Lemon-Lime Poke Cake

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Did you guys have church potlucks when you were growing up? Or do you have them now? I think you might remember that I grew up in very small town and once a month our church would have potluck lunch. Everyone would bring a dish to pass and we would all gather in the Church Hall after Sunday School invited by the smell of fried chicken and casseroles warming in the oven. As a kid this was the best, because you got to sit with your friends, and could try a little bit of everything and you got go back for seconds (on dessert, too!)

It’s no surprise that the dessert table was my favorite to peruse. All of the cookies, bars, cakes, puddings, and brownies were so beautifully arranged and prepared with loving hands. It was a sight to behold. But my favorite cake was one made by a woman named Nancy. A white cake swirled with ribbons of pink and topping it all off: heaps of Cool Whip. It was always chilled and melted in your mouth and I couldn’t help but get a second slice! At the time I didn’t know it had a technical name (to me it was simply “delicious wonderment”), but later in life I would learn it’s true name: Poke Cake.

I bring this up now because I was recently at a church event and there was ::gasp:: poke cake! The same exact kind: white cake, pink ribbons, Cool Whip. I was so excited! I hadn’t had it in years! And there it was, so pretty and delicious and cold and moist and…now my mouth is watering. I had two pieces. I don’t regret it. I’m not even remotely embarrassed.

After reliving a moment in my childhood, I decided I would recreate this memory in my own home (and for you, my readers). But I wanted to add some pizzazz to it! It’s still the same old Poke Cake (simple and delicious) but with some jazzed up flavors for summer.

I happened to have a lemon cake mix (yes, this a cake mix recipe and don’t try to change it! It won’t be as good!) and some lime jello so I put them to good use. You just need to follow the directions on the box to make the cake. (I did a two layer version – but it works so much better in a 9×13 cake pan.) Once the cake is out of the oven and cooled slightly, you poke it with a fork (hence the “poke” in the title) but not all the way to the bottom, just about half way through. Then you pour the jello mixture over the cake concentrating on the holes you just poked. After every last drop of the jello has been poured onto/into the cake, you have to refrigerate this bad-boy for about three hours (oh the waiting!!!). When it’s all set up you top it with Cool Whip (ya, know the stuff in the tub). But had a better idea…instead of Cool Whip, I wanted to make real whipped cream (nothing quite like it) and spike it with zest and…wait for it…marshmallow fluff (insert applause here). Yep. I totally went there.

Now, I could write for days about how good this cake is (trust me, I could) but that would only make you jealous,so I won’t. I’ll just go on for few sentences. The cake is unbelievably moist and sweet and tart all at the same time. A real otherworldly taste. But the whipped cream topping is what really brought everything together. As I said before, there is just nothing quite like real whipped cream that you’ve whipped up yourself. And when you spike it with complimentary flavors (extracts, zests, liqueur), it makes ANY dessert a glorious, kick-yourself-in-the-face, call-momma-and-tell-her-you-love-her, kinda moment of greatness. Yes. It’s truly that good. I am not exaggerating at all, friends.

The thing to remember about this cake is that it best (yes, its very best) when eaten cold. If you’re going to make it and bring it to a picnic, potluck, family gathering, make it the day before and let it sit overnight in the fridge. It’s incredibly refreshing and so yummy for adults and kids alike. You won’t regret it. But you will regret only making one…so make two. One for the picnic and for you.

And don’t be afraid to mix up the flavors! I can think of so many flavor combinations I’d like to try next: Dreamsicle (white cake with orange jello and marshmallow whipped cream), Italian Cherry-Bomb (yellow cake with cherry jello and almond whipped cream), Tropical Delight (banana cake with pineapple jello and coconut whipped cream, with perhaps some Malibu Rum in the jello and toasted coconut on top?). I mean, come on people! I’m dying!! I need to end this post now and just go try these new flavor combos.

Let me know how your Poke Cake turns out and what flavor adventure you choose! I’m dying to hear the results!

Until next time,
The Blushing Baker 😉

Lemon-Lime Poke Cake

cake, baking, lemon-lime, homemade, delicious, whipped cream, amazing1 box of moist type cake mix (any flavor) – prepared as instructed
1 3 oz box of jello (any flavor)
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
8 oz heavy whipping cream
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp lime zest
2 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 cup of marshmallow fluff (1/2 of a jar)
1 cup of fresh, sliced strawberries (optional, but delicious and pretty!)

Follow instructions for the baking the cake mix that you choose, preparing in the method for a 9×13 pan. Once cake is baked, cool for 10-15 minutes.

While cake is cooling, prepare the jello mixture by dissolving package of jello in 1 cup of boiling water. Once fully dissolved, stir in 1/2 cup of cold water. Set aside briefly – do not refrigerate as the jello must remain in liquid form.

