cakes

Show-Stopper Carrot Cake

carrot cake 1n

Not only am I going to share my Show-Stopper Carrot Cake recipe today, I’m also going to let you in on a few favorite tips for cake making that just might turn you into a  Cake Baking Pro!

Baking cakes takes a little patience but if you make the cake layers ahead of time and freeze them, you can break up the process into doable portions so you don’t feel overwhelmed with being in the kitchen for five hours baking AND decorating the cake.

I first found this recipe in our local Indiana newspaper in 1989.  This recipe won an Continue reading “Show-Stopper Carrot Cake”

cakes · dessert · Lightened Up Recipe

Lemon Pound Cake With Cherry Compote

When I had a group of church friends over recently, I wanted to make a cake that would be a little lighter since the meal was pretty heavy.  I came across a Lemon Pound Cake recipe in my Cooking Light Cookbook.  It had high reviews and sounded so delicious that it didn’t take me long to say yes!

I love pound cake – the crispy exterior and the light, smooth batter inside just makes it so good.  Add lemon to it, and it’s perfect!!

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This turned out absolutely scrumptious and the cherry compote was super easy to whip up.  You might ask, What is a compote? It’s fruit cooked in a syrup.  One of my guests kiddingly called it a “compost.”  Yeah, there’s a huge difference!  You won’t be throwing this in the trash! It makes a pretty presentation, but you won’t be looking at it for long!!

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This was a plate that sampled both desserts I made – the Upside down German Chocolate cake and the Lemon Pound Cake with Cherry Compote.  Who could resist?

Lemon Pound Cake with Cherry Compote

Cake:

  • Cooking spray
  • 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (about 13 2/3 ounces)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon rind
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Compote: – This would also be great spooned over ice cream or pancakes!

  • 4 cups pitted sweet cherries (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°.

Step 2

To prepare the cake, coat a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray; dust with 2 tablespoons flour.

Step 3

Lightly spoon remaining 3 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Combine 2 cups granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating at low speed, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add rind, juice, and mint; beat just until blended.

Step 4

Spoon batter into prepared pan; sharply tap the pan once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over top of cake. Cut cake into 16 slices.

Step 5

To prepare compote, combine cherries, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons water, and cornstarch in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in extract. Cool. Serve with cake.

Lemon Pound Cake with Cherry Compote
Picture credit: Cooking Light

This kind of cake freezes nicely, too.  Slice it up and put it into individual servings for guests that might drop in – or for cup of coffee that begs for something sweet to accompany it!  It’s lightened up so you won’t feel quite so bad about indulging!!

With love from my country kitchen,

denise a

 

 

baking · breakfast · cakes · Tips and Tools

A Storage Tip and a Taco Trick

Hi friends!  Welcome back after the Thanksgiving holiday! My heart is so full from blessings that came from time with family!  I pray your weekend was a reminder of God’s goodness.

There are new things to do and learn, and things for which we must be ready, so let’s get to the post today!

When I learn something that makes my life easier, I figure it might help someone else, so I’m going to post a quick video today to share it with you!

Storage Tip: Do you have several trays and platters that need to be stored? I’ve found that all those ceramic platters and Pampered Chef pieces can be hard to stash away in the cabinet without getting chipped or cracked. I came up with a little idea of how I could keep that from happening, but still store them on top of one another. Here’s the short video to share my tip.

And now, to help make your Taco Tuesday easier…

Taco Trick: This week while at my parent’s, my mom fixed tacos for lunch. To heat the shells in the oven, she used her cast iron corn muffin pan! The shells stood up like little soldiers.

Then when it was time to fill the shells with the taco meat, there was no wrangling with the shells! It was so simple to fill them up and then put them on the plates.

Now, if you don’t have these muffin stick pans, it made me think of using a cupcake pan upside down. I think I saw that somewhere on Pinterest…oh yes, here it is! This is brilliant, too!

Before we go, let me share a Recipe Update: Years ago I shared a Buttermilk Apple Coffee Cake, but when I made it recently, it was so delicious that I wanted to share it again and update my previous picture with a better view of this lovely cake.

I love a recipe that can be used for different meals, and that’s the case for this coffee cake. I had made it for breakfast, and on its own, it is lightly sweet and delicious. However, my guests ate the oatmeal I’d prepared, but no one touched the coffee cake in the morning. Then when I needed a dessert later that day, I pulled it out and poured warm caramel sauce over top. It then looked like the most special dessert, made specifically for that meal! Here it is in all its glory!

Buttermilk-Apple Coffee Cake

Cake:
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced & peeled Granny Smith apple
3 tbl brown sugar
1 tbl lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbl butter, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
Cooking spray
2 tbl sliced almonds

Glaze:
1/4 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp low-fat buttermilk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  To prepare the cake, combine the first 4 ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook for 5 minutes or until syrupy, stirring frequently, and cool.
3.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Combine granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended.  Add egg, 1 tsp vanilla extract and almond extracts, beating well.  Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk,  beginning and ending with flour; beat well after each addition.
4.  Spoon the batter into a 8-inch round cake pan coated with cooking spray.  Arrange apple mixture over cake; top with almonds. (I found that the batter was very thin and the apples sunk into the batter when I placed them on) Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Quickly invert cake onto wire rack.  Then invert onto a serving plate.
5.  To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, 1 tsp buttermilk and 1/4 tsp vanilla in a small bowl,stir with a whisk.  Drizzle glaze over cake.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Yield:  8 servings.  185 Calories, 5 g Fat

Make this – then you’ll have something for breakfast or dessert! It freezes well, too!

