Duff Goldman Holly Jolly Cake with Holiday Frosting {Review and Giveaway}

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I hope by now you’ve read and entered my other Duff Goldman review and giveaway for a box of Chocolate Snowball cookie mix (it ends today!), but I have another treat for you provided by Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios. I have the opportunity to review another product from the Duff Goldman holiday line and give away a package of the same products I’m reviewing!

Today’s product is the Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Holly Jolly Cake Mix and Holiday Frosting. The first thing that caught my eye about this product was how vibrant the colors of the cake were. It’s very festive. I also liked that the frosting looked really white. I hoped that the product lived up to these expectations.

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The products are described by the company as “layers of holiday colors to dazzle the eye, and moist, delicious flavors to tempt the taste buds” with a “decadent” frosting. I hoped this description wouldn’t be setting me up for disappointment.

The first thing that was a plus is that the food coloring gels that come with the cake mix do actually get the batter pretty close to the red and green in the picture! So even if this cake wasn’t any good, I had a feeling it would still look pretty cool.

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I was a little bummed that I wouldn’t be able to do the 4 layer cake, because I didn’t have the right sized pans. The box suggests two 8in round cake pans so that each cake can be cut in half for the layers, and 9in pans (which is what I had) were not recommended. I could have said “screw you, cake box instructions, I’ll do what I want,” but since this was a review, I wanted to follow the directions correctly at least this first time. In the end, I opted for a two layer cake.

The batter tasted pretty great but was a tad sweet. The frosting was also very sweet.  I was afraid it might be too sweet when put together. Another drawback of the frosting was that it wasn’t as white as the frosting on the box of cake mix. It was closer to the cream color on the frosting label. It tasted a bit like a mix of regular vanilla frosting and cream cheese frosting.

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I cooked the cake according to the directions and ended up pulling it out of the oven a couple of minutes early because a toothpick already came out of the center clean. This was probably one of the moistest cakes I’ve ever baked. Even after cooling for a long time, the cake stayed sticky. Because of this stickiness, when you frost the cake, you’ll have to do a crumb coat. To do this, spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake to glue all the crumbs together that mix into it after you’ve put in the frosting filling between the layers.  To set this quickly, I stuck the cake in the fridge for a few minutes so that the frosting wouldn’t be tacky to the touch. Then I frosted as usual, no crumbs this time! I found a great tutorial for crumb coating on Martha Stewart if you need a visual.

While putting cake in the fridge can dry it out, this cake needs a bit of chilling to firm it up for cutting slices. The cake was room temperature when I took the first slice out and it nearly crumbled all over the place, plus the slice fell over when I was trying to serve it on a plate for the photo shoot! It was not very easy to handle when it was warm and it was messy. There were cake crumbs all over.

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I don’t know how they got the frosting so clean in the cake box photo. Crumbs got all mixed up into mine when I cut the cake. I found out later that chilling the cake briefly does make the cake more firm for slicing, but it’s still a bit crumbly.

Now to the taste. As I expected, the cake was a little too sweet for my liking. If you like really sweet desserts, this might be the cake for you. A little goes a long way, because it’s so sweet and rich. Chilling the cake helped cut down on the sweetness too somehow. A small piece of this with some not-too-sweet coffee would be pretty good though!

Here’s that first slice I cut that fell all over the place. I was able to salvage it by putting the ugly side to the back. Oh the things I do for pretty photography.

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Overall, I did like this cake. It was bright and moist and looked very Christmassy. The only negative things I found were mostly with the frosting, because it wasn’t as white as I expected, and it was too sweet. The cake itself is so sweet, it could be a dessert on its own.

Want a chance to give it a try? Enter the giveaway below for a Holly Jolly Kit that includes one box of Holly Jolly Cake Mix and two tubs of Holiday Frosting.

BUY IT

If you would like to buy the Holly Jolly cake mix, it can be found at Target and Stop and Shop, and the Holiday Frosting can be found exclusively at Target until January 2015. Some of the holiday products can be found online at www.gartnerstudios.com.

CONNECT

Stay up-to-date on all things Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios! Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

WIN IT!

One lucky reader will win their own package of Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Holly Jolly Cake Mix and two tubs of Holiday Frosting!

Open to U.S. residents 18 and older. Giveaway ends 12/24/14 at 11:59 pm EST.

Click HERE for complete giveaway rules.

To Enter, just fill in your name and email into the Rafflecopter widget below. For a better chance at winning, complete as many of the optional entries as you want. Come back daily for more entries!

If the Rafflecopter widget does not show up, just click the link that says “a Rafflecopter giveaway.” Then you can put your entries on that page.

