9/9/14

Yellow Pound Cake

This recipe for Yellow Pound Cake is one of those that makes use of a boxed cake mix along with additional ingredients for a richer taste. The recipe dates itself because the size of the cake mix (18.25 ounces) is a thing of the past. Cake mixes are smaller now, so allowances have to be made in recipes such as this one. I recently wrote about my solution for dealing with these downsized mixes. This example from my older recipe collection is one that must be adjusted to bring the shrunken cake mix back to its original size.




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Yellow Pound Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2/3 cup water
1 (8 ounce) carton sour cream
1 (18.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix (substitute 16.5 ounce box cake mix + 1/3 cup extra cake mix)
1 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare a 10-inch Bundt pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add 1 egg at a time and beat well after each. Stir in vanilla and lemon extracts, then add water and sour cream. Beat in cake mix and flour. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 60 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Dust cooled cake with powdered sugar, if desired.




This cake pairs well with fruit. For a different look, the cake could be drizzled with a simple glaze instead of the powdered sugar.

9/7/14

Decorator Frosting

This Decorator Frosting recipe was given to me many years ago when a friend taught an informal cake decorating class in her home. I have used it for countless birthday cakes, and it was my go-to recipe for ages. This frosting spreads smoothly on cakes and pipes easily from a decorating tip, so it is perfect for a beginning decorator or even one with lots of experience.






There are a couple of MUSTS I recommend for best results with this type of frosting --

  1. You MUST sift the powdered sugar. 
  2. You MUST use a stand mixer. 

Sifting takes a little extra time, but it is well worth the few minutes because it will get all the lumps out of the powdered sugar, and the decorator tips will not be obstructed. A stand mixer is important because this is a heavy, thick frosting to mix, and it would probably cause a hand mixer to overheat and go kaput in an untimely fashion.

If you refrigerate this frosting before you plan to use it, you will need to bring it back to room temperature so it will spread easily. Also, be sure to use clear vanilla extract to prevent the white frosting from being discolored.





Print Recipe

Decorator Frosting

1 1/2 cups Crisco shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon butter (or almond) flavoring
2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup water

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine shortening, salt, vanilla extract, and butter flavoring. Mix at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the powdered sugar a little at a time, mixing at low - medium speed until sugar is incorporated. When the frosting starts to become thick, begin to add the water a small amount at a time, alternating with the remainder of the powdered sugar. After all ingredients have been blended smoothly, beat the frosting for 5 additional minutes at medium - high speed. Frosts and decorates two 9-inch layers or one 9 x 13-inch cake. Keep frosted cake refrigerated.




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9/5/14

Don't Miss This Magazine

I hope my friends won't miss the September/October 2014 issue of Christian Woman magazine.




If you subscribe to the magazine, you already know there's always something uplifting and motivational to read in this publication. In this issue you'll even get a bonus - they have included one of my articles!



My article Five Ways to Love Your Mother-in-Law is featured in the September/October issue. I wrote on this topic because I feel the mother-in-law role is often disrespected. Older women have much to offer the younger generation, and the relationship can be strengthened when a mother-in-law feels loved by her child's spouse.

Please let me know your thoughts on the article.






9/4/14

The Boxed Cake Mix Dilemma

As other home cooks know,  package sizes often seem to shrink before our eyes in the grocery store. Coffee was once commonly sold in 1 pound bags, but now those bags may only hold 11.5 ounces. Few grocery items are exempt from this shrinkage. In most cases this kind of downsizing just causes us to sigh and shake our heads, but in others it can be downright annoying, especially when it comes to items that can affect the outcome of recipes.



One of those items the food industry has seen fit to downsize is boxed cake mix. The brand of cake mix I currently buy is typically sold in a 16.5 ounce box. This new size is no problem for someone who will strictly follow the directions on the package. Big problem, though, for the person who will use the mix as an ingredient in a recipe that specifically lists an older 18.25 ounce box of cake mix. That much change in the size of any ingredient can negatively alter the outcome of the recipe.

I have a number of recipes that make use of a packaged cake mix, and they can be very convenient on days when I need a quicker version of a good dessert. I do prefer to bake from scratch, but I'm no food snob; I do take short cuts. A person would have to live under a rock to have not been exposed to some great sweet creation that had its beginnings in a box of cake mix. Most of the recipes in my files were written in the day when cake mixes were bigger, so my recipes are no longer accurate. My solution to this issue is to keep a box of cake mix in the freezer to make up the difference when I need to boost the size of these shrunken cake mixes.

Every "new" 16.5 ounce cake mix needs 1.75 ounce from the extra box of cake mix to equal the "old" size. If it sounds like too much trouble to weigh out 1.75 ounces of cake mix to add those supplemental ounces when needed, don't worry. You really don't have to drag out the scales every time, just measure out 1/3 cup of cake mix to approximate the missing 1.75 ounces.

1.75 ounces dry cake mix = approximately 1/3 cup

This addition can prevent changes in the outcome of a recipe and in a worst case scenario, can keep a recipe from being ruined. 

I'm sure there are plenty of other products out there that fall into a similar category where downsized products have caused problems with recipes. Does anyone have one you are willing to share?