Friday, March 27, 2015

I Saw It On FaceBook....

I saw this lovely cake on FaceBook and decided that I could make it.

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So I looked around for the right cake and frosting recipes to suit me. I found a recipe from Smitten Kitchen for a basic yellow cake and a recipe on a cooking board for a vanilla buttercream. Then began the search for the candy. I finally had to suck it up and go to Walmart to find the Rainbow Twizzlers ( I hate going to WallyWorld and try to avoid it if at all possible.)

The cake almost went into the fail column...note to self: verify the size of your pans. I poured the batter into two prepared 9" cake pans but they were not 2" deep. They looked like giant mushrooms when they came out of the oven. I was, however, able to trim away the lip of excess.

I am a timid baker and am always terrified of running out of frosting, so I was a bit stingy with the filling. And I almost panicked when applying the crumb coat. But, as always, I wound up with an excess of frosting. Why can't I trust the recipe?

There was a department store in my home town during my youth that had a bakery under the direction of an amazing German pastry chef, and they made the very best cakes. The basic birthday cakes had a cherry nut filling that I adored. I decided to try may had at that and used about 3/4 cup of the buttercream with some chopped maraschino cherries and finely chopped pecans. It was pretty good!

Once frosted, I set about applying the decorations. I am not going to lie...I got tired and the frosting was drying so my finished product is far less elaborate than the one on FaceBook, but I think that it turned out pretty good.

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If you are interested, here are the recipes that I used:

Best Yellow Layer Cake
Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake.

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.
Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. (I like to drop mine a few times from two inches up, making a great big noisy fuss.) Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
Restaurant Eve
This makes a generous amount of icing, so those with a not-so-sweet tooth may want to reduce the quantities or expect leftovers.

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 pounds (7 1/2 -8 cups) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream, (may substitute whole, low-fat or nonfat milk)
Food coloring (optional)
In a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until fluffy. On low speed, add the sugar in batches, increasing the speed to high after each addition is incorporated. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract and cream in a steady stream on low speed until incorporated. Add a few drops of food coloring, if desired. (Restaurant Eve uses red to make pink.) Beat on high speed for 8-10 minutes, until light and fluffy.
(And yes, I do see the note that says it makes a generous amount of icing.)

So, I hope to not see my attempt on the Pinterest Fail website one day.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


I grew up in wonderful neighborhood in which everything was in walking distance. The pharmacy, hardware store, beauty and barber shops, grocery store, auto parts store, bank, doctor's offices, etc. And one of my favorites was the Krispy Kreme. That sign in the window would call to everyone in the neighborhood.

I have always been somewhat timid when it comes to yeast, so when I saw this recipe, I knew that I had to try it. It came from an online friend Janine, who got the recipe from a childhood neighbor. (Sorry, that's the best sourcing I can provide for the recipe.

Mrs Waser's Best Ever Donuts

4 1/4 cups sifted flour
4 teasp baking powder
1 1/4 teasp nutmeg
1/2 teasp salt
2 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 cup milk
1 teasp vanilla

Sift dry ingredients together. Beat together the eggs and sugar in your KA until light. Stir in butter, milk and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients, stirring only until smooth. Knead lightly and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut your donuts
Fry in 370 degrees hot oil, turning once during frying. Drain on paper towels.

She rolls these in sifted powdered sugar, cinnamon and sugar or a glaze, recipe below.

Donut Glaze
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Milk to make it runny
Boil until thickened. Add 1 teasp vanilla and dip the doughnuts while the glaze is still warm.
If it should cool and thicken, just reheat the glaze.

I had trouble controlling the heat of the oil and had to remove the pot from the heat a couple of times, but that gave me time to roll them in the cinnamon sugar.

Now, if you care, these have approx 180 calories each and approx 25 grams of carbohydrates.

My Culinary Bucket List

Hi there! Let me tell you a little about myself.

While I have always enjoyed cooking, I didn't really come to love it until my late thirties or early forties. My mother loved to cook, but my father was not an adventurous eater, so we always had comfort food. This is what I still do well. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, chicken pot pie, pot roast, etc.

But over the years I have watched enough cooking shows on TV and read enough culinary magazines and cookbooks that I have developed a long list of things that I not only want to try to make, but to perfect. If a recipe doesn't work out the first time, I will always assume that the fault lies with me. And like the Energizer Bunny, I'll keep going, and going, and going until I get it right.

This will not be the blog of a chef, or even an expert home cook. There will not be pretty pictures of the process. I am a messy cook and don't have a fancy camera set up. I have a twenty year old electric range, a ten year old KitchenAid mixer, and a couple of really good knives.

So, dear reader, if you have recipe that you think that I should try, please let me know.