Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Vanilla Cupcakes With Vanilla Icing

This is my signature cupcake.  These are light vanilla cupcakes with a very light fluffy vanilla icing.  There are a lot of different kinds of icing out there, each one having a place.  This icing is nice and light and fluffy.  It is equally as pretty when it is coloured with gel paste colours, such as Rainbow Dust ProGels.  Keep in mind that the colour darkens as it sits.  Always start with a small amount and add colour in small amounts as you need it.  You can always add more colour, but you can't take it out.


Vanilla Cupcakes



2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk
4 egg whites, unbeaten


Blend flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in large mixing bowl. Add shortening, 2/3 cup milk and vanilla.  With an electric mixer, beat 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping sides and bottom of bowl constantly.  Add remaining milk and unbeaten egg whites.  Beat 2 more minutes, scraping bowl frequently.

Fill greased or paper lined muffin cups 3/4 full and bake at 350 degrees F. for 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Remove from pans, cool.  Frost as desired. 

Makes 24 cupcakes. 

Vanilla Icing


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
6 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla


Combine butter and shortening.  Add icing sugar, whipping cream and vanilla.  Beat at medium-high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, for 10 minutes (I use my stand mixer for this recipe) or until smooth and the proper consistency.  You may need to add another tablespoon or two of whipping cream.  Colour if required. 

Makes about 6 cups of icing. 


Monday, 10 June 2013

How Sweet Is That?'s Baked Pasta

This is one of those recipes that I have used for the last twenty plus years. It can easily be doubled so you can put one in the freezer to bake another night.  I like to use it for a meatless dinner or a side dish for ham etc.  I love the bit of nutmeg in it, it really changes it up from the usual baked pastas. 


1/2 lb. (250g) pasta, such as penne, ziti, rotini or (my favorite) rigatoni
1/4 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 lb. (250g) ricotta cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1 - 28oz (796ml) tin diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


1) Cook pasta.  Rinse with cold water.  Drain well.  Reserve.
2) To prepare sauce, melt butter in a large saucepan.  Add garlic and onion and cook 3 to 4 minutes. 
3) Add flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring often.
4) Add milk, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat.  Cook gently 5 minutes. 
5) Combine pasta with sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, tomatoes and parsley.
6) Pour into a 9" x 13" dish or casserole.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 
7) Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling and brown. 

Yield: 6 to 8 servings