Monday, December 11, 2006

Carrot Cake

From Barbara Whiting

You can make your own cream cheese frosting or buy canned for this delicious carrot cake.

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
dash salt
1/4- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
3 cups (about 5) carrots, shredded
1 cup chopped nuts

Beat sugar, oil and eggs for 1 minute. Stir in next 6 ingredients and beat for 1 minute. Stir in carrots and nuts. Bake in greased, floured rectangular dish (9 x 12) for 40 to 45 minutes or in round cake pans for 30 to 35 minutes.

Test with a toothpick for doneness. Cool in pan on a wire rack and frost with cream cheese frosting. Refrigerate for best taste.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cake Decorating # 1

Pastry bags with plastic couplers
Assorted decorating tipsStraight and offset icing spatulas
Rotating cake stand or lazy Susan
Food coloring for tinting icing (optional)

Using a Coupler
A plastic coupler allows you to use different decorating tips while piping from one bag. To change decorating tips, unscrew the coupler ring, replace the decorating tip, and replace the ring.

Filling a Pastry Bag
1. "Cuff" the bag top over one hand, or place the bag, tip down, in a tall glass and fold cuff around the rim. Insert icing with a spatula using your other hand, scraping the icing against the side of the bag to release it. Do not fill the bag more than halfway. Unfold the cuff.

2. Gather the top edges together with one hand, and drag the thumb and index finger of your other hand downward to let out air, forcing icing into bag and decorating tip. Twist the top of the bag to close and to maintain pressure.

Creating the Perfect Base
Every icing job begins with a smooth layer of base icing.

1. Place a chilled cake on a platter or cardboard cake round, and transfer it to a rotating cake stand. Smooth on a base layer of slightly chilled buttercream with a straight icing spatula to seal the cake crumbs. Chill the cake until icing has hardened, about 15 minutes.

2. Coat the sides of the cake with 1/4 inch of buttercream. Hold the spatula parallel to the sides of the cake with the blade slightly angled towards you. Apply pressure with the spatula against the sides of the cake, and use your other hand to rotate the cake stand, smoothing the sides.

3. Spread excess icing from the sides onto the top of the cake and add more to coat. Position the spatula almost flat halfway across the top of the cake. Apply pressure as you rotate the cake stand, smoothing the top. Chill until the icing has hardened, about 15 minutes, before decorating.

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Friday, December 8, 2006

History of Fruitcake

The holidays roll around each each and with the holidays comes fruitcake. But, do you know the history of The Fruitcake?

The oldest references to fruitcake dates back to ancient Roman times when they contained pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins mixed with barley mash.

Then in the middle ages, fruitcakes were made sweeter using honey, preserved fruits and spices making them tasty desserts. Crusaders and hunters carried fruitcake to feed themselves over long periods of time away from home, as it kept longer than other types of food.

Although in modern times we associate fruitcake with Christmas, since the 1700's fruitcake has been used in ceremonial celebrations of all kinds throughout Europe, including religious holidays, harvest celebrations, birthdays and weddings.

In Europe in the 1700’s, fruitcake is tied to the nut harvest. After the harvest was complete, they mixed nuts from the harvest together and made a fruitcake that they saved until the harvest the next year. The next year, they would ceremoniously eat the old fruitcake hoping it will bring them another successful harvest.

Between 1837 and 1901, fruitcake was extremely popular. A Victorian "Tea" would not have been complete without the addition of the fruitcake to the sweet and savory spread. Queen Victoria is said to have waited a year to eat a fruitcake she received for her birthday because she felt it showed restraint, moderation and good taste.

Also, it is the custom in England for unmarried wedding guests to put a slice of the cake, traditionally a dark fruitcake, under their pillow at night so they will dream of the person they will marry.

It appears that because of the ceremony and tradition tied to fruitcake it to survive through the centuries. Source:

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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Peanut Butter Cake with Chocolate Chips

From Diana Rattray

Peanut butter cake is made with a yellow cake mix and vanilla pudding and peanut butter and chocolate chips.

soft butter
1/2 cup finely chopped peanuts
1 box (2 layer size) yellow cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3 3/4 ounces)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups water
4 eggs
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coconut, optional

Generously butter a 10-cup bundt cake pan with the soft butter. Sprinkle the finely chopped peanuts in pan; shake to coat entire buttered surface.

