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Grandmother Bread

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So I guess you guys know all my dirty little yeast bread secrets, about all the loaves I’ve ruined over the years…

But hey, I’ve also won two ribbons for yeast bread!  So I’m not totally helpless, right?  I mean I have like some sort of maybe talent sort of.

Anyway, fellow Kansan blogger, Diana Starenisic Deane, a local historian and author of Shadow on the Hill, asked me to do a guest post for her on bread.  Yes, she knows all about my bread failure escapades and she still asked me!  Her book, which I’ve read and highly recommend–it’s a true life murder mystery!–features bread dough as one of the clues to Florence Knoblock’s murder, and she thought it would be groovy to have a food blogger to do a bread post.  Heck to the yes, I’m all over that, qualified or not!

I don’t do many step-by-step tutorials any more, but I did for this post since it’s special, and I hope you’ll do me the honor of stopping by Diana’s blog to check it out today.  Besides,  you’ll want the recipe for this old-fashioned white bread.  It’s super simple, without any fat, eggs, or milk, and wow you won’t believe how good a loaf made with just flour, water, sugar, salt and yeast can be!  Especially when you slather it in butter.  :)  Click here to check it out!

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Oatmeal Candy


I have already shared Grandma’s original recipe from 1890 for her oatmeal candy in her writing, but I have to share my updated version that I submitted to the fair. The original is good, like caramel with oatmeal in it, but with a little cinnamon and vanilla, it reminds me of a candy version of oatmeal cookies!

Like most old recipes, this one is simple. There are a lot of candies I’d consider better, but I love these for their old-timey-ness. They even taste old-timey and are truly delicious. If you are nostalgic for the days of yore, try these out.

Oatmeal Candy

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

½ cup salted butter
1 cup light corn syrup
2 ½ cups light brown sugar
2 cups quick-cooking oats (uncooked)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, for rolling

Bring butter and corn syrup to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar, oats, flour, and cinnamon, and mix well. Return to heat and turn burner to medium heat. Cook slowly, stirring often, until mixture comes to softball stage, 240F.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into a 9″x13” buttered dish and cool completely, about 4 hours or more. Cut into squares, roll in powdered sugar, sprinkle with a little cinnamon, and wrap in waxed paper.

Veronica’s Notes: Butter was likely salted during the time this recipe originated, as it acts as a preservative, so that’s what I used. I used corn syrup, and though I’m not sure that’s what is meant by “white syrup,” it seems to work quite well. And while I know from personal research that quick-cooking oats did not exist until the 20s, I thought rolled oats to be too chewy and took the liberty of updating the recipe with quick-cooking oats, and adding in some cinnamon and vanilla. Those were probably expensive or maybe less common during the time Dennis’ great-great-grandmother was making this candy, but I hope I’m doing her proud with these additions since they are easily accessible now and add a nice flavor.

Kansas State Fair 2012 part 3: You Miss Every Shot You Don’t Take


*Update: You can now get my updated recipe that I submitted to the fair here.

So that you won’t have to endure reading this whole blog to find out whether I won or lost, I’ll tell you right now.  I got a ribbon. :)  Read on if you’d like to hear the whole story.

Wayne Gretzky is famously quoted as saying, “You  miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

That is really good life advice, and though I do miss a lot of shots because I’m too scared to take them, I can proudly say I would have made Gretzky proud with the way I put myself out there for the state fair competitions this year!  Well, either proud, or at least impressed by my audacity. ;)

From my snot sauce cookies, to my un-risen bread (not to be confused with the risen dead, though almost as horrifying from a baker’s perspective), to my burnt up and crust-fallen-off pies, I took a lot of chances this year and really set myself up for a lot of criticism, which I will be reading come this Sunday when I get my judging papers.  But as with the short loaf of bread that won third place, you just never know what the judges will think or how your entry will compare to others, and sometimes you just gotta take the shot and put yourself out there, ready to be disappointed & embarrassed, so that when you succeed, it’s even sweeter.

