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Peanut Butter Cake

My fella and my mom are both big peanut butter lovers. Chocolate covered peanut butter candy, peanut butter cream pie, peanut butter fudge, peanut butter straight out of the jar. . . it doesn’t matter what form it’s in. The one thing they each request for almost every birthday they have is a PB cake. My mother’s birthday is today, so I bet you can guess what she asked for. To me, the frosting for this cake is the best part of it. I swear, I could eat that and nothing else.

The Cake:
2 c cake flour
1 1/3 c granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/3 c Crisco
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c oily peanut butter *
1 c milk
2 large eggs
*The brand of peanut butter that I usually use for this recipe is Peter Pan just because it is a little oilier.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 oz) package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick of butter, softened
3/4 c oily peanut butter**
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 3/4 c powdered sugar
2 Tbsp milk
** Honestly, I just guesstimate the amount of peanut butter I put in both the cake and the frosting and try to get it as close as possible to the recipe amounts.. 

The Cake:
1) Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

2) In a medium sized bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together, then set aside.

Adding the last egg.

3) Cream together the Crisco and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Mixing in the vanilla and PB.

4) Mix in the vanilla extract and the peanut butter.

All of the ingredients mixed together.

5) Add the dry ingredients and milk alternately, mixing well after each addition.

Just out of the oven.

6) Bake in three prepared 8-inch cake pans for about 25-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. This is a fairly thick batter, so I always weigh the cake pans before they go into the oven to make sure they each contain as close to an equal amount of batter as possible.

The Frosting:

Mixing the cream cheese and butter together.

1) Mix together the cream cheese and butter.

2) Then add the vanilla extract and peanut butter and mix well.

3) Add the powdered sugar and milk and mix until smooth.

Place strips of wax paper under the cake to keep the plate clean.

4) Once the cake is completely cooled, spread the frosting between each layer, on the sides, and on top of the cake. You can sprinkle chopped roasted peanuts on top of the cake for a little flair. My mom isn’t a big fan of roasted nuts and I couldn’t find my cake decorating tips, so I kept it very simple.


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Egg Custard Pie

The very first thing that I made when our chickens started laying was an egg custard pie. I had been planning since they were chicks exactly what their first eggs would be used for, and believe me that pie was every bit as delicious as I had imagined it would be.

This is my grandmother’s recipe with a few changes that I’ve made to it over the years.

4 eggs
3/4 c granulated sugar
2 1/2 c scalded milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp + ground nutmeg (1/4 tsp goes in the pie, then more is later sprinkled on top of the pie)
Pinch of salt
Butter, to dot on top of the pie
Pie shell

1) Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Mix the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add in the salt, cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, and vanilla extract, mixing well.

Just after the milk was added.

2) Slowly add the scalded milk while stirring the mixture.

Just before going into the oven.

3) Pour the mixture into a prepared pie shell. Sprinkle with nutmeg and dot with butter. Brush the edges of the crust with an egg wash and sprinkle a little sugar on it.

4) Bake the pie for about 40 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean; if the crust begins to brown too much during the baking process cover it with aluminum foil or a pie crust shield. Then, allow the pie to cool down and set up before serving.

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Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cakes are one of those desserts that I couldn’t imagine not having at Christmas time. My mother surprised me with an early present today (a KitchenAid stand mixer; the best gift ever!), so I put it to good use making one of her favorite cakes.

The recipe that I’ve always used for red velvet cakes was taught to me by my grandmother. I love the traditional red velvet layer cake adorned with chopped pecans, but I tend to make cupcakes or cake pops more often. This year, I decided to try something a little different and make a red velvet cake roll.

The Cake:
2 1/4 c cake flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1 1/2 c vegetable oil
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c buttermilk
1 small bottle (1 oz.) of red food coloring
1 tsp white vinegar*
* You can substitute apple cider vinegar, instead. I also once used balsamic vinegar with good results when I didn’t have either apple cider or white vinegar.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick of butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c of powdered sugar

1) Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees.

The sifted dry ingredients.

2) Sift together the cake flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a medium sized bowl and set it aside. 
Mixing in the vanilla.

3) Cream together the oil and granulated sugar. Add the eggs in one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Then, mix in the vanilla extract.

Just before adding the red food coloring and vinegar.

4) Add the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately, mixing well after each addition.

5) Add the red food coloring and white vinegar, and mix well.

Since I’m making a red velvet cake roll, I baked the cake in two 9 x 13 cookie sheets instead of round cake pans.

Red Velvet Cake Roll Instructions

Just before going in the oven.

1) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. If you’re worried about the cakes sticking to the paper you can use a little cooking spray. Pour enough batter into each pan to ensure that the entire bottom of the pan is covered. Spread the batter evenly, then bake for about 15 minutes (give or take) or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

2) Once the cakes are out of the oven, remove each cake (including the parchment paper underneath them) from its pan.

3) Lay another piece of parchment paper on top of each cake, then cover that with a damp kitchen towel. 

Waiting for the cakes to cool.

4) Then, starting at the small end, roll up each cake in the towel and parchment paper. Place it, seam side down, somewhere to cool.

