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Tag Archives: Baking

Since my 86 years have started to catch up with me, I don’t cook as often, particularly experimenting with new recipes that I can share. I do still cook the family holiday meals, though, and every Sunday fix lunch for my two daughters which features a favorite recipe and is followed by 3 hours of various kinds of needlework and chatting. For these lunches, I always make something they especially like from my blogs of over 10 years and I thought it might be fun to share my Sunday desserts each week.

Today’s dessert is special because it commemorates my 86th birthday – a White Velvet Cake with Caramel Frosting made by my younger daughter. She made her first county fair prize-winning cake as a teenager and made this Best-of-Show cake as a young mother. It’s the cake I always request for my birthday. From my 2008 post, two wonderful cake recipes:

https://lillianscupboard.wordpress.com/2008/07/22/county-fair-white-cake/

My youngest daughter’s adventures with baking award-winning cakes for our county fair started in 1983 when she was a 13-year-old 8th grader and never that interested in fairs – to attend or to exhibit. But her older sister and her mother were immersed in getting things ready for the Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Fair and she decided to enter the cake division.

Cakes were not allowed to be frosted, so all of the attention was centered on the attributes of the cake itself. She made the cake, I took it to the fair and she won a Blue Ribbon and even got her recipe printed in our community newspaper. Here is the recipe:

Blue Ribbon White Cake

2-3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1-2/3 cups granulated sugar
4-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
2/3 cup Crisco shortening
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
5 egg whites
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large mixer bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add one cup milk and Crisco. Beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add 1/3 cup milk and vanilla and beat until smooth.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Pour batter into two greased and floured 9?x1-1/2? round cake pans. Bake approximately 25 minutes until cake tests done when a toothpick is inserted near the center.

Cool in pans for 15 minutes, remove from pans and cool on wire rack. Frost as desired.

The years passed by, she married, had two children, and out of nowhere in 2006, 23 years after her first blue ribbon, she decided to enter again. But this time she was adamant that she was going to get a Best of Show Rosette. Her sister and I, seasoned fair exhibitors, tried to tell her it was very difficult to get the rosette which would represent the best cake out of all kinds of cakes – white, chocolate, spice, layer, sponge, angel food, pound, etc. She said the Rosette was all she really wanted and she would retire from fair competition after winning it. In spite of a broken oven, coping with two young children and taking the cake to the fairgrounds on a day so hot that we were afraid the cake itself would dissolve – she did it. She won the blue ribbon and the Rosette for Best of Show.

The cake was a favorite she had been baking for quite a few years as my birthday cake – White Velvet Cake from the Cake Bible cookbook.

4-1/2 large egg whites (4 full liquid ounces)
1 cup milk, divided
2-1/4 tsp. vanilla
3 cups sifted cake flour
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tblsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
12 Tblsp. butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl lightly combine the egg whites, 1/4 cup milk and vanilla.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and remaining 3/4 cup milk. Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1-1/2 minutes. Scrape down sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.

Pour batter into prepared pans and smooth surface with a spatula. Pans will be about 1/2 full. Bake 25-35 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pans only after removal from the oven.

Let cakes cool in pans on racks for 10 minutes. Loosen sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto wire racks. To prevent splitting, reinvert so the tops are up and cool completely.

Frost as desired.

Note: Two 9×1-1/2-inch cake pans should be greased, bottoms lined with parchment or wax paper and then greased again and floured.

Can be frozen for two months. Texture is most perfectly moist the same day as baking.

The fair exhibit rules called for a single layer with no frosting, but I’m including the recipe for the luscious caramel frosting that she always uses for my two-layer birthday treat.

QUICK CARAMEL FROSTING (Fannie Farmer Cookbook)

6 Tblsp. butter
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Melt butter and brown sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan, stirring over moderate heat until sugar is dissolved. Add the milk and blend. Cool in the pan. Then beat in the confectioners’ sugar until the frosting is thick enough to spread.


Since my 85 years have started to catch up with me, I don’t cook as often, particularly experimenting with new recipes that I can share. I do still cook the family holiday meals, though, and every Sunday fix lunch for my two daughters which features a favorite recipe and is followed by 3 hours of various kinds of needlework and chatting. For these lunches, I always make something they especially like from my blogs of over 10 years and I thought it might be fun to share my Sunday desserts each week.

Since we’ll be having a big cookout lunch for Labor Day tomorrow (with apple pies), dessert for this Sunday was simpler and lighter. These pineapple cups are from a 1940 Better Homes & Gardens reader and she describes the dish as, “ Double surprise! Comes cake, then custard hiding pineapple!” It’s easy to make and is a great light dessert. Note: The recipe is for 3 servings – it would be easy to double all ingredients and make 6 servings. From my 2010 blog post:  https://lillianscupboard.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/summer-lunch-for-the-ladies/

Pineapple Cups

8 oz can pineapple tidbits, drained (reserve juice)
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tblsp. all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
1/3 cup juice drained from an 8 oz. can of pineapple tidbits
1-1/2 Tblsp. lemon juice
1 Tblsp. grated lemon peel
1 Tblsp. butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp. milk
2 egg whites, beaten stiff

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Have 3 small ungreased individual baking dishes at hand. Boil water to pour into a flat pan with a lip that will hold the 3 dishes.

