Cakes

Chantilly Cake

Chantilly Cake is stunning and this cake was baked by daughter, Megan. Megan is the official family baker, and no one complains!

Chantilly Cake

INGREDIENTS:

Moist Yellow Cake

  • 3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cup sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla (or sub 1 tsp almond extract)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

Chantilly Frosting

  • (recipe can be halved)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
  • 16 oz mascarpone cheese, room temp
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, room temp
  • 2½ – 3 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (1 half pint)
  • 1 tsp. almond extract, optional

Berry Syrup optional

  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of berry jam (I used strawberry)

Apricot Glaze

  • 3 Tablespoons apricot jam
  • splash of water

Garnish

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
DIRECTIONS:
  1. If making a 4 layer cake: Using a large bread knife, trace the outside of the cake and then slowly saw back and forth through the cake, making sure the knife is as parallel as possible.
  2. Spread a layer of the berry syrup on top of the first layer of cake (this should be the rough, cut side if making a 4 layer cake)
  3. Pipe or spread a thin layer of icing on top of the berry syrup.
  4. Evenly distribute sliced berries on top of the icing layer.
  5. Place the second layer of cake on top, and so on. Do not put any berry syrup on the very top layer of the cake, because the frosting is too difficult to spread and your cake will look too crumby.
  6. Roughly spread the frosting all over the cake to create a crumb coating. I like to refrigerate or freeze my cake for 10 minutes before proceeding. Ice the rest of the cake and garnish with fresh berries.
  7. Glaze the berries with simple syrup or apricot glaze (microwave for about 15 seconds, or until thin and pourable) and refrigerate until serving.

Recipe Notes: 

This incredibly moist cake paired with the sinful, yet not too sweet, mascarpone frosting will send you straight to cake heaven. (If you would like a lighter and fluffier frosting, use 2 cups of heavy whipping cream instead of 1, and only 8 oz of mascarpone cheese) This frosting recipe makes enough for two cakes, so if not doubling the cake recipe, cut the frosting ingredients by half.

Recipe from Suzanne Bruno

Cakes · Family Favorites

Dirt Cake

Making pies and cakes from real dirt was part of my childhood. I gave that up years ago, but this Dirt Cake, made by daughter, Megan, was a real treat. A kid of any age loves this cake. Megan made with real whipped cream–delicious!

Dirt Cake

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 (3.5 ounce packages instant vanilla pudding mix)
  • 3.5 cups milk
  • 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed OR 12 ounces freshly whipped cream (1.5 cups heavy cream, 1T. powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla whipped to stiff peaks)
  • family size package OREOs
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Chop cookies very find in food processor. The white cream will disappear.
  2. Mix butter, cream cheese and sugar.
  3. In a large bowl mix milk, pudding and whipped topping (or whipped cream) together.
  4. Combine pudding mixture and cream mixture together.
  5. Layer in 9×13″ dish or use clean flower pots, starting with cookies, then cream mixture. Repeat. Top with layer of crushed cookies.
  6. Chill until set and ready to serve.
  7. Optional: Add gummy worms on top for fun!

Recipe from All Recipes

Cakes · New Favorite

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Lemon Yogurt Cake is a moist, delicious cake that can be served on its own or served with fresh berries. I must admit I messed up the recipe and it still turned out great. The recipe read in such a way that I thought the 1/3 cup lemon juice was added to the cake batter. Yikes! I quickly added another 2/3 cup flour to the batter and crossed my fingers. It turned out just fine and added more intense lemon flavor to the cake. I poked holes in the lemon cake (much like my Rum Cake) to assure that the lemon juice/sugar mixture penetrated the cake. I liked the result but that’s the reason for the holes in the cake. I added the glaze and had to take a taste! So, so good. I froze half of the bread and it was good as fresh when I pulled it out of the freezer.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided (reserve 1/3 cup for step 3)
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (reserve for step 3)

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
  4. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
  5. For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Adapted from Recipe of Ina Garten the kitchn.com

Appetizers · Family · Family Favorites · Holidays

January 19 – National Popcorn Day

Who knew there was a National Holiday for Popcorn? I am a popcorn fan from way back. I generally take mine with real butter and salt along with a great movie. Although, I would never turn down a bag of kettle corn at the farmer’s market!  I’ve been known to make myself a popcorn birthday cake, too!

