Cranberry ~ Orange Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

Cranberry ~ Orange Layer Cake

3 1/3 Cups all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1 1/2 Cups unsalted butter, room temp

2 Cups sugar

zest of one large orange or 2 tangerines

3 large eggs, room temp

1 Cup milk, room temp

1 Cup sour cream, room temp

1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla

3 Cups fresh cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour or spray with baking spray 3 eight inch pans.

Cream the butter, sugar and zest until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time and combine. In a medium bowl combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl or large glass measuring 4 cup size; whisk together the sour cream, milk and vanilla until combined. Starting and ending with the flour; Alternate with the flour in 3 additions and w/the milk mixture in 2 additions. Don’t over mix. Fold in the cranberries. Divide the batter in the 3 prepared pans and bake about 35-40 minutes until a skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool the pans over a wire rack until the cakes are completely cool. Frost with the cream cheese icing.

Decorate as desired.

Optional sugared rosemary and cranberries:

Make a small amount of simple sugar with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water by melting in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves and gently boil for a minute. Remove from the heat and let the syrup cool for about 10 minutes. Drop the cranberries into the syrup and remove and place over a wire rack and let rest for about 10 minutes then roll in sugar and place back onto the rack to dry. “Drag” the rosemary sprigs into the syrup and let dry on the rack for about 40 minutes, the coat with sugar and place back onto the rack to dry.

Optional marzipan pine cones:

Quick food processor marzipan: (you can use store bought also)

5 oz. finely ground blanched almond flour

6 oz. confectioners sugar

1 Tbsp. liquid pasteurized (100 %) egg white

1 tsp. almond extract

Blend all the ingredients in the processor and dump out onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a log.

Break off a small piece of marzipan and roll it into a ball first in your hands, then shape into a cone shape. Insert sliced “natural” almonds at an angle into the marzipan. Sprinkle a generous amount of confectioners sugar once formed. Carefully place on the cake as desired.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

16 oz. Cream Cheese, softened

6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

2 lbs. Confectioners sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

8 oz. white chocolate melted

1/4 Cup sour cream

2 teaspoons  vanilla

2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar

(optional)* 8 oz. white chocolate melted and cooled

Beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add in the white chocolate and blend until combined; but don’t overbeat. Fill and frost cooled cake layers. Tip; the prevent the cake layers sliding insert bamboo skewers into the top of the cake and chill the cake after doing a thin crumb coating on the top and sides before putting on the final layer of frosting. Remove the skewers once you’re ready to frost the top and sides of the cake; chill the cake in between if the frosting starts to get a little soft.


Red Velvet Cake/Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Frosting

I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me the secret to a good red velvet cake recipe. People swear to me [and I’m not braggin’] that my red velvet cake is the best. You wanna know the secret? No, you don’t have to move to the South. No, you don’t need to add vinegar. No, you don’t have to use buttermilk. You wanna know? Do ya? Do ya? Okay. Here’s the answer….Drum roll….wait for it, wait for it…

You go to www.mcCormick.com and look for the recipe. Or better yet; it’s right below for your convenience. That’s right. The same recipe I have been using for years comes straight from the people who supply that red food color/one ounce of/love it red boldness/gotta make red velvet cake color red food color. That’s right. You heard me right. I’m not even kidding. I’ve tried all kinds of recipes and theirs is the best. I swear-you just have to trust me on this. I just have one piece of advice. When you go to the store to buy the McCormick red food color buy more than one bottle. Buy three. Next time when you want to make red velvet cake and you can’t find red food color because let’s say it’s the eve of Valentines Day and every other baker Betty has cleared the shelf; you’ll thank me. Keep it on hand. Okay, down to business. One other piece of advice. Make sure the dairy and the eggs are room temp when you go to mix the batter. That’s it. Carry on.

Red Velvet Cake

(recipe from McCormick spice co.) 

(yield: 24 cupcakes, one 2 layer 9 inch cake or one 9 x 13 inch pan)

CAKE/CUPCAKES:

1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s)

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

4  eggs (room temp)

1 cup sour cream (room temp)

1/2 cup milk (room temp)

1 bottle (1 ounce) McCormick® Red Food Color

2 teaspoons  vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans; or (for cupcakes  prepare a standard size muffin/cupcake tin with 24 paper liners) or (for 9×13 inch pan grease and flour the pan, tap out excess flour). Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. Beat butter and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Mix in sour cream, milk, food color and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until just blended. Do not overbeat. Pour batter into prepared pans/cupcake pan. [For cupcakes use a 1/4 cup equivalent ice cream scoop to fill them 2/3 full].

3. For 9 inch Cake pans: Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. For Cupcakes: Bake for 20-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. For 9 x 13 inch pan; Bake for about 40 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pans if using 9 inch pans; cool completely on wire rack.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING: (Suzie tip: I make double the amount of the recipe originally called for in the recipe). I can’t stand a cake that wimps out on the amount of frosting. I’m just sayin’

2 (8 oz. packages) (1 lb. total) cream cheese, softened

1/2 Cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/4 Cup sour cream

2 teaspoons  vanilla

2 lbs. confectioners’ sugar

(optional)* 8 oz. white chocolate melted and cooled

Beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Fill and frost cooled cake or frost cupcakes with frosting.

* Suzie variation: If I’m making the 9 inch cake where I’m using the frosting as filling and frosting I like to add the white chocolate. It gives the frosting a little more body and adds a really rich flavor.