Valentine's Day

Coconut Cake

April 4, 2012

Coconut Cake

This week is Easter and coconut cake is on my mind. I wanted to make a cake that is a bit more traditional. Enjoy this time with family and friends and have a Happy Easter.

INGREDIENTS

1 ½ Cup Unbleached Flour

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

¾ Teaspoon Salt

½ Cup Softened Butter

1 Cup Sugar

2 eggs

2/3 Cup Milk

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

2/3 Cup Coconut

Additional Coconut For Garnish

Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat your oven to 350° F. In a large bowl cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla. Next add the dry ingredients alternating with the milk. Mix well. Add the coconut. Pour the batter into two prepared 8 inch round cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans, on wire racks, for 15 minutes. Remove from the cake pans and cool completely. Frost and top with more coconut.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 Ounces Softened Cream Cheese

½ Cup Softened Butter

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Cups Powdered Sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition. Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.

Spice Pound Cake

March 29, 2012

Spiced Pound Cake

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Butter

1 ½ Teaspoons Ground Nutmeg, Mace or Cinnamon

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

1 2/3 Cups Sugar

5 Eggs

2 Cups Unbleached Flour

Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Soften the butter and add the spice of your choice and the salt. Beat for 4 minutes with an electric beater or 8 minutes by hand. Gradually blend in the sugar until fluffy, beating 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Finally, beat in the flour. Turn the mixture into a well greased and lightly floured bundt pan or 9×3 ½ inch tube cake pan. Preheat your oven to 350°. Place in the oven and bake for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out cleans. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Turn out on a wire rack to finish cooling. Serves 8

Irish Cream Truffles

March 15, 2012

Irish Cream Truffles

These Irish Cream Truffles are easy to make and worth every bite. They make a nice homemade gift or keep them for yourself.

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Whipping Cream

1 Pound High Quality Real Bittersweet Chocolate Broken Into 1 Inch Pieces

4 Ounces High Quality Real Milk Chocolate Broken Into 1 Inch Pieces

2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

¼ Cups Butter

3 Tablespoons Irish Cream Liqueur

2/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa

In a 2 quart saucepan place the whipping cream, bittersweet chocolate and milk chocolate. Cook over a low heat for 4 minutes. Stir occasionally. Stir in the vanilla and salt. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and Irish Cream Liqueur. When the butter has melted pour the truffle mixture into a medium size bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. You want the mixture to be firm. Remove from the fridge and set on the counter for a few minutes. In a medium size shallow bowl sift the cocoa. With a tablespoon scoop out rounded tablespoonfuls of the chocolate mixture. Drop each one into the cocoa and roll to coat. Shape into balls and roll in the cocoa again. Gently place onto a tray and refrigerate them for 45 minutes until firm. Store refrigerated. Makes 36 truffles.

Herb Salmon

March 2, 2012

Herb Salmon

INGREDIENTS

1 Pound Skinless Salmon Fillet Cut Into 4 Portions

1 Lemon

1 Tablespoon Dillweed

1 Tablespoon Lemon Thyme

1 Tablespoon Italian Parsley

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

2 Tablespoons Softened Butter

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Rinse the fish and pat dry. Shred 1 teaspoon of the peel from the lemon and set aside. Juice half the lemon. In a small bowl combine the lemon peel, herbs, salt & pepper and butter. Stir to combine. Spread evenly on the salmon. Heat a large oven-proof skillet over a medium heat. Add the salmon, her side down. Turn the salmon. Pour the lemon juice over. Place the pan in the oven and cook for 5 minutes until the salmon flakes easily with a fork. Transfer to a serving platter. Drizzle with the pan juices. Top with the additional shredded lemon peel. Serves 4

Red Velvet Cupcakes

March 1, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes

These Red Velvet Cupcakes are unbelievably good. They are so good I could eat 5 in one sitting!

INGREDIENTS

2 ½ Cups Unbleached Flour

½ Cup Cocoa Powder

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

½ Teaspoon Salt

1 Cup Softened Butter

2 Cups Sugar

4 Eggs

1 Cup Sour Cream

½ Cup Milk

1 Ounce Red Food Color

3 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a medium size bowl mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large size bowl beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on a medium speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture on low speed. Spoon into paper lined muffin cups. Fill each cup 2/3 full. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely. Spread with the Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting. Makes 30 cupcakes.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: In a medium size bowl beat 8 ounces of softened cream cheese, 4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons sour cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 16 ounces powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar) until smooth.

Tea Time Almond Tea Cake

February 22, 2012

Almond Tea Cake

Almonds and toffee bits combine to give this moist tea cake a winning touch.

