October 3, 2011 by A to Ziti
On a day that started with both of my kids asleep next to me in bed (scary that I was in such a deep sleep, I didn’t realize they both migrated into our bed), at 5 am, I forced both of them to return to THEIR OWN BEDS and had that feeling that this was going to be an off day. Oh, and one of them peed in my bed.
That same biscuit, and I won’t name names, did a huge face plant getting out of her OWN BED this morning when it was actually time to wake up, forcing me to do that panicky “Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, lemme see lemme see lemme see if there’s blood.” I thought I was going to have to take biscuit into the ER for a concussion.
Again, only 7 am and off to a rough start.
Fast forward to 2:30 when I picked up the noodles from preschool and found all of the kiddos lined up perfectly in a line, except one. One vaguely familiar face, staring up at me from the back of the classroom. Staring up at me, from the floor. Barefoot. I’ve got one biscuit on the floor, refusing to walk to the car, and the other one tugging on my shirt yelling “Moooom. Moooom. Mooom.” She was desperately trying to get my attention, and to be honest, I thought it was a little boy yelling at me because Dear Lord Baby Jesus, her voice sounded like she smoked a couple of packs the night before and kicked back a bottle of High West. I diverted my attention from the dork on the floor and looked down at the other dork, who apparently now is sick, trying to apologize for walking right past her as I thought she was a) a boy and b) that her sister was about to pass out on the floor.
I carried the one who was playing the “I’m too tired to walk to the car” super fun game that moms love so much, and had the other one trailing behind me in the parking lot. As I was asking about their day and what was on the crafty little creations, I heard that all too well-known sound of a sideview mirror getting whacked out of place, followed by that other all too well-known sound of a child falling on pavement. I quickly swiveled around with the dork in my arms to find the other dork sitting on her butt, holding her head.
She had walked right into someone’s sideview mirror and it knocked her on her ass.
What a hot mess these two are. Hot mess! One fell out of bed this morning, the other is too damn lazy to walk to the car. The one who fell out of bed this morning, and also peed my bed, just got her ass handed to her by a parked car.
Once we got all settled in the car, I eagerly opened their folders in their backpacks to see if they broke their 3 day streak of frowny faces from their teacher. With the way things were going today, I didn’t have high hopes, but hot damn! Two smiley faces. Two! We’ve broken the streak!
Only one word to celebrate: cupcakes.
The great thing about this recipe is a) it has alcohol and b) you can mix and match and tweak with the ingredients to your liking. The dorks asked for yellow cake cupcakes and chocolate frosting. Turns out this was their lucky day! I had a yellow cake mix in the cupboard, some lemon pudding mix, and Cointreau with our liquer collection. Sometimes I forget how truly delicious lemon and chocolate can be together, but today reminded me what a perfect combo they are together, just like Dork A and Dork B.
(TJ Maxx lately has some of the cutest cupcake sets by Miri Miri and I snatched up a few the last time I was there, one of which a Halloween theme. Of course you can use this in a cake pan or a bundt pan, but this a cupcake household.)
chocolate orange cake with chocolate ganache (page 146, Small Sweet Treats)
I hardly ever use packaged cake mixes, but for ease and convenience, this recipe is enhanced with a soupçon of coffee liqueur and orange zest. With the drizzle of chocolate ganache, the cake looks professionally made. And unless the cook confesses, the secret of this spectacular dessert is safe. Sometimes, shortcuts are justifiable!
1 package devil’s food chocolate cake mix (or yellow cake mix or white cake mix)
8 ounces sour cream
1 package (4 ounces) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix (or lemon pudding mix if using yellow or white cake mix or vanilla pudding)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup cold water
1/4 cup coffee liqueur (Kahlua) or an orange liquer such as Triple Sec if using the yellow or white cake mix
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
Orange zest strips
Place all ingredients for cake in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour into a greased and floured 10-inch Bundt pan or a 9- x 13- x 3-inch baking pan. Bake on the middle rack of a preheated 350-degree-F oven for about 55 to 60 minutes for the Bundt pan or 45 to 50 minutes for the baking pan. Bake until center is set. Test with a wooden pick (if pick comes out clean, the cake is done; if it comes out slightly wet, bake the cake for a few more minutes). Allow cake to cool in pan before turning out onto a cake platter.
In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate chips and cream; stir over low heat for 3 minutes until mixture is warmed through and chocolate is thick and shiny. Cool slightly and then pour over cake. With a silicone brush, spread the ganache evenly over cake; sprinkle with orange zest strips and cool in refrigerator so that the ganache can harden. Serves 8 to 10.
note: I use a pan of miniature cake molds with twenty flower-shaped designs when doing these for a luncheon or buffet. I have enough batter for about 36 miniature cakes, using the mold twice. Just bake for about 25 minutes for the miniature cakes.