Category Archives: Cake

Rachel’s Awesome Brownies

My mother-in-law makes the best brownies. Today I asked for her secret, and she agreed to share her recipe. As it turns out, her recipe came from an ancient (at least 50 years old) Sunbeam Mixmaster cookbook. She doubled the brownie recipe then added her own touch to produce this awesome tasting batch of brownies. There is no box mix on the market to rival these!

 

RECIPE

Rachel’s Awesome Brownies (modified from Sunbeam)

These are big sellers at our church bake sales.

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups sifted flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup shortening or butter, softened
  • 4 eggs, unbeaten
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 squares (4 oz.) unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
  • 2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Add softened shortening (or butter), eggs, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. Mix on Medium (4) for one minute.
  4. Add melted baking chocolate and nuts. Mix for 30 seconds.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Pour batter into a 9″ X 13″ greased baking pan.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes. Check for doneness using a toothpick or cake tester.
  8. Remove pan from oven and allow brownies to cool before slicing.
  9. Cut into equal sized squares and serve.Yield depends on the size of squares cut.

I don’t use the adjective awesome often, but these brownies deserve the descriptor. Yum!

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Fat Free Dessert

How are you doing on that New Year’s resolution to lose weight? Or perhaps you vowed to eat more healthily. Forego all sweets? I’m a firm believer in moderation. If you say “no desserts” you’ll feel deprived. Self-pity leads to indulgence, which leads to discouragement and feelings of failure in your efforts to maintain a healthy diet.

One of my favorite choices for the occasional dessert is angel food cake. It’s light, versatile, and is one of the few cakes I prefer the boxed mix to homemade. Homemade is too time consuming for me when a mix produces reasonably tasty results.

I call this version Aunt Nell’s cake because my late aunt made it the first time I took my husband to her house. He ate three or four slices of it because he loved it! She loved that he loved it. It’s simply an angel food cake frosted with 7-minute icing. I thought it was amazing. (Because I suck at frosting, mine never looks pretty, but hers did)

To make 7-minute frosting:

In a small saucepan, combine 5 Tbsp. water (or citrus juice if you prefer) with 1 1/3 cups sugar, 1 Tbsp. light corn syrup, and 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar. Stir over low heat until a syrup forms. Using a candy thermometer, cook (stir occasionally) until it reaches 140°.

Meanwhile, using a stand mixer and a whisk beater, beat 2 egg whites until fluffy. Turn mixer to low and SLOWLY pour in the syrup. Remember it’s 140° and you don’t want to cook the eggs. After all the syrup is incorporated, turn the mixer up to its fastest speed and whip for seven minutes. Set a timer.

That’s it. Then you’re ready to frost the cooked and completely cooled cake of your choice. 

Aunt Nell's version was much prettier.

Aunt Nell’s version was much prettier.

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One slice is enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Even if a dessert is fat free, it’s still a good idea to limit the desserts in your diet. Enjoy.

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PINEAPPLE ANGEL FOOD CAKE

Pineapple Angel Food Cake

Pineapple Angel Food Cake

 

 

 

 

 

 

This recipe is not original. I picked it up years ago at a Weight Watcher’s® Meeting in Atlanta. It’s been posted many times on social media. Just in case you’ve missed it, here is a hasty tasty dessert that is made a smidgen healthier by adding fruit. Enjoy!

RECIPE

Pineapple Angel Food Cake

Serves 8-12

Ingredients:

1 angel food cake mix

1 20 oz. can crushed pineapple

2-ingredient dessert

2-ingredient dessert


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350°.

Empty the contents of the cake mix into the bowl of your mixer.

Add the entire can of crushed pineapple to the mix.

Stir on lowest speed to combine for 30 seconds.

Increase speed to high and whip for one minute. Set a timer. It’s important not to overbeat.

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Pour into a large Bundt pan or tube pan (or you may use two smaller tube or loaf pans) until 2/3 full. Don’t overfill.

Place in the center rack of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick tests clean.

Remove from oven and cool, upside down, for one hour.

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Run a knife gently around the edges and remove cake from pan.

Invert cooled cake onto a plate.

Invert cooled cake onto a plate.

 
 

 

 

 

 

That’s it. If you keep a box of angel food cake mix and a can of crushed pineapple in your pantry, you’re ready for a quick and easy dessert.