Such is the case with Grandma Joy’s Oatmeal Candy.  I did learn a lesson this year (make that many lessons), which is READ THE RULES VERY CLOSELY.  I scanned the information about the Heritage Recipes Contest, gathered that they were looking for old recipes that had been passed down in families since at least 1950, got excited and stopped reading.  I made Grandma Joy’s Oatmeal Candy recipe, which has been in Dennis’ family since 1890, put six of the candies on a white paper plate, following the requirements for the baked goods contests, and sealed it in a Ziploc bag, ready to submit it for judging.

It wasn’t until 1 AM the day I was to enter the contest that I read the rules and information more closely.  To my chagrin, I discovered that not only were they looking for “recipes suitable for family or community dinners” but they wanted you to include an entire aesthetic set-up with props.

Since there were only about five hours left before I needed to get up in order to get to the fair on time to turn in my entries, and I was already sleep-deprived, I decided I wasn’t going to enter it after all.  How could I?  Candy isn’t served at a dinner, is it?  And what in the world would I use for props? I had no idea, and no time to figure it out.

I was crushed.  This was the contest I was most excited to enter and that mattered most to me, because the recipe was special and I’d actually harbored fond dreams of presenting Grandma Joy with a ribbon for her recipe.  But I underestimated the power of my hope.  I do know after almost thirty-two years (yikes) of living with myself, that my hope has great strength and is very hard to kill, if not impossible.  If I want something bad enough, that hope inside me will rise up even after I mentally decide against trying for it, and force me to find a way to make it happen.

So only a few minutes after telling Dennis I wasn’t going to enter the Heritage Recipes Contest, and should probably just opt out of the pie contest too, that hope forced me to find a way to make it happen.  Maybe candy isn’t usually served with dinner, but I oculd see the judges accepting it because at a big dinner, it might be passed out afterward.  On my second wind, I hustled to the kitchen and piled the candies on a Blue Willow plate because although the plate is new, the pattern has been popular since the 1800s so I thought it would be suitable as a prop.  I searched desperately for any picture of Grandma Joy that I could frame and place beside the plate but couldn’t find one that had the right old-timey feel.  I did find several copies that my Mom made of an old photo of my Great Grandma Millner (her Grandma) and in a crazy act of desperation, I cut one down to fit a frame and stuffed it in there to set beside the plate. Well, I never said anything about the woman in the photo being the Grandmother mentioned in my history write-up.  So it wasn’t even a lie.  I mean, I can’t help it if they just happen to assume the woman in the photo was the one who gave me the recipe, simply because she’s sitting right next to it.

I then experimented with using dried roses and potpourri to round out the setting but it just looked terribly wrong and in the end, decided to use ingredients in the recipe as part of the props–oatmeal in a measuring cup, and powdered sugar and cinnamon in little dishes.  I knew it wasn’t the best, but I thought it was passable.

As I set up my presentation later that day next to the other ladies and gentlemen that entered, oh how unprepared I felt.  This was the first entry I saw and that unfailing hope nearly died on the spot.

Now this lady was prepared.  Miniature cast iron stove with miniature baked Zwieback rolls in miniature foil baking pans and the regular sized ones in front, with a gorgeous display with sunflowers, wheat, miniature enamelware used as backings for old family photos, and a sign over the top!

And here’s my sad presentation by comparison.

I didn’t even have a place mat.  I knew I was doomed.  But still…my hope was there.  Small, but alive.

I was watching the pie judging nearby and would get up and check on the Heritage Recipes contest judging from time to time.  I happened to get up just as they were reading and tasting mine…

It went fairly quick.  They each took a bite of the candy and set it down, reading the history about it and the recipe.  I felt even deeper that it would not place.  There were so many attractive entries…

I got caught up with talking to one of the other ladies that entered the contest and almost missed it when they announced I won third place!  The microphone was so quiet it would have been easier to hear her without it and I moved forward, catching only that they liked my presentation and the taste and history, and mostly how unique it was.

Everyone somehow knew it was me that had won despite no one there knowing my name, perhaps by the look of pure shock on my face, and they all turned to me, clapping.  If I had been alone, I would have been jumping up and down.  But knowing that almost-thirty-two-year-old women are generally more collected and mature, I smiled and nodded  and celebrated with the second and first place contestants.  Then I proceeded to exclaim “I can’t believe it, Dennis!” at random intervals throughout the remainder of the day.  So much for acting my age.

