Monday, May 23

Good Eating Monday: Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake

Ever had Coca-Cola Cake?
It is chocolate. Of course, I've seen it on the Cracker Barrel dessert menu, but have never tried it.
Then I found a Pinterest pin for a Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake I saved to give a try.

First a little cake history. The earliest published Coca-Cola Cake recipe was in Charlotte, South Carolina in 1952 as part of an "unusual recipes" contest. The recipe won 3rd place and was contributed by a lady from West Virginia.
Then in 1997 Cracker Barrel, a Southern chain restaurant, came across the recipe, revved up the cocoa in it and reintroduced it as Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake! It's been on their menu ever since.
You can also find the classic Coca-Cola Company recipe at their website, but I noticed their recipe was more complex and includes using marshmallows.

This Pinterest recipe does NOT include being tortured with marshmallows. Really, I'd prefer not to use them.

What the Coke does is it is you major liquid in the cake and flavoring in the glaze.  You'll need 1 1/2 cups total of Coca-cola (or similar cola drink brand would work.) 

Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup Coke
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup plain milk with 1 teaspoon of vinegar added.)
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
{*For a moister cake, I suggest reducing butter by 1/2 cup and replacing it with 1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce.}

Glaze Topping:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup Coke
4 cups confectioners sugar (powdered)
Optional: 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions for Cake:
 Prepare a 9 x 13 pan by spraying with cooking spray and pre-heat oven to 350.
In a sauce pan on stove top: add butter, cocoa, buttermilk & Coke on medium high heat, melt and bring to a rolling boil, then turn off heat.

In a separate large bowl: combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, then add hot butter-choc-Coke sauce and stir together well.

Now add beaten eggs and vanilla & stir again, then pour cake mix into 9 x 13 baking pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Directions for Glaze:
In a  large saucepan on stove top: combine butter, cocoa & Coke and bring to a rolling boil. Turn off & remove from heat. Now gradually stir 4 cups of confectioners sugar into hot glaze, stirring well between additions until all smoothly combined.
If using pecans, stir them in now, too.

Once the Cake is Done Baking...
Remove to a cooling rack and immediately pour hot glaze over the top. Allow cake to cool and glaze to set-up. Serve warm with ice-cream right away or refrigerate and eat cold or reheat in microwave later.
After Action Report: 
After making this cake, I found it slightly on the dry side with just butter. So I recommend reducing the butter by 1/2 cup and replace it with 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce.
It's unbelievable how much more moist even a small amount of applesauce will make a cake or muffin!

We attended a wedding recently and the wedding cake served was the driest, most horrible cake I've ever had. It desperately needed--something!
In fact, it's been literally years since I've attended a wedding with a cake that actually tasted good! (The one that did, was made by a friend of the family on the brides's side and was absolutely the most moist & delicious wedding cake I've ever eaten!)
I often tell people who are working on planning a wedding, please do your guests a favor and sample the bakery's cake before deciding.
Eat up, me hearties, yo-ho!

Friday, May 20

Friday Finds: Get Free Stuff for Your Birthday!

I don't know about you, but I love getting free Happy Birthday stuff in my email or in the mail from either restaurants and company's!
There's a few I already knew about like Panera Bread, who has a free birthday pastry for members, & Ruby Tuesday, who emails club members a coupon for a free birthday burger.
Then I found 
WHOLE lists of places to sign up with for Birthday Freebies!
So, today's "Find" is Birthday Freebie lists you can sign-up for:
 100 Birthday Freebies 
59 Birthday Freebies
There is an over-lap between the above lists on some of the offers, but also some differences, so both are worth looking over. A majority are restaurant food or desserts freebies for members. Some are just for kids. A few send actual products.

Do keep in mind that signing-up in any company or restaurant membership generally entails agreeing to them remaining in contact  with you via emails. 
(How else will your get your email coupon for your birthday freebie?)
Knowing that, I was selective with who I signed up with, choosing restaurant chains we enjoy that I wouldn't mind receiving coupon & promotional offers from.

Plus here's a few places not mentioned on the other lists that I like for getting Birthday Freebies from:
Chicken of The Sea:
 Join their club and they'll send you a $1.00 postcard coupon in the mail on your birthday for any Chicken of the Sea product. They also very often have sweepstakes and promotions, too.

Join their membership and they do different things for birthdays every year. Sometimes a sweepstakes. One year they sent a link for a choice of free things. If you're a member, you'll also get notified to sign up for receiving one of their free calendars!

Join their Dove Insider. For birthdays I have usually gotten a Birthday Month Sweepstakes offer, but what they actually do can vary year to year. 
Have a great weekend! See you Monday for Good Eating!