 

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PASTEL TRES LECHES: Three Milks, Three Steps, Two Days, One Fabulous Cake

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One of my favorite desserts is Pastel Tres Leches (AKA Cake with three milks). It’s rich, so I have it about once a year. I’ve experimented with many recipes for Pastel Tres Leches. I narrowed down my search to two, one by Pati Jinich (Pati’s Mexican Table) and one by the editors of Cook’s Country and developed a hybrid of the two. I then tweaked it until it was—at least to me—to die for yummy. But I must give credit to both sources for the inspiration to master this dessert.

The cake is a two-day, three-step process, so one might argue it isn’t a hasty tasty meals recipe. I won’t debate that. But some things are worth the extra trouble. Pastel Tres Leches is a rare treat for me, and is worthy of the time and effort. If you don’t agree, then shop the bakery at Publix. They sell a good version of the cake.

First, understand that the cake is a cousin of bread pudding in that it’s a custardy dessert. If you accept that the dish is cake only in its infancy, and that you must feed it milk to grow it into a mature dessert, you’ll have no trouble following the three steps.

You may use a stand mixer, hand mixer, food processor, or the Vitamix. My version employs the Vitamix. You bake the cake, store, and serve all in the same pan.

 

RECIPE

Pastel Tres Leches

Serves 12

©2014 Cheryl Norman

 

Day One: The cake

  • Preheat oven to 325°. Spray nonstick cooking spray inside a 9” X 13” baking pan.
  • In the 64 oz. wet container of the Vitamix, whip 6 large eggs for approximately 30 seconds on Variable speed 1 gradually increasing to 10 then High. To the whipped eggs add ½ cup milk, 1 stick unsalted butter (melted and cooled to “warm”), and 1 ¾ cups sugar. Blend on Variable speeds 1—10 then High until blended. (Some recipes call for 2 cups sugar, but that was a bit sweet for my taste)
  • Combine 1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. Kosher salt, 2 tsp. baking powder, and a pinch of cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients in one-cup increments to the egg sugar mixture. Process on Variable speed 3-4 just enough to mix. Do not over blend.
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  • Pour batter into the prepared baking pan, place on the center shelf of the preheated oven, and bake 35 minutes. Batter will be wet and the cake will not raise much during baking.
  • When cake is done (inserted toothpick tests clean), cool in the pan on a rack for 30 minutes while you prepare the three milks.

Day One: The Tres Leches

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      • In a microwave safe bowl or in a double boiler, heat the contents of one can of condensed sweetened milk on Low until it becomes a light caramel color. Cool to room temperature. (This step can be omitted, but caramelizing the milk intensifies its flavor)

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    • Combine cooled condensed milk with 1 cup coconut milk and 1 can evaporated milk (both at room temperature). Or you may use 1 cup whole milk or half and half instead of the coconut milk.

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    • With a skewer, poke holes evenly into the cake at about ½-inch intervals. Slowly pour the three milks mixture over the cake until it’s completely covered.
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The cake will absorb the milks completely after a few hours.

  • Let cake rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Refrigerate uncovered overnight or at least 8 hours. This concludes Day One and Steps One and Two.

 

Day Two: Whipped Cream Topping

    • Remove the chilled cake from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before serving.
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Looking inside the Vitamix container, whipped cream should form four pillows and the sound of the motor should change. Turn off immediately. It’s done!

    • In the dry container of the Vitamix, combine 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, and 1 Tbsp. corn syrup. Whip on Variable Speed 3 just until the cream thickens.
    • Spread the whipped cream over the cake and (Optional) sprinkle with 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut. Cut cake into 12 slices, and serve. Refrigerate leftovers for up to three days.
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spread one cup whipped cream thinly over cake (If you prefer, whip two cups for a thicker icing)

 

You can omit Day One/Step One and use a boxed cake mix, and/or substitute prepared whipped topping for Day Two/Step Three to save time, but it isn’t as yummy.

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Honey, I shrunk the calories!

Cool cake on a rack for 30-60 minutes.

Cool cake on a rack for 30-60 minutes.

Sometimes I want a dessert, and I don’t want something “diet” or “lite.” I want real flavor. While watching an old episode of Good Eats (Alton Brown) called “Comb Alone,” I wrote down one of his recipes for orange cake that used honey instead of refined sugar. I modified it a bit (Don’t I always?) and liked the results. So with apologies to AB, here is my version of his orange cake. Because he uses honey, it has less sugar and no fat (no sugar creamed butter with this cake recipe). I generously butter my Bundt pan because that’s the only fat added to this recipe. Finally, I use egg substitute to lower the calories from the 4 whole eggs he uses. It didn’t seem to hurt the cake, and it’s a sneaky way to lower the calories and cholesterol a bit more. But feel free to make this using 4 eggs.

