Wednesday, February 22, 2012


My apologies for not posting in a few weeks. We sorta kinda bought a newspaper. (And hey, I get a cooking column!) We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming soon.

P.S. Cooking is much more fun than bookkeeping. Just FYI.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bakery-Style Icing

I have a toddler flashcard app on my awesome Windows Phone 7, and my little man is just slightly obsessed with it. He flips through those flashcards as fast as his little fingers can move, in search of one flashcard in particular: Cupcake.

This particular picture of a cupcake is heaped with swirly frosting and has a smattering of sprinkles, and Jack thinks this is the most beautiful cupcake ever.

And then he obsesses about cupcakes, and is shocked to find that we don't regularly keep them in stock around here. We're clearly awful parents.

While shopping recently, the J-man found some Valentine's cupcake liners AND some sprinkles, so I promised him we'd make really pretty cupcakes. Prettier even than the picture on that flashcard.

And we did.

Bakery-Style Icing
Makes enough icing for about 18 cupcakes

1 cup shortening (I used butter-flavored)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used clear so I didn't tint my icing)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
4-5 tablespoons milk or half and half

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine shortening, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in half the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons milk or half and half. Beat with a mixer until well combined and fluffy. Stir in remaining powdered sugar and 2-3 tablespoons milk or half and half, until icing has desired consistency.

3. Use as desired. I used a large star tip to pipe the icing onto the cupcakes.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Low-Fat Lemon Pound Cake

My apologies for the lapse in posts these days. To say there's a lot going on would be an understatement. And when I'm stressed, I take comfort in food. Especially sweet food.

But hey, at least this one is lower in fat!

This is a Cook's Country recipe that hits just the right citrusy note without being too overpowering with the lemon. And while it's not quite as moist as its full-fat relation, it's nothing that a small dollop of fat-free Cool Whip can't fix.
Low-Fat Lemon Pound Cake
Serves 8-10

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup light or low-fat sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon shortening
3 eggs, at room temperature

For the glaze:
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Unload your dishwasher. This is one of those 5-bowl recipes, and you'll appreciate the head start.

2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F, and make sure that the oven rack is positioned in the middle so the cake bakes evenly. Grease and flour an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan.

3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

4. In another small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, lemon juice, and vanilla.

5. In yet another small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest.

6. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, shortening, and the sugar mixture about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until combined.

7. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half the sour cream mixture. Repeat, and then add the last of the flour mixture. Mix on low until smooth, for about 30 seconds.

8. Pour batter into loaf pan and tap pan against the counter several times.

9. Bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, about 60-70 minutes. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pack and cool on rack for a few hours.

10. When the cake is cool, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth. Pour glaze over cake and let set 10 minutes before serving. (I actually think it tastes better if it's refrigerated before serving.)