One year ago today, I had a baby. Not a boy baby, or a girl baby, but a word baby. A bouncing baby blog that I named Texana’s Kitchen. I’m sure she will change it the day she turns 16.
Like most babies, she was the result of what happens when two loves come together. Or when someone has a Tequila induced lapse in judgement. For me, maybe it was a little of each. My ability to tell a boring story in a way that makes you think it is actually funny, and my passion for cooking came together one night after a margarita. Or four. Alcohol should never be mixed with technology, social networking, or decision-making of any kind. Neither should it be mixed with Ambien, as it turns out.
Anyway, at some point I thought it would be a good idea to commit myself to yet more responsibility. Give myself one more significant task on my weekly to-do list. Stretch myself even thinner than I was already stretched. So I web-surfed my way on over to Word Press, and my baby was born. Thank goodness having real babies requires a bit more thought and effort. Usually.
Luckily there was no sober realization the next morning that I had gotten in over my head. And in the year since, like it was with my actual human babies, I have grown to love this one more and more every day. A little piece of me that will live on in perpetuity.
And by the way, I am happy to report that I kicked my Ambien habit cold turkey, so my little word baby is growing up free of chemical substances.
A public service message: Listen to me, boys and girls…Don’t take Ambien. Ever. That is all.
To celebrate the birth of my progeny, I’ve made my favorite birthday cake—a fabulous combination of moist yellow cake, cream-cheesy custard, and fresh fruit…all topped with whipped cream. And for those of you intimidated by all of the scratch baking I do, have no fear. This is actually one of the very few things I make that starts from a box. Go figure.
And considering it has all this great fresh fruit, it is practically health food, right? Just go with it.
Hawaiian Delight Cake
- 1 18 oz box moist yellow cake mix (plus ingredients needed to make)
- 1 box Jiffy yellow cake mix (plus ingredients needed to make)
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 4 oz box instant vanilla pudding
- 1 c ups whole milk
- 1 8 oz block cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 can crushed pineapple, well-drained
- 2 bananas
- Juice of one lemon
- 1 pound sliced strawberries
- 1 large tub of cool whip (I use stabilized whipped cream, below)
- Optional toppings: shredded coconut, chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350* (325* if using a dark pan)
Spray a 13×9 pan with baking spray. In a large bowl, combine both cake mixes with the ingredients required to make them, plus the sour cream. Mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour into pan, and bake for 5 minutes longer than directed on the large cake mix box, for your altitude, etc…
Allow to cool for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto serving platter. Allow to cool completely.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Scrape down bowl. Add pudding mix and milk. Beat until smooth. Beat in coconut extract. When mixture has thickened, spread on top of cake. Scatter drained pineapple over top of custard.
Peel bananas and slice into thin slices. Toss with lemon juice. Arrange bananas over top of pineapple in an even layer. Top with an even layer of sliced strawberries. Frost on all sides with cool whip or stabilized whipped cream. Top with coconut and/or pecans if using. I don’t use them–it’s a texture thing.
Refrigerate a few hours, or overnight if possible.
Try to share!
Stabilized Whipped Cream
Whipped cream is far superior to artificial whipped toppings, but will quickly break down and become a runny mess if not stabilized. If you wish to use real whipped cream for dishes that need to last a while, this is a simple way to have real whipped cream with the same stability of the artificial junk.
- 2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 8 teaspoons cold water
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla, or other extract, if desired
In a small pan, stir together gelatin and water. Let stand for a few minutes until thick (about 5). Place over low heat, stirring constantly, just until the gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat; cool briefly, not allowing it to set. In a stand mixer or mixing bowl, beat whipping cream and sugar together until thick. Turn the speed to low, and slowly drizzle in the gelatin, beating until all is combined. Add extract if using.