Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pioneer Woman Cooks Sparkle Cake in Raspberry and Peach

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I know you're thinking, "wait, weren't you just here??"
  I was! Thanks for noticing! Now, my last post I mentioned Pioneer Woman Cooks had put up some recipes for Easter/ after Easter and I was determined to make her Sparkle Cake even thought it might end up a "fail". I won't post this picture again because I don't want any comparisons (haha!) but here's the Sparkle Cake Recipe.
(This is her ham. My didn't look like this but it was still soooooo gooooood.) 

 In her recipe she actually makes the angel food cake and although it did look VERY EASY, I was really pressed for time. not that I have such a busy life, but as usual, I'd left my YBC post until the very last day! (WHY DO I DO THAT?) So, Tuesday afternoon at 4PM, I realize that I should take some shortcuts. So, I bought my angel food cake and the rest is just as the recipe reads, except I also decided to change the flavor.
 In the original, she uses strawberry, but I LOVE raspberry and my husband loves mango. Since we were having guests, I thought, "Let's make two!"
(What's better than one Sparkle Cake? Duh, TWO Sparkle Cakes!)
You're going to need an angel food cake, a packet of jello, and some frozen fruit. Also, heavy cream for the topping.
 So, let's start with our angel food cake. *MMMMMMMM*
 Flip it upside down (fat side down) and gently saw off the top about three inches from the bottom.
Yes, I KNOW it's crooked. So sue me.
Now, gently insert the knife about a half inch from the outer edge and cut all the way around, not reaching the bottom. A few pokes won't hurt, but try not to saw all the way through to the foil or you won't have anything for the filling to rest on when you spoon it inside.
Again, gently saw through the cake about a 1/2 inch from the inside edge. Now you have to concentric circles. Start to peel out the inner cake. I was afraid it would all come out in a big blob, leaving me with chunks of cake, but it wasn't too hard. I pulled at it from the bottom, near the lower layer so I could control how much came out.
OK, so our cakes have a neat little trench to be filled!
 Take the fruit from the freezer, so they're at the ready.
 But one cup of boiling water into a bowl.
 This is a fascinating picture, no? I could stare at it all day.)

 Add the package of raspberry (or whatever flavor you desire) jello and stir until dissolved. (In my picture, I have a larger package, so I just used half. If you buy a small package, use the entire thing.)
 And the mango is started...
 As soon as the raspberry Jello is dissolved, stir in the raspberries. This is like adding the cold water. Instantly, the Jello should start to set.
 Same thing with the peaches. Oh, you're wondering why it's not frozen mango? Well, apparently there was a run on frozen mangoes in our grocery store today. It's a conspiracy, I'm sure of it! They must have known I was going to try something with frozen mangoes!
 (Uhhhhh, I swear that is spelled MANGOS but it keeps blinking at me... so I'll put in the 'e'. But I'm fairly certain that's not right. )
  Anyway, I grabbed some frozen peaches. Everybody loves peaches... right?
 Just in case you think I forgot, here's the other angel food cake.
 In about five minutes, the Jello is set!
 Here's the raspberry.
 Spoon the mixture into the middle of the angel food cake.
 Replace the top.

Same with the peach-mango. 
 Now, whipping cream! Whip into stiff peeks.
 I had this idea of tinting it blue and making it sort of Fourth of July-looking, but my kids said it was too early. (But take note, this would be a great cake for the 4th!) Anyway, I tinted it pink.
 Whipped topping covers a multitude of sins, as the picture shows. It was soooo pretty! (The afternoon sun was coming in and making it hard to take the picture, but maybe you can still see...)
 The pink was light and delicate. This is probably the prettiest cake I've ever made.
                                                                     NOM NOM NOM.
 I was fully prepared for the cake to fall apart as it was cut, but it arrived on the plate basically in one piece.
 The inside was very flavorful, since it really only had half the water it needed for the Jello recipe.
 And I was also prepared for the entire cake to collapse after I cut the first slice. Not too bad...
 And here's the peach-mango cake. We tinted it a very light yellow but you probably can't tell.
 I thought of filling the hole with foil and making the center a place to set a fancy fruit design, but our guests were almost here so, I just plopped on the peaches.
Close up! This was definitely my favorite of the two. Really fun flavor and different from chocolate/vanilla/strawberry...
I also wanted to share our first try at Jan's smoothie recipe. It was SO DELICIOUS! And yes, I had to make this much just so everyone could have a small glass. But it was so healthy and good for the family, I'm more than willing to put in the quality time with my old blender.
I had to get a picture of this fine smoothie 'stache. He had no idea what we were laughing at, but he very sweetly waited until I could snap a photo!

  I'll leave you with one more fun picture....