Poke the top of the cake at 1/2 inch intervals with a fork only penetrating about half way through the cake. Pour jello mixture over the top of the cake, concentrating on the poked holes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

In the meantime, Add 8 oz of cold heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar to a chilled bowl. Whip on medium with an electric hand mixer until firm peaks form. Add the zest of the lemon and lime and marshmallow fluff to the whipped cream and fold in until well combined. Chill until cake has set.

Frost fully chilled cake with the whipped cream topping and top with strawberries. Enjoy immediately or chill overnight. Keep leftovers (if there are any) refrigerated.

Where Are All The Baked Goods?

You may have noticed a lack of baking posts on the blog lately. It’s not on purpose, but it’s also kind of on purpose, too. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice that I’ve been trying to get myself into better shape. I’ve been posting my Fitbit results at the end of the day and photos of me after I run. I’ve been following the C25K program and working out at home on my balance ball and with free weights. I’ve also been tracking my food in LoseIt! – a FREE food tracking site where you can log your calories in and out and track your weight loss progress. Did I say it was FREE? If not…it’s FREE!!

This is a journey that I’ve been on my whole life. Nothing new. The same thing that others have been through or are going through right now. I’ve been overweight all my life and have had ups and downs on the scale for as long as I can remember. I did Weight Watchers a few years ago and lost 70 lbs…but then I had a major life change and ended up (in the long run) putting almost all of it back on. But even 70 lbs down, I didn’t see my progress because my tummy wasn’t flat and I didn’t think I was “thin enough”. I still saw myself as “fat” and “ugly” and “flawed”.

You see, I’ve had lots of self-hate talk all my life, too. Hearing the mean and hurtful words that others have said to me (even those close to me) and taking them to heart and then repeating them back to myself over and over and over again. “You’re so fat.” “You’re ugly.” “Look at the fat girl run!” “Suck in your tummy!” “You can’t wear that.” “You’ve got such a pretty face; if you’d only lose some weight…” So for years this has been my self-talk. But it stops now.

eff your beauty standards, self love, beauty, worthy, positive self image  I’ve been following the body-love movement pretty closely over the last 6-12 months. If you’re not familiar, just Google #effyourbeautystandards or go on HelloGiggles.com and read some articles. This stuff is everywhere so I’d be surprised if you didn’t know about it. The movement is basically about people who are tired of an unrealistic image and standard of beauty shoved in their face day after day. This image that says we “have” to look a certain way to be beautiful. Our hair, our skin, our tummies, our thighs, our eyes, our arms, our fingers and toes, need to look “this” way or else we just are not worthy of beauty. Or love. Or both. Wow. Pretty harsh isn’t it? But this movement is taking a stand by saying that beauty is EVERY BODY. Every body is beautiful and worthy. Every. Body. And after years of telling myself that, because I don’t look like the girl in the magazine (who has most likely been airbrushed and Photoshopped) I’m not worthy, I’m done. I’m over telling myself that I need to be something else, someone else. I am who I am. Could I be thinner? Sure. Am I beautiful regardless of that fact? YES.

Fitbit, working out, exercise, healthy lifestyle, running, love yourselfThe fact is, I need to lose weight. But I’m not doing it for the “standard” of beauty anymore. I’m running because I enjoy the thrill of the finish line! I’m doing 200 crunches on my balance ball at night because I love how strong it makes me feel! And I’m not doing it to be “thin”, but so that I can be a healthier me. I will likely never be the “thin” or “skinny” girl. And for the first time in my life I can honestly say, that’s OK. Because I am beautiful – jiggly tummy and all. My husband thinks I’m beautiful and tells me everyday. I strive every day to try and see myself they way he sees me; look at myself the way he looks at me. While I still have times of doubt and times when my self-talk is less than positive, I am making an effort to speak love to myself like I would my husband, my best friend, my nephew. I would never say to any of them, “You’re fat.” You’re ugly.” “You’re gross.” – so why on earth should I be saying that to myself? I am worthy of self-love regardless of what the scale says. So to the world I say, Eff Your Beauty Standards! We are ALL beautiful!!

Well…let me step down and put my soap box away. Okay. Now that that is done…

I will still post baked goods on the blog, but not as many as before. I’ll focus on makeup and skincare for awhile with some baking sprinkled in. I’m still The Blushing Baker and I still love to bake, but I will be baking in moderation, because a life void of cake doesn’t sound like much fun to me. 🙂

PS: I will be posting a cake recipe at the end of the week.
PPS: It was delicious and I regret nothing.

Until next time,
The Blushing Baker 🙂

GIVEAWAY: Win An Urban Decay NAKED Palette Of Your Choice!

