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Sunday, February 12, 2012

There's something for everyone on Valentine's Day

Every February 14 all across the United States and other parts of the world, loved ones, friends and kids will celebrate Valentine's Day with cards, flowers and other gifts.
I recently baked this Red Velvet cake following the featured recipe.
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. No one really knows for sure the origin of this romantic holiday, but it is said that it goes back as far as the 14th Century.
One thing we do know for sure, is that it is a day of love and romance. A day when spouses will show their love for each other, parents and grandparents will treat their kids and grandkids to gifts and even children across the country will show their friendship with a Valentine's Day card exchange with their friends.
For me, nothing says Valentine's Day like a great recipe. One of the more popular recipes on this romantic holiday, is the Red Velvet Cake. With its luscious red color and mild chocolatey flavor combined with the sweet creamy richness of the cream cheese frosting makes this cake a favorite.
(Recipe taken from the JoyofBaking.com website)

RED VELVET CAKE
2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 - 8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
1 - 8 ounce tub of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream (double cream) (35-40% butterfat)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Butter two - 9 inch round cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter. 
Working quickly, divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight). (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier.)

Cream Cheese Frosting: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add the heavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to spread. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.
Assemble: With a serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half, horizontally. You will now have four cake layers. Place one of the cake layers, top of the cake facing down, onto your serving platter. Spread the cake layer with a layer of frosting.  Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting and continue to frost and stack the cake layers. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Can garnish the cake with sweetened or unsweetened coconut.
Serves 10 - 12 people.

Don't let diabetes stop you from making a special dessert for your loved one. I came up with this recipe a few years back when several family members were having to watch their sugar intake. The entire family has enjoyed it many times since then. This recipe is not only practically sugar-free it's also delicious and very easy to make. Sugar doesn't have to be an issue for you to enjoy this cake, make it just because you love it. It's light and fluffy and can be enjoyed by everyone.


ANGEL FOOD FLUFF CAKE

1 sugar free angel food cake
1 pkg sugar free vanilla instant pudding
1 large can crushed pineapple (use the pineapple in its own juices so as not to add sugar)
1 8 oz tub sugar free Cool Whip (completely thawed)

Directions
Poor entire can of pineapple with juices into medium size bowl. Mix in package of pudding until well blended. Mixture will be very thick. Fold in entire tub of thawed Cook Whip until well mixed. Place in refrigerator for 15 minutes. 
Slice angel food cake horizontally into 3 layers. Carefully remove and set aside top 2 layers. Place bottom layer on plate.
Remove fluff from refrigerator and spoon about 1/4 of mixture on cake layer. Place middle cake layer on top of mixture and spoon another 1/4 of mixture on cake layer. Place top layer on mixture and using remaining mixture in bowl, completely cover top of cake and spread over sides. Option: Decorate with fresh sliced strawberries. Keep refrigerated.




Don't forget the kids! This cupcake recipe will not only be a treat for the kids but can also be a fun way to get your kids involved. Let your kids or grandkids join you in the kitchen to make this special valentine treat.

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes 


Photo by Taste of Home

  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 16 miniature peanut butter cups

Directions

  • In a bowl, cream the shortening, peanut butter and brown sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.
  • Fill paper-lined muffin cups with 1/4 cup of batter. Press a peanut butter cup into the center of each until top edge is even with batter. Bake at 350° for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted on an angle toward the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 16 cupcakes.

Nutritional Analysis: 1 cupcake equals 238 calories, 10 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 29 mg cholesterol, 260 mg sodium, 33 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein. 

(Recipe taken from TasteOfHome.com website)


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