Cinnamon Roll Bunt B-day Cake

My husband’s b-day was this past Monday and I wanted to make him a cake. He’s not big on traditional b-day cake but loves cinnamon rolls. I thought: can I make cinnamon rolls into a cake? The answer is yes! I am not the first one to think up this idea the credit for the original idea/recipe goes to Bakers Royale. But I like to tweak and re-write recipes (yes a real recipe this time!)

So this is my version of the Cinnamon Roll Bunt Cake:

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Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 1 1/4 cup cottage cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 or more cup cultured buttermilk
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons for brushing
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Filling:

  • 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Icing:

  • 1/3 cup cream cheese softened
  • 2/3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

To make the dough:

  1. Place the cottage cheese, sugar, buttermilk, 4 tablespoons melted butter, and vanilla in a large bowl, with a hand held or bowl mixer: mix on a setting of 4-6 for a minute or so. It will be a little lumpy from the cottage cheese.
  2. Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl and mix until the dough starts to pull towards the center.
  3. Lightly flour a flat surface and scoop out the dough. It’ll be sticky so you may want to sprinkle flour on top of the dough before kneading. Knead gently, folding it over 5-8 times.
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to make a rectangle (if still extra sticky add some flour). Mine was around 8 inch width and 20 inch length: you want the dough to be about 1/4 inch thick or less.
  5. Brush the surface with the 3/4 tablespoons melted butter. I use the back end of a spoon to spread it, leave a 1/2-inch border around all the edges.

To make the filling:

  1. Place brown sugar, cinnamon, and cloves in a small bowl and use a whisk to combine. Melt 1 and ½ tablespoons butter and sift into the mixture. Taste test it and adjust, you know what cinnamon roll filling should taste like!

Assembly:

  1. Sprinkle the filling over the dough and gently press it into the surface. (Again I used the backend of the same spoon I spread the butter with).
  2. Take the long edge of the dough and roll if away from you, making a jelly-roll. Leaving the ends open, roll the jellyroll over the seal. Make sure it is long 15 inches or more. If for some reason it is no,t you can roll it out  like a rolling pin on the floured surface and stretch a little-but not too thin.
  3. Grease the bunt pan with vegetable oil or butter.
  4. With a sharp knife, ( I would suggest a bread knife) cut the roll into small ½ inch pieces . Set the first layer of cut rolls flat on the bottom of the bundt pan. Set the second layer flat against the outside walls of the pan. For both layers thumb press the rolls together removing all cracks/space between them. Place the remaining slices in the pan on top of the bottom layer and again press in. The last layer can be your ends/non-pretty cuts or extra dough that falls off the rolls.
  5. Place the bundt pan in the oven and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes at 350, it should be golden brown and firm on the edges. The center should rise to be the same height as the sides.

Meanwhile to make the glaze:

  1. Place cream cheese in a bowl and microwave for half a minute if not already softened.
  2. Then add the confectioner/powdered sugar and mix.
  3. Last add the 2/3 tablespoons of milk. Add more milk or a little flour as needed based on the consistency you want for the icing. I prefer more cream cheesey over sugary but if you don’t like a strong cheese taste use less cream cheese and more milk.

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After 3o or so minutes:

  1. Remove the pan from the oven.
  2. When the pan has cooled turn it upside down onto a plate. If you are concerned about it sticking take the blunt end of a knife or a spoon and tap the pan all the way around before removing.
  3. Then spoon drizzle the glaze over the top. Let it stand for at least 15 minutes before serving or stick it in the fridge to let the icing harden.

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I chose to let some icing pool to center hole. Once the icing had set, I filled the hole with fresh raspberries. When the cake was served we spooned out some fresh berries and icing to place onto our slice. I suggest raspberries for spring or cranberries for winter because their tartness balances out the sweetness of the cake.

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It is not quick, easy, or healthy but it is so worth the time, effort, and calories.

Want a slice?

Passport to new beginnings

                  Part of the name-changing process, as I mentioned in Becoming Mrs. ___________, is getting a new passport. Although I was a little sentimental about my CA drivers license and license plate, as made obvious by my I’m a New Yorker?!  post, I’m even more sentimental about my passport.

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                 In case you didn’t know, I traveled quite a bit in college. In fact 10 countries in 3 years!
My first time off the North American continent was in 2007. I embarked on a seven-week global internship backpacking through Guatemala, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. It was a humbling experience being apart of lives of many who have less than I do and therefore have more: gratefulness, humility, generosity, patience, and gentleness. The people we stayed and volunteered with treated us strangers like family.

Coral beach in the Philippines
Coral beach in the Philippines
Hong Kong's busy streets
Hong Kong’s busy streets
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Passport stamps from Guatemala, The Philippines, and Hong Kong.

                A year later I went on a two-week summer performing tour of Italy with my College Concert Choir. I got the opportunity to visit many famous historic locations and sing in many as well including San Marco’s Basilica in Venice and Mary Maggiore Basilica in Rome! I now understand the pride these people have for their native language, culture, food, history, and beliefs.

