Grassland Butter is my Secret Ingredient for my Best-ever Butter Cake


This is plain and simple butter cake…but made extra rich, extra creamy and extra special with Grassland butter.   Butter is the most important ingredient in this cake and Wisconsin’s  Grassland butter is the perfect choice.   “Ask for Grassland product at your local grocer” to make your cakes, cookies and pastries this winter.  Grassland’s wholesome quality and fresh-from-the-farm goodness make everything taste better.  For more information about Grassland and its products, visit the website at

Best-ever Butter Cake

1 ½ cups (3 sticks) Grassland unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar, divided
9 pieces large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon Nielsen Massey Orange Extract
1/4 teaspoon Nielsen Massey Lemon Extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 1/4  cups cake flour, sifted
3 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup evaporated milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease, line and grease again three 9 x 5 inch loaf pans; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt to aerate;  set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and 1 cup sugar until stiff but not dry.  In another large bowl, cream butter and remaining 1 cup sugar until butter turns pale.  Add the egg yolks one at a time and beat until blended.   Mix in extracts.  Using low speed of electric mixer, add flour mixture alternately with milk and beat until blended.  Fold in beaten egg whites into the butter mixture.  Divide cake batter into prepared pans.  Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Many thanks to Christine Lindner (of Flavorful Insights)for sharing this press release…

Grassland Butter: The Secret Ingredient for Holiday Baking

Greenwood, Wisconsin, November 30, 2012— This season bake sweet holiday memories with Grassland Butter. It’s pure, natural, unparalleled flavor and texture, makes holiday favorites taste even better. Whether you’re baking up dozens of blissful butter-rich breakfast croissants, chocolate pecan cookies or peppermint whoopie pies with your little helpers — the creamery rich flavor of butter will come through in every bite.

Butter is synonymous with holiday baking. For the best baked goods start with the best ingredients. Grassland Butter is the essential holiday baking ingredient. For more than a century, Grassland has been producing quality butter and is currently the largest family-owned butter creamery in the world, producing one-third of the U.S. butter. Choose from Grassland’s Salted or Unsalted Butter to baked up signature holiday favorites.

As the butter experts, Grassland offers the following holiday “Butter Bits” and tips with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Inc.:

Use unsalted butter with when baking – its delicate flavor brings out the best in these types of foods.

For melt-in-your-mouth cookies, use slightly softened, unsalted butter. With its low melting point, butter helps make cookies soft and chewy on the inside, but crisp and golden on the outside.

For flakier pie crusts and puff pastries, keep butter as hard and cold as possible prior to use. The flaky texture is produced when cold pieces of butter, trapped between thin layers of dough, melt during baking, creating small air pockets.

Store butter in its original packaging or in a sealed container in the coldest part of the refrigerator, not in the refrigerator door. Keep butter away from foods with strong odors or distinct flavors.

Founded in 1904, the Wuethrich family has spent more than a century crafting award-winning butter. As the world’s largest family-owned butter creamery located in Greenwood, the heart of central Wisconsin, Grassland knows butter producing one third of the U.S. butter. As a leader in innovation with uncompromising quality, Grassland offers a medley of fine butter products specially developed and packed for retail, foodservice and industrial dairy customers. Grassland’s enticing menu of award-winning butter products for dining, cooking, baking and confectionery creations delivers unmatched quality and pure flavor every time.

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“Light not so sweet” Tres leches cake

Here’s sharing recipe for the tres leches cake I baked and brought to our “Taco Monday”.

“Light not so sweet” Tres leches cake

Sponge Cake
1 1/2 cups unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/3 cup cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond flavoring

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set them aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  Add 1/2 cup sugar gradually and continue beating until stiff peaks form.  Set them aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until they’re pale yellow, thick and fluffy.  Add the remaining 1 cup sugar and continue beating until the mixture falls from the beaters in ribbons.  Add the 1/3 cup cold water and flavorings to the egg yolk mixture, then stir in the dry ingredients. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites.

Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch pan.  Spoon the batter into the pan, and level it with a spatula.  Bake the cake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for 28 to 30 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes

Tres Leches Soaking Mix:
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon rum or brandy or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk together the three milks and the rum or brandy if you are using it. While the cake is in the pan, poke holes all over the cake using fork.  Slowly pour the liquid over the cooled cake.  Refrigerate for three hours, or overnight if possible.

Frost with cool whip and garnish top with chopped maraschino cherries.
More photos from our Taco Monday Party…

tacos anyone?

carne asada i think..not sure

cooked ground beef

guacamole and tomatillo salsa

oh so good!

A “Culinary Massage” treat for a great Mom

Veronica Leighton — she is one dearest Mom to her “large” family and deserves all the love this wonderfully sweet Mother’s Day.

No flowers from me … I baked her a moist chocolate cake (recipe follows) and worked on her sooo-tired muscles, after weeks of preparing for the Filipino American Hall of Fame Awards.  And she loved the my brand of pampering….a full body Swedish massage.

