Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cookbook Sundays

Does anybody remember going to a carnival or a fair, where they had those splatter paint machines?  You  paid $1 or so and they put in a white sheet of paper and the machine started spinning it around and you could put squirts of paint on it.....and you "Jackson Pollock" masterpiece was born?
Well that's what my cupcake decorating reminds me of: Splatter Paint.   I was supposed to "swirl" the red food coloring into the white frosting, but, I splattered.
Nevertheless, they tasted good--and were quick and easy.
While technically not a book,  I am using this magazine recipe for my entry into "Cookbook Sundays" Hosted by Brenda at  Brenda's Canadian Kitchen.  She did the same thing a few Sundays ago... we (as in we cookbook collectors) hang on to certain (we think wonderful) cooking magazines, so they become part of our collection, and as long as we are counting down, we must also count our magazines as part of our cookbook stockpile.    And that magazine would be the  2002 edition of Betty Crocker's  Fall Baking.
It really is a wonderful magazine, chock full of great recipes for desserts, cookies, pies, cakes and cobblers, and since (to steal a line from Sheila at  One Person's Journey through a World of Books),   we are throwing the "f" word around here like crazy,  (f-word, f-word, f-word) because it feels like FALL,  and in the FALL, I feel like baking, so I did.
I made "Red Velvet Cupcakes"  (with splatter paint frosting).  I love Red Velvet Cake....the memory of it.  I've only had it once and it was made by scratch from my friend Julie.  It was moist and delicious.  I've always loved that memory of her cake.  I've just never taken the time to make one myself...until I found this shortcut in the Betty Crocker Fall Baking Magazine.
It was easy-peasy.  A Cake mix and a bottle of red food coloring.    Of course, nothing can compare with a homemade version of this Southern Classic, but in a pinch?  I would do this again.  It was a good recipe.

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 tsp water
1 bottle (1oz) red food color
1 box of Betty Crocker Supermoist devils food cake mix
1 1/4  cups water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 container of Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy cream cheese frosting.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Place paper baking cups in each of 24 regular-sized muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp of water and a few drops of red food coloring, set aside

In a large bowl mix the rest of the ingredients  (excerpt frosting) well, and divide batter into the muffin cups.

Bake 18-20 minutes  (or 15 if you are above 3500 feet)  Cool 10 minutes then remove to colling rack and cool another 30 minutes before frosting.
Frost the tops of the cupcakes with frosting.  Using a fine-tip brush, paint cupcakes with red food color, swirling paint to create design.  Store loosely covered at room temp.

This is my entry for Cookbook Sundays and Weekend Cooking hosted by 'Beth Fish Reads"  (she reads, shethinks, she photographs.  She cooks too! Great Website)  and Potluck Sunday  nosted by Tina at   Mommy's Kitchen  And my own...Cookbook Countdown


This might seem like a strange segue into  Hillside letters,  but I've been wanting to mention them for a while... since my son and his wife moved very close to a Hillside letter.
WHAT is a Hillside letter, you East Coasteners and Southerners are asking?   LOOK, LOOK at my pictures of Hillside letters! 

Lovelock,  NV  (look hard)

Winnemucca---my "high desert" NV town.

Reno, NV

In the west (of the United States anyway)  The letter of a town, or high school or university is displayed high on a hill above town so that anyone who is driving thru can see your letter.  This is  a source of pride and is all very well and  good, unless you live in town just down the road from me--Battle Mountain, NV---and you have a big BM on your hill for all the world to see.
The first Hillside letter appeared in March of 1905 in  San Francisco--the students of the University of California refer to that hill as "the big C"--the students of Berkeley launched a tradition that changed the American Landscape--in the west.

(this is a picture from the book Hillside Letters  A to Z --A Guide to Hometown Landmarks by Evelyn Corning.  You can see--mostly Hillside letters reign in the west.  Maybe because we have hills to put them on?)

In our town the 'W' is mysteriously painted green on St. Patrick's Day...and then fades back to white thru-out the rest of the year. (we have 5 Irishmen, who get drunk and hike up the hill in the middle of the night every year and paint it green...all the little kids think it's the leprechauns who've done it)
Maintenance is actually quite involved--that's why usually (not always),  Hillside letters are in a college town, so that the college kids can take care of it..

The history of  hillside letters is really very interesting...and unique to the west.   You should google it.
Here is a link to Hillside letters.


Karen said...

I don't think I've ever had Red Velvet cake! I went to school in Parker, AZ for a year and we had a "P" mountain :)

Brenda said...

Debbie, that's a cookbook in my book. I have so many of those and I'll definitely be using them off and on. I love the "splatter". I think it looks very pretty and absolutely delicious. Thanks for linking up and have a great Sunday!

bermudaonion said...

I loved red velvet cake until I actually made one and realized how much red dye goes into them.

Mary at Deep South Dish said...

Your cupcakes look marvelous and this is the first I've ever heard of hillside letters! I'm glad at my age that I can say I still learn new things LOL!! ;) Seriously, that sounds like such a southern thing to do, I'm sure if we had more hills like those around these parts there'd be plenty of hillside letters. Not too much on hills at least in this part of the south, but there are some north of here. Wonder why it hasn't caught on in the deep south?

JoAnn said...

I don't think I've ever had red velvet cake, but your cupcakes look delicious!!

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