Mixed Berry & White Chocolate Butter Cream Cake.....A Knockout Cake Every Time I Make It.......

Serves 22-24 people and is a really big and impressive cake.
For most of my adult life I have worked and many of my recipes were shared with me by wonderful and generous clients and customers who also loved to cook and appreciated good food.  This recipe was shared with me in 2002 by Diana Winiger, one of my customers.  She too had a lot of family "get together's" and made this very large cake for them.  She said at the time it serves 24 but she had not found that to be so as so many people want seconds!  This cake requires 12 inch diameter by at least 2 inch high cake pans.  The layers are both split and three of the four layers are assembled for this recipe. 

This is a 15 egg cake!
The recipe yields an extra cake layer that can be reserved for another time.  Wrap it tightly in foil and freeze for a month or so.  Keeping the cake wrapped defrost it at room temperature.  Then, serve with berries and cream or ice cream.  I have several times cut the remaining layer in half and frosted it as a completed half of a layer cake.  I always make the layers ahead of time and freeze them until the day I need to frost them.  Just double wrap them snugly and freeze flat.

I am making this for my granddaughter's 18th birthday so it needs to be special!

Note:  It is very helpful to have two very large mixing bowls for the cake.  I use 2, 7 quart mixing bowls for this and they are none too large.  Anything smaller than 6 quarts would be a problem.

Ingredients for the Cake:
3 3/4 cups cake flour  (14.10 oz. if using a scales)
1 1/2 cups sugar  (10.6 oz.)
3 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
15 large egg yolks
2 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
15 large egg whites
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Position one rack in the center and one rack in the lowest third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.    Butter and flour 2, 12" diameter cake pans with 2 " high sides.   Do NOT, I repeat NOT use cooking or baking spray on the pans.  Use solid shortening or butter and then dust liberally with flour.

15 egg yolks.
Whisk flour, 1 1/2 c. sugar, baking powder, and salt in very large 6-8 quart bowl blending well.

Thick smooth batter.
Add 1 1/2 c. warm water using an electric mixer, beat until smooth (batter will be thick).   Beat in oil, then egg yolks, and vanilla.

Beating 15 egg whites fills my 7 quart mixing bowl!
Using clean dry beaters and another very large clean bowl beat the eggs whites and powdered sugar until the whites are very thick and billowy and form medium firm peaks when the beaters are lifted.
(Should take about 12 minutes to get to this state, do not under beat.)   Fold the whites into the yolk mixture in 3 additions.  Divide the cake batter evenly between the two prepared baking pans.

This cake fills up my 7 quart bowls.  This is the third addition of whites to the batter.
Place one pan on each rack in the oven, staggering pans so one is not directly above the other.   Bake the cakes 25 minutes and then reverse the positions of the pans.   Bake the cakes until tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about an additional 10-12 minutes.   Remove from the oven and cool the cakes for 10 minutes.  Line 2 cooling racks with clean tea towels.   Cut around the outside of the cakes to loosen:  turn the layers onto the towels.   Cool completely.  The instructions indicate this can be made a day ahead and wrapped in foil and kept at room temperature.  

Fills my cake pans to the top.

Note:  I think frosting the layers while the cake is frozen is much easier.  Also if traveling with the cake the cold layers seem to keep everything together nicely.

Also I find it is easier to split the layers of a frozen cake.  To assemble the cake split the layers.  You will only use 3 for this recipe and you may freeze the third.  I usually cut the extra layer in half and frost it as a two layer cake.

Ingredients for White Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting:

8 ounces good quality white chocolate such as Lindt or Baker's chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups  (4 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup egg whites ( about 8)
2 1/4 cup sugar (15.93 ounces)
2 1/2 teaspoons fresh grated orange peel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Stir white chocolate and cream in heavy small saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth.    Cool to room temperature.   Using electric mixer, beat butter in medium bowl until fluffy; set aside.

Combine whites and sugar in large metal bowl.  Set bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water (Do NOT let the bottom of the bowl touch the water).   Whisk until sugar dissolves and thermometer inserted into whites registers 160 degrees F,  about 3 minutes.  Remove the bowl from over the water.   Using clean dry beaters, beat meringue until cool, stiff, and shiny, about 10 minutes.   Beat butter, about 1/4 cup at a time, into meringue.    Blend well after each addition.   If frosting looks curdled, place bowl over very low heat for 3-5 seconds to soften slightly.  Remove from heat and beat until smooth.  Repeat warming technique as necessary.  Gradually beat in the cooled white chocolate mixture, then orange peel, and vanilla extract.   Chill butter cream until beginning to firm about 30 minutes.