INGREDIENTS

Tea Cake:

¾ Cup Sugar

½ Cup Softened Butter

2 Eggs

1 Teaspoon Almond Extract

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 ½ Cups Unbleached Flour

¾ Cup Sour Cream

¾ Teaspoon Baking Powder

¾ Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

Streusel:

¼ Cup Toasted Sliced Almonds

¼ Cup Toffee Bits

Glaze:

¼ Cup Powdered Sugar

¼ Teaspoon Almond Extract

2 Teaspoons Milk

Preheat your oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 9 inch round cake pan and set aside. In a large size bowl combine sugar, butter, eggs, almond extract and vanilla. Beat at a medium speed, scraping the bowl often, until creamy. Add all of the remaining tea cake ingredients. Mix well. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons almonds and 2 tablespoons toffee bits over the batter. Pour the remaining batter over the streusel filling. Sprinkle with the remaining almonds and toffee bits. Bake for 30 minutes until done. Remove from your oven. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Stir together all of the glaze ingredients in a small size bowl. Drizzle over the cooled tea cake. Serves 8

Citrus Cheesecake

February 14, 2012

Citrus Cheesecake

Seriously, who doesn’t love cheesecake? If your sweetheart is not a chocolate lover then try this delicious Citrus Cheesecake out. It is a nice “make ahead” dessert and sure to be a hit.

INGREDIENTS

Crust:

1 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

¼ (1/2 Stick) Melted Butter

Filling:

4 (8 Ounce) Packages of Softened Cream Cheese

1 Cup Sugar

2 Tablespoons Flour

1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract

1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon Lime Juice

1 Tablespoon Orange Juice

1 Teaspoon Lemon Peel

1 Teaspoon Lime Peel

1 Teaspoon Orange Peel

4 Eggs

Preheat your oven to 325° F. To make the crust mix together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and butter in a medium size bowl. Press the mixture onto the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. To press the crumbs into the pan use the bottom of a glass to evenly press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove and cool while you make the filling. To make the filling mix together the cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla in a medium size bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Blend in the citrus juices and the peels. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until well blended. Pour over the crust and bake at 325° F. for 65 minutes until the center is almost set. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cheesecake. Cool completely before removing from the pan. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Overnight is best which makes this a great “make ahead” dessert. Serves 12

Valentine Cupcakes

February 13, 2012

Valentine Cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

Cake:

1 1/3 Cups Unbleached Flour

¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda

2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

¾ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/8 Teaspoon Salt

4 Tablespoons Softened Butter

1 ½ Cups Sugar

2 Eggs

¾ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Butter Milk (or Sour Milk)

Frosting:

½ Cup Softened Butter

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

2 Cups Confectioners’ Sugar

3 Tablespoons Milk

For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease the muffin pan and line with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside. In a large size bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk and beat well. Pour into the muffin cups ¾ full. Bake for 15 minutes until done. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Take a knife and loosen the edges. Let cool completely before removing. Ice and decorate. Makes 1 dozen cupcakes.

For the icing: In a large size bowl beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth and blended. Beat on high for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Makes 2 1/3 cups.

Lobster Bisque

February 13, 2012

Lobster Bisque

A nice special treat. This soup is great to make for Valentine’s Day.

INGREDIENTS

2 Cups Cooked Lobster Meat

1/3 Cup Dry Sherry

¼ Cup Butter

3 Tablespoons flour

3 Cups Milk

1 Teaspoon Steak Sauce

½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt

½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper

1 Tablespoon Chives

Combine the lobster meat and sherry in a small bowl. Set aside. In a medium saucepan over a low heat melt the butter. Blend in the flour and cook. Stir constantly until smooth and bubbly. Gradually add the milk and stir constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture is thickened. Stir in the steak sauce, salt and pepper. Add the lobster and sherry. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Garnish with chives. Makes 4 Cups.

Chocolate Ganache

February 12, 2012

Chocolate Ganache

This frosting is so easy to make and quite versatile. You can even dip strawberries into it.

INGREDIENTS

9 Ounces Chopped Bittersweet Chocolate

1 Cup Heavy Cream

1 Tablespoon Dark Rum (Optional)

In a medium size bowl place the chopped chocolate. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Bring the cream just to a boil. Make sure to watch very carefully. When the cream has come to a boil pour it over the chopped chocolate. Whisk until nice and smooth. Stir in the rum if you like. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over your cake. Always start at the center of the cake and work outward. If you want a fluffy frosting or chocolate filling just allow it to cool until thick and then whip with a whisk or electric mixer until light and fluffy. Makes 2 Cups.

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