Tag Archives: Recipe

RECIPE Strawberry Jam Stack Cake from Sweet Auburn Desserts

Strawberry Jam Stack Cake from the book Sweet Auburn Desserts by Sonya Jones. Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

This loosely stacked yet highly photogenic dessert is refreshingly different from any regular layer cake.

by Bakery Boy

“What I love about stack cakes is that they are so commanding and grand,” says Sonya Jones in introducing this recipe, a tempting photo of which graces the cover of her newly published cookbook, Sweet Auburn Desserts from Pelican Publishing Company. (Click here for the Bakery Boy Blog’s book review, or here for a profile of Sonya and her Sweet Auburn Bread Company in Atlanta). “Traditionally, the bigger the stack cake and the more layers it has, the more important the occasion,” she adds. So I guess technically, the sky is the limit!

For this recipe, prepare the jam filling ahead of time so it’s well cooled and ready to spread between cake layers on cake-baking day.

Bookjacket photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

Strawberry Jam Stack Cake

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 ounce shortening

1 ¼ cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups cake flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 7 (8-inch) round cake pans and line with parchment or wax paper.

In a mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, and sugar until fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs one at a time until the eggs are fully incorporated. Stir in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and the milk to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the flour. Beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Spread ¾ cup of the batter into each pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched. Turn the cakes out of the pans onto a wire rack while still warm. Repeat until all 7 layers are baked. Each cake layer will be ¼- to 3/8-inch thick.

Place the first layer on a cake stand and spread ½ cup Strawberry Jam (see below) over the top. Place the second layer on top of the jam and spread another ½ cup jam over the top. Repeat this process until all 7 layers are stacked and layered with jam. Wrap the cake with plastic wrap or foil and allow it to stand for 24 hours before serving.

Jam Filling

2 pounds fresh strawberries

4 cups sugar

¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 cinnamon stick

Wash and hull the strawberries. In a saucepan, crush the strawberries and stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Add the cinnamon stick and stir over low head until the sugar is dissolved.

Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Using a large spoon, skim off any foam that forms on the surface. Continue to boil, stirring often, until the mixture is thickened and a candy thermometer reads 220 degrees F., about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick.

Transfer the jam to a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

If you wish to store the jam for a longer period of time, spoon the jam into hot, sterile jars and seal. Place the jars in a water bath for 10 minutes and transfer them to the counter to cool before storing them in a cool, dry, dark place.

[From Sweet Auburn Desserts by Chef Sonya Jones, (c) Sonya Jones, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.]

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To order a copy of Sweet Auburn Desserts by Sonya Jones, contact Pelican Publishing Company at www.pelicanpub.com or 1-800-843-1724. The list price is $24.95, but ask about a 20 percent discount (which you learned about here on the Bakery Boy Blog!) that drops the price to $19.96.

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Click here for the Sweet Potato Custard Pie recipe

Click here for the Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding recipe

Click here for a book review of Sweet Auburn Desserts by Sonya Jones

Click here for a profile of Sonya Jones and her Sweet Auburn Bread Company in Atlanta

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RECIPE Sweet Potato Custard Pie from Sweet Auburn Desserts

If you can think of a better use for sweet potatoes than this little slice of heaven, I’d like to know.

by Bakery Boy

Click here for a profile of Chef Sonya Jones and Sweet Auburn Bread Company

Sweet Potato Custard Pie from Sweet Auburn Desserts. Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

After my visits in Atlanta with chef and baker Sonya Jones, I knew I’d want to try making some of her sweet potato recipes as soon as she made them available. The owner of Sweet Auburn Bread Company has built her reputation around baking the humble but tasty orange tuber into a wide variety of goodies.

The creamy Sweet Potato Cheesecake is her bakeshop’s best-selling item at $45 for an 8-inch-diameter cake or $5 for a 3-inch version, each featuring a buttermilk pound cake crust instead of the usual graham-cracker crust. She also makes Sweet Potato Pies, Sweet Potato and Molasses Muffins, Sweet Potato Poundcake with Molasses Glaze, Sweet Potato Angel Biscuits, and Sweet Potato Cobbler, and is very likely dreaming up other uses for sweet potatoes right now.

Sonya says she peels, boils, and mashes about 40 pounds of the vegetables nearly every day to make a mushy paste that becomes the basis for all kinds of treats. “The possibilities are endless for this simple, wholesome, basic Southern staple,” she says. “I’m always experimenting with different desserts I can make from it, and I’m almost always happy with the results.”

