Beware the Fools of April!

No, seriously guys, it’s April 1st so DON’T BELIEVE THINGS. I actually spent several months last year thinking someone I knew was pregnant because even though I KNEW it was April Fool’s Day her Facebook post was really convincing. It took me MONTHS to realize she had been kidding. I freaking HATE April Fool’s Day because I feel like I am always the person who doesn’t get the joke and ends up looking like an idiot and I hate looking like an idiot more than I hate anything else.

Well, almost anything else. I think I hate the fact that it still feels like February even though it’s April even more. I am so ready for spring – or even just NOT SNOW – that I’m refusing to dress like it’s cold even though my poor toes are freezing in flip flops and I’m shivering in capri-length leggings. I will MAKE it be spring.

But I don’t want to risk getting sick just in time for the sunshine so I spent the last few nights knitting myself a spring neck warmer…

I lightened this picture approximately 200% because there is NO natural light in my house right now

Flower Scarf pattern by Robyn Diliberto (available for download on Ravelry or here as a pdf) The yellow is just what I needed. I want to knit a giant blanket out of that yarn and hide under it until this stupid day has passed.

The next three days are going to be crazy busy with errands and baking and patching holes in walls and cleaning and…and…and…I should really make a list, or it’s going to be two hours before Little Evan’s party when I realize I didn’t make a cake.

Speaking of the cake, does anyone have a really great recipe for a yellow cake? I mean, if I wasn’t crazy I’d probably just get a good old Better Crocker cake mix in a box, but I’m just insane enough to make one from scratch if I can find a recipe that someone SWEARS is delicious. Oh and I need a frosting recipe. And maybe a suggestion for some sort of filling between the layers. Have I mentioned I’ve never tried to make a real cake before?

Excuse me while I go weep into my KitchenAid.

Happy Friday and Happy April and DON’T GET FOOLED.

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17 Responses to “Beware the Fools of April!”

  1. Swistle says:

    I, too, hate feeling foolish more than almost anything else. And then it makes me hate the people who on purpose make me feel that way, so NOBODY WINS.

    I LOVE your neckwarmer! So cheery!

    My favorite frosting recipe is one stick (4 ounces) softened butter, one box (16 ounces) powdered sugar, one teaspoon vanilla extract, and add milk a tablespoon at a time until it’s a nice spreadable consistency (I think I usually end up adding about 4 tablespoons of milk).

  2. Audrey says:

    Oh my god make buttercream! All you need is confectioner’s sugar, softened unsalted butter, a bit of salt, a bit of milk and some vanilla extract. And your mixer. It’s quick and easy and DELICIOUS. Here’s a good link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9qtZwHHmx4

    Also, where they say to sift the sugar – you can just run it through a food processor or in your mixer and it should be fine.

    • FourInchHeels says:

      Ditto to buttercream! Delicious, and simple. And about the sifting part … my laziness is epic, and I haven’t yet had a real issue with not sifting. Anything. Ever.

      • Audrey says:

        I only have issues with not sifting when I use dyes on the buttercream. Not sifting seems to make the color not take smoothly for some reason. For me anyway. So we go white most of the time because lazy is awesome.

  3. Swistle says:

    And I have HEARD that good-quality jam makes a very nice cake filling, but I’ve never tried it.

  4. Natalie says:

    I have made this yellow cake recipe, and I swear, it is delicious. It’s time consuming and OHMYGOD you need 8 egg yolks, but…swears. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Davids-Yellow-Cake/Detail.aspx

    You can do buttercream between layers, or try an easy chocolate ganache (it’s chocolate chips and cream melted together. so easy). Or you could just use nutella if no one has a nut allergy. Or whipped cream w/ fruit mixed in…or…great. Now I want cake.

    Have you seen the pictures from Olivia’s 3rd birthday when I attempted a fun layer cake?? Cuz that was a wonky, tilted cake, but everyone thought it was the BEST CAKE EVER, b/c “How do you have time to do all of this?” So no one is gonna care, they are going to crown you Birthday Party Rock Star. Plus? You ARE going to make the BEST.CAKE.EVER. B/C you will. I just know it.

  5. I have a fabulous icing recipe from scratch. It’s an heirloom family recipe, and although it is very wholesome in calories, they are well worth it. :) Let me know if you would like it.

  6. Kitty Conner says:

    I feel I should preface this with “This is not an April Fool’s joke. This is actual advice.” Though what I’m about to say is certainly controversial.

    Make the cake from a box. Seriously. Not joking.

    I know of what I speak: I bake. A lot. And I bake a lot of cakes. A LOT of them. I’ve experimented and used a TON of different recipes, from different sources (Websites, the ‘classic’ cookbooks, really, really old cookbooks, recipes handed down by relatives, you name it, I’ve probably tried it.) I weigh my ingredients, in freakin’ grams. I have really good pans and a great oven. I’ve tweaked the recipes, combined them, updated them. Used cake vs AP flour. Various fat/sugar ratios. Different kinds of fat and sugar. And after it all, I do have some really good, go-to recipes.

