Black Pepper Pound Cake

When looking through the Iowa State Fair cookbook a few weeks ago, I was wanting to make some desserts for a group of students coming to visit.  I knew that there was one member of the group who was allergic to chocolate, which made this the perfect opportunity to try out the black pepper pound cake recipe I’d been eyeing for some time.  I didn’t know what to expect — would the pepper seem out of place?  I’ve tasted some great pairings of lemon and black pepper with chocolate, but what would this look like without the chocolate there?  Luckily, the recipe still had lemon flavoring within it.

I have to admit, I was pretty delighted with the taste of the cake.  The black pepper added some spiciness that was unexpected.  With dessert, I do not often think I want something that is hot, but this was a subtle heat that added to the cake, but did not distract from it.

Black Pepper Pound Cake.jpg

Black Pepper Pound Cake

1 c butter, softened
3 c sugar
3 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
2 tsp lemon extract
6 eggs
3 c flour
1 c heavy cream
Powdered sugar

Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat in pepper and extract.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour alternately with cream; mix well.  Pour into greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.  Bake in 325 degree oven for 70 to 75 minutes.  Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

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Texas Sheet Cake

My mom made our Easter dessert and decided to make a Texas Sheet Cake, a recipe that was provided by a friend of hers and which made its way into our recipe books.  Let me rephrase that, her coveted recipe binder.  Each of my parents have made binders that my sisters and I will undoubtedly fight over some day (or make copies of) that include a ton of different recipes.  One of which is this Texas Sheet Cake recipe.

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake

1 c butter
1 c water
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c sour cream
1 tsp almond extract

Bring butter and water to a boil.  Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.  Bake at 375 degrees in a 10×15 greased pan for 20-22 minutes, until golden and the toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 20 minutes, then frost with:

Frosting

1/2 c butter
1/4 c milk
4 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 c nuts

Bring butter and milk to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Add remaining ingredients.  Spread over warm cake.

Cinnamon Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

When I was back in Minnesota earlier this month, we ate dessert, drank whiskey, and celebrated togetherness.  My mom made a couple of great desserts that were worth taking note.  So, while I can’t provide any step-by-step instructions on what she put together, these recipes were definitely worth noting.

The first recipe I’ll note is for Cinnamon Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.Cinnamon Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.jpg

Cinnamon Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

3 eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c applesauce
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 c shredded zucchini

Frosting:

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
1/4 c butter, softened
3 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 9x 13 baking pan with cooking spray.

Beat eggs, oil, applesauce, sugars, and vanilla together in a large bowl.  Add in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Fold in zucchini.  Pour batter into a prepared 9×13 pan.

Bake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While the cake cools, mix together frosting ingredients and spread onto the cake.

Olive Oil and Cornmeal Cake with Blackberries

I woke up the other morning wanting to make a cake.  I knew I wanted something quick and easy and that could be made with ingredients I (mostly) had on hand.  Luckily, I love my grocery store at 6:00 in the morning when no one else is there.

I served this cake alongside the Sausage Burgers with Sriracha Honey Mustard.  The original recipe came from the Good Neighbor Cookbook.  It didn’t call for the blackberries, but I decided to add them and help give a little more oomph to the cake.

I was talking about it the next day at work and I don’t think my coworker could believe cornmeal and olive oil were in it, so I ran home over lunch and grabbed the cake.  I served it all around the building.  One of the folks with whom I work shared he loves both cornbread and olive oil and gave the cake a positive grade, so I am guessing the recipe is probably a keeper.

Olive Oil and Cornmeal Cake with Blackberries

Olive Oil and Cornmeal Cake with Blackberries

1 c flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 c sugar
8 oz container creme fraiche (or sour cream)
3/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
1 package blackberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil and flour a 9-inch cake pan, tapping out the excess flour, and line the bottom with parchment paper, or oil and flour a 9-inch springform pan.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and creme fraiche.  While whisking, slowly drizzle in the olive oil.  Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined (do not overmix).  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes.  Let cool for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack before unmolding.

If using a cake pan, invert the cake onto a plate, remove the parchment and invert again to serve the cake top side up.  For the springform pan, remove the ring and use a spatula to slide the cake onto a plate.

Chocolate-Pecan Sheet Cake

Today I needed to make a cake for a funeral.  It’s not often that someone my age passes away, but she was clearly a beloved member of the community.  When the call came for salads and desserts from the church, I knew I needed to contribute something.  I looked through a few cookbooks for things with ingredients I had on hand and some ingredients I needed to purchase and came across a recipe for a Chocolate-Pecan Sheet Cake in The Good Neighbor Cookbook.  Since the cookbook is designed to have food for individuals to take to their neighbors, it seemed like the appropriate recipe to take as a comfort food item to the funeral.

chocolate-pecan sheet cake

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Fresh Apple Cake

I didn’t get a photo of this one, so I apologize.  But, for a couple of events lately, I’ve made Paula Deen’s Uncle Bob’s Fresh Apple Cake.  I have no idea who Paula’s Uncle Bob is, but I do know that my Uncle Bob didn’t share this recipe with me!

The first time, I served it with the glaze at our church festival.  The second time, I served it sans glaze, but with cinnamon ice cream.  Both ways were great.  I know a few folks have asked about the recipe, so I thought I’d share it with the world — even though it’s easily found in other places on the internet.

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Zucchini Carrot Cake

Last weekend, I went to a wedding which was beautiful!  My friend Minda, who lived here for a few months, married Dan and the wedding was authentically them.  The food was delicious, and even more delicious were the cakes.  That’s right.  Cakes.  Each table had its own cake and then guests were able to mingle around and find other cakes, the varieties of which I loved — White Chocolate, Chocolate with Salted Caramel, Lemon with Raspberry Filling, etc.

As we were talking, my friend Kara and I both suggested we made the best carrot cake and I decided to proceed with making mine — also because we’re in the season of the zucchini, and my carrot cake calls for a little zucchini in it.

Taken from the aptly named The Classic Zucchini Cookbook, they also share this could be called a “garden” cake because of the zucchini in it.  I modified the recipe a little bit, but overall, it matches with the recipe in the book.

carrot zucchini cake.jpg

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