I went back later to see how they had put the winning entries on display and ran into Jane, the first place winner with her beautiful Zwieback.  We took pictures of each other in front of our displays and she sent this one to me by email:

I know I don’t look excited here but I was pretty exhausted by that point, only having had a couple hours of sleep.

She also sent me a picture of the second place entry, which I failed to catch somehow!  These are kolaches. a Czeck pastry (I actually have a recipe for them here, though my fillings aren’t the best):

And here’s Jane with her blue ribbon winner!

So there you have it.  I nearly opted out of a contest that I ended up placing in!  And if I hadn’t entered, I wouldn’t have met Jane, which I count as one of the best things abut my fair experience this year-the ladies I met.  There are definitely times when I regret my decisions, but as for this one, I’m just so happy I went through with it.  I can’t wait to give Grandma her ribbon! :)

If you’ve missed the previous entries in my 2012 State Fair series, you can check them out here:

2012 State Fair part 1: Murphy’s Law

2012 State Fair part 2: How I fared at the fair

Chicken Noodles


Back in July, my friend, Teri, came over for a pie crust lesson and we made four different pies with four kinds of crust (single, single pre-baked, double, and double lattice-top).  Then in August, I went to her place and she taught me to cook some simple homestyle meals–the kind my hubby was raised on and that seem to be a foreign language to me.  My brain goes “fish stew, curried caulifower, red beans and rice, shrimp scampi,” and his brain goes, “steak, pot roast, fried chicken, chicken pot pie.”  Our brainwaves needed to be synched up and Teri was up to the challenge of teaching me how to cook like the Midwestern housewife I am.  Except I’m not a housewife, really, since I work, but you get the point.

We made several of her family’s favorite meals and she taught me to make chicken noodles almost as an afterthought without a recipe.  The only chicken noodles I’ve ever had are those at our family reunion every year brought by someone I’m not even sure I’m related to, and I was excited to learn how to make them because they are one of the dishes I enjoy most each year.  I just LOVE me some egg noodles.  Something about their texture…I adore it.  Thick with some bite to them and they soak up all the yummy flavor of whatever you cook them in, in this case, chicken!

As the title indicates, there isn’t much to this recipe.  Pretty much just chicken and noodles cooked in broth!  I did add (too much) turmeric because I wanted to give them a yellow tint but I went overboard, as you can see.  The above picture are the leftovers from the batch Teri and I made, with no turmeric added, and the other ones are mine, which I added 1/2 teaspoon to, so I’d recommend just a pinch at a time if you want yours to have a little extra color.  I also added thyme to mine because I love the flavor of thyme with chicken, but if you want classic chicken noodles, just stick with the recipe and don’t go rogue like I did.

This is a very simple recipe and even the noodles go pretty fast.  If you want to go a slower and more flavorful route, you can boil an entire chicken, which will also give you your own homemade broth.

Chicken Noodles

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

2 (32 oz.) cartons chicken broth (8 cups)
4 chicken bouillon cubes
3 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breasts
6 eggs
¼ cup cold water
2 teaspoons salt
4-5 cups all-purpose flour

Pour the chicken broth into a stockpot. Add the bouillon cubes and the chicken breasts and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tender and no longer pink in the middle, 5-10 minutes. Turn off heat & remove chicken from broth onto a plate to cool.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, water, and salt. Stir in enough flour to form a stiff dough. Flour a surface to roll the dough out on and pull off small chunks of dough at a time (about 1/6 of the dough) with floured hands to roll thin. Use plenty of flour on the outside, adding more as you roll so it doesn’t stick to the surface or rolling pin. Use a rotary mincer or pizza cutter to cut the noodles and separate them onto a plate.

You’ll have about 6 batches of noodles this size. It’s important to do them in batches instead of all at once to prevent them from clumping together when adding them to the broth.

After you’ve cut your first batch of noodles, turn the heat back on your broth to bring it to a boil. While waiting on that, shred the cooled chicken your fingers or two forks. When you’re done shredding the chicken, the broth should be boiling. Reduce heat to medium and sprinkle the noodles over the top, stirring to keep them separated.