5) In the meantime, make the cream cheese frosting by combining the ingredients and mixing well. Once you’ve made the frosting, place it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it for the cakes to ensure that its consistency remains thick.

6) When the cakes have cooled completely, unroll them and remove the damp towel and top layer of parchment paper. Then, spread a layer of cream cheese frosting on top of each cake. Carefully roll up each cake again; you can use the bottom edge of the parchment paper to help you roll the cakes a little tighter. As you’re rolling up the cakes they should easily come loose from the paper. If the cake cracks a little, don’t worry overly much because you can dust it with powdered sugar to hide any imperfections. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. You can also wrap the cake rolls in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer for about 30 minutes to help them set up, then move them to the refrigerator.

One of the finished cake rolls with a dusting of powdered sugar.

In all, I was able to make two red velvet cake rolls and several cupcakes from this one recipe. One of the cake rolls belongs to Clint’s parents, and I’m sure they’ll enjoy it.

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Blueberry Muffins

I made these muffins this morning for breakfast. They are so yummy, especially right out of the oven and slathered with melting butter. I did add strawberries to a few of them for some mixed berry muffins, and I think we all liked those the best.

The Ingredients:
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt (We switched to kosher salt years ago, so that’s what I use for all of our baked goods.)
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 milk
1 c fresh or frozen blueberries (You can use any type of fruit that you want, but we wanted berries in ours.)

The streusel topping:
1/3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c butter, softened
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Grease (or spray it with cooking spray) the muffin pan or line it with cupcake liners. Tip: If you use the liners, give them each a little spritz of cooking spray and the muffins won’t stick as badly to the paper.

2) In a small bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Set it aside.

Creaming the oil, sugar, & egg.

3) Cream together the vegetable oil, granulated sugar, and the egg.

4) Mix in the vanilla extract.
5) Add the dry ingredients and the milk, and beat until combined. The batter should be sort of thick. If it’s a little too dry, though, add in a small amount of extra milk. I added slightly more than a 1/4 cup of milk in addition to the previous 1/3 cup already in it.

Adding the blueberries.

6) Fold in the blueberries. Then, fill the muffin cups almost to the top.

The streusel topping.

7) Now for the streusel topping. Combine the flour, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon with a fork. It should resemble little crumbs. Sprinkle a spoonful on top of each muffin before baking.

Just before going into the oven.

8) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. I put mine in before we went out to feed the animals this morning. It’s been raining for the past three days here, so it took me longer than usual to feed up. Some of my muffins ended up getting a little too done.

Just out of the oven.
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Pecan Sticky Buns

I love these sticky buns! We had them for breakfast last Sunday morning & they were so ooey, gooey, sticky, and good. They were good that night, too, warmed up in the microwave for a little bit.

I’m a night owl, so I started on them late the night before and put them in the oven the next morning after we got through with chores. They were so yummy.

The Ingredients:
The Buns:
1 c milk
1 pack (.25 oz) yeast (I used Rapid Rise)
1/4 c warm water
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/8 c vegetable oil
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 egg
3 1/2 c self-rising flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon

The Sticky part:
1/2 c brown sugar
2 Tbsp corn syrup
1/4 c butter
Pecans, chopped (optional)

The Filling:
1/2 stick of butter (melted)
1/2 – 3/4 c brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1) Warm the milk in a saucepan until it begins to bubble, then remove from the heat & allow it to cool until lukewarm. In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let it stand for about 10 minutes.

Adding the egg.

2) In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, oil, baking powder, salt, egg, cinnamon, & 2 cups of the flour. Mx until smooth.

Beat until smooth.

3) Add the remaining flour, 1/2 a cup at a time, & beat well after each addition.

4) When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for about 6-8 minutes or until smooth or elastic.

5) Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl & turn it to coat it with the oil. Then, cover the bowl with either plastic wrap or a damp towel, & place it in a warm place for at least an hour or until the dough has doubled in size. I left mine for a few hours while I checked on the boys, cleaned up a little bit, & then took a nap.
Checking on the boys. Looks like they’re snoozing away.

6) Now for the sticky part of this recipe. Combine the brown sugar, butter, & corn syrup in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved & the butter has melted. Pour into a casserole dish.

7) Chop the pecans, then sprinkle them into the casserole dish on top of the brown sugar/corn syrup mixture.

8) After the dough has risen, punch it down & turn out onto a floured surface. Roll it out into a large rectangle.

9) Time for the filling. Spread the melted butter onto the rolled out dough.

10) Combine the brown sugar & cinnamon, & sprinkle it evenly onto the dough.

11) Starting at the long side, roll the rectangle of dough into a log. Then, slice into 1 inch wide rolls.

I used two small casserole dishes instead of one large dish.

12) Place the rolls into the casserole dish (make sure they’re not touching each other because they’ll rise some more), & cover with aluminum foil. Allow them to sit in a warm place for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

13) Bake for 30 minutes covered, then remove the aluminum foil & bake for 5 more minutes or until lightly browned on top.

Just out of the oven.

14) Once out of the oven, immediately invert the dish onto a serving platter.