Angel Food Cake Delight + 5 Retro Cakes for Spring!

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I turned to Betty Crocker for inspiration this week.  Every so often I find myself leafing through my Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, the cookbook my grandmother gave me after Bubba and I married.  “You’ll need this, it has everything.” she promised.  At first glance, I judged the cookbook for its lack of “healthy” recipes, horrible food photography and sexist illustrations of family life.  I tucked it away in our bookcase with the plan of donating it.  Years passed, but Betty remained on our book shelf.  I couldn’t part with her.  This dated, meant for “home-makers” cookbook gave me a glimpse of a time before social media, mommy wars, barre and kale smoothies, quinoa and hemp seeds.  As much as the Mad Men era illustrations of mom in heels baking a cake with 2 kids underfoot and Dad in a suit sampling her hard work with a smug look on his face enraged me, I couldn’t help but notice the common ground across generations.  Women ministering to their loved ones by making delicious food.  Homemaker or not, food is love, it was then and it still is today.

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Angel Food Cake Delight     

Light and airy angel food cake filled with honey whipped cream and fresh berries        

Serves 10-12

Recipe barely adapted from Baking Illustrated and inspired by Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook

Ingredients for Angel Food Cake:

1 cup sifted cake flour

1 1/2 cups sifted sugar

12 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Directions for Cake:

Move an oven rack to the lower-middle position and pre-heat your oven to 325F.  Set aside an ungreased large tube pan with a removable bottom.  ( If you can’t remove the bottom, line it with parchment paper.)

Whisk together the flour and 3/4 cup of the sugar in a small bowl.  Place the other 3/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on low-speed until they break up and begin to froth.  Add the cream of tartar and salt.  Turn the speed up to medium and beat until the whites form soft mounds.   Beat in remaining 3/4 cup sugar, just 1 tablespoon at a time, until all the sugar is added and the whites form soft peaks and are shiny.  Next add vanilla and lemon juice and beat until just combined.

Turn off the mixer and sift third of the flour/sugar mixture over the whites.  Using a rubber spatula, gently fold them in.  Sift the remaining flour/sugar mixture of the whites and gently fold.  Scrape the batter into your pan.  Smooth the top with a spatula.  Gently bang the pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.

Bake until the cake is golden brown and the top springs back when you touch it with your finger, about 50-60 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and invert it onto the prongs of the pan or use the neck of a glass bottle.  Allow the cake to cool for 2 to 3 hours before removing it from the pan.

Once cool, run a knife around the edges of the pan.  Slice the cake out the pan and carefully slice off the removable bottom.   Set the cake golden brown side up on a cake platter or stand.

Using a serrated knife cut 1 inch the top of the cake off.  Set aside.  Carefully cut down into the cake, leaving a 1 inch border from the middle hole and cake “wall” and 1 inch base.  Scope out the inside of the cake and set aside. (Keep the scraps for nibbling!)

Fill the hollowed area of the cake with your honey whipped cream/berry mixture.   Place cake top on and press gently.  Cover the rest of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.  Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to over-night.  The cake, refrigerated, will last up to 2 days, but I doubt you will have leftovers.  Enjoy!

Honey Whipped Cream  + Fresh Berry Mixture

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook

Ingredients:

3 cups heavy cream

5-6 tablespoons of honey  (light flavored)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup raspberries

1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced in quarters

Directions:

Start with a chilled bowl and beater.  Add cold heavy cream to the bowl and beat until the cream thickens.  Add honey and vanilla and continue to beat until the cream creates stiff peaks.  Be careful not to overbeat!   Remove less than half of the whipped cream and place in a small bowl.  (Set aside remaining whipped cream.)  Using a rubber spatula fold in the berries.  Use the berry mixture to fill the cake and use the remaining whip cream to cover the entire cake.