Continue pulling off chunks of dough, rolling them out, separating the noodles and adding them to the simmering broth as you finish each batch. Once all the noodles are in, stir in the chicken and heat through before serving. The only broth remaining, which will not be much, will be thickened from the flour on the noodles, which is what you want, but you can add more broth if there’s not enough liquid to finish all the noodles.  The noodles will thicken even more upon standing.

*Veronica’s Note: you can add a little turmeric to give the noodles more color, not more than ¼ teaspoon.

*Disclaimer: this post contains an affiliate link and I will earn a commission if you choose to purchase the herb mincer I linked to. :)

Grandma’s Pie Crust Cookies

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Lacey, Mom, Me, Dad, and Grandma Davis, 1997

We all had a special someone or someone’s on our minds and hearts on Memorial Day and for me, that was my Grandma Davis, my paternal Grandmother.

Grandma and Grandpa Davis with their eight children. My Dad (front middle) was the surprise, born when Grandma was 45 and most of the other children were grown.

As a kid, I remember being annoyed when she telephoned because she would talk our ears off and at that age, I didn’t have the patience for it.  I remember listening to stories from her childhood while visiting her, often wishing I was outdoors playing instead.  I now wish I could do those years over and spend the time with her that she craved and that I long for now that it is too late.

Grandma (left) and a friend in 1961

I want to ask her what life was like during her childhood, during the Depression, and how she felt the first time she rode in a car.  (She was born in 1904.)  I want to hear more about the years when they had a farm and ranch in Nebraska and she cooked for all the ranch hands.  I vaguely recall a story she told me about stuffing mattresses with human hair, and now I burn with curiosity about it.  Was it hair from concentration camp victims during World War II?  Why was she stuffing mattresses with it?  I think I remember her saying that the government was letting poor people do it for free so they had something to sleep on.  Could this really be true?  At the time, all that really made an impression was the way she pronounced mattresses.  How sad, when obviously there was quite a compelling story there if I’d just had the interest to ask.

In Grandma Davis's arms the week of my birth, with Grandma Millner on my left and cousin Tammy on my right.

There were a few stories she told that did pique my interest, and they were usually the ones in which she was being ornery or rebellious.  I guess I held her up as a hero for these instances, like when she set her mother’s kitchen on fire as a child because she didn’t like the new curtains.  I thought that was brilliant, because I would have loved to take revenge on my mother for all manner of wrongs (mostly imagined) that she committed against me.  I also loved the story of how she punched her future husband when he tried to be a gentleman and pick her up and carry her over a puddle.  She was indignant because she was a self-sufficient woman that could walk over the puddle on her own two feet and didn’t need a man to show off for her in such a silly manner.  That really tickled me!  Or the story about when she punched him years later when she thought he was asleep, (apparently she had waited for this moment to punch him because he had made her mad!) and he bit her thumb when the punch landed.  Or the time when she found him gambling with his friends and started throwing rocks at them in a fury.

Meeting my Great-Grandma Gailey. Looks like we don't quite know what to make of each other! Grandma Davis, her daughter, is behind her and my Mom is holding me.

I guess my Grandma was a feisty lady!  But she also was incredibly loving.  She cried every time it was time for me and my sisters to go home and she loved having us stay with her.  Although I had no patience for her stories, I loved staying with her too because she let us watch all the TV we wanted, she always had tins of cookies and peanut butter crackers that I liked to sneak into, and I loved her cooking!  She made us things like pigs in blankets, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and let us have angel food cake with whipped cream for dessert.  This was AMAZING food to a child that frequently dined on baked fish, plain salads (dressing was a no-no), lentils, and tofu sandwiches on Ezekiel 7-grain bread.

Grandma's yard in the 80s. Can you find the wind catcher she made out of a 7-up bottle?

Here it is, as clear as I can get it. She used to make a lot of these.

One of the things Grandma Davis taught me was not to waste anything, and that almost everything can be put to use.  She made rugs out of empty plastic bread sacks.  She made quilts out of old jeans.  She took empty 2-liter pop bottles and turned them into hanging ornaments that caught the wind and turned on her front porch. She also taught me to make little cinnamon roll cookies with leftover pie dough, rather than throwing it away.