Happy Mother’s Day my mommie dear Veronica!

Moist Chocolate Cake for Mommie Dearest Veronica

2 cups water (if there is left over brewed coffee, use it, adding enough water to equal 2 cups)
2 cups sugar
4 squares (4 oz) unsweetened chocolate
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) margarine
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.  Turn off heat.  Add chocolate squares and margarine, stirring until chocolate is melted.  Let cool slightly.   Beat eggs lightly, and temper with few spoons of warm chocolate mixture before mixing well with the chocolate.   Stir in vanilla.

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease, line with wax paper and grease again a 9 x 13 baking pan.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, aerate the remaining dry ingredients using a wire whisk.  Add the chocolate mixture and beat at medium speed until smooth and well-mixed.   Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until done and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean.    Cool completely.  Spread some chocolate frosting on top .

Chocolate Frosting
(Adapted from The Goldilocks Bakeshop)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter

Combine and cook all ingredients, except vanilla and butter, in a double boiler.    Stir continuously until the consistency thickens.   Turn off heat and stir in vanilla and butter.  Transfer to a bowl to cool prior to use, stirring occasionally.

“Like A Cinnamon Roll” Cake

I’ve been seeing this recipe in various food blogs I recently visited…cinnamon roll, of course, it got me intrigued.  So I studied the recipe before deciding whether or not it’s worth a try.   Great comments left by homebakers who already tried it…good, that’s encouraging enough for me.   I made few changes (haha, just a few this time!), I took notes from Todd Wilbur’s clone Cinnamon Roll recipe (have you tried his new CMT TV cinnabon recipe yet? you can find it in CMT facebook) as to the cinnamon roll ingredients.  Particularly, addition of baking soda (gives that nice brown coloration) and use of margarine and buttermilk instead of butter and whole milk in the cake batter.

It baked nicely, just needed few more minutes than the baking time provided in the original recipe.  Of course, cinnamon roll is better, but when you take into consideration that it takes more than a day to make and enjoy homebaked cinnamon rolls, a cinnamon roll cake is a delicious alternative.  I love the cake, my friend Mike (poor Mike, he’s diabetic, and had to take pills to enjoy 2 slices of the cinnamon roll cake that he just couldn’t resist) enjoyed the cake as well.   Here’s the recipe:

And it doesn’t even have to be warm to enjoy its wonderful tastes.  Whip up your favorite cream cheese icing (thinned a bit with milk or liquid coffee creamer) if wicked rich topping is your thing.

Cinnamon Swirl Paste:
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon (bought from Costco)

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons buttermilk powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups whole milk (if using 1 1/2 cups liquid buttermilk, omit buttermilk powder)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine, melted

1 cup powdered sugar
enough milk or liquid coffee creamer to thin glaze (a teaspoon at a time)
1/8 teaspoon Nielsen-Massey lemon extract

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease (pam spray), line bottom with parchment paper and grease again a 9 x 13 baking pan; set aside.

Mix together cinnamon paste ingredients in a medium bowl using a fork.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients to aerate: flour, sugar, buttermilk powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.   Add eggs and vanilla to whole milk, whisk together in a liquid measuring cup and add to flour mixture.  Beat well to combine using an electric mixer.  Slowly stir in melted margarine and mix until smooth.  Pour into the prepared pan.   Gently drop cinnamon swirl paste evenly over the batter and swirl (or make some circular movements all over top of cake batter) using the fork used to make the paste.   Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan in wire rack.

Mix glaze ingredients in a small bowl and drizzle over the cake (I do circular patterns again).   Let glaze set before cutting into squares.

Charming cake with personality and famous name…you’ll love it!

Simple Sinful Chocolate Cake

This month is love month and it’s a valid excuse to fall in love with Chocolates (I still have truffles and chocolate barks in my fridge from last Christmas and I just need to turn them into something something soon;  but if they were Cadbury and Kit Kat bars, they’d all be gone!)again.   So candies out, but a chocolate cake worth sharing to loved ones and friends (readers and viewers too) was the order of the day.   It’s been a while since I baked a “real” chocolate cake, I meant, from scratch, nope, not from a box this time.    And I’m using “real” chocolates — squares, chips or discs…nope, no cocoa powder, one that I’d melt (and “melt” is a lovely Valentine’s Day word).

No best-kept secrets, really, to a simple but darn good chocolate cake.  It’s got to be delicious and moist, it’s got to be chocolatey-rich, it’s got to be simple.   My aunt Linda Jardeleza Cruz, back in my Iloilo days, would bake her chocolate cake in her electric oven and make everyone go gaga from the “deliciously intoxicating” smell of her freshly-baked cake.   I could only guess it was courtesy of unsweetened baking chocolate squares, instead of cocoa powder in the cake batter.  I also remember I would frequent Cookie Monster in Makati after work to get my regular dose of chocolate goodness via its Moist Chocolate Cake with Natilla Filling and Plain Cooked Chocolate Frosting (the best chocolate cake ever!).  It’s hightime that I should also say “thank you” to my baking instructor in QC for sharing her “years of baking experience” techniques of making a moist chocolate cake — one of which was making sure that the cake batter is of a “runny” (not creamy) consistency.

