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Whoops. Skipped a day there, didn't I? It wasn't a mistake. I just didn't feel like turning on my computer and blogging after baking a yellow cake from scratch for my father's birthday.

Mmm, giant chocolate-covered donut

Of course the cake wasn't really the hard part. No, that was the boiled icing. My maternal great-grandmother used to be a baker of some local renown, and her recipies, like all ancient texts, are something of an enigma to decipher. However, after some trial and error over the years (plus a quick review of pertinent information in The Joy of Cooking and a tabbing through Google for "boiled chocolate icing"), I've got the icing down pretty good.

Her recipie:

  • 3 c sugar
  • 1 c milk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 sq bitter chocolate
  • 1 T Karo syrup

Stir on high until it boils, turn down and cook to 230° or until it forms a soft ball in water. Let it cool about 20° before stirring. Add vanilla (1t), beat until it doesn't go back into itself too quickly. Put onto cake. Cools quickly after beginning to ice.

Momo wasn't kidding. If you attempt this yourself, know that you have maybe a minute (or maybe two, tops!) of working time to spread that icing. Once it leaves the heat, it starts forming a hard, delicious shell of chocolate.

Bon appetite, Dad.

(Note that this was a food exchange: I made my great-grandmother's cake, and he made his mother's grape leaves. The cake might have been a lot of work, but I'm pretty sure I came out ahead in the deal.)

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March 4 is National Pound Cake Day. I have no idea why. I asked the Internet, and it just shrugged. It seems that mankind was clever enough to build the Internet into most comprehensive information aggregator in human history, but no one has figured out how to add footnotes to it yet.

As for the following pound cake recipe, I'm not giving away my secret family recipe to the world (because really not that many people read my blog), I'm putting it somewhere I'll find it when I need it.

1. Mix 1/2 pound butter (room temperature) and 1-2/3 cups of sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes.

2. Mix in 5 whole, large eggs one at a time.

3. Slowly (!) add 2 cups of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder.

4. Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract.

5. Pour mix into a greased & floured tube cake pan and bake for 1 hour at 350°.

6. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes; then remove cake directly onto rack until cool.

I'd mark that step 7 is "eat it," but I guess that part is really optional. Delicious!

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To be continued...


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