What’s Cooking….. Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake has always been one of those baked goods I felt like you had to be a good baker to make.  I have been doing more and more baking recently and felt like I wanted a challenge.

This weekend, I took the challenge and made my first ever Coconut Cake.

For several days I thumbed through recipe books looking for a recipe I felt like I could follow.   I decided on Paula Deen‘s recipe on www.foodnetwork.com

I wasn’t afraid of the cake, it is relatively simple, a 1-2-3-4 cake that substitutes coconut milk for regular milk.

My worry came with the icing, I had never used a double-boiler , but thankfully all went well and the cake was a success.

For some reason it didn’t rise as much as I thought it would, but all in all I am happy with my first attempt.

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Jamie’s Coconut Cake
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Prep Time:30 min

Inactive Prep Time: — Cook Time:25 min
Level: Easy
Serves: 1 (3-layer) cake

Ingredients
Cake:

Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake but substitute 1 cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk for regular milk, recipe follows
Filling:

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup flaked, sweetened coconut
Frosting:

1 recipe 7-minute Frosting
Flaked, sweetened coconut, for sprinkling
Directions
Follow directions for Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake, substituting coconut milk for regular milk. While cake is baking, prepare filling. Stir together sugar, sour cream, milk, and coconut in a bowl until well blended. Remove cake layers from oven and allow cake to remain in pans as you prepare to stack and fill. Remove first layer and invert onto cake plate. Using the wrong end of a wooden spoon, poke holes approximately 1-inch apart until entire cake has been poked. Spread 1/3 of filling mixture on cake layer. Top with second layer, repeat process. Top with last layer and repeat process again. (As I stack layers together I stick them with toothpicks to prevent cake from shifting).

Prepare 7-Minute Frosting. Frost top and sides of cake. Sprinkle top and sides of cakes with additional coconut.

Yield: 1 (3-layer) cake

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ease of preparation: Easy

Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 cups sifted self-rising flour
1 cup milk – SUBSTITUTE 1 CUP OF CANNED UNSWEETENED COCONUT MILK
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4 inches above counter, then dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Cool in pans 5 to 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling racks. Cool completely and spread cake layers with your favorite frosting to make a 3-layer cake.

Yield: 3 layer cakes

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes

Ease of preparation: Easy

7-Minute Frosting:
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.

Tuesday 10 – Janna Renee, Perception is Everything – Blogger, 10.22.13

Tuesday
Meet Janna Renee, author of Perception is Everything a great blog that traces her life as a young married woman dealing with the daily challenges and the heroic challenge of keeping the home fires burning while her soldier husband serves.  But the blog is more, life, love and fun of a young woman with incredible energy and passion for life…. a good read!
Perception is Everything, is just what it says, and Janna has a unique and humorous way at looking at what life has to offer.
I love the way Janna describes herself and her blog…..
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Thanks for taking part in the Tuesday 10, Janna and thanks for your writing!
1)Excluding family members, who inspires you?
I find inspirations everywhere…blogging, reading, meeting new people. Other than family or my husband, there really isn’t one person that I fixate on. I simply try to keep my heart and mind open to find inspiration in the most unlikely of places.
2)What is your guilty pleasure?
I don’t actually do much that I feel guilty about, but I love chocolate, pizza, and other generic desires that one tends to feel guilty about indulging in.
3)If you were to write a book, who is one person you would want to list in the acknowledgements and what would you say?
“I would like to dedicate this book to my dear husband, without whom, this book would not have occurred. If only I had listened to him years ago, I would be ten books in instead of this first one. If by chance you don’t find this book entertaining, then you may also send the negative credit his way, as well. Like I said, without him…this book would not have occurred.”
4)What is your favorite sandwich?
Either Sour Dough buttered with garlic, parsley, and mesquite turkey or turkey, pepperoni, pepper jack, onions, and pesto.
5)What is the best professional advice you ever received?
Work to live, don’t live to work. May sound counterproductive to professionally excelling one’s career, but we all have different priorities and my priorities aren’t work related.
6)As a child, what was your favorite bedtime story?
The Giving Tree, and I still periodically read it to this day.
7)Who is the first Presidential candidate you ever voted for?
I plead the fifth on the particular candidate, because I mostly keep my political beliefs out of blogland, but it was the 2004 election!
8)What is the one career achievement you are most proud of?
Um…I don’t have a career, per say…but it could be a toss-up between work printing a full size poster of me or getting published in a Chicken Soup book.
9)If you could spend the day with any fictional character, who would you choose and why?
Harry Potter. I love to get lost in the series, and visiting the Harry Potter World at Universal Studios just made me even more obsessed.
10)What is the best meal you ever ate?
I have eaten waaaay to many good meals to narrow them down, but I love anything that my family cooks, and my husband is a god in the kitchen. I guess if I had to eat one place for the rest of my life, I would say Broadmoor Brunch. Brunch happens to be my favorite meal as long as there is a buffet to go with it.
ADSC02439 (2)Find Janna on Social Media:

Tuesday 10 – Pat Geyer AKA The Ranting Chef

Tuesday

It’s no secret, I love the blog world.  I find that some of the most creative writers are represented here.

