Red Velvet Cake

November 21, 2010

Red Velvet Cake



1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3½ cups cake flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1½ teaspoons salt
2 cups canola oil
2¼ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) red food coloring
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1¼ cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking soda
2½ teaspoons white vinegar.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place teaspoon of butter in each of 3 round 9-inch layer cake pans and place pans in oven for a few minutes until butter melts. Remove pans from oven, brush interior bottom and sides of each with butter and line bottoms with parchment.

2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl.

3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in two batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine.

4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.

5. Divide batter among pans, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, flip layers over and peel off parchment. Cool completely before frosting.

Yield: 3 cake layers.

Red Velvet Cake Icing

2 cups heavy cream, cold

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

12 ounces mascarpone

½ teaspoon vanilla

1½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted.

1. Softly whip cream by hand, in electric mixer or in food processor. Cover in bowl and refrigerate.

2. Blend cream cheese and mascarpone in food processor or electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, pulse briefly, and add confectioners’ sugar. Blend well.

3. Transfer cream cheese mixture to bowl; fold in whipped cream. Refrigerate until needed.

Yield: Icing for top and sides of 3-layer cake.

Lemon Squares

November 21, 2010

Lemon Squares


12 Tablespoons (1 ½ Sticks), Plus 1 Tablespoon Cold Unsalted Butter

1 ¾ Cups Plus 3 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

2/3 Cup Confectioners’ Sugar, Plus More For Garnish

¼ Cup Cornstarch

¾ Teaspoon Salt Plus A Pinch

4 Eggs Lightly Beaten

1 1/3 Cups Granulated Sugar

1 ½ Teaspoons Lemon Zest

2/3 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice – Strained

¼ Cup Whole Milk

2 Tablespoons Lemon Extract

Lightly butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with 2 teaspoons of the butter and line with 1 sheet of parchment or waxed paper.  Butter the top of this sheet of paper with 1 teaspoon of the remaining butter and then lay a second sheet of parchment or waxed paper crosswise over the first sheet.  The parchment should be cut large enough so that the sides are even with the top of the baking dish; this extra paper will function as handles to help you remove the lemon squares from the pan later.  Set pan aside.

In a large bowl combine 1 ¾ cups of the flour, 2/3 cup of the confectioners’ sugar, the cornstarch and ¾ teaspoon of the salt and mix thoroughly.  Cut the remaining 12 tablespoons of butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture.  Using your hands, 2 forks, or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal. 

Transfer the butter-flour mixture to the prepared baking dish and press into an even ¼ inch layer along the bottom and partly up the sides of the pan.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the crust is chilling, preheat the oven to 350° F.

Bake the crust until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

While the crust is baking, assemble the filling by combining the eggs, granulated sugar, flour and lemon zest in a medium bowl and whisking until smooth.  Stir in lemon juice, milk, lemon extract and remaining pinch of salt.  Mix well.

When the crust is golden brown, remove it from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325° F.  Stir the lemon mixture again, then pour onto the warm crust.  Bake until the filling is set, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Grasp the waxed paper that lines the 2 longest sides of the baking dish and remove the bars from the pan by pulling up gently. The entire dessert should easily dislodge and come away from the pan.  Transfter to a cutting board and, using a clean kife, cut into squares, whping knife after each cut.  Place a small amount of confectioners’ sugar into a small sieve and sprinkle the pars with sugar.  Serve immediately or refrigerate, wrapped with plastic wrap, up to 2 days, until ready to serve. 


Apple Crisp

November 19, 2010

Apple Crisp



5 Granny Smith Apples – Peeled, Cored & Chopped Small

¼ Cup Finely Chopped Pecans

3 Tablespoons Unbleached Flour

½ Cup Brown Sugar

2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice



¾ Cup Unbleached Flour

1/3 Cup Brown Sugar

¼ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

¼ Teaspoon Salt

6 Tablespoons Chilled Butter – Cut Into Pieces

¼ Cup Chopped Pecans

Preheat oven to 350° F. 

For the filling: Mix all the ingredients together and place into a baking pan. 

For the topping: Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl.  Blend the butter into the mixture until it forms pea size lumps.  Stir in the pecans and sprinkle over the filling.

Bake crisp for 35 to 40 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes before serving.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.   Yummy!

Victoria’s Old-Fashioned Gingerbread

November 18, 2010

Victoria’s Old-Fashioned Gingerbread



2 Cups Unbleached Flour (usually a good idea to sift)

1/3 Cup Sugar

1 Teaspoon Salt

½ Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

1 ½ Teaspoons Ground Ginger

½ Teaspoon Ground Cloves

½ Cup Melted Butter

1 Cup Molasses

2 Eggs

½ Cup Buttermilk

¼ Cup Hot Water

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Sift together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices.  Stir in melted butter, molasses, eggs and buttermilk.  Beat in hot water.  Pour batter into a generously greased and floured 8 inch square man.  Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched with finger. 

Serve gingerbread with whipped cream.

*Note:  If you do not have buttermilk you can use sour milk (1 teaspoon vinegar and enough milk to make ½ cup)


November 18, 2010


One of Italy’s great gifts to the rest of the world (besides Italian men!), zabaglione, is an ethereal dessert made by whisking together egg yolks, Marsala wine and sugar.


2 Eggs Yolks

1 Tablespoon Sugar

1 Tablespoon Marsala Wine

In the top of the double boiler beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick and foamy.  Beat in the wine.  Set the mixture over simmering water.  Make sure the water doesn’t touch the base of the bowl and shisk constantly for about 4 minutes.  Continue whisking until it forms a thick creamy foam that coats the back of the spoon.  The eggs need to be cooked gently so the mixture stays smooth.  Serve immediately over fresh fruit, sponge finger biscuits or broken biscotti pieces.  Serves 2.

Victoria’s Traditional Pumkin Pie

November 14, 2010

Victoria’s Traditional Pumpkin Pie


Pre-heat oven to 350°


2 Cans Pumpkin (15 oz each)

1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

4 Large Eggs

1 Cup White Sugar

1 ½ Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 ½ Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon

¾ Teaspoon Ground Ginger

¼ Teaspoon Ground Allspice

¼ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

¼ Teaspoon Ground Cloves

1 Teaspoon Salt

2 Tablespoons Butter

10” Pie Shell

Pre-heat oven to 350°

In a large bowl: mix pumpkin, whipping cream, eggs and vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl combine sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves and nutmeg.  Next: Add sugar and spice combination into pumpkin mix and stir together.  Pour into a prepared pie shell and dot with butter.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes (or until filling is set) on lowest oven rack. When done remove, cool and serve at room temperature.  Can be served with whipped cream. 


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