Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Good Reason For a Party and Yummy Cake Recipes!

This past weekend we hosted a "Thank You Party" for many of the people who helped out the night of my daughter's wedding. It was fun to bring out the table cloths again and spruce them up with some very cool flowers I found at Costco.

For dinner we served Italian--which I loved, and then for dessert I found two recipes in the Better Crocker All-Time Best Recipe magazine. One was this very delicious and decadent chocolate cake. (Recipes will be at the bottom of the post) The other was a banana tres leches, that--amazingly enough--I think I liked even more. It was cool and refreshing, especially when topped with fresh raspberries.
Following dinner we played a couple games. The first was more of a "Get to Know You" activity, since we had 22 people from all over our stake. We had everyone write down one thing they have done that they didn't think anyone else had, and then we guessed who it was. We learned some pretty interesting things. Such as . . .

1. One man was part of a song and dance group that toured Europe. (Seriously, I didn't even know he could sing!)
2. Another man was part of a clown diving act where he would do 1 and 1/2 flips off a high dive and then flop into the water. (And this was fun?:-)
3. We had a woman who won a swimming relay while wearing a cast on her arm and another woman who earned six presidential fitness awards.
4. And everyone was impressed with the ex-marine (didn't know that about him either) who shot an M-60 while strapped to an H-1 that was flying 100 yards above the ground through a canyon. (Of course he had to explain what an M-60 and and H-1 was for some of us).
5. And then there was the man who admitted to belly dancing in Morocco while dressed in a skirt and a bra. (Shameful!:-)

Who knew we were such a diverse group with so many talents?!

The second game was the candy bar game. I heard about this one from my friend Lisa who played it at Doug and Shelly Kings, but when I told my kids about it, they said they played it their entire lives at our neighbor's the Purtymuns. Obviously I was missing out!
I read several different rules but here are a couple to choose from.
Give everyone an empty brown paper bag and place double the amount of candy bars as number of guests in the middle of the room. Using two dice, (you can use more than one set if you have a larger group like we did) everyone takes turns rolling the dice. If they get doubles they can either take a candy bar or trade sacks with another person.

That is the simple version.

Another way to play is to begin with every person having one candy bar in their bag and then have different instructions for each of the double numbers. For instance if you roll double 1's you put a candy bar in the bowl in the middle. If you roll 2's you take a candy bar out, 3's you trade with the person on your right, 4's you trade with the person on your left, 5's you can take a candy bar or trade with anyone, and 6's you take the whole bowl--no matter who might have it.

We actually played with a combination of the two rules, but I think you could make it up however you like.

You need to set a timer for 5, 8 or 10 minutes before you say "go" and then play until the buzzer goes off. Whatever candy bars you end up with is your prize. I set the timer for 12 minutes and it was too long. I think this game is better played for about 7 minutes. If everyone had a good time you can then dump it all in the middle and play again.

But it was a lot of fun and I appreciated all those who came. Thanks for being such great friends and for all your hours of service before, during and after the wedding!

Now for the recipes . . .
Chocolate Lover's Dream Cake
1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist chocolate fudge cake mix.
3/4 cup chocolate milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 box (4 oz) chocolate fudge instant pudding and pie filling mix
1 12 oz bag chocolate chips (either semi-sweet or milk depending on preference)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease bundt cake pan with shortening (or cooking spray) and lightly flour.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together all ingredient except for chocolate chips for 2 minutes. Stir in chips and spoon into pan. Mix will be very thick. Bake for 55-65 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in center. Cool ten minutes and then turn cake upside down onto a serving plate.

Let cool completely--about 2 hours.

Ganache Glaze
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup whipping cream (not whipped)
Place chocolate chips in a small heatproof bowl. In a 1-quart saucepan, heat whipping cream to barely simmering. Pour over chips. Let stand 5 minutes and then stir until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cake.

Drizzle caramel topping over cake and top with toffee bits, chocolate chips and a cut up snicker's bar. We decided we liked the cake better warmed in the microwave for a few seconds (each slice). I also didn't like the chocolate chips on top so left those off. Since it is very chocolaty, ice cream or milk on the side is also a must.

Banana Tres Leches Cake
1 Box Betty Crocker SuperMoist White cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup mashed banana (two medium)

Place all the above ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees in a 9 by 13 inch pan for 33-38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean. Cool completely--about one hour.

Tres Leches
Mix together
1/2 cup coconut milk (not coconut cream)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)
Using a toothpick or long pronged fork, poke holes in cake about every 1/2 inch. Then pour milk evenly over the cake. Refrigerate over night (it can be ready in about 2 hours but the longer it soaks the better).
Frost cake with whipped white frosting before serving and garnish with banana slices, toasted coconut or other fresh fruit. (We loved it with fresh raspberries!)

Store leftovers in refrigerator.


Sue said...

I need to make that Tres Leches cake! Scrumptious.

Looks like a great party!


Dixie Mom said...

What a great idea for a party! Wish I could have some of that cake for breakfast. :)

Dave and Camille said...

Mmmmm... yum! Thanks for posting the recipes - I've been dreaming about that chocolate cake. :) You're parties always sound like so much fun! And now I'm curious about who did what (except the last one, that I know about :)

Kristin said...

You DO plan the funnest gatherings! I am so going to be a copy cat! Yes I am!


Xazmin said...

That chocolate cake recipe is making me drool! I must make it soon!

You are the party queen!