RED VELVET CUPCAKES just like my 5th Birthday Cake

RED VELVET CUPCAKES  Yields 12 delicious cupcakes

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup salted butter, firm but not cold – just beginning to soften
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon white vinegar

  • Preheat oven to 350˚.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and baking soda, set aside.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 4 -5 minutes.
  • Add in eggs one at a time stirring after each addition.
  • Now stand back and add red food coloring and vanilla extract and mix until combine.
  • In a small bowl combine milk and vinegar.
  • Add milk mixture and flour mixture to cupcake mixture, alternating in two separate batches, mixing until combined after each addition.
  • Divide batter evenly among 12 paper lined muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full.
  • Bake in preheated oven 20-23 minutes until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool about 2 minutes in muffin tin, then transfer to wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to an airtight container to cool completely (this just helps them retain more moisture).
  • Once cooled completely, spread generously with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup salted butter, firm but not cold (if using unsalted add 1/8 tsp salt)
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  • In a large mixing bowl, using and electric mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese until pale and fluffy (about 1 minute on high speed, then 3-4 minutes on medium high speed).
  • Mix in vanilla extract.
  • Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Frost and go wild – add nuts, sprinkles or cookie crumbs.

BUTTERMILK DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE with COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Every year for the past 17 years my cousin Jenn and I have each made a birthday cake for her sister, Michelle. It’s a tradition that we began to remember Michelle by.  You see she past away on April 22nd 17 years ago and we “buried” her on her actual birthday, the 25th. We’ve added June 15th for her mom and November 17th for my dad.  I don’t usually write about this, but for some reason this year I have the need to spell it out.

This is a simple recipe, but VERY adaptable to layer cake, cup cakes, sheet cake etc… and a family favorite.

 
BUTTERMILK DEVIL’S FOOD CAKE with COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

CAKE
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 JUMBO eggs
2 cups buttermilk
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons PURE vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

  • Grease and “flour” pans.  I use cocoa instead of flour so the coloring matches.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.
  • Add eggs and beat well.
  • Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda.
  • Add alternately flour mixture, vanilla and buttermilk until well blended and smooth.
  • Pour into prepared pan(s).
  • Bake 20-50 minutes depending on pan until center springs back and toothpick comes out clean.

FROSTING
1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
1/3 cup flaked coconut
2 cups powdered sugar

  • Cream together cream cheese and butter until fluffy.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Add coconut.
  • Add powdered sugar, beating until smooth.

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RECONSTRUCTED GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE with TOASTED COCONUT MOCHA BUTTERCREAM ICING

This is one of the lightest and fluffiest cakes I have ever made. Almost burning the toasted coconut adds a complex layer of flavor and crunch.

RECONSTRUCTED GERMAN CHOCOLATE CAKE with TOASTED COCONUT MOCHA BUTTERCREAM ICING
CAKE
4 ounces German Sweet Chocolate
1/2 cup  water
4 eggs, separated
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon  baking soda
1/4 teaspoon  salt
1 cup  butter, softened
2 cups  sugar
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
1 cup  buttermilk

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Spray pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Microwave chocolate and water in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after every 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
  • Beat egg whites in small bowl with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form; set aside. 
  • Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. 
  • Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. 
  • Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each. 
  • Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. 
  • Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.
  • Add egg whites; stirring gently until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.
  • BAKE 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. 
  • Immediately run small spatula around cakes in pans. 
  • Cool cakes in pans 10-15 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. 

ICING**
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1 +/- tablespoons milk
1 cup “burnt” toasted coconut
1/2 batch Caramel

  • Cream butter.
  • Add powdered sugar one cup at a time to the butter and bled well.
  • Add vanilla and stir until smooth.
  • Microwave chocolate on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after every 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.
  • Add chocolate to sugar mixture, blending well.
  • Add milk until desired consistency.
  • Fold in 1/4 cup toasted coconut to icing.
  • Ice cake and top with remaining toasted coconut.
  • Just before serving pour a bit of warm Caramel on top,

**If making a 2-3 layers cake double the icing so you have enough for between layers and on the sides.

    OREO COOKIE CAKE aka BAT’S BREATH CAKE

    OREO COOKIE CAKE aka BAT’S BREATH CAKE
    1 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup butter
    2 JUMBO eggs
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon maple extract
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
    6 crushed OREO cookies
    1/2 cup whole milk

