Semi homemade. That word does not sit well with me. I think of Sandra Lee’s show. Don’t you? For me there’s nothing worse than cooking out of pre-packaged foods. There are a handful of items that will qualify you as a sinner if you even dare consider using them.
But, I know people that swear by those items, and truth be told, I don’t always have time to make my own tomato sauce for my pollo en fricasée. Or chicken stock (but that really doesn’t count!). So, I say we all get a gimme for those uncontrollable binds we find ourselves in. I mean, I do know they happen.
It’s all good.
My making these cutie patootie fudge cakes don’t really fit the bill as cheating or taking a short cut, though it was a pre-made mix. Why? Well, because my sweet Twitter friend and fellow Virginian, LaVerne from Cottage Hill Farm (@vermontorganics), kindly asked me to work with her organic cake mix. And, this girl never says no to chocolate. Ever. I’d be a fool if I did. It’s like dissing my stilettos.
And you know that does not happen around here.
Anyway, since I’m not really a baker, other than flans (and I don’t consider that baking, though it really is) and the Latin treats that I indulge in once a year, I had to enlist the support of my friend Christina. I hope you know her by now. She’s an awesome baker and just so creative and has patience for years to come! I just don’t have a lot of patience for waiting for any type of goodie to cool. I need to indulge it in…immediately, hence batter usually gets consumed before the oven ever sees it.
I called her and asked her to enjoy this cake with me. Instead, she let me borrow her cute mini bundt cake forms and some peppermint extract (because it’s the ONE extract I don’t have in my pantry) and bought me the cute festive and Christmas-y edible decorative toppers.
So let me talk about the cake mix, since it’s clear the mini cakes are adorable not to mention amazing! The mix is all organic, with no preservatives or additives. This gives it a really raw and natural taste. None of that processed stuff you get from Duncan Hines or the likes (oh, I have something to say about them, but that’s not til next week). It’s the real deal: Super moist and spongy–a cake every dessert lover would thoroughly enjoy. It’s not too sweet and not too dense, though Christina begged to differ a bit. It could be our palates.
Or our different skill set in baking.
They were still fabulous. My only concern and hiccup I encountered in making the cakes were that they stuck to all my pans. I used Christina’s little bundt cakes for the 1st time but she reassures me she’s never had a problem with other baked goods getting stuck. I’m not sure if it has to do with the properties of all the organic ingredients–sugar, flour, Dutch cocoa, buttermilk blend, leavening, kosher sea salt and vanilla. That’s all.
How fantastic is that!
Since it’s just about winter time and Christmas is around the corner, there was no better way to lace the cakes than with peppermint icing, one of my favorite flavors to infuse during the holidays. I took my time in nibbling on a plain one while I iced the others. I drizzled the light icing right over the miniature cuties and let it sit. Thanks to Chris, I had these lovely flower “wreaths” to place on top.
They make the perfect party treat or gift for your family and friends. See, if you’re like me and totally pressed for time and live a crazy life between two cities, a plane and writing assignments that involve lots of cooking, then pre-made mixes like this come in so handy–but not just any pre-made mix!
I split the cake mix into two so that I could make these cakes and one 6″ mini cake which I’ll blog about next week. Wait til you see what that one’s made with! Oh my!
Tis the season for real!
Cottage Hill Chocolate Fudge Mini Cakes with Peppermint Icing
- 1 bag of Cottage Hill Farm old-fashioned fudge cake (per directions)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup oil
- 2 cups hot water
Make batter according to package instructions. Pour into mini cake bundt pans. Bake according to package instructions. Let cool. Make icing. Once cakes have cooled, drizzle icing all over cakes until almost fully covered. Let sit until icing has hardened at room temperature. Top with edible decorative pieces or make your own fondant.
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sift before measuring
- 1 teaspoon mint extract*
- 2 to 4 tablespoons milk
- pinch of salt
*Update: I added 1 tsp. because I ♥ mint and wanted mined to be a bit stronger than I’d usually add. For a milder peppermint taste, use only 1/2 tsp.
Yields 18- 24 mini cakes.
*this post was sponsored by Vermont Organics as I was given a bag of chocolate fudge cake mix and Christina for the floral icing tops. I received no compensation other than a delicious bag of cake to make.