Photograph courtesy of Upscale Downhome. This is exactly how my grandma’s bread sack rugs looked!

Grandma made this blanket for us with old jeans. As for the identity of the naked child, I plead the fifth.

RE: Plastic Soda Bottle Wind Chimes

Photo source. My Grandma’s wind spinners were always made with 7-Up bottles and looked very similar to this, though she made smooth cuts instead of wavy.

I’m thankful for every story that I can still remember, and for this lesson in waste that she passed on.  Sure, it can get me into trouble, because I tend to hoard things (for starters, I have a sack full of clean, empty food jars in my basement, waiting for an opportunity to be useful), but when it comes to these cookies, I feel the lesson is a blessing!

These cookies are delicious and so simple to make.  Flaky, buttery pie pastry layered with cinnamon, sugar, raisins, and nuts makes for something nearly akin to a kicked up cinnamon roll, and I like to go ahead and drizzle a simple glaze over the top of mine since I keep the sugar on the inside pretty low.  It makes them even more like a cinnamon roll in appearance, which I like.

I think many Grandmas taught their grandchildren to make these cookies, though my Grandma’s way seems to be a little different from the other recipes I’ve seen online.  Those call for cinnamon and sugar only, but that’s not the way Grandma Davis rolled (if you’ll pardon the pun).  She sprinkled on the raisins and nuts too!  Maybe it’s only because it’s the way my Grandma made them, but it’s the way I like them best.

Cinnamon Roll Pie Crust Cookies

Printable recipe
Printable recipe with picture

Leftover pie pastry (I recommend this recipe–it stays tender and flaky, even after gathering up the scraps, pressing together and re-rolling)
Sugar
Cinnamon
Raisins
Nuts
Powdered sugar & milk for optional glaze

Gather up your pie dough scraps and press together to form a new ball and flatten into a disc.  Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until ready to use. If you aren’t making the cookies for a day or two, you’ll want to remove the pie dough from the refrigerator and leave at room temperature for half an hour to an hour so that it is soft enough to roll out.

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, a silpat mat, or spray with cooking oil.

Roll out the leftover pie pastry on a floured surface.

Sprinkle sugar over the top.  This amount won’t make the cookies very sweet, but that’s OK if you plan on using a glaze.  If you’re skipping the glaze, you’ll probably want more sugar.

Sprinkle on the cinnamon!

You could stop there, but I like to add some raisins and nuts, because Grandma said so.  And Grandma knows best.

Roll into a tight log, like so:

I didn’t get any pictures of this because my hands were busy doing this step, but use a piece of waxed floss to cut 1/2″ cookies from the log. To do this, run the floss under the log, then cross the ends of the string over the top, and pull the ends in opposite directions until the string passes through and makes a cut. This will be messy and you’ll have nuts and raisins popping out which you can then pop back in before placing on prepared baking sheet. Some of the cookies will have to be rewrapped completely, especially those on the end that are smaller. Place all the cut cookies on the baking sheet.  I like to use parchment paper, but would like to get a silpat mat soon since it’s reusable.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies. Cool on a wire rack. I just slid the entire sheet of parchment paper off the cookie sheet and onto a cooling rack.  Handy dandy.

Once cool, you can make a glaze by mixing powdered sugar with a little milk until it is a drizzling consistency. I think I used like 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar and a teaspoon or two of milk. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the top.

If you aren’t serving these right away, let them sit out until the glaze hardens, then you can store them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag. Will keep for at least a week but they won’t last that long!

