11 November


Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

November 15:
National Bundt Pan Day

Most homestyle bakers have a bundt in their cake pan collection. Islander has ta few—a fancy pineapple-design form and two mini bundt pans—but she borrows a basic one from her brother. The round, ridged mold with a hole in the middle gives cakes a distinctive shape.

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

The bundt pan evolved from the Viennese kugelhopf.  Austrians and Germans who immigrated to North America brought their baking traditions—and ring-shaped pans—with them. The word “bund” translates to “community” or “a gathering of people;” hence, the round pan shape for cakes that were meant to be shared during coffee or tea time. The first reference to a recipe for bundt kuchen was found in the turn-of-the-20th-century “Milwaukee Settlement Cookbook.”

Nordic Ware adapted the design to make a bundt pan at the request of members of the Hadassah Society, an American Jewish volunteer women’s organization. The company trademarked the pan in 1950, but sales were slow. A decade later, “Good Housekeeping Cookbook” featured a pound cake recipe baked in a bundt. In 1966, after a “Tunnel of Fudge” bundt cake recipe won second place at a Pillsbury Bake-Off, the bundt became the best-selling cake pan in America!

Nordic Ware and other companies continue to make classic and creative bundt pans in different designs, shapes and sizes. In 2007, some of the original Nordic Ware bundt pans became part of the museum exhibits at the Smithsonian Institute.

Pillsbury licensed the bundt name in 1970 for its line of cake mixes, which are not available as of this post. But we made a version (see Notes) of the Tunnel of Fudge bundt cake to observe National Bundt Pan Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Pillsbury and Busy Cooks via About.com)

For the Tunnel of Fudge cake

  • 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
  • 1 tub chocolate fudge frosting (we used Pillsbury brand)

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugars and blend well. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until smooth.

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

In a separate bowl, combine the flour and cocoa powder. Using a spatula, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix by hand. Fold in the nuts. Generously grease the sides of the bundt pan with vegetable shortening or cooking spray just before adding the batter in it.

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

Place half the batter into the pan. Spoon a thin ring of the fudge frosting in the middle of the batter, being careful not to let it touch the inner and outer sides of the bundt pan. Place the remaining batter on both sides of the fudge frosting and on top. Smooth it out. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour or until the edges of the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the bundt pan. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for about two hours. Invert onto a wire rack over a foil-lined lipped pan to cool completely. Prepare the glaze.

 Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

For the chocolate glaze

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder/unsweetened cocoa
  • 6-8 teaspoons milk

Directions

In a bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the cocoa. Stir in the milk until it is smooth and has a drizzle-like consistency.

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze on top of the bundt cake, letting it drip down the sides. Transfer to a cake platter, slice and serve.

Tunnel of Fudge Bundt Cake

Notes

  • The original Tunnel of Fudge cake recipe included powdered fudge frosting mix, but Pillsbury has discontinued the product. Since the 1966 bake-off, the company has modified the recipe. The fudge from the tunnel is basically the undercooked batter, which is similar to a molten chocolate or lava cake.
  • Other companies, such as Nordic Ware (makers of the bundt pan and a Tunnel of Fudge cake mix) and Sof’Ella, make bundt cake mixes.
  • When we previously attempted to make a Tunnel of Fudge cake, it crumbled when released from the bundt pan (not greased enough) and it did not have fudge oozing out of the tunnel (overbaked). We also modified the recipe by following the concept of filled cupcakes (such as Betty Crocker brand FUN da-Middles). Half the batter is poured into the pan, a syrup filling is squeezed in the middle, then the remaining batter covers the filling before baking.
  • Thanks to Islander’s brother for letting us borrow his basic bundt pan for this Tunnel of Fudge cake recipe.
  • Thanks to Lisa L. who gifted Islander with the adorable “aloha” bundt pan.
  • Search our blog for recipes of other cakes baked in bundt pans.

Indian Pudding

Indian Pudding

November 13: National Indian Pudding Day

Indians and pilgrims are a popular theme for Thanksgiving. From hostility to hospitality, they set aside their differences to share the bounties of their harvest together. Peace and prosperity are possible when people focus on the positive and strive toward the common good.