Recently I made this chocolate for my CPRTV “CelebrEATy Circle” segment — a “no-frosting” required, moist single-layer chocolate cake and served with a knockout chocolate sauce.  And it was a big hit!  Titah V emailed me right away…”di ko malaman what happened to your choco cake today.  nilantakan at gustung-gusto talaga ng lahat. gumusto pang umulit ng iba (pero) wala na.”   In simple translation — Chocolate Cake means happy tummy, lol!  And in the spirit of “love month” I share this no-fuss but darn good chocolate cake, but with this fair warning…”This chocolate cake may cause cake tasters crowding at your  dinner table and cutting right away into “just taken out from the oven” cake, so I’d strongly suggest for you to make a double batch”.

A delicious chocolate cake that I love to make, it’s just combining all ingredients in one bowl, so simple.    To serve, cut baked cooled cake into squares and drizzle with rich chocolate sauce.

3 (1 oz each) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate discs or chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream

Cake Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease-line with parchment paper and grease again a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.   Set aside.  Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and whisk using low speed of electric mixer to aerate; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter or margarine with the sugars until well blended, using an electric mixer.   Add eggs one at a time and then beat in vanilla and melted chocolate.   Beat in flour mixture and sour cream, mixing well until batter is smooth.  Stir in boiling water.   Transfer to prepared baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 (it’s 45 minutes in my oven) or wooden skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Cool in the baking pan for 10 minutes (it didn’t happen with the cake I made, the girls were in a “chocolate binge eating mode).  Cut into squares, and serve with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Sauce Preparation
In a microwaveable bowl, zap chocolates and heavy cream for a minute.  Stir.  Zap again in 30 seconds interval, stirring well, until well combined and chocolate fully melted and creamy.

Tip:   To melt baking chocolate squares, place baking chocolate squares in a liquid measuring cup and zap for 1 minute.  Stir briskly.   Put back in the microwave for extra 10 to 15 seconds if needed.

Triple-tested this recipe…and works everytime…my friends really love this cake!

BOB RECIPE: Blueberry Lemon Walnut Bread

Great combination of summer flavors!
from:  Southern Grove
Product:  Shelled Walnuts

Yield:  12 servings

1 cup shelled walnuts, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 cup blueberries

3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Spread a single layer of walnuts onto a baking sheet.  Toast walnuts in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes (until light brown) then let cool.

Using a whisk, mix all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.  Using a whisk, mix sugar, lemon zest, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, melted butter and oil in a medium bowl.  Pour liquid ingrediens into a pit created in the center of the dry ingredients and lightly combine.  Take care not to over mix.  Introduce chopped walnuts and blueberries by folding into mixture.

Flour and grease an 8 x 4 (I’d use a 9 x 5) loaf pan.  Spread mixture into prepared loaf pan.  Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour (If using a tester, insert into center, baking complete when tester comes out clean).    When finished baking, let cool for 20 minutes on rack, removing from pan and cool to room temperature.

To create a glaze, add sugar and lemon juice to a small saucepan.  Boil over high heat, then reduce.  Stir until sugar has dissolved.  Brush on glaze while bread is still warm.

Peach Crumb Cake

Even before I’d bake this new crumb cake this weekend, I’m already enjoying the wonderful fresh peach scent in my mind.    Who can resist a cake that smells exactly like a basket of fresh peaches!  This new recipe that made it to my inbox today is really making me wish weekend’s already here.  It’s on top of my to-do list this weekend.

A golden crumb cake that tastes like cream-filled ladyfingers mingled with juicy peaches.

1 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking soda
2¼ cups flour
1 cup sugar
¾ cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp kosher salt
2½ cups canned sliced peaches, drained well

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2) In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine sour cream and baking soda. Set aside.

3) In a food processor, combine flour, sugar and butter. Pulse on and off until blended and crumbly, 10-15 seconds. Remove and set aside 1 cup of the flour mixture for the cake topping.

4) Add the eggs, vanilla, baking powder, salt and sour cream to the remaining mixture in the food processor. Pulse 4 times on and off, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Do not overmix.

5) Spread half of the batter in the prepared baking pan. Place sliced peaches atop and cover with remaining batter. Sprinkle reserved crumbs to cover the top of the cake.

6) Bake 48-50 minutes or until the cake is lightly browned around the edges. Note that testing the center of the cake with a toothpick won’t give an accurate result as the peaches are wet and the toothpick will come out wet even when the cake is fully baked.

BITE ME: A Stomach-Satisfying, Visually Gratifying, Fresh-Mouthed Cookbook
by Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat   Kyle Books; November 2010; Softcover/$24.95