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March 2011:   Here are 3 completely different desserts:  The NC Hummingbird Cake, a favorite during holidays is a great cake to take to covered dish suppers. Everyone will want the recipe.  The Apricot Nectar Cake is an old 1950’s standby…easy to make when expecting company or just a good “snacking” cake…and the last one, my Chocolate Meringue Cake, is strictly for chocoholics! I made this one while our grandson-in-law was here this week-end and he just had to take some home with him!  Cut it small, it’s rich and so addictive!

North Carolina Hummingbird Cake

 

3  cups all-purpose flour

2  cups sugar

1  tsp. baking soda

1  tsp. nutmeg

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. cloves

¾ cup butter (1½ sticks)

2  cups mashed ripe bananas

8-oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained

3  large eggs, beaten

2  tsp. vanilla

1  cup finely chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 325º.  Grease & flour 10-inch Bundt cake pan. Be sure and use your fingers to get in all the crevices. Wilton Cake Release is nice.  In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Set aside. In another large mixing bowl beat the butter on medium speed for ½ minute.  Add bananas, pineapple, eggs and vanilla, beating till well combined. Then beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Fold in pecans and pour in prepared pan.  Bake for 1 hour and 10 or 15 minutes, till a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes; turn out on a wire rack and cool thoroughly.

Sift powdered sugar all over top.

 

Variation: This cake can be made in 3 greased & floured, 9-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350º for about 25 minutes.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing to cake cooling racks. For the layers, use Cream Cheese Frosting.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

½ cup butter (1 stick)

16-oz pkg. powdered sugar, sifted

1  tsp. vanilla

 

Beat cream cheese and butter together. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light & fluffy. Add vanilla & beat till combined.

Apricot Nectar Cake

Always a good easy cake. Nice to have on hand for a snack.

 

1  18.25-oz pkg. Duncan Hines Lemon Supreme Cake Mix

½  cup sugar

1   cup apricot nectar (found on the fruit juice isle)

¾  cup vegetable oil

4   large eggs

 

Preheat oven to 325º. Put all of the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl and beat until well mixed. Pour into a well greased and floured 10-inch tube cake pan. Bake for 1 hour and about 15 minutes.  Test for doneness.  Turn out and while cake is still hot, pour the following sauce over top and let run down sides.

 

Sauce:

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

3  Tbsp. lemon juice

Chocolate Meringue Pie

Great old fashioned taste!

 

 cups sugar

½    cup Hershey’s cocoa powder

¼   tsp. salt

1/3  cup cornstarch

3    cups milk

3    large eggs, separated

3    Tbsp. butter, softened

 tsp. vanilla

¼    tsp. cream of tartar

¼    cup sugar

9-inch pre-baked pie shell

 

Beat the 3 egg yolks till thick and lemon colored; set aside.  In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa, salt and cornstarch. Add about one cup of the milk. With a large whisk, stirring constantly, gradually add the milk, cooking until it thickens and come to a low boil.  Boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat. Add about 1 cup of the hot mixture to the egg yolks, stirring well and then pour mixture into the boiler. (this is called “tempering the eggs).  Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.  Pour into cooled pie shell.  The hot filling helps cook the meringue.

 

Meringue:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed till foamy.  Gradually add the sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time; increase speed  to high and beat till stiff peaks form.  Spread immediately on hot filling and bake in oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, till golden brown on top. Very rich…8 servings

. Always buy large eggs when baking cakes unless recipe states otherwise.

.

When separating eggs, separate the whites from the yolks when you take them out of the fridge, they separate easier when they're cold. Then let them come to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before using.

Pre-Baked Pie Crust

Preheat oven to 425º.  To keep the crust from puffing up, place a basket type coffee filter in bottom of crush (flatten out) and pour some dried black-eyed peas or beans in bottom, spreading out. (you don’t need a lot, just cover most of the paper)   Bake Pie shell 10 minutes. After baking for about 10 minutes (don’t let the edges burn), carefully remove the paper and beans and continue baking about 4 minutes till bottom of crust is light brown.   Remove from oven and cool.

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