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I'm about to start the big Christmas bake for cookies to send to my relatives.
These are Sandies (also called Mexican Wedding Cakes), but they are listed in my ancient hand-written cookbook as "David Cookies" because they were the favorites of my friend David. We once went to a high school dance together, I should post a picture for the next throwback Thursday.

Sandies (I tried to put this under a cut, but the new interface is confusing!)
1 c butter
1/3 c sugar
2 tsp water
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c flour
1 c pecans (chopped)
Mix all (use hands or a wee bit more water as necessary). Chill dough 3-4 hours. Form into balls. Bake 325F on cookie sheet about 20 mins. Cool slightly and roll in powdered sugar.
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Spiced pork kababs, recipe under cut )
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“Take almonds of the finest grind/ as many as you like/Add well beaten eggs therein/the yellow is the best/make it not too thick/in a quarter measure of almonds four or five yolks is enough/rosewater so it tastes well/so a weight of sourdough/so a weight of sugar/work into the dough with fine flour//leave it alone to bubble/mound it/as before/ in the form/of the waffle iron/so it is hot/salve with a feather/ take sweet almond oil/lay it on with force/to press the iron closed/let it bake/ over a prepared small fire/ or place it near toward the fire/ when you then think/ that is has had enough had on the side/ turn the other side of the iron towards the fire/and then take it up/lay another on it/let it not get too brown/ you can keep them up to half a year.” (trans by by the fabulous jillwheezul, whose class on wafers and wafer irons I got to take at the WCCS 2013, see http://jillwheezul.livejournal.com/tag/waffle)

7 oz almond marzipan (1 tube of Odessa brand marzipan)
½ cup water
Apx 2 cups sourdough starter
1/2 c wheat flour
1/2 c almond flour
4 egg yolks
3 Tbl rosewater
1-2 Tbl sugar
Pinch salt
1/2  tesp almond extract (optional)
4 Tbl water (more or less as necessary)
Chop marzipan small and dissolve in water. Add eggs, sugar, salt, and almond flour. Beat. Add wheat flour/sourdough starter. Add rosewater and almond extract as needed/wanted.  Bake in waffle iron (oil with sweet oil). 2.5 min in (my) hot waffle iron.

I had hoped these would be like the almond waffles one buys on street corners in Belgium, but alas, the sourdough (while wonderful) is not the same. For the next version of this I'm going to try a more modern, baking powder-based waffle recipe with marzipan.

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Orange Chocolate chip cookies, based on “Vanilla & Chocolate Rocks” from the King Arthur Flour website.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

3/4 cup white sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 tesp vanilla extract

1 tesp orange extract

2 Tbl candied orange peel

1 1/2 cups flour

1/4 tesp baking powder

1/2 tesp salt

2-4 bars of Lindt's Excellence Intense Orange chocolate bars

Preheat oven to 400F. Line baking sheets with parchment. Prepare cooling racks.

Chop the candy bars into small (chip-sized) pieces with a heavy knife.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter. Add sugar and microwave for another 30 seconds or until the mixture is hot and syrupy. Cool slightly and pour into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the egg, extracts and candied orange peel (chopped if necessary) and mix thoroughly. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt, and baking powder. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix gently. Add the chopped chocolate and mix just to combine.

Roll 1 Tbl of dough at a time into a roundish-shapes and place 2 inches apart on prepared cooky sheets. Bake in middle rack of oven about 9 minutes. If your oven has hotspots, rotate at the 4 minute mark. If using two baking sheets in one oven, trade places from top to bottom at the 4 minute mark.

When done, cool cookies on pans then remove gently from baking sheets, or place entire sheet of parchment on cooling racks.

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I like the Friday five, it’s nicely alliterative, and lets you know what is going to be here, even if my numbers are a little off.

Last weekend we got a lot of bookcases out of [livejournal.com profile] greatsword’s old house and moved them to my house. GM had wanted new bookcases, and somehow the idea that we were getting a lot of new bookcases never caused me to think that we’d need to, ya’know, clean off the old bookcases and move all books to the new ones. Needless to say, I spend all weekend moving books. But the good news is, you can  actually see all of GM’s science fiction books. Bad news is, we need to move all the history books to the back room. Tonight we’re taking two empty cases to [livejournal.com profile] klwilliams so she’ll have more space for Chaz’s books.

My handout for the Culinary Symposium is slowly coming into shape. I need to put together a power point slide deck for the trencher class and another for the PPF: How We Did It class, but that should be easy enough. [livejournal.com profile] gormflaith and I have a date for Monday to go over each other’s class handouts, hopefully she’ll catch whatever I missed in editing.

