Sunday, November 15, 2009

National Bundt Day

Today is National Bundt Cake Day!  To celebrate, I thought I'd share one I made a while back, for my boyfriend's birthday last summer.

Bundt cakes are by far my favorite.  It could be because I grew up in the Midwest, and they're the standard cake made by Midwestern women.  It could also be because I like things to look pretty, but not be too complicated.  With their fluted edges and interesting shape, Bundt pans make everything look decorative - but they're still just simple pans, no filling or springforms necessary.  Bundt cakes are also just MADE for cake-takers, don't you think?

For this cake, I used the Betty Crocker recipe for Silver White Cake (direct from the cookbook - you can find it here), and mixed 3 tbsp cocoa and 1/8 tsp baking soda into part of the batter to make a marble cake.  I think marble cakes are terrific - they look fancy and don't require much extra work. 

For the frosting, I used the Betty Crocker recipe for Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (found here) - BEST FROSTING EVER!  I just added in crushed chocolate to both the cake and the frosting - I've used either mini chocolate chips, or a crushed chocolate bar, both with great results.

In the pan, before baking:

After baking - you can barely tell it's a marble cake from this angle!

After frosting - doesn't it look kinda vintage?

There you have it!  Happy National Bundt Day :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Veggie Shepherd's Pie

I rarely make meat dishes, since I live alone and they require so much time (and money!).  I also try to limit my meat consumption in general, since it's the eco-friendly (and animal-friendly) thing to do.  Sometimes, though, I'm in the mood for comfort food - and a lot of comfort food is meat-based.  What's a girl to do when she craves something warm and hearty, but there's no meat in the freezer?

Enter Veggie Shepherd's Pie.  For me, it was a dish inspired by what was around the house....but it's totally flexible, and can incorporate anything you have in the pantry or freezer.  I had a sweet potato that was a bit past it's prime, a bag of frozen mixed veggies, and a Gardenburger.  You may have a regular old Idaho potato, corn on the cob, and some ground turkey instead - but go without fear, for the recipe will accommodate you!

(excuse the terrible picture - apartment lighting late at night doesn't make for a good shot!)

Veggie Shepherd's Pie

1 sweet potato, peeled & cubed
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp butter or Smart Balance
1/2 cup mixed vegetables
1 Gardenburger (Boca crumbles or ground meat of any sort work)
salt & pepper to taste, plus cayenne or garlic if you'd like

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Place peeled, cubed sweet potato into a pot filled with cold water.  Bring water to a boil, and boil until the potato cubes fall off the fork when you pierce them.  Drain, and put potatoes into a mixing bowl with milk and Smart Balance.  Mix with hand mixer on low speed, or with potato masher or fork, until you have mashed sweet potatoes of your desired consistency.  Set aside.

Heat mixed vegetables in microwave as directed on package, and cook Gardenburger in skillet as directed.  Crumble Gardenburger, and mix in vegetables.

Fill two ramekins halfway with mixed vegetable/Gardenburger mixture.  Top with mashed sweet potatoes.

Place ramekins into oven and bake for 20 minutes, until potato starts to brown on top.  Allow to cool a bit, then serve!