Drain juice from pineapple can into a cup – should measure approximately 1/3 cup. Set aside

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour and salt. Add the lemon juice, lemon peel, cooled melted butter and milk, whisking until smooth.  Fold in the beaten egg whites.

Place tidbits in the bottom of three individual casseroles. Divide batter among the three dishes and pour over the pineapple. Place the dishes in a pan with a lip containing an inch of hot water.  Bake @ 325 degrees F for 45 minutes.  Cool on wire rack.

Pineapple cups are best served warm or at room temperature.

Also served, as in the original post: Corn-on-the-cob and Pecan Spinach Toss Salad from my post of 2010.  https://lillianscupboard.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/summer-lunch-for-the-ladies/

 

 


In the 1980s-90s, my husband and I lived in a rural area called Blue Jay, located on the Ohio/Indiana border.  My husband had a huge garden and every kind of berry bush and fruit tree that does well in our area.  My favorites were the black raspberries and we got bumper crops year after year.  I used them in every conceivable way, but regret that I found this recipe after we had to leave our country home and all the wonderful berries.  It’s a quick, easy way to turn 1-½ cups of fresh raspberries into a delicious dessert with a little cake and lots of berries.

Butter is melted in the oven in a 9-inch pie plate.  Then cake batter is poured over the butter (no stirring) and berries are scattered on top along with a sprinkling of sugar.  The cake rises up over the berries to form a thin layer and is delicious warm from the oven or at room temperature.

Raspberry Mountain


¼ cup butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Dash of salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¾ tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup plus 2 Tblsp. milk
1-½ cups fresh raspberries
Additional 1-1/2 Tblsp. granulated sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and melt butter in 9-inch pie plate   Heat until butter is melted but not brown.

Meanwhile, mix flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, salt and baking powder in bowl.

Stir in milk.  Pour this batter over the melted butter – DO NOT STIR.

Drop berries over top, scattering evenly over surface.  DO NOT STIR.

Sprinkle 2 Tblsp. granulated sugar on top and bake for 30 minutes @ 350 F degrees.

The butter and batter rise to make a thin top crust that is buttery, sugary and crunchy at the edges.

Delicious plain or with a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 

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I adapted this recipe from one on epicurious.com several years ago and it has become a family favorite.  The shortbread would be great just by itself, but teamed with a layer of apricot and walnut filling plus a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar, it is simply delicious.  It’s easy to make with no mixer required.

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Shortbread and Apricot Bars

  • Servings: 8 to 12 bars
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Shortbread
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
½ cup chilled butter cut into small cubes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a 9×9 inch baking pan, place the flour, sugar and salt, stirring with a fork to mix.  Add the butter and with your finger press the butter into the dry ingredients and then spread the dough in the pan, pressing down to flatten and smooth it out.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes until top is light brown.  Remove from oven and set on rack.

Make Filling
2/3 cup dried apricot halves (about 4 oz.) coarsely chopped  – place in small pan, cover with water and boil until soft – about 4 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

2 large eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp vanilla
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped walnuts

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the eggs, whisk in the brown sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla.  Stir in the flour, walnuts and apricots.  Pour this mixture on top of the baked shortbread.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 35 minutes until top is puffy and dark brown.  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes.  Cut into portions and lift onto a rack that has been placed on top of a baking sheet.  Allow to cool thoroughly.  Note:  I cut mine into 8 portions which turned out to be large servings of a rich dessert.  Cutting the shortbread into 12 squares might be better.

Topping
¼ to ½ cup confectioners’ sugar

After cookies are cool, spoon confectioners’ sugar into a fine strainer and lightly sift over the bars.
Makes 8 large bars or 12 squares 

shortbread-apri-1

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At Christmas time, I found  Hershey’s Sea Salt Caramel Chips which were new to me and put them aside while I was baking my standard Christmas favorites.  My daughter and I were going to attend an Appalachian “Ringin’ in the New Year” event and something was needed for potluck dinner.  There never seem to be enough cookies for children at these dinners, so I thought I would try out the new chips.

chips

There was a recipe on the package which may be very good but it was for a chocolate cookie and I wanted a vanilla cookie that would be easy to pick up, not crumbly and that would not spread out too much.  I adapted the recipe to meet these requirements and thought the cookies were delicious.  My younger daughter is not given to lavish praise and when she rated them “fabulous”, I figured I had a winner.  They went very fast at the dinner.

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Salted Caramel Chip Cookies

  • Servings: Approx. 40 cookies
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½ cup (one stick) butter or margarine, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-2/3 cups (10 oz. pkg.) Sea Salt Caramel Baking Chips (Hershey)

In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter/margarine, brown sugar and granulated sugar.  Beat in the vanilla, soda, salt and egg.