Here is Sonya’s recipe for Sweet Potato Custard Pie from her newly published Sweet Auburn Desserts cookbook from Pelican Publishing Company. (Click here for the Bakery Boy Blog’s book review.)

Sweet Potato Custard Pie

1 pie shell — either your favorite version or one found elsewhere in Sonya’s book

Filling

1 pound sweet potatoes

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

3 eggs

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

1 ½ cups half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the filling, boil the sweet potatoes for 40 to 50 minutes, or until tender. Drain the potatoes, run them under cold water, and remove the skin. Mash the potatoes in a mixing bowl and stir until smooth, then gradually stir in the sugar and nutmeg. Add the eggs one at a time, then the belted butter and half and half. Finally, stir in the vanilla and lemon extracts.

Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serves 8

[From Sweet Auburn Desserts by Chef Sonya Jones, (c) Sonya Jones, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.]

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To order a copy of Sweet Auburn Desserts by Sonya Jones, contact Pelican Publishing Company at www.pelicanpub.com or 1-800-843-1724. The list price is $24.95, but ask about a 20 percent discount (which you learned about here on the Bakery Boy Blog!) that drops the price to $19.96.

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Click here for the Strawberry Jam Stack Cake recipe

Click here for the Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding recipe

Click here for a book review of Sweet Auburn Desserts by Sonya Jones

Click here for a profile of Sonya Jones and her Sweet Auburn Bread Company in Atlanta

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RECIPE Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding from Sweet Auburn Desserts

That humblest of desserts, meant to make stale bread palatable and nicknamed “poor man’s pudding,” becomes a gourmet treat when done right.

by Bakery Boy

Click here for a profile of Chef Sonya Jones and her Sweet Auburn Bread Company

Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding from Sweet Auburn Desserts. Photo by Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

My earliest experience with bread pudding was homegrown.

My father, being a baker with a steady supply of day-old bread — the main ingredient in bread pudding — introduced me to the basic concept. Break an old loaf into chunks in a bowl; sprinkle on sugar and cinnamon and raisins; pour on warm milk; dig in. It was a classic example of a “poor man’s pudding” as it has been enjoyed for hundreds of years, especially on cold winter days. Thanks again, Pop, for those special times we shared!

My second encounter with bread pudding was literary.

I was reading Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with its über-poor Cratchit family making the best of Christmas Eve while living on abundant love but scant few resources. As the Ghost of Christmas Present guides rich but stingy Ebenezer Scrooge through his enlightening nightmare, they haunt the Cratchit house and spy a simple bread pudding that smells “like a washing day” and looks “like a speckled cannon ball” and is a noticeably “small pudding for [such] a large family.” Unfazed by his own poverty, humble accountant Bob Cratchit regards the pudding as “the greatest success achieved by Mrs. Cratchet since their marriage.” She, being a good sport, takes the, um, compliment well enough.

My third brush with bread pudding was, in a word, divine.

Commander's Palace Creole Bread Pudding Souffle with Warm Whiskey Sauce. Photo courtesy of Commander's Palace.

I ate the famous version served at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans — one of the nation’s most highly regarded restaurants — and if the delicacy hasn’t already been declared a national treasure, it ought to be. The Commander’s Palace Creole Bread Pudding Souffle with Warm Whiskey Sauce lives up to its grand title. The fluffy blend of sugar, eggs, heavy whipping cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and cubed French bread gets baked into a deep cup, then topped with a meringue and baked again until golden brown. At table side, a server dramatically pokes a hole in the top of the meringue and pours in a velvety sauce of bourbon and whipping cream. Perfection! Commander’s is so exacting about how its signature dessert is prepared and served, always fresh from start to finish, that it asks dinner guests to order the bread pudding in advance at the beginning of the meal, allowing the kitchen staff to time each step just right for the final presentation.

Now a fourth chapter has been added to my personal bread pudding saga.

Chef Sonya Jones, owner of Sweet Auburn Bread Company in Atlanta, shares her recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding in her recently published Sweet Auburn Desserts cookbook from Pelican Publishing Company. (Click here for the Bakery Boy Blog’s book review.) It’s a suitably rich casserole of a pudding baked into a deep pan and using regular milk instead of heavy whipping cream and any available white bread instead of specifically French loaves. I rate it high on my personal scale of bread puddings, certainly closer to the perfection served at Commander’s Palace than to the “washing day cannon ball” at Mrs. Cratchit’s fictional home.

For sheer fond memories’ sake, though, I’ll have to say I still hold in the highest regard my late father’s unpretentious and unsophisticated technique for re-purposing going-stale bread by just tossing stuff together in a bowl. His approach wasn’t cookbook-worthy, perhaps, but I treasure those times when we stood across the workbench from each other at our family’s bakery or sat across the dinner table from each other at home while we ate it. I miss those moments with my Pop.

Try serving Sonya’s bread pudding recipe to your family and see if it makes as strong an impression and as long-lasting a memory as my dad’s did for me.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding

1 pound white bread, sliced

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted

1 ½ cups raisins

4 cups milk

3 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour half the melted butter in the bottom of a casserole dish. Line the dish with the slices of white bread. Drizzle the remaining butter over the bread and sprinkle the raisins on top.

In a large mixing bowl, stir the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon until well blended. Pour 1/3 of the milk mixture over the bread and let it soak for 10 minutes. Pour another 1/3 of the milk mixture over the bread and let it soak another 10 minutes. Repeat with the remainder of the milk mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the pudding springs back when lightly touched. Cook and serve with Nutmeg Sauce (see below). Serves 12-15

Nutmeg Sauce

1 cup water

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg

2  tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

In a large saucepan bring the water to a boil.

In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and nutmeg. Mix well.

Gradually stir ½ cup boiling water into the sugar mixture. Add the sugar mixture to the remaining boiling water in the saucepan. Continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the butter.

Store the sauce in a covered container until ready to use. Serve with Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding (above) or with fresh peach cobbler or pound cake.

[From Sweet Auburn Desserts by Chef Sonya Jones, (c) Sonya Jones, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.]

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To order a copy of Sweet Auburn Desserts by Sonya Jones, contact Pelican Publishing Company at www.pelicanpub.com or 1-800-843-1724. The list price is $24.95, but ask about a 20 percent discount (which you learned about here on the Bakery Boy Blog) that drops the price to $19.96.

­­­______________________________

Click here for the Sweet Potato Custard Pie recipe

Click here for the Strawberry Jam Stack Cake recipe

Click here for a book review of Sweet Auburn Desserts by Sonya Jones

Click here for a profile of Sonya Jones and her Sweet Auburn Bread Company in Atlanta

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RECIPE Puff Dough from Tellico Grains Bakery

Minimal handling and cold chunks of butter are keys to making flaky pastries with this simple recipe.

story & photos by Bakery Boy

recipe by Stuart Shull

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I try to learn something new from every baker I meet, and to pass along tips to Bakery Boy Blog readers when I can. During my visit with Stuart and Anissa Shull at Tellico Grains Bakery, Stuart made a batch of puff dough, a simple combination of flour, butter, and water that the couple uses for pie crusts, turnovers and fruit tarts. Here’s his recipe, scaled down to make enough dough for three pies.

PUFF DOUGH FROM TELLICO GRAINS BAKERY

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RECIPE Star Spangled Chunky Chip Cookies

Just in time! This patriotic red-white-and-blue cookie recipe will put the finishing touch on the July 4th cookout at my house.

Star Spangled Chunky Chip Cookies

Everything else is just about ready for Independence Day at our place. Meats and marinades on hand. Vegetables and shrimp for skewers. Grill scrubbed clean and ready to fire up. A watermelon and various drinks chilling. Guests invited and side dishes assigned. I’m even planning to churn ice cream during the festivities, which I haven’t done in years.

Still, I wanted to have something sweet on the table for snacking purposes before, during, and after the actual grilling takes place. So it was just good luck that this cookie recipe came to my attention earlier this week.

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RECIPE Cherry Crisp from Levering Orchard in Ararat, Virginia

It’s a fact: Baking with cherries you picked yourself makes them taste better. Harvest some at this western Virginia orchard, and you’ll understand.

story & photos by Bakery Boy

Click here to see a separate post about Cherry Picking Time at Levering Orchard

Click here to see a separate post with a recipe for Cherry Pie from Levering Orchard

Cherry Crisp

This recipe for Cherry Crisp went over very well at my house. My family quickly finished off the initial batch and clamored for more. I’d brought back plenty of cherries from my visit to the you-pick operation at Levering Orchard in Ararat, Virginia—more than we were likely to eat as raw snacks before they began to rot—so I gladly started in making a double batch. The second time around I had enough to satisfy the home front and share some with a neighbor.