Whenever I travel back to Iowa, you can always find a bag or two of local popcorn in my luggage for the trip home.

Researching the history of popcorn, I found popcorn.org to be a great resource of the history and recipes:

Popcorn Dates Back Thousands of Years

Biblical accounts of “corn” stored in the pyramids of Egypt are misunderstood. The “corn” from the bible was probably barley. The mistake comes from a changed use of the word “corn,” which used to signify the most-used grain of a specific place. In England, “corn” was wheat, and in Scotland and Ireland the word referred to oats. Since maize was the common American “corn,” it took that name – and keeps it today.

It is believed that the first use of wild and early cultivated corn was popping. The oldest ears of popcorn ever found were discovered in the Bat Cave of west central New Mexico in 1948 and 1950. Ranging from smaller than a penny to about 2 inches, the oldest Bat Cave ears are about 4,000 years old.

Popcorn in the New World

Popcorn was integral to early 16th century Aztec Indian ceremonies. Bernardino de Sahagun writes: “And also a number of young women danced, having so vowed, a popcorn dance. As thick as tassels of maize were their popcorn garlands. And these they placed upon (the girls’) heads.” In 1519, Cortes got his first sight of popcorn when he invaded Mexico and came into contact with the Aztecs. Popcorn was an important food for the Aztec Indians, who also used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods, including Tlaloc, the god of rain and fertility.

An early Spanish account of a ceremony honoring the Aztec gods who watched over fishermen reads: “They scattered before him parched corn, called momochitl, a kind of corn which bursts when parched and discloses its contents and makes itself look like a very white flower; they said these were hailstones given to the god of water.”

Writing of Peruvian Indians in 1650, the Spaniard Cobo says, “They toast a certain kind of corn until it bursts. They call it pisancalla, and they use it as a confection.”

In South America, kernels of popcorn found in burial grounds in the coastal deserts of North Chile were so well preserved they would still pop even though they were 1,000 years old.

Recent History

The use of the moldboard plow became commonplace in the mid-1800s and led to the widespread planting of maize in the United States.

Breakfast Food

Although popcorn is typically thought of as a snack food today, popcorn was once a popular breakfast food. Ahead of its time and very likely a role model for breakfast cereals to come, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, popcorn was eaten just as we eat cereal today.

Long before the advent of the corn flake, Ella Kellogg enjoyed her popcorn ground with milk or cream. Although she discouraged in-between meal snacking, she urged others to eat popcorn at meals as popcorn was “an excellent food.” Ella understood, as her husband did, that popcorn was a whole grain. John Harvey Kellogg praised popcorn as being “easily digestible and to the highest degree wholesome, presenting the grain in its entirety, and hence superior to many denatured breakfast foods which are found in the market.”

The Great Depression

Popcorn was very popular from the 1890s until the Great Depression. Street vendors used to follow crowds around, pushing steam or gas-powered poppers through fairs, parks and expositions.

During the Depression, popcorn at 5 or 10 cents a bag was one of the few luxuries down-and-out families could afford. While other businesses failed, the popcorn business thrived. An Oklahoma banker who went broke when his bank failed bought a popcorn machine and started a business in a small store near a theater. After a couple years, his popcorn business made enough money to buy back three of the farms he’d lost.

Popcorn and the Movies

Unlike other confections, popcorn sales increased throughout the Depression. A major reason for this increase was the introduction of popcorn into movie theaters and its low cost for both patron and owner. One theater owner actually lowered the price of his theater tickets and added a popcorn machine. He soon saw huge profits.

The “talking picture” solidified the presence of movie theaters in the U.S. in the late 1920’s. Many theater owners refused to sell popcorn in their theaters because they felt it was too messy. Industrious vendors set up popcorn poppers or rented storefront space next to theaters and sold popcorn to patrons on their way into the theater. Eventually, theater owners began installing popcorn poppers inside their theaters; those who refused to sell popcorn quickly went out of business.

Popcorn sales increase throughout the Depression. A major reason for this increase was the introduction of popcorn into movie theatres.

World War II

During World War II, sugar was sent overseas for U.S. troops, which meant there wasn’t much sugar left in the United States to make candy. Thanks to this unusual situation, Americans ate three times as much popcorn as usual.