Wednesday, May 18

Mama Kat Thursday: Casting Call

The Mama Kat topic question today was, "If I were given a part in a television show I like to watch, which show would I pick?"

I'd pick Scorpion.
(Note the silhouette with the question mark in the photos represents me.)
If you haven't heard or seen Scorpion, it's on CBS on Monday nights. The premise is a team of extreme geniuses who do jobs that only geniuses can figure out a solution to.  alter, the leader (guy in front with blue shirt) has an I.Q. of 197, higher then Einstein and his team consists of a math wiz, a mechanical prodigy and a excessively brilliant psychiatrist. 
Paige & Son, Ralph

The problem is, they are so genius they can't interact with average human beings very well, so to help them, they have Paige, who is normal, but who has a genius son, like them, that they're helping her relate to.
 The team is overseen by their friend, Cabe, a Homeland Security agent.

The role I'd want to be cast in, is NOT another genius, but I want to be a second Homeland Security agent that Cabe is "breaking in" on handling a specialty team. At least for one season. (They had a second male  Homeland agent this season to put a wedge between Paige & Walter's interest in one another.)
I'd want my character to have an element of comedy to her, like being a little accident prone or something. The show could use a few more laughs.

So what show would you like to be cast in?

Thanks for Visiting!

Garden Pic Wednesday: The Garden Visitor & Other Photos

Last week for the Between The Lines series featuring women bloggers over 50!
You can view the interviews with all of them & the linky list, here.
My favorite was
Mama's Little Treasures, which belongs to Nina, who is part of a group publishing a quarterly online Christian magazine called "Ruby For Women." They take contributions, so it could be a writing opportunity. You can view their interests & submissions guide, here.
To read my Between the Lines guest post from last week about how I got into blogging, go here.
Today's Garden Pics:
The Garden Visitor:
This most beautiful neighbor cat occasionally visit to enjoy sitting among the day lilies below my bird-feeder. She (or he) is all white except for touches of orange tabby on the face, legs and tails. And  blue eyes. First blue-eyed cat I've ever personally seen. Large, too. Maybe 14-16 pounds, sleek and healthy looking. She promptly leaves if I come outside and goes back over the fence, back home to some residence on the street behind.
 I took this shot from inside the house through the glass sliding door. It was dusk, too.
Squirrels often nose around on the ground below the feeder and I suspect that's what she's hoping for, since I've found a half-eaten squirrel carcass in my yard. since I've started spotting her around.
Gorgeous cat. I love seeing her.
(Birds are hard to catch, but if she caught any I wouldn't care. It's just the cycle of life.)

A Beautifully Loaded Hydrangea!
This beauty is directly opposite my front door and, finally, is covered with heads! Blue so far, though it often it's bi-color and will throw up some pink blooms. I finally learned the secret to getting a good looking Hydrangea is not to cut on them past July.

Happy Tomato Plants!
I don't know what I did right, but these two tomato plants are doing just fantastic! (At least till summer heat & humidity kick in.) The one on the left is actually a Yellow tomato; the one on the right is a Roma or Italian tomato that's good for sauce making. The Roma came as 3 stems in 1 container, so I got a deal! I just planted them as they were, since they were so intertwined. The yellow is needing a lot of tying up!

That's it for today!
Stop back for Mama Kat tomorrow where the topic will be "if I could have a role on a TV show, which would it be?"

Monday, May 16

Good Eating Monday: Death by Chocolate Dump Cake!

Last week I needed to come up with a quick dessert and I had a chocolate cake mix on hand, so to Pinterest I went and found this: 
 Death by Chocolate Dump Cake!
It was pinned from a blog called, "Cooking Chicks."

It's a keeper! Super easy to make, moist & richly chocolate! It's really like an extra thick brownie. You can eat it with your fingers easily. 
Photo from Cooking Chicks
Just takes 4 ingredients, a 9 x 13 pan and chocolate chips to top it with.
Comes out just like this picture!

Death by Chocolate Dump Cake
1 box Chocolate Cake mix
1 small box of Instant Chocolate Pudding
1 Tablespoon Hershey's Cocoa  (I used Special Dark)
2 cups of milk 
1 to 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips for topping

Spray a 9 x 13 pan with oil spray & pre-heat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl combine cake mix, instant chocolate pudding, cocoa powder, then add milk, stirring it in until just combined. Pour into greased 9 x 13, sprinkle top with chocolate chips, then bake for 30 minutes or until a inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from oven, let cool 20 minutes, then cut into 24 bars and enjoy warm or cold!
We found these very good warm topped with a scoop of ice cream.
(We'd warm up a piece in microwave, then top with ice cream.)
That's it. I told you it was super easy.
Hope you give it a try soon!
Eat up, me hearties, yo-ho!