Thursday, June 11, 2009

Food Fit For a Party

I attended a baby shower for a friend of mine this past weekend, and volunteered to bring some goodies.

When I was planning what to bring, I remembered that I've never met a pregnant lady who didn't appreciate some fresh fruit and some chocolate cake.

First off, the fresh fruit. I saw this idea in an old entertaining book I stole from Grandma when I was in high school. (Yes, Myrnie, I've still got it!) It has some truly crazy things - salmon mousse in the shape of a salmon, anyone? - but it also has some gems. Like this.

To make this watermelon, carefully cut away two wedge shaped sections from the top of the watermelon, with the point being a right angle. When both sections are cut away, carefully stick your knife through the section left in the middle and cut the fruit out. (I wasn't quite careful enough, and nearly went through the handle on one side. Oops!)

The easiest way to break up the watermelon into servable chunks is to just attack it with a spoon. Scoop/break out serving sized pieces, pile them into a bowl, drain the leftover juice out of the watermelon, and pile the fruit back into the watermelon. (Of course, you can't fit all of the fruit back in. Just pile in what you can, and leave the rest at home for your toddler and husband to enjoy. Om nom nom!)

Because I wanted to be fancy, I took a long piece of plastic wrap and made a box to decorate my "basket." (Couldn't you tell what it was?!)

And of course, we couldn't forget to bring a chocolate cake!

I chose to use Pioneer Woman's Chocolate Sheet Cake. It's as good as she says, y'all. It's really, really good. You can see my notes below. WARNING: This is not diet food! This cake should only be made if there are a minimum of 20 prospective mouths to feed.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Pioneer Woman Chocolate Sheet Cake

Combine in a mixing bowl:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar (I cut this down to 1 1/2 cups, and could probably cut it down to 1 cup.)
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a saucepan, melt:
2 sticks butter
Add 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa. Stir together.

Add 1 cup boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In measuring cup, pour 1/2 cup buttermilk.
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda (Does anybody know why you are supposed to mix the baking soda into the eggs and buttermilk??)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes. (I'll turn the cake partway through baking next time - my oven is tipped and one corner of my cake was paper thin!)

While cake is baking, make icing:
Chop 1/2 cup pecans finely.
Melt 1 3/4 sticks butter in a saucepan.
Add 4 heaping tablespoons cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat.

6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb minus 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Stir together.

Add pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.

I cut this into 30 squares, and that was just about right for a baby-shower type setting. Several people went back for seconds (or thirds!) but those of us who were dieting could just grab a small piece and call it good.


  1. I knoe pioneer woman! I think I've seen her blog.

    Ok I LOVE LOVE LOVE water melon and cake. Ohgoodiesbarness! ok that wasn't a word, but cake with melon is perfect. that's all.

  2. Cake looks....yummy. And RICH. If we ever dare, we'll have a bake-off: Martha vs. Ree. :o)