it didn’t overshadow the flavor of the cakes. 

If you are looking for a sweeter filling, one more similar to that of the Oreo cookies, you could use this recipe (which came with the cookie recipe I got from the Savory Spice Store):

Creamy Filling

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix the butter and the shortening on low speed in your mixer. Gradually beat in the sugar and the vanilla. When it is all combined, turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

 

Have fun! And I hope you enjoy your cake as much as we enjoyed ours! 🙂 

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We survived the Frozen party! All good things, all good things. ;)

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*Whew* I made it through the weekend.
And now I’m sitting here with both of my girls home with me. They are tracked out for the next three weeks!! So excited!! There is so much we want to do while they are home, but today we relax. The kids are catching up on some Disney channel while playing with Ladybug’s new gifts and I’m enjoying some snuggles and just having my girls home. 🙂

But let’s back up and talk about the big ‘Frozen’ party that happened this weekend. (Quick side note: This was the first-ever birthday party, with kids, in my own house. This will probably be the last. haha)

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The basement ready to be decorated.

As you know, I spent last week getting our large basement room ready for the party. I had also been hunting through three local Party Cities for any ‘Frozen’ decor I could get my hands on.  Stop #3 was the goldmine…and also the furthest drive. 🙂

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Everything I had planned on putting up…

I may have a gone a little overboard and now have to return a few things…but better to have too much rather than not enough. Continue reading

It was supposed to take forever

me and girls

I never thought I was cut out for this “mom” thing. I honestly never thought I would choose to be home full-time with kids. I really just never thought I would be good at it or enjoy it.

When I had Freckles, I thought the 5 years leading up to her going off to kindergarten would last forever. What in the world was I supposed to do all that time? I mean, geez, I’d never have any time to myself. Those years were going to take forEVER!

Or so I thought.

I was 2 1/2 years in of doing this mom thing, and we decided to add another baby to the family. Hey, I was enjoying this. And time to myself? Didn’t really cross my mind. And if it did, I had some awesome family ready to hang out with my girls. But I was loving my job and never looked back. After all, this is going to last forever…right?

See, I thought I’d be happy when kindergarten rolled around. I’d get my freedom back! Thinking back on it now, it’s astonishing that I ever felt that way.

You know how part of the miracle of having children is that women don’t remember exactly how painful giving birth is? (We forget and think, “hey it wasn’t so bad, I want to do it again”. Then we do it again and remember it all and wonder what in the world we were thinking. 😉 ) I believe that there is another part of the miracle – one that occurs after the first day of kindergarten happens…

Looking back, I don’t remember how torn up I was about Freckles starting school. It probably helped that Ladybug was home with me and I didn’t want to fall apart in front of her. I do remember being sad and shedding some tears, but I don’t remember being ready to fall apart or feeling a heavy sadness in my heart. I do recall thinking that “this was the beginning of the end”. But at that point, Ladybug was still home and a whole year off from preschool. Surely having her home with me was going to last forever.

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I seem to have blinked a touch too long because Tuesday was Ladybug’s first day of kindergarten. Wait, what? That’s it? It’s over? But…but…but it was supposed to take forever. They were going to be home all day everyday forever before they were going to be off to school.

Wasn’t it going to take forever? Wasn’t Abby always going to be in her car seat behind me in the car? I never envisioned a time when I would come home and not need to open the door to let a little person out. She was always going to be there waiting for me to open the door, undo her bottom buckle (because she can undo the top buckle on her own) and hold out my hand to hold her little hand as she climbed out of the van.

Wasn’t she always going to be with me as I headed out of carpool line in the morning? With her sweet little voice already asking for hot chocolate when we got home? Or asking to go to the store because she had stuff to buy?

Having both girls off at school all day 5 days a week was something I rarely thought about. It just seemed like an abstract idea. But, alas, here we are. Two kids in elementary school. How did time go by that fast?

Hubby and I dropped Freckles off at her door and walked Ladybug to her class. Then we headed back down the hall, out the front doors and began the lonely wall back to the car. Without either of our children. I was holding on pretty good until one of the teachers we passed by (who was Freckles’ assistant teacher in 1st grade told me “good luuuuuck” as we passed by. I began to say ‘thank you’ and my voice cracked. The dam had been broken. Luckily I had my trusty sunglasses to keep the tear-filled eyes hidden….though I’m pretty sure the furrowed brow and quivering bottom lip gave me away. But I held on tight to Hubby as we continued walking away from the school that held both of my precious babies.

In the safety of the van, and then the house, I didn’t hold back. There was a heavy sadness within me and all I could do was cry. I was sure Ladybug, like Freckles, was going to be fine. I’d left her for two years at preschool and she was always fine; she always did well. But it wasn’t for her I was crying. Something beautiful had just ended. There wouldn’t be anymore snuggle-filled days with my little buddy. I’m not going to be able to go to the Farmer’s Market with her and pick out fresh fruits and veggies then to get some ice cream. Instead, I’ll have all day to clean the house and keep with laundry and prep a lot of freezer meals. Given what I’m trading in for a clean house…a clean house just doesn’t seem all that important anymore. I thought the messiness and being behind on laundry and always having someone underfoot would last forever. It was supposed to take forever to get to this day.

I know, we will have track-outs and vacations and weekends, but it just won’t ever be the same. We will make the most of this new era of our lives, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the next 10 to 13 years aren’t going to take forever either. In fact, I’d wager they are going to fly right on by.

It really felt like it was supposed to take forever.

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DSC08794 Waiting in carpool at the end of the day. 🙂

 

Whatcha Makin’? — Let’s Do A T-Shirt Quilt!

I have to have something to do. A project of some sort. If I don’t have a project to look forward to, I find that I have a lot of trouble focusing on anything else. I find it’s easier to keep the tv off and keep everyone moving if I know I get to do something for myself later. (I doubt this makes any sense, but it seems that’s how I work. lol)

But as of the end of March, all of my stuff has been in boxes. My sewing table has been under boxes. Boxes filled with my paints and brushes, my pencils and pastels and pads, my fabrics and scissors and rulers, my scrapbooks and papers, even all of my notebooks! But I haven’t noticed it too much since I first was busy unpacking the rest of the house. Then I got to work in the yard and busy myself with flowers and growing veggies and herbs.

Now we are in mid-June here in central NC and the heat index for the rest of the week is 100 degrees. Yard work? With Code Orange air quality warnings? Nah, I’m good thanks. The boxes left in the basement? I can’t do anything with those until I get more shelving (because it’s mostly books left….Hubby and I are major book lovers). The boxes left in the spare basement room? Those are all of my boxes. Which I can’t unpack until I get more shelving for that too. So I’m at a standstill with just about everything. I even have plenty of freezer meal recipes on hand to stock my freezer up with after I go grocery shopping.

So what’s a girl to do? I know. How about we cut up shirts? Nothing crazy, it’ll be for a quilt. 🙂 Want to join me? We’ll make it a weekly thing! This week we’ll get started and next week, we’ll move on to the next step, and so on. Let’s do this!DSC08340

Continue reading