Eat good food and share!

Posts tagged ‘Cake’

Simple Cupcakes

This is a recipe that my daughter Miya found, and together we modified it a bit. They’re kind of a yellow cake / muffin type cupcake. I dug out one of my frosting recipes, and we topped it all off with some Wilton sparkly sugar! Have a try… they’re simple, they’re good and they sparkle! With Valentine’s Day coming up, these would be a nice quick treat.

Simple Cupcakes

Ingredients
• 1/2 cup shortening • 1 1/3 cups sugar 

• 1 teaspoon vanilla 
• 2 large eggs
 • 1 cup milk

• 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour 

• 3 teaspoons baking powder
 • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together shortening and sugar. Mix in vanilla, eggs and milk. Add dry ingredients, mix together. It’s best to use a mixer for this step, otherwise your cupcakes will have a coarse texture. Two or 2 1/2 minutes at medium speed should do it.

Spoon batter into cupcake pan lined with cupcake paper liners. Bake for approx. 20 minutes. You can check to see if they’re done by inserting a toothpick into one of the cupcakes. If it comes out clean, they’re done!

Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack. If you don’t have a wire rack, a breadboard or even the counter works fine!  Once they’re completely cool, frost!

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 5 or 6 Tablespoons milk

Mix butter, cream cheese, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar. Add milk, using your best judgement about frosting consistency. If the frosting is too thick after 5 tablespoons, add one more. That will usually be enough!

Secret Red Velvet Cupcakes

 

So what’s the secret?

Other than the fact that they’re really really good, really moist, and REALLY filling? The recipe is semi-homemade… and my 10 year old found the recipe in a free Kraft recipe booklet, while browsing through our hometown market! And it’s so easy to make, she can do it!

 

 

Ingredients –

2 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups sour cream

2 egg whites

1 pkg. red velvet cake mix (I love Duncan Hines… personal preference though!)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat 2 oz. cream cheese, and sour cream in large bowl with mixer until blended.

(Mimi chose to do it by hand)

Add egg whites and cake mix; mix well.

Scoop into cupcake pans (I used the paper liners, but you can also spray the cupcake pan with cooking spray).

Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting –

Cream 1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese with 1/4 cup butter. Add 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 Tbs. milk and 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

Beat until smooth.

Frost – and don’t forget the sprinkles!

 

Velvety Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

Julia Child, Miami Book Fair International, 1989

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been in the mood for something rich, intense and chocolate. I’ve had this Julia Child recipe for Reine de Saba (chocolate and almond cake) that I’ve been wanting to make, and I wanted to adapt it to be gluten-free. Why? Because I know some people with gluten intolerance. Because it’s Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, and… being a food adventurer… I just wanted to!

With me and Mimi (daughter #3) relaxed and on the threshold of a 5 day Thanksgiving vacation, I decided to tackle it. I got out Mastering the Art of French Cooking and plunged in.

Ingredients –

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate melted with 2 T rum or strong coffee

1/4 lb., or one stick, softened butter

2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

3 egg whites

pinch of salt

1 T. granulated sugar

1/3 cup pulverized almonds

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1/2 cup rice flour

Butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the chocolate and rum or coffee and either slowly in a double boiler,or at 10-second intervals in the microwave. Watch closely in the microwave – chocolate can burn very easily.

Cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until they form a pale yellow, fluffy mixture.

Beat in the egg yolks until well blended.

Beat the egg whites and salt in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed;

sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed.

With a rubber spatula, blend the melted chocolate into the butter and sugar mixture, then stir in the almonds, and almond extract. Immediately stir in one fourth of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Delicately fold in a third of the remaining whites and when partially blended, sift on one third of the flour and continue folding. Alternate rapidly with more egg whites and more flour until all egg whites and flour are incorporated.

Turn the batter into the cake pan, pushing the batter up to its rim with rubber spatula. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for about 25 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed, and 2 1/2 to 3 inches around the circumference are set so that a needle plunged into that area comes out clean; the center should move slightly if the pan is shaken,and a needle comes out oily.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, and reverse cake on a plate or rack. Allow it to cool for an hour or two, it must be thoroughly cold if it is to be iced.

I have to admit… Mimi and I didn’t wait for the cake to cool. She didn’t want to. I didn’t want to. We were wanting instant gratification. We sliced the cake and ate it warm. This cake *sounds* moist when you cut into it. It’s one of the homliest looking cakes I’ve ever seen.  Without any icing or nice presentation, it should be called Ugly Cake. But one bite tells an entirely different story… the beauty lies within. The cake is intensely chocolate, velvety, rich, smooth… almost unctious. If you choose to do icing, I’m including Julia’s chocolate-butter icing recipe. She also recommends pressing a design of almonds over the icing. Maybe I’ll put icing on it next time.

Glacage au Chocolat (Chocolate Icing)

Ingredients –

2 ounces (2 squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate

2 T rum or strong coffee

5 to 6 T unsalted butter

Melt the chocolate and rum or coffee and either slowly in a double boiler,or at 10-second intervals in the microwave. Watch closely in the microwave – chocolate can burn very easily. Beat in the butter a tablespoon at a time. Then beat over a bowl with a trace of ice cubes and water to cover them until chocolate mixture has cooled to spreading  consistency. At once spread it over your cake with a spatula or knife.

 

The Chestnut Cafe – Earlham

As many of you probably know, I live in a small town. A *real* small town. So when I was at the grocery store yesterday and picked up our local paper, imagine my surprise upon reading that a new cafe had opened up in Earlham (125 S Chestnut Ave.), and had totally flown below my radar!  I not only felt scooped, but pretty oblivious as well. So bright and early this morning, I ventured uptown to check it out. Janet at the grocery store let me know that the hours are 6:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., and that they served breakfast until 11:00, so I decided to do breakfast.