The dance ball is tomorrow. My foot is still bothering me enough that I won’t be teaching this year, so I’m considering being a total slacker and not arriving until the pre-ball dinner hour. There’s no reason for me to go early; [livejournal.com profile] zoccolaro has plenty of volunteers for gate, and I have little interest in decorating the hall. Maybe I’ll stay home and make a more interesting contribution to the potluck.

I’ve (mostly) been able to keep the weight I lost October off, so I’m going to try a second round of the crazystupid diet after President’s day weekend.

The household dinner went pretty well this year. GM and I made Mexican food, mostly with recipes from Rick Bayless’s TV show Mexico: One plate at a time. My favorite was the Enchiladas Especiales Tacuba Style. We had Mexican Wedding Cakes made with dried cherries and pistachios for dessert, I ate more of them than I should have. Yummy!

GM and I should really replace the old, inefficient wall heaters in the house with an actual heating system that works. We had a guy out to give us an estimate, and it was a little cheaper than I thought it would be. He also gave us an estimate for putting in air conditioning at the same time. For those of you who have bought/sold houses recently, how much does an air conditioner add to the value of the house?

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Last Sunday I organized a brunch at church. Mostly quiches and stuff like that, but the one winner this time was a low sugar (but not low fat!) version of Chocolate-Hazelnut Pots de Creme.

Chocolate-Hazelnut Pots de Creme )


Jan. 1st, 2011 09:36 am
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I got a popover pan for Christmas! So far it has been my favorite toy of the season. Most popover recipes are nearly identical, with a few variations I’ve listed below.
Bring ingredients to room temperature (apx 70F) before combining.
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/4 tesp salt
1 Tbl melted butter
Pre-heat oven and popover pan to 450F.
Whisk together salt and flour to aerate. In second bowl, beat eggs. Add milk. Stir. Add dry to wet and mix. The electric beater is ideal for this, although a few small lumps do not seem to create problems. Grease popover pan with butter (you can ignore this instruction if your pan is non-stick! I love non-stick pans!). Fill each cup 1/3 to 1/2 full with batter. Bake 20 min @ 450F, reduce heat and bake for another 20 min @ 350F.
  • Better Homes and Gardens (pp. 76) suggests 1 Tbl salad oil instead of butter. Bake 15 min @ 475F and 25-30min @ 350F.
  • Alton Brown uses a whopping 1 1/2 tesp salt. Bake 40 min at 400F.
  • Fannie Farmer (pp 314) bakes 20 min @ 450F and 20 min @ 350F. Bacon variant: Add 1/4 cup crumbled cooked, crisp bacon.
  • Joy of Cooking (pp 632) bakes 15 min @ 450F and 20 min @ 350F. Cheese variant: In a separate bowl grate 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar or parmesan cheese. Toss with 1/4 tesp paprika and a few grains cayenne. Put 1 Tbl batter into each cup, and 1 Tbl cheese. Fill cups as normal and bake.


Aug. 17th, 2010 11:46 am
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Adapted from “Rack of Lamb with Goat Cheese Crust“  )


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[livejournal.com profile] kiria_dk was recently telling me about her Brownies of Win, I promptly and pompously told her that anything made with raisins just had to be better with dried cherries. I finally had an excuse to try her recipe last night and OMG they were good.

Fudge Cherry Brownies, based on recipe in the Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home (p. 317).
1/2 cup (one stick) salted butter, extra butter for pan
3 oz unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghirardelli's 60%)
1 cup (7.5 oz) lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs (I used the last two duck eggs from Rosie and Jed)
1/2 cup King Arthur's unbleached white flour
1/2 cup Dried Pitted Tart Montmorency Cherries 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (F).
Butter an 8x8 square baking pan
In a microwaveable bowl, melt the butter and chocolate together, stirring occasionally. When the butter and chocolate have melted, add all remaining ingredients (except cherries)  and beat with an electric mixer until the batter is thoroughly blended and smooth. Add cherries and stir briefly.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until the brownies are just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan and are fudgy in the center. For more cakelike brownies, bake an additional 5 minutes.
GM thought the brownies didn't look done at 20 mins, so we went for the extra five.
Served 4.

