New Castle News

October 19, 2013

Culinary Conversation: Found recipe takes the cake

Lugene Hudson
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Cooking is about sharing as much as it is putting ingredients together.

Culinary Conversation is a sharing column and we always welcome your contributions.

Some years back, I worked at a radio station where there was a call-in cooking program. As you can imagine, I collected some phenomenal recipes. I recall making a cake that was so wonderful that I reach for words to describe it. So I dug through my folder that contained cake recipes and it was nowhere to be found. I set aside the folder and then went back and dug through the hundreds of clipped recipes from magazines again. Now I was on a mission to track down this recipe.

This marvelous mocha walnut cake recipe was provided by a woman named Sue who lived in the Warren, Ohio, area. Two layers are baked in round 9-inch pans. Then this delectable, whipped cream mocha frosting with instant coffee goes between the layers, and on the top and sides of the cake. It is finished with walnut halves.

By now, my mouth was watering. I was near obsession level with finding and making this recipe. I discovered one that came close but close wasn’t quite good enough.

Then, as luck would happen, there it was — stains and all and in Sue’s neat printing. My note says simply: very good.

Anytime Sue contributed a recipe, I knew it would be excellent. And she picked a real winner with this one.

If you love coffee flavoring, then you’ll love this cake. Don’t worry that the batter appears thin. It’s OK. And there is enough.

And because we’re all about sharing today, I have a potpourri of more recipe treasures to pass along. One, in particular, can be saved for the holidays because just about everyone loves pumpkin desserts this time of year.

Old or new recipes — we love them all at Culinary Conversation and look forward to hearing from you.

Walnut Mocha Torte

Grease and lightly flour two 8x1 1/2-inch round baking pans.

Combine the nuts, flour and baking powder.

In a blender, blend eggs, sugar and vanilla with blender covered until smooth. Add nut mixture. Cover; blend until smooth. Transfer to pans. Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes or until done. Cool 10 minutes on wire racks. Remove from pans; cool. Spread mocha frosting between layers, and on top and sides of cake. Top with nut halves. Chill several hours.

Mocha Frosting:

In a small mixer bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon crushed instant coffee crystals in 1 cup whipping cream. Beat on low speed until slightly thickened. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Sift together 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and add to whipped cream mixture. Beat until thick. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Chicken Linguine

Cook linguine according to package directions; drain. Sauté onions, mushrooms and celery in margarine and oil until limp. Add garlic, parsley, oregano, basil, if used, salt and pepper, and sauté 3 minutes. Remove vegetables with slotted spoon and set aside. Sauté chicken 10 minutes turning often. Remove chicken and set aside.

Add flour to pan and gradually add chicken broth. Stir until smooth. Add clams, chicken, vegetables, lemon juice and wine. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. Serve over linguine. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.

Sautéed Scallops

Dredge scallops in flour.

Heat oil in large skillet with butter. Add garlic and cook until garlic is brown. Remove garlic. Add scallops and sauté until lightly browned. Add thyme and wine. Simmer 1 to 2 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie Cake

Measure 1 cup from package of yellow cake mix and reserve.

In large bowl, mix remaining cake mix with butter and egg until crumbly. Press lightly into 9x13-inch pan. In same bowl, mix pumpkin pie mix, eggs and milk. Pour into prepared crust.

Sprinkle with a mixture of the reserved cake mix, sugar, butter and cinnamon. Bake at 350 for 45 to  minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Low-Fat Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 10x15-inch jelly roll pan with waxed paper. Whisk together cocoa, sugar and boiling water. Cool to lukewarm.

Prepare cake mix per package directions, using 1 1/4 cups water and adding cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly in the pan.

Bake 20 minutes or until top looks dry. Invert onto a large wire rack. Remove the pan and waxed paper. Cool.

In a medium bowl, dissolve coffee in milk. Add topping and pudding mixes. Beat on low speed until moistened. Beat at high speed until soft peaks form. Chill 5 minutes.

Cut cake crosswise into thirds. Stack and cover each layer and top of cake with topping. Chill 2 hours.

 *One serving has 261 calories and 1.5 grams of fat.

(Note: Most recipes have not been tested.)