NOTE;  Today when I made the frosting it was hot and humid and I thought the frosting was ruined because it all sort of deflated after I had it all together.  This did not happen before when I had made it.  I refrigerated the whole bowl of frosting and the beaters for a full 30 minutes and re-whipped it.  It came back and was just fine!!  Whew!

Ingredients and Assembly:

1 cup seedless raspberry jam
6 cups (about) assorted fresh berries.  (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, halved if large and sliced if large strawberries)
3, 12" cake layers (after splitting there are 4)

Place 1 layer on a large cake plate or cardboard round.  Spread with 1/2 cup jam, then with 1 1/4 cup butter cream.   Arrange half of the berries atop the butter cream, spacing about 1/2" apart.   Press second cake layer atop the berries.   Repeat the process of the jam, butter cream, and berries.   Top with the third cake layer.

Spread 2 cups of the butter cream atop and on the sides of the cake in a thin layer to anchor the crumbs and smooth the surface.   Refrigerate the cake on it's base until the crumb coat is firm, about 10 minutes.  Spread 2 1/4 cups butter cream over the top and sides of the cake until smooth.    Spoon remaining butter cream into pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip.    Pipe border around the top edge of the cake.    (Can be prepared 2 days ahead, cover and refrigerate.)

The red current jelly causes the berries to glisten like jewels!
Final Decoration:

4 cups assorted fresh berries
1/2 cup currant jelly

Place the cake on base or platter.  Fill the top center of the cake with berries.  Melt the jelly in a heavy small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.   Using a pastry brush, brush warm jelly over the tops of the berries.  Let cake stand at room temperature at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.   Using a long knife, cut the cake into quarters.  Cut each quarter into 6 wedges.

The cake is pretty spectacular after you get into it too!
Note:  I have used frozen berries on the inside layers in the past and put fresh on the top.  It works both ways.  This is a delicious and beautiful cake!  It will knock your socks off!!

It was perfection!!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY EMILY.


Golden Cream of Wild Morel, Mushroom, and White Truffle Soup

Wild Morels.
This is about exotic as it gets around here!  My brother Gary brought me wild morel mushrooms they had found and frozen.   Gary's wife Darla is known to us as "the mushroom whisperer"!

White Truffle Powder Is Imported from Italy.
Today I started thinking of what to fix for dinner and it came to me to use these precious mushrooms along with a bit of white truffle powder I have been hoarding and concoct a Golden Cream of Morel, Mushroom, and Truffle Soup.  My husband loves mushroom soup and this should be just perfection.  This would be delicious even without the truffle but since I have it what the hay!

Ingredients for Golden Cream of Wild Morel, Mushroom, and White Truffle Soup:

1 1/2-2 pounds mushrooms,  (My mix is 8 oz. morel, 8 oz. shitake, 16 oz. crimini)
2 T. olive oil
1 T. butter + 8 T. butter
2 C. diced onion
1 C. diced carrot
6 C. chicken stock
3 T. flour
1 T. white truffle powder, optional
1/2 C. sherry
1/2 C. water
10 1/2 oz. can undiluted double strength chicken broth
3 T. cornstarch
1 C. heavy cream
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Clean the mushrooms with a soft brush and remove the stems.  Set aside the mushrooms from the stems after slicing them into bite size portions.  Chop the stems and set them aside separately.

Simmering Mushroom Stock.
Make the mushroom stock by placing a large saucepan over the flame and add 2 T. olive oil and 1 T. butter and heat.  Add the onions, carrots, mushroom stems, 1 t. salt, and 1/2 t. pepper.  Cook this over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Add 6 C. chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook slowly for 30 minutes.

Using a soup kettle heat the remaining butter and add the mushrooms and saute for about 8-9 minutes.  Add the flour and truffle powder if using and stir minute or so.  Stir in the sherry and water, then strain in the hot mushroom stock stirring well and continuing to cook.  Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.  Turn the heat down as low s it will go and simmer for 15 minutes.  Right before serving dissolve the cornstarch in the 10 1/2 oz. cold  undiluted broth and add it to the soup stirring and returning to a boil.   Add the cream and heat to serving temperature but do not boil.

Golden Cream of Wild Morel, Mushroom, and White Truffle Soup.
We love soup ladled into giant mugs and served with crisp saltines or crusty hot bread.

Yield 4-6 servings.