Slump and Bump

Popcorn went into a slump during the early 1950s, when television became popular. Attendance at movie theaters dropped and with it, popcorn consumption. When the public began eating popcorn at home, the new relationship between television and popcorn led to a resurgence in popularity.

Today

Whether stovetop popped, fresh from the microwave or ready to eat, Americans love popcorn. In fact, Americans today consume 15 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year. That averages to about 47 quarts per person.

Americans today consume 15 billion quarts of popped popcorn each year.

 

 

Cakes · Family · New Traditions

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake is delicious, even though the photo of the finished product is not.  I was disappointed by the appearance of the finished product, but the taste was delicious.

Next time, I would use a slightly bigger pan, since the batter cooked over the side.  However, a few crispy bites of dessert are equally good!

FRESH PEACH CAKE

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined.
  • In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.
  • Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

  • Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cakes · New Favorite

Gin and Tonic Drizzle Cake

Gin & Tonic Cake sounded delicious when my sister-in-law, Betty, told me about it a few years ago.  Summer time evenings on the patio with a G&T and good friends inspired me to make this wonderful cake.  Warning…it is a bit boozy but oh, so delicious!

I converted the recipe to American measures (in parenthesis) and it worked well.  Instead of baking a big pan of cake, I baked in several smaller cake pans and froze a few cakes, minus the lime slices.  It freezes well.

GIN & TONIC DRIZZLE CAKE

Cake:
250g unsalted butter (8.8185 oz. or 1.102 cups)
250g sugar (8.8185 oz. or 1.102 cups)
250g self rising flour (8.8185 oz. or 1.102 cups)
5 medium egg
1 lime, zested

Drizzle:
75g sugar (2.6455 oz. or 1/3 cup)
5 tbsp. Gin
5 tbsp. Tonic Water

Icing:
200g powdered sugar (7.0548 oz. or .8819 cup)
3-4 tbsp Gin

Decoration:
1 lime, zested
lime sliced

For the Cake:

  • Grease and line a 2 lb. loaf tine (i used several small loaf pans instead).
  • Preheat the oven to 180 centigrade or 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light an fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs, flour, and lime zest. Beat again until smooth and combined.
  • Pour the cake ingredients into the cake pan(s) and bake for 40-45 minutes.  When baked fully, a cake skewer should come out clean and the cake shouldn’t be making a bubbling sound.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and cool slightly while making the drizzle.

For the Drizzle:

  • In a small pan, add the sugar, Gin and Tonic.
  • Heat on a low-medium heat while stirring.  Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat.
  • Poke the cake lightly with a cake skewer and drizzle over the cake. Allow the cake to cool fully in the cake pan.

To Decorate:

  • Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the cake pan.
  • In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar and gradually mix in the Gin until you get a thick, pourable consistency.
  • Pour the icing over the cake, sprinkle with lime zest. Add lime slices to the top for decoration.

Recipe slightly adapted from Janespatisserie.com

Book Club · Cakes · Holidays · New Favorite

Cinnamon Apple Pie Cake

Cinnamon Apple Pie Cake is absolutely yummy!  I’ve served it multiple times with great reviews and requests for future events.  This is a definite favorite in my recipe box!

CINNAMON APPLE PIE CAKE

6 to 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon- sugar (1 1/4 T. sugar + 1/4 t. cinnamon)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups superfine white sugar (see *Tips below)
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil (see notes below!)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-Purpose Flour
more cinnamon-sugar to sprinkle on top (same as above)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 1/2 to 10-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and then spray again.
  • Layer the apple slices in the pan until they come about 2/3 of the way up the side. (I went a little higher than that and it worked out fine). Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the apples.
  • Prepare the batter by beating the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the oil (see notes below about the amount of oil called for) and the vanilla and beat well, then stir in the flour. Pour the batter on top of the apples, and sprinkle with additional cinnamon-sugar. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to allow the batter to sink down and around the apples.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool *completely* in the pan. If you try to remove the cake from the pan while it is still warm, it will tend to break apart. I refrigerated my cake before slicing, and that worked out well. Serve slices with ice cream (warm individual slices in the microwave, if desired).

