Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dessert. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Rocky Road Bark


If I share something with you, promise you won't abandon our love of good food friendship? You promised, right? Okay, well here it is. I haven't yet jumped on the current sheet pan dinner bandwagon. The one-pot, or rather one-pan wonders that are all the rage right now. I am neither one of the early adopters, nor one of the fast followers. This sheet pan craze has been around for at least four years. Maybe even longer. Which means I seem to be getting dangerously close to falling into the (gasp) laggard (aka embarrassing late to the party) category. It's not that I haven't been paying attention. I have been. And it's not that I have any aversions to convenience. I don't. The only savory thing my sheet pans have been making lately is Roasted Bacon. Which could be loosely described as a sheet pan side dish. Right? Truth be told, my sheet pans have been otherwise occupied lately. Not permanently. Just temporarily.


This Rocky Road Bark is it's own one pan miracle. Getting a text from your niece telling you it's the best thing she has ever eaten is yet another kind of marvel.

What is not to love about dark chocolate, roasted almonds, soft pillowy marshmallows, graham crackers, and a sprinkle of sea salt? Nothing. This variation of a Rocky Road Bark has the best of all textures.


Always use a good quality chocolate, one designed for melting. Sometimes I use the chocolate from a local confectionary, but this time I used the Ghiradelli dark chocolate. It would be equally delicious made with milk chocolate.


I know I will sound will like a broken record when I say 'always roast your nuts' before using them in your baked goods or confections. Roasting deepens their flavor and will take most anything from good to great.


I used a large (12"x18") sheet pan to make this Rocky Road Bark. If you halve the ingredients, it can easily be made in a half-sheet pan. The bark is simply a layered bar. The bottom layer is half of the melted chocolate; the second layer is made up of some of the graham cracker pieces, marshmallows and roasted almonds; the third layer is the other half of the melted chocolate; and the final layer made up of the remaining graham cracker pieces, marshmallows and roasted almonds. A sprinkling of sea salt and drizzling of any remaining chocolate are the finishing touches.


The Rocky Road will set up in less than an hour. But unless you are in a hurry to cut it up (and you probably should be), you can let it sit for several hours before cutting into bars or odd-shaped pieces. This is a use a knife versus your hands cutting kind of bark.


Many think of making a bark only around the holidays as they make great gifts and give a cookie platter more dimension. However, bark is something we should be making year-round. And like those one pan sheet pan dinners, you can decide your ingredients. Don't like almonds, use peanuts instead. Want to make a gluten-free bark? Eliminate the graham crackers. Like a bark with a little more sweetness, add some raisins (kind of like a Chunky but with marshmallows bark). The possibilities are endless. And like the early flowers of spring, this bark won't last long.

Recipe
Rocky Road Bark

Ingredients
1 3/4 - 2 pounds of dark or milk chocolate, melted and divided
1 2/3 cups miniature marshmallows (divided)
3/4 cup whole almonds, roasted and coarsely chopped and divided
7-8 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces and divided  (I used almost one package of the rectangular shaped Nabisco Graham Crackers)
Sea salt 

Directions
1. Line a large (12"x18") baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler (or carefully secure and position a bowl over the top of the pot of simmering water).
3. Pour half of the melted chocolate on the prepared pan. Spread with an offset spatula.
4. Using 3/4 of the graham crackers, lay randomly on the top of the melted chocolate. Next sprinkle approximately 2/3 of the marshmallows and roasted almonds on top of the graham crackers.
5. Pour the remaining melted chocolate over the top.
6. Scatter the remaining graham crackers, marshmallows and almonds over the top. If using dark chocolate, lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Using a fork, drizzle any remaining melted chocolate over the top.
7. Allow the bark to set for at least one hour. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars or random shapes. 
8. Serve and/or store in sealed container or tightly tied cellophane bags.


Spring crocus (April 2017)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds


As much as I like going out to eat in restaurants, I love even more the intimacy of a meal shared with family and/or friends at home. Sometimes after traveling and eating out at restaurants for several days in a row, I long for a home-cooked meal. Even if that home-cooked meal is simply a plate of scrambled eggs topped with some goat cheese, a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich on white bread with the crusts cut off, or a container of pineapple yogurt topped with almonds and dried cranberries. In other words, home-cooked doesn't have to mean a three or four course meal or one taking all day or even days to make. It definitely doesn't have to be 'fancy' or 'gourmet', it just has to be satisfyingly good or whatever my current version of comfort food might happen to be. Whenever my niece stays overnight during one of her breaks from school or friends are in from out of town, I like to make at least one homemade meal for them. Something a little more than my simple versions of homemade. I don't usually make these homemade meals 'easy' on myself, however, I recently had one of those moments of clarity. You know, the moment when you finally see the obvious and come to realize (or rather truly believe) simplicity can be a really good thing.