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1. Go Celtics! Beat them as only Lakers should be beaten! I hope Garnett's shoulder gets better before the game on Sunday.
2. Rosie and Godric gave me a dozen duck eggs at Investiture. They are large and pretty, but at the moment, I can't seem to tell the difference between them and chicken eggs. Last weekend GM and I made Huevos Ivar  )for breakfast, one batch with chicken eggs and one batch with duck and even side-by-side I wasn't sure. The Duck eggs might have a little more yolk to fat ratio. This morning I made Grandma Koehler's coffee cake, and it had no noticeable differences for being ducky. I'm still grateful for the duck eggs, as I'd been wondering how much difference eggs might make. I still want to get some goose eggs next time Whole Foods has them.
3. ermine_rat, I've got a CD of knife pictures, please don't let me forgot it give it to you this weekend.
4. A new-to-the-West dance teacher popped up on the dance list. She's out in Golden Rivers and wants to start teaching. I hope she succeeds, I've been feeling a little guilty the West Kingdom College of Dance is so mists-centric.
5. The tomatoes have all got flowers, and the early girl and the cheery tomato plant both have little green berries already. The basils are doing well, and are trying to flower. The flower bed is in dire need of weeding, I hope to get to that next Sunday. The tarragon is trying to take over it's corner of the world, as are the sages. Good thing they aren't close together.
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Anthony Bourdain's version of a bacon explosion is more of a bacon implosion. Last weekend, I made the Mignons de porc a l'ail from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook, or at least I would have if I hadn't managed to mess it up on almost every step. Fortunately there's only so wrong you can go with porkloin, bacon, and garlic confit, so GM and I ate it all anyway.

Amusingingly, this foodblogger made some of the same mistakes I did. You can find Mr. B's real recipe on this site, and while I've plagiarized it mercilessly that which follows is what I made.

1 small bottle of Christopher Ranch peeled garlic
lots of leftover bacon fat from the back of the fridge

In a small pan, warm the bacon grease until melted. While it's melting, check over the garlic cloves, removing any questionable bits and the woody brown tops. When the bacon fat is warm carefully dump the cloves in. The fat should cover the cloves by a little bit. Let them cook, stirring occasionally, until the cloves are very soft, about 20 minutes. When soft, remove the cloves from fat and place in two bowls. Save half the cloves whole for the sauce. Mash the other half of the cloves with fork into a paste. Pour the leftover garlic scented bacon fat into a jar, label and place in fridge for some future project. It's worth keeping, trust me.

1 little (about a pound?) pork loin from Trader Joe's.
8-10 slices of Dittmer's bacon

Slice the pork loin long ways, then slice each half in half, also long ways. You now have four long skinny slabs of pork loin. If you really like salt, or made your garlic confit with olive oil, salt the pork loin gently. using clean fingers or the tool of your choice, slather the pieces of pork loin with the garlic paste. Lay out the four pieces of pork loin on a large piece of saran-wrap, flipping the pieces around until it's as even a thickness as you can get. Place one piece of bacon in between each piece of pork loin. Put the remaining slices of bacon longways around the outside of the porkroll.  Roll the pork loin up into a tube shape, using the saran-wrap to get it as tight was possible. Place in fridge for as long as you can. (Mr. Bourdain said overnight, but I was on a deadline and got in an hour or two, I think.)

Remove the FrankenPork from the fridge, and unwrap on a cutting board. Find your kitchen twine. Cut off a piece long enough to tie (like a bracelet) around the FrankenPork. Tie off about 1.5 inches of FrankenPork and slice to separate. Repeat until you run out of FrankenPork. You now have 4-8 little circles of FrankenPork lying like unpressed flowers on your cutting board. They sort of look like celtic crosses.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Get out a sheet pan fitted with a rack, like you were going to bake bacon with Alton Brown.

1 tablespoon/14 ml olive oil
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup/56 ml white wine, and then another 1/4 cup/56 ml white wine 
1/2 cup Swanson's chicken broth with some demi glacee
1 sprig of flat parsley, finely chopped

Put a skillet on the stove and melt some butter and olive oil in it. When the butter stops foaming, add the little pork bundles to the pan, working in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Cook the pork over high heat for about 6-8 minutes per side, after which the meat should be nicely browned. Place the meat in the roasting pan and finish cooking in the oven for about 20 minutes. When cooked through, but still moist in the center, remove from the oven and allow to rest on a plate.

In that pan of bacon grease and garlicy bits, add the wine, and cook down to almost nothing, after you realized you were supposed to put teh shallots in first. Add the shallots and cook for 2 minutes, or until the shallots are soft. Stir in the wine, scraping the bottom to dislodge the fond. Cook over high heat until the wine is reduced to a glaze consistency, then stir in the stock. Cook over high heat until it's reduced by half. Add any drippings from the plate that's holding your cooked pork, as well as whatever's in the bottom of the roasting pan. Add remaining cloves of garlic confit  (I mashed it all together to make it more sauce-like) and the parsley.

