Sunday, April 28, 2013

Apple Sauce Cake

 
I have a messy garage and a patio (aka catio) that desperately needs to be power washed.  Strange segway to cake I know, but hang with me a little longer and I'll get you there.  I assigned the mega task of catio mold removal to The Bellman.  He bravely ventured forth into the garage and low and behold returned with a power washer.  When did we buy that??  Hmmmm.  He insisted he had used it before but I had my doubts--not just because of the state of the catio but also because the thing was still in its original box.   Well, as he got to it and pulled the power washer out we found this:


Hard to see I know.  It was hard to read, too.  This appears to be a very old and fragile piece of paper with a hand written recipe for applesauce cake.  It is signed by someone named Mildred K.  I have no idea who that could be or how it found its way into my power washer box.  Needless to say, I think Mildred really wanted her recipe on the blog so I baked it--exactly as written.  It has a LOT of dates in it and I admit I was very tempted to do some tweaking.  But I did not and I'm glad because it baked up very tasty and moist!  Mildred, I hope I did ya proud. 

APPLESAUCE CAKE
Yield:  9 x 13 pan

2 1/2C flour
1 1/2C sugar
1tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
1tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2C shortening
2C applesauce
2 eggs
1C chopped dates
1C walnuts, chopped

1.  Mix together flour, sugar, baking power, baking soda, salt and spices.
2.  Add shortening and applesauce.  Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
3.  Add eggs and beat until blended.
4.  Fold in nuts and dates.
5.  Bake 40 minutes at 350.

Thank you Mildred K.  Enjoy! 
.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

 
Sweet Tea, Grits and Red Velvet.  When you see any of the three on a restaurant menu you know you must be south of the Mason-Dixon Line.  Southerners lovvvvve their Red Velvet cakes. To me, Red Velvet is a moist, colorful not very chocolaty cake used merely as a vessel to move that yummy cream cheese frosting into your mouth.  It is also a tad bit messy.  My first venture into baking Red Velvet from scratch left enough red splatter in my kitchen to keep Dexter busy for hours.  Needless to say I don't make it often.  However, a birthday request from a friend can't go unanswered, right?!  So, this batch is for Natalie.  Happy birthday y'all!

RED VELVET CUPCAKES
Yield: 18-20 cupcakes

2 1/2C flour
1tsp cocoa powder
1tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
1 1/2C sugar
1C buttermilk
1 1/2C veggie oil
2 eggs
1tsp vinegar (white)
1tsp vanilla
1 oz red food coloring (one bottle)

1.  Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
2.  In another bowl, mix together sugar, buttermilk, oil, eggs and vinegar.
3.  Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and beat on medium speed until well blended.
4.  Add vanilla and red food coloring and mix again on low speed until well blended.
5.  Fill lined muffin tin 3/4 full with batter.
6.  Bake 350 approx. 20-25 minutes.


CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2C butter, at room temperature
16 oz confectioner's sugar
1tsp vanilla

1.  Cream together cream cheese and butter. 
2.  Add sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
3.  Pipe onto cooled cupcakes. 

Enjoy!



Monday, April 8, 2013

Hot Cross Buns

 
Every year at Easter like clock work, Bellman (my hubby) and I have the same conversation about--of all things--hot cross buns.  Not only do I hear about their origins and history (Bellman = great story teller = greater tips.  Trust me, it works) but I also get to hear about Bellman's fond memories of Auntie Gretchen's traditional homemade oh so warm and toasty with a drizzle of sweet frosting hot cross buns. I have never had one but I'm thinking they sound pretty tasty.  So, I decided to give it a try.  Can't be that hard, Auntie Gretchen did it every year, right?! 

I started researching and found that there are tons of recipes out there and a ton of variations.  I decided to stick with one that sounded do-able and made some minor tweaks along the way.  These are a bit labor intensive and I'll admit about half way through I was pretty tempted to run up to Publix bakery and see what they were offering instead.  I stuck with it--I didn't think Auntie Gretchen would have approved of that option.

So, as Bellman lie all tucked in bed for the night I make my final drizzle and decided these are lookin' and smellin' pretty good!  I awoke my snoring taste tester for final approval.  "Do they taste like Auntie Gretchen's?" 
"Nope," he replied. 
"Are they a do-over?" I asked.  That is code for would you eat them again if I made them again. 
"Yes hon, let's have them again next year!"

And so it begins.  A new, yet old tradition in the Morgan household.

HOT CROSS BUNS 
Yield: 12 buns

1C milk
1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
1/2tsp sugar 

4C flour
1/4C dark brown sugar
1tsp cinnamon
1/4tsp cloves
1/4tsp allspice
1/4tsp cardamom
1/4tsp ground nutmeg
1/2tsp salt
5tbl butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4C raisins
 

1. Heat the milk until lukewarm (about 100 degrees F ). Add the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar and stir to combine. Set aside for about 10 minutes or until the yeast is foamy.

2.  In the bowl of your mixer, with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, spices and salt. Once the yeast is foamy, gradually add it to the flour mixture and beat until the dry ingredients are moistened.
 
3.  Add the melted butter and egg and beat until incorporated.
 
4.  With the mixer on medium low speed, with the dough hook, gradually add the raisins and continue to knead the dough until it pulls free of the sides of the bowl and forms a ball.
 
5.  Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turning the dough once, so the top is lightly greased. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise until it has almost doubled in size (about 2 hours).
 
6.  When the dough has doubled in size, gently punch it down to release the air, and divide into 12 equal pieces.
 
7. Form each piece into a small round ball and place on a lined baking sheet.
 
8.  Make an egg wash of one beaten egg with 1T milk and brush the tops of the buns with the wash. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with a nonstick cooking spray, and place over the buns. Place in a warm spot until almost doubled in size (another hour).
 
9.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash again and bake for 15 minutes.


GLAZE

1/2C  confectioner's sugar
1tbl milk

1.  Combine the confectioners sugar and milk and mix until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag and using a small round tip, pipe a 'cross' on the top of each bun.



*adapted from The Joy Of Baking