This long overdue epiphany came after making brunch for some friends recently. Everything about the meal was simple. The table was set simply with my favorite white dishes and the menu consisted of only three things. Okay, so there might have been linen napkins and fresh flowers on the table, but if you lived in my world you would understand this was 'simple'.


After going through and trying to sort a bin of saved recipes (not a simple endeavor), I rediscovered the recipe for a Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds. It was one a friend gave to my friend who gave it to me. As soon as I looked at it, I immediately knew it would be one of the three things I would make for the brunch.

I had almost forgotten how beautiful and delicious this fruit trifle was. Fortunately I was able to have my memory jogged. Granted this trifle might be a little more decadent than the fruit platter you might normally serve at a brunch, but we all need a little decadence in our lives. Some of us more than others.


The trifle can be made with any number of fruits or fruit combinations. Although strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and/or blueberries lend themselves to be the best fruit options. Use all of them or use at least a couple of them. The trifle would lack flavor, texture and taste dimension if you used only one fruit. Personally I think this is one of those 'the more the merrier' kind of trifles, so I used all four 'berries' when I made it. Equal amounts of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries create the perfect trifecta: color, texture and flavor. This trifle needs at least 3 pints (or 6 cups) of fresh fruit, although depending on your preferred fruit to whipped cream cheese/whipped cream ratio, 7 cups may be more to your liking.


The luscious, creamy, decadent other layer is made with cream cheese, whipping cream whipped to beautiful stiff peaks, confectionary sugar, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice.


If you don't have a trifle bowl, use a clear bowl to alternately layer the whipped cream cheese/whipped cream mixture with the fresh fruit. The first and last layers will be the whipped cream cheese/whipped cream mixture. Try to create at least 3 layers of fruit between the filling so that the fruit is evenly distributed when spooned out. You can completely finish the trifle with a full layer of the whipped cream cheese/whipped cream mixture or pipe it along the edges of the bowl using a pastry bag fitted with the pastry tube of your choice.


The sugared slivered almonds are the trifle's proverbial finishing touch. In a pan of melted butter and sugar over medium-low heat, the almonds are sautéed until lightly golden. Once caramelized the sugared almonds are transferred to a piece of parchment paper and allowed to cool. You will have more than enough of the almonds for this trifle. Serve the 'extras' in a bowl on the side so everyone is sure to get some of the 'crunch'. They can be made the day before and stored in a sealed container.


You can make the Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds several hours before serving. It comes together relatively easily and takes less than 30 minutes to assemble.

Make this trifle for your next Sunday brunch or bring it to your next office/friend breakfast potluck. Okay, so this Fruit Trifle might not win any healthy awards, but it will for taste and presentation. And I promise it will be incredibly well received and devoured. Scouts honor.


This Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds paired incredibly well with freshly brewed coffee, a pitcher of orange juice, some roasted thick-cut bacon, and this Baked Praline French Toast Casserole. If there was a way to make this menu a little more festive, it would be to open up a bottle of champagne or prosecco and turn the pitcher of orange juice into mimosas. With Passover, Easter, graduation parties, birthdays, anniversary celebrations, Mother's Day, Father's Day or reunion gatherings coming in the weeks and months aheads, consider making this Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds your 'fruit' dish.

Recipe 
Fruit Trifle w/ Candied Almonds
Serves 8-10 

Ingredients
6-7 cups (3-4 pints) fresh fruit (strawberries (cut into slices or wedges), raspberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries)
2 cups heavy whipping cream 
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectionary sugar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup slivered almonds
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Directions
Candied Almonds
1.  Sauté almonds in butter, adding sugar in after the almonds have sautéed for at least 2 minutes.
2. Continue sautéing until almonds are lightly browned.
3. Transfer to a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil. Very lightly sprinkle with some additional granulated sugar.
4. Allow almonds to cool completely. Note: Can be prepared a day ahead. Store in a sealed container until ready to use.)

Fruit Trifle
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Temporarily transfer mixture to a separate bowl.
2. In the bowl of standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth and creamy (approximately 2-3 minutes).
3. Add confectionary sugar and lemon juice into cream cheese. Beat until well blended.
4. Remove bowl from standing mixer and fold in whipped cream until well blended.
5. Beginning with the whipped cream cheese/cream, alternately layer the cream and fruit mixture, reserving enough of the cream mixture to pipe on top of the trifle. (Depending on the size of the trifle bowl, will have three to four layers of each.)
6. Using a pastry bag fitted with tip of choice, pipe reserved whipped cream cheese/cream along edges of the bowl.
7. Sprinkle candied almonds on top of whipped cream. Note: You will not use all of the candied almonds if you only pipe the whipped cream cheese/cream along the sides of the trifle bowl. Serve remaining almonds on the side when serving the trifle. 
8. Serve immediately or refrigerate several hours before serving.

