Monday, April 17, 2017

Red Velvet Cake with Beets

The first time I ever heard of Red Velvet Cake was when I watched Steel Magnolias, and the groom's cake was a Red Velvet Cake shaped like an armadillo and had gray icing.  The idea of a cake made red with tonnes of food colouring didn't really appeal to me.  Hilary then told me that the original version of the cake was made red from beets, and ever since then we have wanted to try it.  This recipe was easy to follow and the cake turned out moist and delicious, though not as red as I would have thought.

  • 3 medium beets 
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, plus more for greasing pan 
  • ¾ cup buttermilk 
  • Juice of 1 large lemon 
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups cake flour (sift before measuring) 
  • 3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder 
  • 1 1/8 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 ¾ cup sugar 
  • 3 eggs 
  • Cream cheese frosting or other fluffy white icing


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake until the tip of a knife slides easily into the largest beet, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool until beets can be handled, then peel. (This may be done up to a day ahead.)
  2. Butter two 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment and then butter again. (I used 2 8-inch pans)
  3. In a food processor, chop beets to pieces about the size of finely diced onions. Measure 1 cup and set aside (remaining beets can be reserved for another purpose). Return cup of beets to the food processor. Purée with buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until soft. Slowly add sugar and beat until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  6. Alternate adding flour mixture and beet mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and beating for 10 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the bowl after each addition of the wet ingredients.
  7. Divide batter between prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove pans from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. (It took 35 minutes for my cakes to cook, partly because of the smaller, deeper pans)
  8. Assemble and frost


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Oatmeal Waffles

This recipe can be used for either waffles or pancakes.  Recipe courtesy of Hilary's Aunt Hilary


  • 1.5 C rolled oats
  • 2 C milk
  • 1 C flour
  • 1/3 C sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 C oil or melted butter

  1. Soak oats in milk for 5 minutes
  2. Sift together dry ingredients 
  3. Add eggs and butter to oat mixture
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, mixing well
  5. Cook in waffle maker, or can be done as pancakes

Monday, April 28, 2014

Name that cake!

I'm sure that somewhere on the internet there is an "official" name for this cake.  But I think we need to come up with our own version.  Will you help me name this 2 ingredient "cake"?  There is no baking involved and is one of the easiest cakes to make.  It's light and delicate and will wow people when you tell them it's just cookies covered in whipped cream


  • Whipping Cream
  • Chocolate Wafer Cookies

  • Whip cream until stiff peaks form.
  • Ice each cookie with cream, and form small stacks, 5-6 cookies high

  • Arrange stacks of cookies/cream on a plate to form the shape of your cake
  • Cover the whole thing with whipped cream
  • Decorate with any left over cookie crumbs 

  • Chill for a minimum of 4 hours.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Parsnip Chips

I love parsnips chips, but they are very hard to find.  Making them myself allows me to control the amount of oil that I use, and they are baked instead of deep fried.  My plate full today, made from 2 parsnips was only about 200 calories and made a very satisfying mid afternoon snack


  • Parsnips
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasonings - Salt, Pepper, Garlic, Cayenne Pepper

  1. Peel Parsnips
  2. Slice thinly - use a mandolin if you have one
  3. Toss with oil and seasoning
  4. Spread evenly on cookie sheet
  5. Bake at 350 till done to desired crispness - approx 15 minutes

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ants Climbing Trees

This is one of my favorite Asian recipes that Hilary makes.  I admit, I was concerned when she first told me what she was making, but I quickly realized that it was a descriptive name, not a reference to actual ingredients.   The ground pork (or turkey) clings to the egg noodles, giving the illusion of ants climbing trees.


  •  8 oz ground pork or turkey
  • 7 oz fine egg noodles
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 green onions, chopped finely
  • 8 oz hot chicken stock
  • 2 green onions, chopped - for garnish

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dry sherry or sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp chili sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • pinch of salt

  1. Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a bowl
  2. Add the pork (turkey) and stir well to mix.
  3. Cover and let marinate for about 30 minutes
  4. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions; drain thoroughly
  5. Heat the wok until hot
  6. Add the oil and heat over moderate heat until hot
  7. Add the pork and spring onions and stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until the meat loses its pink colour
  8. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then add drained noodles.
  9. Stir-fry for 1 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and the noodles are hot
  10. Sprinkle with spring onions and serve at once.

Serves 3-4

Source: Wright, Jeni, 1990, Sainsburys Wok and Stir-Fry, Sainsbury, London, p.55

Friday, October 11, 2013

Irish Chocolate Potato Cake

This cake gets made for every birthday and celebration that requires cake.  We've even made it as a wedding cake for friends.  Topped with Incredible Chocolate Icing, it's the richest, moistest, most amazing cake I've ever tasted.


  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup cold mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup sour milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  1. Combine the ingredients in the order given.  
  2. Pour into two greased and lined 9" layer pans and bake in 350 oven for 35 minutes, or until done. 
  3.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool on racks. 
  4.  Fill and ice with "Incredible Chocolate Icing". We like to add raspberry jam between the layers for extra flavour.

From: Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Incredible Chocolate Icing

We use this icing with Irish Chocolate Potato cake, but it's just as good on brownies too.  It's a very thick and dense icing, so it's not good for delicate cakes or cupcakes.

Blend 4 seconds in food processor (electric mixer ok, but not as smooth):
  • ½ cup soft butter
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa

Add and process until smooth:
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. hot coffee
  • 2 T. milk

From: Nuts About Chocolate