Monday, September 21, 2009

Baby Steps

My mama is a baker. She simply glances in the direction of flour and sugar and something scrumptious appears.

She comes from a long line of these baker-inspired people. In fact, the first time the love of my life came to a family holiday celebration he may have decided to propose somewhere between the banana pudding, eclair cake, and blueberry yum-yum.

And though I love to cook, sometimes I have felt a little baker-challenged. Thankfully a few years back my mom and I created a family cookbook in honor of my grandmother going to Heaven. The dessert section has come in mighty handy, as you can imagine, with recipes to help me take my sweet time while learning.

At the fall BBQ, I served one such baby-step kind of recipe that is sure to please a crowd (like 30ish people!) and your pocketbook. Every time I do this easy little thing, people want the recipe.

Start with this:

2 boxes yellow cake mix, 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding, 2 jars of mandarin oranges (1 for each cake mix), 1 can of crushed pineapple, 1 regular size tub of Cool Whip, 8 eggs (4 for each cake mix), and 1 cup of applesauce (1/2 cup for each cake mix)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease and flour (or use nonstick spray) two- 9x13 pans.

3. Prepare each box of cake mix ONLY using this recipe: 1 box of mix, 1 jar of mandarin oranges WITH juice, 4 eggs, and 1/2 cup of applesauce. Then pour into your pans.

4. Bake one cake at a time according to the package, typically between 25-30 minutes.

5. While cakes are baking, make the topping. Prepare the pudding as directed on the package in a large bowl. Add the Cool Whip. This is enough to top both cakes.

6. Let the cakes cool completely, then add your topping.

7. One of my mom's many secrets... put the cakes in the freezer until about 1.5 hours before you want to serve them. Gives the perfect consistency and flavor!

8. Serve in cutie-pie containers found at Kroger for 50-cents (optional). Please do add a sprinkling of the crushed pineapple, whatever you decide.

That's it... tropical enough for a summer dessert and orangey-yellow enough to give fall a run for its cobblers.

:) Katrina

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