Notes: (1) The original recipe also suggested the trifle could be made with green or red seedless grapes. It could, but I really think berries work so much better. (2) The trifle is best served to 'company' on the day it is made, but leftovers continue to be delicious the next day. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Everyday Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing


The time-change has me feeling a little more out of sorts than usual. Quite possibly my sub-conscious has been affected by all of the recent daylight savings time stories citing the numerous impacts time-change has on our mind and bodies. Given my frequent unusually high levels of gullibility I would venture to say this more than likely partially explains my temporary altered state. Beside undergoing the recent time-change brainwashing, the winter season in the midwest has been a little outside the norm. Up until the return of the winter wonderland this week, we have been relatively snowless for almost two months. Having summer and spring-like days interspersed amongst wintery weather ones here in February has felt good, but at the same time it has also felt a bit strange. One day you are bundled up wearing layers of winter clothes and boots, the next day you are wearing flip flops and turning off the heat. It's a good thing I didn't change out my closets for the seasons this year (or truth be told any year). Even my cravings for sweets has been different lately. It seems I only want the Cadbury chocolates imported from across the pond or cake.


Kind of like this cake, this Everyday Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing. One that should probably be called 'Love at first sight, love at first bite' cake.

As far as chocolate cakes go, this one is the kind you want to eat when you are happy, melancholy, euphoric, out of sorts, stressed, or filled with joy. In other words, it's a cake where in one bite everything is immediately all is either right or better with the world.


The recipe for this chocolate cake comes from someone who seems to understand there is greatness in simplicity. In her first cookbook, 'Small Victories', Julia Turshen uses ordinary, easy to find ingredients and transforms them into extraordinary dishes. In reading through her recipes, you are convinced you will make each one more than once. The recipe for the the buttercream icing comes from Sarah Kieffer's cookbook, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book. Another baker whose recipes also seemed destined to go into the timeless classics category.


There are a million reasons to always keep buttermilk in your refrigerator. The million and one reason would be this chocolate cake.


If you made (or have already made) buttermilk is one of your staples, you can make this deep chocolate, moist, just the right amount of sweetness chocolate cake whenever you get a craving for it. Or, whenever the day calls for cake. Which for some of us could be pretty much almost every day. If you can boil water, you can make this cake. Not that you necessarily need to boil any water. Essentially you only need is a large bowl, a whisk, some measuring spoons, and some measuring cups (and/or a digital scale) to make it. It's a cake recipe proving great homemade cakes don't need to be complicated. They only need to made with love using good quality ingredients.


All of the dry ingredient are whisked together in a large bowl.


After all of the wet ingredients are added, the batter is whisked until it is smooth and slightly thickened. That's it. Your cake batter is ready in a matter of minutes.

The 8" inch rounds of cake bake up in approximately 30 minutes in a 350 degree (F) oven. Buttering and lining your cake pans with parchment paper helps ensure they will come out of the pan perfectly. Allow the cakes to cool completely before you begin frosting the layers.


The icing recipe makes just enough to ice this two-layer 8" cake in the naked style. If you want a heavily iced on the sides cake, increase the recipe proportionately. A standing mixer with a paddle attachment makes for an incredibly creamy icing, but you can achieve the same results using a hand mixer and some patience. 

The original recipe for the cake called for a chocolate icing and slathered a generous half-cup of raspberry jam as the middle layer. As much as chocolate and raspberry are perfect flavor combinations, I was in the mood for just cake and icing. And almost uncharacteristically, I had a craving for vanilla buttercream icing rather than chocolate icing.


Simple cakes call for simple finishes. But it you are making this cake for a 'fancy' occasion, make it as fancy as you want.


If you have yet to have a go-to chocolate cake in your recipe file, make this Everyday Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing it. It will never disappoint. Never. If you have never added coffee to your chocolate brownies, cookies or cakes to enhance the flavor of the chocolate, your chocolate loving palate is in for a surprise. A really good one.


Top with candles and serve alongside your favorite vanilla ice-cream and you have a cake worthy of celebrating any birthday, anniversary or special occasion. But actually, you don't even need the ice cream. The cake all on it's own is that good. And you definitely don't need a special occasion to make it.


I completely agree with Julia Turshen. This is one of those 'decadent without being too heavy or too sweet' cakes. And we all deserve a little decadence in our lives. Chances are the Everyday Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing will become one of your favorites.