Siena in Tuscany
Siena in Tuscany
rehearsal in San Marco's Basilica
rehearsal in San Marco’s Basilica
Me holding gelato in front of San Marco Basilica in Venice
Me holding gelato in front of San Marco Basilica in Venice

                 Skip ahead to 2010,  I am off to the Middle East for a semester abroad. I lived in Cairo Egypt for two months studying Arabic, Egyptian current events and history, and Islam. Then we traveled to Turkey, Syria, The Kingdom of Jordan, and Israel where we met with many local politicians, religious leaders, non-profit workers, university students, writers etc. who share about their country’s history, current events, politics, and religion(s). If you want to know more about my semester in the Middle East click here!

Me  . . well I hope you can guess where I am here lol
Me . . well I hope you can guess where I am here lol
Me at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem
Me at the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem
Me at the Krak Des Chevaliers in Syria
Me at the Krak Des Chevaliers in Syria
Me inside the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul
Me inside the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul
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Visa and stamps for Egypt

         My passport is marked up; but it is not full. Many of the people I know from college, my Master’s degree, and my semester abroad  have chose to teach, volunteer,  study, and explore other countries. It is hard at times to not be jealous.

                But I don’t regret the choices I have made. I love my husband and being married. We are here in New York for now. We both have a desire, after a few years, to move to another country which could put our knowledge, experience, education, and careers to good use. The new Amanda Greene passport will be used for that purpose. For now it’s blank pages will be a reminder to have hope in the many exciting adventures I know are ahead of us.

A story definition of self-judgement

A few weeks ago I had one of those days that sent me into a stressed, frustrated fit.

Luke and I had taken time to relax most of the weekend and now it was time to get some business done.

Unfortunately nothing seemed to go right. We both had our independent  “tasks” to accomplish. But due-to elements I have no control over I ended up needing Luke’s help on my “independent” tasks and he needed my help for his.

Also, I am one of those “work first play later” types. I’d rather get work done during the day so there is time to relax in the evening.

But at 10pm I was still doing prep-work for the coming week and Luke was working on banking paperwork. At this point my tolerance for what was out of my control disappeared. When I saw the clock I got angry. Thinking about what was still left  to do, my hope for a few minutes to relax before going to sleep was gone.

It took me a long time (and some help from Luke) before I calmed down. When I did I recognize  I was mostly upset with myself.   It did not matter that the pattern of how events occurred during day were out of my control-I somehow still found a way to accuse myself for the day’s problems. I felt as though I had failed.

Why? Because that is what I do: I judge myself. I determine my worth and evaluate my success by my own internal and flawed standards. And once this introvert succumbs to those feelings of failure/inadequacy all self-confidence deflates. I find myself paralyzed; kicking myself while I am down. I point a finger and ask “how could you?” or “you should know better” or “you should have/could have done better”.

This is just one story definition of how self-judgment prevents me from having a proper perspective of myself and events around me. I find myself feeling the need to apologize for what is not my fault. Then it takes conscious effort to recognize it is not my fault, that the day was a success, and that my self-worth is not based in my accomplishments/or lack there-of.

Like I said before, I am my harshest critic.

Are you seeing a better picture of why it is important for me to become judgment-free?

Do you also suffer from put-yourself-down-itis?

Becoming Mrs. ______________

It is interesting, in American culture, once a woman becomes engaged it is all about preparing for a wedding.

It is only after you get married the government asks: “are you sure?  . . . is this relationship worth the red-tape?”.

I don’t question the decision to get married. But the weight of what I consider to be a permanent legal change did not hit until I had to fill out piles of government paperwork. (I even learned to bring a personal profile of all my legal documents with me places to show proof of my name change.)

For those of you who are/will be engaged soon, let me give you a heads up on the legal stuff required after you get married to become Mrs. ___________:

1.  Your officiant has to sign and deliver the marriage certificate to the country clerk within 10 days after the wedding. Then you can file for copies which includes having your paperwork notarized. Once you pay the fee and mail off the paperwork you wait.

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2. Eventually you receive copies (more than one is helpful) of your marriage certificate. You can then file to change your last name with Social Security. This  requires another form, another fee, copy of your marriage certificate, and your passport/birth certificate. Then you wait again.

3. When your new social card comes you can go to the DMV! At the DMV you need your social, copy of marriage cert., your license, and of course the name changing forms. You take a new photo, pay another fee, and wait.

4. When you will get your new driver’s license  you can apply for a new passport! For this you need copy of your marriage cert., your old passport, new passport photos, the name changing forms, and another fee.

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So yes becoming Mrs. __________ on Facebook is the easiest thing you will do.

You don’t know how many times I became confused as to when to write/sign my maiden name and when to write/sign my married name. (Let’s just say I had to fill out some forms more than once.)

For any women the journey of adjusting to a new personal identity, becoming  Mrs. _________ is greater than the legal name-changing saga. Every piece of paperwork in the name-changing process or new piece of mail addressed to a Mrs. ________ is a reminder of a permanent change in social and lifestyle status. After four months of marriage I am still asking myself: who is Mrs. Amanda Greene ? What is or will be different about my identity or roles as Mrs. Greene over when I was Ms. Halvorson?

