Posts Tagged With: General Mills

88/365: National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

Paula Deen must hate today’s food holiday. Not because we celebrate a cake…but because that cake is made without butter. Gasp! What a travesty! Happy National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day.

A chiffon cake is very light and airy and is made with eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and – instead of butter – vegetable oil. This is considered a “foam ” cake, similar to angel food, and gets it’s fluffy texture from beating egg whites until they’re stiff. Traditionally you’ll want to use a baseball bat, but if one isn’t available, a mixer will suffice. Since no butter means no flavor less flavor less rich flavor, chiffon cakes are typically served with flavorful sauces, such as chocolate or fruit filling. Hence, lemons.

California insurance agent-turned-caterer Harry Baker invented the chiffon cake in 1927. You might say he traded in policies for pastriesDeductibles for delectables. Commissions for…well, you get the picture. The point is, Baker became a baker. A smart one, too: he took regular ol’ sponge cake and added cooking oil to turn it into chiffon. And because he was running a successful catering company, he kept his recipe secret for twenty years, until finally selling it to General Mills. In 1948, a pamphlet was released by Betty Crocker, containing 14 different chiffon cake recipes. It became popular seemingly overnight, and soon became synonymous with weddings. Which means, many chiffon cakes over the years have ended up smeared across the faces of brides and grooms. Oh, the inhumanity.

We tried to take the easy way out today, searching high and low for a lemon chiffon cake in a couple of different grocery stores, but had no luck. We could have bought a cake from the local bakery, but $18 was a bit steep, so Tara decided to make one herself. It turned out fantastic! Tall and fluffy and lemony.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Categories: Desserts, Pastry | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

27/365: National Chocolate Cake Day

January 27th is one of those days where you can have your cake and eat it, too! In fact, if you’re celebrating National Chocolate Cake Day – like we are – that’s pretty much an order! What a delicious order, too. Few things in this world are more sweetly satisfying than chocolate cake.

Cake has been around for a long time. The word dates back to the Viking times and the Old Norse word “kaka.” Umm…I’m glad we modernized the spelling, because around these parts “kaka” means something else entirely (and is most definitely NOT tasty). Cakes, breads, and pastries were interchangeable back then, and basically all referred to anything that was bread or bread-like. Modern cakes are sweet, and associated with special occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and vasectomies. Once upon a time baking a cake took real skill, but in the 1930s the first boxed cake mix was introduced by the Duff Company. Duncan Hines and General Mills followed suit with cake mixes that required nothing more than the addition of water. They were so easy, even a caveman could make them! Hey, that would make a good tagline for some company…

Today, the most popular cake is chocolate. There are dozens of varieties: Black Forest, Devil’s Food, Ganache, German Chocolate, Molten Chocolate, Red Velvet…the list is endless. Tara made one of her favorite recipes. I’ll let her tell you all about it! 

Wow…Mark actually asked me if I wanted to contribute this time.  He’s such a blog hog!  😉

Anyway, the chocolate cake recipe.  It’s awesome.  I found it in one of those Parade newspaper inserts several years ago and though I was a little bit leery of making a cake from scratch, I quickly found it was very easy.  It’s also the right blend of moist and not too sweet, which is a plus for someone (me) that can tear through half an entire cake in one night.  Okay…that only happened one time and it had been a helluva week.

Buttermilk Brownie Cake


2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup reduced-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease a 15″x10″ baking dish (I used my 9×13, it works fine)

Combine sugar, flour, and cocoa.  Mix well

Combine water, oil, and butter in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil.  Add to flour mixture and mix well.

Add buttermilk, baking soda, eggs, and vanilla.  Beat well and pour into pan.  Bake 20-25 minutes until a wooden pick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool.


1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup reduced-fat buttermilk
1 pound confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine butter, cocoa, and buttermilk in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil. Remove from heat.

Gradually beat in confectioners sugar and vanilla until well blended.  Spread evenly over cake.


Chocolate Cake

Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

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