Do you have a special tip or trick to share? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise

cakes · Cookies · dessert · Love · muffin · Pie · Valentine Treats

Five Sweet Valentine Treats

Since Valentine’s Day is a week from today, I thought I’d share a line-up of sweet treats for you to make for a sweetheart, a child, your Bible study friends or whomever you may want to shower sweet kindness on!

You may be tempted to buy one of those big cookies in the mall, but this first recipe is every bit as good, is so easy and only costs about $2, $3 to make!  It is so yummy!!

Colossal Chocolate Chip Cookie

1 cup chocolate pieces – chips or M&M’s – Pink and Red Valentine would be pretty, or you could use just chocolate chips
1 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Reserve 1/3 cup candies for decorating.  Set aside.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt; mix well.  In another bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy.  Add egg and vanilla; beat well.  Add flour mixture; mix well.  Stir in 2/3 cup candies.  Place dough in center of a 13″ or 15″ round pan and spread out to sides.  Decorate with reserved candies.  Bake 16-18 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool completely.  Cut into wedges to serve.
Yield:  10 servings

The following recipe is one I made my husband  on Valentine’s Day when we were dating.  He loved it so much that I’ve made it over and over on subsequent Valentin’e s Days! We all know the way to a man’s heart!

Sweetheart Fudge Pie
1/4 Cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
2 cups semi-sweet real chocolate pieces
2 tsp instant coffee
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
9 inch unbaked pastry shell
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbl chopped maraschino cherries

Cream butter with brown sugar; add eggs, one at a time, beating well.  Melt chocolate over hot, not boiling, water; add to creamed mixture with coffee and vanilla.  Stir in flour and walnuts.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.  Cool.  Whip cream stiff (I like to add about 1/4 cup powdered sugar).  Fold in cherries.  Spread on top of pie; decorate with chocolate or candy hearts.

Red strawberries are perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Here’s a treat so start the day –

Strawberry Citrus Muffins

1 1/4 Cups chopped strawberries
3 tbl. margarine, melted
2 tsp grated orange or lemon rind
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar I reduce this to 1 cup – it’s plenty
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Cooking spray
2 tsp sugar I like to use the coarse sugar on top
1/2 Cup strawberry jam (optional) But why wouldn’t you?!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a bowl and mix just until mixture is blended.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add strawberry mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until mixture is moist.  Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray ( or you could use pretty heart-shaped liners).  Sprinkle with 2 tsp sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center.  Remove muffins from pan immediately.  Serve with jam, if desired.

More Strawberries…

strawberrry shortcake1

Lite Strawberry Shortcakes

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups halved strawberries, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons chilled stick margarine or butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 tablespoons frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
  • Whole strawberries (optional)
    1. Combine 1 cup strawberry halves, 1/3 cup sugar, orange juice, vanilla, and lemon juice in a bowl, and mash with a potato masher. Stir in 2 1/2 cups strawberry halves. Cover and chill.

    2. Preheat oven to 425°.

      Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl; cut in margarine with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk, stirring just until moist (dough will be sticky).

    3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 4 times with floured hands. Pat dough into a 6 x 4-inch rectangle. Cut dough into 6 squares. Place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

      Split shortcakes in half horizontally using a serrated knife; place each bottom half on a dessert plate. Spoon 1/4 cup strawberry mixture over each bottom half. Top with shortcake tops; spoon 1/4 cup strawberry mixture over each top. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon whipped topping; garnish with whole strawberries, if desired.

       

Lastly, think about anything you could cut into a heart-shape, using a cookie cutter.

  • Toast
  • Biscuits
  • Pancakes
  • French toast
  • Cookies – Here’s my favorite Sugar Cookie recipe

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Here you go, friends!  I hope you have fun baking up a sweet treat for someone you love!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

 

 

baking · cakes · dessert · entertaining

Best-Ever German Chocolate Cupcakes

Last week I shared with you about the Fall Bridal shower I had the joy of hosting.  However, I left you hanging about the most important component of the day – DESSERT! I had asked the bride-to-be what her favorite cake was and learned that she loves German Chocolate.  I set out looking for what looked like the best Cupcake recipe.

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I found it via Pinterest – it is Ina Garten’s recipe – always a winner in my book!  These were the most moist little cakes – even before the decadent icing was added!  The buttermilk and sour cream do the trick!  Even if you don’t love German chocolate icing, you need this chocolate cake recipe!  But if you’re a German Cake lover, too, I bet you’ll love them as much as we did!!

 

The recipe says it Makes 14 cupcakes – I got more like 21!

Ingredients:

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
2 extra-large eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream at room temperature
2 tablespoons freshly brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with 14 paper liners.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.

3. Divide the batter between the cupcake pans (I use one rounded 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop per cupcake). Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE FROSTING
For 14 cupcakes

Ingredients:

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
1 1/4 cups sugar
5 extra-large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup sliced blanched almonds, toasted
1 cup chopped pecans

Directions:

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the milk, sugar, egg yolks, almond extract, vanilla extract, and salt with a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Lower the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens a little and coats the back of the spoon. Don’t allow it to boil! If the mixture gets lumpy, turn off the heat and beat it vigorously with a whisk. **My personal note on this would be to cook it a little longer than five minutes, or at least be sure you can refrigerate it overnight so it has time to get nice and thick!  My icing did drip a little, but it was spreadable the next morning and delicious!

2. Off the heat, add the coconut, almonds, and pecans and allow to cool about 1 hour. Frost the cupcakes with a dinner knife or metal spatula

Whatever your need for cake is in the near future, these little chocolate cupcakes will make your guests smile!  I plan on making these again this week for a whole different celebration and a new icing!  I’ll share in an upcoming post!

Happy baking!

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise Signature 150 px