Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sunday Dinner and ooh baby where you been all my life?

I was thinking it would be nice to have kind of a relaxed Sunday dinner this past week. One that wasn't so labor-intensive and that wouldn't take me all afternoon. The weird thing is, I still felt like I spent all afternoon in the kitchen. I think the two-hour nap I got down in our pitch black bedroom might have something to do with that, though. Our family always served fries with this Warner family favorite, but I wanted to mix things up a little so I found a recipe for Sweet Potato Fries. Also, I have a huge supply of apples, so I tried a new recipe for apple sauce. (I'm actually going to include another recipe that I tried and never got around to posting. Both are amazing. The first one is the one calls for sugar and it's a little sweeter and more traditional. The second one has a more complex and unique flavor with the cardamom and mace and everything. Both are worth trying.)

The cake was AMAZING. Brendon and Stephanie came over for games and dessert and I served this and worried we'd have too much left over. I sent them home with two pieces, gave one piece to my sweet neighbor, and the rest Bobby and I have slowly consumed the last few days. There is one sliver left but not for long. It is so good!! We thought it tasted better the next day warmed up in the microwave for a bit.

Now, a lot of my friends have spoken very highly of "the cake mix." They make valid points. I myself use cake mixes from time to time, but please, I beg of you, do NOT underestimate the prowess of the made-from-scratch cake. It is a beautiful thing. Give it a try sometime, and when you do- try this one. It is AWESOME. Just a word about the frosting. I JUST barely had enough to frost this thing. Next time I think I would make more of the frosting. I mean, if you were to take a peak beneath the chocolate peanut butter glaze, you would find one messy crumb-coat. There will definitely be a next time, though.

Sweet Potato Fries

Serves 4.

  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds total), peeled and cut into 1/2-by-2-inch sticks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Divide potatoes between two rimmed baking sheets; toss with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer without overlapping. Roast, tossing once, until tender and starting to brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle with lemon juice; season with salt and pepper, if desired. Toss to coat.

2 apples - peeled, cored and
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1. Place shredded apples in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Sprinkle with cinnamon, then add water and cook until the apple bits become soft and mushy.
2. Stir in brown sugar and mix well; if desired, top with ice cream and serve.


From Martha Stewart

18 McIntosh apples, (about 6 pounds), peeled, cored, and quartered
1 cup apple cider
1 large cinnamon stick
1/2 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1/2 cup sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  1. Combine apples, apple cider, cinnamon, vanilla bean, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, mace, sugar, and lemon juice in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium heat, and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching, until apples are broken down and saucy, about 50 to 60 minutes.
  3. Mash any large pieces of apple with a large wooden spoon to help them break down. Adjust seasoning to taste with more sugar and spices.
  4. Remove the apple mixture from the heat, and let stand to cool completely before serving, discarding cinnamon sticks and vanilla pod. Applesauce can also be stored in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days in refrigerator.

Makes about 7 cups.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

Sour Cream-Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Sky High: Irresistable Triple-Layer Cakes

This cake is INTENSE. Serve it in the thinnest slices possible, and keep a glass of milk handy.

Makes an 8-inch triple-layer cake; serves 12 to 16 (the book says, I say a heck of a lot more)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch process
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola, soybean or vegetable blend
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanut brittle (I skipped this)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cakepans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely. (Deb note: These cakes are very, very soft. I found them a lot easier to work with after firming them up in the freezer for 30 minutes. They’ll defrost quickly once assembled. You’ll be glad you did this, trust me.)

4. To frost the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or large serving plate. Spread 2/3 cup cup of the Peanut Butter Frosting evenly over the top. Repeat with the next layer. Place the last layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. (Deb note 1: Making a crumb coat of frosting–a thin layer that binds the dark crumbs to the cake so they don’t show up in the final outer frosting layer–is a great idea for this cake, or any with a dark cake and lighter-colored frosting. Once you “mask” your cake, let it chill for 15 to 30 minutes until firm, then use the remainder of the frosting to create a smooth final coating. Deb note 2: Once the cake is fully frosting, it helps to chill it again and let it firm up. The cooler and more set the peanut butter frosting is, the better drip effect you’ll get from the Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze.)

5. To decorate with the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Glaze, put the cake plate on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Simply pour the glaze over the top of the cake, and using an offset spatula, spread it evenly over the top just to the edges so that it runs down the sides of the cake in long drips. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the glaze and frosting to set completely. Remove about 1 hour before serving. Decorate the top with chopped peanut brittle.

Peanut Butter Frosting
Makes about 5 cups

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably a commercial brand (because oil doesn’t separate out)

1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar 1 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Continue to beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Add the peanut butter and beat until thoroughly blended.

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Glaze
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

8 ounces seimsweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup half-and-half

1. In the top of d double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, combine the chocolate, peanut butter, and corn syrup. Cook, whisking often, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.

2. Remove from the heat and whisk in the half-and-half, beating until smooth. Use while still warm.


Jodie B. said...

That cake looks awesome! Yummy!
I love sweet potato fries. We eat them a lot around here. So yummy and quick- my two requirements for a meal.

Anonymous said...

This looks absolutely amazing Katherine. I am going to try it. I don't know how to add you to my blog but it is I wish you the best of luck infiltrating it! love, Beckie

Anonymous said...


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