Thursday, August 29, 2013

Best Cake of the MN State Fair

The State Fair- the great Minnesota Get Together- is one of the highlights of the year in Minnesota. (The other would be hockey season). Almost 2 million visitors visit the Fair and gorge themselves on fried foods and anything "on a stick". This year my husband feasted on a Breakfast Lolly (sausage on a stick dipped in pancake batter and fried) with maple syrup and I sampled walleye on a stick.

This event runs from for 10 days ending on Labor Day. There is such a heat wave at the moment that fair attendance is down quite a bit but the food competition hasn't noticed.

Scandinavian Orange Bundt Cake from Scandinavian Classic Baking is the recipe Candy Freeman prepared to enter in the category of Cakes with Fat or Cooking Oil. In addition to winning in its category this cake also received the Grand Cake Sweepstakes (Best Cake of Fair). Congratulations to her!

Orange Bundt Cake
A classic pound cake is made with one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour but doesn’t have the lighter texture preferred today in cakes. The delicate orange flavor added by the orange rind can be intensified by also adding orange extract. If you are using a fluted tube pan, I recommend using shortening and brushing it into all the grooves in the pan before flouring.

 Makes 1 cake, 12 to 16 servings

            2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon orange extract, if desired

3/4 cup 2% milk, room temperature

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons grated orange rind

Heat the oven to 350°F with rack in lower third. Thoroughly grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube pan or an angel food cake pan.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl. Combine the milk and orange juice.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally, and beat 2 minutes.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl after each egg is added. Add the vanilla and beat 3 minutes until the mixture is very light and creamy.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions of the milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. After adding all of the flour beat until smooth, but no longer than 15 seconds.

Stir in the orange rind. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of cake comes out clean.  Cool on a wire cooling rack 10 minutes. Run a spatula or a wooden skewer around the edge of the pan and around tube in the center to loosen the cake. Carefully loosen the cake from pan and invert onto cooling rack. Cool completely.

Serve with whipped cream.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

New Cookbook- Scandinavian Classic Desserts

My third cookbook, Scandinavian Classic Desserts, was recently published by Pelican Publishing. This book follows the same design as Scandinavian Classic Baking and features a photo of every recipe. There is a wide range of recipes that can be prepared by novices to experienced bakers. Many of  the sidebars are instructional and aid success.

Unfortunately Scandinavian Desserts has three errors. Somehow we all missed the following when the book was proofed.

Norwegian Blotkake- page 21 When beating the eggs for the cake, add all of the sugar (1 cup) listed in the cake ingredients. Add 2 teaspoons sugar to the whipping cream.  


Swedish Almond Bars- page 70 should be baked at 350 degrees F. Baking times are correct.


Danish Aebleskiver- page 79 After soaking the yeast in warm water it should be added to the beaten egg yolks with the flour, 1/2 cup milk and vanilla.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Father's Day Dinner

Lately I've been seeing lots of articles about cooking steak on the grill but not as many ideas for completing dinner. Instead of steak we're going to have baby back ribs on the grill because that's my husband's favorite. I'm trying a new recipe that is very simple. I'm hoping it's a good as it is simple!

I'm preparing a marinated green bean and potato salad to go with the ribs. It's something that can be done ahead making the day easier. It's also a great picnic salad because there's no mayonnaise.

What's left? Dessert! Here's a recipe for a peanut butter pie. It a favorite of all generations in our family. Because it needs to be frozen there's no last minute prep needed.

Peanut Butter Icebox Pie

Makes 8 servings

1 (6 ounces) chocolate cookie crumb crust    

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup milk
1 (9 ounces) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup chocolate ice cream sauce
1/4 cup chopped peanuts, if desired

Place cream cheese in a large mixer bowl and beat until creamy. Add confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until smooth. Beat in peanut butter until thoroughly mixed. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly beat in milk. Fold in the whipped topping using a rubber spatula.

Spoon about half of the filling into the crust. Drizzle with the ice cream sauce. Thin sauce with milk or cream if necessary. Cover with the remaining filling. Sprinkle with peanuts and drizzle with chocolate. Cover and freeze at least 4 hours or overnight.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter Dessert? Carrot Cupcakes, of Course!

Spring is a time of new beginnings and it's time for me to get back to posting! If you are having family or friends over for Easter Brunch or Dinner, Carrot Cupcakes will be popular with everyone.

Cupcakes, always a favorite with children,  are an easy and convenient way to serve a dessert. The following recipe is from Baking Basics and Beyond (Surrey Books), my first cookbook. The frosting is inspired by Carrot Cake I enjoyed at Greystone, the Culinary Institute of America in Napa. Whipped cream improves everything!

Carrot Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

Shred the carrots in a food processor for quick results or by hand using a box grater. I tried buying shredded carrots and chopping them instead of grating, but I didn’t like the result. Most carrot cakes contain oil, but once again I’ve used butter to lighten this treasured classic. The frosting, a combination of cream cheese and whipped cream, is lighter than other cream cheese frosting.

 Makes 24 cupcakes

                       3 cups all-purpose flour
                       1 teaspoon baking powder
                       1 teaspoon baking soda
                       1 teaspoon cinnamon
                       1/2 teaspoon salt
                       1 cup butter, softened
                       1 cup granulated sugar
                       1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
                       4 eggs
                       1 teaspoon vanilla
                      1/2 cup lowfat buttermilk
                       3 cups grated carrots (12 ounces)

                        1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
                        2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
                        1 teaspoon vanilla
                        1 cup chilled whipping cream

Heat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl.
Beat butter in bowl of a heavy-duty mixer on Medium speed until creamy. Gradually add granulated sugar and brown sugar, scraping sides of bowl occasionally, and beat 2 minutes.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl after each egg is added. Add vanilla and beat 2 minutes until mixture is very light and creamy.

Reduce mixer speed to Low. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk. Scrape down sides of bowl after each addition. Beat until smooth, but no longer than 15 seconds. Add carrots and mix. Pour into prepared muffin cups.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of a cupcake comes out clean and cake springs back when touched lightly. The tops may look a little moist. Cool 5 minutes and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire cooling rack. The cupcakes must be at room temperature before frosting.

Place cream cheese in bowl of a heavy-duty mixer and beat at Medium speed until creamy and smooth. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and whipping cream. Increase mixer speed to High and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl a few times.

Frosting should be firm enough to spread on cupcakes. After frosting cupcakes, store them in refrigerator. They can also be frozen.

If you only have one 12-cup muffin pan, make 12 cupcakes, and bake the remaining batter in a greased and floured 9-inch round cake pan. Bake 22 to 25 minutes.To bake in a 13 x 9-inch baking pan, allow 40 to 50 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick.