Thursday, June 29, 2023

My Mom's Coconut Cake


Every year before my Mom moved to heaven I made her favorite Coconut cake. In total I probably made 67 of these cakes and each and every time I lit the candles and presented it to her, she would go on and on about how her daughter could make the best coconut cake in the whole world. She was the one who taught me how to make it when I was young and yet she insisted I made it better. I would light up as bright as she did over that cake. To know my Mom thought I was the best cook was quite an accomplishment in my life. I miss making this cake for her each year... and I cry each time I make it.

Mom's Coconut Cake

1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 cups cake flour
5 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
Buttercream Frosting:

16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 box confectioners’ sugar, (16 oz.), sifted 
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut for topping

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and line each with parchment paper. Grease paper and dust with flour.



Mix butter and sugar on medium-high speed of an electric mixer until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add extracts and mix. The mixture will look a bit lumpy.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Turn the mixer on low speed and add dry ingredients, alternating with milk, in three parts. Mix just until combined. Fold in coconut.

Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Smooth the tops of each. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until tops are browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 30 minutes. Then, remove from pans to finish cooling on wire racks.








Using an electric mixer on low speed, combine cream cheese, butter, and extracts. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix just until smooth.

Spread frosting on first layer. Place the second layer on top and frost the top and sides. Sprinkle top and sides with coconut.


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Thursday, June 22, 2023

Beer Battered Fish

This beer battered fish has that tender, crispy, light crunch and the inside is so moist and flaky!  I could eat an entire plate of these! You can use any meaty fresh white fish such as cod fillets, Halibut, Haddock, Pollock, or Whiting. I’ve even used frozen Cod and you couldn’t taste the difference.  So good!

Beer Battered Fish

6 cups vegetable oil
1 (12-ounce) bottle of beer 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-2 pounds of meaty white fish, skinned with bones removed. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

In a 5 quart pot or Dutch oven, heat oil to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, pour in 1 bottle of beer. Sift 1 1/2 cups flour into the bowl, whisking in gently until just combined, stir in salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

Pat fish dry and season on both sides with salt and pepper and coat the fish in the beer batter. Dredge the pieces of fish in 1/2 cup of remaining flour and slide into oil as coated. 


Fry fish, turning over frequently, until deep golden and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in oven. 


Fry remaining fish in batches, returning oil to 375 degrees between batches.  Serve fish with French fries, and if desired, tartar sauce and/or ketchup, and lemon wedges.

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Monday, June 12, 2023

Chicken Alfredo Roll Ups

One bite and you’ll say OMG, this one’s a keeper!  It is just that delicious. It’s like chicken alfredo but wrapped up in perfect little rolled up portions of chicken, cheese and the best homemade alfredo sauce you’ve ever tasted. You will make this time and time again.
Chicken Alfredo Roll Ups
8 Lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (or make your own)
2 cups shredded whole milk mozzarella cheese
Alfredo Sauce

½ cup butter
1 pint heavy whipping cream (2 cups)
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse the noodles with cold water and lay them on a paper towel to remove excess water.




In a medium saucepan add butter, heavy whipping cream, and cream cheese. Cook over medium heat and whisk until melted. Add the minced garlic, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Continue to whisk until smooth. 



Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese. Turn down heat to just a simmer and continue to cook for about 3-5 minutes or until sauce starts to thicken. Remove from heat and continue to stir periodically while working to prepare roll ups.


Line the bottom of the 9 x 13 inch pan with 1 cup of sauce.

Spread 2 tablespoons of sauce over each noodle leaving only a small amount of space along edges.  Add some chicken on top of the sauce on each noodle. Add some shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the chicken.  You can also mix the sauce, chicken and cheese together before topping each noodle if you like.

Carefully roll up each lasagna noodle and place seam side down in your prepared 9 × 13 pan. Repeat until you fill your dish with roll ups. Any toppings that fall out you can put back in as you roll or add to the next one you make.


Once they are all in the pan, pour the remaining sauce over the top.


Then sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese all over the top. I like a lot of cheese but you can add more or less depending on preference. 


Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until heated through and cheese is golden brown and bubbling around the edges.    


Allow to cool for about 10 minutes and then slice and serve.


Wonderful with a tossed salad and some crusty Italian bread! 

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Friday, June 02, 2023

Mom’s Apple Cider Fry Cakes














When I was little my Mom used to make Apple Cider Fry Cakes. Every October, we would go to the local apple orchard and she would get a big bushel of apples and a jug of apple cider  and throughout this time of year, she would make all kinds of great apple recipes.  But I distinctly remember her fry cakes because of how wonderful they smelled.  The aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg made you feel all warm and cozy.  You know them today as Cake Donuts…. 











What’s the difference in a fry cake and a regular yeast donut?  Yeast doughnuts are lighter and more puffy. Fry cakes or cake doughnuts, on the other hand, have a dense, more compact crumb and a sturdy, crisp exterior.  Perfect for dipping in your coffee or milk! There is nothing better than a fresh, warm donut! Crunchy on the outside, cakey and tender on the inside. So GOOD and perfect for breakfast or dessert!

Mom’s Apple Cider Fry Cakes

2 cups apple cider (the real stuff)

5 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for sprinkling)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Gala apples peeled, cored and finely chopped

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.


Add apple cider to a medium, saucepan over low heat. Let apple cider simmer about 20-25 minutes until reduced, (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Remove from heat to let cool.























In a medium bowl sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.


In a large bowl, using a hand mixer cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined. Add eggs one at a time and mix until combined. 
















Add in 1 cup of the reduced apple cider. Then add the buttermilk, and vanilla and mix well.  Next, add the flour mixture a mix until combined. Gently fold in the chopped apples with a spatula just until combined.




























Turn half the dough out on to a well-floured surface.  Gently roll the dough around until it becomes less sticky.  Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. 



















Using a lightly floured donut cutter, cut out the donuts and place them on the baking sheet. Scoop up the dough scrapes and repeat. Then repeat with the other half of the dough.  


Add about 3 inches of oil into a heavy bottom pot and heat to 350 degrees.  Drop 3-4 donuts in the pot at a time (you don't want to crowd them) Cook 1-2 minutes then flip and cook another 1-2 minutes. Remove the donuts and place on the wire rack to cool.



















Apple Cider Glaze


4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup reduced apple cider


Mix powdered sugar and remaining apple cider in a small bowl until combined. Dip the donuts in glaze. Let set and Enjoy














You need to use the real apple cider, usually found in the refrigerator section of your local grocery store.

You can make your own buttermilk- 1/2 cup milk plus 2 teaspoons white vinegar or lemon juice.







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