With kitchen scissors, snips the twine holding the pork flowers together. Serve. Cover with sauce and eat.

GM thinks we should tie the FrankenPork off with strips of prosciutto next time, instead of using string. Maybe.

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I'd volunteered to help with the food plan for Estrella this weekend. Fortunately, last Monday I wrote to the coordinator to ask about scheduling because (back in my day!) Estrella was a weekend event. I thought I'd be able to hand the lasagnas over on Sunday. Whoops! So instead of making lasagne on Saturday as planned, I did ingredient prep on Tuesday and did the stacking and baking part on Thursday. It worked pretty well, aided by my cleaning lady coming on Wednesday.
Three little lasgnes, all the same: bottom layer sauce, noodles, ricotta with goat cheese and egg, zucchini rounds, thin-sliced garlic, sprinkle of cheese (cheese mix: 2 lbs mozzarella, 1/2 lb emmentaller and 1/2 lb gruyere) and a little sauce. 2nd layer: noodles, meat (2 lbs spicy Italian sausages, 1 lb mild sausages from Dittmer's and 1/4 lb salami chopped and fried), pesto, onion mix (white onions, shallots and leeks chopped fine and cooked in the salami grease), more sauce and cheese. 3rd layer: noodles, chopped artichokes, sauce and lots of cheese!  I also made a fourth lasagne with mushrooms (reduced with shallots) instead of artichokes, but that one went into the freezer for a future dinner.
The anxiety-inducing moment was in the middle of ingredient-prep on Tuesday my dad called to say mom was getting an unexpected cat scan after her surgery. My dad never calls. He must have been very worried. She's all right now, after several drug fuck-ups that extended her hospital stay until late on Sunday. I'm not sure why anybody bothers to keep charts anymore, obviously nobody reads the damn things. Grr! 

On Saturday, GM made dinner, inclduing a savory 

Souffled Corn and Cheddar Pudding (Gourmet, March 1983)  )

Souffled Corn and Cheddar Pudding (Gourmet, March 1983) )

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not perfect, but it's really good and not hard to make )


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Some of you might remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about making the bacon explosion. I tried a variant on it last night, in hopes of making something that was tasty but would only kill us slowly.
1 12-oz package of applewood bacon from Trader Joe’s
1 1-pound-ish pork loin
about 8 garlic cloves, sliced paper-thin
about 1/4 a bottle of Mo's Philthy Phil's barbeque sauce
about a tablespoon of a commercial Creole blend (can't remember what kind, it's in a green paper "can")

Weave bacon mat, sprinkle with Creole seasoning and garlic chips. Drizzle with bbq sauce. Place pork loin at edge of mat, and roll up. Sprinkle with more Creole seasoning and drizzzelw ith more bbq sauce. Place on pan, and bake at 400F for about 45 minutes or until an insta-read thermometer pushed into the end reaches no less than 145F, preferably 165F.

I think the pan may be unsalvageable. The lumps of cooked bacon grease and bbq sauce are impressive. Next time, I might place the log on a rack over the pan, as the bottom was not as crispy as I'd like. It was pretty good while warm, we'll see what it's like as leftovers.

eta: sorry, didn't mean to make you run through a lot of links. Here's the original bacon explosion page.
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Today was my first free Saturday in a while so I spent most of it puttering around the kitchen. We've been watching too much Alton Brown, so I made a pork wellington, and a cheese souffle. The pork wellington was ok, but underwhelming. I like the pork wrapped in sage and proscuitto better. The cheese soufflé was very good. I'm not certain it was a good soufflé, I've never had a cheese soufflé before and the top of it looked like a badly pocked asteroid. But it's hard to go wrong with baked cheese. It was like what a really good quiche wants to be when it grows up. I also made GM's Grandmother's coffee cake. His mom gave me the recipe when we were visiting her a few weeks ago. It's very good for something so simple. She gave me several of her mother's cookbooks. I must remember to make chocolate rocks for her sometime soon.

I really should have spent the day taking care of the yard. The roses need deadheading, and all the beds need weeding. Hopefully I'll do that tomorrow.

Grandma's Cofee Cake )
Thinking about the Duck-Duck-Goose dinner )
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Cut for any tivo-owning basketball fans who haven’t watched the Friday game yet. )


In commiseration, GM suggested we have some of the canneles we got from Trader Joe’s for dessert. Not to be deterred in my whining, I protested they aren’t very good, and needed chocolate sauce, and we don’t have any chocolate sauce. AhHA! Says GM, we have my mother’s chocolate sauce recipe! (GM’s dear mama gave me some of her mother’s recipe books while we were visiting last weekend, and in amongst all the booty was a photocopy of her chocolate sauce recipe.) So we put all these things in a pot and boiled for four minutes: 1 cup sugar, 1 Tbl flour, 4 Tbl cocoa powder, 1 Tbl butter, ½ cup whole milk, 1 tesp vanilla and a dash of salt. Mmmmm. I had thought GM was merely being sentimental, but it’s really good. We ate some, and saved a jarful for later.


