Not being able to be in the kitchen is one of my biggest complaints of being on bed rest. I understand that it's extremely important to take care of this little one growing inside me, instead of caring for my culinary desires, but that doesn't remove the urge to bake. For now, I have to depend on my kids to create the yummy treats.
I said the other day that they made a batch of brownies from scratch. The only problem was that it was a small recipe that filled only an 8x8 inch pan. With 6 of us in the house, those didn't last long. (They may or may not have been completely inhaled that very day. Shh, don't tell.) I was ready for the kiddies to bake again.
I know that their kitchen skills are fairly advanced, but I wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to bake something. Instead of pulling out 20 ingredients and covering the counters with a bunch of measuring cups and spoons, I had Leighton grab a boxed cake mix and instant pudding mixes when he went grocery shopping.
Don't worry--their mess was still nearly the same had they made each component of the cake from scratch. Ah, kids, such talent.
They took turns adding the ingredients and mixing the cake.
Since Jake was head chef for the brownies and Alyssa was the sous chef, they swapped roles today. Poor Zac is always "cheffy," a job that allows him to come and go from the kitchen as he pleases. And it always pleases him to at least be present at the end when the residual batter is being licked clean from the utensils.
After the cake baked, they added the holes.
My other wooden spoons have funny-shaped ends, so they used my huge soup spoon. It works perfectly for stirring in my largest stock pot.
It works perfectly for poking holes in cakes, too.
Here is where they ran into problems.
Alyssa poured the pudding on the cake. And on the table.
I thought I gave them my 9x13 pan, but apparently gave them a smaller one. The cake itself nearly filled the pan and left little room for the pudding and chocolate layers.
She spread the pudding as best as she could, but left plenty of it still in the bowl. She and her brothers didn't mind having to finish off all the "extra" pudding though. Or scoping up and eating the spilled pudding off the table either.
Since we had to wait for the pudding to cool and set, we figured we might as well do school. You know, because there was nothing else to do anyway. Afterwards, Jake made the frosting. We could have used a tub of store-bought, but there's just no comparison. If you're going to use a boxed cake mix, fine, but please make your frosting. Or not. It's up to you, but the 5 minutes it takes to make it yourself is well-worth the difference in taste. As Jake says, "Store-bought frosting makes me squeamish."
Just like with regular Boston cream pie, this cake really needs to be left alone for several hours in order for the flavors to blend into something glorious. Sure, it's yummy if eaten right away, but wait those hours and something magical happens. Trust me, it's legit.
While this version using boxed mixes doesn't compare to our favorite recipe made completely from scratch, it does fulfill a craving much quicker.
And sometimes, quicker and easier is the best of all.
And licking pudding off the table. That's good too.
Boston Cream Poke Cake
1 box yellow cake mix (plus ingredients required on box, i.e. eggs, water, oil)
2 (3.4 oz) boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
4 cups milk
chocolate frosting (recipe at bottom or use store-bought)
1. Make cake according to directions on box and bake in an 9x13 inch cake pan.
2. Let cake cool for 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon handle (or other similar-sized object), poke holes across the cake at 1-inch intervals, making sure to poke to the bottom of the pan.
3. Combine the pudding mix with the milk and pour on top of the warm cake, spreading to the edges. Place in fridge to cool completely.
4. Make the chocolate frosting according to the directions below and place in the microwave for 20-30 seconds (may be less for a store-bought tub), or until frosting is pourable, but not hot. Pour on top of pudding and spread evenly to cover cake. Place in the fridge for several hours to overnight to allow the flavors to meld and the pudding to soak into the cake. Store in the refrigerator.
Recipe adapted from The Country Cook.
6 tablespoons butter
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder.
3. On low speed, gradually beat the sugar mixture into the butter, alternating with the milk.
4. Add in vanilla and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.