Saturday, April 10, 2010

Southern Dessert Staples

So, I have been on a recipe-trying stint lately. It must be this warm weather that has finally arrived, but I have been on a rampage to try to find my newest faves. Though Paula Deen is not usually my go-to-gal for recipes, she definitely got these cakes right. These staple desserts are definitely saved in my permanent recipe file!

Mama's Pound Cake
Courtesy Paula Deen

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter, plus more for pan
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk (skim is fine... don't tell Paula!)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

With a mixer, cream butter and shortening together. Add sugar, a little at a time. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl and add to mixer alternatively with milk, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Mix in vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

* For the summer I recommend serving it with homemade whip cream, fresh strawberries, and little sprig of mint for garnish. Yum!

Caramel Cake
Courtesy Paula Deen

1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
3 cups self-rising flour, sifted
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream, or more if needed
1 (16 oz) box confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.

Using an electric mixer cream butter until fluffy. Add granulated sugar and continue to cream well for 6-8 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternatively to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed.

Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 4 inches above counter dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

While the cake is baking, in a saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and milk. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Remove cake layers from oven and allow cake to remain in pans as you prepare to stack and fill. Remove first layer and invert onto cake plate. Pierce cake layer with a toothpick over entire surface. Spread 1/3 of filling mixture on cake layer. Top with second layer, repeat process. Top with last layer and repeat process again.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and stir in brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat with a handheld electric mixer until it reaches a spreading consistency. AT this time it may be necessary to add a tablespoon of heavy cream, or more, if frosting gets too thick. Be sure to add cream in small amounts because you can always "add to", but you can't take away. Frost cake.

* I recommend serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

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