Truth is, I don’t need an excuse to make a cake. But having a holiday is a very good reason to pull out the pans and pastry bags. I love patriotic holidays, get teary-eyed at any flag-raising display or performance of the National Anthem (even ones for other countries; the Olympics nearly kills me), and am a huge lover of Americana. So, of course, I have to render my love of country in frosting. You see the logic.
An old family recipe brings back memories of people. The aroma and taste of this cake (my Grandmother Yvonne’s recipe that she made often) takes me back to special occasions and Grandma’s house. A tiny little lady–not quite five feet tall and probably never weighing 100 pounds–my grandmother was a wonderful cook. When she was sixteen, she dropped out of school to help support her family, and one of her early jobs was as a cook at the county jail. Those lucky inmates! Her sister made a terrific chocolate cake (which is always called “Auntie’s Chocolate Cake” in our family) that I’ll feature on a later blog. Coffee cake is great with coffee, but I like it anytime. Interestingly, this recipe was “lost” to me for years until my Aunt Carol came over to my house a few years ago for a party and brought me the recipe as a gift. I was thrilled and have made it over and over since then.
I don’t think Grandma Yvonne would mind if I shared her recipe. Here it is:
Mix together and then take out 3/4 cup of crumbs:
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup softened butter
After taking out the 3/4 cup crumbs, add these ingredients:
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pour in pan, sprinkle reserved crumbs on top. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees. I usually use a 9×13 pan, but this time I made two 8-inch rounds and there was a cake to share!
A lady who lives just down the street from me gave me this recipe almost ten years ago. As I started to update my blog, I saw her walk by! The universe (and everyone who has tasted it) clearly approves of this cake. I conjecture that it’s called Black Russian because it has Vodka in it and is chocolatey in color. And man, is it good.
I had it for the first time at a “progressive” neighborhood Christmas party where we moved from house to house eating desserts and drinking until we progressed to being full and drunk. But happy. I’m glad to say this is a cake for any season.
Here’s the recipe:
Butter and sugar a “Bundt” or fluted cake pan
Mix all these ingredients together for several minutes–it will be thick, so I use my Kitchenaid stand mixer.
1 box Yellow cake mix
1 package (6 ounces) chocolate instant pudding mix
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1/4 cup Khalua
1/4 cup Vodka
1/4 cup water
Pour in prepared pan and bake 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees. Let it cool about ten minutes then flip it out.
You can make a glaze from 1/4 cup Khalua and 1/2 cup powdered sugar or use another glaze of your choice.
Total disclosure and confession: I did not make this. My husband got me an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins for Mother’s Day. Isn’t that fun? It was as tasty as it looks. I parked it on my lovely cakestand for a photo op before we devoured it. I don’t think I’ve had an ice cream cake in years–possibly decades. What the heck have I been waiting for? So what that I’m old enough to be somebody’s mother? I love ice cream.
I once went on an ice cream diet in which I attempted to live on ice cream. It didn’t last very long, but somehow I lost weight. Although I tend to be fairly fanatical about fitness and my fridge is full of fruits, vegetables, and organic dairy, I could eat ice cream every single day. In the summer, I think I do!
P.S. Did you see those Oreo cookies? Love’em.
One of my favorite treats is a chocolate orange. They are easiest to find around Christmastime in my area, but I would imagine a nice candy shop would have them year-round. Ever try one? It’s fun. You smack it on the countertop to “break” the orange into slices. They come in milk chocolate and dark chocolate, both equally delicious. I have to ration them out–only two slices at a time or I think I’d eat the whole “orange” in one fell swoop.
Because I love orange and chocolate together, I made an orange flavored cake with a rich chocolate icing this week. The icing is made using Baker’s chocolate and the recipe is from the inside of the box. It’s easy and richly delicious. This cake got great reviews at my house this week!
I think my made-up name for this cake would be a great name for a restaurant or bakery, right? In this case, I called it what it was. It’s a French Vanilla cake with extra vanilla in the icing. The slightly obnoxious shade of blue I colored the icing was not entirely intentional. The cake was for my son’s 13th birthday (April is THE month of birthdays in our family) and he loves blue. However, I giddily dumped blue coloring in and flipped on my Kitchen Aid without remembering how much “blue” you get out of blue coloring. Some icing colors take a ton of colorant, some surprise you with their vitality. So that’s what happened. The cake was very blue and very vanilla, but we liked it anyway.
Can’t believe I put thirteen candles on and my “Millenium Baby” is now a teenager.
Another week, another emptied cake plate. Now that summer is coming up, I better line up some summer themed cakes. And stock the baking cabinet to continue The Year of Cake. I’m having a lot of fun, and I hope you’re enjoying a taste, too!
April is a month of birthdays in our family. Not that we ever get tired of cake, but we sure have plenty of it! For my younger sister’s birthday, I asked what kind of cake she would like this year.
“Chocolate,” she said emphatically.
No problem! I made chocolate cake, chocolate icing, and poured half a bag of chocolate chips on top for garnish.
I could eat this cake for three meals a day. Confession: there was a leftover piece after the official birthday party, but I did not send it home with the birthday girl. I ate it right off the cake plate the next day. At least I used a fork. I have some dignity.
Tomorrow is my Dad’s 68th birthday, but we’re having his party today. A true baby-boomer, he was born in 1945.
My Dad is not an adventurous eater–he’s the kind of man who would order a cheeseburger in a fancy restaurant–so his favorite cake is white on white.
Nice day here in Ohio, so my big plan is pork chops on the grill. Hope the sunshine stays!
This one brings back memories because I’m pretty sure I haven’t made it for over a decade. The recipe comes from my all-time favorite cake book called Colette’s Cakes: The Art of Cake Decorating by Colette Peters. The publication date is 1991, but it is still a beautiful and relevant cake book. It is primarily about decorating cakes for all occasions, but it does include a few recipes, too. I was inspired to look it up on Amazon and thrilled to find it is still available in hard cover. Here is the buy link: http://www.amazon.com/Colettes-Cakes-Art-Cake-Decorating/dp/0316702056/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364141604&sr=1-1&keywords=colette%27s+cakes
She has a few other books on there, too, focusing on birthdays or weddings. She is truly an artist! In addition to making her chocolate cake (which is delicious!), I also used her buttercream icing recipe. It’s a pretty common recipe, and I added Nestle’s “Choco bake” to make it chocolate. Have you ever used “Choco bake”? It comes in little foil packets and can be added to icing (and many other things) and it imparts rich chocolate taste without changing the consistency of the icing. Love it. I also use it to drizzle over cakes and desserts for appearance and a little hint of chocolate.
My usual family group of ten is coming over tonight for dinner and cake. Hope everyone enjoys this dessert!
Always one to look on the bright side, I have only this to say:
1. It smells far better than it looks.
2. I wisely placed a cookie sheet under it so I don’t have to take a fire hose to the bottom of my oven.
3. I will know what size pan to use next time.