Gradually add and mix in the flour and chips.

Drop by tablespoon onto parchment covered baking sheets and flatten cookies very slightly.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 9 minutes until cookie is set.  Do not overbake.

Cool slightly, remove to wire rack to cool.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies. 

salt-car-cook-1

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stollen-5

I really love this version of stollen which is easy and fairly quick to make.  The ricotta gives the dough an interesting texture and the bits of dried fruit are delicious.  Even with a heavy coating of powdered sugar, this is not overly sweet.  Lovely with hot coffee or tea.

stollen-1

Easy Fruit Stollen


Dough:
2-¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1-½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup cold butter, cut in cubes
1 cup ricotta cheese, part-skim milk type
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-½ tsp. butter flavoring (optional)
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
l/4 cup each of figs, dates, apricots, raisins, chopped to ½ inch cubes
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted and cooled

Topping:
3 Tblsp. butter, melted
½ cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

Blend the butter cubes into the flour mixture to form uneven crumbs.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cheese, egg, vanilla and flavorings.

Toss the fruit and almonds with the flour mixture until evenly distributed.  Than combine the wet and dry ingredients, mixing until most of the flour is moistened.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it two or three times until it holds together.  Divide dough in half.

Form each half of dough into a rectangle about 4 inches x 7 inches, 1-1/2 inches thick.
Place shaped stollen on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the stollen until they’re lightly browned around the edges – about 40 minutes.  A cake tester inserted into the center of a stollen should come out clean.

Remove stollen to a rack and allow to cool.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar.

Wrap in plastic wrap until ready to serve.  Cut into one-inch wide slices to serve.
Yield:  Two one-pound stollen.

This version of stollen does not keep for weeks as traditional stollen does.  Best if used within 3 days or  so. 

stollen-2Fresh from the oven

stollen-3Topped with butter and sugar

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oatmeal-top

This recipe came from a favorite source in the 1980s – The Blue Ribbon Gazette, a newsletter with recipes from blue ribbon winners from all over the country.  I won a blue ribbon with this bread at the large Harvest Home Festival (Cincinnati) in 1989.

This is a hearty bread that stays soft for several days and is wonderful toasted or used for a grilled sandwich.

HONEY OATMEAL BREAD

  • Servings: Three 7-1/2 inch loaves or two 9-inch loaves
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1-½ cups milk
1 cup oats, quick
1 Tblsp. salt
2 Tblsp. canola oil
One 13 oz. can evaporated milk, undiluted
¼ cup honey
2 Tblsp. fast acting yeast*
2 cups whole wheat flour
3-4 cups all-purpose flour

**I use Fleischmann’s Instant Dry Yeast. I buy it in bulk (454 g) and the package says that it is made in Canada. I understand it is packaged under the name “Instant Dry” for distribution through stores like Sam’s, “Rapid Rise” in the U.S. and “Quick Rise” in Canada. The “Instant Dry”, “Rapid Rise” or “Quick Rise” yeast is especially formulated to be used mixed with the dry ingredients and can withstand the hot liquid.

Grease three 7-½ inch or two 9-inch loaf pans

Place 1-½ cups of milk in a pan, bring to a boil.  Add oats and salt and cook for 2 minutes.  Add oil, evaporated milk, honey and salt.  Cool to 130 degrees F. (cooling will take 10-15 minutes).

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, place yeast and 2 cups whole wheat flour.  Beat to blend flour and yeast.  Add 130 degree F milk/honey mixture and beat with paddle beater for 3 minutes on medium speed.

Remove paddle beater and insert dough hook.  Continue to beat for 6-1/2 minutes, adding all-purpose flour a little at a time.   You may not have to use all of the flour – the dough should be smooth and elastic after 6-1/2 minutes. Although a little sticky because of the honey.

Place dough in an oiled bowl, turn dough over once and cover with a napkin or tea towel.  Let rise for 45 minutes in a warm place that is free of drafts (I put mine on top of my microwave which sets under a cabinet).

After 45 minutes, punch down dough (press your knuckles into the dough to deflate it). Remove dough to a lightly floured board and divide into three portions for 7-½ inch loaves or into two portions for 9 inch loaves.  Roll each portion into a loaf, pinch seams to seal and place seam-side-down in a greased 7-½ inch or 9-inch loaf pan.  Cover and let rise for another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to  350 degrees F.

Bake 7-½ inch loaves for approximately 30-35 minutes and the 9 inch loaves for about 50-60 minutes or until bread is golden brown and has a hollow sound when tapped (200 degrees on a bread thermometer*).

Cover with a piece of foil if top is browning too fast.  Remove bread from pans immediately, cover with a napkin or a tea towel and let cool on a wire rack.

Yield:  Three 7-½ inch loaves or two 9 inch loaves

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