Egg Nog Pound Cake!

I have had several requests for a good recipe for this "Egg Nog Pound Cake"!  Even if you are not a huge lover of egg nog, you will still enjoy this cake, because it doesn't taste exactly like the drink that is so common during the holidays.  

We have always been more of the boiled custard drinkers in my family during holidays, instead of egg nog, but egg nog really is good to bake with for cakes and cookies. 

 Feel free to use your own homemade nog in this recipe or buy a good brand at the grocery.  They usually stock it during the holidays in the refrigerator section.  

I used one made by Southern Comfort in vanilla spice flavor and I must say it was one of the best store bought egg nogs I have ever tasted. 

 Here is what you will need for this cake:

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1  1/2 cups cold egg nog
1 tsp. lemon extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. of good Kentucky bourbon (optional, if you do not use it, add an extra teaspoon of vanilla)
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans, divided

Egg Nog Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbs. egg nog
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

***You can substitute 1 tablespoon of bourbon for 2 tablespoons of the egg nog in the glaze, if you like the flavor it gives and you are not serving children. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and oil for about 2 minutes.  Gradually add in sugar and beat for about 5 more minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time and beat after each one just until the yellow disappears.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating with egg nog and ending with the flour.  Mix on low speed just enough to blend all ingredients.  Stir in flavorings and bourbon (if using) and 1 cup of the pecans). 

Generously grease a Bundt pan or a 10-inch tube pan. Several of you have mentioned my use of Temptations bakeware lately and I must admit I am hooked. I used my Temptations Bundt pan for this and I love it!  I still spray it with the nonstick spray though even though they say with Temptations you don't have to.  With a cake like this, you do need to.  The nonstick baking spray with flour, like Baker's Joy, works great for this. 

 Pour the batter in the pan and be sure to spread evenly.  Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 10 to 15 minutes.   After 45 minutes, you may need to loosely lay a piece of foil over the top to prevent from browning too much.   Test with a pick inserted in the center and when it comes out clean, the cake is done.  This is a dense cake and may appear to be done, but still need baking a bit more in the center, so it's best to test with the pick.

Remove from oven and allow to cool on the counter in the pan for at least an hour before turning out onto a cake plate.  It's best to take a sharp knife and run just around the edges to loosen first.

Cool completely before adding the glaze.

To make the glaze, mix the powdered sugar and egg nog in a bowl until smooth. Stir in the vanilla and nutmeg. 

Drizzle over the cake and sprinkle the other cup of chopped pecans over the top.


Coca Cola Cake...It's a Southern Thang!

It seems like almost every other day now I get someone asking about the Coca Cola Cake recipe and there is a good reason for that... it's delicious and it's a southern thang!    I love to use Coke to cook with and if you have been reading my recipes long, you will have noticed that.  The carbonation, sweetness, cola and acid in Coke products just do good things to some food....barbeque, sweets, sauces, and even congealed salads.  My mother has been replacing the water in cakes with Sprite for years now.  It's a family shhhh,  don't you dare tell anyone!

There are several different variations and recipes for the classic "Coca Cola Cake" and while they are all good, this recipe turns out better than any of them.  It is not hard to make and it is one of the most moist chocolate cakes you will ever bake.  If your family is like mine, you have to have something chocolate for the holidays and this is just the cake to have. Make this cake and take it to dinner, wherever your dinner is this year,  and you will be the star, I guarantee it!   Here is what you need:

2 cups unsifted all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter
3 Tbs. cocoa
1 cup Coca Cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 stick butter, melted
3 Tbs. cocoa
7 Tbs. Coca Cola
1 box confectioner's sugar
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the flour and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  In a saucepan, heat butter, cocoa, and the Coca Cola until it boils.  Pour hot mixture over the flour and sugar.  Mix well.  Add the buttermilk, eggs, soda, vanilla and marshmallows and mix well.   The marshmallows will rise to the top and the batter will seem thin, but that's ok.   Pour into a 9"x13" baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick baking spray.   Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or just until a pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, make the icing.  Place the butter in a saucepan on medium heat with the cocoa powder and Coca Cola.  Heat until the butter is melted and it is all well blended.  Pour over the box of confectioner's sugar and mix until it's smooth. If you are adding nuts, stir them in.  Spread the icing over the cake while it is still warm.  That's it, now pour a big glass of milk and cut the cake!  Wasn't that easy!

Coca Cola Cake!

Southern Cornbread Dressing!

