Thursday, 7 January 2010

Red Velvet Cake

My all-time favourite - this is a Magnolia recipe. However, I sometimes substitute sour cream for the buttermilk and it always comes out amazing!

¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2¼ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 Tbl. red food coloring
3 Tbl. unsweetened cocoa
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
1½ tsp. salt
1½ cups buttermilk
3⅓ cups cake flour (not self-rising), sifted
1½ tsp. cider vinegar
1½ tsp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour 3 (9x2-inch) round cake pans and line bottoms with waxed paper. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time; beat well.

In a small bowl, whisk food coloring, cocoa and vanilla. Add to batter and beat well. In a measuring cup, stir salt into buttermilk. Add to batter in three parts, alternating with flour. In a small bowl, stir together cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to batter and mix well.
Divide batter among 3 pans. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool for 1 hour. Remove from pans and frost.

Vanilla Frosting
1½ cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 to 10 cups confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup milk
1 Tbl. vanilla extract

Place butter in a large mixing bowl; then add 4 cups sugar, milk and vanilla.
Using an electric mixer, beat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition, until it’s a good consistency for spreading.

(Photo courtesy of

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Butternut squash and mushroom lasagna

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
1/2 pound crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups)

2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 5 1/2 cups)
1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
4 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
4 tablespoons sliced fresh sage, divided

3 15-ounce containers whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
4 large eggs

Olive oil
1 9-ounce package no-boil lasagna noodles

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Increase heat to high; add mushrooms and cook until tender, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer mushroom mixture to bowl; set aside.

Add squash, broth, 3 tablespoons thyme, and 3 tablespoons sage to same skillet. Cover and simmer over medium heat until squash is just tender, about 6 minutes. Uncover and cook until squash is very soft but still retains shape, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Mix ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1 1/2 cups Parmesan cheese, and remaining 1 tablespoon thyme and 1 tablespoon sage in large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper; mix in eggs.

Brush 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with oil. Spread 1 cup ricotta mixture over bottom. Arrange 3 noodles on top. Spread 13/4 cups ricotta mixture over noodles. Arrange 1 1/3 cups squash mixture over. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup mushrooms and 1 cup mozzarella. Top with 3 noodles, then 1 3/4 cups ricotta mixture, half of remaining squash, 1/2 cup mushrooms, and remaining 1 cup mozzarella. Repeat with noodles, 1 3/4 cups ricotta mixture, remaining squash, and remaining mushrooms. Top with 3 noodles. Spread remaining ricotta mixture over; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Cover with oiled foil.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake lasagna, covered, 35 minutes. Uncover; bake until heated through, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. (The lasagna can be assembled one day ahead and refrigerated.)

Bon Appétit
November 2004