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****I received these products free of charge for an honest review of the products. I was not compensated monetarily for this review and all opinions are my own.****

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Chocolate Snowball Cookies by Duff Goldman {Review and Giveaway}

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I’m a huge chocolate fan. I love everything chocolate. So when Gartner Studios offered to send me this Chocolate Snowballs Premium Cookie Mix to try, I won’t lie, I was a little too excited. I love trying new things, and it doesn’t hurt when those new things are also chocolate!

I’ve reviewed Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios in the past and enjoyed the mix, so I looked forward to receiving this one as well.

For those of you who may not know, Duff Goldman is considered the “bad-boy-of-baking” and is known for his Ace of Cakes baking show on Food Network. He created this line of baking products so people could produce their own baking masterpieces at home. I like his products because they are always so eye catching.

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The Chocolate Snowball cookies are pretty good too. Described by the company as the “perfect snow-day treat,” they combine a good combination of powdered sugar and chocolate flavor. I almost wished they were a little more chocolaty, but they still tasted great.

The cookie mix comes with chocolate cake mix and a packet of powdered sugar. All you need to add is 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 eggs. They include plenty of powdered sugar too. I still had half a packet left after I covered all the cookie balls. You could add more powered sugar to each cookie, but I didn’t want the sugar to overpower the chocolate. The box also says that it makes 3 dozen cookies, but I only got about 22 out of it. I guess my cookie balls were a little too big, but if you made them much smaller, these cookies would be pretty tiny in the end. Most of my cookies were about 2.5 inches in diameter.

When combining the ingredients, it seemed too dry at first, but after it got too thick for my stand mixer to do any good, I mashed the dough up with my hands for a bit and that allowed the butter to warm up and infuse the dough with buttery goodness. The cookie balls rolled out pretty easily and didn’t fall apart like I thought they were going to when it looked too dry at first. The dough has a little bit of a grainy texture which could turn some people off, but wasn’t too problematic. In the end, it all worked out though!

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They were chewy and chocolaty and powdery! I would try these again for sure.

If you liked this product, stick around! I’ll be reviewing and giving away the Holly Jolly Cake Mix and Holiday Frosting by Duff Goldman soon!

 

BUY IT

If you would like to try these cookies, the mix can be found at Walmart and Target or online at www.gartnerstudios.com.

CONNECT

Stay up-to-date on all things Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios! Follow on Facebook and Twitter.

WIN IT!

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One lucky reader will win their own package of Duff Goldman by Gartner Studios Chocolate Snowballs Cookie Mix!

Open to U.S. residents 18 and older. Giveaway ends 12/17/14 at 11:59 pm EST.

Click HERE for complete giveaway rules.

To Enter, just fill in your name and email into the Rafflecopter widget below. For a better chance at winning, complete as many of the optional entries as you want. Come back daily for more entries!

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****I received these products free of charge for an honest review of the products. I was not compensated monetarily for this review and all opinions are my own.****


Christmastime Giveaway!

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I love Christmastime and always like to celebrate it with my readers by putting together a little Christmas prize package to thank you for following me for the last few years.

I try to find some of the cutest baking supplies that pop up in stores at this time of year and supplement them with a few other fun things!

Here’s what you could win in this year’s giveaway:

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  1. Wilton Icing Decorations in the shapes of Santa, his elves, and his reindeer.
  2. Christmas paper straws
  3. Betty Crocker Shortbread mix (I used this mix to make the Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Tea Bag Cookies earlier this year)
  4. Santa cupcake liners
  5. Mini Christmas cookie cutters
  6. Holiday sprinklesIMG_3682
  7. Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer movie bag
  8. Cupcake Stickers
  9. A charm bracelet with sweet charms
  10. A cupcake ornament
  11. Cake Batter flavored Chapstick
  12. Holiday socks
  13. Christmas colored Sixlets candies
  14. Candy Cane flavored Pop Rocks
  15. Swiss Miss hot cocoa mixIMG_3690_2
  16. And an extra special last minute addition: Nordicware holiday cake pop baking pan!

I found the baking pan during after-Christmas sales last year to save for this year’s giveaway and totally forgot about it when I was taking the initial photos for the giveaway. Luckily for you, I remembered the pan at the last minute!

Enter the Giveaway

To enter the giveaway, enter your name and email into the mandatory entry space in the Rafflecopter widget below. You are now entered to win this entire package!

For extra entries, and a better chance at winning, fill in any of the optional entries thereafter.

The giveaway ends at 11:59 EST on December 14th (my birthday! whoo!) and is open only to US residents who are 18+ years old.