Smashed Baked Potato Salad

This salad captures the flavors of twice baked potatoes.
The last time we were in Indianapolis we attended a party at which my niece Melissa brought the most d-e-l-i-c-i-o-u--s potato salad!  Everyone was asking, "Who brought that potato salad?"  Including me!  Melissa explained she had gotten it at the Marsh supermarket deli department!  It was just out of this world and I have been pondering taking a stab at recreating it since then.  Since there is not a Marsh within 200 miles of here I really had no choice.

Tonight Brian is bringing home fried chicken and I need a couple of sides.  

Today the culmination of my planning has come to fruition.  I made extra mashed potatoes the other night to use as well as I baked 2 extremely large extra potatoes last night for supper.  Just now I put it all together and it is truly delicious!

Ingredients for Smashed Baked Potato Salad:

1-2 C. cold mashed potatoes
3-4 C. peeled and diced cold baked potatoes
3 hard cooked eggs chopped
1 stalk celery diced
1 large spring onion diced
1/4 C. pickle relish (*I used my homemade chunky relish)
3/4 C. sour cream
2/3 C. real mayonnaise
generous sprinkling of kosher salt (to taste)
generous sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
options add crumbled cooked bacon, shredded cheese, fresh snipped chives for garnish

Just stir all of these ingredients together in a large bowl until well combined and taste,  If it is a little dry add a tablespoon or two more sour cream and mayonnaise.  Refrigerate until serving time.

*Link to my pickle relish recipe follows:

Note:  This may well be the most delicious way to use left over mashed and left over baked potatoes that there is!

Vintage Textiles and More Treasures I Find. Ready to Sew Soon.....

Vintage Matching Heart Shaped Doilies.
I had deserted sewing back before Christmas although it had not deserted me!  I had just too too much going on to get organized and Grandpa Powell has gifted me with way more fabric than I will ever live long enough to use up.  At one point late last summer I had it all organized but she has since given me at least another 2 trunk loads of totes and boxes of fabric which I have not sorted through yet.

My list of things I need to sew is piling up which includes mending for my granddaughters, a baked potato bag for my sister-in-law, and a tote bag and bibs for some new Moms in our family.  Actually it would be very wise to just get some of these things made up ahead of time for future gifts.  Here is a link to one of the bags I have made.  I never make 2 just alike so there are several others but this one probably gives the best illustrated directions.   
There Are Three of These Hand Made Lovelies.

And then there are the baked potato bags.  That link is

Dark with age yet spotless.

At any rate I have lugged my big heavy vacuum  down the stairs after finishing the top floor and am getting ready to sweep after which I will grab a bite of lunch and start in on the fabric sorting.  I hope to put together some cute and appealing fabric color combinations in the process of the sorting so I can get started yet today and resume tomorrow on the fore mentioned projects.  (10:00 A.M. 6/25/13)

Well it is 3:00 P.M. and I have 4 big boxes and a bag to load into the back of the truck and take to the nursing home activities director as a donation for the crafts department.  I took a big bag to the trash bin too.  Actually I again found treasures!!  I love old textiles and I found hand crotchet "doilies" as Mother called them as well as very old hand embroidered "doilies and an embroidered tablecloth.  Plus 3 very very nice vintage tablecloths.

I love this old hand embroidered tablecloth.
Forgot to mention tons of lovely fabric, some in small portions and others are nice big uncut portions she has bought with something in mind and never gotten to it.  Also tons and tons of lace, notions, and trims and ribbon.  Just like Christmas!  I still have more to do another day.

Tea stained Dollie on the top of the stack.
More crocheted treasure.

 Dogwood blossoms.
Very retro!
This one is machine embroidered.
Since the vacuuming and laundry is all done I can work on it again tomorrow most of the day!  Might even get to start sewing!

If you know what this is please leave me a comment and share!
Does anyone know what this is?  It feels like a heavy suede and it says, " Made in Japan" on a cloth label on the back.  It is about 7" across and darkened with age.  I really like but do not have a clue what it is.


A Rainy Monday in South West Indiana.

A rainy morning in Indiana.
We are having a dark and rainy Monday.  Very surprisingly the power has not gone off although there were numerous flashes and  much flickering of the lights.  Flash floods are still in effect although they don't generally affect us as we sit up near the top of a big hill.  Molly our dog is scared to death, quivering and has not left my side.

It just rains steadily.
I like rainy days.  They seem to make me feel a bit lazy and that can be a pleasant affliction.  Today after starting the laundry and doing a few little chores I settled down and curled up to a movie as the dog nestled at my feet.

The birds have found shelter elsewhere.
But restlessness sets in and I have to busy myself so I have tried to capture the cleansing and rebirth a good rain brings.  Everything becomes a lusher green.  Soon the birds and insects will be back about their rounds and normal will resume.

Making Mustards, 3 Flavor Varieties

I am using mustard seed, turmeric, salt, honey, apple butter, cider vinegar. black pepper, and ground mustard powder.
If I had to list my favorite condiments MUSTARD would surely make the short list!  There are several recipes I have seen and put back to try and since I purchased that lovely big bag of mustard powder at the Asian market a few days ago I have started three for now.  I am excited about this.  The first is for Spicy Honey Mustard.  These recipes originated from  She credits the first one to Marisa McClellan and her book "Food in Jars."  This is a take on the hot mustard served in Chinese restaurants but it is said to mellow over time.  Variety is king!

Ingredients for Spicy Honey Mustard:

1 C. dry mustard
1 C. cider vinegar
1/3 C. honey
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

I think this looks like liquid gold.
Combine all of the ingredients in a small pan and whisk to blend.  Bring to a boil and reduce the heat and simmer over a medium flame for 5-6 minutes stirring as you do so.

Ladle into sterilized jars leaving 1/2" head space if you plan to water bath to seal the jars for longer storage.  To do so cover jars with boiling water to a depth of 1" over the tops of the sealed jars and process 10 minutes.

Either refrigerate the mustard and consume within several weeks or water bath process and use within one year.  Yield 2 cups.

Apple Butter Mustard is the next one.  Golly does this sound good or what?  I am really anxious to try this one!  I am using my homemade apple butter from last fall and that makes it even more interesting.  Can't wait to slather this onto some kind of roasting pork or chicken!  This is adapted from Karen Solomon and her book "Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it, and Other Cooking Projects".

My homemade apple butter and mustard powder are the main ingredients for this one.
Ingredients for Apple Butter Mustard:

1/2 C. powdered mustard

1/4 C. apple butter

1/4 C. apple cider vinegar

1 t. kosher salt

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until blended.  Cover and store in a cool dark place.  Taste after 2 weeks.  If it is too bitter, leave it another week.  Once it is ready to eat store in a covered jar in the refrigerator.  Yield 1 cup.

Pouring my golden treasure into jars.
Pickled mustard seed is another interesting project for this afternoon.  This one is adapted from Ashly English, who blogs and her friend Chris an art director who tops deviled eggs with these pickled seeds and they pop just like caviar for an exciting taste treat! I can't wait to try this one either!

Swirling Golden Mustard Seeds.
Ingredients for Pickled Mustard Seed:

1 C. yellow mustard seed
1 1/2 C. cider vinegar+ 1/3-1/2 C. divided
1 t. kosher salt
2 T. honey
2 t. turmeric

Rinse the mustard seeds quickly and drain with haste.  Pour them into a nonreactive pan and add the first amount of vinegar and salt.  Allow to stand overnight uncovered at room temperature.

The following day add the honey and turmeric.  ( You can also add other flavoring at this time. Suggestions are tarragon, black and green peppercorns, chipotles in adobo, ginger, or lemongrass.)

Pickled Mustard Seeds.
On the stove top, bring the mixture to a simmer.  Cook stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 15-20 minutes.  The seeds will expand and the mixture will thicken.

Apple Butter Mustard and Spicy Honey Mustard.
Remove from the heat and cool uncovered.  The mixture will become thicker as well as denser.  Store in the refrigerator in a sealed jar.  Yield 2 1/2 cups.


Crunchy Pea & Cauliflower Salad with Almond & Cranberries, Not to Mention the Bacon!

Crisp and delicious pea and cauliflower salad.
I love pea salad and am always on the look out for a good recipe for pea salad.  When I spotted this one on I knew I could with a bit of adaptation derive a great new salad we would enjoy.  Plus anything to get more of these fruits and vegetables into our meals.  This one hits several very good notes.  I will confess.  I love this salad!

Ingredients for Crunchy Pea & Cauliflower Salad:

16 ounces thawed frozen green peas
1 C. slivered almonds
1/2 C. raisins
1/4 C. sliced green onions with tops
1 pound diced, fried, and drained bacon
1 C. dried cranberries
1 C. good mayonnaise
2 T. sugar
2 T. vinegar
a good shake of ground cayenne pepper (to taste)
1/4 t. soy sauce
1/4 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 C. chopped cauliflower
1/2 C. sliced celery

Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, pepper, cayenne pepper, soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl to make the dressing.  Taste and correct seasoning as needed.  Assemble the salad remaining salad ingredients in a large bowl and top with the dressing.

