Sunny Lime Cake

Lime Chiffon cake (2)

Angel food and Chiffon cakes are some of my favorite cakes.  Easy to make and so light.  I love anything lime and this is a light cake with a nice lime flavor.  If you don’t like lime, you can substitute any citrus flavor you want.  Just a side note – with chiffon cakes it is always a good idea to let the eggs stand at room temperature for an hour or two before making the cake.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour

5 egg yolks, unbeaten\

1 tablespoon water

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoon lime juice, you can use bottled, but fresh is always better

1 – 2 tsp. grated lime zest

5 egg whites

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Sift flour once, measure and sift 4 times more.  Place egg yolks and water in a mixing bowl and beat until very thick and light, usually takes about 3-4 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, gradually, beating constantly with the beater.  Add lime juice and zest and beat 1 minute longer.  Add flour and fold in with a spatula until just blended.  Beat egg whites and salt  until foamy.  Sprinkle in cream of tartar and continue beating until the egg whites are stiff enough to hold up in soft peaks, but are still moist and glossy.    Add the rest of the sugar in 4 parts, sprinkling about 2 tablespoon at a time over the egg white and beating each time.  Fold in the egg yolk mixture.  Pour batter into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Remove cake from oven and invert onto cake rack.  Let stand for about an hour.  Loosen from sides of pan with spatula.  Place on cake plate and drizzle lime glaze over top.

Lime glaze

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tsp. lime juice

1 tsp. lime zest

Mix ingredients and add enough water to make a slightly thick glaze.  Pour over top of cooled cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.

Brown Sugar Pecan Cake

Brown sugar pecan cake

I’m not really a cake person, with the exception of a few favorites, but I really like baking cakes for other people. I don’t really like box mix cakes.  I like real cakes.  Lots of flavor and texture.  This is a recipe that has been in my family for a long time.  It is one of the “real” cakes that I like.  It takes some effort, but is well worth it.

Sift together:

2 cups cake flour, sifted

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. soda

1 tsp. salt

Cream 1/2 cup of butter. Add dry ingredients.  Add 1 1/3 cup of brown sugar, packed.  Make sure there are no lumps in the brown sugar. Add 3/4 cup of milk and mix until the dry ingredients are mixed in.  Add 2 eggs and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  Beat at low-speed for at least one minute.  Scrape bowl and beater often.  Fold in 1 cup of finely chopped, toasted pecans. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line bottoms of two round 8 inch pans with parchment paper.  Grease paper and sides of pan with shortening. Divide batter between the two pans.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Cool cakes in pans on cake rack for about 5 minutes before turning out,  Loosen from sides with a spatula, turn out onto racks and remove paper.  Allow to totally cool before frosting.

Caramel Frosting

Heat 1/4 cup sugar over low heat until melted and golden brown, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add 1/3 cup boiling water gradually and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Cream 6 tablespoons of butter and add a dash of salt.  Add 3 1/4 cup of sifted powdered sugar and the caramelized liquid alternately, a small amount at a time. Mix well after each addition.  Frost cooled cake with frosting.  I decorate this different every time, depending on how much time I have.  Some times I just sprinkle the top with chopped pecans, sometimes I arrange pecan halves around the top edge.  And when I have a lot of time, I arrange pecan halves around the center to make a flower design and then press chopped pecans all over the sides, till covered.  Then enjoy.

Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole

Blueberry Cream Cheese French toast casserole

Since I am sharing some of my easy breakfast dishes, I have to share the one I made yesterday.  This is so good.  I serve it with my chunky blueberry syrup, but you can serve it with maple syrup if you choose.  So easy to throw together and so yummy.  It’s like having dessert for breakfast.

12 slices of challah bread (I use homemade.  The recipe is on my blog)

2 (8 oz.) packages of cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

12 large eggs

1 cup milk

1/3 cup honey (when I am out of honey, I use maple syrup)

Spray or butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  Cut or tear bread into cubes and arrange in bottom of pan.  Cut up cream cheese into 1 inch cubes.  Drop these cubes over the top of the bread.  Sprinkle the blueberries over the top.  In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk and honey.  Pour egg mixture, a little at a time, over the bread until the mixture is soaked up but the bread is not soggy.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  When ready to bake, pull the pan from the refrigerator and allow to sit on the counter about 20 minutes to take the chill off.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the covered pan into the over and bake about 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown.  The center should be set.  While the casserole is baking, make the sauce.

Chunky Blueberry Sauce

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup water

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

1 tablespoon butter

Stir together the cornstarch and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Add water and stir until smooth.  Stir well and make sure all the cornstarch is broken down or it will be lumpy.  Heat to boiling and stir 2-3 minutes until thickened.  Add blueberries and simmer 8 minutes stirring occasionally until the berries begin to burst.  Do not let all of them burst.  Turn heat off and stir in butter gently.  Serve warm sauce over the casserole.

Hashbrown Bacon Breakfast Casserole

Hashbrown bacon breakfast casserole

I like easy dishes that I can make for breakfast.  This one I can throw together in just a few minutes.  You can use frozen hashbrowns if you prefer, or do what I do.  Grate some potatoes (I like to leave the skins on) rinse in salt water (this keeps them from turning grey) and then package them in serving amounts in freezer bags and freeze.  I use to do the whole process of blanching them, cooling them off and then packing them in freezer bags.  But one time when I was short on time, I tried this and it worked, so why spend all that extra time. All you have to do is pull them out when you need them and cook.  So much cheaper than those bags in the store and the flavor and texture is so much better.  Another time saver is to cook some extra pieces of bacon when you are cooking bacon for another meal.  Then allow those pieces to cool, wrap them in some parchment paper, slip that into a ziplock bag and put it into the refrigerator.  It will keep about a week.  Then when you need some chopped bacon, just pull it out, chop it up and you are good to go.

1 lb. bacon, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

6 eggs, lightly beaten

4 cups shredded potatoes

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I use the white, sharp cheddar when I have it)

1 1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese

1 1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese

In a large skillet, cook bacon and onion until bacon is crisp.  Stir constantly or some of the pieces will burn.  Drain on paper towels.  In a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients, stir in bacon mixture.  Pour into a buttered 9×13 inch baking dish.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until set and bubbly.  Let stand at least 10 minutes before cutting.

Applesauce bread

applesauce bread
I love quick breads.  They are so easy to make and make great quick breakfasts.  There are such a variety out there and you can add anything to a standard recipe and come up with a totally different taste.  This is my standard applesauce bread.  It is one of the breads I make when making applesauce and I don’t have enough to fill a jar.  I just take the extra and make a couple of loaves of applesauce bread.  You can add anything you want to this bread.  Sometimes I use walnuts that I have lightly toasted, most of the time it’s chopped pecans.  You can add raisins if you like them, or even a cup of shredded or chopped apple.  I’ve chopped up strawberries and added those or thrown in some blueberries or blackberries.  Like I said, you can try anything.  This is not an overly sweet bread.  I like it warm with a little butter or with some cream cheese.  You decide.

2 sticks softened butter

2 tsps. vanilla

2 tsp. all spice

2 tsp. cinnamon (use a really good cinnamon)

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup brown sugar

4 cups flour

2 cups applesauce (I use my home made unsweetened applesauce – sometimes chunky, sometimes regular)

4 eggs

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, or any nut you want

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla and the spices. Add the eggs and the applesauce.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add in small batches, folding in until mixed.  Add nuts.  Spoon into 2 greased and floured 8 x 4 inch loaf pans.  Bake for 60-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool for 5 minutes on a rack, then turn out and allow to cool.