Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ellie's Saint Patrick's Day Cake + Recipes

Yesterday evening my father-in-law calls to say that he needed my husband right away. I offered to help, but he would not tell me what was wrong. I called Larr, and he was able to be there in five minutes as he had already left school. It seems that my father-in-law had collapsed on the floor of the kitchen and stayed there, sleeping or passed out (we don't know which) until he woke up and called our house. Larr took him to the hospital. I took Larr dinner. It made me sad to think of them sitting there, hungry, lonely and worried. So I packed a dinner and took it over.

By that time it was late dusk and the very last slivers of muted sun from a gloriously blue sky day were just disappearing. Off to the west there was a large, quiet storm cloud hovering over the neighborhoods. Those last shards of light made the cloud look like it was made of a deep purple that had been dyed from natural fibers. The edges of the enormous cloud were whispy and soft. It looked more like an early morning fog rolling in than the mid evening storm cloud that it was. The cloud, too, must have decided that it was indeed something other than a storm cloud as there was not storm last night.

At this point we think that he had become very dehydrated and hungry. He stayed in the hospital so that they could keep an eye on him. We expect that everything will be fine today.

Back at home, Ellie finished up a cake that she started over the weekend. It is a nice not-too-sweet recipe with a lovely texture. I think the cake would make a nice base for strawberry shortcake. The cream filling was a bit lumpy. We don't know if it is the recipe or our first attempt at making it.

Italian Cream Cake
via: Foodnetwork - Emeril Lagasse

For the cake:
1/2 cup shortening, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, separated and at room temperature
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 cups shredded coconut (omitted)
1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts (omitted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the frosting: (we did not use this frosting - see below for the one we used)
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans.

In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together onto a sheet of waxed or parchment paper. With the mixer on low speed, add the sifted ingredients in batches alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff, and gently fold into the prepared batter. Add the coconut, pecans and vanilla and fold into the batter. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared cake pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a tester comes out clean when inserted into the middle of each cake. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. When the cakes are completely cool, stack the layers with the frosting and frost the sides and top.

While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, butter and vanilla and, using an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy. Add the sifted powdered sugar and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the nuts and fold together. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to frost the cake.


Cream Filling
via: Epicurious

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups chilled whipping cream, divided
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place 2 tablespoons cold water in small bowl. Sprinkle unflavored gelatin over; let stand 10 minutes to soften.
Bring 1/2 cup cream to boil in heavy small saucepan. Add hot cream mixture to softened gelatin; stir until dissolved. Place in refrigerator just until cold, whisking frequently, about 5 minutes.
Place remaining 1 cup chilled cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until peaks form. Add gelatin mixture and beat until peaks form.
Place 1 cake on 8-inch cardboard round or tart pan bottom. Spread half of filling over. Top with second cake. Spread remaining filling over. Top with third cake. Chill on cardboard round 3 hours.

Fluffy White Frosting
via: Allrecipes.com

1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a saucepan, stir together the sugar, water and cream of tartar. Cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is bubbly.

In a medium mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and vanilla to soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar mixture while whipping constantly until stiff peaks form, about 7 to 10 minutes. Frost the cake of your choice.

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