Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Bring Me to You

Today's post has a back story, but then don't they all?

I was followed on twitter by a blogger I hadn't heard of before. I love when that happens. I then got a comment from the same person on my Secret Subject Swap group writing challenge. He seemed interested in the challenges I run. One thing led to another and he signed up for next month's Secret Subject Swap. I double love when that happens. 

It looks like the way P.J. found me was through another blogging friend, Dawn of Spatulas on Parade. She sent me a message saying that I might hear from him about my challenges. Once I explained to her that I had and he'd already signed up and joined our private group, she mentioned something else, he runs a "20 Days of Chill" writing challenge in January, and that it's going on now. She sent me the link and I checked it out.
Apparently he posts a list of themes, one per day for most of the week days in January. Now if you read this blog regularly (you do, right?), you know that I follow a schedule and post about 10 times a month. Seven of those are the challenges I run and the other 3 are what I call "free style", meaning I babble on about this or that and you either follow along gleefully (OK, that may be wishful thinking) or roll your eyes (that's alright, I'm immune, my boys do that on a regular basis) and check out the day's recipe.

It was already mid January so I'd missed most of A 'lil Hoo Haa's prompts, but oh how I would have loved to have seen this list earlier. Because the theme he'd chosen for January 15th was "Dream On", and I just love telling the story of the couple of degrees of separation I have from Aerosmith. But {{sigh}}, too late. 

As I said, much of my blogging dance card was previously spoken for, but I did have today open. I'd already made the recipe but hadn't written the post. His theme is "Bring Me To You" and, given the recipe I'd made and the (bribery) ulterior motive, I could make this work.

Strawberry Cookies and Cream Cake is studded with crushed cookies and chopped strawberries, then topped with a strawberry cream frosting and sprinkled with more crushed cookies. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

Strawberry Cookies and Cream Cake
Strawberry Cookies and Cream Cake is studded with crushed cookies and chopped strawberries, then topped with a strawberry cream frosting and sprinkled with more crushed cookies. | Recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #dessert

I think that most of you know by now that I began developing recipes and baking for a number of reasons, to keep my mind busy, to relax and relieve stress, and to lure kids to my basement. 

WAIT! That may not have come out right. For those of you who haven't followed me from the beginning (shame on you), put down your phone, don't dial 911 just yet, let me explain.

I'd noticed, when the boys were little, that the more I baked, the more they and their friends would play at our house. Fine by me, come on by our house after school, I'll sugar you up, give you a safe place to play and I'll even drive you home at dinner time. But when my boys got older, that's when it really mattered. When kids reach middle school and especially high school they can get themselves into a whole load of mischief. I've told a few of those stories here on the blog, like the time my oldest set my car on fire. Remember that one? It still makes me shudder. 

So those are the years that you want to know where they are and what they're doing. Those are also the years when their goal is the exact opposite. But I had a strategy. We have a finished basement with a pool table, a poker table, a 50 inch tv and gaming systems. It also has its own bathroom and a fridge that I kept stocked with water bottles, gatorade and soda. That along with my always having fresh baked goods turned our house into the hang out spot. See, luring kids to my basement, but in a good way. Kids would pour in our front door, drop their shoes in the laundry room, grab whatever I'd baked and head towards the basement. I knew who my boys' friends were and most importantly where they were. 

Fast forward to now, the boys are grown. College Boy is local so I get to see him often. He's my primary taste tester now. PurDude, as many of you know, went to college 10 hours from here. I missed him like crazy. Afterwards, though, I got lucky. The best of his job offers was right here in our city. He did move to his own apartment (furnished by yours truly, in just one weekend, no less) but he was only 1/2 hour away, I kept baking and he kept coming home to visit. Perfect.

Not so fast. I had him home for one year. One short year. Last August the company moved him to Boulder (lucky him, not so lucky me). What did I do? Bake, of course (that whole "relieve stress" thing.

