My Crazy Cocina Caliente!!

Just a crazy little latina, stirring up trouble in the cocina!

Wilton Cake #3 August 27, 2009

Filed under: Baking,cake,Wilton — Vanessita! @ 9:30 am
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Tuesday was a happy but kind of sad day- it was the last class of my first Wilton course.  I totally intend on signing up for the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th courses but I know not all the girls will return and I really had a great time getting to know everyone.  I really learned a lot and in the course of 4 weeks I’ve learned how to make crazy looking clowns, pipe a rainbow, make drop flowers, pretty polka dots, and I’ve mastered the Wilton Rose.  Ok- so maybe I haven’t mastered it yet BUT I did learn how to make it and I cranked out more flowers than anyone else in my class!  So give me some credit, please. haha. 🙂


Here’s the cake I made during our last class.  I made 6 purple Roses and placed them in the center of the cake (I’m all about being imperfect and who cares that they aren’t perfectly centered, lol!).  I made a few leaves and then a few sweet peas across the bottom shell border (which I still haven’t perfected!).


Overall I love the way this cake looks.  And my frosting skills have also improved!!! I didn’t have nearly as many “blobs” on this cake, it was pretty smooth looking!


The cake itself is a red velvet cake filled and covered in cream cheese frosting.  After asking the wonderful girls on the WC board for some help finding the best red velvet recipe, I was forwarded to Bridget’s blog where she did a fabulous red velvet recipe comparison.Roses2

My co-workers probably agreed with Bridget’s findings because they all told me how wonderful this cake tasted.  Mine came out SUPER moist and wasn’t too dense.  It’s definitely a front runner for the best red velvet I’ve ever had.  It didn’t taste as good as it could have since I had to cover it with a layer of Wilton icing (aka NOT yummy!!!)…but I’m sure fully covered in cream cheese this cake would be phenomenal.  Below is the recipe:

Red Velvet Cake
Taken from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, Originally found on Apple A Day.

Makes 1 8-inch 3-layer cake

For the cake:
2½ cups cake flour
1½ cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1½ cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons (1 oz.) red food coloring  I used gel food coloring and only used about half an ounce.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar

For the frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 ounces butter, softened
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1½ cups chopped pecans (optional)

1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa, and salt into a medium bowl.

3. Beat eggs, oil, buttermilk, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until well combined. Add dry ingredients and beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

4. Divide batter evenly between 3 greased and floured 8″ round cake pans.

5. Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Let cakes cool 5 minutes, then invert each onto a plate, then invert again onto a cooling rack. Let cakes cool completely. I baked this cake in my 8″ round, 3″ deep pan- I put all the batter into this one pan and baked for about 75 minutes on 325 degrees.

6. For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Add sugar and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes.

4. Put 1 cake layer on a cake plate, level off with a serrated knife, and spread one-quarter of the frosting on top. Set another layer on top, level, and repeat frosting. Set remaining layer on top, level, and frost top and sides with the remaining frosting. Press pecans into the sides of the cake, if desired. **Tip: after leveling cake, turn it upside down to reduce numbers of crumbs. I also did a crumb coat on the outside, let it set for ten minutes, then finished with remaining frosting. I did the same.

5. Chill for 2 hours to set frosting.

So there you have it- a deliciously yummy red velvet cake!!! Thanks Bridget!


Wilton Cake #2 August 26, 2009

Filed under: Baking,cake,Wilton — Vanessita! @ 11:41 am
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This post is a bit delayed seeing how I baked this cake up last week, but I had to share it with you guys!

I’m not too proud of the actual decorations on the cake- my frosting wasn’t the right consistency so my flowers didn’t look very pretty.  But I am proud of the cake inside- it was YUMMY!!!


During our third class we learned how to make drop flowers using a closed star tip.  The flowers (if made with the right frosting) can be VERY pretty and are super simple to make.  Using our small #3 round tip, we made the little dots in the center of the flowers and I made some extra dots around the cake as well.

The cake inside is a Hershey’s cake I sort of made up on my own.  I had looked around and found a bunch of recipes but they involved baking with a lot of caramel and I didn’t want my cake to fall apart when I took it out of the pan.
I also half-cheated by using a cake mix- but hey, it worked and tasted delicious!!! Don’t hate! 🙂

Snickers Cake
Cocina Caliente Semirginal 😉

1 Box of German Chocolate Cake Mix
1 Pack of Fun Sized Snickers Candies
1 Bag of Caramel Candies
4 tbsp of flour
1 Batch of Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting

Prep your oven per box instructions.

