Everyday Mom's Meals: Mr. E Turns 44

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Mr. E Turns 44

Today is a BIG deal on the blog. Not only do I have a terrific dessert for you, I actually baked it!

Look, I am the first to admit I am not a baker. It just doesn't make me as happy as "regular" cooking. Now, yes I can make a mean muffin, and I will bake every once in a while, but if there is a dessert served in this house my family knows it's going to be something no baked, a fluff, or store bought. Oh, okay, I'm pretty good at those pre-sliced cookies too.

But for a special day, and a special request from my special someone, I threw on my big girl apron and made it happen!

Here is the scene. We were driving home from FL. Oh, and for those who don't know, we drive straight through...all night...which usually ends up being about 22 hours in the car, with stops for gas and food. We have been blessed with 2 boys who are amazing travelers, and Mr. E doesn't mind staying up all night. I will drive if he needs me to, but usually he does it all, with my co-piloting and helping to keep him awake...until I snooze a bit.

Anyway, we were in about hour 17...the boys were sleeping and it was just him and I. I have to be honest, I actually enjoy those times. We talk. We enjoy the scenery. We make fun of other drivers. And usually we get a little slap happy and end up making each other laugh so hard we cry.

That's when I asked him what kind of dessert he wanted for his birthday. In our house, you can have anything you want for your special day. It doesn't have to be cake. Alex and I have both been known to ask my mom for her pumpkin pie. And one year Alex requested root beer floats.

I had already asked his parents to come over for a cookout since his birthday was on a Saturday this year, and planned the menu, all he needed to do was decide which sweet treat he wanted. It didn't take him long to tell me..."I want a cold, orange cake, that is creamy and has mandarin oranges on top."

"Okay....sure...I will get right on that." That was my first thought. But with the rest of the drive I brainstormed and by the time we got home I had a plan.

Well, I have to admit, I hit a home run with this one. He said it was EXACTLY what he wanted and everyone thought it was delicious! I was pretty proud of myself. It is a pretty tasty, cool end to any summer meal!

Tropical Orange Cake
1 (15.25) oz. white cake mix
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, reserve juice, save a few for top
Water, combined with juice- enough to make 1 cup total
1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 egg whites
1 (8 oz.) tub Cool Whip
1 (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
1 (16 oz.) can crushed pineapple
1 1/2 c. sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan. In a large bowl combine cake mix, egg whites, oil and 1 cup juice/water mix. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Turn to high speed and beat 2 minutes more until creamy. Fold in oranges. Transfer to dish. Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Place on wire racks to cool. In a medium bowl combine pineapple and pudding mix. Fold in Cool Whip. Add 1/2 c. coconut. Stir well and chill until ready to use. When cake cool, top with frosting, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with remaining coconut and  garnish with oranges. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours before serving. *NOTE* READ the directions on the box for your type of pan and cake mix. I used a glass pan, hence more cooking time. You want 1 cup TOTAL liquid between the reserved juice and water. Measure how much juice you have and add enough water to make 1 cup. 

Shared at Weekend Potluck

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