Oktoberfest in Germany begins Saturday, September 22, 2012, and ends Sunday, October 7, 2012...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Hi!   I’ve been working on a Red Velvet Cupcake recipe for the Christmas Season for a while now and I think I finally have a winner to share with you.   Just to keep it easy I am using a cake mix – minus the box directions.   If you want a velvety smooth cupcake with a cream center and cream cheese frosting with a fresh raspberry on top, follow me and make it like this …..

First off, I want to explain one of my tweaks.   A red velvet cake should look red, but taste like chocolate.   The box mix will give you a pretty color but fall short of the chocolate taste we want.  My solution is to add two Tablespoons of Jello-o Chocolate Fudge pudding mix to the batter.   In addition, I am subbing milk for the water called for on the box, and adding a Tablespoon of sour cream.   These changes will give you a cake that no one will guess is from a cake mix.


1 box Red Velvet cake mix – I use Betty Crocker
2 heaping Tablespoons instant Chocolate Fudge pudding mix – I am using Jello-o brand
4 large eggs
1 ¼ cups milk – I am using 1%
1 Tablespoon sour cream
½  cup canola oil
2 drops red food coloring
24 fresh raspberries
1 small box Jell-o instant White Chocolate pudding mix (3.3 oz)
1 envelope “Dream Whip” whipped topping mix
1 ¼ cup cold milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 pkg.  (8 oz.) Cream Cheese, room temperature
½  cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 tsp.  vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Directions for cakes:

Frist, place your butter and cream cheese on the counter to bring to room temperature. 

Then, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and either grease or line your cupcake tins with papers.  This recipe will support 24 regular size cupcakes.

Now, to a large mixing bowl add four eggs and mix on high until frothy – about a minute.

Then, to the eggs add the milk, sour cream, canola oil, pudding mix and two drops of red food coloring.  Mix on high until well blended.

Then, top with the cake mix and continue to beat on high, stopping once to scrape the sides, and continue until the batter is velvety smooth.

Now, using a medium size scoop, fill each paper 2/3 full.

Place in oven and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Check for doneness at the 15 minute mark.  
Then, remove tins from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.   Then remove the cakes from tin and continue to cool on a rack. 

When completely cooled, place cakes in a container to keep them moist until filled and frosted.

While the cakes are cooling, prepare the filling and cream cheese frosting.   Then place a fresh raspberry on top of each frosted cake.  

Creamy Center:
To a medium size mixing bowl, add one envelope of “Dream Whip” and one small box of White Chocolate instant pudding mix.   Then, add the 1 ¼ cup cold milk and ½ teaspoon vanilla.   Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment if you have one, whisk on high for about 4 minutes.   

Refrigerate until ready to use, or at least 15 minutes.   When ready, fill piping bag or applicator and insert long narrow tip into center of each cake and gently push the filling in until a small bulge appears.   This is your clue that the cake is nicely filled.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
BEAT cream cheese, butter and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended.   Then add powdered sugar in 1/3 increments, scraping sides and  beating after each addition until well blended. 

Now, fill piping bag and frost the tops of the cakes.    

Then, place a fresh raspberry on each frosted cake to finish.

Serve, or refrigerate the cakes until ready to use, removing from fridge at least 15 minutes prior to serving to bring back to near room temperature.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Pear and Gingerbread Cakelets

 By Kerrie
Hi!  I have the prettiest little cakelets to share with you today.   Imagine a flavor blend of aromatic gingerbread wrapped with the elegant taste and texture of pear…..  Don’t stop yet.  There is more to this taste bud narrative.  Topping it all off, a pecan praline dripping ever so slightly down the sides…

This recipe will yield 10 cakelets if baked in the little Pampered Chef 1-cup prep bowls we have used before for peach, fig and plum cakelets.

If this intrigues you, let’s bake….


4 Pears - ripe but not soft.   I am using Bosc
¼  cup softened butter (for brushing the bowls) more or less
1 ½ cups butter (for the batter) softened
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons chopped pecans


First, let’s prepare the dry ingredients and set aside.   To a medium size mixing bowl add the cake flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.   Vigorously dry whisk to blend the spices and leavening.  

Next, brush the inside of 1-cup prep bowls with softened butter from top to bottom.

Now, rinse the pears and pat dry with a paper towel.  Then slice very thin using a mandoline slicer.

Then, overlapping, press pear slices against the inside of the glass bowels.  Don’t worry if the slices are longer than the depth of the bowl – you can trim the excess after the batter has been added.   The batter will keep the slices in place so the trimming will not cause them to fall away from the sides of the glass bowls.  Set aside.

Now, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Okay, let’s mix the wet ingredients.   To the bowl of a food processor add the butter and run on low.  Then add the dark brown sugar.   Run on low for a few more seconds until creamy.  Scrape the sides and bottom.  Remove scrapings against one of the blades.

Then, add the molasses, vanilla, eggs and milk.   Run on low for a few seconds until well combined.  Again, scrape the sides and remove scrapings against one of the blades.

Now, top the wet ingredients with the dry in two increments.   After each addition scrape the sides.   Run for another second after the second addition of the flour mixture.   The batter should appear very smooth.

