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Angel Food Cake platedMy niece makes a mean angel food cake. When I incorporated “angel cake” into the soon-to-be-released Thimbles and Thistles, I begged her for the recipe and she willingly shared.

If you’ve never had homemade angel food cake (as in completely from scratch)  – the effort is worth it!

Angel Food Cake ingredients

Simple ingredients

Angel Food Cake egg whites

You need about nine to 10 eggs, separated. Let egg whites come up to room temperature.

While the eggs are warming (or is it chillin') sift powdered sugar and flour together.

While the eggs are warming (or is it chillin’) sift powdered sugar and flour together.

Alternate the two in your sifter  - it comes out beautifully.

Alternate the two in your sifter – it comes out beautifully.

Once egg whites are up to temp, mix with vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

Once egg whites are up to temp, mix with vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

Blend in granulated sugar until stiff peaks form.

Blend in granulated sugar until stiff peaks form then gently fold in flour mixture.

Spoon into a tube pan.

Spoon into a tube pan.

And bake in 350 degree preheated oven.

And bake in 350 degree preheated oven.

Remove when golden brown.

Remove when golden brown and cool completely.

Run a knife around inside of pan to loosen edges then insert onto a serving platter or cake plate.

Run a knife around inside of pan to loosen edges then insert onto a serving platter or cake plate.

Yum! Don't you just want a piece right now?

Yum! Don’t you just want a piece right now?

Angel Food Cake

1 1/2 cups egg whites (about nine eggs)

1 1/2 cups sifted powder sugar

1 cup sifted flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup sugar

Berries (optional)

Whipping Cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Bring egg whites to room temperature.

Sift powdered sugar and flour together three times (Alternate the flour and sugar when putting it into the sifter. It makes sifting easier).

In large bowl beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and vanilla, with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Gradually add sugar about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form.

Sift about 1/4 of the flour mixture over beaten egg mixture; fold in gently. Repeat folding in remaining flour mixture by fourths.

Pour into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake on lowest rack in oven for about 40 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched.

Immediately invert pan and cool completely, about an hour.

Slide a knife around the side and center of the tube pan. Remove cake to a serving plate. Garnish with berries and whipping cream, if desired. Yield: approx. 8-10 servings.

 

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berry poke cake plated

If you’re looking for an easy, yummy, pretty dessert, this poke cake will do quite nicely.

You can make it with whatever flavor pudding you want!

Ingredients

Ingredients

 

Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke your cake full of holes (about an inch or so apart).

Bake cake according to package directions. Let cool completely. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke your cake full of holes (about an inch or so apart).

Mix up pudding. I added a little food color to make it pink.

Mix up pudding. I added a little food color to make it pink.

 

Pour pudding over the top before it has a chance to start setting up.

Pour pudding over the top before it has a chance to start setting up.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour (and you can let it go overnight). If you don't want the pudding to stick to the plastic wrap (like yours truly) give the plastic wrap a shot of non-stick cooking spray.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour (and you can let it go overnight). If you don’t want the pudding to stick to the plastic wrap (like yours truly) give the plastic wrap a shot of non-stick cooking spray.

 

Top with a dollop of whipped cream and serve with berries!

Top with a dollop of whipped cream and serve with berries!

 

Raspberry Poke Cake

1 white or vanilla cake (prepared)

1 small box of cheesecake pudding

1 3/4 cups milk

1 cup whipping cream (whipped)

1 cup raspberries

red food coloring (if desired)

Bake cake according to package directions and cool completely.

Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake about an inch apart.

Mix pudding with milk and food coloring, if desired.

Pour over cake before it begins to set up. Cover cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour or overnight. When ready to serve, cut into squares and place a dollop of whipped cream on top, along with berries.

Yum!

You can use any cake and pudding combo you like and add different colors of food coloring for varied effect.