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Although my name changing process is finally over my  journey to become Mrs. Greene, to adjust to the meaning behind the name-change, has just begun.

For those recently married: any thoughts to share on adjusting to new roles/identity?

Any other newlyweds find it takes awhile for the name-change to sink in?

Marriage Myth-Busting Round 2

I told you there was more where Dispelling Marriage Myths blog came from.

3. After marriage your image of your body can still be distorted by the media .

The truth is, I was highly motivated to loose weight when I thought of all the life-long pictures associated with marriage. So I worked hard and off came the stress weight of three jobs and my MA degree.

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But then I went on a honeymoon, moved, and the holidays hit. (If you need an update see  Part 3 update: life in 2012 blog).

In addition to this, I’ve been learning to cook for someone who needs about 1,000 calories more than me a day. So of course I’ve gained weight. (I’m enjoying zumba at the Y and getting back on track-but that’s another blog).

Staying healthy is a constant struggle but it’s even harder to believe that you are a beautiful/handsome individual. The media will make you think, that once you have someone in your life who will always tell/show you that you are beautiful/handsome that you will never doubt your physical attractiveness again.

Sorry, not true.

You may have one very important voice in your life reminding you of the wonderful being that you are, but if  you watch TV at all you’re going to begin to doubt it.

I don’t know about you, but I do not have a personal trainer, diet coach, makeup artist, or hairstylist.

I also don’t have the lifestyle required to be as the media would consider “beautiful”.

Think about it: their lives are not glamorous-they are torture. Who wants to have their lives micromanaged? Not me. I’d like to know that it’s my choice whether to have pizza, a salad, dessert,  another drink or a drink at all! I’d like to know I can run my errands in peace without wondering how they can be twisted into a soap opera for moms to browse at the grocery store checkout stand. I like being able to say what is on my heart and mind without my agent wondering how it’s going to effect movie offers.

Still this lifestyle is what the media-world considers a requirement to be deemed physically attractive. Unless I live without any exposure to TV,  smart phones, or a computer with internet, marriage will not change the influence media has on my body image.

No matter how often your spouse compliments you, it will never be enough to prevent the on-slaught of the media-world saying you’ll never be “_________ enough” (fill in the blank: strong, skinny, tall, toned, etc.).

The truth is our physical attractiveness is in our personal physical uniqueness, in the genetic combination of physical attributes that represent our ethnicity and family background. Weight (or any other specific physical “flaw” you obsess over) is not what measures or defines you as beautiful/ handsome.

What you are thinking about when you watch TV or look at magazines?

What are your thoughts about the character’s/actor’s physique /style vs. your own?

Believe it or not,  your mind does not shut off when the TV turns on.

And just so you know that I am not pointing fingers, I am sharing this all from personal experience. If this speaks true to you at all: it is because I does for me too.

Dispelling Marriage Myths

Although I like to think of myself as serious minded and realistic, I cannot ignore the fact that media affects me and what I believed about marriage. I know I definitely fit into the category of “newly wed” but there are some media-induced myths about being married that I’d like to dispel.

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1. You can still feel lonely

Although your spouse does “complete you” they are not your  “everything”. Luke is not my co-worker, student, girl-friend, parents, or God. As we are still adjusting to a new area most weeks he is the only person I have a conversation with that does not end in “thank you and have a nice day!” So yes, sometimes it can get lonely. Sometimes I wish our conversations would go deeper than talking about taxes or planning out our meals (and sometimes they do). But I would be abusing his role in my life to treat him like and expect him to be everyone and everything to me.

Can you imagine the pressure I would be putting him under to fulfill more roles than he was meant to? (I’m pretty sure he did not vow to that). He is my husband and that is very important to me, but opposite to what the media portrays, his role in life is not to succumb to my every whim. Although I am less lonely than I was before he was apart of my life, he is not “all I will ever need in the world”.

2. Your personal problems and insecurities don’t go away.

In fact they are highlighted by how you interact with and treat your spouse.  It amazes me that in the most unexpected moments the lies I believe about myself (you know the ones in your head “I am   . . . ” “I have too little/too much” . . . “I will never be” etc.) get in the way of clear communication. I can easily misinterpret an attempt at encouragement to be an expectation on how I need to live my life!  It is true, we make each other better people-but it is exactly that make, it doesn’t happen automatically or easily, it is what we choose to do.

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Because in reality your spouse is a mirror/window into your self. And Yes! sometimes that can be scary. Honestly: if you don’t like facing your problems and insecurities-don’t get married! The positive thing is that you have someone who thoroughly knows you and  has committed to love you who will help you work through those issues.

Well there is more I’m sure where this comes from.

But now it is your turn:

Those that are married-you find this to be true for yourself?

Any stories about relationships you are willing to share?

Any advice for the newly-wed on other myths that need to be busted?