Stir well to combine.  Cover and refrigerate at least one hour before serving.


Rum Cake

This is made from my Mother's Rum Cake Recipe.
Yesterday I got a text from a very dear gal we think the world of....she has been or physician's nurse for a blue moon and she is just a wonderful person.  She was hunting a rum cake and asked if I make one.

Well yes I do, and I've just finished raking through one of my many recipe files until I found my Mother's recipe.  She always made this around the holiday's and it is easy and delicious.  I love it anytime and so I am making one for our friend and I thought you might enjoy it too.

Ingredients for Mother's Rum Cake:

1/2 C. chopped pecans
1 (18 1/2 oz.) butter recipe golden cake mix (I use Duncan Hinds)
1 (3 3/4 oz.) box vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 C. light rum
1/2 C. water
1/2 C. vegetable oil
4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Butter and flour well a bundt or 10" x 14" tube pan and set aside.

Crumble the nuts into the bottom of the pan.  Place cake and pudding mixes into a large mixing bowl.  Add rum, water, oil and eggs and mix 2 minutes.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 50-60 minutes until done.

Ingredients for Hot Rum Glaze:

1 C. sugar
1/4 C. light rum
1 stick of butter
1/4 C. water
1/8 t. butter rum flavor (optional)

Combine the glaze ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Continue the boil for 3-4 minutes.  Pour over hot cake.

Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the hot glaze over the cake.  The hot rum glaze will cause the cake to settle.  Cool the cake for 30 minutes and remove it from the pan onto a flat tray or platter.   

This makes a wonderful dessert any time of year!  It is nice with a dollop of freshly whipped sweet cream.

Seriously Good Beer 'n Cheese Dip

Beer 'n Cheese Dip Served with Toasted French Bread and Bagel Chips.
The inspiration for this was one of those things I ran across someplace and hand wrote out to try at some point.  My apologies to whoever it may have come from in the first place.  It has undergone my adaptations and tweaking and has resulted in a REALLY good Beer Cheese, at least according to our guests last evening and my hubby!   Actually, I thought it was outstanding too.

Ingredients for Beer 'n Cheese Dip:

2, 8 ounce bars of room temperature cream cheese
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
3/4 C. beer
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 loaf French Bread
olive oil
crackers or bagel chips

Add all of the ingredients to  the bowl of a food processor and pulse until perfectly smooth.

Place 1/2" slices of French bread on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.  Heat for 20-30 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven.  Serve warm or at room temperature with Beer Cheese Dip.   This would also be good with vegetables or crackers.  Cover tightly and keep refrigerated until serving.

Yield almost 2 pounds Beer 'n Cheese Dip.


Money Saving Tip for Buying Spices.

Wonderful, wonderful spices at bargain prices.
Today I again went to one of the local Asian markets and was again astonished at the savings!  I had used the last of my sesame seeds in the Asian Slaw last week and I was almost to the bottom of the whole cloves with all of the hams I have made this spring.  I am getting ready to make several homemade mustard recipes and so I had several items to look for.

We have 2 Asian markets and I have had equal success with both, it is just who is closer to where I am at the time I think to go!!  The fresh produce is also a bargain.

Today I purchased 3.2 ounces of whole cloves for $2.99
                               7.   ounces of ground cumin       1.99
                               7.   ounces sesame seed              1.59
                               7.   ounces mustard powder        2.39

I guarantee I would have payed way way more and gotten way way less at the local big box grocery.
So if you are fortunate enough to have an Asian market in your area I encourage you to check it out!
You may find savings too.

Old Fashioned Leaf Lettuce and Hot Bacon Dressing

Washed and torn leaf lettuce and sliced spring onions fresh picked from the garden.
Would you believe I was almost grown before I had ever seen or known of Iceburg lettuce?  Our family lived out of our garden and grew leaf lettuce.  Generally bacon drippings were melted and vinegar, water,  and sugar was added which made the tangy dressing and caused the greens to wilt a bit.  It is a great summer salad!

Ingredients for Wilted Lettuce Salad:

2-3 quarts washed and torn leaf lettuce
4-5 sliced spring onions
2-3  T. bacon drippings
1/4 C. cider vinegar
1/4 C. sugar
1/2 C. water
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Place the torn lettuce in a large bowl and top with the onions.

Melt the bacon drippings in a skillet and add the rest of the ingredients over medium heat stirring until it comes to a boil and the sugar is dissolved.  Pour the hot dressing over the lettuce just before serving and toss well.  The lettuce will wilt a bit.   And that is a good thing!