Thursday, September 12, 2013

Marbled Red Velvet Cream Cheese Pound Cake - Yummmm

Red Velvet is my favorite cake flavor, and Pound Cake is my favorite type of cake. Put the two together and you get delicious. Add Cream Cheese and you get sinfully delicious.

I love everything Red Velvet so I have been toying with the idea of compiling all my favorite Red Velvet recipes into an e-book, but a quick search of Amazon found that someone had already done it! Damn, too late again.

Check out Debra Hart's Red Velvet Everything. The book has recipes for Red Velvet Cobbler, Red Velvet Tea Cakes, Red Velvet Fudge, etc, etc. So many choices so little stretch left in my jeans.

For my first Red Velvet Everything baking adventure I decided on Red Velvet Cream Cheese Pound Cake. Just the name makes me drool. The recipe starts as a basic cream cheese pound cake but it gets fancy in the last stage when you split the batter add the Red Velvet “elixir” to one half.

At this point I have one bowl of red batter on one of yellow batter.  Next the recipe instructions tell you to add 1-1/2 cups of flour to the red mix and the remaining 1-1/2 cups to the yellow mix.   Huh???  That step had me worried.  I didn’t think to weigh the bowls of wet batter to ensure that they each had the same amount.  Did I get more batter in one bowl and less in the other?  Would this throw off the ratios and put too much or too little flour in relation to the butter/sugar/eggs?  Would my cake be too wet or too dry?  Would my Red Velvet Cream Cheese Pound Cake be a flop?Oh the horror!!

Well, too late to worry about it now.  But NEXT TIME I will weigh the batter to make sure the amounts are equal,  or better yet mix in the flour before dividing the batter.   That would eliminate any potential screw-ups.

Next the instructions tell you to drop spoonfuls of the batter into the prepared tube pan alternating between the red and the yellow batters.  I bought a new silicon tube pan just for this cake.  For some reason my oven burns every cake I bake in the traditional metal bundt pans, so I wanted to give the silicon pan a try.  The HIC Fluted Pan is a pretty red color, which sadly doesn’t show up well against the red batter of the cake.  Sorry….

So I’m moving along happily filling my pan spoonful by spoonful when I realized I have too much batter and not enough pan.  The recipe didn't list what size pan to use, so naive little me just assumed that the batter would all fit in the pan "I" happened to select.  I’m constantly amazed at how oblivious I can be…

But not to worry.  I greased up some of my mini tube pans, and soon I was spooning again.

In fact the batter shows up much better against the metal pan.

Next you swirl the two colored batters together.  Pretty.

Then bake.  I baked the mini tube pan for about 30 minutes, and the big pan for about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

The mini pan cakes came out perfect.

But the large cake was slightly over baked.  I baked until to toothpick tester came out clean, but next time I would take it out when a few crumbles still clung to the tooth pick.  Better to under baked than over baked.

Next came a simple sugar glaze.  Then the slicing and big reveal.

Too cute.  The red and yellow swirls look amazing.  The colors are still distinct, but they swirl together like young lovers.  So romantic.  Definitely a cake for Valentine’s Day.

The larger cake looks just as swirly and delicious, but I had to add some whipped cream to give it a little moisture.

So all-in-all my first test from the Red Velvet Everything cook book was a great success.  Now I just have to figure out what to bake next.  With 50+ recipes in the book it will be a hard decision to make.

The people at work are going to love/kill me,


PS: for a similar version of Red Velvet Cream Cheese Pound Cake check out this YouTube video by Cicone.

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Pound Cake

By Debra Hart

From the book: Red Velvet Everything


1-1/2 cups   Unsalted butter, softened

8 oz              Cream Cheese, softened

3 cups          Sugar, granulated

5                    Eggs, large

1-1/2 tsp       Vanilla 

1/4 cup         Buttermilk 

2 TBLS         Cocoa Powder, sifted

1 tsp              Apple Cider Vinegar

1 oz               Red Food Coloring

3 cups          Cake Flour

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease and flour a tube pan. 
  • Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar together. 
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  • Divide the batter between two bowls. Weigh to ensure that they are divided equally. 
  • In a separate, small bowl combine buttermilk, cocoa, and vinegar. Whisk until smooth. Stir in food coloring. Add the red mixture to one of the bowls of batter. Stir until combined. 
  • Add 1-1/2 cups of flour to each bowl of batter. Beat until just combined. (I just stirred the flour into the creamed mixture, I didn’t bother with the beaters.) 
  • With a large spoon drop spoonfuls of batter into the prepared tube pan alternating between the two colored batters. 
  •  Using a knife, gently swirl the two colors. (Don’t over-swirl. You want the colors to just wrap around each other.) 
  • Bake at 300 degrees F for 1 hour and 35-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out (nearly) clean. 
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then gently remove the cake from the pan.

If desired glaze the cake with a powdered sugar glaze.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Low-Carb (Chocolate-Chip) Peanut Butter Cookie - Disaster with Isomalt (or maybe not)

I was reading the recipe book: Low Carb Desserts by Martha McBride, and I noticed a lot of the recipes used Isomalt instead of granulated Splenda. The Isomalt is a sugar alcohol which has a lot less (net) carbs than the Splenda.

(Note: some sources believe that sugar alcohol should not be "netted out" and all the carbs from sugar alcohol should be counted in your daily intake.)