She Who Likes Poke Cakes

 

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If you’re looking for a fast and easy dessert that fits the bill for something tasty… here you go!

raspberry pie plated

Individual Raspberry Cream Pies come together in a snap and taste like you’ve actually slaved away to make them!

(For those of you who do everything from scratch, cover your eyes and come back next week…)

Ingredients

Ingredients

Unfold pie dough then using a circle cutter/sealer to mark circles on the dough. Do not cut into the dough, just outline circles.

Unfold pie dough then using a circle cutter/sealer to mark circles on the dough. Do not cut into the dough, just outline circles.

Spread about a teaspoon of cream cheese inside each circle, trying not to get too close to the edges.

Spread about a teaspoon of cream cheese inside each circle, trying not to get too close to the edges.

Add a heaping tablespoon of raspberry pie filling. Keep it away from the edges as best you can.

Add a heaping tablespoon of raspberry pie filling. Keep it away from the edges as best you can.

Cover with the top crust and using the mounds below, cut using the cutter. If you don't have one of these handy little cutters that seal the edges, just use a drinking glass to cut out and then crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers.

Cover with the top crust and using the mounds below, cut using the cutter. If you don’t have one of these handy little cutters that seal the edges, just use a drinking glass to cut out and then crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers.

Aren't they fun?

Aren’t they fun?

Transfer to a baking sheet. I lined mine with foil because I'm lazy and don't want to scrub off any raspberry juice that may perhaps leak out.

Transfer to a baking sheet. I lined mine with foil because I’m lazy and don’t want to scrub off any raspberry juice that may perhaps leak out.

Top with a little sprinkle of Turbinado sugar.

Top with a little sprinkle of Turbinado sugar.

Bake about 15-20 minutes until crust begins to brown and, if you have a few unsealed edges (not that I ever have that problem), juice bubbles out.

Bake about 15-20 minutes until crust begins to brown and, if you have a few unsealed edges (not that I ever have that problem), juice bubbles out.

Serve with a scoop of ice cream. You might even think about sharing with others you really, really like.

Serve with a scoop of ice cream. You might even think about sharing with others you really, really like.

Raspberry Cream Pies

1 can raspberry pie filling

1 box pie dough

1 container spreadable cream cheese

Turbinado sugar (Sugar in The Raw)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment.

Bring pie dough to room temp and then unroll. Set aside one layer.

On the first layer, carefully mark circles, fitting in as many as you can. I managed to get eight and then rerolled the dough to get two more. Do not cut through the dough, you are just marking circles by lighting pressing either a cutter or drinking glass into the dough.

Spread a teaspoon of whipped cream in each circle, staying away from the edges. You can use any type of spreadable cream cheese, I just happened to have whipped handy.

Spread a heaping tablespoon of pie filling on top of the circles, again keeping filling away from the very edge. (You will have leftover filling, which is easy to freeze to top pancakes, scoop into muffin mix, spread on fruit pizza, or pour over ice cream.)

Place top layer of  crust over the top. Using the mounds beneath as your guide, cut out the individual pies. If you don’t have a cutter that cuts and seals the edges, use a drinking glass and then crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers. The reason for keeping the filling away from the edge is that if it is too close it leaks out everywhere when you are trying to seal it. Make sure your dough is sealed or be sure to line your baking pan (hence the reason I line mine because I always have a sneaky leak!)

Place on your baking sheet then sprinkle the tops with Turbinado sugar. Just a pinch will do.

Bake approximately 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and juices are bubbling (which is easy to tell if one of them isn’t properly sealed).

Let cool then serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The ice cream is essential. My Dad made it a rule long ago that all pie should be served with ice cream. Who am I to argue!

She Who Likes Little Pies (and Big Pies and In-Between Pies)

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Here is a fast and easy dessert that tastes so yummy yet does not require cooking.

That means your house doesn’t have to reach the internal temperature of an inferno to enjoy something delicious wonderful and sweet!