Recipe
Everyday Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Icing (minor changes to Julia Turshen's Happy Wife, Happy Life Chocolate Cake recipe as shared in her cookbook "Small Victories: Recipes, Advice, and Hundreds of Ideas for Home-Cooking Triumphs" and not even a change to Sarah Kieffer's American Buttercream recipe as shared in her cookbook "The Vanilla Bean Baking Book: Recipes for Irresistible Everyday Favorites and Reinvented Classics"
Serves 8-12 people, depending on how you slice it

Ingredients
Cake
1 1/4 cups (150 g) all-purpose flour 
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (75 g) Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 Tablespoons (120 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup strong black coffee cooled or 1 rounded teaspoon espresso powder mixed into 1 cup boiling water then cooled
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla

Icing
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons good quality vanilla
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups (339 g) confectionary sugar, sifted
Optional: Food coloring and/or sprinkles for decorating

Directions
Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Butter and parchment paper line two 8" baking pans. Lightly butter top of parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. Add melted butter, eggs, coffee, buttermilk, and vanilla. Whisk until batter is thick and smooth.
4. Divide batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Lightly tap the cake pans to remove any air bubbles. Note: Using a digital scale helps to ensure each pan has equal amounts of batter.
5. Bake until tops of cake spring back when lightly pressed and edges begin to come away from the pan. Approximately 30 minutes of baking time.
6. Transfer cakes to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. 

Icing and Assembly
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed until creamy (approximately 2 minutes).
2. Scrape down sides of the bowl, add vanilla and salt. Mix on low until incorporated. Then beat on medium for one minute.
3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the sifted confectionary sugar until all is incorporated. Stop to scrape the bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy (approximately 6-8 minutes).
4. Place one of the cakes upside-down on your serving platter or cake stand. Spoon slightly more than 1/3 of the frosting on the cake. Spread evenly over cake.
5. Place the second cake layer (again upside-down) on the frosted layer. Top cake with approximately 1/3 more of the frosting. Use the remaining frosting to frost the sides of the cake. Smooth out top layer using an off-set spatula.
6. Wait at least an hour or lightly cover cake and chill in the refrigerator before serving. This is one of those cakes that is even more delicious when served chilled.

Notes: (1) If you don't own either of the cookbooks referenced in the recipe, you should. They are destined to become classics. (2) I am a big fan of King Arthur All-Purpose flour, but use whatever high quality flour you have available to you. (3) If you want a raspberry jam filling instead of the buttercream filling, use a generous half cup of your favorite jam.


A wintery March day at Morton Arboretum (2017).


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Pear Cake with Caramel Sauce


Over the past couple of months I have incorporated a new Sunday night routine into my life. One gaining such sacred status I don't dare schedule or consider doing anything else. The routine begins with spending an hour in an 'extremely hot, sweat inducing, buckets of water dripping from your skin' room. The second hour is spent painfully stretching my body to its' limits. Much to my surprise the physical exhaustion coming from this self-inflicted torturous routine, aka my newest love-hate relationship, is actually a bit exhilarating. Because don't we all experience an endorphin rush high after surviving a 'push yourself to your limits' ordeal? I have come to discover there are endless benefits to these hot and restorative Sunday night yoga classes. But possibly none better than sharing the stamina-endurance experience with friends.


Sometimes we make this Sunday night routine a three hour experience. The third hour focuses only on rehydration. And water is always one of the options.


Not that I needed one, but I wanted a reason to make this Pear Cake with Caramel Sauce. So I surveyed the 'yoga posse' to learn whether or not they liked pears. Fortunately they all did. Our next third hour wouldn't only include hydration. There would also be cake. And not just any cake. But a cake pairing well with chilled prosecco.

Almost everything I bake is 'made from scratch'. However, when I came across the recipe for the Pear Cake with Caramel Sauce, I decided it might be okay, just this once, to channel my well-hidden inner Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee self.


The ingredients for the cake include pureed (canned) pears, pear liquid, oil, egg whites, and, drum roll please.....a box of white cake mix. Slathered in a freshly whipped cream icing, lined with finely chopped toasted walnuts, topped with pear slices, and drizzled with homemade caramel sauce make this 'semi-homemade' cake look and taste more one made from scratch. And technically, two-thirds of it is.


Baked in a ten-inch bundt pan, the cake bakes for 40-45 minutes in a preheated 350 degree (F) oven. After cooling the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, it needs an additional 90 minutes to completely cool to room temperature. Note: Remember to invert the cake onto your cake stand or platter so the top of the cake is completely flat.


