Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sweet Potato and Pecan Cupcakes

This Thanksgiving, I was surprised to learn that there is actually more than one kind of pecan pie. That is hard to believe, I know, but it is true. My whole world changed with just one visit to Cracker Barrel. My favorite was the Apple Pecan Streussel  Pie. After having discussed this with family i also discovered that some family members like sweet potato pie. This led me to the amazing discovery of sweet potato pecan pie. What a great ideal...combine two southern favorites. Unfortunately baking pies have not been my interest. Eating them seem to be much easier. I did notice, however, a sweet potato and pecan cupcake recipe with cream cheese frosting and baked them for Thanksgiving this year. Wow! What a hit. Mostly with the little ones though as they love cupcakes and frosting. They wouldn't stop eating them and even came back for more after running and playing outside a bit. I think i may attempt the sweet potato pecan pie for Christmas but may just stick to the cupcakes. Either way you just cant beat two of the best of southern traditions.

Below is the recipe and the link:

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened (used my favorite, unsalted sweet cream land o lakes butter)
  • large eggs 
  • (16-oz.) can mashed sweet potatoes (did not use the can mashed sweet potatoes then cut in slices and boil and then mash)
  • 2/3 cup orange juice 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • Cream Cheese Frosting (used whipped cream cheese frosting)

  • Place pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan.
  • Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring once after 4 minutes.
  • Beat sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
  • Whisk together mashed sweet potatoes, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sweet potato mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Fold in toasted pecans. Place foil baking cups in muffin pans, and coat with vegetable cooking spray; spoon batter into cups, filling two-thirds full. (actually filled mine full, not just two-thirds and used a medium sized muffin pan for medium sized cupcakes. It made about 36.)
  • Bake at 350° for 13-15 minutes. Let cool. Spread cupcakes evenly with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Not necessarily a southern dessert

This cake was baked for my son's 5th birthday. It is a mean green dinosaur : ) Not a southern dessert but still was fun to bake. 

Chocolate Layer Cake

This is a recipe for one of my family's favorite cakes, Chocolate Layer Cake, that we now make for birthdays or other special occasions.This recipe is for a moist chocolate three layer cake that the whole family will love to bake and eat.

For this cake you will need the following items.

For the cake you will need:
2 sticks of Land O Lakes Sweet Cream Butter softened
1 cup butter flavored Crisco
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup plain flour
2 cups self-rising flour
16 ounces of sour cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla flavoring
3 cake pans

Cooking instructions for the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Add Cream Butter, Crisco, and Sugar together. Add eggs one at a time. Add flours, sour cream, and vanilla. Pour into 3 greased and floured cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

For the Topping:
3 cups of sugar
3 tablespoons of cocoa
12 ounces of evaporated milk
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring

While the cake is in the oven get started on the topping for the cake. If you have kids or family members who love chocolate, it is amazing they always show up for this part and are more than willing to help if they get the bowl and spoon afterwards! In a sauce pan combine the sugar, cocoa, and milk which you will need to cook over medium heat for between 20 and 25 minutes stirring while you check the cakes as you go. After you are finished getting the right consistency remove from the heat and add your butter and vanilla to the heated mixture. After you stir in the final ingredients let it cool till its ready to go on the cake.

Another alternative topping is as follows:

2 3/4 c confectioners sugar
6 tablespoon cocoa
6 tablespoon butter
5 tablespoon milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix sugar and cocoa. Cream butter, beat in sugar with milk and blend in vanilla.

This recipe was found in Best of the Best from South Carolina Cookbook. Some of the ingredients above are ones i had on hand and substituted for Thanksgiving one year for the dessert. The sour cream makes this cake very moist and delicious.