It's my third Austen Takes the South book, already up on Amazon for pre-order! I was checking something else and the title popped up... I thought, "What? I just turned that girl in!" But there she was, sweet and sassy. It's sort of a bare bones place-holder, but it does have the blurb in case anyone wants to take a peek.

 All right, my friends! Have a wonderful week and I wish you the very best Spring weather!


  1. Yum!!! Peach mango sounds so good :) Congratulations on the third fantabulous book in the series!!!

  2. Thank you! Can't wait to see what you think of this one!

  3. computer at work wont' show all the pics..sigh...what I saw made me hungry enough though!

  4. Oh, I am over the top in love with these new covers on your books. They did such an awesome job!!!!! LOVE THEM!!!!!

    So okay, tell me.... I have the original versions on my Kindle. Don't hate me for not knowing, but if I buy them now, am I getting the new version? I'm looking forward to seeing the differences, to cue my brain in to what the editors liked and didn't like.....

    These cakes are a MUST.... Beth and I are drooling, and we must make these. I'm still behind because I promised Tina the Lemon Cooler Cake but I haven't had time to make it when people were around to eat it. MY BAD, TINA!!!!!

    More Austen Takes the South.... I'm totally in!

    1. Hm. CAN you buy them again? They might be considered different editions. But yes, if you can, you can see what changes were made. (Or I can just tell you.) For the first book, it was mostly cosmetic. It had never been professionally edited, so lots of typos. Book two, Beth Adams asked for more of the minor characters, more scenes with family, more big picture. The third book was written just for them so no one has seen it yet. But the editorial process was about the same: more of the minor characters, more scenes of the couple separately, less focus on the romance in every single scene, to let the plot arcs (multiple!) unfold alongside the romance but not always intersecting, if that makes sense. Writing a romance not so tightly focused on those TWO PEOPLE used to be my forte but I'd picked up bad habits somewhere a long the way. It felt so good to strrretch those writing wings and let scenes open and close as they should without the prescribed "romance recap". Also, even though they're much longer books, I had to remember to trust the reader and not rehash. No "if they put it down they might be lost" advice. It was "imagine they're devouring the book in two days". That's all I can think of and I hope that helps!

    2. Well, that makes perfect sense, and of course I want to buy them again.... (Sings off-key chorus of "that's what friends are foooooooor!!!!!")

    3. hmm I just realized I haven't finished the 2nd book yet! I remember I couldn't stand the heroine's mother and was getting a feeling she wasn't gonna get killed off which was the only satisfactory ending for me at the time LOL - will have to hunt it up on my kindle and finish since I think I can handle the old biddy now so long as she gets the hero..just gotta keep the big picture in mind. you really might wanna think about talking to Mary Connealy about killing off people you wanna get rid of... sigh..just kidding..kinda...

    4. haha! Susanna... The old biddy has a perfectly good reason for doing what she does. All I'll say, is that love lost is a powerful motivator for all sorts of behavior, and grief presents itself in all sorts of terrible ways.
      I think most badly behaving people are nursing some deep grief... But that may be the romantic in me. I prefer to shine a light into the wound, let the sunshine heal the hurt, rather than just killing them off. :)

    5. P.S. Ruthy, I just asked a friend to try, and she says she wasn't able to buy the newer book OR review it again. So, let me know and I can always send you a paper copy, but I think you're stuck with the old version if it was purchased before Jan 2014.

  5. Oooh, your peach cake matches your cover. GORGEOUS. This will pacify me until I get the Lemon Cooler Cake. Even I can make this. Yummy. Thank you for a Tina Level 1 Baker recipe!

  6. These were SO not a fail! They look beautiful, and I know they tasted wonderful.

    I'm filing this recipe away for our next ladies' gathering at church (isn't that a great original name for the bunch of us getting together to eat?)

    And I'm with Ruthy - I love the new covers. Going over to Amazon to pre-order....

    1. You're so sweet, Jan! But remember I get fifty arcs and then more author copies. If you're a paper kind if girl like me, hold on! I'll send one to you when they arrive.

  7. I'm definitely printing this out. How perfect a dessert to have at a spring or summer gathering of just about anybody... family, church folk, my writing group! Yum!!! And that cover is pretty delicious-looking, too. :)

    1. We just had another slice, and the angel food held up really well overnight. So, I'm assuming this could be made ahead, refrigerated, and then the topping put on at the last minute. I'm definitely using the recipe again this summer!

  8. Oh, I just love that smoothie stache photo!!! LOL! And don't you just love when they don't even know you're laughing at them? It's so sweet. :)

    Thanks for the recipe! I've never seen anything like this. Looks yummy!

  9. Also meant to say I LOVE your new cover!