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RECIPE Craisin Pumpkin Walnut Muffins by Bakery Boy

How did I not know about Craisins until recently? Now I can’t get enough of them in breads, on salads, with cereal or yogurt, and especially in muffins.

story/recipe/photos by Bakery Boy

Craisin Pumpkin Walnut Muffins. Photos by Bakery Boy

Somehow I was unaware of Craisins until recently. They just weren’t on my radar. Are you familiar with them? Ocean Spray owns the name Craisins (the generic term is dried cranberries). By either name they’re closely akin to raisins—like big, moist, sweet raisins with a pleasantly chewy texture and a gets-noticed deep red hue.

When my local supermarket put them on an end-aisle sale at a reduced price, I picked some up to see what they were all about. After snacking on a few straight from the bag, my first inclination was to bake them into a loaf of bread in lieu of raisins, which turned out just fine. I tossed them in a green salad along with some mandarin orange slices and slivered almonds for a nice effect. I sprinkled them, plus crumbled pecans, on some whole grain breakfast cereal. I stirred them into yogurt.

Craisin Pumpkin Walnut Muffin

By far though, my favorite use for Craisins is in muffins. I experimented with several combinations of ingredients before pairing them with walnuts and pumpkin, and I like the results. Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. If you have other suggested uses for my new favorite dried fruit, please share—I can’t seem to get enough of them.

CRAISIN PUMPKIN WALNUT MUFFINS

NOTE: This recipe uses a whole 15-ounce can of pumpkin to make 24 muffins. If that’s too many, you could cut all the amounts in half (see the halved recipe at the end of this post) to make a single dozen, and then refrigerate half of the pumpkin to use in a second batch later. I prefer to make the bigger batch and give some to my next-door neighbor, who by the way wholeheartedly endorses the idea!

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups sugar

2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 15-ounce can of pumpkin

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 cup Craisins

1 cup walnut pieces

In a large bowl combine first 9 ingredients (flour through salt). In a smaller bowl combine eggs, pumpkin, oil. Stir wet ingredients into dry until thoroughly moistened. Fold in Craisins and walnut pieces. Spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, filling them ¾ths full. Bake at 350° F for 20 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Move to cooling rack.

Walnut Pieces

TIP: Save back a few of the most nicely formed Craisins and walnuts to place on top of the muffins just before they go into the oven. Lightly press them partially into the batter. They’ll show up much better than those that are stirred into the batter, making for a nicer presentation.

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CRAISIN PUMPKIN WALNUT MUFFINS (half recipe)

Here’s the same recipe cut in half, in case 24 muffins seems like too many at once.

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ of a 15-ounce can of pumpkin (about 1 cup)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

½ cup Craisins

½ cup walnut pieces

In a large bowl combine first 9 ingredients (flour through salt). In a smaller bowl combine eggs, pumpkin, oil. Stir wet ingredients into dry until thoroughly moistened. Fold in Craisins and walnut pieces. Spoon into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, filling them ¾ths full. Bake at 350° F for 20 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Move to cooling rack.

Dried Cranberries

TIP: Save back a few of the most nicely formed Craisins and walnuts to place on top of the muffins just before they go into the oven. Lightly press them partially into the batter. They’ll show up much better than those that are stirred into the batter, making for a nicer presentation.

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RECIPE Focaccia from Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters by Sister Schubert

Click here to see a separate post about Sister Schubert and her cookbook.

Sister Schubert, aka Patricia Schubert Barnes, wrote Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters—Recipes for Success, Cooking & Living to share her popular recipes and to tell her family’s story. Here is her recipe for making focaccia, a type of bread that dates back to ancient Roman times.

Sister Schubert's Focaccia

Sister says: “This venerable bread deserves an introduction: In ancient Rome, panis focacius was a flat bread baked in the ashes of the fireplace in the center of the home. It was then, and is now, a savory bread with many uses. Focaccia is a great snack, a versatile appetizer and a good companion to many meals. Say “foe-cah-cha” and stand by for the compliments!”

Focaccia

¾ cup war water (110°F)

1 tablespoon sugar

1½ teaspoon dry active yeast

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

Olive oil

Ideas for toppings: Coarse sea salt, fresh rosemary, freshly cracked black pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced red or yellow onion, sliced rip olives, grated Parmesan or Romano cheese.

Combine water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl; set aside for 10 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Combine 2 cups flour and 1 teaspoon sea salt in large bowl of mixer fitted with dough hook. Add yeast mixture and mix on medium-low speed for 5 minutes. Add remaining flour and continue mixing to form a very soft dough. Dough should hold together; if dough is too sticky, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until consistency is correct.

Place dough in a well-oiled bowl; turn to coat top. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place (85°F), free from drafts, for 1½ hours or until doubled in bulk. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 10 x 15-inch rimmed baking pan. Transfer dough to the pan and gently stretch to cover the bottom of the pan. Dough may need to rest for a moment or two during this process. Try not to tear the dough.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Cover dough loosely with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove towel and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over surface of dough. Using your fingertips, indent the surface of the focaccia and add your choice of toppings, gently pressing them into the indentations.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until focaccia is golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Brush with additional olive oil if desired.

Yield: One 10 x 15-inch focaccia

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From Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters by Sister Schubert (© 2009 by CECA Enterprises LLC, $40). Excerpted with permission. Sister Schubert provided a copy for review.

For more about Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls or to order a copy of the book, contact Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls, 100 Crenshaw Parkway, P.O. Drawer 112, Luverne, AL 36049; www.sisterschuberts.com; 334-335-2232

Click here to see a separate post about Sister Schubert and her cookbook.

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RECIPE Country Corn Muffins from Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters by Sister Schubert

Click here to see a separate post about Sister Schubert and her cookbook.

Sister Schubert, aka Patricia Schubert Barnes, wrote Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters—Recipes for Success, Cooking & Living to share her popular recipes and to tell her family’s story. Here is her traditional Country Corn Muffin recipe, which will put your cast-iron muffin pan (or a regular pan if you don’t have cast-iron) to good use. Sister even includes helpful tidbits from her grandmother, known affectionately as Gommey.

Sister Schubert's Country Corn Muffins

Sister says: “Gommey called this type of cornbread ‘egg bread’ since the original corn cake was simply made of cornmeal and water, fried in a skillet. It would have been scandalous in many Southern kitchens to add flour to cornbread! Remember to fill any empty muffin cups half full of water before baking to distribute the heat evenly and prevent over-browning.”

Country Corn Muffins

1¼ cups plain cornmeal

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Grease a cast-iron muffin pan.*

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine eggs, milk, and oil; add to cornmeal mixture, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.

If using a cast-iron muffin pan, place well-greased pan into the oven for 5 minutes or until grease sizzles. Spoon batter into hot pans, filling muffin cups two-thirds full.

* For regular muffin pans, spoon batter into greased pans, filling two-thirds full.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until muffins are golden brown. Remove from pans immediately.

Yield: 1 dozen

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From Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters by Sister Schubert (© 2009 by CECA Enterprises LLC, $40). Excerpted with permission. Sister Schubert provided a copy for review.

For more about Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls or to order a copy of the book, contact Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls, 100 Crenshaw Parkway, P.O. Drawer 112, Luverne, AL 36049; www.sisterschuberts.com; 334-335-2232.

Click here to see a separate post about Sister Schubert and her cookbook.

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RECIPE – Southern Comfort Red Velvet Cake from The Boozy Baker

Lucy Baker, author of The Boozy Baker: 75 Recipes for Spirited Sweets (click here to see a separate post ) shares this recipe involving the famously sweet southern elixir in its name.

Southern Comfort Red Velvet Cake

Southern Comfort Red Velvet Cake

This sugary whiskey lends itself to baking, yielding a subtle hint of whiskey without overpowering the other flavors. What could be more Southern or comforting than incorporating it into red velvet cake? —Lucy Baker

Makes 12 to 16 servings or 24 cupcakes

For the cake:

3 cups cake flour

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup Southern Comfort

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

For the frosting:

14 tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup Southern Comfort

Chopped toasted pecans, for garnish (optional)

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter, or spray them with nonstick spray. Dust them with flour and tap out the excess.

Whisk together the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, Southern Comfort, vanilla, vinegar, and food coloring.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans on a wire rack, and then remove them from the pans and cool completely.

To make the frosting: Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes. Add 6 cups of the confectioners’ sugar, the milk, and the Southern Comfort. Beat on low speed until creamy. Gradually add the remaining confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, until the frosting has reached the desired consistency.

Place one cake layer on a plate and spread it with about one-third of the frosting. Top with the remaining cake layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the cake with chopped pecans, if using.

Shake It Up: For a bolder flavor, substitute Tennessee whiskey, such as Jack Daniels, for the Southern Comfort.

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Excerpted with permission from The Boozy Baker: 75 Recipes for Spirited Sweets by Lucy Baker, published in 2010 by Running Press, a division of the Perseus Books Group; (215) 567-5080.