In loving memory of Alta Davis.  1904-2001

1963 Good Housekeeping White Bread


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My friend Kim, aka Red, shred this recipe with me.  I keep calling this “Red’s Bread,” because even though it’s an old recipe, she’s the one that introduced it to me!  (Besides, I love the way it rolls off my tongue–I think Kim should have her own bread company and name it “Red’s Bread”, don’t you? )  I love trying old recipes, and this one was not only easy, but delicious.  I never thought I could turn out a decent loaf of bread that I actually kneaded myself, but I did it! Woo-hoo!  My husband is in heaven right now (he’s already eaten half a loaf!) and keeps staring at me with these gushy lovey eyes like I’m some sort of goddess.  I wonder if fresh bread does this to all men or if it’s just a quirk of his?  In any case, I think I’ll be making this bread a LOT! :)

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White Bread
From 1963 Good Housekeeping Cookbook
 

1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 pkg. (2 1/4 t) active dry yeast
About 6 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
 
Scald milk; stir in sugar, salt and margarine.  Cool to lukewarm.  Measure warm water into large bowl; sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved.  Add lukewarm milk mixture and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth.  Add enough additional flour to make ta soft dough.  Turn out onto lightly floured board.  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 min.  Form into smooth ball.  Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top.  Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hr.
 
Punch down dough.  Let rest 15 min.  Then divide dough in half and shape each half into a loaf.  Place each loaf in a greased 9x5x3 bread pan.  Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hr. 
 
Bake at 400 degrees F, about 30 min, or until done.  Makes 2 loaves.
 
*Veronica’s Notes:


Many older recipes instruct you to scald milk.  That is, to bring it nearly to a boil (185°F, 85°C, or more), preferably in a thick-bottomed pan, and stirring actively, to keep a protein skin from forming on the surface and keep the proteins and sugar from sticking to the bottom. Scalding served two purposes, to kill potentially harmful bacteria in the milk, and to destroy enzymes that keep the milk from thickening in recipes. Pasteurization, however, accomplishes both of those goals, and since almost all store-bought milk in Western countries is pasteurized these days, scalding is essentially an unnecessary step.  Therefore, I merely heated the milk with the butter, sugar & salt until the butter was melted and then I cooled it until it was just warm but not hot. 
 
Also, I used rapid rise/instant yeast.  If you are also using instant yeast, here is my method for this bread that you can follow–it cuts down on the prep time by a full hour.
 
Mix 3 cups flour with the yeast in a large bowl, then pour in the warm water and cooled milk mixture until blended.  Follow the rest of the directions up until the point when you have kneaded the bread for 8-10 minutes.  You will skip the first rising since instant yeast makes this step unnecessary.  Divide the dough in half, form into loaves, and put it into the greased loaf pans.  Follow the second rising and baking directions.  I turned my loaves out of the pan as soon as they were done and brushed them with melted butter.  Divine!
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Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake

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Dennis’ Grandma Joy turned 90 this month, and when I found out there was going to be a family celebration, I immediately volunteered to make the cake.  I jump at any opportunity to aid in a celebration, especially if baking is involved!

She requested carrot, and I was tempted to make The Best Carrot Cake, since it’s my favorite, but I opted to make a more old-fashioned cake because I thought Joy might appreciate a cake that brought back memories. This is my own recipe, adjusted from several I found in cookbooks.

*Update 9-22-09: I received many compliments on the cake at the party, but Grandma Joy recently told me that people at her Church are still talking about that cake and how good it was.  So please take their word for it and not my awful, hastily-taken picture’s representation!

Veronica’s Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake

Printable recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 eggs
2 ½ cups finely shredded carrots
¾ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
½ cup crushed pineapple, well drained & juice reserved
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows)

Add enough water or rum to the reserved pineapple juice to equal 1 cup. If you already have a cup of juice, you can add as much rum as you want—you just want at least one cup of liquid. Heat to boiling, remove from heat, and stir the raisins into the hot liquid. Leave to soak.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans & set aside.

Stir dry ingredients together in a large bowl: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda & cinnamon.

Strain the liquid off of the raisins. Whisk eggs in a medium bowl & stir in remaining ingredients: oil, ginger, carrots, pineapple, raisins (but not the soaking liquid) & walnuts.

Stir the wet mixture into the dry and stir until combined. Divide the batter between the two round pans and bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool completely on wire rack, then frost with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
8 cups (2 lbs.) sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and cream cheese, then add the sugar and vanilla. Use milk or additional sugar to change the consistency to thinner or thicker as needed.  (Most people would use half this amount of sugar, which makes a more creamy frosting, but I make it thick for decorating.)

Makes: About 5 1/2 cups of icing.

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