Independence Day, Simply Vanilla Ice Cream, and More

Tomorrow is Independence Day, and at this point, I have no idea how we will celebrate it.  I’m not usually a big plan in advance kind of girl.  I’d much rather act on spontaneity.  Last minute barbeques, campfires, a trip to the lake, and road trips are so much for fun when they aren’t over-thought. 

Regardless of what we might decide to do on the 4th, I am sure of one thing, we will need to eat.    I’m thinking that this Bacon, Ranch, and Onion Dip will get the party started.  I’ve made this before, but it’s worth mentioning again, especially since I just made a bowl of it.

And then there are those fat slices of my Sinful Midnight Cake resting peacefully in the freezer; right next to a quart of this Simply Vanilla Ice Cream that I made.  So, I’ve got an appetizer and dessert covered.  Hey, it’s a start!

This ice cream requires no cooking or eggs.  And it’s delicious!  I found it in a booklet that came with my Crofton ice cream maker.

Simply Vanilla Ice Cream

2 c. heavy cream

1 c. whole milk (I use skim)

3/4 c. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix milk, cream, sugar and vanilla.  Stir until sugar has dissolved.  Follow the instructions that came with your ice cream maker.

Do you have plans made to celebrate Independence Day? Or are you like me, flying by the seat of your pants?

Happy Fourth of July!!!

FV

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Sinful Midnight Cake

Do you realize how many different chocolate cake recipes there are in this world?  Way too many, and settling on a recipe (in my opinion) is half the battle.

I settled on a cake that doesn’t have a single calorie in it.  No sir, I’m certain of that.  And if you believe me, I’ve got a bridge I’ll sell you.  Cash only please, and no refunds!

This recipe was adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook – copyrighted in 1969.  I’m not sure how it got it’s name because it really isn’t as dark as midnight, but I suspect it might be hard to stay out of at midnight. In fairness to Betty Crocker, it should be noted that I didn’t have enough baking cocoa on hand when I made this recipe so I substituted some of the cocoa with melted semi-sweet chocolate chips.   It’s possible that if I had used the cocoa that the recipe originally called for then it might have produced a darker colored cake.

I’ve included one of my recently learned secrets on how to handle fresh baked layer cakes in this post.  Until recently, I struggled with uneven cake tops.  If you have this problem make sure you read this entire post.. 

Sinful Midnight Cake

2 eggs

1 2/3 c. sugar

1/4 c. olive oil

1/2 c. margarine, softened

1/4 c. cocoa

1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/4 c. hot water

2 tsp. instant coffee

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and line two 9” round layer pans with parchment paper.  Lightly grease parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, sugar, margarine, oil, cocoa, and melted chocolate.  With electric mixer, mix for 1 minute on low speed.  Add remaining ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on high speed.  Pour into prepared pans.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.

Remove cakes from the oven.  Using a clean dishtowel, while the cakes are still warm and in their pans, press them flat.  This saves you from having uneven cake tops when it comes time to decorate them.  Place two large pieces of plastic wrap on a flat surface and flip the cakes out of their pans onto each piece of plastic wrap.  Lightly wrap each cake in the plastic wrap.  This traps the moisture in and will help make your cakes super moist.  Allow cakes to cool thoroughly. 

Unwrap each cake when your ready to frost and decorate them.  

I frosted this cake with a chocolate buttercream icing, but because this recipe calls for a lot of sugar and the cake was sweet, I think I’d opt for a chocolate whipped cream frosting the next time around. 

I am definitely more of a cake fan than an icing fan.  What about you?

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