I enjoy learning from the best and striving to become a better writer because of their talents.  One of my favorites is found at the site “The Ranting Chef.”

Check it out, www.rantingchef.com

Pat Geyer is the Ranting Chef, he describes his site as….

Like to cook? Check. Like to eat? Double check. Can’t shut him up? You betcha…

The Rantings of an Amateur Chef is the bloggings of Pat Geyer, an amateur chef living in the Cleveland, Ohio area. While not making his living in the kitchen, he spends as much time as he can there. He explores recipes, restaurants, gadgets and anything else related to cooking and eating.

I was honored when Pat took the time to respond to my Tuesday 10 questionnaire.  His answers are below….

Pat Geyer, The Ranting Chef

1)Excluding family members, who inspires you?  I am most inspired by people who have a love for something and they make it their life. The Food Network’s Alton Brown is one such man. He loved food and science and despite significant challenges decided one day he was going to create this quirky show (Good Eats) and never looked back.

2)What is your guilty pleasure?  I’d have to say most of my pleasures are the guilty kind. One that stands out is Snyders of Berlin Barbecue potato chips. I swear they make them with some illegal drug.df8fbfc90f0a5b5c6a17a1d03ca328da
3)If you were to write a book, who is one person you would want to list in the acknowledgements and what would you say?  Other than my wife and kids (easy choices), I would choose my parents. Growing up my parents exposed my brother and I to many different experiences and either made or purchased a wide variety of foods. We were always required to try everything, even if we didn’t finish. Because of this, I learned to love new foods, new restaurants and new experiences. I cannot imagine life any other way.
4)What is your favorite sandwich?  I can’t just list one. The first was one from my grandfather – a peanut butter and bacon sandwich. It sounds bad, but once you survive the heart attack, it will be one of the best sandwiches you ever ate. The second is the West Side Monte Cristo sandwich from The Melt Bar and Grilled (meltbarandgrilled.com) (pic – westside-monte-cristo.jpg). The last is one that I’ve made for my blog, the Corned Beef Grilled Cheese (link – http://rantingchef.com/2013/07/16/one-helluva-sandwich/). You can’t choose just one!
5)What is the best professional advice you ever received?  Do what you like because life is too short to hate your job.
6)As a child, what was your favorite bedtime story?  I loved Dr. Seuss. My favorite was “Did I Every Tell You How Lucky You Are?” but all of them worked at various ages.
7)Who is the first Presidential candidate you ever voted for?  George H W Bush
8)What is the one career achievement you are most proud of?  On September 11th, 2001, I was in charge of a unit that provided support to our nation’s financial institutions. We worked long hours and kept a number of banks resilient in the days following the disaster helping to prevent a financial disaster to match the original tragedy.
9)If you could spend the day with any fictional character, who would you choose and why?  I think spending a day with Ferris Bueller (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) would be just awesome. Life just rocks when he is along.
10)What is the best meal you ever ate?  This question is no fair to ask someone obsessed with food. How can you choose from the Shrimp Cocktail Ceviche on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, Copper River Salmon in Seattle or gumbo in the French Quarter of New Orleans? Should I choose my grandmother’s Sherry Chicken and Rice, or my mom’s Harvy Wallbanger Cake? Forced to choose, I would have to say Thanksgiving dinner. My father made the best turkey, red wine gravy and stuffing and my mother added her homemade mashed potatoes and pie. I’ve added some darn good cranberries to the mix. The best meal on earth! (Link to recipes – http://rantingchef.com/2012/11/17/thanksgiving-recipe-cornucopia/
Thanks for participating Pat and thanks for the knowledge and enjoyment you provide at www.rantingchef.com !

What’s Cooking – Target’s Archer Farms Chicken @ArcherReviews @ArcherFarms

Shopping at my Super Target this past weekend found an awesome new chicken dish I have not had the opportunity to try before.

Pre-packaged and prepared, the Archer Farms Prosciutto, Red Pepper, Spinach and Swiss Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast is A-MA-ZING!!!

First of all, simple to prepare is always good.  Turn on the oven, heat to 400 and place chicken in the oven in a baking dish.  Secondly, this dish doesn’t kill your calorie intake for the day.  Only 190 calories per 5 oz. serving.

Packaging consists of 2 stuffed breast, approximately 5 oz. each.  Elegantly prepared, the dish looks like it could be served at a three star Michelin restaurant.

Tasty, rich, healthy, interesting blend of ingredients.  This chicken dish is a winner, I can’t wait to try another.  Easily worth the $8.32 cost!

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What’s Cooking…. Banana Nut Bread

Sometimes I buy too many bananas just for the purpose of letting them over-ripen,  so I can make Banana Nut Bread.  I have been looking for a reason to bake something and ta-da, over ripe bananas!

Banana Nut Bread is SIMPLE, SIMPLE SIMPLE!

2 over ripe bananas

1/2 cup chopped pecans (ideally from Hudson Pecan Company; Ocilla, GA www.hudsonpecan.com )

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup self rising flour

Mix all ingredients together and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

banana bread