For complete rules click here.

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Holiday eShakti Dress Giveaway

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I’ve reviewed eShakti.com dresses a couple times in the past and really love how customizable they are, yet still affordable. Lucky for you, eShakti has given me the chance to offer my readers another giveaway for their website! One winner will be able to choose any dress they like from eShakti.com’s large selection of fully customizable dresses. What a better time than now to pick out that special holiday dress you’ve been meaning to buy!

eShakti offers many ways to customize a garment including changing the neckline, hem length, or sleeve length. You can also input your personal measurements to make sure your dress it going to fit your exact body type. You can get all of these customizations for just an extra $7.50! Taking a dress to a seamstress or tailor to custom fit it could cost easily ten times as much, sometimes even more. And it even gets better: If you’ve never customized a dress from eShakti before, your first time is free!

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If you’d rather buy a dress without customization, they offer sizes from 0-36W. Every woman is welcome at eShakti.

Another perk if you’re new to eShakti, if you register with their website, you get a $30 gift coupon toward your first order! They really want you to have their clothing, guys.

eShakti also offers a selection of skirts, tops, and jackets. Check out their New Arrivals section for their latest beautiful editions.

You can choose any dress you want from eShakti if you win the giveaway, but I’ve selected a few dresses below that I think would be perfect for the holidays:

1. Beaded snowflake ponte sheath dress

2. Beaded crepe sheath dress

3. Beaded polka dot tulle dress

4. Floral lurex jacquard sheath dress

5. Floral jacquard sequin waist dress

6. Grace dress

 

FOLLOW & CONNECT

You can now connect with and follow eShakti on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+, and Instagram!

GIVEAWAY

To Enter: Fill out the mandatory entry of your name and email in the Rafflecopter widget below. After that, enter as many optional entries as you like to increase your chance of winning.

Eligibility: eShakti only ships to the US and Canada at this time, so unfortunately, this giveaway is limited to residents of only those countries.

The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on December 1st, 2014. Come back daily for more entries!

For complete giveaway rules click the link below:

Official Giveaway Rules

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Cheers to Vegan Sweets Cookbook #Giveaway (8/7-8/15) US

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IMG_2487You know what’s more awesome than winning a copy of Cheers to Vegan Sweets: Drink-Inspired Vegan Desserts by Kelly Peloza? Winning TWO copies of it! A couple of months ago I won a copy of Cheers to Vegan Sweets from Cut Out and Keep. The prize finally showed up this past week. I was excited to get it, because I haven’t made vegan treats before and I’m interested in trying them out.

Then two days later another copy of it showed up! What!? Someone at the publishing company must have made a mistake. Should I have contacted the publisher to return the second book? Probably. But I’m sure they’d tell me to keep it. Plus, I have a group of awesome readers who love baking, so hopefully they won’t have a problem with me sharing it with you!

If you’d like to check out a couple of the recipes from the book, click here!

How to Enter

To enter, leave your name and email address in the mandatory entry in the Rafflecopter widget below. That’s it! If you’d like to increase your chances of winning, enter as many of the optional entries as you want. Some are even daily!

Rules

Entrant must be 18 years of age or older and be a resident of the US. Shane’s Killer Cupcakes is mailing this prize and only US addresses will be accepted. This giveaway starts at 12:01am EST on 08/07/14 and ends at 11:59pm EST 08/15/14.

For the complete giveaway rules, click here.

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Cakes Under the Influence Kit Giveaway!

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IMG_5416_2Yesterday I shared my review of Cakes Under the Influence Entertainer Kit and my Old Fashioned Cocktail cupcakes. Now here’s the good news: Cakes Under the Influence is offering to giveaway a Two Under the Influence Baking Kit to one of my readers!

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This kit is perfect for a romantic night between you and a loved one or for those times you just want a little something sweet but don’t want to make a huge batch of treats.

The kit comes with:

  • Your choice of 2 Martini molds, OR Margarita molds, OR Champagne molds
  • 2 Matching stemware serving dishes
  • Set of 24 matching paper baking cups
  • 2 food and oven safe silicone cupcake stands
  • 2 pouches of Hi-Proof Baking Mix for Two (1 vanilla and 1 cocoa)
  • Access to CUI Mobile App for recipes, recipe sharing and reviews

How to enter:

Enter this giveaway by filling out the Rafflecopter widget below. The only mandatory entry is to leave your name and an email with which to contact you. All other entries are optional, but the more you complete, the better chance you have to win.

This giveaway is open to those who are 18+ and residents of the US only. For complete rules click here.

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