**You can make the whipped cream (without the berries) ahead of time.  Be sure to store it in an air-tight container in the fridge.  It will stay fresh for up to 10 hours.  Whisk for about 10 minutes before using and then proceed with the recipe.**

5 Retro Cake Links for Spring

Love upside down cakes? Try Sally’s Baking Addictions Pineapple Upside-Down Cake made from scratch!

For the coconut lovers in your life make Coconut Queen Party Cake with Marshmallow Frosting.  Head to Mid-Century Menu for the recipe.

I just discovered the Lady Baltimore Cake today and apparently it is Martha Stewart’s’ favorite.  Check it out here.

If you need a simple, old fashion cake make Betty’s Banana Layer Cake.  I love all things banana so this is going on my must make list.

My grandmother use to make this delightful and tasty chocolate cake roll all the time.  Thanks for reminding me Smitten Kitchen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carrot Tea Cake + 5 Tea Cakes for Spring

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A much-needed new car battery triggered the anti-theft code for the radio in my car.  Silence.  No NPR, no music.  I made a few good guesses for the code, but none of them worked.  We were left with just the sound of the windshield wipers moving robotically back and forth.  The kids were oddly quiet on the way to school.  Maybe the lack of sunshine was getting to them or maybe like a newly discovered old toy, they enjoyed the silence.  I can’t say.

I finished the drop-offs and headed home; the baby now asleep in the back seat.  The resounding silence overwhelmed me.  Thoughts drifted in and receded like the tide.  Thoughts fell like spring snow and melted away just as quickly.   No, they didn’t do any of that.  My thoughts in that long, loud moment of silence were too much to hear.  I wasn’t prepared, so I brushed them aside.

I pulled into our driveway, relieved the silence would end once I transferred the baby from the car-seat to his crib.  But it didn’t.  He slept peacefully in my arms as I unlocked the door and carried him up the stairs into his room.  Once downstairs, I checked my email, my phone, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook; all those place you check when you can’t be alone with your thoughts.  Checking into my online world didn’t make me feel any better.  I set my phone down and turned on the oven.

ctcCKIn silence, I whisked the dry ingredients, beat the butter and sugar, mixed in the eggs.  I grated the carrots and tossed them into the wet ingredients along with a few tablespoons of Greek yogurt.  I folded the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture.  I spread the batter into my prepared loaf pan and popped it into the oven.  All in silence, all the while thoughts, welcomed and, some not, came and went.

Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger permeated the house and forty minutes later my carrot tea cake was ready.  After some cooling time, I topped the cake with a thick layer of maple cream cheese frosting.  And during the baking, then cooling and frosting, my sweet boy woke from his nap.  The silence, now gone, left me wondering: what’s next?

Carrot Tea Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

A moist and dense tea cake full of grated carrots and topped with a large, delicious dollop of maple cream cheese frosting.  This a perfect sweet treat for your next spring brunch.

recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

serves 8

Ingredients:

1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature and a bit more for the pan

1 cup white whole wheat flour (This flour will make the cake a bit more dense.  If you prefer a lighter cake, stick with all-purpose flour only.)

1/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour and a bit more for the pan

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

4 tablespoons Greek yogurt ( I used Fage 2% because that is what I had on hand.)

1 cup packed grated carrots (from about 2 carrots)

1 bar (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Butter and flour a 5×9 inch loaf pan and set aside.   In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Beat in carrots and Greek yogurt.  Turn your mixer to low and add the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  The batter will be thick, almost like cookie dough and that’s ok!

Spread batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 35-40 minutes.  Start checking at 35 minutes. The bread should be golden brown and spring back in the center when lightly touched or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Then turn the cake onto a wire rack and cool completely.

While your cake is cooling, make the frosting.  Using a clean mixer, beat the cream cheese confectioners’ sugar and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup until very fluffy.  Spread on top of cooled cake.  Serve or store at room temperature in an air tight container for a couple of days.  I think this cake tests best on the second day.  Enjoy!

