Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Raspberry Walnut Cake

1 3/4 c. cake flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 c. ground walnuts
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 c. white sugar
3 eggs
1 T. vanilla

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 c. sugar
1/8 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 (12 ounce) jar raspberry preserves

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9 inch pans. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and ground walnuts. Set aside. In a small bowl whip 1 1/2 cups cream until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine 1 1/2 cups sugar, eggs, and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Beat 5 minutes at highest speed of an electric mixer. Fold in flour mixture alternately with whipped cream.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

To make the Frosting: In a large bowl combine cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until smooth. In a separate small bowl, whip 1 1/2 cups whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.

To assemble cake: Split each layer in half horizontally to form 4 layers. Place 1 layer on serving plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with second layer; spread with 1/2 cup preserves. Top with 3rd layer; spread with 1/2 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost sides of cake with frosting, reserving about 1 cup for decorating. Spread remaining preserves on top of cake. Using a pastry bag and a star tip, pipe reserved frosting in a lattice design on the top of cake, pipe border around top and bottom edges of cake. Store in refrigerator.

Notes from me: First, regarding cake flour, I found this substitution online. Mix 1 3/4 c. regular flour with 1/4 c. cornstarch to get 2 c. cake flour. Then use only 1 3/4 c. of it for this recipe.

Second, to grind the walnuts I put them in between two sheets of wax paper and crushed them with a rolling pin. Do not omit these; they make the cake.

Third, I used Neufchatel instead of regular cream cheese. Seemed to work fine.

Fourth, I think I used more preserves than it said. I bought a 20-ounce jar because that's what I could find and used more than 60%. But I'm sure the 12-ounce would be fine. And I'm sure you could substitute other fruit with success.

Fifth, I don't have pastry bags, so used a Ziploc sandwich bag and cut the tip. That's why it's not as pretty.

Sixth, this cake is AMAZING. Chuck said it was the best cake he's had in as long as he can remember. I wish I had taken a picture of the fun layers, but that's for you to experience. Serious yumminess.

P.S. This is how good the icing was:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. soda
1 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
3/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)
1 3/4 c. quick oats
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Sift together the flour, soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Cream the shortening and sugar; beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, banana, oatmeal, and nuts. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Drop by teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 14-15 minutes or until edges turn lightly brown.

These were another great way to use overripe bananas. I doubled the batch and had about 9 dozen, so a regular batch would yield about 4.5 dozen (of the erin-sized cookies, of course).