In a mixing bowl beat cake mix and pudding mix, oil, water, and eggs until well blended, about 4 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer.

Beat in the peanut butter. Pour about 1/3 of the batter into the pan; sprinkle with a layer of half of the chocolate chips and coconut. Repeat. Pour remaining batter into the pan and bake at 350° for about 55 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto rack and cool thoroughly

Content from Southern U.S. Cuisine

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Easter Bunny Cake

*2 1/2 c- Coconut, divided
*Red food coloring
*2 baked 9-inches round cake
*8 oz- Cool Whip, thawed
*Assorted candies for garnish

- Shade 1/4 cup of the coconut pink using red food coloring.
- Cut 1 cake layer as a half circle shape on each side of the cake so that a bow tie shape is created at the center of the cake. This bow tie shape should be about 1 1/2" wide at its widest portion.
- Leave one layer whole. Arrange whole cake layer in center of cake plate, place half circle shapes on the top pointing up for the bunny's ears.
- Put the remaining pieces at the bottom of the whole cake layer to make a bow tie.
- Use the whipped Topping for frosting.
- Spray center of bunny's ears and bowtie with pink coconut. Shower white coconut above bunny's head and outer edges of ears and bow tie.
- To give the shape of eyes, nose, mouth and whiskers use candies.
- Red string licorice, chocolate chips can be used for eyes, nose and mouth and also for outlining the ears and bow tie.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Super Easy Cake

Have you ever needed to make a cake at the last minute? Perhaps you had company coming over but nothing to serve them. Or your children tell you they need to take something to share today but its too late to throw something together. Well if you have two to three ingredients you can make a cake in just a few minutes. Just follow the instructions below.Ingredients

One box of cake mix, any flavor. I like to use the super moist ones. They seem to come out better in the microwave.

One can of diet soda, any flavor. You can use regular soda as well.

Mix the cake mix and soda together well in a large bowl.

Spray a microwavable container with Pam. Now, be careful the kind of bowl you use. First, it must be microwave safe. I don’t recommend glass containers. My mom tried to make this cake in a corningware container and it came out as hard as a rock. I use a Tupperware Heat N Serve container. This container comes in four sizes, but the 6 1/4 cup one works the best.

Pour the cake batter into the container and place the seal on it. Put it in the microwave for ten minutes. Let it set in the microwave a couple minutes and then remove the container from the microwave.

Remove the cover. Place a plate over the container and flip the container up-side-down. The cake will slide right out. Once it cools you can frost it if you would like. My husband likes to eat it as it is with some vanilla ice cream. Yummy.

My favorite mixture is chocolate cake mix and diet cherry soda.

Give this recipe a try. I think you will like it. It is so easy to make and your family will love the treat.

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Sunday, December 3, 2006

Pumpkin Cake with Whipped Cream and Pecan Praline

By Silvana Nardone

3 cups granulated sugar
2 cups pecans (about 8 ounces)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk
Grated zest of 1 orange
One 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree
3 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Butter two 8-by- 2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper and butter the parchment. Flour the pans.

2. In a large skillet, melt 2 cups granulated sugar over medium-high heat until light amber, about 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the pecans and quickly stir to coat. Transfer the pecans to the prepared baking sheet and, using a metal spatula, spread in a single layer to cool completely. Place the praline in a sturdy resealable plastic bag and crush into pieces; set aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a bowl, sift together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar and the remaining 1 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until combined. Beat in the flour mixture in 3 parts alternately with the milk and orange zest on low speed until just combined. Add the pumpkin puree and beat until just combined.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer the cake layers to a rack to cool, about 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans, invert and peel off the parchment paper. Let the cakes cool completely on the rack, about 45 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make the frosting. Using a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. On low speed, gradually beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and the vanilla until stiff peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

6. Assemble the cake: halve each cake layer horizontally with a serrated knife. Place 1 cake layer on a platter. Spread the whipped cream frosting on top about 1/4 inch thick; sprinkle with about 1/2 cup crushed pecan praline. Repeat with three more layers, saving enough frosting for the cake sides and reserving the last layer of praline. Spread the remaining frosting evenly on the sides of the cake and sprinkle the reserved pecan praline on top. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before serving.

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