Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cakes For Your Sweetheart

Sweets are great! Cakes are sweet, delectable treats. Lately, I have been trying to make my sweets without using items with preservatives or words I cannot pronounce. Minus the Caramel Cracker Bars of course. Believe it or not, since I started eating things with little or no preservatives I have lost 10 pounds, 5 of that finds me once in a while and then leaves again. So when I have wanted a sweet treat I use recipes with all fresh ingredients. The first recipe is a cake from scratch and my Sweetheart likes this cake and he doesn't even like sweets. The second is a cake from two boxes.

Robby's Orange Cake

(He has talked about this orange cake for years, we tried to get the recipe with no success... so I made one up with help from a regular white cake recipe)

2 cups unbleached flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter softened
2 eggs
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 orange peeled, chopped and skinned
1/4 tsp. zest from the orange for glaze

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer. Add orange juice and mix. Add butter and mix. Add eggs mixing between each addition. Add vanilla. Mix until batter is smooth. Add orange pieces and on low speed blend together.

Pour cake batter into a greased cake pan/s. Bake for 30-45 or until toothpick comes out clean.

While your Orange cake is baking and making your house smell amazing, make this glaze. It is very sweet but perfect with the orange cake.

1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
orange zest saved from above ingredients for cake

Stir together. If you would like a thicker glaze add more powdered sugar, or if you want a thinner glaze add more fresh orange juice.

Remove cake from oven. Allow to cool. Poke some holes in the cake with a wooden skewer and frost with the glaze. Cut, serve and enjoy. You can serve this cake if you'd like with a little vanilla bean ice cream.

Jamie's Spiced Chocolate Bundt Cake

One box Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate Cake Mix
one small box Jello Pumpkin Spice Pudding
1/2 cup HOT water
1/2 cup canola oil
4 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
1/2 bag of miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cinamon Sugar (C&H makes one in a cute little bottle, it's awesome)

Preaheat your oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of stand mixer combine dry ingredients. Blend the cake and dry pudding mix together. Carefully add HOT water and mix. Add the canola oil and mix. Add an egg, one by one, mixing after each addition. Add vanilla and cinnamon and mix. Add sour cream and mix until all is blended smooth. Add the mini chocolate chips and mix on low until they are mixed in a bit.

Spray the bottom of your bundt pan with non stick cooking spray. Spray the bundt pan generously with the spray. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the bottom of pan. Spoon cake batter which will be thick into the pan. Level cake batter with the back of spoon when all batter is in the pan. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check with toothpick.

Make a glaze out of powdered sugar, vanilla extract and a little water. A thin glaze is great for this cake. Once cake has cooled, sprinkle top of cake with cinnamon sugar and then drizzle with glaze. Sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on top of glaze.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Anything Wrapped in SWINE is Devine

Yep, unless you do not dine on swine, anything wrapped in bacon is simply devine. The first memory I have of eating bacon wrapped things is back in the 80's at my cousin Patty's house. She made Bacon Wrapped Dates. As a little kid the dates scared me. But I did not mind pulling the crispy, salty bacon off the date and eating it. The date actually gave my bacon strip a yummy taste.

My sister Jessica, who is a foodie too, has stumbled across 2 delicious Bacon Wrapped recipes. One is Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies and the other is Bacon Wrapped Crackers. I made both last night (for Superbowl as the assembly is time consuming) and they are fantastic. You must check this site out. The pioneer woman cooks, photographs and explains things in such a lovely way. Thank you Pioneer Woman.

My Boyfriends family makes a special Bacon-Wrapped Delicacy for family get togethers.

O'Brien-Fiello Family Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts

Thin sliced bacon strips cut in half
whole canned water chestnuts
teriyaki sauce

Take a water chestnut, wrap it with the bacon and fix it with a toothpick. Do this until your ingredients are used up. Put them in a tupperware container and marinate in the teriyaki sauce overnight in the 'frige or for a few hours before you plan to cook and serve them.

Place Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts on a cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. If the bacon is not browned and sizzling, sometimes I put the appetizers on a plate and microwave for a minute or so.

Other suggestions for items to be wrapped in bacon are...

artichoke hearts
asparagus (you can have these little numbers at the Bengel Barbecue at DISNEYLAND)
small pieces of chicken (pre-cooked)

It is also fun to try using different types of bacon; applewood smoked, maple bacon, peppered bacon. The possibilities are endless. I have NOT tried turkey bacon. I looked at it when I was at the market yesterday but I was a bit afraid to try it. SO, if you happen to try it, let me know how it turns out. Enjoy!

*** I tried the turkey bacon. It is a bit difficult to wrap. Tastes vaguely like pork bacon, but looks extremely processed. But, people did eat them. They did not disappear like it's pork relative but they were edible.