Tipsy Chocolate Cherry Sheet Cake

Welcome to (almost) December, which is also known as the time of year that I dump a bunch of liquor in a box of cake mix and call it a recipe.

On the menu today is Tipsy Chocolate Cherry Sheet Cake.  I think cherries and chocolate are quite possibly one of my favorite food combinations, and any time you throw a bunch of liquor at anything, I'm going to be a fan.  One of the top visited recipes on my blog is for these chocolate covered brandy cherries, and these chocolate covered cherry cookies aren't too far behind, so I guess I'm not the only person who things chocolate and cherries and alcohol play nicely together.

I've been making variations of this cake forever but this is the first time I made it in sheet cake form,  and I'll have to say I'm a fan.  It was ever so much easier to disguise the fact that my oven doesn't heat evenly so one side of my cakes is always two inches higher than the other.

[Printable Recipe]

1 chocolate cake mix of your choice
1 10 oz. jar of maraschino cherries
1 can of cream cheese frosting
1 can of chocolate frosting of your choice
eggs and oil to the cake mix directions
1/4 teaspoon cherry extract
1 cup (approximate) cherry flavored liquor.  I have used cherry brandy, but I was out this time so I used UV Cherry Vodka, and it was yummy.  Yummy.  Yummy.

At least two to three hours before you plan to bake your cake, drain the juice from the cherries and reserve it in a separate container.  Then fill the container (with the cherries still inside) back up with cherry flavored liquor.  I usually do this the day before I'm baking the cake, if I remember to.

Prepare the cake batter according to package directions, EXCEPT replace any water needed with a combo of the reserved cherry juice and the cherry liquor your drain from the cherries, up to the amount of water the directions call for.

Bake in a 9x11 or 9x13 sheet pan according to the directions on the mix.

Allow the cake to cool completely.

Add 1/4 teaspoon of cherry extract to the chocolate frosting and stir well.  Frost the cake.  Use the cream cheese frosting to frost around the edges.  When I make a layer cake, I use the cream cheese between the layers.  Top with the liquor soaked, drained cherries.

Eat up!


Five Minute Stocking Stuffer - Tissue Pack Cover

I'm a fan of cheap. 

I'm a fan of easy.  

I've been busily sewing and crafting up a storm to get ready for Christmas, and as I was sewing the other day, it (finally) occurred to me that maybe I should share some of these easy crafty projects on my blog so that you, too, can be cheap and easy, just like me!


Well, you know what I mean.

I saw a tutorial on Pinterest for some cute little tissue pack covers - you know, those tissue packs that always get wadded up in the bottom of your purse then you can never find them when you need them?  

Well anyway, I thought these would make a good stocking stuffer, but even the super-simple tutorial seemed to have too many steps for me, so I made some cuts, made some folds, sewed some seams (four total!!!) and came up with this.

You should try it.  

It truly took less than five minutes.

Two pieces of coordinating fabric, roughly 10 inches by 5 inches.  Actually, it probably doesn't need to be that big.  I didn't measure it.  I also didn't take pics of the first few steps because it didn't occur to me until later to write a post about it.  Oops.  Someday I'm going to get my shit together.  Someday.
scissors, thread, sewing machine, iron
a purse/pocket sized pack of tissues

Place your two pieces of fabric together, right sides out.

Fold the ends of the shorter side over approximately one inch (the fabric you want on the outside should be folded over the interior fabric)  and press with the iron.  Sew a straight seam at the edge of each fold.  Now it should look like this:

Next, turn it over and wrap it around your tissue pack, inside out.  You want the edges to overlap approximately 1/2 to 1 inch. Pin in place.  Now sew a straight seam at one end of the tube you created, like this:

Now put  your tissue pack in the tube and shove it down to the end you seamed.  Pinch the other end closed at the length you want your cover to be and mark it with a pin.  Remove the tissue pack and sew another seam at the marked spot, like this:

You can see I had quite a bit of fabric left over.  If I would have bothered to measure, this wouldn't have happened.  Oops.  (It ended up being about 4.5 x 2.5 finished, if this helps you at all.) Anyway, I just chopped the extra fabric off like this:

Then I turned it right side out and TA-DA!  Cute little tissue pack cover.

I keep an old chopstick handy to use to square out my corners, but that's it.

Five minutes, less than a dollar's worth of materials, and you now have a stocking stuffer that you can give to someone and be all like "Oh, yeah, I  MADE this for you.  With my own two hands.  It was a sacrifice, I know, but you are IMPORTANT to me."

Or you can just decide to keep it, like I did.


Junk mail.

I love getting mail.

There's something really extra exciting about opening the mailbox every day and getting things addressed to ME!  for ME!  about ME!  I get that it's all advertisements because I know nobody really writes REAL letters any more, and I think that even paper Christmas cards are falling by the wayside, which is a darn shame.

Don't misunderstand me here.  I love a good text message, tweet, Facebook post and email as much as the next gal, but there's something really refreshing about walking to the mailbox and pulling out something that's yours to look at.

Except for the darn bills, that is.  Well, those, and the mountains of junk mail and catalogs that make their way into my mailbox daily, diluting the joy I feel when I get real mail, like my Entertainment Weekly magazine or my ThinkGeek catalog.

Then not long ago, I had a really happy accident.

We were going to be out of town for a few days and I was debating whether or not to stop mail delivery while we were gone. I knew I could do that online at the USPS site, but because I was sitting two whole rooms away from my computer, I decided to see if there was an app I could download to my iPhone.  This is laziness at it's best, people.

So anyway, without bothering to read the description, I downloaded an app called "MailStop."

When I actually opened the app, I realized it wasn't exactly what I initially thought it might be. 

Instead, it was an app that allowed you to take a picture of the label from your junk mail, submit it, and TADA! no more junk mail from that particular place.

It's like some sort of sorcery. 

And I love it.

Since my accidental download, I have sent in DOZENS of requests to catalogs like American Girl, which clearly I do not need, and to a plus sized clothing catalog that I have been receiving for years.  I suspect my mother-in-law may have signed me up for that one, but I don't have any proof of that assumption.

Anyway, I know the app works, because a couple days after I snapped a pic of the mailing label from a catalog I used to use for work (way back when I worked) I received a "sorry to see you go" email from them.


Totally magic.

By the way, this is not a sponsored, coerced or otherwise directed post.

I'm just telling you about it because I think it's really cool, and you maybe should give it a try.

But for now, I'm off to delete myself from some more mailing lists.  

Hmmmmm....  I wonder what would happen if I requested a stop on my utility bills?

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