Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lemon Honey Cake

Truckin' Man's birthday was yesterday. I always like to do my best and make the day special for him. Gift selection was unusually challenging this year, but I finally figured out the perfect gift. It would take to long to have it shipped, so I would have to go shopping. But, the weather did not cooperate with my last minute shopping, and when you live in the sticks, you are often at the mercy of the weather. . . . . Well, at least during the winter. I ended up finding some other gifts in my local town, he was happy, and that is what matters.

His birthday cake is very important to me.  A cake means so much to him, so I want it to always be special. Rather than a traditional birthday cake, I wanted to make a lemon cake this year. Lemon cake is his all time favorite, problem was I had never made a lemon cake from scratch. Did I resort to a box? Just make something else? After searching through my favorite baking blogs, I found "THE" recipe. The one that caught my attention, the one that I felt he would love, was from Janet at From Cupcakes to Caviar with the winning recipe of Lemon Honey Cupcakes.  I didn't have time to test cupcakes versus cakes, so I checked with Janet on her thoughts.  With her help, I made what I believe is hands down, the best cake I have ever ever baked. Truckin' Man agree's, he absolutely loves this cake. From the sounds of it, I didn't send nearly enough with him in the truck today. Ooops!

Lemon Honey Cake (Adapted From: From Cupcakes to Caviar)

2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder 
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. light sour cream
1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
3 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1/3 c. lemon juice
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. honey
1/4 c. sugar
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9x13 cake pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and sides of pan.

In mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Set aside.  In a small bowl, whisk sour cream, milk, lemon extract, lemon zest and juice until combined.  Set aside.  In large mixing bowl, beat butter, honey and sugar with an electric mixer for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until blended. 

With mixer on low speed, add in half the flour mixture,mixing until combined.  Add the sour cream mixture, mixing again until combined. Beat in remaining flour mixture, until just combined.

Pour into prepared cake pan.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes,  until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool. Place a wire cooling rack on top of the pan. Flip the cake and pan over and let the cake slide out onto the rack. Remove the pan, peel off the parchment paper and allow the cake to finish cooling.

Lemon-Honey Frosting 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. honey
1/2 tsp. lemon extract
1 1/2 Tbsp grated lemon zest
4 c. sifted powdered sugar
7 to 8 tsp lemon juice
Few drops yellow food color

In large mixing bowl, combine butter, honey, lemon extract and lemon zest with electric mixer until creamed, about 2 minutes. On low speed, add in powdered sugar until blended. Gradually add in lemon juice.  Add  few drops food color, mixing until mixture is fluffy and pale yellow. 

Enjoy :)

Happy Birthday Truckin' Man!!!  
(Please excuse the pink birthday candles) 

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Farmer's Daughter's Cake

Sadly, some of my cookbooks get neglected. In trying to get the dust off of one of Gram's cookbooks this week, I pulled out one by Maida Heatter. After reading about her and the awards she has won, I was excited to try one of her recipes.

The recipe that caught my eye was the Farmer's Daughter's Cake. It is different. No oil. No butter. But, it has cream! Maida's thoughts on the name of this cake was the recipe was perfected on a dairy farm where cream was in abundance. It really was a yummy cake, delicious flavor and moist. One that needs to be eaten soon though, on day 2, it was drying out already. Although, that could be my house and the season, since I could just go sit in a tub of lotion right now to try and hydrate my skin.

I thought the frosting was lovely. Ever since I have gone away from the can's of frosting, I have fun trying out new recipes. This one was especially fun and different in how the recipe has you pour it on. 

The Farmer's Daughter's Cake (Source: Maida Heatter)

2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. whipping cream (not whipped)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 8 x 8 cake pan, dust all over lightly with fine dry bread crumbs. Lightly tap and shake out any extra crumbs.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  In medium bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer.  Add in vanilla, and almond extract.  Stir in sugar, mix until combined.  Beat in cream and lastly, add the sifted dry ingredients, and beat on low speed only until mixture is smooth.  Pour into prepared pan. Smooth top if necessary.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until cake just begins to pull away from sides of pan and toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean.  Remove from oven, and let stand for 5 minutes, then cut around the sides carefully to release, and let stand for 5 minutes more.  Invert cake onto wire rack, and let cake stand upside down to cool.  When cool, transfer to cake plate or cutting board.  

Old Fashioned Chocolate Icing
4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 c. milk
1 1/3 c. granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp, plus 1 tsp unsalted butter
1 t. vanilla extract

Place chocolate, milk and sugar in small, heavy saucepan over medium high heat.  Stir until chocolate is melted and sugar is dissolved.  Do NOT boil.  Remove from heat and let stand for one minute.  

In small bowl, stir yolks lightly, just to mix. Gradually stir in about half of the chocolate mixture, then add yolk mixture to remaining warm chocolate mixture.  Cook over low heat, stirring, for one minute.  Remove from heat.  Pour mixture into medium bowl, and stir in the butter and vanilla.  Let stand until cool.   Once cool, beat icing at high speed for 10 to 15 minutes (Use lower speed if icing is splashing to much).  Beat until mixture is smooth, shiny, and paler in color.  

Slowly pour half of icing onto cake.  Let stand for a minute.  Slowly, pour half of the remaining icing onto middle of cake, push with a spatula into directions necessary. Wait another minute.  Pour remaining icing onto top of cake.  Push it to the edges just so you get a little bit of icing to run over the sides.  Let cake set for a few hours for icing to set.

Printable Recipe

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Overloaded Rice Krispie Bars

Sometimes you have that big extra bag of candy just waiting for you in the pantry, and you want to do something special with it. Just transform it into something crazy and indulgent. That's what happened with my bag of Miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.

If you want to whip up a quick and oh so impressive treat for Valentine's Day, this is a sure fire winner. It was so overboard, I couldn't even keep them at home. I took a couple bars out for us, and took the rest of the pan in for the guys at work. Every one loved them, even the one guy that doesn't care for Peanut Butter! I knew I did good then!

Overloaded Rice Krispie Bars (Adapted from:  Brown Eyed Baker)

5 cups Rice Krispies
1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2  cups creamy peanut butter, divided
1 bag (10.5-oz) mini marshmallows
12 oz bag Miniature Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, quartered and divided
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

Butter a 9x13-inch pan, and set aside.  In large saucepan melt butter, and 1/2 cup peanut butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add Rice Krispies, stirring until coated. Pour into the prepared pan, and use buttered spatula or piece of wax paper, to press evenly into pan.

In microwave, melt 1 cup of peanut butter. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring until thin. Set aside 1/3 cup of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Gently fold in remaining quartered peanut butter cups.  Pour mixture over over bars spreading until evenly distributed. 

Melt the chocolate chips in microwave.  Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until melted.  Drizzle the melted chocolate chips over top of peanut butter layer. Evenly sprinkle reserved peanut butter cups over top.  Refrigerator for several hours until set. 

Store in an airtight container.

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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Keeping Warm in the Winter

Since it is my turn to host the flue bug, I have been out of commission and helping the couch feel well used for several days now.  I hope that I can get up and out the door some day soon.  In the mean time, I thought I would share with you how we heat the house here at our farm.

Late summer we had a couple loads of wood delivered. It comes from Amish sawmills, and is the slabs that are left over after they cut their wood. This wood is sold for local farms to heat their homes

We stacked the wood, but the pile was getting way to far away for my liking. 
It really disappears.. quickly!

So, back we go to the piles...............

Make a couple quick loads in the pick-up truck. To cold to get the big machinery out!

Now we are all set again for a while.  These pics are two weeks old, from when we had a bit of a thaw. 
I am so grateful we got wood moved before all the snow moved in!