TIPS:

  • You want “caster sugar” for this recipe: It is a finer grind than table sugar, but not as fine as powdered. Look for “Baker’s Sugar” at the store, or simply put regular white sugar in your food processor and give it a few whirls to create superfine sugar.
  • NOTE:  In the original recipe from this cookbook, the author calls for 1 1/2 cups of oil.  Although my pie cake turned out just fine the way the recipe was written, when I make it again… I will definitely try using 3/4 cup oil and 3/4 cup applesauce instead.  Some readers have noted that this has worked well for them.
Cakes · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Chocolate Cake…Vegan and Absolutely Delicious

Who doesn’t like chocolate cake?  I wanted to make a chocolate cake for a gathering of friends, two of which are Vegan.  We all love to share salads, fruits, pastas, but dessert is always a bit tricky.

This cake was moist, delicious and almost healthy!  I would make it again and again whether my guests were Vegan or not. Even one of my Grand Dogs thought it was worthy of his attention!

Chocolate Cake…Vegan &Delicious

3/4 cup plain flour/GF flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar/brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Frosting: 

This makes a small amount of frosting as the cake doesn’t need much, but for a full batch

    1 1/2 tbsp. lite Nuttelex or other dairy free butter/margarine alternative
    1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
    1/2 tsp. vanilla

    • Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.
    • Grease and line a small cake tin (or cupcake tins)
    • In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    • In a separate medium mixing bowl combine applesauce, sugar and vanilla and pour into dry ingredients.
    • Mix until just combined and pour into cake tin.
    • Bake for 20-35 minutes or until cooked through and a skewer inserted removes clean. If making cupcakes, cook for ~10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
    • For the frosting, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a mixer, adding in the cocoa and vanilla and mixing until combined. If needed, add a couple of drops of milk/non dairy milk until your desired consistency is reached

    Recipe from Southerininlaw.com

    Cakes · New Favorite

    Pumpkin Zucchini Bundt Cake

    Pumpkin Zucchini Bundt Cake

    3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I used 1/8 teaspoon)
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    3 large eggs
    1 cup pumpkin puree
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    2 cups shredded zucchini
    1 cup Raisins (I skipped the raisins since the family doesn’t like)

    • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a Bundt or 9 inch loaf pan.
      In a bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and combine.
    • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla until
      light and fluffy. Stir in the shredded zucchini. Then transfer this batter to the flour mixture and stir until everything is combined. Fold in the raisins.
    • Pour into the baking pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in
      the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack to completely cool.
      ** Please note, cook time for Bundt pan will be around 60 minutes and for the 9 inch loaf pan, around 1 hr 10 minutes. Always check after 1 hr for doneness as all ovens are different.

    Slightly adapted from Lovefoodies.com 

    Breads · New Favorite

    Yogurt Cake with Pear and Dark Chocolate

    Fresh, sweet pears have always been a favorite of mine. Rarely have I baked with pears but this recipe sounded too delicious to resist.  It has a wonderful texture and so very moist!
    Yogurt Cake with Pear and Dark Chocolate

    YOGURT CAKE WITH PEAR AND DARK CHOCOLATE

    1 1/2 cups flour
    2 tsp. baking powder
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 cup plain yogurt (I used vanilla Greek yogurt)
    1 cup sugar
    3 large eggs
    1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    1/2 cup canola oil
    1 large pear, ripe but still firm, cored and cut into small pieces (leave the skin on)
    1/2 cup bittersweet (dark) chocolate chunks.

    • Preheat your oven to 350F and grease an 8 inch loaf pan with butter (I found the recipe made too much for one loaf pan–I made an 8 inch loaf and a small loaf pan).
    • In a small bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour through salt). In medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, yogurt, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Then, stir in the dry ingredients, a bit at a time, until well blended. Finally, use a rubber scraper to fold the oil into the batter until it is fully incorporated.
    • Pour about one-third of the batter into the greased loaf pan. Sprinkle 2/3s of the pear pieces and the chocolate chunks all over the batter. Then, scrape the rest of the batter on top of this and gently spread it smooth. Sprinkle the rest of the pear and chocolate over the top of the loaf and gently press all the pieces down into the batter to partially submerge them.
    • Bake in the middle of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean – 55-60 minutes or so. Then, take the cake out of the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan, and then put it upright on a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The cake will keep for several days (refrigerate if it’s more than 2 days), and slices are delicious lightly toasted before eating. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
    Slightly adapted from FiveandSpice.com