Indian pudding was on the menu at early Thanksgiving celebrations in New England. Derived from the English hasty pudding (porridge), this version uses what the North American settlers called “Indian mush” (corn meal). The cooking method is not hasty at all—slow stirring and baking are required to make this dessert.

Prepare Indian pudding on National Indian Pudding Day. And when hosting a harvest meal, try adding this traditional treat to your table for Thanksgiving.

Recipe

(Adapted from Months of Edible Celebrations)

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup corn meal
  • 3 cups milk, divided use (2 cups hot, 1 cup cold)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • whipped cream and ground nutmeg (optional garnish)

Directions

In a pot over low heat, boil two cups of milk, being careful not to burn the bottom. When hot, gradually add in the corn meal. Stir constantly and slowly for about 15 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon.

Indian Pudding

Stir the spices into the corn meal mixture. Add molasses and the remaining cup of cold milk. Combine well. Pour into a casserole dish.

Indian Pudding

Bake in a preheated oven at 275 degrees F for two hours. Remove from the oven, cool slightly and serve in pudding cups or dessert dishes. Garnish with whipped cream and ground nutmeg, if desired.

Indian Pudding

Notes

  • Thanks to RB, who is part-Cherokee from Oklahoma, for the Native American shawl used as a prop for the main photo. He presented it to Islander as an appreciation gift for being his first communion sponsor many years ago.

Election 2012 Cookies

Election 2012 Cookies

November 6: Election Day 2012

Vote for a candidate—and a cookie!

During a U.S. presidential election year, we bake cookies from recipes provided by presidential candidates’ spouses (in 2012, we made Michelle Obama’s and Ann Romney’s cookies, wives of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, respectively). We take the treats to a college student prayer group event where Islander’s brother ministers. Everyone has an opportunity to blind taste-test both cookies and vote for their favorite! Some of the freshmen were able to vote for the first time in their lives on Election Day. Others who could/did not vote for the candidates were still able to cast their ballots for cookies at the polling theme party. (Click here to see the results.)

Election 2012 Cookies

We were inspired to celebrate America’s freedom and right to vote on Election Day with this fun food event, after learning that Family Circle magazine has sponsored a presidential cookie bake-off since 1992. The magazine prints the favorite cookie recipe shared by spouses of the candidates, then the readers vote on the best cookie. The winning recipe supposedly is a predictor of who becomes the next president. With the exception of the 2008 elections, when Cindy McCain’s cookie recipe won over Michelle Obama’s, the bake-off seems to have a good track record so far.

Without overanalyzing the recipes for any unintentional or purposeful political meanings, voting for cookies is a delicious and unique way to observe Election Day.

Recipes

(Adapted from Family Circle)

Election 2012 Cookies

For Michelle Obama’s Cookies

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 stick butter-flavored vegetable shortening (we used Crisco brand)
  • ¾ cup sugar, granulated white
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (we used Nestle brand)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (we used Nestle brand)
  • 1 cups mint chocolate chips (we used Andes mint pieces)
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and shortening with the white and brown sugars until smooth.

Election 2012 Cookies

Stir in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture and blend well.

Election 2012 Cookies

Use a spatula to hand-stir in the white chocolate chips, chocolate chips and mint chocolate chip pieces and walnuts. Mix until well combined. Use a small scoop to drop the cookie dough onto an ungreased foil-lined baking sheet.

Election 2012 Cookies

Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 6 – 6 ½ dozen.

Election 2012 Cookies


Election 2012 Cookies

For Ann Romney’s Cookies

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 ½ cups (nearly a full 18-ounce jar) crunchy peanut butter (we used Jif brand extra crunchy)
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ½ cups oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips (we used Nestle brand)
  • 1 cup M&Ms (we used red, white and blue M&Ms)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with the white and brown sugars. Add the peanut butter and corn syrup and blend until smooth. Beat in the eggs.

