Sunday, March 27, 2011

Very Happy Birthday Pound Cake with Rich Chocolate Frosting

I call March the month of birthdays!  The birthdays truly just "March" in.  Including my children, there are many relatives on both sides of our family with birthdays in March, some with the same date.  I would have preferred to have the fun a little more spread out.

My daughter's birthday was last weekend.  I made her favorite cake:  pound cake with chocolate frosting.  I have several good pound cake recipes, but my all-time favorite has always been my evaporated milk pound cake...it's moist, light and delicious. You'll find the chocolate frosting I make extremely easy and rich...in fact, it's so candy-like, my daughter likes to eat it with a spoon!

Evaporated milk pound cake was my go-to for birthdays for years...then I lost my recipe when I moved.  The following recipe is adapted from a recipe I found online; and if it's not the same as the one I used for years, it's very close and excellent.  (I've edited the recipe since my original post to specify using all butter and provide a little more detail in the preparation.)

                               Happy, Happy Birthday March Babies!

Approximately 12 large servings

The Cake

Ingredients
  • Non-stick baking spray with flour
  • 3 c. plain, all-purpose, pre-sifted flour (I use White Lily)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp. ground mace spice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) room-temperature butter
  • 3 c. granulated sugar
  • 5 large room-temperature eggs
  • 1 c. evaporated milk
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions

1.  Grease a 10" tube pan:  If you use a tube pan that has a removable tube insert:  Cut a circle of wax paper about one inch wider than the insert and cut out a hole for the tube.  Place the wax paper over the tube inside the pan and press the paper to the bottom and sides of the pan (the edges will be fluted).  Spray the non-stick baking spray over the wax paper and the entire inside surface of the pan, including the tube.  Press, again, the paper to the bottom and sides of the pan.  Lay a sheet of aluminum foil on the rack below the one you will bake the cake on, just in case the tube pan leaks a little grease.
                                                                                                                                                 

        

Wax paper in pan before greased/floured.             



                                                                                        


                     

                   
Wax paper in pan after greased/floured. 





                                                                                 


2.  Sift together the flour, baking powder, mace and salt. Set aside.
3.  Cream the butter and sugar well, or until light and fluffy.  Scrape the bowl.
4.  Preheat the oven to 325ยบ.
5.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape the bowl again.
6.  Stir the vanilla into the evaporated milk and add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk & vanilla mixture.  Scrape the bowl and give the batter one last quick little mix.
7.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for l hr. and approx. 35 minutes (check after 1 hr. and 25 minutes), or until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake springs back when gently pressed with your finger.
8.  Cover the cake with a clean dish towel and cool on a rack away from drafts overnight.
9.  Invert the cake onto a serving platter, release from the pan and carefully remove the wax paper, if used.  Ice with the vanilla or chocolate butter cream frosting.                                                                                                                  
The Frosting

Ingredients

Vanilla Butter Cream
  • l lb. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) room-temperature butter 
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • approx. 1/4 c. plus 1 TB evaporated milk
Chocolate Butter Cream
  • add one c. cocoa
  • add another approx. 3 TB evaporated milk
Directions
  • Beat ingredients very well until glossy, adding the milk a little at a time as needed for spreading consistency.
For a thick frosting (as the one pictured on the cake above):   make one and one-half times the recipe. 

Tip:  I ice the cake upside down for a flat top.  To ice the entire top of the cake:  Cut a circle from a plastic container lid from a grocery item (such as a cream cheese container) that will fit snugly into the hole of the cake where the tube was.  Place the circle of plastic over the hole in the cake and ice over the entire cake.  When you cut the cake, everyone will fight over who gets the circle with all the icing (generally the birthday person wins!).  Enjoy!

Printable Recipe

What's That Got to do with This?

Recently, I had lunch at a bakery/cafe with my daughter and two-year old grandson.  He kept coming back to one item in the display case:  the carrot cupcake...my daughter says because he recognized the carrot piped on top.  Naturally Bon Bon had to buy it for him!
                                         
                                        The Four Dollar Cupcake!
                                       Worth Every Precious Bite!

  
                                                                                        

Monday, March 7, 2011

Chunky, Creamy Corn Chowder

I have not always been interested in soup...I said I liked food I could sink my teeth into. With time, I grew fond of soup...when it's right!  Oh, this hearty recipe for corn chowder is so right and offers plenty of crunchy goodness!

My daughter has a talent for recognizing a good recipe when she sees one.  When she made this not long ago and I took home leftovers, I fell in love with it.  I found this incredible corn chowder somewhat addictive, and I ate probably three or four lunches and dinners of it in a row.  (I'm surprised I didn't have it for breakfast...wonder how that would've been?)  Now, you have to realize that was highly unusual for me; as I am not prone to enjoying much of anything consecutively (other than Gone with the Wind).

                                        Sink Your Teeth into This...                                    


                                              Oh, So Right!

As Adapted from Epicurious.com

Serves 8

Ingredients
  • 1/2 c. 1/4" diced slab bacon (2 oz; rind discarded if necessary)
  • 2 c. 1/4" diced sweet onion (14 oz - about 1 very large) such as Vidalia
  • 1 c. peeled & 1/4" diced carrots (about 2 large - or make it easy & use baby carrots)
  • 3/4 c. 1/4" diced celery (about 1 rib)
  • 1 c. 1/4" diced red bell pepper (about 1 med. pepper)
  • 1/2 lb (about 2 small) yellow-fleshed potatoes such as Yukon Gold, peeled & 1/4" diced
  • 1/2 lb sweet potato (about 1 medium), peeled & 1/4" diced
  • 5 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth (40 fl oz)
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs (brush the leaves from)
  • 3 c. corn kernels from about 6 ears of corn (frozen corn kernels are fine)
  • 1 1/2 c. heavy cream (I use half & half)
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • Thickener:  2 TB cornstarch & 1/2 c. cold water
  • Garnish: 2 seeded and diced plum tomatoes and about 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh chives

Directions

  1. Cook the bacon in a wide 6 to 8 qt. heavy pot over moderate heat about 5 minutes or until crisp, stirring frequently. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add the onion, carrots, celery and bell pepper to bacon fat and cook, stirring about 8 to 10 minutes or until the onion is softened.
  2. Add all the potatoes, broth and the leaves from the thyme sprigs.  Cover and simmer about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are just tender. Add the corn and cream.  To thicken, gently stir the cornstarch with the cold water and slowly stir into the soup until well incorporated.  Simmer the soup uncovered about 10 minutes (do not boil).  Add the sea salt and pepper and stir in the bacon.  
  3. Garnish each serving with the diced tomatoes and chopped chives. This would be good with my Simple Side Salad with Avocado and Dixie Girl Makes Yankee Cornbread.  Enjoy!


                                             Corn, Sweet Corn


                                                 


                                                                  
Corn