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Grease and flour a 9×9 inch BUNDT pan.
  • In a medium bowl, cream the butter.
  • Add sugar and cream again.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well blended.
  • Add in the vanilla and maple extracts.
  • Sift together the flour and baking powder.
  • Add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
  • Blend in the milk until batter is smooth.
  • Pour into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Cake is done when it springs back to the touch.
  • DARK OF NIGHT FROSTING
    8 tablespoons butter, melted
    3 cups powdered sugar
    2/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa
    1/3 cup milk

  • Mix all together.
  • Spread over cooled cake.
  • Decorate with orange candy balls.
  • CHOCOLATE BUTTER CREAM ICING

    1/4 cup Crisco
    1/4 cup softened butter
    2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1 +/- tablespoons milk

    • With a hand mixer mix together the crisco and softened butter
    • Add chocolate
    • Add the vanilla extract and beat smooth
    • Gradually add the sugar, adding the 1st tablespoon of milk midway
    • After adding all sugar beat until creamy adding a dash more milk if necessary

    ANGEL FOOD CAKE & LEMON CAKE SQUARES with ITALIAN BUTTERCREAM & ROASTED COCONUT

    I think grams got this recipe originally from the side of a Swan’s Down cake flour bag.
    ANGEL FOOD CAKE
    1 1/4 cups sifted Swans Down cake flour
    1/2 cup + 1 1/3 cups sugar sifted sugar
    1 1/2 cups +/- 12 room temperature egg whites,
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract

    NOTE:For chocolate angel food, substitute 1/4 cup cocoa for 1/4 cup cake flour and omit for chocolate angel food

    • Sift flour* once, measure and add 1/2 cup sugar and sift together several more times.
    • Combine egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and flavorings in large mixing bowl. Whisk continuously until the whites form soft peaks that are moist and glossy.
    • Then add the rest of the sugar very gradually over the whites and beating until sugar is blended, about 25 beating strokes per time.
    • Add flour and sugar mixture very gradually, sifting it over the egg whites. Fold in each addition turning bowl gradually. Use 15 complete fold over strokes each time. After last addition. use 10 to 12 additional fold over strokes.
    • Gently pour into a 10″ ungreased tube pan.
    • Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes.
    • Frost and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

    *and cocoa when making chocolate angel food

    LEMON SPONGE CAKE
    6 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice + rind of 1 lemon
    1 cup flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

    • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    • Beat yolks of eggs until thick and lemon colored.
    • Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
    • Gradually beat in the sugar, grated lemon rind, and juice.
    • Fold in half of the stiffly beaten egg whites.
    • Cut in sifted flour and salt, add nuts if desired, and remaining egg whites.
    • Bake in a slow oven for about one hour or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out nearly clean.
    • Frost and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
    • Chill overnight or several hours.

    ITALIAN BUTTERCREAM
    3/4 cup white sugar
    1/3 cup corn syrup
    1/3 cup water
    3 egg whites
    1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    • In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water.
    • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring just enough to dissolve the sugar. Heat to between 223 and 234 degrees F., or until a small amount of syrup dripped from a spoon forms a soft thread. It should take 1 or 2 minutes.
    • When the sugar mixture has reached the thread stage, remove it from the heat and set aside to cool.
    • Whip the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer. When the whites can hold a stiff peak, pour in the sugar syrup in a thin stream while continuing to whip at medium speed. Be careful not to pour too quickly, or it will all just end up at the bottom of the bowl. When the syrup is incorporated, continue to mix for 10 more minutes to allow it to cool. The egg whites will be fluffy and glossy.
    • Add pieces of cold butter one at a time to the egg whites and continue to whip at medium or low speed.

    TOASTED COCONUT
    1 16 ounce bag coconut
    4 tablespoons butter melted

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Toss coconut in melted butter until well coated.
    • Spread evenly on a jelly roll pan.
    • Bake for fifteen minutes and then flip coconut and bake another 15 minutes until golden brown.

    Another wonderful use for my new brownie pan! Individual cakes for the BBQ.

     
    We had a casualty that the dogs loved!

