Saturday, May 12, 2012

Chocolate Mint Cake

1 box Devil Food Cake Mix (with water, eggs and oil)
1 container of Duncan Hines frosting creations frosting starter
1 packet of mint chocolate frosting creations frosting mix
1 package Andes Mints
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream

Mix cake according to package directions. While mixing, chop up half of the package of Andes Mints and add them to the mix. Cook in two round cake pans according to package directions.

Mix the Duncan Hines frosting creations starter and mix together according to package directions.

When the cake has cooled, frost the top of one of the cake rounds. Then, stack the other round on top and use the rest of the frosting to coat the sides and top. Put in the fridge.

In a glass measuring cup heat the 1/3 cup of heavy cream in the microwave for about 30 seconds on 40% power. After it's heated, add the chocolate chips and about 6 Andes Mints. Stir until smooth. You may need to put it back into the microwave for 10-20 seconds at 40% power - but be patient and stir it will get super smooth. (be careful not to burn the chocolate by putting it in the microwave for too long!) you just made ganache!

When the cake has cooled a little, pour the ganache (the chocolate mixture you just made) slowly on the top center of the cake. Let the chocolate work it's own way spreading across the top and dripping down the sides.

You can garnish with the rest of the Andes Mints and some fresh mint. Keep in the fridge until ready to eat.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Refinishing a Kitchen Table

Take the table legs off.
Use stripper to remove the old polyurethane and stain. I like gel stripper, I coat the table, let sit for 15-20 minutes and then scrape off the finish. Then, repeat and repeat until all the stain and poly is gone.
Turn the table over. Sand and paint the base and legs the color you prefer. You could also use spray paint.
Use painters tape to keep paint off of the stripped wood.
Sand stripped wood, sand again.  Make sure ALL of the poly and stain is gone.
Apply the stain of your choice. You can apply multiple layers and different types of stains to achieve the color you want. I always stain a small piece of scrap wood with the different stains and layers (labeling as I go right on the wood) as a test to see what combo I like the best. Then I use this as a guide to choose the stain for the table.
If you want a shiny, durable finish, use polyurethane. I use water based. Poly is very finicky, clean the surface with mineral spirits before the first coat. Also, you can thin the poly with mineral spirits, this takes longer to dry, but gives you thinner, easier to work with coats. Sand with VERY fine sand paper between coats of Poly. Let dry thoroughly between each coat.  I usually waited at least 24 hours. Sanding with Steel Wool 000 gives a very fine sand, and produces a very smooth finish. Make sure to wipe off the table with mineral spirits after each time you sand. Once the poly is smooth enough and thick enough after it has dried- you are finished with the poly coats.
Reattach the legs and enjoy your new table.
I usually let my furniture sit for a good week before I bring it into the house so the paint and stain can harden and set.