Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Have the Cake Challenge: No Fail Pound Cake

What does this box of cake mix have to do with pound cake???? Well, let me tell you :-)  I recently was asked to make a wedding cake for a friend.  She didn't want anything too heavy and really was interested in me using cake mix.  Thankfully she just wanted a butter cream frosting and not fondant as I have found cake mixes do not hold up to well under fondant!  But I digress... I found a recipe using cake mix and adding just a few more ingredients to extend the mix size and give it a slightly firmer texture.  It came out phenomenal!  So when this month's Have the Cake Challenge was pound cake and I came across this recipe for No Fail Pound cake, I just had to give it a try!

This was a big hit!  I mean, this was a massive huge hit for my family. I did make a few minor adjustments (no surprise there!) but I will be sure to give the exact recipe with my adaptations in italic. It is not as dry as many pound cakes are and less heavy.  
No Fail Pound Cake
by  Patsy with adjustments by me (in italic)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract     I used 2 teaspoons of vanilla bean paste instead of the extracts
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract     omitted
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix      I used Betty Crocker  Super  Moist Butter Recipe, Yellow
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and lemon extract (or in my case the vanilla bean). Beat in water and sour cream. Beat in the cake mix and flour. Pour batter into prepared pan
Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 80 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean( mine took just under an hour). Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely


Saturday, May 28, 2011

been busy....

May has been a crazy month... I did a bridal shower for a young lady who ha been attending our church for several years.  Her colors were plum, silver and ivory... yeah, try finding bridal shower decorations in THOSE colors!!!  Thank goodness for my cricut machine as I made decorations for her using that.  Cupcakes with a super vanilla frosting and topped with a blackberry.

I also made their wedding cake.  Though not necessarily what I would have wanted the bride and her family were very pleased and that's all that truly matters!

 Then we went on vacation where we spent four days in Los Angeles.
While visiting the Kodak theater we tried out the new "Soul Daddy's" Restaurant.  This was the restaurant that won from the television show "America's Next Great Restaurant."  Yeah... not so much.  If this was the best that they had from all the contestants than the other food must have really tanked!  I also tried the Wolfgang Puck Bistro at Universal Studios.  I was unimpressed and was saddened by that.  Hubby and I agree that my meatloaf and tomato soup are much better than what we had there.  Overall though, the trip was fantastic!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


We were challenged to make Gumbo for this months' challenge.  Never having made gumbo before I was excited to make a recipe.  I used Emeril Lagasse's recipe off of the food network website.  I'll admit, I wanted this recipe only because it did not include okra!  Slimey, nasty tasting stuff!!!  The process of getting my roux to darken took well over an hour.  Shouldn't have surprised me since my electric stove is a bit of a brat!  The wait was well worth it though as it was yummy!

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo with White Rice

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse

1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound smoked sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, cut crosswise 1/2-inch thick pieces
4 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed
1 tablespoon Essence or Creole seasoning,
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped bell peppers
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
3 bay leaves
9 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon file powder
White Rice, recipe follows
Hot sauce

In a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until well browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
Season the chicken with the Essence and add in batches to the fat remaining in the pan. Cook over medium-high heat until well browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, let cool, and then refrigerate until ready to use.
Combine the remaining 1/2 cup oil and the flour in the same Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook, stirring slowly and constantly for 20 to 25 minutes, to make a dark brown roux, the color of chocolate.

Add the onions, celery, and bell peppers and cook, stirring, until wilted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the reserved sausage, salt, cayenne, and bay leaves, stir, and cook for 2 minutes. Stirring, slowly add the chicken stock, and cook, stirring, until well combined. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
Add the reserved chicken to the pot and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, skimming off any fat that rises to the surface.
Remove the pot from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken thighs from the gumbo and place on a cutting board to cool slightly. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Pull the chicken meat from the bones andshred, discarding the bones and skin. Return the meat to the gumbo and stir in the green onions, parsley, and file powder.
Spoon rice into the bottom of deep bowls or large cups and ladle the gumbo on top. Serve, passing hot sauce on the side.