Dan Higgins column: Cake is more than good

7:34 PM, Apr. 18, 2013  |  Comments
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I had one of those "you got peanut butter on my chocolate" moments this week. (For those of you who don't remember the Reese's commercial, you can find it on YouTube.)

After seeing a television ad for Cool Whip's new frosting, I was flipping channels and saw Martha Stewart whipping up yellow cake batter.

Intrigued by both items, I decided to put both to the test.

The recipe: The cake batter was ridiculously creamy, but that's to be expected with a recipe that calls for two sticks of butter, four whole eggs plus two yolks.

Prep time is listed at 15 minutes, I clocked in closer to 30 minutes.

I found the recipe through Pinterest but it didn't come with baking instructions. Making an educated guess, I split the batter in two 8-inch round pans and baked them at 350 for about 35 minutes, until I got a nice golden- brown top and inserted a knife and had it come out clean.

There was minimal crowning despite the fact that I used all-purpose flour instead of cake flour.

Caution: When it came time to release the cake from the pan, my sins of flour choice may have contributed to the clumpy chunks that stuck to the pan. On the show Martha poured the batter into pans that looked like they were greased instead of just sprayed. I only sprayed my pans. Also, I'm not really sure when or where our cake pans came from, so I doubt they're up to Martha standards.

Another contributing factor to the less-than-picture-perfect cake is that I don't use parchment paper while baking, though this incident has convinced me to change my ways.

The cake had an amazing flavor and was plenty moist, which made for a good test for the Cool Whip frosting that makes a point of being a good option for delicate cakes.

Because the frosting is in essence flavored whipped topping, it did spread easily without dislodging clumps of cake. I put frosting between the layers and didn't have quite enough to make it all the way around the cake. The flavor is light and worked well with the yellow cake but you do have to put remaining frosted cake in the refrigerator.

Pin it or skip it: Yes, provided I can find better baking instructions and get the cake to release properly. I may never use a boxed cake mix again.

If you want the recipe for the cake batter, it's pinned to the Cakes board at pinterest.com/foodfamily. I found the Cool Whip frosting at Walmart.

Our newest reporter: You may have noticed Eric Christenson's name appearing regularly in the Food for Thought and Weekend sections of our paper, including both food stories today. He's written stories and produced videos for us as part of an internship. Christenson, a recent graduate from UW-Eau Claire, impressed us with his reporting and multimedia skills so we decided to keep him. He'll be a full-time features reporter for Press-Gazette Media starting Monday with much of his reporting time focused on entertainment and food stories. And since it seems you're not really a journalist without a Twitter handle, you can follow him @EricChCh.

Spice up the grill: The Green Bay Southwest High School Marketing Co-op class is offering spices and rubs just as grilling season moves into full gear. The new business "Flavor Fanatics" sells a variety of seasonings. I haven't had a chance to try them yet, but they have fun names such as Sweet Talk Sally, Far East Fran, Louisiana Lola and Home Sweet Home. A 3-ounce bottle sells for $4, or four bottles for $15. Orders will be fulfilled within three business days, plus delivery time. More information and order forms can be found at www.flavorfanatics.weebly.com.

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports