Other notes: unless noted, ingredients should be at room temperature, including eggs/milk/butter. (I added that to the first recipe but not the others.)
I have three yellow cake recipes here that differ only minutely. I'm going with the handwritten one I think was from my mom's Betty Crocker cookbook originally, but that I know I've made as there are oilstains on the paper.
Basic Yellow Cake:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening (butter, at room temperature)
1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (if butter is salted, cut in half)
1 egg (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk (room temp)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 8" round cake pans or 1 9" round pan OR one 9" square pan. Or double the entire recipe and put in a 9x13 pan.) Cream butter and sugar. (This means put in an electric mixer and beat fairly fast until it's a little frothy. This incorporates air into the batter and is important.) Dump everything else in and beat for 3 minutes on high speed. Pour into pan(s). Bake 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out without any clinging bits. Let rest in pan between 10 and 15 minutes, then remove to cool on a rack. (Place rack over pan. Invert. Remove pan. Place second rack on back of cake, flip back over.
Boston Cream Pie:
1 9" round cake as per previous recipe.
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp corn starch
1 1/2 cup milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten.
2 tsp vanilla
Blend sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium saucepan. Combine milk and egg yolks in separate bowl. Gradually stir milk-egg mixture into dry mix in saucepan -- slowly, so no balls of cornstarch can form.) Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 min. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, cool to room temp. Lay waxed paper or plastic wrap over the surface while cooling to prevent skin from forming.
Melt 3 tbsp butter and 2 oz unsweetened chocolate (or 6 tbsp cocoa powder and 2 extra tbsp butter if you only have cocoa powder) over low heat. Remove from heat, stir in 1 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered, 10X, whatever you want to call it) and 3/4 tsp vanilla. Mix in 2 tbsp (approximately) hot water until the glaze is the proper consistency. (Which I have no way to describe except you'll either know it or you won't. If it's a little runny, add more powdered sugar.)
Assemble by cutting the cake in half sideways with a big bread knife, spread the custard in the middle and the chocolate on top.
3 cups sugar
3 cups flour
3 sticks butter (1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup 7-up (or other lemon-lime soda)
2 tbsp lemon extract (yes, tablespoons, not teaspoons)
Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a bundt pan (even if it's nonstick, I'd still grease & flour.) Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs 1 at a time while still beating. Add flour. Add remaining liquid ingredients, in this case MINUS the 7-up. Gently -- very, very gently -- fold in the 7up. Pour into pan, bake. Done when it's browned on the part you can see, is pulling away from the pan a little, and a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cake cool before glazing with
glaze: 1/3 cup butter, melted, dump in 2cups 10x sugar, 1/2 tsp lemon peel, 2-4tbsp lemon juice.
Also works with orange swapped for lemon everywhere, including orange soda.
Blueberry Coffee Cake
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
2 cups blueberries
Heat oven to 375. Grease 9" round layer pan or 8" or 9" square pan. Blend
all ingredients except blueberries and topping. Beat vigorously for 1/2
minute. Carefully Stir in blueberries. Spread in pan.
Sprinkle topping over batter. Bake 45 to 50 minutes until wooden pick
inserted in center comes out clean.
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
Mix thoroughly. (I zap it in my food processor.)
NOTE: For potlucks - I double everything and put it in a 9 x13 pan.
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease (well, these guys like to stick) 12 muffin cups. Beat egg, stir in milk & oil. Mix in remaining ingredients except blueberries, just until flour is moistened. Batter should be lumpy. Stir in blueberries very gently. (This is to avoid the frozen ones staining the batter entirely purple.) Fill muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan.
You can put things other than blueberries in these. Cranberry-walnut, whatever.
Note: this makes small muffins. If you want big ones with muffin-shop-style overflowing tops, multiply the entire recipe by 1.5 and still use 12 muffin cups. (Or use the original amounts and only make 8 muffins.)
Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter (cold, also note: if butter is salted, cut added salt in half)
3/4 cup milk
Heat oven to 450 (yes, 450). Mix dry stuff, cut butter in until mixture looks like coarse cornmeal (food processor is great for this). Stir in milk, knead briefly, roll, cut with biscuit cutter (or just pat into round disks about a centimeter / a third of an inch thick. Bake 8-12 min until golden.
These are really, really forgiving. Substitute any liquid for the milk, add cheese, add spices, add a 1/3 cup sugar (which makes a perfect strawberry shortcake base). If using buttermilk, swap to 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp baking soda. If you don't have a food processor or patience, use 1/3 cup vegetable oil and 2/3 cup milk in place of the butter & milk of the original. (They'll be a little puffier and chewier, less flakey, but still good and ridiculously fast to make.)
Traditional Sugar Cookies
3/4 cup shortening (at least half butter/margarine, I use all butter)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (if using self-rising flour omit baking power and salt)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Mix thoroughly shortening, sugar, eggs and flavoring. Blend in flour,
baking powder and salt. Cover; chill at least 1 hour.
Heat oven to 400 deg. Roll dough 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured
cloth-covered board. (I don't think I roll it quite that thin -- try a sheet and see if you want them chewier or crunchier.) Cut into desired shapes. Place on ungreased baking
sheet. (If you have parchment paper, it's very nice to use it for these if you're putting sugar on top). Either leave plain to frost later, or sprinkle with some form of granulated sugar.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until very light brown. Makes about 4 dozen
3 inch cookies.
Alternates, which I've never made:
use 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp lemon extract in place of vanilla extract
use 1 tsp lemon extract and 2 tsp grated lemon rind in place of vanilla extract
White Butter Icing
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup soft shortening (butter that's been melted or microwaved or sitting out in warm room)
2 tbsp cream or milk
1 tsp vanilla
Blend butter and powdered sugar. Stir in vanilla, and then add the milk/cream slowly until it's the
consistency you want to work with. (Add more milk if it's still too stiff, add more sugar if it's too
runny. Add food colorings if desired. Substitute other flavorings for the vanilla if desired, etc, etc.)
Zucchini-Spice Bread (from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, original 1982 edition)
2 cups coarsely-grated zucchini
1/2 cup honey
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
6 tbsp melted butter
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt (I cut this in half if butter is salted)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger (dried & powdered here, not fresh)
1/2 cup chopped nuts and/or currants, both optional (I do add the nuts, not the currants)
0. Grease a medium loaf pan (I think this means 9") or 12 muffin tins. PReheat oven to 350 F.
1. Put grated zucchini in colander and let stand 10-20 min, then squeeze.
2. With an electric mixer on high, beat honey 5 minutes, or until white and opaque. If you don't have a mixer, make something else. Trust me on this. Beat in the butter, eggs, and vinally. Beat several minutes more.
3. Sift together the dry ingredients. Or don't, and just mix them. I don't own a sifter.
4. Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the zucchini, to the honey mixture, beginning and ending with dry (flour/zuke/flour/zuke/flour OT5). Mix just enough to blend after each addition.
5. Fold in nuts and/or currants, if using.
6. Spread into medium-sized (I think this is 9") loaf pan, or 12 muffin tins. Bake 35-45 minutes for loaf, 20-25 for muffins.
These are something I've never seen outside Cleveland except in my kitchen, despite being called Russian Tea Biscuits. They're like rugelach meets Godzilla. Hat tip here to Uncle Phaedrus -- I hunted for a recipe for these for a good long while before this one popped up on the 'net. The version below has my annotations and some more specific choices, but is essentially the same as the one there. Also, I have scrawled down that made as written, they're 550 calories apiece.
RUSSIAN TEA BISCUITS
Makes 16 fist-sized biscuits.
4 1/2 c. white flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. orange juice
1 tsp. orange peel (dried is fine)
4 eggs (reserve one egg white for topping)
1 tsp. vanilla
10 oz jar raspberry jam
1 1/3 cups walnuts or pecans
2 cups raisins
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg white (taken from eggs for dough)
Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, sugar) in a large bowl. In another
bowl, mix oil, melted butter, orange juice and rind, vanilla, and eggs (4 yolks, 3 whites).
Knead dough and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
To assemble:mix cinnamon and sugar. Split dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece on a floured surface into a rectangle approximately 7 inches by 10 inches (just smaller than a piece of typing paper). Spread jam across all but a half-inch strip along one of the short sides. Sprinkle 1/3 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup raisins over dough, again leaving a half-inch strip. Roll up jelly-roll side from the other short side, using the empty strip to seal the roll. Brush top with reserved egg white, and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat for other 3 piece of dough.
Cut each roll into four slices, and place on lightly-greased (or parchment-papered) jelly-roll pan or baking sheet. (Use a pan with sides, since some jam may drip.) Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-35 minutes, until tops are nicely golden.
Variations: Use other types of jam, nuts, and dried fruit. Use white or colored decorator's sugar in place of cinnamon-sugar mixture for a different look. Roll smaller for cookie-sized biscuits (reduce cooking time and watch carefully).