    I think grams got this recipe originally from the side of a Swan’s Down cake flour bag.
    ANGEL FOOD CAKE

    1 1/4 cups sifted Swans Down cake flour
    1/2 cup + 1 1/3 cups sugar sifted sugar
    1 1/2 cups +/- 12 room temperature egg whites,
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract

    NOTE:For chocolate angel food, substitute 1/4 cup cocoa for 1/4 cup cake flour and omit for chocolate angel food

    • Sift flour* once, measure and add 1/2 cup sugar and sift together several more times.
    • Combine egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and flavorings in large mixing bowl. Whisk continuously until the whites form soft peaks that are moist and glossy.
    • Then add the rest of the sugar very gradually over the whites and beating until sugar is blended, about 25 beating strokes per time.
    • Add flour and sugar mixture very gradually, sifting it over the egg whites. Fold in each addition turning bowl gradually. Use 15 complete fold over strokes each time. After last addition. use 10 to 12 additional fold over strokes.
    • Gently pour into a 10″ ungreased tube pan.
    • Bake at 375 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes.
    • Frost and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

    *and cocoa when making chocolate angel food

    LEMON SPONGE CAKE
    6 eggs
    1 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice + rind of 1 lemon
    1 cup flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

    • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
    • Beat yolks of eggs until thick and lemon colored.
    • Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
    • Gradually beat in the sugar, grated lemon rind, and juice.
    • Fold in half of the stiffly beaten egg whites.
    • Cut in sifted flour and salt, add nuts if desired, and remaining egg whites.
    • Bake in a slow oven for about one hour or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out nearly clean.
    • Frost and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
    • Chill overnight or several hours.

    ITALIAN BUTTERCREAM
    3/4 cup white sugar
    1/3 cup corn syrup
    1/3 cup water
    3 egg whites
    1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    • In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup and water.
    • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring just enough to dissolve the sugar. Heat to between 223 and 234 degrees F., or until a small amount of syrup dripped from a spoon forms a soft thread. It should take 1 or 2 minutes.
    • When the sugar mixture has reached the thread stage, remove it from the heat and set aside to cool.
    • Whip the egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer. When the whites can hold a stiff peak, pour in the sugar syrup in a thin stream while continuing to whip at medium speed. Be careful not to pour too quickly, or it will all just end up at the bottom of the bowl. When the syrup is incorporated, continue to mix for 10 more minutes to allow it to cool. The egg whites will be fluffy and glossy.
    • Add pieces of cold butter one at a time to the egg whites and continue to whip at medium or low speed.

    TOASTED COCONUT
    1 16 ounce bag coconut
    4 tablespoons butter melted

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Toss coconut in melted butter until well coated.
    • Spread evenly on a jelly roll pan.
    • Bake for fifteen minutes and then flip coconut and bake another 15 minutes until golden brown.

    CHOCOLATE LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING aka YUMMY

    CHOCOLATE LEMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING 
    This frosting turned out fabulous – like eating fudge!

    1 package 8-ounce cream cheese softened
    1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
    1 (1 ounce)  block Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate
    1 teaspoon Lorann Professional Kitchen Lemon Bakery Emulsion
    3 cups powdered sugar

    •  In a medium bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
    • Add lemon emulsion and vanilla.  Beat until well blended.
    • Add powdered sugar gradually until well blended and smooth.
    • Refrigerate 1 hour to set icing before serving.

    ORANGE CARROT CAKE with ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FILLING and PINEAPPLE CREAM CHEESE ICING

    I made this for Christmas dinner’s dessert, but it should have been a meal in itself. DEFINITELY making this one again and again!!
    ORANGE CARROT CAKE with ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FILLING and PINEAPPLE CREAM CHEESE ICING

    CAKE
    4 eggs, room temperature
    3 cups flour
    2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    2 1/4 cups sugar
    1 1/2 cups canola oil
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/4 cup spiced rum
    1/2 cup golden raisins
    2 cups finely shredded carrots
    1 cup flaked coconut
    1 – 11 ounce can mandarin orange sections, drained WELL and coarsely chopped

    • Pour rum over raisins and set aside for at least an hour.
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Line pans with waxed paper and grease and flour the paper in 3-8 inch cake pans.
    • In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, orange peel, salt and sugar.
    • In another bowl cream together the canola oil, vanilla and 1 egg. Add additional eggs and beat until well creamed.
    • Add dry ingredients gradually until well blended.
    • Fold in carrots and coconut blending well.
    • Drain raisins and oranges WELL and fold in last.
    • Spoon batter into prepared pans.
    • “drop” pans to settle batter evenly.
    • Bake 30-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
    • Cool 10 minutes.
    • Remove layers from pans and remove wax paper.
    • Invert cakes onto rack and cool completely before assembling.