I didn’t realize I could bake with Isomalt so I purchased some crystals and immediately mixed up a batch of my yummy Low-Carb (Chocolate-Chip) Peanut Butter Cookies; subbing the granulated Splenda for Isomalt.

From the begining the cookie dough looked strange. The Isomalt crystals were large and were very obvious in the dough. (Note: Later I found that you could get Isomalt Powder. Stupid me.)

But at this point I still had high hopes. I figured the crystals would melt during baking, and my PB cookies would look fine.

Well let’s just say they didn’t look fine. Some of the crystals did melt, but not in the way I expected. After about 8 minutes in the oven I checked the cookies and found each cookie surrounded by a pool of ooey-gooey, bubbling mess. (Sorry I didn’t get a picture. I was too freaked out.) When I pulled the cookies out of the oven the gooey mess hardened and trapped my cookies into an Isomalt candy sheet. (Cool science experiment, but a depressing baking experience.) I roughly cut the cookies out of their Isomalt trap...

And then carefully trimmed the rubbery substance from the edge of each cookie. I wanted to cry. All that beautiful PB wasted.

After I dried my tears I tasted a cookie.   Hmmmm...   Not too bad.  A little chewer than they normally are but still good. I had another, and then a third (and possibly a fourth). Maybe the Isomalt did have a place in my kitchen.

But then the rumbling in my tummy started. My gut started to twist and cramp. It dawned on me that the Isomalt was SUGAR ALCOHOL, and I had eaten four of those little cookies. If any of you have overindulged in sugar-free candy, you know what I was going through. The warning on the bag of Russell Stover's Sugar-Free Candy states: “Excessive consumption may cause a laxative effect.”

Believe you-me, that warning is no lie.

After my gut returned to normal I decided to make another batch just so I could get a picture of the melting Isomalt in action. But guess what?  The cookies baked up fine the second time !#@!

You can  see a little bit of the Isomalt "candy sheet" on the bottom and outer edge, but nothing like the first time.

What was going on????

The only difference with the second batch was that I cut it down in size (1/4 batch), AND I forgot to put the vanilla extract in the mix. Could the vanilla extract have caused the Isomalt to ooze, or was something else at work?  It is a mystery of cosmic proportions. 

But the mystery will have to remain unsolved cause I'm all out of peanut butter, and I have a ton of PB cookies to eat.  But I learned my lesson!!  Only 2 cookies a day.  That sugar alcohol is a killer.

Below is my tried-and-true PB cookie recipe.  Substitute Isomalt if you are curious/brave.

Low-Carb (Chocolate-Chip) Peanut Butter Cookies

Makes 30 cookies, 67 g total; 2.2 g carbs each 


1 cup low sugar peanut butter (I use Simply Jif at 2 net carbs per Tablespoon) -32 g carbs
1 cup granulated Splenda -24 g carbs
1 large egg, beaten - 0.5 g carbs
1 Tablespoon heavy whipping cream - 1 g carbs
1 tsp vanilla - 1.5 g carbs
1/2 cup Hershey's Sugar Free Semi-Sweet Baking Chips (optional) - 8 g net carbs (add 56 g if you don't believe in subtracting out the sugar alcohol)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a bowl combine peanut butter, Splenda, egg, cream, and vanilla. Stir until combined.
  • Add the chocolate chip and gently stir until evenly mixed.
  • Drop 1 tablespoon of cookie dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Allow two inches between cookies.  (I use a small ice cream scoop to get them all the same size.)
  • Gently flatten the cookie tops..
  • Bake for 12 minutes are until golden brown.


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Best Ever Banana Cake

Best Ever Banana Cake is a huge name to live up to, but this cake does just that.

It is ultra-moist and filled with the flavors of ripe bananas, nutty pecans, and tangy buttermilk. But it is definitely more cake-like than bread-like. Think Carrot Cake texture and density with bananas instead of carrots.

The recipe begins with, surprise, surprise, BANANAS. Sweet, ripe bananas. The smell of bananas is not subtle in this recipe. It is in-your-face screaming “Here I am.”

Mixing the batter is a little time consuming and messy. It took three bowls in all. One for the bananas, one for the dry, and one for the sugar/butter creaming. 

 And the recipe makes A LOT of batter. This one could easily be cut in half. I wanted to make cupcakes instead of one large cake, and I ended up with 24 cupcakes and 3 mini tube cakes. If I had had the room in my oven I would have 36 cupcakes, but the three trays just wouldn’t fit.  Mama wants a double oven for Christmas.

Here is a link to the "Best Ever Banana Cake" recipe on and the 1100+ reviews. Read a few pages of reviews before you bake the cake. Base on the reviews I did modify the recipe and reduced the sugar from 2-1/8 cups down to 1-3/4 cups. For me it had the perfect level of sweetness, but if you prefer a more bread-like taste you might want to reduce the amount of sugar even more.

I baked the cupcakes for 21 minutes at 325 degrees, and the moistness was perfect. Not too wet, not too dry. I also skipped the “freezer” step where you take the cake from the oven and pop it into the freezer for 45 minutes. None of the many reviewers thought this improved the cake to any great degree so I didn’t bother rearranging my freezer to accommodate all the pans.

It was my weeks to bring treats for the “Cake Club” at work, so I brought these as my offering. They were a huge hit. Everything was gone in 45 minutes and I got 5 requests for the recipe! 5! That is an all-time record.

This Best Ever Banana Cake sure does live up to its name.  Open wide...