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Columns October 31, 2017  RSS feed

Cooking Country

Sherry Matney

Oh my dear friend, I am going to put you to work this week. The air is definitely cooler, maybe a little rain in the forecast and you’ve already cooked your “cold” weather soups. Quite likely you have frozen some and will take them out, on a cool evening, snuggle in front of the TV and be really proud of yourself for being prepared. With November beginning this week my thoughts turn to getting ready for the holidays. This year is going to be a big one, Thanksgiving meal has been a tradition with my sister and her family for years and this year one of our sons from AZ will be with us. My AZ kids rarely come in for Thanksgiving because they have so far to travel and they all come in for Christmas. Paul’s family will come to our place for the family Christmas get-together this year and spend one of the weekends in December. I’m helping with several church events and then Christmas Eve and the week following Christmas. All of those fun times spell work, so it is not too soon to begin getting ready. One thing I love to do is prepare the desserts as far ahead as possible, so I can concentrate on the real food. This week I am making, yes I really am, cupcakes to freeze. Cupcakes are great because you can take out as many as you need and, in this case, use a variety. The following recipes are not the shortcut kind, except for the Red Velvet, but they are so good they are truly worth the effort, but only if you are not rushed. All of these cupcakes are perfect with Cream Cheese frosting so when you get ready to use them you can take out the number you need and frost. Chances are these three recipes will take you through Christmas.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
1 (8-oz.) can crushed
pineapple, drained
1 (3 ½ oz.) can flaked coconut 1 cup chopped nuts

This is a cake recipe that I use for cupcakes. The cupcake recipes are not big enough and if I am going to the trouble to make a cake like this I want, at the very least, 24 cupcakes. So either spray your cupcake pans or use paper liners and set them aside. Stir together first 4 ingredients. Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. (I use a Kitchen Aide stand mixer. It just makes it so much easier.) Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrots and next 3 ingredients. Pour batter into prepared cupcake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, but watch them close. They can overcook fast.

Italian Cream Cupcakes

5 whole eggs, separated
½ cup butter, softened
1-cup vegetable oil
1-cup sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened flaked
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1-cup buttermilk

This is really a cupcake recipe and differs from the Italian Cream cake recipe by using both baking powder and baking soda and the type of fat. Spray your cupcake pans with cooking spray or line with cupcake liners. Beat the separated egg whites until stiff and transfer them into another bowl. Be sure to clean the mixing bowl and return to the mixer.

Combine the butter, vegetable oil, and sugar in the mixing bowl and mix until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, and then beat until smooth. Add 1 cup of coconut and beat to combine. Sift together the flour; baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl, then alternate adding the flour mixture with the buttermilk, mixing a few seconds after each addition. Add the egg whites and use a rubber spatula to fold them into the batter. Add batter to the muffin cups and bake for 13-14 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Because I am freezing these cupcakes and want to use the same basic cream cheese icing recipe I am also going to make Red Velvet cupcakes. There are all sorts of recipes from scratch but, in my opinion, the Duncan Hines cake mix makes great cupcakes. Just follow the directions and you will get 24 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

All of the recipes above are perfect with Cream Cheese frosting and you can freeze it too. So once you have labored to make these absolutely beautiful cupcakes and frozen them, when you get ready for them stick some of this frosting on top and be a cooking giant.

For Carrot Cake and Italian Cream I add coconut and nuts and for Red Velvet just leave the icing plain.

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