Archive for the 'Cakes and Cupcakes' Category

Recipe: Continuing with Halloween –

|August 13, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

 

Although the Kitty Litter Cake is exceptionally good – there may be some that would prefer to pass on it (although I haven’t had anyone pass it up yet!) and I always make sure I have my traditional “pumpkin” cake ready. Of course it disappears fast too!

I bake a chocolate cake in 8 or 9-inch round tins:

Chocolate Cake

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder**
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter (not margarine)
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla**
1 cup buttermilk**

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour two nine-inch cake pans, line bottoms of pans with parchment paper; butter and flour parchment paper as well.

In bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt; set aside.

In separate bowl, cream butter; gradually add sugar and beat at medium speed for one minute; add eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Gradually add water and vanilla; beat another minute more.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add ¼ dry ingredients, 1/3 buttermilk, another ¼ dry ingredients, another 1/3 buttermilk, until both are completely added. Blend only until the flour no longer shows, then add the next portion of buttermilk.

Pour into prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for approximately 25 to 30 minutes or until done – use the toothpick test for doneness. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes before removing by inverting onto wire racks. Allow to cool completely.

Frost and fill as desired. What I do for Halloween I fill with either a pudding or mousse (chocolate) and I frost with a basic white frosting that I have tinted orange with food coloring. I decorate the cake with a Halloween face to look like a pumpkin using candy corn or other candies.

My basic frosting – A stick of softened butter, sifted confectioners’ sugar, a splash of vanilla and enough milk for a nice spreading consistency. No – I don’t measure. Ad a few drops of orange food coloring or red and yellow until your get orange.

A plate of cookies is always nice to have for serving.

This is my Autumn Cutout Cookies recipe:

½ cup butter (not margarine)
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*** recipe below
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 tablespoons canned pumpkin (or fresh – pureed)
1 teaspoon vanilla**
2 cups flour
Orange and green paste food coloring

Cream butter. Add sugar and spices. Beat. Beat in egg, pumpkin and vanilla; beat in as much flour as possible – stir in the rest. Divide into 3 portions; tint. Cover and chill 3 hours or till it’s easy to handle. Roll ¼-inch thick. Place 1-inch apart on ungreased sheets. Bake 375* F. 7 to 8 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on racks.

MARBLED LEAVES: Combine doughs; cut leaf patterns; sprinkle with sugar; bake.

PATCHWORK PUMPKINS: Roll white dough. Roll other colors and cut into strips. Lattice strips over pumpkin loosely. With rolling pin, gently roll over strips to gently press down. Cut pumpkin shapes. Use scraps to make leaves. Bake.

POLKA DOT PUMPKINS: Roll a portion of dough ¼-inch thick. Cut with pumpkin cutter. Place on ungreased sheets. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Using small cutter, make smaller cutouts in chilled cookies. Fill each opening with another color of dough. Bake.

You know by now – I insist on making as much as possible homemade!

Need Pumpkin Pie Spice?

1/2 cup cinnamon
1/4 cup ground ginger
2 tablespoons nutmeg
2 tablespoons ground cloves

Combine all. Use 3 1/4 teaspoon per 1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin.

And speaking of pumpkin –

I think everyone gets pumpkins for Halloween. Many just carve and waste the pumpkins completely. That’s a no-no in my book!

Did you know that you can make your own pumpkin puree to use in your recipes? Simple and cheap! My preference is the sugar pumpkins – but the choice is yours.

Begin by selecting a nice ripe and firm pumpkin. Don’t think that bigger is better – the larger pumpkins get “grainy” the bigger they get.

As with everything (I have this “thing” about cleanliness – almost to the point of OC!) – wash the pumpkin off! Dry with paper towels.

Cut your pumpkin open and remove the seeds and fibrous strings. Cut the pumpkin into 4 to 8 pieces (depending on the size of the pumpkin) and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Place in a preheated 375* F. oven for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until the pulp is soft.

Using a spoon, remove the pulp from the rind – discard the rind. Place pulp in a blender or processor and process until smooth. If you want a really thick puree, place the pureed pulp in cheesecloth and twist to squeeze out the excess water.

Use immediately. You can freeze in portions for baking. Label and date. YOU CANNOT CAN PUMPKIN PUREE – it is not recommended by the USDA.