The most significant changes made to the stamina-endurance recipe were to the Whipped Cream Icing. In addition to increasing the ingredient amounts (because if there is going to be whipped cream icing, there needs to be lots of it), I added sour cream to stabilize it. Freshly whipped cream has a tendency to weep and lose its' fluffy cloud-like texture after a relatively short period of time. There are essentially two ways of stabilizing whipped cream: adding unflavored gelatin or sour cream. I used sour cream, however, if you want to try making the icing with gelatin, read the Cook's Illustrated article to learn how.

The finely chopped toasted walnuts pressed into the sides of the iced pear cake add both texture and flavor. If you aren't a big fan of walnuts, you can always toast and chop hazelnuts. The nuts are one of the finishing touches guaranteed to make you look like pastry chef when you bring the cake to the table.

I used canned pears in light syrup for the cake portion of the recipe, but went with pears in heavy syrup to top the cake. The canned pear halves are cut into slices and fanned out on the top of the cake. I had thought about using roasted pears instead of the canned pears (because honestly I was still a little anxious about making a semi-homemade cake), but time constraints made the decision for me. After tasting the cake topped with the canned pears, I am not sure if I will ever top it with roasted pears. Yes, who knew canned pears could be so loved by a self-admitted fussyterian.


The caramel sauce may be this cake's pièce de résistance. Not only is it drizzled over the top of the cake, each slice of cake is placed on plate drizzled with a bit more.

The cake can be made, iced, and topped pear slices several hours before serving. The caramel sauce can be made ahead as well and kept at room temperature. Before serving, simply warm the sauce over low heat before drizzling over the cake.


Served over a bed of warm caramel sauce this Pear Cake makes for an incredibly elegant presentation. This dense, moist cake, ever so lightly pear flavored, is dinner party, birthday party, special occasion party, or rehydration gathering worthy. Nothing about this cake looks or tastes like 'semi-homemade' (which may only be important to those of us who obsess about such things). If there was ever a cake to get both unanimous rave reviews and oohs-and-ahhs, this would be the one. If you don't have a 'special' occasion coming up, create one. Because you really need to make this Pear Cake with Caramel Sauce.

Recipe
Pear Cake with Caramel Sauce (several adaptations to Pillsbury's Delicate Pear Cake with Caramel Sauce recipe)

Ingredients
Cake
1 package (15.25 ounce) Moist Supreme White Cake Mix
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 can (15 ounce) pear halves in light syrup, drained reserving 1/3 cup of pear liquid
1/3 cup reserved pear liquid
3 egg whites (from large eggs)

Caramel Sauce
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream (at least 17% fat)
generous pinch of sea salt
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Icing and Finishing
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (at least 17% fat)
2 Tablespoons granulated or caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream 
1 can (15 ounce) pear halves in heavy syrup, well drained (or can roast your own pears, see note below)
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

Directions
Cake
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Prepare a 10 inch tube pan with removable bottom.
2. Drain 1 can of pear halves, reserving 1/3 cup of the liquid.
3. Place drained pear halves in food processor. Process until smooth.
4. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine cake mix, pureed pears, the reserved 1/3 cup pear liquid, oil, and egg whites. Beat at low speed until combined.
5. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
6. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
7. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto serving plater. Allow cake to cool for at least 90 minutes before icing.

Caramel
1. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, whipping cream and sea salt. Bring to a boil. Continue boiling for an additional 5 minutes (stirring frequently) until the sauce has thickened and is golden in color. 
2. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir until incorporated.
3. Allow to cool to room temperature.

Icing
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla and sour cream.

Assembly
1. Drain pears (discard liquid). Cut pear halves lengthwise (should yield about 32 slices).
2. Frost the cooled cake with the whipped icing. 
3. Arrange pear slices on top of cake, slightly overlapping.
4. Press nuts into the side of the cake.
5. Drizzle 3-5 Tablespoons of the caramel sauce over the top of the sliced pears.
6. To serve, spoon 2 Tablespoons of caramel sauce onto each individual dessert plate. Top with a slice of cake. Or serve sauce on the side.

Notes: (1) Instead of topping the cake with drained, canned pears, top with slices of roasted pears. Like these Honey and Butter Baked Pears. (2) The sour cream helps to stabilize the whipped cream. (3) Serve this cake with some chilled Prosecco for an added celebratory touch. (4) The completed cake can be prepared up to 4 hours in advance of serving, however, wait to drizzle the caramel sauce over the top until ready to serve. Keep any leftover cake in the refrigerator. (5) I used the Pillsbury White Supreme Cake Mix in the making of the cake.


Outside and inside views of vacant arsenal bunkers on the grounds of the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie.