I feel very pleased to be able to review such wonderful cookbooks as this The Southern Cake Book by Southern Living. If you have been around long, you've seen the half dozen books I have reviewed. I love SL, I truly do. The books are lovely, the recipes are easy to follow, and I have yet to make something that was not fantastic!
I am not being paid to tell you these things, I give you my honest opinion, no strings attached, no "give us a positive review and we'll give you X amount of dollars". Nope, none of that. Just me receiving a book, reading it, trying recipes and thoroughly enjoying the entire process.
Top a showstopping crown of Mascarpone Topping with swirls of Apple Cider Caramel Sauce and a scattering of pecans. Caramel sauce, rather than frosting, sandwiches together the moist cake layers.
Makes: 10 servings • Hands-on: 30 min. • Total: 3 hours, 30 min.
2 1/3 cups finely chopped lightly toasted pecans, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. apple pie spice
1/2 tsp. table salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups peeled and grated Granny Smith apples
1 1/2 cups grated carrots
2/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Caramel Sauce
Garnish: toasted pecan halves
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Sprinkle 1 1⁄3 cups toasted pecans into 2 well- buttered shiny 9-inch round cake pans; shake to coat bottom and sides of pans.
2. Stir together flour and next 3 ingredients.
3. Stir together eggs and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Add flour mixture, stirring just until blended. Fold in apples, carrots, and remaining 1 cup pecans. Pour batter into prepared pans.
4. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
5. Place 1 cake layer, pecan side down, on a serving plate. Spread top of cake layer with 2⁄3 cup Apple Cider Caramel Sauce; top with remaining cake layer, pecan side down. Spread Mascarpone Topping over top of cake. Drizzle 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Caramel Sauce over topping, and swirl sauce into topping. Serve immediately.
Apple Cider Caramel Sauce: Cook 1 cup apple cider in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until reduced to 1/4 cup. Stir in 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, and 1/4 cup whipping cream. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; boil, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and cool completely. Makes about 1 1/4 cups.
Mascarpone Topping: Whisk together 1 (8-oz.) container mascarpone cheese, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, and 2 tsp. vanilla extract in a large bowl just until blended. Beat 1 cup whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into mascarpone mixture. Makes about 3 cups.
Makes: 12 cupcakes • Hands-on: 30 min. • Total: 1 hour, 32 min.
1 3/4 cups plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. light rum
1/4 tsp. orange extract
1 3/4 cups egg whites (about 13 to 15 large eggs)
3/4 tsp. cream of tartar
12 (2 1/2- x 2-inch) muffin-size paper baking molds
Lemon Curd Filling
Cream Cheese Frosting (page 43)
Garnish: lemon zest
1. Preheat oven to 375º. Sift together sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl. Combine lemon juice, vanilla extract, rum, and orange extract.
2. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until stiff peaks form; gently transfer egg white mixture to a large bowl. Gradually fold in sugar mixture with a large spatula, 1⁄3 cup at a time, folding just until blended after each addition. Fold in lemon juice mixture.
3. Arrange 12 (2 1/2- x 2-inch) muffin-size paper baking molds on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet; spoon batter into baking molds, filling almost completely full.
4. Bake at 375º for 17 to 19 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack, and cool completely (about 45 minutes).
5. Make a small hole in top of each cupcake using the handle of a wooden spoon. Spoon Lemon Curd Filling into a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag to make a tiny hole. Pipe a generous amount of filling into each cupcake. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting on tops of cupcakes.
Lemon Curd Filling
Stir together 1 (10-oz.) jar lemon curd and 1⁄3 cup sour cream until blended. Cover and chill until ready to use. Makes 1 1/4 cups.