April 5, 2011

If I'd Known You Were Comin'...I'da Baked A Cake!

Now let me just say, there are certain foods in the South that are just legendary! Among the best of the best are the most wonderful cake recipes such as a fluffy white cake with caramel frosting, an Italian cream cake and of course, the ultimate carrot cake! These recipes have been perfected over the years at Estelle's, such as adding the cream filling to the chocolate cake, adding pineapple to the carrot cake and finding an easy caramel frosting. This one is Darling's favorite. I love it when he walks in the kitchen from a hard day at work, always smiling, and says, "Hey Dahlin', how about a piece of your caramel cake!" I must say, "this really melts my buttah!" So girls.....Start your ovens!

A Maine House Mosaic

Estelle's Perfect Chocolate Cake
1 cup unsifted unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups boiling water
 2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
 2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
 4 large eggs
 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 pkg. (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup light cream
 1 cup butter or margarine
2 1/2 cups unsifted confectioners sugar

 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
 1/4 cup unsifted confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cake Directions
 In a medium bowl combine cocoa with boiling water. Mix until smooth. Cool completely.
 In another bowl, sift flour with baking soda, baking powder and salt. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
 Grease and lightly flour three 9" x 1 1/2" layer cake pans. In another large bowl, with electric mixer at high speed, beat butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light (about 5 minutes), scraping bowl occasionally.
 At low speed, beat in flour mixture (in fourths) alternately with cocoa mixture (in thirds), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Do not overbeat. Divide batter evenly into prepared cake pans. Smooth top. Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip. Cool 10 minutes. Carefully loosen sides with spatula, remove from pans, cool completely on wire racks.

Frosting Directions
 In medium saucepan, combine chocolate pieces, cream and butter; stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat. With whisk, blend in 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar. Set mixture on top of another bowl filled with ice, beat until frosting holds its shape.

Whip cream with confectioners sugar and vanilla until smooth. Place in refrigerator 20 minutes.

Assemble Cake
On plate, place a layer, top side down; spread with half of cream filling. Place second layer, top side down, on top of first layer and spread with remainder of cream filling. Place third layer, top side down, on top of second layer.

Frost Cake
 With spatula, frost sides first, covering with whipped cream filling. Frost top with remaining frosting, swirling decoratively. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. To cut, use a thin-edged sharp knife with a sawing motion.

Estelle's Best Southern Carrot Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Line 3 (9-inch) round cakepans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside. Stir together first 4 ingredients. Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and next 3 ingredients. Pour batter into prepared cakepans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over layers; cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake.

Ultimate Vanilla Cake Batter
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk

 Beat sugar and butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until yellow disappears after each addition. Beat in vanilla bean paste and almond extract. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl; add to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at medium-low speed just until blended after each addition. (Batter will be thick.) Bake at 350° in 2 greased and floured (8-inch) square pans 30 to 34 minutes. Cool as directed

Estelle's Creamy Caramel Frosting
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 3/4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, evaporated milk and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; cool to lukewarm. Add powdered sugar; beat until frosting is of spreading consistency. Add vanilla; beat until smooth.

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