published Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Blackberry cake delicious, easy to make

Welcome to Fare Exchange. The business at hand: A steak on the stovetop calls for extra flavor. To that end, GG wrote, "I don't have a grill, so I have to either use my oven or the stovetop to cook steak. Does someone have a good steak marinade they could share? My steak turns out tasteless and often tough."

And for some people in my neighborhood, here's an early holiday call for a big-batch muffin mix containing both All Bran and Raisin Bran cereals ... and another call for any muffin batter that may be made ahead and dispensed at will ... for a special-occasion applesauce cake, perhaps even an applesauce pound cake.

Finally, does anybody have a recipe for oatmeal breakfast bars made with Ideal brown sugar substitute?

Linda Morris of Lookout Mountain writes to "answer a reader's request for blackberry cake. This is a delicious, easy-to-prepare recipe."

Blackberry Cake

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup shortening

2 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup blackberries, fresh or frozen, drained

Heat oven to 350 F. Cream sugar, shortening and eggs. Mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, cocoa and salt, and add to shortening mixture. Add buttermilk; fold in blackberries.

Bake in a Bundt pan in oven 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Blackberry Topping

2 cups blackberries (fresh or frozen)

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup white grape juice

1/3 cup brandy (optional)

In a medium saucepan, mash 1 cup of the berries. Dissolve cornstarch in lemon juice; add to the berries, along with grape juice and half of the brandy (if using). Heat until thickened and fairly clear. Add the remaining whole berries and warm through.

I only pour this over the cake warmed when serving individual slices, but one can pour over the entire cake and let it soak in. Either way, it will certainly be delicious.

Mrs. Morris added this one in answer to the request for pumpkin muffins; so far she has used it in a loaf pan, but she doesn't know why it couldn't be made in muffin tins. Adjust baking time accordingly.

Pumpkin Bread

2 cups (15-ounce can) pumpkin

2 cups sugar

2/3 cup butter

1/2 cup water

3 eggs

21/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons soda

1 teaspoon salt

11/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

2/3 cup chopped nuts

2/3 cup raisins or dates (optional)

Heat oven to 325 F. Grease 2 loaf pans (9- by 5-inch).

In a large bowl, cream pumpkin, sugar, butter, water and eggs. Beat 1 minute at medium speed. Mix flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves; add to pumpkin mix. Beat 1 minute, then stir in nuts and raisins.

Pour in pans and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of loaves comes out dry and clean. Cool about 15 minutes in pans on wire rack, then turn out.

This next one is from our perennial correspondent Barbara. Who would have thought of a macaroni and cheese soup?

Macaroni and Cheese Soup

11/2 cups dry elbow macaroni

1/2 cup onion, minced

1/4 cup celery, minced

1/4 cup minced carrot

4 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup wine or sherry

2 cups whole milk

2 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

4 cups sharp cheddar, grated by hand (see note)

Salt, to taste

Garnish:

1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled

2 tablespoons minced chives

Cook macaroni in a pot of salted water; drain and set aside. Sweat onion, celery and carrot in butter over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour to coat, and cook 1 minute.

Deglaze with wine, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Then whisk in milk and broth along with dry mustard, cayenne pepper and nutmeg, and warm through. Do not let boil or base may become grainy.

Add Cheddar 1 cup at a time, allowing it to melt completely before adding the next cup. Stir in macaroni and salt; remove from heat. Top with garnish.

Note: Grate cheddar cheese by hand. Packaged shredded cheese has an anticaking agent that can be grainy when melted.

And finally, also from Barbara, here's a well-tested recipe for angel biscuits, a delicacy made lighter by the addition of yeast.

Angel Biscuits

1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening, cut into pieces

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

11/2 cups buttermilk

Heat oven to 400 F. Combine yeast and warm water in a 1-cup glass measuring cup; let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; cut in shortening and butter with a pastry blender until crumbly.

Combine yeast mixture and buttermilk and add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead about 1 minute.

Roll dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch round cutter or into 2-inch squares. Place on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400 F for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden.

Cinnamon-Raisin Angel Biscuits: Substitute 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar for 2 tablespoon sugar. Stir in 1 cup baking raisins, 2 teaspoons lemon zest and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon into flour mixture in Step 2. Proceed with recipe as directed.

Time-saving tip: Prepare recipe as directed through Step 3. Instead of rolling out, shape dough into a disk; store in a glass, airtight container in refrigerator up to 5 days. Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes. Roll, cut and bake as directed in Steps 4-5. Unbaked biscuits may be frozen on a baking sheet and covered with plastic wrap for 2 hours. Transfer frozen biscuits to a zip-top plastic freezer bag and freeze up to 1 month. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before baking as directed.

This recipe came from Southern Living.

The prospect of Thanksgiving and beloved faces around the table is a preoccupying vision for me right now, and I bet I'm not alone. Please rush answers to those questions above, as we've all got work to do.

To Reach Us

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