Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Red Velvet Poke Cake

I may be in the minority here, but I had never heard of a poke cake before. The husband LOVES red velvet cake, so when I saw this on Pinterest I figured it was worth a try. And it sounded super easy, which I totally dig when it comes to making desserts. My desserts board on Pinterest is pretty ridiculous, considering I don't like to bake. When I just went to get the link for it, I saw it contains 287 pins. See? Ridiculous.

I had wanted to make this for a bible study party we had a few weeks ago, but I wasn't going to have enough time. We were out at my mom's for the day, and I did my grocery shopping out there. By the time we'd get home from her house I knew there wasn't enough time for it to set. But, then we had another bible study party a few weeks later (hey, we're a fun group! Wednesday nights at my house if you're interested!) and I figured I could make it for that.

Red Velvet Poke Cake
Source: Adapted from The Country Cook via

1 box Red Velvet cake mix
ingredients needed to make cake (eggs, oil & water)
2 (3.4 oz.) boxes instant Cheesecake-flavored pudding
4 cups milk
1 (8 oz.) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed

Prepare cake mix according to package directions for a 9x13 cake. Once cake comes out of the oven, allow it to cool for just a couple of minutes. Then, with a wooden spoon handle or some other similarly-sized object, begin poking holes in the warm cake.

You want the holes to be fairly big so that the pudding has plenty of room to get down in there. Be sure to poke right down to the bottom of the cake.

In a medium bowl, prepare instant pudding. Whisk together pudding mix with 4 cups of milk. Whisk until all the lumps are gone. Pour pudding over cake. Taking care to get right into the holes as much as possible. Spread it all out and using the back of the spoon, gently push pudding down into the holes. Put the cake into the fridge to set and cool (about 2 hours). If you have anything hanging out in your fridge that is stinky, be sure to cover your cake.

Once your cake has completely cooled, spread on whipped topping. Spread it out evenly over the pudding layer.

This cake needs to be kept refrigerated.


The original recipe called for crushed Oreos on top, but I've never had Oreos on red velvet cake, so I left them off. Plus having Oreos in my house would be a very dangerous thing. And I just don't buy junk food like that, even though I do love them. Anyway, it also took me a few minutes to find the cheesecake pudding. At my grocery store, it was down on the bottom shelf with cheesecake making kits instead of with the puddings. Same section, just not with the other pudding, if that makes sense. Just trying to save you the hassle of having a minor freakout that you can't find the right pudding and what kind should you use instead. :) I'm nothing if not helpful.

This cake was DELICIOUS. It was a huge hit at our bible study party, and there was not a whole lot left, which was a good thing considering how delicious it was. In fact, Boy #2 tried to grab a chunk out of the pan with his hand. Thankfully one of our friends was there to witness it and stopped him.'s like he's related to me or something. The husband and I may have taken a fork to what was left in the pan the next day. Maybe. There's no proof that we did or did not do that. This was a super easy and super tasty cake to's one I will definitely make again!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Shrimp Salad Rolls

My mom is retired and has the luxury of spending a month out of each summer traveling around to cooler climates. She's so lucky! This summer she spent a week at her time share at a lake in eastern Washington, then some time in Seattle visiting my brother, then a week on the Oregon coast and finally finishing up her trip with a few days in Portland before she drove home. Sounds nice, doesn't it? Especially when it means she's escaping the 100+ degree temperatures we have in Phoenix. Oh, I can't wait until I can do the same!! Anyway, while she was in Oregon she got a smokin' deal on fresh Oregon bay shrimp and she was nice enough to bring some home to me. Woo hoo!! I had so many ideas what I could do with it that I got overwhelmed and stuck it all in the freezer. Then I was looking through the most recent issue of Cooking Light and saw a recipe for shrimp salad rolls. I knew that would be a use for one of my pounds of shrimp!

Shrimp Salad Rolls
Source: Adapted from Cooking Light, August 2012

1 pound Oregon bay shrimp, cooked
1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
1-2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 hot dog buns
4 romaine lettuce leaves

Combine chopped shrimp, mayonnaise, and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl.

Open buns without completely splitting; arrange, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil 1 minute or until toasted. Place 2 lettuce leaves in each bun; top each serving with 1/2 cup shrimp mixture.


If you look at the original recipe you'll see I made a few modifications. It called for larger, raw shrimp and then to chop it. Since the shrimp I had were little already, I skipped that. It also called for fresh tarragon, which I didn't have, so I used some Old Bay instead. I might have thrown a little Tony Chachere's in there, too, for good measure. Rarely can you go wrong with adding a little Tony's to something. And the original said this made four sandwiches, but I love me some shrimp, so I only made two. My kids aren't big seafood fans, and I wasn't about to waste these yummy shrimps on them, so the husband and I had them for a date night dinner one night after the kiddos were in bed.

These were fantastic. I've only ever had lobster rolls once, when we were back east for my cousin's wedding a few years ago, but these sandwiches really reminded me of those. These were a great, light, easy summer dinner. I'll definitely make them again, even without the delicious Oregon shrimp!