Sunday, 28 April 2013

Better Than "Dad's" Cookies

I have made these cookies for 25 years.  They are a true family favorite.  They are slightly buttery, have wonderful spices and a great crunch.  One thing that I always do that my grandmother taught me when I was a child, is to flatten cookies with a wet fork.  She would get a small bowl of water and dip her fork into it, knock off the excess and use it to flatten her cookies.  Some people use a floured fork and there is nothing wrong with that, but I like to continue what my grandmother taught me.  She was a wonderful cook and baker, so I cherish the time I spent with her in the kitchen as a child. 


1 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (any variety)
1 cup coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice


Cream butter and both sugars together.  Beat in the egg.  Add the molasses and vanilla.

Stir remaining ingredients together and add.  Mix well.  Drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet.  Press with a floured or wet fork. Bake in a 300 degree F oven until golden, about 12 minutes. 

Makes 6 dozen.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Coconut Cream Cake

If you really like coconut cream pie, like I do, then you'll love this cake.  This recipe has seven-minute frosting on it, but you can always substitute any type that you might prefer.  The recipe can also easily be halved to make a smaller 6-inch layer cake. 



1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks (save the whites for the frosting)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup 2% milk

Filling & Frosting

1 1/4 cups lily white corn syrup
2 egg whites, unbeaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups cold 2% milk
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup instant vanilla pudding mix (you'll need 2 boxes)
3/4 cup flaked coconut, divided


Grease two 9-inch round cake pans.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, cream the sugar, shortening and butter until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs and yolks.  Add vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk.  Beat until just combined. 

Pour into prepared cake pans.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks.  Cool completely. 

Bring corn syrup to a boil.  Beat egg whites until stiff, but moist peaks.  Gradually beat in hot syrup.  Continue beating until very stiff and shiny, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Beat in vanilla.

In a bowl, whisk the milk, extract and measured pudding mix for 2 minutes.  Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set.  Finely chop 1/2 cup coconut, fold into pudding mix. 

Split each cake into two horizontal layers.  Spread a third of the pudding over one cake layer; repeat with layers twice.  Top with remaining cake.  Frost the top and the sides.  Toast remaining 1/4 cup of coconut (6 minutes in 350 degree oven); sprinkle over the top.  Store in the refrigerator. 

Serves 10 to 12

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Chiffon Cake

Nothing beats a light and airy chiffon cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  It is my go to recipe for a neighbourhood barbecue or a small family gathering.  There is one important tip in maintaining your cakes full height, and that is to cool it upside down. 

Chiffon cakes can be made plain or fancy in just about any flavor you can think of: lemon, orange, chocolate, peppermint, banana or with bits of chocolate or nuts.  It is often served with a dusting of confectioners' sugar; with whipped cream and fresh fruit; or frosted with fluffy seven minute (boiled or marshmallow) frosting.  Buttercream is much too heavy for this light textured cake.  The cake can also be hollowed out and filled with chiffon filling for a truly elegant dessert. 

This recipe makes a large tube pan cake, enough for 16 to 20 slices.  It freezes well and is a good base for Baked Alaska or filled cakes that need to be served cold, because unlike butter or shortening based cakes, it retains its soft texture in the refrigerator.


7 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar (divided)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk (whole, 2% or skim, or buttermilk for chocolate cake)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy.  Gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar and continue bearing until stiff and glossy.  Set aside.

Whisk together the remaining 1 cup sugar with the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat the oil, milk, egg yolks and flavourings until pale yellow.  Add the dry ingredients and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes at medium speed using a stand mixer or longer with a hand mixer. 

Gently fold in the whipped egg whites, using a wire whisk.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so the batter is well blended.  Pour the batter into a ungreased 10-inch tube pan.  Bake for 1 hour.  Don't open the door during the first 45 minutes of baking; the cake will rise above the pan, then settle back almost even.  It's done when a finger gently pressed in the center doesn't leave a print; you'll be able to hear a crackling sound if you listen carefully.

Remove the cake from the oven and cool it upside down for 30 minutes before removing it from the pan.  I use a thin necked bottle, like a wine bottle and thread the bottle neck through the hole of the tube.  When the cake is completely cool, run a knife around the outside edge and around the tub.  Turn the pan upside down and tap it to remove the cake.  Frost the cake and cut it just before serving.  Dip a serrated knife in hot water between each slice if you want smooth, even pieces.


Lemon or Orange: Replace the cream of tartar with 1 tablespoon lemon or orange juice; eliminate the almond extract and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract.  Fold in 1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest or add 1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange oil at the same time as the vanilla.

Chocolate:  Decrease the amount of flour to 1 1/2 cups and sift 1/2 cup natural cocoa into the flour-baking powder mixture.

Coconut: Substitute coconut flavor for the almond extract using 1 teaspoon if it's mild-strength or a few drops if it's a very strong flavouring oil.  Beat 1 cup of shredded sweetened coconut into the batter along with the flour. 

Vanilla:  Increase vanilla extract to 1 tablespoon and omit the almond extract.

Makes one cake; serves 16 to 20.