And don’t waste the seeds! As children we used to chomp on pumpkin seeds constantly.

Extract seeds from pumpkin – removing from the fibrous strings. Wash thoroughly in warm water; drain well; dry with paper towels. Transfer seeds to a baking sheet in a single layer and sprinkle generously with salt.

Bake in a preheated 350* F. oven for about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes and adding more salt to taste. Cool before tasting! If the insides are dry – they are done.
Cool completely before serving.

VARIATIONS:

Cheesy Pumpkin Seeds- sprinkle with Cheesy popcorn seasoning.
Tex-Mex Style- Sprinkle powdered Taco seasoning onto the seeds. This is better mixed in a bowl first. Add more red pepper powder for a really hot seed!
Cajun style- Mix seeds in a bowl with a packet of Cajun seasonings mix. If you like it really spicy, add extra hot sauce.
Garlic Salt- REALLY GOOD!

Recipe: Halloween is coming!

|August 13, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

It’s hard to believe that the holidays are fast approaching! It seems like just yesterday we were planning our July 4th menu with friends and family.

Soon it will be Halloween – so let’s make it SPOOK-tacular and very BOO-tiful for everyone to enjoy!

Planning a house party? I’ve given many – some very scary and packed with fun things to do – as well as having more than enough to eat!

SPOOKY STORY

For those that are preparing for a Halloween party –

don't forget the spooky tales that can be told –

we used to tell a tale –

everyone sat in a circle on the floor in a darkened room (the darker the better) –

the only light was from the flashlight used to read the story (one narrator who was responsible for handing out each gorey piece as the story was told)

As the story was told (very, very slowly of course) "things" were passed around – such as the rubber glove filled with sand and frozen was the dead man's hand, which came out of the ground (that's when you pass the crushed oreo cookies on a plate around for everyone to feel graveyard dirt – be sure to refrigerate for a better effect), chicken bones were human bones, corn silk was the "hair", jello "mushies" (jello gobs with a bit of water in a bowl) were the guts or the brains, a long balloon filled just about halfway with cold water were the intestines) etc. and at the end of the story every one was handed a HO HO because they had to eat doogie doo – or RING DINGS because they had to eat cow dung!

Spooky sounds were played in the background, the story being read so slow and all the props that were used really gave everyone a good scare for the night!

And don't forget the cauldron of dry ice in the corner – it made a nice prop as well.

With a little imagination – there is so much you can do!

I think just about everyone has made a Kitty Litter cake for Halloween.

Kitty Litter Cake for Halloween

Despite the cake's appearance, it's really delicious. For the proper presentation, use a brand new (and definitely UNUSED) plastic cat litter box and spoon it onto plates with a new (NEVER EVER used) pooper scooper. I like to make this the night before because of all the remaining preparations I need to make on Halloween.

I begin by making a homemade chocolate and a homemade white cake and bake in 13 X 9-inch pans.

To save time I use my own cake mix – this one is Just Like Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Cake mix:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups baker's** sugar (superfine sugar – a/k/a castor sugar)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder**
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 tablespoons vegetable shortening

To make the cake you will need:
1 1/3 cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs

To make the cake mix: Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat in shortening using your electric mixer (on medium speed) until no chunks of shortening remain. Transfer to resealable plastic bag; label and date. This will keep in your pantry for 3 to 4 months.

To make cake: Preheat oven to 350* F. Grease and flour bottom and sides of pans – two 8 or 9-inch rounds or a 13 X 9 X 2-inch pan; or line muffin tins for cupcakes using paper liners; set aside.

Place cake mix in large bowl; add water, oil and eggs. Beat on low speed to incorporate ingredients until moistened; increase speed to medium and beat for 2 ore minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans. Round pans will need approximately 30 to 33 minutes; 13 X 9-inch pan will need approximately 35 to 38 minutes; cupcakes will need 19 to 22 minutes. Do the toothpick test for doneness.

.
For my white cake I used my White Cake Mix:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Sift ingredients.

I assemble this and place in a plastic resealable bag; label and date. This will keep for 6 to 9 months in your pantry.

When ready to make the cake: Preheat oven to 350* F. Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch baking pans or a 13 X 9 X 2-inch baking pan; or line a muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.