Check out Confetti & Curves! An amazing beauty blogger!!

URBAN DECAY Giveaway

Hey Beauty Buddies…

It’s GIVEAWAY time here on Confetti & Curves as something exceptionally exciting happened this weekend – the wonderful web whizz’s at WordPress confirmed 1000 of you fab folk have jumped on the Confetti & Curves bandwagon… or in other words, hit the ‘Follow’ button to keep up with my ramblings. Oh yes, Champagne corks are poppin’ *yippppeee*

1000

So as a HUUUUUGE thank you for all your support I thought it was high time we celebrated with an extra special little competition as one of you could win an Urban Decay NAKED Palette of your choice!

*This giveaway is open Internationally – yes, anyone can enter*

    naked palettes

Am I hearing squeals of excitement?! *listens intensely* Okay, so let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: how the heck to enter….

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The Rules:

1) If you haven’t done so already then get following Confetti & Curves via WordPress or you can:

*Click Here* to follow…

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The $5 Bin Podcast: Disaster Disaster Movies

podcast, movies, side projects, bad movies, movie reviews

Hey everyone! A new episode of The $5 Bin Podcast is up and ready for your listening pleasure! The entire month of June is being devoted to Disaster Disaster Movies (disaster movies that were a disaster at the box office.) We are kicking off this theme month with an in-depth look at 2014’s “Left Behind” starring Nick Cage and Chad Michael Murray. Well, in-depth is a pretty lose phrase for our group 🙂

Head on over to iTunes and subscribe to The $5 Bin Podcast so you never miss an episode. And if you like what you’re hearing (and I know you will!) give us a rating and/or review. We would really appreciate it and will even mention you “on air”!

Have a happy Wednesday everyone!

Until next time,
The Blushing Baker 😉

Nails of the Day: Dry-Brushed Neons

Nails, mani, manicure, dry brushing, neons, summer

Oh goodness. It’s been a month since my last post!! How shameful of me. We’ll never fear, I’ve got some #NOTD for you…Dry-Brushed Neon nailsies!!

I used Orly’s Pool Part as my base neon color. This orangey hue is so much fun. I keep coming back to it every summer! Then to give the manicure a pop of texture I just dry brushed on El Porto by Cult Cosmetics. I also use American Classic Nail Treatments for base coats – Growth Spurt and Gelish is my favorite combo. The top coat I use is Seche Vite Fast Dry Top Coat.

You should definitely give this method a try. It’s so easy!! And I’ve gotten so many compliments on this mani already!

Until next time…

The Blushing Baker 😉

The $5 Movie Bin Podcast: She’s All That

podcast, movies, side projects, bad movies, movie reviews

Hey friends! A new episode of The $5 Movie Bin podcast is up and ready for your listening pleasure! This week we talk about the 90s teen movie classic She’s All That starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachel Leigh Cook. It’s a walk down memory lane, people. Check it out on iTunes and give us an excellent rating because you know you’ll love it 🙂

Until Next Time…

The Blushing Baker 😉

Mixed Berry Lemon Muffins

muffins, mixed berry, delicious

If I say blueberry muffins what is the first thing you think of? Is it the fluffy texture? The crispy edges of the muffin top? For me…it’s the aroma. While they’re baking. While they are cooling. As I pull them apart while they’e still warm and the sweet, fruity steam hits my nose and my mouth starts to water. Yes, for me it’s the aroma. I try not to make muffins too often because when I do, they don’t last long around the house. But I really wanted to try out a new muffin recipe, so I caved. I made muffins.

I read a recipe online recently for a sour cream based muffin and I was intrigued. I simply adore sour cream pound cakes (see my previous post Orange Pound Cake 2 Ways) and if that one ingredient can make pound cake moist, tender, and scrumptious I was willing to give it a try in muffin batter.

As I began the base, I realized I didn’t have any frozen blueberries!!! Aarrrghh! But I did have frozen mixed berries – blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. (I like using frozen berries in muffins or pound cake because the fruit stays in tact while baking and the cake will end up more moist in the end.) I also had some Meyer lemons on hand. So I threw the zest and juice in as well.

The biggest problem I’ve had in the past is that the batter gets overworked and the muffins end up tough. No one like a tough muffin. A tough cookie, maybe. But not a tough muffin. So here’s your tip of the day – DO NOT OVER WORK YOUR MUFFIN BATTER. You will be tempted to work the wet and dry ingredients until they are fully incorporated, but DON’T!! This will over work the gluten in the flour and that is what causes your muffins to be tough and dry. Mix the wet into the dry until it is barely mixed together and fill your muffin tins with the batter. Just move on my OCD friends. Move on. You will thank me for it.

muffins, yummy, home baked, baked goodsThese muffins are tart and sweet and fragrant and will make your mouth water while they bake and fill your home with a fresh baked aroma. I am glad that I tried this recipe and I will gladly use this muffin base again in the future. Sour cream is certainly making it’s way into my baking life in a big way!