Thanksgiving just wouldn't be Thanksgiving proper without the cornbread dressing.  It's almost, if not, the most important part of the meal at our house.  If you have turkey, you have to have dressing with it.  Nothing else will do.  Of course, you also have to have mashed potatoes and gravy.  It just all has to be there, together in unison, on the plate.   This might not be true for all of you and your Thanksgiving dinners, but it is for us.  

As far back as I can remember, the night before Thanksgiving, I can conjure up the pungent smell of poultry seasoning, black pepper and celery and onions being diced by my mother or other relatives who might be at our house for the holiday.  The dressing was always mixed up the night before and it made me so hungry smelling all of the preparations for the next day's meal. 

 It was comforting to know that people were in that kitchen getting things ready for all of us so that we would have a wonderful meal together.   The smells are always what bring us back it seems.

Now, out of the past and into the present,  I really have dreaded writing this post.  I have discovered, the hard way, that dressing or stuffing as some call it, is a very controversial topic in the food world.   I guess I never really knew that.  Is it dressing or is it stuffing? Does dressing have to be cornbread or does stuffing have to be, well, stuffed, as in the bird stuffed?   Is dressing the southern term for the same thing those above the Mason Dixon line call stuffing?  It's all so crazy and people can get so argumentative about it. 

Here is my take on it, dressing is the southern term for what we make and serve and it's usually a base of cornbread with (sometimes) other breads mixed in.   Stuffing seems to be a northern or Midwestern term for something similar, but not always made with cornbread.   Whether you stuff it in the bird or not, doesn't really seem to be a factor in whether it's called dressing or stuffing. I really think it's a geographic semantics sort of thing.  

We bake our dressing in a casserole dish or baking pan.  I honestly don't ever remember my mother baking it in the bird.  I hear it's safer to bake it in the baking dish and not in the bird where it might not get cooked through enough so it's good we don't do that.  If you do, be sure it reaches 165 degrees in the very center of the stuffing to be safe. 

Now, this is the recipe we use for dressing, I am sure you and your family do it differently, but this is how we do it.  All recipes are adaptable, so do what you will with it.  

 Here is what you will need: 

1 pan of cornbread ( recipe below)
6 slices white bread, toasted and cut in cubes
1 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
2 cups celery, finely diced
1 large onion, finely diced
1 stick butter
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbs. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. sage (optional)
6 cups chicken or turkey stock
1 can cream of chicken soup
4 eggs, beaten

Cornbread Recipe

1 cup self rising flour
1 cup self rising cornmeal
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbs. oil
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all together and pour into an 8"x8" baking dish that has been heated with enough oil in it to cover the bottom well or you can use an iron skillet.
Bake for 30 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, crumble cornbread, add bread cubes and the crushed saltines.  Place butter in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion and celery until tender.  Pour this mixture over the bread and crackers. 

Add seasonings.  You will notice that we use mostly poultry seasoning.  We actually leave the optional sage out, because the poultry seasoning is a blend of sage, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and black pepper.  It's not so overwhelming and 'green' like the sage can be when overused.    If your family likes their dressing green with sage, use more sage and less poultry seasoning.  However, I am convinced that the over use of sage and the under use of other seasonings is what ruins a lot of good dressing. 

Add 6 cups of chicken or turkey broth, the beaten eggs, and the can of cream of chicken soup.  The can of soup adds the best flavor to dressing, but I can always envision the comments on this.  I am not sure when canned soup got such a bad reputation, but let me say you can leave it out if you think you might die after ingesting it right there at the Thanksgiving dinner table.  If you do leave it out, add an extra cup of broth and you might need a smidgen more salt.   Lightly mix all of this together.  This mixture will be loose, not tight or too thick.  If it's too thick, add some more stock to it. 

Spray a large baking pan or casserole dish with nonstick baking spray and pour the mixture in.  Smooth the top, but don't pack it down in the dish.  That makes the dressing too compacted and dry when baked. 

This is best when prepared the night before and refrigerated overnight to give the flavors a chance to blend.  When you take it out to bake on Thanksgiving day, drizzle about a cup of the warm turkey broth from your just baked turkey over the top of the dressing.  This seeps down into the dressing as it bakes and really makes it moist and flavorful.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes. 

This makes a really big pan of dressing, so if you are cooking for a smaller family, you can put this in two casserole dishes and freeze one for Christmas or another meal when you might have baked chicken or whatever.   If you use two smaller casseroles, bake for about 30-35 minutes.


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