This cake recipe qualifies as hasty tasty because combining the equivalent of 4 eggs with honey is faster than creaming sugar with butter then adding the eggs one at a time until each is incorporated. Before this cake finished baking, I had the kitchen cleaned and glaze ready and refrigerated.

RECIPE

HONEY ORANGE CAKE
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together 1 cup raw honey (I used orange blossom), 2 whole eggs and 1/2 cup Egg Beaters®.
Measure out 1½ cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda. Zest one orange (just the orange part. Avoid the white). Set aside.
Using unsalted butter or coconut oil, generously grease a loaf pan or small Bundt pan.
Gradually add the dry mixture to the eggs and honey. Stir in the zest of one orange. Do not overwork the batter.
Pour batter into pan and bake 30 minutes.
Check for doneness. If toothpick doesn’t release clean, bake another 5 minutes and check again.
Cool cake on a rack for at least 30 minutes. An hour is better.

Optional glaze:
Juice the orange and mix it with 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar to make a glaze. Pour the glaze over the cake when cake is cooled completely.

Yield: 8 servings.

Top cooled cake with optional glaze

Top cooled cake with optional glaze

CAUTION: Do not try this cake if you dislike the taste of honey. We happen to love it. Next time I plan to bake a lemon version. ☺

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Pumpkin Cake

 

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Glaze

Pumpkin is rich in nutrients and abundant in the fall. Whether you puree your own or buy canned, you can enjoy pumpkin in a variety of dishes. Canned pumpkin puree (Not pumpkin pie filling!) makes this cake a hasty tasty quick bread. I use the Vitamix to make the batter, but a mixer works, too. The maple glaze is optional.

RECIPE

Pumpkin Cake

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 6 oz. Egg Beaters®
  • 15 oz. can pureed pumpkin
  • 3 Tbsp. powdered sugar (for glaze)
  • 1 Tbsp. real maple syrup (for glaze)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Spray inside of a 8½” X 4½” loaf pan or a small tube cake pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a 2 quart mixing bowl or pitcher, combine all dry ingredients. Form a depression in the center. Set aside.
  4. In the Vitamix container (or a mixing bowl) combine the pumpkin and Egg Beaters® starting at Variable Speed 1. Gradually increase speed to 10 then High. Run for 20 seconds.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the center of dry ingredients and fold using a spatula or spoon. Don’t over mix. Batter will be stiff.
  6. Spoon batter into the loaf pan and place in the oven.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  8. Remove cake from pan and cool on a rack, at least 30 minutes.
  9. In a small plastic food storage bag, combine powdered sugar and real maple syrup. Seal bag then snip a hole in one corner to create a small piping bag.
  10. Drizzle the cake lightly with the glaze and serve.

Variations: If you prefer a less dense cake, use 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour. Add ½ cup nuts for more fiber and flavor.

Note: Cake will be dense and moist.

Yield: 12 servings

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Hasty Tasty Pecan Tea Cakes

This recipe idea came from watching Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade. I modified her recipe to make it a bit more healthful. These cakes are good as a dessert, as a breakfast, or anytime you want to enjoy one with a hot cup of tea!

RECIPE

Pecan Tea Cakes

12 Servings

Ingredients:

Muffins:

  • 2 cups Bisquick®
  • ¼ cup egg substitute
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

 

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 12 pecan halves

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Add paper liners to a 12-cup muffin pan.

In a medium bowl, beat together the syrup, egg substitute, cream, and vanilla, about one minute.

Gradually add the 2 cups Bisquick® and mix about one minute. Don’t over mix. Fold in the chopped pecans.

Scoop 1/12 of the mixture into each cup of the muffin pan.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted tests clean. Remove from oven and cool muffins on a wire rack.

While muffins cool, combine the powdered sugar, spice, milk, and maple syrup to make a glaze. Whisk until thick. If mixture is too tight, thin with additional milk.

Dip muffins into the bowl of glaze to coat the tops. Garnish each muffin with a pecan half. Serve.

Pecan Tea Cake

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