Bring Me to You, exploring the power of baked goods. | Graphic designed by and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #blogging #MyGraphics

I so loved having him here over Thanksgiving, but haven't seen him since. Colorado (damn you, Colorado) has so much to offer. In December he had vacation days to use or lose so he took some time off. And went skiing. Next month he was going to go visit my mom on Marco Island and I could meet him there, but so many of his high school and college friends have planned trips out to see him that he's using vacation days to ski with his out of state visitors instead.

So I often find myself working on recipes that I know he'd love, pictures of which somehow, accidentally {{wink, wink}} end up in a PM to him. Luring people here with baked goods seems to be my M.O. His answer? "Go ahead and send that to me". Drat, outsmarted by my own flesh and blood.

But let me just say this. If this cake doesn't do its magic and bring you to me, PurDude, don't be surprised if one day soon you find that it brings me to you. 

I'll pack my skis.

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Strawberry Cookies and Cream Cake         

Printable Recipe

1 box strawberry cake mix
1 cup water 
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 small (about 6 oz) container strawberry yogurt
1 cup crushed chocolate sandwich cookies
2/3 cup strawberries, hulled and chopped

2 sticks butter, softened
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme 
1/3 cup seedless strawberry jam
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup crushed chocolate sandwich cookies
1 cup powdered sugar
5 - 6 chocolate sandwich cookies, halved
1 strawberry, sliced

*Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
*Beat the cake mix, water, oil, eggs and yogurt for 2 minutes. Gently mix in 1 cup crushed sandwich cookies and 2/3 cup chopped strawberries.
*Divide between the 2 prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges and removing to cool completely.
*Beat the butter, marshmallow creme, strawberry jam and vanilla together. Carefully beat in the powdered sugar. If you need to, in order to get the frosting to a spreading consistency, you can add powdered sugar (to make it stiffer) or milk (to loosen it) 1 TBSP at a time. Set aside about 1/2 cup of the frosting for garnishing.
*Place one completely cooled cake round onto a serving plate. Spread about 1/4 of the remaining frosting onto this layer and top with the other cake layer. Frost the top and sides. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/4 cup of crushed sandwich cookies.
*Decorate the top of the cake by piping with the 1/2 cup of frosting that had been set aside, the sandwich cookie pieces and the sliced strawberry.


  1. Oh this looks lethal. Yumm. Sorry for the signin name, it's really me, Carol C! Long story why this shows.

  2. Box that cake, pack those bags and go.

  3. Fantastic looking cake and great way to use the prompt. Our house was the same way, I cooked and the boys invaded the house and wiped it clean, food that is, they never cleaned. THAT would have been a dream.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

    1. Yes, not only did they not clean, but oh the mess they made. Still loved having them.

  4. Just show the picture and then leave it alone. The magic will work. Eventually, he will show up at your house, fork in hand! :)

  5. That cake looks so delicious! I love the story about your son catching your car on file.

    1. I think that was the day I committed to always have my bar fully stocked.

  6. Just do it - get going and bring him that cake. Because Weight Watchers would kill me if I ate that cake. And I love Oreos so much (insert sobbing here). So don't bring it to me. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. If you love flavored Oreos as much as you love the originals, you might not want to read the next recipe I have coming up too.

  7. A cake that looks like it will make you fat by looking at it..................
    I can't remember the rest of the post

    1. Nope, not by just looking at it, but I would recommend trying just a small slice.

  8. It looks great! I wonder if baking would work to bribe my children. ;)

  9. Great to see you here, Karen 🙂
    Yes, I know all about your damaged car and youth entertainment basement, and I think you were fostering an important community.

    1. Thanks for coming back to comment, Tamara.

    2. We raise them to put ourselves out of a job, and it's not easy when what we wanted all along really happens.

  10. Yum! That cake looks divine. Glad you could join us for one of the prompts! Just keep enticing them back with those baked goods!

    1. I'm trying. The further away they get the less I'm able to work my magic.


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