Place the cake mix in a large bowl, add:
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 large eggs (or extra large)
1 cup buttermilk***
2 teaspoons vanilla extract**
1/2 teaspoon almond extract – optional

Beat on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until done – use the toothpick test! My 13 X 9-inch cake was done in 35 minutes.

Remove pans from oven and allow to cool completely.

**Make it homemade and make it cheaper and healthier.

***When making butter, I always save the buttermilk to use in baking. Much cheaper than buying it at the market!

For this recipe you also need vanilla pudding, which of course I use my homemade Vanilla Pudding and Pie Mix:

Combine the following and store airtight in your pantry:
1-1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt

This makes 3 cups.

To make pudding: Using a small saucepan, combine ½ cup pudding mix with 2 cups milk. Place over low heat and bring to a boil; stirring constantly. Boil gently for 1 minute and remove from heat. Stir in ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract; mix well.

Pour into serving dishes; chill until thickened. This makes 4 servings.

BUT FOR THIS CAKE RECIPE you will need the equivalent of 2 large boxes of pudding mix – meaning 8 servings – so you will need to use 1 cup pudding mix with 4 cups milk and ½ teaspoon vanilla.

And of course – you will need a large package of vanilla sandwich cookies.

Should I? Why not? Here goes:

Start by making your sandwich filling for your cookies:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups confectioners' sugar**, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract**

Beat all ingredients until creamy; set aside while you make your cookies.

This recipe is for a basic vanilla cookie. The dough can be prepared up to 3 days ahead.

In large bowl, beat until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes):
2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
¾ cup sugar

With mixing running, beat in one at a time, beating well after each addition:
3 egg yolks

Cut a 2-inch piece vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds; add and mix well. If desired, substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract**.

In separate bowl, sift and whisk together:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Gradually add sifted mixture to creamed mixture, beating on low until well mixed. Divide dough into 4 portions; shape each into a ball and flatten into a disk; wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight. (This can be refrigerated up to 3 days ahead of time.)

When ready to bake cookies, preheat oven to 350* F. Butter 2 large baking sheets. Remove disks of dough from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before rolling and cutting.

Using a lightly floured work surface, roll dough ¼-inch thick and cut with cutters. Gather and re-roll scraps. Place on prepared baking sheets and bake about 8 minutes or until done. Transfer to racks to cool completely.

To make the cookies for this recipe, cut cookies in rounds and place 1 tablespoon filling on the bottom of one round, place another round (the bottom) on top to make sandwich cookies.

If not, this recipe can be used for cookies you like to ice or decorate with colored sugars.

Cookies for this recipe can be made a week ahead of time (they store well airtight for a week).

You made need to double this recipe – they are very good.

NOW do you think you are ready to make the cake? Yes – I get a bit long-winded……………..
Remember to buy some small Tootsie rolls (YES I HAVE A RECIPE TO MAKE THEM!) – you will need 12 for this recipe.

You will also need:

1 new kitty litter pan
1 new plastic kitty litter pan liner
1 new pooper scooper

Now that your cakes have been baked and have cooled, and you have made your 8-servings of vanilla pudding, and your cookies are baked and filled – we are ready to assemble our cake.

Using your food processor, crumble your sandwich cookies in small batches, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Reserve about ¼ cup of this. If you don’t have a food processor, place cookies in a plastic resealable bag and crush using your rolling pin.

Add a few drops of green food coloring to the ¼ cup cookie crumbs mixing until thoroughly colored.

Crumble your cakes into a very large bowl. Toss with half of the crumbled cookies and half the pudding. You want to use just enough pudding to moisten the mixture. Combine gently. Remember – you do not want this to be soggy.

Line a new, clean and thoroughly washed kitty litter box. Transfer cake mixture to the litter box. Unwrap 3 small Tootsie rolls and place in a microwaveable dish. Heat until you can shape the ends of the Tootsie rolls so that they are no longer blunt, curve them slightly. Repeat with 3 more which you will bury in the cake mixture. Sprinkle with half the remaining crumbled cookies over top; sprinkle with green cookie crumbs (to look like mold in the kitty litter).

Heat 3 more Tootsie rolls in the microwave until almost melted; scrape on top of the cake; sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.

Place remaining Tootsie rolls on top; roll in the cookie crumbs lightly.

Place litter box on newspaper – adding a sprinkle of cookie crumbs on the newspaper for a more disgusting look.