Ingredients

 

Whip cream until it forms peaks. Add a little confectioner’s sugar to sweeten. Set aside.

Whip cream cheese until smooth.

Add milk and pudding mix to cream cheese and mix well.

 

Add whipping cream to pudding mix and blend gently with a spoon.

 

Line pan with graham crackers then spoon in pudding mix.

 

Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

 

Leave in fridge for an hour (or overnight) before serving. Then indulge!

Chocolate Icebox No-Bake Dessert
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened (or cut an 8-ounce package in half)
1 1/2 cups milk
1 large package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup whipping cream
chocolate shavings or mini chocolate chips
Graham Crackers

Line the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan with Graham Crackers and set aside. Whip cream, add a dash of confectioner’s sugar to lightly sweeten.
In another bowl, mix cream cheese and milk until smooth. Add pudding mix and beat one minute. Fold in half of the whipped cream. Pour over Graham Crackers and chill for one hour.
Once chilled, spread rest of whipped cream on top and garnish with shaved chocolate or mini chocolate chips.

Restrain yourself from eating the whole pan and force yourself to share.

She Who Loves Easy Desserts that Don’t Require Turning on the Oven

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If you are looking for a dessert that is so simple and effortless it practically makes itself, let me know when you find it.

All kidding aside, this dessert is super fast and easy and delicious so if you aren’t exactly Betty Baker, whip this together then stand back and listen to the ohhs and ahhs as your guests like their plates clean and ask for more!

Start with a pre-made pound cake (I used Sara Lee’s frozen pound cake). Slice into about quarter to half-inch slices – depending on if you want hearty or more delicate slices.

Wash raspberries and stir in a spoon or two of sugar. Set aside and let the sugar work its magic on the raspberries while you rinse the blueberries.

I used freshly whipped cream, but you can also use frozen whipped topping if you aren’t into beating defenseless cream into a frothy pile of deliciousness.

Put the cake in a fun serving bowl or platter. I just picked up this blue beauty (and the little blue bowl) last week at Sur la Table – one of my new favorite stores. I kept wandering around in there so long Captain Cavedweller finally agreed to come back and pick my drooling self up half an hour later. It was a good thing he came when he did or I’m not sure I could have restrained myself from buying approximately 37 more things that I really, really wanted. But I had to have these! Had to!

Use red, white and blue dishes for your berries and whipped cream. It looks fun and festive without being a lot of work!

Enjoy!

She Who Really Likes Finding Favorite New Stores!

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Luscious Orange Panna Cotta

I think I’m going to have to fess up to a case of the winter blahs. Even though we’ve had a few sunny days this week, it has been bitterly cold.

So here it is:

I’m tired of the gray skies. Tired of the cold. Tired of the wind. Tired of dead brown grass. Even tired of the pumpkin/cinnamon/spicy flavors I associate with fall and winter.

Then a blip of sunshine fell into my lap in the form of a luscious, citrusy beautifully summer recipe. So I had to make it as fast as I could and, boy, was that a good decision. Even Captain Cavedweller liked it, which is saying a lot.

This recipe for Luscious Orange Panna Cotta is easy to make and so flavorful and smooth and wonderful and fragrant. It is like breathing in a bit of summer.

If you’ve got a case of the winter blahs, I highly encourage you to make haste and make it right away! You’ll be so glad you did. Just remember, you need to let this rest in the fridge for about 8 hours, so plan accordingly!

First we’ll make the Buttery Orange Curd. Then we’ll whip together the Panna Cotta.

Ingredients for the Curd.

Start off by zesting an orange. This part was really fun because as soon as the zester dug into the orange flesh, the sweet lovely smell of citrus nearly made me melt.

You'll mix sugar and cornstarch then whisk in orange juice and an egg before cooking over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and whip in butter, salt and orange zest.

The cooked Curd is a wonderful sunshiny color and the aroma is magnificent.