    *As an option you could soak the raisins in orange juice instead and then substitute 1 teaspoon maple flavoring for the rum. But my favorite way is to use Parrot Bay Coconut rum.

    ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FILLING
    6 ounces cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup orange marmalade
    1/2 cup powdered sugar

    • In a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese until fluffy.
    • Add orange marmalade and powdered sugar.
    • Spread half the filling between each layer.
    • Frost top and sides of cake.

    PINEAPPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
    16 ounces cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    2 tablespoons pineapple juice
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    3 cups powdered sugar

    • In a medium bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
    • Add lemon juice and vanilla. Beat until blended.
    • Add powdered sugar gradually until well blended and smooth.
    • Ice first layer and then add 2nd cake top and ice again including sides of cake.
    • Refrigerate 1 hour to set icing before serving.

    REVIVAL OF THE SUNDAY DINNER

    This is Am’s last Sunday with us so she’ll be doing the Sunday cooking again. Today she made Pot Roast, CheesyAu Gratin Potatoes, Glazed Carrots, Home made Apple Sauce and Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

    MAPLE GLAZED CARROTS1/2 bag baby carrots
    2 tablespoons butter
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    scant 1/4 cup maple syrup

    • Clean carrots and slice diagonally in half.
    • Melt butter in skillet.
    • Saute’ carrots until tender.
    • Add brown sugar and cook several minutes, stirring constantly so sugar doesn’t burn.
    • Add syrup and coat well.
    • Cook until syrup is warm and carrots are well coated.

    BANANA RAISIN NUT BREAD OR CAKE
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    1 cup butter, 1/2 soft & 1/2 melted
    2 jumbo eggs
    2 tablespoons cinnamon
    1/2 cup golden raisins, currants or craisins
    1/2 cup crushed walnuts
    2 large, RIPE bananas
    1/2 cup sugar
    2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda

    • Combine the melted butter, brown sugar and bananas in a sauce pan.
    • Cook until smooth and then add nuts and raisins.
    • Stir until well coated & set aside to cool.
    • Cream softened butter, sugar and eggs until fluffy.
    • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
    • Add this to the creamed mixture gradually until well blended.
    • Add cooled banana mixture.
    • Pour into greased and floured pan(s)*
    • Bake at 350 degrees for 45+ minutes.

    *This recipe will make 2 large loaves or 1 cake. If making bread, skip the frosting.

    FROSTING
    8 ounces cream cheese, softened
    1/4 cup butter, softened
    juice of 1 small lemon
    1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

    • In a medium bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
    • Add lemon juice and vanilla. Beat until blended.
    • Add powdered sugar gradually until well blended and smooth.
    • Refrigerate 1 hour to set icing before serving.

    HOME MADE APPLE SAUCE
    5 large Apples (I like Pink Lady or Braeburns)
    1/2 cup golden raisins
    1 can peach nectar (Papaya or pineapple are good too)
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup water

    • In a large sauce pan pour nectar over raisins and let sit while you prepare apples.
    • Wash, core, peel and chop apples.
    • Add water to sauce pan and stir in sugar until dissolved.
    • Add cinnamon and mix well.
    • Add apples and cook over medium heat until until apples are tender and mush easily.
    • Mush to desired consistency.
    • Remove from heat.
    • Cool and chill.
    • Can be kept in refrigerator for a week though it never lasts that long around here. When my apples are at the height of the season and falling off the tree I make this in huge batches and put it up in canning jars for the following year.

    The Revival of a Family Sunday ~ Breakfast through Dinner

    We’re changing up the menu plan a bit! The catch to dinner: My recipes, but the teenager has done all the menu planning (which she hated making choices – said it was hard work), shopping, prep work, cooking and clean-up. On the Menu: Toasted French Toast for breakfast and for dinner, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Garlic Smashers, Home Made Carrot Cake she made a gourmet meal that was quickly devoured! We used multi-grain and sourdough for the French toast and it was truly scrumptious.