5 Tea Cakes for Spring!

If you love Nutella, check out Zoe Bake’s recipe for Nutella swirled banana bread.  My kids will go nuts for this, if I share. 😉

Apple pie disguised as a quick bread?  Yes, it exists and I can’t wait to try it this fall with fresh, local apples.  Head to My Baking Addiction for her apple pie bread recipe.

My mom makes an amazing lemon tea bread that is very similar to Paper & Birch’s glazed lemon bread recipe.  Yum!

Summer will come eventually and when it does use up extra zucchini for my zucchini bread recipe. So good especially with a little cream cheese.

Looking for a whole-grain quick bread recipe?  Check out Babble’s whole grain strawberry banana bread!

Spring Chopped Salad + 5 Spring Salads for Mother’s Day

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I love salad, but lately I am in a salad making rut. Practically everyday, I make the same salad with the same salad dressing. The salad usually consists of mixed greens with whatever fruit or vegetables that we have sitting around. I always add goat or feta cheese, and maybe some pepitas. The salad dressing is a balsamic vinaigrette, the same one I’ve made for years. It tastes great, but my taste buds are bored. This week I felt wild. Time to shake things up, so I made a new salad: a spring chopped salad and it is awesome! (Ya, that’s how we shake things up around here. I know. Crazy, right?) My taste buds thanked me and so did Bubba!

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I saw purple asparagus at the market and had to buy it mainly because it is purple and pretty. Bubba noted its milder flavor. I agree. It is a bit milder than your typical asparagus. C loved the color and G said no thanks. (Such a polite boy!) If you see it at your local market give it a shot.

I think you could swap out whatever in season vegetables look good, but do not leave out the salami! You need the salami. The salami works so well in this salad especially when paired with cheddar, chives, mint and parsley. So don’t leave that out either.

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Be careful this salad is addictive! But hey, it’s salad. Enjoy it. The boys need me. Bye for now!

Spring Chopped Salad with Shallot + Cider Vinegar Vinaigrette

Recipe adapted by Not Without Salt

Serves 4-6

Ingredients for salad:

5 or 6 cups cut, rinsed and dried romaine, cut in 1-inch ribbons

1 bunch purple asparagus, blanched

1 cup chopped chives, mint and parsley

3 radishes, chopped

3 scallions, green parts, chopped

1 bunch green beans, blanched

1 cup garbanzo beans (If using canned, be sure to drain and rinse the beans.)

1 cup sharp cheddar, chopped

1 cup salami, chopped

1/4 cup pepitas (I didn’t toast them, but I bet they are great toasted.)

Ingredients for vinaigrette:

6 tbsp. olive oil

3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tbsp. finely chopped shallot

1 tsp. dried oregano

squeeze of honey

Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Set aside.

Blanch asparagus and green beans and set aside. Combine all salad ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss. Season salad with a bit of sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Pour vinaigrette around the bowl and toss the salad to combine. Serve immediately and enjoy!

**If you want to make this salad ahead of time do not dress it until ready to serve. Also, you can make this salad and dressing and eat it for a few days in a row; just don’t dress the entire salad. Be sure to store the salad and dressing in air tight containers in the fridge.**

5 Spring Salads for Mother’s Day

If you love arugula you should try this spring panzanella by Happy Yolks. This beautiful salad is a mix of fennel, arugula, spring peas and garbanzo beans. Yum! I bet your Mom will love it too.

Are you craving potato salad today? How about pickled spring onions and new potatoes together in a salad? Yes! Smitten Kitchen has the recipe for you. This salad looks like the perfect addition to any Mother’s Day brunch or picnic. Check it out!

I love sugar snap peas and so do the kids. This sugar pea and fennel salad by Gourmande in the Kitchen is sure to make an appearance on our dinner table this spring.

I can’t wait for Mother’s Day to make this strawberry and spinach salad by Gimme Some Oven. I want to eat this beautiful salad for lunch, today.

One of my new favorite blogs is Edible Perspective. I love Ashley’s photography and healthy recipes. Her spring salad with hemp seed dressing is sure to make your mom feel good next Sunday. Want to learn more about hemp seeds? Head here!