Recipe: Great Gram’s Cake Fritters

|June 4, 2011|read comments (2)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Great gram always had a house full of home-baked goodies! She baked all day. It's no wonder she won all kinds of contests and was admired by everyone. She was a great pastry chef!

This is just a "quickie" she would whip up while she was preparing fried dough for everyone to enjoy  (and don't forget – during those times you wasted nothing!):

Great Gram's Cake Fritters

She would slice (what Gramps would say was "stale" because it was made the day before) homemade cake into 1/4 – 1/2-inch slices and cut into ovals or rounds using a biscuit cutter.

In a low sided baking dish she would combine 1 egg with 1 cup milk, grated rind from one lemon, pinch salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. Then she would lay the cake ovals or rounds in this mixture until softened (not crumbly) – depending on the density of the cake, etc. and turn to coat the other side.

She would heat fat (lard in those days – but you can use shortening or vegetable oil – although we still use lard or it wouldn't be right to us) in a heavy skillet – about 1/2-inch deep. Carefully she would lift the cake pieces and place in the hot fat; browning on one side and then the other – adding additional lard if needed (depending on how many she was making – many times the recipe was more than doubled!)

Sprinkled with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar when removed from the skillet. Served plain or with hard sauce.  When I make them I sometime just sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or sugar, and I also serve them with a nice lemon or fruit sauce or even a nice chocolate sauce.

Recipe: 3 Hole Chocolate Cake

|June 2, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

This is a very old recipe!

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons vanilla**
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups water

Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt together. Put in oblong cake pan,
make 3 holes and add the liquid ingredients and mix with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees, takes a little longer than other cakes.

Recipe: Those “circuit” recipes –

|May 31, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

You all know what I am talking about when I say "circuit" recipes. Those are the recipes that are "in" for that time period and just about everyone has to have a copy of it so they can make it too.

I've seen food fads and recipes (including the "circuit" recipes) come and go, but there are some that linger because they are really good and really worth keeping. Many circuit recipes die out after a while – once they've made the circuit – it's the end for them.

Back n the 50's this recipe was quite popular –

Chocolate Fudge Cake

1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder**
1 can (about one pound) chocolate syrup**
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream margarine. Gradually add sugar and beat until light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly, after each one. Add sifted dry ingredients, alternately with syrup. Blending well. Add nuts and vanilla and put in a 9" tube pan, lined on bottom with waxed paper. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes. Turn out on a rack and peel off the wax paper. Serve with whipped cream.

RECIPE UPDATE –

I wouldn't use margarine in this recipe – only butter now. Margarine today is not made the way it was back then. Sure – margarine back then may not have been good for us – but heck – we survived and we were healthy. The changes that have been made to margarine since then have rendered margarine as garbage in my book.

I've even added a handful or so of raisins to this cake, as well as a handful or so of chocolate chips or white chocolate chips. I don't overdo it – I dislike overkill in cooking and baking.

Also – a nice chocolate glaze or vanilla glaze goes well topping this cake, as does sifted confectioners' sugar. Sprinkle the glaze with chopped walnuts, if desired.

Leave the nuts out of the cake and use on top, or don't use them at all.

It's an easy recipe – an old recipe – far from those lousy cake mixes that are infested – yes I said infested – with all those chemicals, additives, preservatives, or even MSG!

Did you know that MSG is also going by dozens of other names to fool you? I'll have to educate you on that!

**Make it homemade, make it cheaper, make it better!

Recipe: Homemade Cake Mixes

|March 14, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

In my family, I start off the birthdays with mine being the first day of fall (September 23rd) and then followed by birthdays popping up every week – some weeks 2 or 3!  So that's a lot of cakes that needed to be baked!


I cannot eat boxed cake mixes – there is something in them that makes me very sick – not uncomfortably feeling – I mean down-right SICK!  Ditto with the cakes from the store bakeries and other bakeries as well.


So I need to make my own cake mixes:

 


BASIC CAKE MIX


3 1/3 cups vegetable shortening
5 tablespoons double-acting baking powder**
7 2/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
3 tablespoons salt
11 cups sifted all-purpose flour


Place shortening at room temperature in a large mixing bowl. Cream 1/2 minute with mixer at medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Cream another 1/2 minute at same speed.