    TOASTED FRENCH TOAST ~ We hate soggy French Toast and this recipe conquers that.
    8 slices thick white bread
    1 1/4 cup milk
    5 egg yolks
    1/8 cup flour
    3 tablespoons brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    2 tablespoons butter, melted
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

    • Toast bread, but not browned.
    • Preheat griddle and coat with a small amount of butter.
    • Whisk together the egg yolks, milk, salt, vanilla, butter and cinnamon.
    • Whisk in flour until smooth.
    • Pour milk mixture into a baking dish.
    • Soak bread pieces for a few seconds on each side.
    • Grill for several minutes on each side until golden brown.
    • Serve with warm maple syrup.

    SMASHERS
    6-8 small YUKON potatoes, skin on
    1 tablespoon sea salt
    1 teaspoon white pepper
    1 teaspoon paprika
    1 stick butter, melted
    2 teaspoons minced garlic
    olive oil

    • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
    • Scrub potatoes
    • Boil potatoes until tender
    • Generously spread olive oil on cookie sheet
    • Space potatoes a couple of inches apart
    • With a potato masher, SMASH each potato
    • Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika
    • Melt butter and mix butter and garlic together
    • Pour a tablespoon of butter mixture over each potato
    • Bake 30 minutes or until tops are crispy
    CHICKEN CORDON BLEU
    4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts*
    2 tablespoons butter, softened
    4 thin slices cooked ham
    4 thin slices swiss cheese***
    1/2 pound bacon (8 slices)
    2 jumbo eggs
    1/2 cup milk
    1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup flour
    3/4 cup bread crumbs
    1 teaspoon thyme
    1 teaspoon minced garlic, jar
    1 teaspoon oregano

    • Flatten chicken breasts.
    • Spread butter evenly on the tops.
    • Smooth garlic evenly amongst the 4 breasts.
    • Sprinkle the thyme evenly between the four breasts.
    • Top with a slice of ham and then a slice of cheese.
    • Roll up tightly.
    • Wrap 2 slices of bacon around each one and secure with toothpicks.
    • Whisk together the eggs and milk in a shallow bowl. Place flour in another shallow bowl. Combine the bread crumbs, oregano and cheese in a 3rd shallow bowl.
    • Dip each chicken breast in the egg mixture first, then the flour, then the egg mixture again and the crumb mixture last.
    • Place on a greased cookie sheet.
    • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
    • Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks before serving.
    *For really easy servings, I lay the bacon on the cookie sheet and cut the flattened breasts in half. On top of 1/2 of the bacon strip lay a chicken piece, top as directed and then lay the other chicken breast. Bring the other 1/2 of the bacon slice over the top and bake as directed. NO ROLLING AND NO TOOTHPICKS!

    ***I also use Muenster or Gruyere if that is what I have on hand.

    SCRUMPTIOUS CARROT CAKE with CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
    CAKE
    2 1/2 cups flour
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    1 cup packed golden brown sugar
    1 cup sugar
    1 1/2 cup butter, softened
    3 Jumbo eggs
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    1/4 cup golden rum*
    3 cups grated carrots
    8 ounce can crushed pineapple, drained well
    1 cup golden raisins
    1/2 cup chopped walnuts

    • Pour rum over raisins and set aside for at least an hour.
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    • Grease and flour 2-9 inch cake pans.
    • In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugars.
    • In another bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar, vanilla and 1 egg. Add additional eggs and beat until well creamed.
    • Add dry ingredients gradually until well blended.
    • Add carrots, pineapple and walnuts until well blended.
    • Drain raisins and fold in last.
    • Pour batter into prepared pans.
    • Bake 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
    • Cool 10 minutes.
    • Invert cakes onto rack and cool completely.

    *As an option you could soak the raisins in orange juice instead and then substitute 1 teaspoon maple flavoring for the rum.

    FROSTING
    16 ounces cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    juice of 1 lemon
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
    3 cups powdered sugar

    • In a medium bowl beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
    • Add lemon juice and vanilla. Beat until blended.
    • Add powdered sugar gradually until well blended and smooth.
    • Ice first layer and then add 2nd cake top and ice again including sides of cake.
    • Refrigerate 1 hour to set icing before serving.