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Archive for June, 2011

This recipe is June’s edition of the Southern Plate-Picture Perfect Cooking project and I have to admit that I had my doubts about this one.  I used to love fruit cocktail when I was a kid, but had not eaten it in years.  When I read this recipe I was intrigued, but I wasn’t sure how putting these ingredients together could come out as a delicious cake.  Well, it does! 

You don’t really know there is fruit cocktail in the cake because all of the fruit just seems to bake into the batter and makes this so moist.  Oh, then there is the business of the sauce that goes on top.  Oh. My. Goodness.  The sauce is amazing!  I may try to make the sauce with brown sugar instead of white sugar and see if it comes out like a praline sauce.  Yum!  Try this and you will not be disappointed!

There was one little change I made.  I do not like flaked coconut and the sauce recipe calls for it.  I just left it out and the sauce was still delicious.  Below is the original recipe, but the photos included will not show the coconut.

For The Cake:

2 cups self-rising flour

one 15oz can fruit cocktail

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 13×9” baking dish.  With an electric mixer, combine all of the cake ingredients and beat at low speed for about 2 minutes.  Pour into the pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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For the sauce:

1 stick unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

While the cake is in the oven, make the sauce.  Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar.  Boil for 1 to 2 minutes until everything is completely incorporated. 

Using a toothpick, poke many small holes in the top of the hot cake and pour the sauce over.  Let it set for about an hour and enjoy!

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I am linking this recipe to Lady Behind The Curtain’s Cast Party Wednesday!

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When I found this recipe, I thought it looked familiar and then I realized why.  If you have ever made a Twinkie cake, this frosting is very similar to the filling.  In fact, it may be the very same thing.  This is a great frosting for “beginning decorators” kind of like myself.  I can bake, but decorating cakes and cupcakes has never been my strong suit.  My skills are improving a little and I think having the right piping tips helps as well.  As you will see below, I listed the exact tips I used and the results I got.  I will tell you my favorite at the bottom.

I found this version of frosting/filling at Our Best Bites.  Their site is full of delicious looking food and other cute projects, so please check it out.

3 tbsp flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup real butter, room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

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Whisk together the flour and milk.  Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken.  Let is cook, while stirring, until it looks like pudding.  You should be able to see the bottom of the pan when you stir it.  Push the thick mixture through a mesh strainer to smooth then cool completely to room temperature.  It has to be completely cooled to mix with the next ingredients.

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In an electric stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes until well combined and fluffy.  Add the thickened and cooled milk mixture and the vanilla.  Beat on the highest speed for 7 minutes.  Yep, that’s right, 7 whole minutes!  I know that sounds like a lot, but it takes that long for this frosting to come together.  If after 7 minutes, the texture is not right, keep beating it.  It will eventually combine for a smooth and creamy frosting.

Here are the different icing tips I used and the results from them.

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And here is one I messed up, so I just had to be the hero and get rid of it! Hee, hee!

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My favorite tip, by far, is the 2D which is the first one shown. My next favorite is the 1M, which is the last one shown.  The second one is ok, but I didn’t like the texture as well.  I love the ruffles that the first tip creates!

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For this edition of Thoughtless Thursday, I am going to write about something that is near and dear to my heart…COOKING!  Specifically, these are my very favorite cooking utensils.  I use these things the most when I am in the kitchen and I want you to know about them.  Here is a little disclaimer first: These companies have no idea who I am and are not paying me a cent for my opinion.  This is just that…my opinion.  Ok, let’s get started!

This machine has been my very best investment in the kitchen, and, when I say investment, I mean it.  Kitchenaid mixers are not cheap, but they are the workhorses in the cooking world.  I bought mine at least 16 years ago if not longer with tax return money, and I have never regretted the decision.  I think this thing could mix concrete if you needed it to.  I have basic white, but there are so many pretty colors to choose from.  If this one ever gives out on me (heaven forbid), I think I will pick a bright color next time because I will definitely get another.

Next on my list are Oxo spatulas.  I don’t know how Oxo does it, but these spatulas are perfectly weighted to make stirring so much easier.  The handles are also ergonomically correct so they are gentle on your hands and wrists.  I have three and they always seem to be dirty!

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I bake a lot and I also travel with food quite a bit, so another of my must-haves are covered glass baking dishes.  The brand is not so important here, but I love having different shapes and sizes to choose from.  These are not only good for baking, but for serving, transporting, and storing food as well.

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For stirring up light batters or small tasks like melting butter, I always reach for a glass mixing bowl.  I have metal ones that I use occasionally, but I have always preferred glass.  Again, this is one place where brand is not too important.  I have Pyrex and Anchor Hocking and I like both brands just fine.  Remember to try to get tempered glass though so there is less change of breakage.

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Last, but certainly not least, are knives.  These paring knives from Rada are my first line of cutting power.  I have a Henckels block set that I use when I need bigger knives, such as a chef’s or bread knife, but these are perfect for everyday use.  From slicing strawberries to cutting potatoes to wedging apples, these little beauties can to it all and more! Even better, they are only $4.90 each!!!

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These are my favorites and I would love to hear what your favorites are.  Maybe I can find my new favorite from yours!

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Menu Plan Monday

Good morning, fearless readers!  It is hard to believe but June is here and in full swing.  In just a few short days, C & I will celebrate our 10th anniversary in a very special way and I promise to share details very soon.  It doesn’t seem possible that it was 10 years ago that we were planning our little wedding and honeymoon.  Time has gone by so fast and so many things have happened, both good and bad, but I wouldn’t change our time together for any reason.  C is my best friend and playmate!

This week’s list is a little on the simple side.  I have multiple days of court this week and lots of anniversary celebration preparations to make!  I can’t wait!

Grilled hot dogs & oven baked fries

Taco ring (2 nights)

Banana pancakes & bacon

Pizza Night

Local steak/seafood restaurant

Chocolate no-bake cookies

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Back in 2009, not long after I started blogging, I published another post for Strawberry cupcakes here.  Those recipes were really good, but I wanted to see if these would be better.  I don’t know if they were better, but they were tasty.  This recipe uses a combination of strawberry preserves and chopped strawberries for an extra little flavor kick that I really liked.  Also, to make them look more “strawberry”, this recipe uses a tiny bit of red gel food coloring to tint them strawberry pink which is nice and pretty.  If you don’t want to use the coloring, just leave it out since it does not affect the taste at all.

To top these, I used “Perfect Cupcake Frosting & Filling” from Our Best Bites, which I will spotlight next week.  The cupcake recipe itself is from Yummy Cakes By Lynn.  You can check out her site right here.

2 tbsp strawberry jam or preserves

1/4 cup finely chopped strawberries

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3 large egg white, room temperature

1/4 tsp vanilla

4 drops red food coloring

1/3 cup milk

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the middle of the oven.

In a small bowl, stir together jam and chopped strawberries.  In a second bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

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Using a mixer, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the egg whites, vanilla and food coloring and beat until combined.

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Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk in 2, beating on low speed until just combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.  Fold in strawberry mixture until just combine.

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Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 full. Bake for about 25 minutes, until centers bounce back when touched.  Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Check back next week for the frosting recipes and finished photos!

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