Chop up the Snickers (I used about 8 Fun sized bars, feel free to use more) and set aside.
Chop up the Caramels (I cut these pretty finely, I didn’t want HUGE globs inside the cake.  I also used about 12 caramels) and set aside.

Prep the Chocolate Cake Mix per the box instructions.

When you are done making the batter, dump your chopped candies into the flour.  Make sure to mix it up really well so that each candy is fully coated in flour.  This will help the candies stick to the inside of the batter versus dropping to the bottom of the mix (top of the cake).

Once the candies are covered in flour, lightly mix them into the cake- making sure they’ve been evenly distributed.

Make sure your pans are very well greased!!!

Bake as per the box instructions.

AND VIOLA!  Easy Peasy Snickers Cake.

I filled the layers with the Hershey’s Chocolate Icing but topped it with the standard (overly sweet) Wilton icing recipe.  The chocolate on chocolate though was SOOOO good.  My co-workers loved it when I brought it in the next day for my managers birthday.


Oh- and I thought I’d share the EXTREMELY creepy Wilton Clowns that we also learned to make during this weeks class.  I don’t think I’ll EVER be making these things again- they’re just so creepy looking!!! ACK!

ClownsScary, huh?


Sunflowers for Sophia

Filed under: Baking,Cupcakes — Vanessita! @ 11:24 am
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I’ve been looking forward to our trip to Tampa for MONTHS now!!! Hubs and I got tickets to see his favorite band: Incubus.  The concert was going to take place in Tampa-which was also the place where our friends Sophia & Jeff moved to last year.  We hadn’t seen them since our wedding last October so I was excited to be heading to their neck of the woods.  We decided to meet up for an early dinner before the concert.  Unfortunately Jeff had to work but I had a BLAST chatting it up with Sophia and catching up- it had seriously felt like FOREVER since we had last had such a fun and long conversation.

I knew I wanted to bake her something and when she told me her favorite cake flavor was chocolate I immediately knew which recipe I was wanted to make.  After thinking about it for a little bit I decided I also wanted to decorate the cupcakes like sunflowers, as I had seen in other blogs recently.


I used the Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake & Frosting recipe.  I’ve heard so many wonderful things about these recipe from the girls on the cooking blog I frequent.  I actually halved the original recipes since I didn’t need 30 cupcakes, but I’ve posted the original recipes below:

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.  I baked this in a regular cupcake pan and got about 15 cupcakes.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING.


1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

I then used a store bought vanilla frosting which I tinted yellow and added some meringue powder to, to get a thick/stiff consistency.  Using the round #20 tip I piped on the chocolate frosting in small “dots” in the center of each cupcake.
Then I used a star tip (I believe it was #21??) to pipe the flower petals on.  The entire process was SUPER easy and didn’t even take much time.

Afterwards I used a toothpick to draw the spots on red M&Ms to resemble little ladybugs.  I really think they came out super cute.

Special thanks to JoJoEspana from the WC board for her helpful tips on making these cupcakes.


Crockpot Pork Roast! August 13, 2009

Filed under: dinner,Pork — Vanessita! @ 7:28 pm
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Crockpot Pork Roast has been calling my name for MONTHS!!! I’ve been meaning to buy a roast at the store and never really got around to it.

Recently on my trip to the grocery store I decided I had to grab a roast even if I wasn’t going to make it that same week.  The following week I let the roast defrost and made it for dinner.  S-O G-O-O-D!!!

I basically just took ideas from a bunch of recipes I saw, including the back of the Onion Mix box (forgot which brand it was).  I’ve seen VARIOUS variations of how to make crockpot pork roast and hope to try something new next time- but this was SO good and is a very simple, easy recipe.


Pork Roast
(For a smaller sized roast)

1 Packet of Onion Mix
1/2 Cup of Water
Your Favorite Seasoning (I used Adobo, what’s new!)
2 Carrots, cut into slices (You can use more if you’d like, we’re just not big carrot people)
3 Large Potatoes, cut into medium cubes (Again, use more or less according to your tastes)
1 Large Scallion, cut into small pieces

Mix the packet of onion mix with the 1/2 cup of water
In the bottom of the crockpot place the cut veggies and potatoes
Cut the pork roast in half, season, and lay on top of the veggies/potatoes
Pour over the onion/water mix over the veggies
Cover the crockpot and set on low for 8 hours…

Next? Come home to a SCRUMPCIOUS smelling house and a DELCIOUS, soft, tender, and juicy dinner.



