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Loves creativity of baking cakes

By Staff | Dec 4, 2009

By KRISS NELSON/Farm News staff writer

GRANGER – Sally Kilkenny has been actively baking, entering and winning food contests since she was a young child.

Kilkenny, who is a one-on-one teacher’s associate for Woodward-Granger school district, enjoys the creativity that goes with baking.

She started with cookies and eventually started baking cakes. “Cakes and cupcakes are fun and creative, more than a drop cookie,” Kilkenny said.

It all started, she said, when Kilkenny became active in 4-H. 4-H not only was the beginning for Kilkenny learning how to cook, but it was also when she started her hobby of entering food contests.

She participated throughout her entire 4-H career. In 1991, as an adult, she started entering food competitions at the Iowa State Fair.

“I used to make cookies that everyone liked so I entered that one cookie and did well so I decided to enter more the next year,” she said.

Kilkenny said she primarily enters desserts, but has also excelled in appetizer categories as well as in jams.

At this year’s Iowa State Fair, she was awarded “Best Cake Overall” for her entry of a Persian love cake.

She said she comes up with ideas of foods to make by using the Internet and paying attention to reviews given to the foods.

Sally Kilkenny has enjoyed entering food competitions since her younger days in 4-H.

“I find a lot of recipes on the Internet,” said Kilkenny. “I will always read the feedback, and maybe tweak the recipe to make it a little different.”

When it comes to preparing competition recipes, she offers some advice to would-be competitors.

“I always use quality ingredients, for competitions especially,” she said.

Kilkenny also suggested writing on the side of one’s spice jar the purchase date and to replace them often. She will also use ingredients such as fresh cream and eggs that she will buy from the Picket Fence Creamery in nearby Woodward.

In addition to fresh, quality ingredients, Kilkenny also recommended using the proper equipment.

“Use the right pans, the right size and tools,” she said.

Persian love cake

1 cup cake flour

14 tablespoons sugar, divided in half

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

6 tablespoons water

1/4 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/4 teaspoon whole green cardamom seeds

Preheat oven to 325-degrees.

Line the bottom of two, 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and do not grease.

Separate eggs, set aside.

With mortar and pestle, crush cardamom seeds, set aside;

Combine flour and 7 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder and salt, set aside;

In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks, water, oil, lemon peel and cardamom seeds together. Add dry ingredients, mixing until smooth.

In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form, gradually add remaining 7 tablespoons of sugar until thick and glossy.

Gently fold whites into batter in three additions, divide batter between prepared pans and bake 22-25 minutes, or until cake tests done.

Remove pans to wire racks and cool 15 minutes.

Invert pans to remove cakes, cool completely (cakes can be prepared one day ahead, wrap and store at room temperature).

To assemble cake, place one layer on serving platter and generously spread with rose-scented whipped cream, top with second layer, completely frost top and sides with remaining cream.

Chill at least one hour before garnishing with candied rose petals and 1/2 cup coarsely chopped unsalted pistachio nuts.

Rose-scented whipped cream

2 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream

Pinch of saffron threads

2/3 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons rose water

Combine 1/2 cup whipping cream and saffron in a small saucepan, bring just to a boil, remove from heat, let steep 20 minutes, chill until cold.

Beat remaining two cups of cream, powdered sugar and rose water in a large mixing bowl until soft peaks form; strain in saffron cream, beat again until peaks form.

Candied rose petals

2 tablespoons meringue powder

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup superfine sugar

Petals from two organic roses

Whisk powder and water until foamy, using a small brush, coat petals on both sides with mixture, sprinkle both sides with sugar, dry on a non-stick rack at least six hours, store in an airtight container until ready to use.

Chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes

1 prepared 18.25-ounce yellow cake mix or chocolate cake mix

1 16.5-ounce roll refrigerator chocolate chip cookie dough

At least two hours ahead, and using a one tablespoon mini ice cream scoop, make at least 24 cookie balls from the dough and freeze until ready to use.

Preheat oven according to package instructions and line two, 12 cupcake pans with paper liners

Prepare cake mix according to package directions, divide batter evenly between cupcake pans, and drop one frozen cookie-dough ball into the center of each batter-filled cup.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-24 minutes, rotating pans halfway though baking, cool completely and frost with sweet chocolate butter cream or canned frosting.

Sweet chocolate butter cream

1 stick butter, room temperature

5 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup ground sweet chocolate

1/2 cup milk

Cream butter until light; alternately add remaining ingredients until desired spreading consistency is reached. With a large star tip, pipe frosting onto each cupcake and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.

Pumpkin mushroom stuffing

6 cups cubed pumpkin bread

1 cup butter

1 cup chopped celery

2 cups chopped red onion

2 cups sliced mushrooms, small portabella, cremini or porcini

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup chicken broth

Chopped pecans – optional

Spread bread cubes on a baking sheet and let dry overnight; or heat in a 200-degree oven until dry. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and butter a two-quart baking dish.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium/low heat. Saute celery and onions for about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking for eight minutes, or until tender. Add fresh herbs, salt and pepper, fold in bread cubes. Add enough broth to moisten, transfer to prepared dish and cover with foil.

Bake for 40-minutes, remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes, or until top is crisp, garnish with fresh herbs and pecans.

Irish cream truffle fudge

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup white baking chips

1/4 cup butter

3 cups powdered sugar

1 cup Irish cream liqueur

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup white baking chips

4 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur

2 tablespoons butter

Butter a 9-by-9-inch square pan; line with parchment paper, letting paper hang over on two sides. Butter paper and set aside.

In the top of a double boiler, or in the microwave, melt 3 cups semi-sweet and 1 cup white chips and 1/4 cup butter until soft enough to stir. Add powdered sugar and Irish cream stir until smooth. Add nuts.

Pour mixture into prepared pan; lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the top, press to smooth top.

Melt remaining chips in top or double boiler or microwave, with a fork, stir in remaining Irish cream and butter until smooth, remove plastic wrap from nut layer and spread mixture and again cover with plastic wrap and smooth top.

Chill until firm, lift fudge from pan using parchment paper, cut into pieces before serving.

Sprite pound cake

3 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups (three sticks) butter

6 large eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup Sprite soda (or any lemon-lime soda)

3 teaspoons lemon extract

Preheat oven to 315 degrees.

Prepare a 10-inch Bundt pan (grease and sugar) Cream sugar and butter until smooth and light in color. Add one egg at a time beating well after each addition. Add flour, stirring until combined.

Combine Sprite and extract, while mixing; add to batter until smooth, pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until tests done.

Cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto wire rack and remove cake.

Continue cooling. Cake is best if allowed to set 24 hours.

Oatmeal crispies

1 cup butter-flavored shortening

1 cup sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups quick cooking oats, toasted

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugars. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, beat in vanilla, combine the remaining ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture.

Drop by one (two for larger cookies) tablespoon measure mini-scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheet, bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove to wire racks to cool.

Sour cream gooseberry pie

1 1/2 cups fresh/frozen gooseberries

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

1 cup sour cream

2 eggs, beaten

Pastry for double-crust pie

If frozen, thaw gooseberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together gooseberries and sugar, mashing some of the berries. Let stand 15-minutes.

To gooseberry mixture, add flour, salt, eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Stir to combine evenly, spoon filling into prepared pie crust, cover with second crust, crimp edges to seal, cut decorative slits in top crust to vent steam.

Bake for 55 minutes, or until center is set. Cool at room temperature.

Contact Kriss Nelson by e-mail at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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