The outside of The Chestnut Cafe is much the same as other businesses in town. It is housed in a turn-of-the-century building with a brick facade and BIG windows. I stepped inside and was greeted first by a gorgeous interior. Authentic pressed tin ceiling, white plaster walls and black and white photographs of things small town people and farmers like. A lot. Old well pumps, a barbed wire fence and fencepost. Very classy. Like a piece of Court Avenue in Earlham!

The owner of The Chestnut Cafe, Michele Brant, greeted me warmly. I ordered from their breakfast pastry menu… a cinnamon roll and a diet Coke, please. I introduced myself and asked about doing a blogpost. Ms. Brant came over, sat down with me and chatted for a few minutes. I already love this place!

Michele and her mother Beverly Mills run the cafe, as well as taking orders for baked goods (*see below). Bev is known in the Des Moines area for her Bev’s Cakes. A trip to Bev’s website told me that she uses the freshest ingredients possible, and can make any occasion cake… wedding, birthday, anniversary, graduation, and any kind of “fun” cake you can imagine! (And they love Elvis!)

A few hours later in the day, I was feeling the need for a little something to eat, so I went back to the cafe for lunch. They have a create-your-own style sandwich menu, along with the soup of the day and several (non-fried) side dishes. My sandwich was very good, as was the camaraderie. I can see The Chestnut Cafe filling a social meeting-place need in Earlham. I ran into several people I knew during breakfast and also lunch. That makes me happy and kind of nostalgic, because the location of the cafe used to be the beauty salon… also a social meeting place (of sorts) back in the day. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus!

*Baked goods available to order – Muffins, Cinnamon rolls, Scones, Cookies, Bars and Cupcakes

Schwarzwald Torte – Black Forest Cake

As we say goodbye to Oktoberfest, I feel compelled to share one of my mother’s most treasured recipes. Treasured by those of us who love to eat it, anyway! The good news for my readers is, it’s a semi-homemade recipe for Black Forest cake. With just a little patience, pretty much anybody can make this cake. There are fancier, more involved recipes out there… but this is my Mom’s. And she’s German. So those of you who know Germans know… You’d better put their recipes out there *their* way!

Start by baking one chocolate (or German chocolate) Duncan Hines cake mix in round pans, according to directions. Add 1 tsp. kirschwasser (german cherry brandy) to the mix before baking.

Let cake cool, then slice each cake layer horizontally. This will leave you with four thin layers of chocolate cake.

Ingredients for cake assembly:

1 large container Cool Whip (personally I think Cool Whip is sacrilege, but nobody seems to want to whip up their own whipped cream so I grudgingly concede)
1 tsp. kirschwasser
1 can cherry pie filling
1 can sweet dark cherries, drained

Mix the cherry pie filling, drained sweet dark cherries and kirschwasser. Between both split layers, spread some whipped cream, then some of the cherry filling. To assemble these two layers, spread a layer of whipped cream and stack the two layers that you’ve sandwiched with the cherry filling. Reserve some of the cherry filling for the top of the cake (see photo).

Finish frosting the cake with whipped cream, then top with remaining cherry filling. A WORD OF CAUTION: The whipped cream can be tricky… meaning, the layers can tend to slide without warning. I don’t know how many German swear words I’ve heard because the cake layers “slid.” If you are at all concerned about that, I would utilize a couple of cake dowels.

Note: You can use a tablespoon of kirschwasser but it will give your cake a strong flavor. I strongly recommend using 1 tsp. to begin with and increase the amount in your next cake if you feel you want more cherry brandy flavor.

Black Forest Cake

Birthday party!

Cover of "Back to the Future - The Comple...

Cover via Amazon

My kids gave me a small birthday party last night. I don’t really have any recipes to share, but… it WAS a food adventure! So I thought I would share the experience with my readers.

My middle daughter, Niki, has bragged about her boyfriend’s sushi-making abilities, so I asked if Mr. Smith would make sushi… and… he did! While we (we being me and my girls, Heather, Niki and Miya) were in the living room watching Back to the Future, Mr. Smith (aka Ryan) was slaving away in the kitchen making us sushi.

I *did* find out what “fillings” Mr. Smith used… he had sliced mango, avocado and cucumber as well as smoked salmon and cream cheese. We asked for various combinations of the above, and promptly ate them. Actually, “promptly ate them” isn’t reallly accurate. Swooped like a bunch of vultures is more accurate.

After several sushi rolls, Ryan was finally able to come into the living room and socialize. That didn’t last long. Ryan and Miya decided that it would be really fun to race remote control cars through the living room while the rest of us were watching the second movie. It was noisy, crazy, and I loved it!

Presents were ALL food-related. Naturally. A coffee pot, coffee grinder, coffe! and Julia Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

After presents, I managed to borrow Ryan’s computer and check my email. Lo and behold! Two in one day! I had an email notifying me that my request to receive Hearst grass-fed flank steaks for review have been approved! So… that will also be an upcoming blogpost!

Finally, it was time for cake. Or rather, cupcakes. Niki went to our family’s favorite Des Moines (Windsor Heights) bake shop, the Bake Shoppe. No, the name isn’t terribly creative BUT the baked goods are! Their champagne cakes and cupcakes are incredible! Needless to say, those didn’t last long either.

Before we knew it,  all three movies were over and it was time to go home. A memorable foodie birthday for me! Thanks kids!

Tag Cloud