Merry Christmas

Christmas 2017I love the vintage feel of this cake. The retro bottle brush trees and the metal Matchbox station wagon, with the just-cut tree tied to its roof. The cake has a Norman Rockwell feel to it, like everything is peaceful and sweet and lovely.
Here’s hoping that your Christmas is peaceful and sweet and lovely.

Tomato soup cake with seven-minute frosting

TomatoSoupCakeWhen I was a little girl, my mom always made me a cake covered with seven-minute frosting for my birthday. It was my absolute favourite. The reason it’s called seven minute frosting is because you beat it for seven minutes over the stove. She always drizzled it with melted dark chocolate.
In this case, I decided to try a 1950s recipe for tomato soup cake. (My birthday cake was most always chocolate.) It came out great! Reddish in colour and kinda spicy.Here’s the recipe:

Tomato soup cake Makes one 2-layer cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
One 10 3/4-ounce can condensed tomato soup (I used Campbell’s)
1/2 cup shortening
2 large eggs
1/4 cup water
1 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans, shaking out any excess flour. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the soup, shortening, eggs, and water. Beat together until everything forms a smooth reddish batter. Fold in raisins. Pour the batter into the cake pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes; when the cake is done, a toothpick should come out clean. Let cake cool completely before frosting.

Seven-minute frosting (Paula Deen’s recipe)

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon white corn syrup
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup water
2 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. (If this happens, it could cause your frosting to become grainy). Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla.

Retro choco mint cake

chocolate mint 2010Two of my favourite flavours are chocolate and mint. When I spied a package of creamy pastel mints at the store, the kind I grew up with, I had a good giggle — I didn’t even know they still made them!
I thought they’d be a lotta fun on a cake. They definitely have a 1950s-’60s vibe to them and they taste great with chocolate! What could be bad?
A double dark chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting and creamy pastel mints. Blast from the past!

Chocolate peppermint patty

chocolate layer peppermint pattyWhen I’m going to a potluck supper, I love to experiment. This time I made a three layer chocolate cake into which I added a cup or so of broken up chocolate Andes mints (which you can’t get in Canada–I picked them up in the US) into the batter. In between the layers and on the outside, I made pale green mint buttercream. And on top and drizzling down the sides is semi-sweet chocolate ganache. It looked to me like a real old fashioned cake.
It was a hit and only one tiny piece came home with me last night. Yum!