Friday, August 3, 2012

Recipe: Osborne Family Applesauce Birthday Cake

This cake is another of my amazing Great Aunt Ethel's legendary treats. She would make an applesauce cake every year for each one of her siblings on their birthday. Keep in mind that she had twelve siblings. Therefore, she got to practice making this cake a lot!

Unfortunately, this is not Aunt Ethel's exact recipe. That, sadly, has been lost to me, so this is my best effort at making the cake from memory. And, believe me, do I have memories of that cake. When you only get one slice, once per year, you savor every speck of it and commit the experience to memory.

The coup de grace, the icing on the cake, if you will is just that - the icing.

Aunt Ethel always made this cake with a peanut butter frosting. So simple, and so dang good.

So without further slobbering rambling, I give you, the traditional Osborne birthday treat, Applesauce Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting. :)

Cake Ingredients-
1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla (can be left out if using boozy homemade applesauce)
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups applesauce  (Made from sliced apples that were left over from making "Apple Pie in a Jar" liqueur*.  But of course, your favorite store bought or traditional homemade applesauce would work just fine.)
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the butter. Add the sugars and continue mixing. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla, then mix until well blended and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the applesauce. Fold in the raisins. Pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan and bake until firm to the touch, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan, then turn it out and allow to cool the rest of the way before frosting.

Frosting Ingredients-
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups +/- confectioners sugar
3 tbsps +/- milk

Whip butter and peanut butter until well mixed. Add 2 cups confectioners sugar, a little bit at a time until well incorporated and fluffed up. If you're happy with the thickness/consistency of your frosting, stop there. If you'd like a more spreadable consistency (more icing than frosting), then add the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition, until you reach the desired consistency.

A really bad photo of a really good cake. This one made with cream cheese frosting, per my youngest monkey's request.

Slice up and serve, as dessert or as a really decadent birthday breakfast, with a big cup of strong coffee. :)

*Apple Pie in a Jar - Cored, thinly sliced apples, steeped in whipped vodka (or bourbon), brown sugar, vanilla bean and a cinnamon stick for 4 weeks. Add "Buttershots" liqueur for that extra buttery, caramelly flavor dimension. AMAZING.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Use it or Lose it - Buttermilk & Sweet Potatoes

This week's featured "everything must go!" ingredients are-

*Jewel Yams (actually a variety of sweet potato), about 2 pounds
*Goat Buttermilk, 1 quart
*Sour Cherries, 4 pounds
*Goats milk, 2 1/2 gallons
*Rendered Leaf Lard (pork), 1 cup +/-

It almost goes without saying that this time of the year, we'll have more milk than we know what to do with. Things could be worse! :)

This is our second year of having this very fortunate predicament, so we're slowly but surely learning how to use goat milk in things that we'd otherwise have used store bought cows milk in (white sauces, custards, etc.), as well as using it to make some of our own dairy products (cheese, butter) to replace or at the very least, reduce the amount of cow's milk dairy that we buy & consume.

We've also started socking a little bit of milk away in the deep freeze, for those dark days when the gals are lactating no-more, and we have a hankering for something creamy.

So, we popped 1/2 gallon of milk into the freezer for later use in cooking and/or soap making. We also pitted and froze the sour cherries for use in my very favorite jam, Summer Solstice preserves.

1 and 1/5th items down!

The buttermilk was homemade, using a quart (1/4 gallon) of whole goat's milk, warmed to 86 degrees, then inoculated with buttermilk culture and left to ripen overnight. What a delicious difference that little culture makes!

I used up the 3/4 of the buttermilk making a triple batch of buttermilk waffles that I also squirreled away in the freezer for a rainy day.

The rest of the buttermilk was used, along with 1 1/2 cups of the pureed yams, and 1/2 cup of the lard (in place of half of the butter), in a double batch of Martha Stewart's Sweet-Potato Biscuits. Heaven. on. earth.

As you can see, I used a small-mouthed mason jar ring in lieu of a proper biscuit cutter. It worked just fine, and that makes one less thing I have to hunt for in my kitchen. ;)

So, having frozen the milk & cherries, baked the biscuits and made the waffles, I'm left with 1 3/4 gallons of milk, 1/2 cups of lard and 1 cup of sweet potato puree. I put the puree into a silicone freezer tray and chucked it into the freezer to set-up. I'll pop out my yam cubes and bag them up, to eventually be used in soup.

As for the milk, I'm going to try and bribe/sweet talk Billy into making a double batch of 30-minute mozzarella to be used on Friday Pizza Night. I'll hang on to the lard, since I'm not exactly under the gun to use it, like I am the more perishable goods on my use or lose hit list.

Whew! That was a lot of baking and dish-dirtying for one day. I'm wiped! Now, excuse me while I go snarf down my third butter and jam smothered Sweet Potato biscuit. Being the chef has its perks. :)