Shamrock Shake Celebration Cake

shamrock shake cake

Oh yes, it’s that time of year!  I actually haven’t had a shamrock shake in years, but I still feel like I should go get one every time March rolls around.  There are plenty of copycat recipes out there to make your own version of the fast food treat at home, but I was feeling like I wanted to put my own spin on it.  I’m on a cake kick as well.  Ever since I had kids, I feel like I need to perfect my cake-baking skills.  I am a long way from perfecting these skills, but I also feel like I have come a long way since I really started cranking out cakes a couple of years ago.  I only wish I had more excuses to make them!

Since my birthday is on Friday I thought that a little cake this week would be in order!

shamrock shake cake

If I had to make this cake again, I would be a little more careful with my measuring.  The cake itself turned out a bit dense, probably due to too much flour and a bit of over-mixing.  It’s difficult to be quite as precise and needed though when you have two little rug-rats at your feet trying to get their tiny fingers into the bowl frosting!  However, the frosting flavor was spot on!  It’ll really give you that minty flavor you’re used to with the shake!  The key is using the clear imitation vanilla extract, and mint extract (not peppermint or spearmint), but a generic “mint” flavoring.

I made a Swiss meringue buttercream for this cake because it is a little less sweet than American buttercream.  This cake is all kinds of sweet, so the sugary American buttercream might be a bit too much if you want to be able to eat a full slice.  Don’t forget the cherries on top!

Shamrock Shake Celebration Cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-8" or 9" layer cakes
 
Ingredients
  • Cake:
  • 2¾ cups cake flour
  • 1⅔ cups sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 large eggs whites plus 1 whole large egg
  • 1 cup full-fat vanilla yogurt or 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 teaspoons clear imitation vanilla extract
  • Frosting:
  • 5 large, fresh egg whites
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, cut into cubes and cool, but not cold
  • 2 teaspoons mint extract
  • 1 teaspoon clear imitation vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • green food coloring
  • maraschino cherries for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8" x 2" or 9" x 2" round pans by greasing and flouring; or lining with parchment, then greasing the parchment.
  3. Mix all of the dry ingredients on slow speed to blend. Add the soft butter and mix until evenly crumbly, like fine damp sand. It may form a paste, depending on the temperature of the butter, how much it's mixed, and granulation of the sugar used.
  4. Add the egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating well after each addition to begin building the structure of the cake. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the yogurt (or milk) with the vanilla and almond extracts. Add this mixture, ⅓ at a time, to the batter. Beat 1 to 2 minutes after each addition, until fluffy. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for 8" or 9" rounds. Remove from the oven, remove from the pan, cool on a rack completely before frosting.
  7. For the frosting:
  8. Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice, to remove any trace of grease. Add egg whites and sugar, and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F.
  9. With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch (this can take up to 10 minutes or so).
  10. Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture (if curdles, keep mixing and it will come back to smooth). Add extracts and salt, and beat until well combined.
  11. Put about 1-1½ cups of frosting into a piping bag with a star tip. This will be used as your "whipped cream".
  12. Add green food coloring to the remaining frosting and mix well. Frost with green frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Then pipe the white frosting whipped cream dollops in the center and perimeter of the cake. Top each dollop with a maraschino cherry.

Cake adapted from King Arthur Flour, frosting adapted from Sweetapolita.

shamrock shake cake

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Chicken Parmesan Soup in the Slow Cooker

slow cooker chicken parmesan soup

Despite the fact that it is now March, and the first day of spring is only a few weeks away, I am still bookmarking and pinning hearty winter fare.  There is still snow on the ground, more in the forecast, and we’re looking at another stretch of single digit days in the coming weeks.  (sigh) That is depressing…

This is one of my favorite slow cooker recipes because it does not require and pre-cooking or browning, like many slow cooker recipes out there.  You can just throw everything into your slow cooker and let it do it’s thing!  This is a crowd-pleaser, and all you need is a loaf of crusty bread to soak up that sauce and your meal is complete.

If you really want to up the flavor, try throwing in your leftover Parmesan cheese rinds in there and take them out right before serving.  If you’re not saving your rinds, you should be.  They add a great dimension of flavor to stews, soups and sauces.

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup, adapted from Food 52

Chicken Parmesan Soup in the Slow Cooker

Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, chopped
  • 14 1/2 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 pound raw boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
  • (optional) Parmesan cheese rind
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy!)
  • 4 ounces uncooked dry gemelli or penne pasta
  • Chopped fresh basil or parsley, for garnish

Instructions

In the slow cooker, stir together the garlic, bell pepper, crushed tomatoes, chicken, broth, onion, the cheese, rinds (if using), basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook on high for 3 1/2 hours, or on low for 7 hours.

Transfer chicken breasts to a cutting board and coarsely shred them; return them to the slow cooker. Discard cheese rinds, if using. Stir in the pasta. Cook on high for 30 minutes longer or until pasta is cooked al dente. Serve garnished with more Parmesan cheese and chopped basil or parsley.

http://www.theculinaryenthusiast.com/2015/03/03/chicken-parmesan-soup-in-the-slow-cooker/

 

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Neapolitan Marshmallow Crispy Treats

neapolitan crispy treats

Looking for an easy treat to throw together for your Valentine’s?  This twist on the classic rice crispy treats recipe is perfect for tomorrow’s holiday.  It is easy to make too, so if you’re short on time or want something that the kids can help with, look no further!

The strawberry marshmallows really give these a unique flavor, but you can use regular marshmallows if that is what you have on hand.  I thought they gave these treats a nice Valentine’s touch though!  You could also mix in heart shaped candies, sprinkles, or chocolate candies if you wanted to fancy them up a little more.  Get creative and enjoy sharing them with your Valentine(s) this weekend!

Neapolitan Marshmallow Crispy Treats

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package (10 oz.) Strawberry JET-PUFFED Marshmallows
  • 6 cups chocolate rice crisp cereal
  • 1/2 bag (about 1 cup) white chocolate chips

Instructions

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat.

Add cereal and stir until evenly coated.

Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan lined with foil and coated with cooking spray or butter.

Melt chocolate chips in 30 second intervals in the microwave or over a double boiler. Drizzle on top of crispy treats. Cool and cut into squares.

http://www.theculinaryenthusiast.com/2015/02/13/neapolitan-marshmallow-crispy-treats/

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