Now, using a medium size scooper, ladle the batter into the bowls.

Then, trim longer pear slices even with the top of the bowl.

Place the filled prep bowls on a cookie sheet and place in pre-heated oven to bake for 28 - 33 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted into the middle or cracked surface of a cake comes out clean.

When done, place each bowl on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.   

Then using a knife, run around the rim to loosen any cake or pear sticking to the side.  Then turn out over a cake plate (Just place the bowl on the plate upside down.   Allow it to sit for a few seconds and then just give it a slight giggle.  The cakelet should drop right out.   Top with the praline mixture – see below.

Praline Topping

To a small sauce pan add 4 Tablespoons butter and melt over medium high heat.   Then add 4 Tablespoons brown sugar and stir into the melted butter.   Then add the 4 Tablespoons chopped pecans.   Continue to cook over medium high heat until the mixture starts to bubble.  Then remove from heat and continue to stir until ready to spoon over the cakes. 


Friday, November 2, 2012

2012 Election Cake

Go Vote - and then eat cake!

Hi!    Those of you who know me are aware of my love of American history, so when I became aware of “Election Cake” and it’s origins, I determined to give it a try.   The long and short of its origin is a recipe that evolved from English yeast breads or fruit cakes, and was enjoyed by early colonists who would travel to the designated town of “muster” for militia training.  During their stay in the town they were hosted by the townsfolk.  Because this time was observed as a celebration of sorts the ladies vied to produce their best cakes to lend to the festivities.   Later, after the War of Independence, the tradition of gathering for “muster” would include elections for local and federal leadership and became known as “Election Day”.   The cake continued to be a special feature of the event, and its name evolved into “Election Cake.”    There are many variations of the cake, which can also be found under the name “Hartford Election Cake” as the housewives of the day established their reputations as socialites and hostesses on the quality of their cakes baked in brick fireplace ovens.  The cakes were apparently gigantic too.   One of the earliest recorded recipes calls for among other things “thirty quarts flour, 10 pound butter, 14 pound sugar, 12 pound raisins, 3 doz eggs, one pint wine, one quart brandy..."       Well, over the centuries the recipe has been modified to versions more or less typical of what I am sharing today.   If you have a traditional “Election Cake” recipe I would love to hear from you!   

*Note:  To really be authentic, your cake should be yeast leavened, flavored with spices, fruits or nuts and spirits (alcohol) which lends flavor and was also needed as a preservative back in the day …..

2012 Election Cake   
by Kerrie

1 heaping Tablespoon fast acting dry yeast
½ cup luke-warm water (105-115 degrees)
2 teaspoons honey
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, Room Temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
½  cup milk
3 eggs
½ cup pumpkin puree
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour Sifted
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup dried currants
½ cup chopped walnuts
¼  cup American Bourbon  (I am using Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tablespoons browned butter
¼ teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon bourbon (I am using Cedar Ridge Iowa Bourbon)
2 Tablespoons milk (more or less)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts


First, pour ¼ cup of bourbon into a container and set aside.  This will allow some of the alcohol to evaporate and the bourbon will temper and aerate.  

Next, to a 2-cup container, add the half cup of luke-warm water.  To the water add the honey.  Then, using a plastic spoon stir the yeast into the water & honey solution.   Allow the yeast mixture to rest for about 15 minutes, or until you have a nice foamy top.

Meanwhile, to a medium size mixing bowl, sift in the flour, spices and salt.   Set aside.

Then, chop the walnuts and mix with the dried currants.   Set aside.

Now, to the bowl of a food processor add the butter, pumpkin puree and sugar.   Run on low for a few seconds to cream.  Scrape the side of the bowl.

Next, to the butter mixture add the milk, and eggs.   Run on low for a few seconds until well incorporated.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and then top the mixture with the yeast.   Be sure to scrape the sides of the yeast container to get it all in the food processor.   Run on low to incorporate.

Gradually by thirds, add dry ingredients, run on low until smooth after each addition. 

Now, add the bourbon, currant and walnuts.  Run on low for just a second to mix.

Grease and flour or spray a 9-inch tube pan or large Bundt pan with oil.  Pour mixture into prepared pan, and then using a spoon spread the batter to level.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough almost reaches the top, 1½ to 2 hours.  (I always place yeasted products in the microwave to rest and rise - it is a good place to avoid temperature fluctuations in the house)

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Now, place the Bundt pan over a cookie sheet and bake cake until golden brown, 40-50 minutes. 

Cool 10 minutes in pan, then loosen cake from edges with a knife. Turn out onto a cake rack and cool completely.

For glaze:   In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium high heat until browned.   Then, remove from heat.

Now, stir in the bourbon and return to the heat, bringing to a two or three second boil.  Then, remove from heat and set aside.

Then, to a small mixing bowl add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, melted brown butter and bourbon.  Using an electric mixer, mix on low until incorporated.   Then, add milk by single teaspoon increments until you have the desired consistency. 

When cake is completely cool, pour the glaze over the top.   It will run down the sides.

Then, sprinkle the finely chopped walnuts over the top of the cake.

Enjoy !!!!