Add 4 cups sugar, 1 cup at a time. After each addition, cream 1 minute at medium speed.


Sift together 3 times, flour, baking powder, salt, and 3 2/3 cups of sugar. Sift last time into a clean mixing bowl.


Add 2 cups of sifted ingredients to shortening-sugarmixture. Blend 1/2 minute at medium speed. Turn mixture into dry ingredients. Blend until it looks like cornmeal. Be sure all ingredients are well blended.


To Store Mix:


Measure mix into 6 equal parts. Spoon it lightly into measuring cup. Each part should be 3 1/2 cups. Place each part into a quart glass jar or zip-type plastic bags. Cover and store in a cool, dark place; or place in a metal can, cover, and store in a cool place. When stored properly, mix stays fresh for up to a month. For longer shelf-life, store in the freezer.

 


Yellow Cake


3 1/2 cups cake mix
1 teaspoon vanilla extract**
2 medium eggs
3/4 cup milk


Place mix into a 2-quart bowl. Make a well in center of mix. Add eggs, vanilla extract and all the milk to the mixture. Beat mixture 1 minute with electric mixer at low speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl to be sure all ingredients are mixed. Beat 2 minutes longer at same speed.

Batter should be smooth and free of lumps.


Pour into desired pans and bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Cake is done when it springs back up when pressed lightly in center.

 


Variations:


White Cake


Use 3 medium egg whites instead of whole eggs.

 


Spice Cake


Add to the mix for cake:
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cloves

 


Orange Cake


Add 1 teaspoon grated orange rind** to mix and use 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract** in place of vanilla extract.

 


Chocolate Cake


Add 2 extra tablespoons of milk. Stir liquid ingredients into mix until just blended. Add 2 squares of melted chocolate and blend into mixture. Continue mixing batter as directed.


Yield:
1 (8-inch) square cake
2 (8-inch) round layer cake pans
1 (10 x 6 1/2 x 2-inch) loaf cake
1 (12 x 8-inch) sheet cake

 


**Make it yourself – cheaper and better.

Recipe: Depression Era Cake

|March 2, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

Times were tough during the Great Depression, foods were rationed, scarce or just unable to get. Families did what they had to do to survive. This recipe calls for just one egg – when eggs were hard to come by.

 


Preheat oven to moderate temperature (350* F. by today's standards) Grease 8 or 9-inch square baking pan; set aside.


In large bowl, combine and sift:
2 cups sifted cake flour**
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder**
1 teaspoon salt


Add:
1/3 cup soft lard (substitute shortening)
Splash of vanilla (1 teaspoon)
2/3 cup sweet milk (whole milk)


Beat well (in those days it was by hand most of the time – anyone remember the old Betty Crocker recipes – beat 300 strokes?)


Add:
Additional 1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
Continue to beat until smooth.


Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until cake tests done.


In small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind and 1 cup confectioners'** sugar. Place over low heat, stirring until smooth.


When cake is done baking, poke holes in cake and pour warm glaze over top.
Cool to serve.

 


**You can make it homemade and save money.

Recipe: Amish Apple Cake

|February 26, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

This is another popular cake in our home.

I’ve also drizzled this cake with an easy glaze of sifted confectioners’** sugar and a bit of milk or water instead of the Hot Caramel Sauce.

 


Preheat oven to 350* F. Oil (using corn oil) a 9-inch round cake pan; set aside.


In large bowl, cream until fluffy:
½ cup butter (1 stick) (not margarine)
Add and continue beating:
1 cup sugar


Add and beat well:
1 large egg


In medium bowl, whisk until well blended and add to creamed mixture:
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ – ½ teaspoon nutmeg (depending on preference)


Mix well and stir in:
2 ½ cups apple, peeled, cored, finely chopped (Granny Smith is good for this)
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
½ teaspoon vanilla extract**


Pour into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched with your finger. Serve with Hot Caramel Sauce.

 


Hot Caramel Sauce
This is a nice dessert sauce!


In heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt:
½ cup butter (1 stick) (not margarine)
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed**
½ teaspoon Kosher salt


Bring to boil; remove from heat and whisk in:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract**
½ cup evaporated milk (not sweetened condensed)


Serve warm sauce over cake.

 


**You can easily make your own when in a pinch or to save money!