Snow day baking

We got our first winter snow here in North Carolina over the weekend. As protocol dictates here in the south, we all rushed out and bought bread and milk. Actually, truth be told, I bought neither of those things as we already had them. I did buy some other items so I could bake while we were “snowed in.”

My Dad got us a Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas and we’ve been so excited to try it out!

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Great Aunt Grace’s Lemon Pound Cake

On Saturday I made my Great Aunt Grace’s Lemon Pound Cake. It’s one of my favorite all-time recipes. It’s so simple to make and tastes so good. The tangy lemon flavor was perfect for brightening up a cold winter day.

For some reason I’ve also been craving scones lately. I usually chalk that up to all the British crime shows I like to watch. I found a great recipe for Parmesan Rosemary Scones on the Tea Time Magazine website. I highly recommend trying these! They were divine. We served ours with butter and homemade strawberry preserves.

Just a couple of teensy notes on the recipe. I did not have fresh rosemary so I used dried which I ran through a small electric chopper first. Also, I found the dough to be very dry and unmanageable at first so I added maybe two more tablespoons of cream to get it to the consistency to be able to roll. Also, they were wonderful warm from the oven, but I ate one cold this morning with no butter or jam and it was still delicious! The sprinkle of salt on the top is really delightful.

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Parmesan Rosemary Scones

 

Aunt Grace’s Lemon Pound Cake

Easter Dinner | The Lush's Blush blog
Easter Dinner
We had a wonderful Easter dinner a few Sundays ago. We prepared all the traditional southern favorites, ham, green beans corn, creamed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, deviled eggs, ambrosia salad and pound cake for dessert.

As a kid I don’t remember thinking pound cake was all that special. It didn’t have fancy icing, maybe a glaze, but sometimes not even that.

Now that I’m an adult, or so they tell me, pound cake is one of my favorite desserts. No, it may not be fancy and I actually don’t even put a glaze on mine, but there’s something about it that just tastes like home.

The recipe I always make was given to my Mamma by her Aunt Grace. Both Mamma and Aunt Grace are no longer on this earth with us in body, but I sense their spirits always. And especially when I make this cake.

Great Aunt Grace’s Lemon Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Crisco
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp lemon flavoring

Directions

Cream sugar and Crisco together. Add eggs one at a time. Add salt and baking powder to flour and sift together. Add flour mixture and milk to batter, alternating between the two and mixing until combined. Add flavoring. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Lemon Pound Cake | The Lush's Blush blog
Aunt Grace’s Lemon Pound Cake

It’s National Chocolate Cake Day

Serendipity Blackout Chocolate Cake | The Lush's Blush blog
Serendipity Blackout Chocolate Cake

I love how these random “days” just come about. I don’t know who decides on them. Can I suggest a few? National Mimosa Day? National Stay in Your PJs All Day? National Leave Work Early and Go to the Beach Day? National Drink Wine (or beverage of choice) at the Beach All Day Day? Clearly you can see where my mindset is today.

Alas today is none of the above, but rather it is National Chocolate Cake Day. Around the holidays, my sweet husband made two of the most amazing chocolate cakes EVER! Both recipes are from the Sweet Serendipity cookbook from the famous Serendipity 3 in New York City.

Both recipes are pretty involved, in fact my husband swears he’s never making anything out of the Sweet Serendipity cookbook every again. But they are amazing cakes, Mad King Ludwig’s Chocolate Cake we made for my dad and godmother’s birthday and the Blackout Chocolate Cake we made for Christmas Eve. Yum!

What is your favorite cake? Leave a note in the comments!

Mad King Ludwig's German Chocolate Cake | The Lush's Blush blog
Mad King Ludwig’s German Chocolate Cake

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

I am obsessed with all things pumpkin and that is one reason this summer girl does look forward to fall. I am always on a mission to find great pumpkin recipes. I had seen this Pumpkin Crunch Cake recipe on a couple other blogs and so I thought I would try it.

I used the recipe from the Picky Apple, but clearly I did not read her comments very well as she explains that the consistency is more like a custard than a cake. That is one thing I was a little disappointed about in this recipe because from the picture, I thought it would be more like the consistency of a blondie. At any rate, the recipe is tasty and I would definitely recommend trying it, but just be prepared that the pumpkin layer is sort of custardy.

One thing I really loved about this recipe, is it requires fairly simple ingredients that we almost always have in stock in our pantry.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (the original recipe called for 1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup butter, melted

We didn’t have a yellow cake mix, but I did have a butter pecan cake mix and I thought that would be a yummy twist on this recipe!

Another reason I loved this recipe is it’s simple. I’m not big on those recipes that require you to fold in the eggs separately etc. Also, I confess, I’m bad to forget to pre-heat my oven, so do as I blog, not as I do and get to pre-heatin’ at 350 degrees. Also, you should grease your pan. I vote for the spray stuff! Then mix your pumpkin, milk, eggs and spices together.

Then put it in your pan.

Then sprinkle the cake mix on top.

Then top with your crushed pecans and melted butter! Yum!

I baked mine for close to an hour. I kept thinking it would become more firm, but the pumpkin layer pretty much stays the consistency of regular pumpkin pie. I think I had some sort of mental block against something that consistency being in a square. If I make this again I think I would go ahead and bake it a round pan and present it more like a double layer pumpkin pie. Some cool whip would be nice with it also!
If you know of any other pumpkin recipes I should try, please share!

Pumpkin Ale Cupcakes

I love summer best of all, but pumpkin anything and holiday treats help me make it through fall and winter. This fall I am on a mission to find THE perfect pumpkin cupcake. I found several on the internet this weekend, but when I stumbled on one that was chocolate I knew I had to try that one first!

Mamma graciously agreed to be my sous chef and even assisted in gathering the ingredients for a photo!

Pumpkin Ale Cupcake ingredients

I admit I was a little dubious about this recipe at first. I love pumpkin and I love chocolate, but I wasn’t sure how they would be together. As pumpkin was my primary flavor objective, I decided to up the pumpkin on this recipe. Instead of just using the pumpkin ale, I also added 3/4 cup of pumpkin. I cut down the amount of sour cream to about 3 tablespoons.

I found the original recipe here.
I’ve never understood exactly what adding one egg at a time really does to enhance the recipe, but nevertheless, I followed the instructions. (This time anyway.)
Yep, there’s pumpkin beer in there! Yum!
And now it’s getting chocolatey!

True to the recipe instructions, the batter is very runny, but don’t worry!

And in we go!

As the batter is fairly thin and runny it is easy to drip where you don’t want it to. No matter, just scrap that off with your fingers (feel free to take a little taste!)

And now we bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. I often find cooking times unreliable, but 25 minutes was right on the nose for this. The recipe does say this makes 24 cupcakes. Our batch actually made 30 cupcakes. I think the secret to pretty cupcakes is to not overfill each cupcake well. This also means more cupcakes, yah!

I think these cupcakes would be great with just a basic cream cheese icing, but the buttercream icing recipe is also quite yummy.

Pumpkin spice buttercream icing ingredients

We decided to cut the icing recipe in half and we had plenty to ice each yummy cuppycake!

Yum!!!

And now for the final touch.

Aren’t they beautiful?

This recipe turned out to be a lot of fun. The combination of rich dense chocolate flavor combined with the spicy pumpkin and pumpkin ale flavors was very unique. I would definitely make these again.

If you know of any pumpkin recipe I should try, please let me know!