Learn about the whole challenge here!
Oh I love food.
This is a slightly crazy over the top post because I had lots of people at my house and needed more food than anyone could ever need. Since there were so many people and so many new recipes I used and liked, I decided to let you see them all. Hopefully someone tries one or two. Next week there will only be one. I PROMISE. Apparently I missed the recommended pasta note too. Oops. Next week, cheese. I get it. Damn, I love pasta too.
That totally weighed about five pounds. This recipe is straight from one of my favorite Food Network stars. Paula Dean. That woman cracks me up. She knows her recipes are full of butter and bad for you things, but at least she admits it. I am looking at you Rachel Ray. Let’s not even talk about her and her bodysuits.
Paula calls this her “Southwest Georgia Pound Cake“. I call it Pound Cake. I wanted to make something simple to go with the fresh blueberries and strawberries I had bought. Plus the simple vanilla ice cream we were making that day. While no one ate it with ice cream and there was half left after the cookout, I consider that a good recipe when there was an entire 6 person table covered with desserts. The remaining came to work with me and was gone in one day.
While I like pound cake, I am no expert on the heavy cake. I think this recipe was super easy and tasty, as most of Paula’s are and I would definitely make it again.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (you may use lemon or almond flavoring instead, I used half vanilla and half almond since I know a lot of people are iffy on lemon flavored desserts)
Generously grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan. Do not preheat the oven. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Alternately add flour mixture and heavy cream to butter-sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in flavoring. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Put into a cold oven and set the temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes without opening the oven door. Bake for an additional 15 minutes if necessary ( I did not have to bake the extra 15 minutes). Remove from the oven and cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto cake plate. For a real treat, serve yourself a slice while it’s still warm.
I should tell you that this was all that remained after two days. Apparently the chocolate birthday cake from scratch was excellent. And devoured. I should tell you that I questioned making cake from scratch. I never question icing from scratch because tub icing is AWFUL. Please never serve me faux icing. But now, I do not question cakes from scratch. MMMMM.
Anyway! On to the cake. I was nervous about a chocolate chocolate cake. And I was nervous about the strength of the chocolate that I used in the icing. But mmmmm. Tasty. If you are a chocolate lover, dive in!
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake from The Cake Book
2 2/3 cups ap flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup regular cocoa powder (not Dutch processed)
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs at room temp ( I forgot to do this, so I set them in a bowl of warm water to get them to room temp quickly)
2/3 cup sour cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
10 tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled (again, I forgot to do this, so I only heated it until softened)
2/3 cup of safflower or corn oil ( I used corn)
1 1/4 cup ice cold water
Preheat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of 2 – 9 inch rounds and dust with (I prefer cocoa powder so that there is no chances of flour spots on your cake)
Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt into medium bowl.
In separate bowl, whisk eggs until blended, add sour cream and vanilla. Whisk until blended.
The recipe called for a stand mixer, but sadly, I do not have a stand mixer. So I just used my regular hand mixer and beaters. In giant bowl, mix butter and oil together on low speed. Add the cold water and mix until blended. Apparently oil and water do mix! Add dry ingredients all at once and mix for one minute. Add the egg mixture and mix for one more minute or until well blended. Spread batter evenly into the 9 inch pans. I recommend using a giant spoon or ladle and spooning batter into cake pans, that way you ensure they are even and can count how many spoonfuls go into each one. I think this works much better than eyeballing it. Seeing as how I have had two very different size layers before on other cakes.
Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pans for 15 minutes. Invert the cakes onto wire racks and cool completely before frosting
Fudgy Chocolate Icing from The Cake Book
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
The recipe calls for you to melt the chocolate over a pot of barely simmering water. I am not that good of a cook and I warmed mine for 15 second intervals in the microwave, stirring at the end of each 15 seconds. I probably warmed mine for about 1 minute total. Just melt it enough to only have small chunks left. Your stirring will remove any remaining lumps. Allow the chocolate to cool to “tepid.”
I haven’t a clue what tepid chocolate looks like, so I just let it sit maybe ten minutes.
Using a mixer beat the butter until creamy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add the confectioners sugar and beat at high speed until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. I add the sugar in 1/2 cup increments so not to have sugar clouds over everything. Add vanilla extract. Add the “tepid” chocolate at low speed, making sure to scrape sides as neccesary. Mix for at least one minute on high. I prefer to mix longer for a fluffier icing.
Do not refrigerate if you plan on icing the cake right away. It will harden due to the butter and chocolate.
I stored this in the fridge for a day since we would not be eating it right away. I did let it sit and come back to room temp before eating so that the icing was not too hard.
Overall, the recipe is pretty easy. I thought it was a lot better than a box mix and I was quite skeptical that it would be. It was eaten very very quickly, so it was tasty to others too. The icing seemed very dark chocolate to me but once on the cake, it was glorious. I was also glad that it was a relatively simple recipe and did not call for any special fancy chocolate. I used Hershey’s cocoa powder and Baker’s chocolate squares. There was no cake flour required, just simple all purpose.
I will definately make this again but probably only for a special occasion such as a birthday or party. But dayum, it was good.
Did I mention it was tasty?
And for the finale- Homemade Cinnamon Rolls.
I love cinnamon rolls. Every year my mom makes them for Christmas morning. And I always sneak just one extra because butter, sugar, oh my! I am not one who likes the white frosting stuff on my cinnamon rolls, I like mine with a simple caramelly glaze that you can scrape out of the pan with a finger. I did half on mine with walnuts and half plain because we had little kids eating them and some didn’t like nuts. While it says it makes 12 cinnamon rolls, I think you could easily cut them smaller and get 18 or 20.
The recipe is from Taste of Home and called Caramel Pecan Sticky Buns.
I did not have pecans and used walnuts just fine.
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
3/4 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
3-3/4 to 4-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Directions: In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the milk, sugar, oil, salt and 1-1/4 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into an 18-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Spread butter to within 1/2 in. of edges. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over butter. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal. Cut into 12 slices. If you start in the center and cut the dough in half, it is easier to get even sized buns. Combine brown sugar and cream (I doubled the amount of brown sugar and cream so that it would be more gooey and I was really glad I did); pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with pecans. Place rolls cut side down over pecans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until well browned. Cool for 1 minute before inverting onto a serving platter. Makes 1 dozen
I froze mine so that I would be able to not have the mess of making them in the house when everyone was there. I took them out of the freezer the nite before and stored them in the fridge until about one hour before baking time. A trick to getting things to rise nicely is to turn your oven on the lowest temp, mine is 170 for just a few minutes, then turn the oven off. Let it cool for a few minutes and set your dough in there.
I love cinnamon rolls and these were delicious. Absolutely fabulous. I will make them again because I love them. But they are time consuming like most yeast breads tend to be. Freezing them was perfect for me. Next time I might make a double batch and only put them in 9 inch round pans so that I can bake 6 at a time. If you are comfortable with yeast breads, make these! Or if you want to try a homemade cinnamon roll, this is a pretty basic recipe. And a pretty fattening recipe.