Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sweet Potato Cake with Caramel Frosting and Sugared Pecans


I have been having some serious cake dreams lately. As you may already know…I LOVE me some cake. I also LOVE making them! So it was no real surprise that my daily power walks were being corrupted by visions of moist delicious cakes. Kind of ironic…but that is my thinking time.

With Thanksgiving coming up, I wanted to create a festive cake. And what is more festive than sweet potatoes…well maybe turkey, but I am not going there. I also remembered that I had a can of organic sweet potato purée in my pantry just begging to be used. Perfect.

Here is my latest creation…

(and before you go thinking that I totally copied the Epicurious concept…I actually had the complete cake idea in my head before I did any research. It just turns out that my idea wasn't that original…Just had to get that off my chest;)



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The Recipe:

2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups canola oil (NON-GMO!!!)

2 cup puréed sweet potatoes (or 1-15oz can of sweet potato purée)

2 tsp vanilla

4 eggs

2 cups flour

3 tsp baking powder (aluminum free)

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt


You will also need 1-2 cups of Sugared Pecans…I used this recipe. And this recipe for Caramel Frosting.


The Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


sweet potato cake 1


Gather the ingredients.

Butter and flour a bundt pan, or 13x9 inch cake pan. Personally, I really LOVE my bundt pan…I think I discussed this in my German Apple Cake post. It makes the cake look extra classy, especially if it is for a special occasion, or you are entertaining. OK…I’ve said my bundt pan peace…you will never have to hear it again (yeah, right).


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You should always use room temperature eggs when baking. Most of the time I use this little trick to quickly bring my eggs to room temp…Place the eggs in warm (not hot, or they will start cooking) water for a 5 or 10 minutes. This is a very useful tip if you are like me, and decide you are going to bake something on a whim, or just lack the attention span and patience to wait…HAHA!


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This is the can of the sweet potatoes that gave me the inspiration for the recipe. I bet you could use the baby food sweet potatoes instead…but you would need A LOT of jars.


Combine the sugar, oil, sweet potatoes and vanilla in a large mixing bowl…or the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix at medium speed until well combined.


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Add eggs one at a time…


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scraping down the side of the bowl with each addition.

Tip: Cracking the eggs into a small dish before adding to the batter ensures that you will not be eating pieces of shell (or fishing them out of the batter), and that if an egg is rotten it will not ruin your ingredients.



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Next stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg). I do this with a fork…or you could sift them. I only sift ingredients together when I am making a yellow or white cake. I know…professional pastry chef I am not.)

Add to the batter.


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Mix on the lowest speed until combined and only a few lumps remain. Do not over mix.


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Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 45 minutes…or 30 minutes, if you are boring and using a 13x9 inch pan;)


Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for ten minutes.


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Flip the slightly cooled cake out onto the same rack. (You will need oven mitts or potholders, as the cake will still be hot!)

Let the cake cool completely for about an hour.



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This part is optional…I like to trim the bottom of the cake off, and even the cake up with a serrated knife. But I am a crazy, perfectionist freak when it comes to stuff like this…so it is really up to you. Plus, I really like to eat the scraps;)


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Transfer to a cake plate, or whatever you will be using to serve your cake on.


Time to prepare the frosting.


Caramel Frosting


It is a bit richer than the one I used for my German Apple Cake.


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It poured onto the cake like a dream.

Immediately after I frosted, I covered the top of my cake with the sugared pecans.


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Look at all of that gooey caramel frosting!


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I hope you will consider taking this beauty to your Thanksgiving gatherings. This was a huge hit with my family. We had this sucker polished off in a day and a half.





Wednesday, October 3, 2012

German Apple Cake



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This is a continuation of my bushel of apples series…

Unfortunately, I came down with a horrid case of the crud from H-E-double hockey sticks, so the series is being pushed into the next few weeks. 

You will notice that this isn’t the prettiest cake I have ever made…I found myself wanting to lie down halfway through the process (sicker than a dog, I tell ya), but I powered through, and hope I am able to give you a good picture tutorial.

I follow THIS recipe exactly…Shocking, I know!


Apple Cake



Apple Cake 2



Apple Cake 3



Apple Cake 4



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I use a Bundt pan,instead of a 9x13 inch baking pan. I think it makes it look much prettier…but it does add 10 minutes to the baking time.  Make sure you butter and flour your pan very well, as this cake sticks like crazy.



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I cool my cake on a rack.

While it is cooling, I make the caramel frosting…recipe HERE. You could definitely serve this without any frosting. It is super moist! If you pass on the icing you may want to dust the cake with a little powdered sugar after it cools completely. This will make it look pretty and professional.


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I use cream in place of milk.




I always end up adding extra cream to the icing after I have mixed in the powdered sugar.


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This was a tad runny for my liking…but again, I was in no shape to mess with it.


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I guess the taste wasn’t affected, because my husband and kids ate the whole thing in two days! Unfortunately I was unable to taste it myself (and my tummy was a bit off). Which totally means I need to make another;)




This is a picture of an apple cake I made last fall. The icing is a much smoother, and evenly poured over the cake.

I think this would be a gorgeous, and DELICIOUS, cake to make for a fall dinner party.



Monday, October 1, 2012

Secret Recipe Tuna Salad

Tuna Salad

Tuna salad is tricky. What do I mean by that…?
In my experience people either love it or hate it. I used to hate it when I was younger. Until my husband (then boyfriend) introduced me to the world of albacore tuna and lots of Miracle Whip. I am cringing a little as I type this…I would so NEVER eat that now!

I found the original recipe, which I have been tweaking for a few years, at Allrecipes.

Secret Recipe Tuna Salad
2-5 oz. cans of tuna
1/2 cup mayo
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp curry powder
A few shakes of garlic powder

First, a lesson on canned tuna.
Albacore tuna is the highest in mercury, so we do not eat it that often. I like sustainably caught yellow fin, skipjack or tongol tuna, which are all “chunk light”, and low in mercury. It is also important that the can is BPA free, meaning it is not lined with the harmful plastic product Bisphenol-A. If you can’t find sustainably caught, low mercury tuna, in BPA free cans in your area, Amazon (surprisingly!) sells Wild Planet Skipjack in 12 packs for a reasonable price.
In this batch I used a can of each, tongol and skipjack.
Drain each can, and flake tuna into a small bowl.
Add each of the listed ingredients…

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I purchase our parmesan from my local co-op. It is hormone, antibiotic and preservative free (and just plain tastes better that Kraft). I think I paid around $2 for this container, which makes it quite economical as well.
I also use organic or preservative free mayo.

Tuna Salad 3

Tuna Salad 5

I was totally wierded out at the thought of curry in my tuna at first, but this makes the dish. DO NOT leave it out (unless you HATE it).

For the best flavor, let it chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, 4-6 (or overnight) is ideal, before serving.
This version is really quick and easy to prepare. If I have more time on my hands I add 2 tablespoons on finely chopped red onion and a few tablespoons of home canned sweet pickle relish, or a chopped dill pickle.
My kids LOVE this! I pack it in their lunch once a week (not more because of the mercury…which is still there, even if it is a smaller amount).

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We’ve come a long way from fancy albacore and salad dressing.


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