Election 2012 Cookies

Stir in the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the oats and baking soda. Gradually add to the peanut butter mixture. Use a spatula to hand-stir in the chocolate chips.

Election 2012 Cookies

Gently add the M&Ms and mix until well combined. Use a small scoop to drop the cookie dough onto a lightly greased foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees F for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown and slightly flattened but still round. Remove from the oven. Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 6 dozen.

Election 2012 Cookies

Notes

  • Family Circle magazine readers voted on the winning cookie a few months before Election Day: Michelle Obama’s cookies (which meant her husband was destined to win his second term as president). Her recipe is actually from Mama Kaye, the godmother of her daughters.
  • For an archive of recipes in past presidential cookie bake-offs, go to the magazine’s website.

French Toast Casserole

French Toast Casserole

November 28: National French Toast Day

When company comes and stays overnight, we feed them French toast casserole for breakfast or brunch. It is faster to make than traditional French toast because the bread soaks up the batter the night before and is baked in the same pan the next morning, leaving us time to talk with guests or make extra bacon and eggs for everyone while the casserole is cooking in the oven. It also feeds a a crowd of visitors and is considered more budget-friendly than taking everyone out to eat. For a twist on traditional French toast, cook it casserole-style for National French Toast Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Taste of Home)

For the French toast

  • 1 loaf (1 pound) French bread
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions

Generously grease a 13×9-inch baking pan with butter or cooking spray. Cut the French bread into 1-inch cubes. Scatter evenly in the pan.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs lightly. Mix in the milk, sugar, salt and vanilla.

French Toast Casserole

Pour over the cubed bread, allowing the pieces to soak up the milk batter. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, 30 minutes before baking, remove from the refrigerator.

French Toast Casserole

Cut the cold butter in small pieces and place them on top of the French toast. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the French toast. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes. The casserole will puff up slightly. When done, remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes. Slice and serve with syrup.

French Toast Casserole

Notes

Pandan Sponge Cake

Pandan Sponge Cake

November 26: National Cake Day

Whenever we travel to and from Manila and the provinces in the Philippines, we stock up on snacks for the long bus or jeepney ride. Whether we pick up our provisions from the street vendors or from roadside sari-sari stores, we usually buy fresh fruits, bottled drinks, crunchy munchies and sweet cakes, such as individually-packed pandan-flavored, light green sponges. The latter are usually dry but during the long journey they are sufficient. Our homemade version is more moist with a slightly sweet and nutty taste and does not need any frosting. Pandan sponge cake is perfect as a travel treat, a satisfying snack any time or a commemorative confection on National Cake Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from A World of Cake by Krystina Castella)

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons pandan extract
  • ¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • green food coloring

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Add in the yogurt, oil and pandan extract and mix well until the batter is smooth.

Pandan Sponge Cake

Stir in the beaten eggs. Add a few drops of green food coloring and mix well. Pour the batter in a greased 10x10x2-inch square baking pan.

Pandan Sponge Cake

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes, testing the cake with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Slice and serve.

Pandan Sponge Cake

Notes

  • The final photo of our pandan sponge cake is set on a lauhala mat, which was woven from the dried leaves of a type of pandanus tree.
  • Pandan-flavored desserts are popular throughout Southeast Asia. Culinary pandan (screwpine) comes from the leaves of another type of pandanus plant.
  • If using self-rising flour, omit the salt and baking powder as ingredients in this recipe.
  • Search our blog for more cake recipes.

St. Catherine Wheel Cookies

St. Catherine Wheel Cookies

November 25: Feast Day of St. Catherine of Alexandria

We got a flat tire enroute from Islander’s business convention in Toronto to our summer vacation in Niagara Falls, Canada, one year. We pulled over to the side of the highway near an off-ramp to be safe. Traffic was light so no one really stopped to offer roadside assistance. We saw an auto parts store conveniently located down the off-ramp. Highlander walked the short distance to get help but only got advice. He came back to our car and used the spare tire to fix the flat. We then were able to drive to our destination and got our vehicle inspected and the tire replaced before checking in to our hotel.