First Wilton Cake! August 11, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Wilton — Vanessita! @ 10:24 pm
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I’ve been wanting to take the Wilton Cake Decorating courses FOREVER now and had never gotten around to it.  Finally last month I decided I was going to sign up even if it meant going alone.  My classes began last Tuesday but this week was the first time we actually got to decorate.

We had to make the “assigned” designed on our own cake (any flavor any filling we wanted).  We had to cover it in blue Wilton buttercream (aka lard & sugar! lol) and in class we made our rainbow design.


Please ignore the horrible frosting & the 2nd grader hand writing- it’s my first real time decorating ok!? 🙂

The cake I originally made was an Puerto Rican Amaretto Cake, but sadly it didn’t work out.  I had to use a deeper pan than I’m used to and the center of the cake didn’t bake right.  I did bake a small portion into some cupcake cups so I can tell you it tasted amazing, but sadly the large cake just didn’t work. 😦

It was super late Monday night and I since my class was on Tuesday I had to bake something QUICK! I dug into the pantry and grabbed a Yellow Cake box mix, mixed it in with Amaretto and vanilla flavors, then filled it with bananas, blueberries, and amaretto cream cheese frosting.  YUM! 🙂  Overall it was quick and easy- just what I needed at 11pm Monday night! haha.

Overall the class was a lot of fun.  They cram so much into the 2 hour class so we were constantly busy but I really learned a lot and can’t wait to use these techniques again.

If you’re thinking of taking these classes- GO FOR IT! SIGN UP! 🙂  Next week we’ve been assigned to make a flower cake- I can’t wait!!!


Pollo Guisado…Old School Favorite

Filed under: chicken,dinner — Vanessita! @ 10:11 pm
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Growing up my mom used to make Pollo Guisado all the time- it’s a dish I will FOREVER love.


My friends and I decided to have a small dinner party last week and our theme was “latin night”.  Since the majority of us come from a hispanic background we each made a traditional Spanish dish.
We had everything from Picadillo, to plaintains, tres leche cake, black beans, white rice, flan, and some awesome taco-dip.  Because my friend was going to make a beef dish I decided I should make chicken and immediately knew I wanted to make pollo guisado.

When made right the chicken will fall right off the bone and be extremely moist and juicy.  DELISH!!!

Saturday morning I joined my friend Jenn to the Winter Park farmers market and got some great veggies that I used in this meal.

Pollo Guisado
Cocina Caliente Original Recipe (With Help From My Mom!! 🙂 )

Feeds: 10-12

1 large (family sized) pack of chicken thighs, bone-in  (drumsticks can also be used)
Half a can of broth (I used beef) (Water can also be used)
1 medium green pepper (cut into small pieces)
1 medium red pepper (cut into small pieces)
1 medium carrot (sliced into small pieces)
1 large potato (cut into small cubes)
Half of a medium white onion (diced)
1 tsp. of garlic
Adobo (for seasoning chicken)
2 bullion cubes (I used the powdered kind)
2 packets of Sazon
3 tablespoons of Sofrito
1 1/2 cans of tomato sauce
Salt to Taste

First season your chicken with the adobo.
Because I was making so much chicken and I wanted to make sure it all cooked through evenly, I set a large deep skillet over medium low heat I seared the chicken pieces in the sofrito, sazon, bullion cube, and tomato sauce mix (only use half the sauce at this point).  Let that simmer for a little bit.  Be sure to cover your pan so everything stays really moist.
After about 10 minutes I added all the veggies, the remaining half of tomato sauce and added enough broth to cover about 1/3 of the chicken.
Keep the heat medium low and let the chicken continue to cook in the broth/veggie mix.  Be sure to mix it well so that all the flavors incorporate.

For the large amount of chicken I made, I think it took me about 30 to 40 minutes before it was just right.
You should be able to put a fork through the chicken and the chicken should be cooked all the way through.

You can always add more veggies, take away some veggies, add ingredients of your choice- whatever you like to give it the flavors you want.  Everyone at the dinner party commented on how good the chicken was and it really is SO simple to make.

Buen Provecho!!!