Mrs. Billett’s White Cake

Cakes

Mrs. Billett's White Cake, fancy

Adapted from Southern Living December 2012

 This is the cake I decided to make for Christmas 2014.  It’s luscious, delicate and absolutely delicious. I think it’s the best white cake I’ve ever had and it makes the perfect dessert for winter. Everybody loved it and even the frosting was perfect. It looks very impressive with the layers and looks great with the fondant or marzipan decorations.

The Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 5 egg whites

Directions:

  1. 1.     Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Grease 3 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. 2.     Stir together the milk and vanilla.
  3. 3.     Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric stand mixer until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Sift the flour and baking powder together. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed until just blended after each addition.
  4. 4.     Beat the egg whites at medium speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the batter.
  5. 5.     Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
  6. 6.     Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 23 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. 7.     Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and cool completely (about 40 minutes).

 

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • 1 (32-oz) package of confectioner’s sugar
  • 6 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. 1.    Beat the butter and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer for 1 to 2 minutes until creamy.
  2. 2.     Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar alternately with the milk, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.
  3. 3.     Stir in vanilla.

Mrs. Billett's White Cake, Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Assembling the Cake

Ingredients:

  • White cake (recipe above)
  • Vanilla buttercream frosting (recipe above)

Directions:

  1. 1.     Place one of the prepared cakes on a serving platter. Use a frosting knife or spatula to spread some frosting over this layer. Start in the middle of the cake and work your way out, leaving about 1 centimeter (1/2 inch) border.
  2. 2.     Top the frosted cake with another cake. Repeat the frosting process described above.
  3. 3.     Finally, place the final cake on top and frost the top and sides of the entire cake.
  4. 4.     Add any other desired decorations (suggestions below).

 

Mrs. Billett's White Cake, bottom

Mrs. Billett's White Cake, 2 layers

Mrs. Billett's White Cake, frosted

Mrs. Billett's White Cake, decorada

Comments:

Making the cake itself is really quite simple. Possibly the trickiest part is making sure you put about the same amount of batter in each pan. I suggest you make the entire recipe for the frosting. It sounded like a lot so I started out with half of the recipe but it was too little; I ended up making more. The recipe suggests decorating the cake with fondant snowflakes. However, I did not find any fondant and ended up using marzipan, which works well too. I rolled out the marzipan on a surface dusted with some confectioner’s sugar. Then I used star cookie cutters to cut out shapes. I dusted the stars with more confectioner’s sugar and let them dry for several hours. I later brushed some milk over the shapes and sprinkled them with golden and silver sugar crystals and more confectioner’s sugar. Once they were dry, I arranged them around and on top of the cake.

Mrs. Billett's White Cake, pedazo

Ground Turkey Gyros

Poultry

Ground Turkey Gyros

Adapted from a Website

After travelling to Greece, I became obsessed with Greek food. We never actually tried gyros but it is definitely a staple in the Greek cuisine. This version is “healthified” by using grilled or broiled burgers instead of the typical roasted döner-like meat. They were a huge success at home and I hope you enjoy them as well.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground turkey (or you can replace with beef or lamb)
  • 1½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 4 pita breads
  • 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, chopped

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine the ground turkey and seasonings.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Shape into 4 patties.
  4. Grill, covered (or you can use a toaster oven or broiler instead) over medium to high heat for 10 to 12 minutes until meat is no longer pink, turning once.
  5. Cut patties into thin slices.
  6. Stuff into pitas.
  7. Ad lettuce and tomato.
  8. Serve with yogurt sauce, if desired (recipe below).

Ground Turkey Gyros wrapped

 

Yogurt Sauce (Tzatziki)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 oz.) container of plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup copped seeded cucumber
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp sugar

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine the ingredients.
  2. Cover and refrigerate while you prepare the gyros.

 

Comments: As part of the seasoning you may also choose to add garlic and onion powder. I suggest you heat the pitas before stuffing them with the meat so that everything is warm. You can also maintain some of the heat by wrapping the gyros with aluminum foil. Another alternative to the tzatziki sauce is mixing Greek yogurt with some olive oil and lemon juice. The acidity from the yogurt sauce gives the gyros a boost a flavor. You may also try topping your gyros with some Greek cheese like feta or myzithra. This is a really easy and quick recipe.

Yogurt, oil and lemon sauce

Yogurt, oil and lemon sauce

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Cakes

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Adapted from Southern Living September 2011

The first time I made this cake was for a Culinary Club meeting. It was fall and wanted to make something seasonal; flipping through the magazines at home, I found this cake, which looked amazing. The cake was a huge hit at the meeting. One boy even had 3 or 4 slices! I made this cake again for a “Ñoquis del 29” meeting, an Argentine tradition. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving and again I wanted something seasonal, either autumn-y or more Christmas-y. With help from my mom, I decided to make this wondrous cake and it proved an unsurpassable success.

Cream Cheese Filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8-oz) package of cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

  1. Beat the first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth.
  2. Add the egg, flour and vanilla and beat until blended.

Apple Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup grimly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ lbs Gala apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • Cream Cheese Filling (recipe above)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C).
  2. Stir together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and allspice in a large bowl.
  3. Add the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  4. Stir in the apples.
  5. Spoon two-thirds of the apple mixture into a greased 14-cup Bundt pan. Spoon the Cream Cheese Filling over the apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges of the pan. With a paring knife, swirl the filling through the apple mixture. Spoon the remaining apple mixture over the Cream Cheese Filling.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely (about 2 hours).

Frosting the Cake

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup Confectioner’s sugar
  • Prepared apple cake (recipe above)

Directions:

  1. Bring the brown sugar, butter and milk to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Gradually whisk in the Confectioner’s sugar until smooth.
  4. Stir gently for 3 to 5 minutes until the mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly.
  5. Immediately pour over the cooled cake.

 

Comments: This is a great cake if you have to feed many (or few). It is large and will satiate anyone’s sweet tooth. The tricky part is adding the Cream Cheese Filling to the apple batter, but don’t fret too much over it. Make sure to use a large Bundt pan because it truly is a big cake. A large pan will also make the addition of the filling easier.

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake pedazo