Create Your Own Edible, Artful Delights

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Fruit Arrangements and Bundt Cake
There’s nothing easier or more well received than sending or bringing an edible gift to friends or family.  Yet, the cost can be prohibitive except for the most special of occasions.  These days, two of the gifts of choice are beautiful “carved” fruit arrangements and delectable decorated bundt cakes.  Two things we often don’t think of making ourselves – until we’re on a budget that is and want to serve up something that looks absolutely special.   With “fruit arrangements” running $50 and up and those pick-up bundt cakes in the $40 range – it was time to figure out a DIY option.

To Make the Edible Fruit Arrangement
These are really easy to make and actually very fun – even kids can take part and put one of these together.

To make the basket one I showed here’s what you’ll need:

Strawberries
Pineapple
A Cantaloupe and/or a Honeydew melon
Green and Red Grapes
Parsley
A basket or container
Either clay, playdough or Styrofoam
Bamboo skewers
A flower cookie cutter and any others that you have around to fit your theme.

My finished product cost in the $10 range!  And, you can build it as big and as complicated as you like.

The Homemade Version of the Popular Bundt Cake
The trade secret to these is that they are really yummy and have a delicious cream cheese frosting piped on generously.  So, I hit the internet and found a website that posted what readers were saying was a great homemade alternative to buying one the chocolate ones.  I also found a wonderful cream cheese frosting recipe along with it. 

The recipe is at www.favfamilyrecipes.com and it actually won the 2010 award for a top cooking blog.  So, I had to give it a try and honestly – you should too.  This cake is delish and at about $11 – sure beats paying the equivalent $40.  I added a bow or a flower like the originals and voila! – a special dessert when the budget says no to the ease of buying one.  You’ll get “nothing bundt compliments!”

Here’s the recipe from the blog:

Chocolate Bundt Cake (our version)
1 pkg. devil’s food cake, German chocolate cake, or chocolate cake mix?
1 pkg. instant chocolate pudding
1 c. sour cream
4 large eggs
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. oil
1 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
2 (8 ounce) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. butter, softened
3-4 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix first six ingredients together with a beater. Add chocolate chips. Pour into a greased bunt cake pan (cooking spray works best). Cook in oven at 350 degrees for 45-50 mins. Remove from oven. Let cool for 20 mins. Remove from pan. (I think it tastes best if you put it on a serving plate, wrap it well in Saran Wrap, and let it sit overnight in the fridge before frosting and serving..) In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar (start with 2 cups then keep adding more until it is nice and thick). That's it! Easy right?

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