Buttery Orange Curd

2/3 cup sugar

2 ½ tbsp. cornstarch

1 1/3 cups orange juice

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3 tbsp. butter

2 tsp. orange zest

Pinch of salt

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucepan. Gradually whisk in orange juice. Whisk in egg. Set on medium burner and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, and cook three to four minutes or until mixture starts to thicken.

Remove from heat then whisk in butter, zest and salt. Place heavy-duty plastic wrap directly on the curd, to prevent a film from forming, and chill eight hours. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to three days.

Ingrdients for Panna Cotta

Stir gelatin into milk and let rest while you cook the cream mixture.

Mix togehter cream, sugar and orange rind, cook over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.

Remove from heat and add vanilla and gelatin mixture and remaining milk.

Remove the rind. I promise I used a spoon to fish it out!

Luscious Orange Panna Cotta

A silky custard, made without egg…

1 3/4oz envelope unflavored gelatin

1 cup cold milk, divided

3 navel oranges, divided

1 ¾ cups heavy cream

¼ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¼ cup sparkling sugar

Sprinkle gelatin over ¼ cup milk in a small bowl. Stir until moistened. Let stand five minutes (it will be lumpy).

Removed three 2×1 inch strips of rind from an orange with a peeler.  Make sure you have properly washed your orange before peeling off rind.

Cook heavy cream, granulated sugar and orange rind strips in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about four minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add gelatin mixture, stirring until completely dissolved. Add in vanilla and remaining ¾ cup milk. Stir in then discard orange strips.

Pour mixture into six 4-ounce dessert glasses or wineglasses. Cover with plastic wrap and chill eight hours.

 

Section an orange and coat individual segments in sparkling sugar.

Peel and section remaining oranges. Make sure you have removed all the peel and bitter white pith. Roll orange sections in sparkling sugar.

Top Panna Cotta with Buttery Orange Curd and sugared oranges. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream. May be stored in fridge for up to three days.

Luscious Orange Panna Cotta - I promise it is worth every bit of effort you put into it (and it is really pretty easy to make!).

Enjoy and Happy Entertaining!

She who wishes she lived next to an orange grove

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Angel Food Mini Cakes

The other day I needed to make a dessert for a meeting. My stove was still serving as the world biggest paperweight with the inability to do anything but take up space in my kitchen.

So I started racking my brain for something good that would not require me to bake or cook on the stovetop. What I came up with was something really easy and pretty tasty.

Ingredients for Assembling Angel Food Mini Cakes

Freshly Whipped Cream with Vanilla. Please ignore the fact that I'm sloppy and spilled vanilla extract all over the bottle and dribbled on the counter. Thank you.

Pretty little cakes, just waiting for filling.

The wait is over, filling is in place.

Ready for transport...

Ready to be eaten!

Angel Food Mini Cakes

Angel Food mini cakes

1 box of Jello Mousse Mix

Whipping Cream

Powdered Sugar

Vanilla Extract

Raspberries

Mix mousse according to package directions. Set aside. Use heavy cream and whip until it starts to form peaks. Add in a dash of vanilla extract and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. If you are using a small carton of cream, use about a 1/2 tsp. of vanilla and 1/4 cup of sugar. If you want to use something like Cool Whip  and save yourself the work of this step, go ahead. You’ll miss out on the fresh whipped cream flavor, but if you can live with it, so can I.

Rinse raspberries and gently pat dry on a paper towel.

If you like to slave over a hot stove, by all means, make your own angel food cakes. But I have to tell you, I found these little gems at Costco, pre-made and ready to go and they were excellent! Moist and flavorful and probably better than I could make. So I have decided to embrace the pre-made cakes with abandon!

Fill the centers of each cake with a generous spoonful of the mousse mix. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and then nestle a juicy raspberry right into the centers. Serve on a pretty platter and prepare to be complemented on your excellent dessert!

Enjoy and Happy Entertaining!

Shanna (a.k.a. The Shortcut Taker)

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