We later learned that the incident occurred at Garden City, the nickname for St. Catharines, where the Canadian division of General Motors operates their car manufacturing plants. St. Catharines is a spelling variant of St. Catherine, the patron saint of wheelwrights. She is often depicted in art with a wheel, by which she was tortured for her faith. Legend states that wheel broke so she was martyred by beheading.

We believe in her miracle associated with the wheel. It seemed as if St. Catherine was protecting us when we had a flat tire in a city that bears her name. In her honor, we baked an appropriate dessert—St. Catherine Wheel Cookies. These round, crisp confections contain currants and have a subtle anise flavor. Whether for her feast day food or for a travel-time treat, wheel cookies are good to eat! Thank you, St. Catherine of Alexandria!

Recipe

(Adapted from Cooking With the Saints by Ernst Scheugraf)

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons anise seeds
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons currants

Directions

Using a mortar and pestle, grind the anise seeds to a powder (or chop them finely). Add the ground anise seeds to a large mixing bowl and combine with the flour.

St. Catherine Wheel Cookies

Add the baking powder, ground almonds, sugar and cinnamon. Moisten the dry ingredients with the melted butter, milk and egg.

St. Catherine Wheel Cookies

Stir until a soft dough is formed. Fold in the currants. Pinch off one-inch balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet about an inch apart. Flatten with a criss-cross shape with the tines of a fork. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Yield: Approximately 2 ½ – 3 dozen cookies.

St. Catherine Wheel Cookies

Notes

  • What miracle moments have you experienced? Share a short saint story with us!
  • Search our blog for other saints’ feast day foods.

Mickey Mouse Oreo Cookie Pops

Mickey Mouse Oreo Cookie Pops

November 18: Mickey Mouse’s Birthday

Happy birthday to Mickey Mouse, the iconic cartoon rodent and the official mascot of the Disney empire. Co-created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, Mickey Mouse first appeared in screen tests for “Plane Crazy” on May 15, 1928. But his official debut in the animated short “Steamboat Willie” on November 18 of that same year catapulted Mickey into megastardom! Now he rules his (Magic) Kingdom, the entire (Disney) Land and the whole (Disney) World!

We enjoy visiting Mickey Mouse and his friends at the theme parks in California and Florida. We are entertained with his Disney-Pixar-ABC-produced movies and TV shows. We shop for mouse ears and more merchandise for our family and friends’ children (and sometimes ourselves!) at the Disney Store in the malls. And we like to eat Mickey Mouse-shaped fun foods, like sandwiches, cookies, rice cereal-marshmallow treats and pops.

Learn how to make Oreo sandwich cookies into magical chocolate-covered pops featuring his famous ears below. These delicious Disney-inspired desserts are great for serving at kids’ parties and for celebrating Mickey Mouse’s birthday!

Recipe

(Based on Google Images)

Ingredients

  • Oreo Cookies (regular size, with or without “Double Stuff”)
  • Mini Oreo Cookies
  • White tube frosting (we used CakeMate brand)
  • Semi-sweet chocolate, melted (we used Baker’s brand)
  • Colorful non-pareils (we used Wilton brand)

Directions

Twist and separate the mini Oreo cookies for the mouse ears. Scrape off the filling and set aside. Twist and separate the larger Oreo cookies for the face. Squeeze white tube frosting to act as an adhesive for the ears and lollipop sticks. Position two mini Oreo cookies and press in place a lollipop stick.

MIckey Mouse Oreo Cookie Pops

Cover with the other half of the larger Oreo cookie, using additional white tube frosting as necessary. Push the other end of the lollipop stick into a styrofoam base. Continue assembling other cookie pops. Refrigerate until firm. Melt the chocolate and keep warm. Carefully coat the cookie pop with chocolate, gently tapping off the excess chocolate. Sprinkle with colorful non-pareils. Return to the styrofoam base and refrigerate until the chocolate has set. Serve as is or cover each cookie pop in a treat bag and tie with a decorative ribbon.

MIckey Mouse Oreo Cookie Pops

Notes

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