Until the next time…
The Blushing Baker 😉

Mixed Berry Lemon Muffins

homemade, baking, muffins, pastries
(recipe adapted from http://www.food.com/recipe/muffins-base-142502)

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, room temp
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1⁄2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Zest and juice of 1 Meyer Lemon
1 1/4 cups mixed berries (I used a mix of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare muffin tins with non-stick spray, butter, or muffin tin liners, set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, into bowl and whisk together until well blended. Add berries and lemon zest and toss to coat; set aside.

In separate bowl whisk eggs until very creamy and add the sugars in several additions whisking until thick. Add melted butter and whisk into eggs and sugar. Add sour cream and lemon juice and whisk vigorously until well combined.

Gently fold the flour and berry mixture into the wet ingredients until just incorporated. You will see some small spots of flour, but do not over mix batter.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes on the middle oven rack until light golden brown and toothpick test comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in muffin tin and then remove to cool on wire rack.

Makes 12 regular sized muffins.

Dots!

Nails, nail art, doticure, mani

It’s #manimonday and once again I’m bringing the dots!! This week it’s a play on neutrals and brights with Essie polishes in Neo Whimsical and Stones N’ Roses. All you need for this look is a dotting tool or a toothpick and some polishes.

I’m also trying out some great new products from American Classics nail treatments: Growth Spurt and Nail Quench. I always use Gelous base coat and wanted to try their other products. I’ll keep you posted on the treatments… 🙂

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Enjoy your evening everyone!!

Until next time…

The Blushing Baker 🙂

Mani Monday: Peaches and Cream

Cult cosmetics, nails, Polished , manicure,

Check out my fresh #manimonday!! I’m calling this one Peaches and Cream (Yum!) I love these Cult Cosmetics polishes. They are so glorious! I created this look using Avalon (creamy-peachy-orange) and El Porto (white). All you need to recreate this is a dotting tool and some polish. It’s so simple to create a doticure.

(Please pardon my cuticles! The weather here in the Chicago area has been so unpredictable and my poor cuticle are falling apart. I’m trying a new cream…details to come, so stay tuned!)

If you haven’t yet, go check out Cult Cosmetics polishes. They are so amazing! And no, they don’t pay me to say that.

Happy Mani Monday, friends!!

Until next time…

The Blushing Baker 😉

The Double Cleanse


I am just going to admit it. I’m just going to come clean right here, right now. I am a skincare junkie. I cannot walk past a Sephora without going and buying something. I have a hard time staying with the same products because I am yearning (yes, I yearn) to try the newest/latest/greatest. I think it started after my first trip to the Macy’s (then Marshall Field’s) cosmetics department after I started my first full-time job after college. I stood there in wonder at all the potions and lotions, cleansers and creams. Oh, the sheer wonder and beauty of it all! This girl could not contain herself (and almost didn’t make rent). Ever since that moment I crave to try out new products with the latest ingredients.

But recently I’ve noticed that my just isn’t looking as great as it could. I have combination/oily skin with a (serious) tendency for breakouts and the breakouts? They were becoming a recent addition to my face. I was thinking about what I was doing wrong or different and I had a light bulb moment. I needed to go back to basics (must like The Barefoot Contessa did on her show).

I went back to esthetics school (in my mind) and reviewed the steps of a basic facial. And the first step was a double cleanse. Why was I skipping that step in my nightly routine?! In school we used Dermalogica and they have a lovely product called Precleanse. It was basically an oil that emulsified the oils and dirt on the face and prepared skin for a proper cleansing. Duh! Why wasn’t I doing this at home every night?! However, I didn’t want to go out and purchase Precleanse (You can! It’s a great product, but I don’t have the dough, man!) So instead, I decided to use Makeup Removing Wipes by Neutrogena. They are perfect for a precleanse, because the rid your skin of the first layer of ick (makeup and dirt) and allow your cleanser to really get to work on your skin.

I can tell you that adding this step has made a huge difference in the clarity of my skin. It may seem simple, but it works. It is worth the extra minute or two to really get my skin clean. You can usually get two packs of the Neutrogena Makeup Removing Wipes at Target for around $10.00 and they will last for about month and half. If you wanted to go with the Dermalogica Precleanse you can find it online or at Ulta at it will put you back about $40.00. Either way you go they are made for all skin types and will greatly increase the effectiveness of your cleanser.

Happy cleansing!!

Until next time..
The Blushing Baker 😉