Apr. 16th, 2009 09:32 am
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GM's paternal grandmother used to send his family cookies every Christmas. GM says he and his brothers got most of the cookies, but his dad kept (some) of the krumkake for himself as they were his favorite. GM got the recipe for me from his Aunt Siggy, and last Tuesday was the first time it worked perfectly. The moon must have been in the right phase, or maybe the humidity was finally not wrong. Or, far more likely, this was the first time I was making krumkake undistracted by the frenzy of the big Christmas bake.

Aunt Siggy's Krumkake recipe
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter (unsalted), cooled to room temp
2 eggs
1 c whole milk
1 1/2 cup flour
pinch salt
1 tesp vanilla
(I added a tesp of powdered ginger. Cardamom is also good.)

Beat eggs lightly. Add sugar to eggs and beat until light. Add cooled butter. Mix in vanilla and salt. Mix in 1/2 cup of flour and tesp of ginger, a 1/2 cup of milk, a 1/2 cup of flour, a 1/2 cup of milk, and the last 1/2 cup of flour.
Put mixture in fridge for at least an hour.

I have an electric krumkake iron, which is much easier and less burny than the stove-top version.
Heat iron, put 1 Tbl of batter on each round. Close iron and wait 1 minute and 15 seconds. Open iron, roll krumkake on a wooden spoon handle if desired. Place on cooling racks. Repeat, preferably while watching television.

I'm going to make some M&M cookies tonight, and send them all off to my father-in-law tomorrow.

Mmm, cake!

Mar. 24th, 2009 08:34 pm
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My practically perfect apprentice came over Monday night, with a very silly cake pan in the shapes of castles. The pan, not so successful. The cake, fabulous! This recipe made more batter than would fit in the pan, so we made cupcakes. 
Castelette Cakes, from the Nordicware Castle Cakelette Pan wrapper:
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
1 tesp almond extract
3 eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 tesp baking soda
1/8 tesp salt
3/4 cup evaporated milk
Heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour pan, set aside. (Or put paper cups in muffin pan.) In large bowl beat sugar, butter, almond extract and eggs. Beat three minutes on high speed, scraping down bowl often. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Blend flour mix into butter mix, alternating with milk until blended. Divide batter evenly among cups in pan. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes until toothpick test is clean. Cool 15 mins in pan. Invert pan and remove cakes (ha!).  Cool completely. Decorate as desired. Makes six cakes (and five cupcakes!).
I'm going to make this again, maybe when we have a party next August, and forst them with this marzipan flavoured frosting.
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2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (two sticks) butter

5 Tbl unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla


1/4 cup (one stick) butter

3-5 Tbl unsweetened cocoa

6 Tbl whole milk

1 lb (one box, about 2 1/4 cups) powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400F. Butter a 15X10X1-inch or jelly roll pan or a 13X9X2-inch baking pan; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar, set aside.

In a microwavable bowl or large measuring cup, combine 1 cup of water, 5 Tbl cocoa, and 1 cup butter. Nuke until butter is melted. Mix chocolate mixture into the dry mixture until thoroughly blended. In the microwaveable bowl, lightly whip the eggs and add the buttermilk, soda, and vanilla. Add buttermilk mixture to the flour/chocolate mixture. Beat for 1 minute (batter will be thin). Pour batter into the prepared pan. 

Bake in a 400F oven about 15 minutes for the 15X10-inch pan or 25 minutes for the 13X9-inch pan, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. While cake is baking, prepare frosting.

Cut the butter into pieces and place in a clean microwave-safe bowl. Add 3-5 Tbl unsweetened cocoa and 6 Tbl whole milk. Nuke until butter is melted. While warm, mix in all the powdered sugar, if the frosting seems stiff, warm by nuking 10 seconds or place bowl on stove top near oven vent. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. If you are done making frosting before the cake is done baking, place the bowl in a warm spot.

When cake is done, remove from oven. Turn oven off. Place cake, in pan, on a stable cooling rack. Pour hot frosting over the still hot cake, covering all parts. Don't worry, there's lots of frosting and it will melt over the hot cake beautifully.

 Allow cake to cool in pan. Eat. Serves one. Or more than 20 if you share.

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