    In the end, though, I’ve come to the realization that the box is best. The only time the box loses out is when a flavor doesn’t usually come in box form (Things like red velvet, coconut cake, this funny lime cake my mom loves and that chocolate sheet cake made with mayo.)

    From scratch cake is finicky and hardly ever foolproof. The science-y goodness of boxed cake mix ensures that you’re going to get a moist, appropriately risen cake, every time.

    When I eat other people’s cake, they’re always so impressed when I notice that it’s from scratch. You know how I know? It’s usually a bit dry. Or a bit crumbly. Or a little tough. Or whatever. For your average home-baker, the most delicious cake they will ever bake will be from a box.

    Do not be ashamed of the box mix. Cake is hard. A layer cake is harder. Especially if you’re not exactly practiced. (Not that you can’t do it. You’re the crafty queen, I know you absolutely could.)

    Direct your efforts to some really good homemade frosting and making your cake look fantastic. It will be less stressful, your cake will be beautiful and it will taste delicious.

    /end of un-asked for advice.

    (BTW: If you’re looking for a white frosting, I highly recommend the roux-based one. It’s fluffy, creamy, frosts beautifully and isn’t teeth-achingly sweet.)

    • Brigid Keely says:

      I worked at a family bakery that had been in business for 3 generations in the USA, with skills brought from the family bakery Over There.

      Their cakes were made with a mix.

      The eggs and butter and that were totally fresh, but we had GIANT FUCKING BAGS OF CAKE MIX (like: fifty pound bags). Most bakeries do this. It helps ensure a more consistent product.

      That being said, I make most of my own cakes from scratch, unless there’s a 10 for $10 box mix sale going on. And I don’t weigh stuff usually– I’m fairly lazy, and am also used to working with recipes that calls for “a palmful of BLAH” or “a teacup full of X” or instructions that consist entirely of “mix as usual.” In other words: I am not a scientific baker, and don’t come from scientific baking stock.

      I have noticeably better results 90% of the time with home made cakes, and the 10% of the time that I don’t, it’s usually because I fucked something up.

    • cakeburnette says:

      See my recipe below. I cannot cook worth a nickel, and I can make this cake. It is super-easy and, dare-I-say-it: FOOLPROOF. The recipe has been handed down in my family for at least 100 years. I can’t make ANYTHING from scratch but this recipe and can make something like 8 dozen cupcakes using this recipe in like 40 minutes.

      DISCLAIMER: screen name is hubby’s college nickname & our last name and has NOTHING to do with my cake-baking ability.

  7. I almost want to mark all as read in my reader because today is going to be an unfunny waste of time. And I third of fourth the buttercream idea. It is easy and delicious. And can be made lemony, which is my favorite. And get an offset spatula, it makes frosting a cake WAY easier.

  8. Brigid Keely says:

    Everything I’ve made from this site has been excellent, although I haven’t made THIS cake yet: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/07/best-birthday-cake/

    It has a super awesome looking frosting recipe as well.

    If you are a fan of cakes, check out Rose Levy Barenbaum’s “Cake Bible.” It is really excellent and in addition to having FANTASTIC recipes and good, clear directions, is also a great tool for learning the whys and hows of baking. She explains what you need to know to make cakes.

    Or just use a box mix. Most people can’t tell the difference and as I noted up thread, most bakeries use mixes for a more consistent product.

  9. TMae says:

    I’m, personally, a fan of cream cheese frosting. YUMMY. But I don’t know how to make it and will eat anything that people put in front of me, so whatever you choose will be WONDERFUL.

    And definitely an offset spatula like Amy said. SO.MUCH.BETTER.

  10. Denae says:

    Your neck warmer is too cute! As far as cake recipe goes I got this under recommendation from … someone? http://www.marigoldroad.com/2011/03/vanilla-butter-cake.html I prefer cream cheese icing and its normally super easy to make (compared to buttercream). My fav bday cake box cake is the Funfetti (it even has dots, dots = round <- on theme!)

  11. cakeburnette says:

    This is going to look like an April Fool’s joke, but I promise it is not. This is the EASIEST homemade, from-scratch cake recipe ever (or I would not be able to make it) and it is YUMMY:

    1 cup butter
    2 cups sugar
    3 cups flour
    4 eggs
    2/3 cup of milk (whatever kind you happen to have; I have 1% usually, so that’s what I use)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Melt or soften butter (use the real stuff; it doesn’t matter if you melt it completely or just soften it) and add sugar and mix well. Add flour, eggs, milk & vanilla and mix well (don’t be alarmed because the batter is VERY thick). Bake cake layers (I think this makes 3-4 cake layers depending on how large the pans are) 25-30 minutes on 350F or until cake tester comes out clean. Cupcakes (makes like 48) bake for 15-20 minutes.

  12. Christine says:

    “I will make it be spring” .. I think I now love you. In a non-creepy way obviously.

  13. Sarah-Anne says:

    i featured this post on my blog. because it’s THAT awesome…like you!

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