Monday, August 3, 2020

Anna Sultana’s Crumb Cake / The Perseid Meteor Shower

COVID-19 has made this a summer like no other.
Including here in Manitoba.
Most of our usual festivals and events have been cancelled, and we’re nervous about going out for groceries, let alone having simple get-togethers.

Parents here, as everywhere else, are worried about what to do this September.
Should children go to school, or stay home and learn on-line?
Modern technology is amazing, but it does lack that human touch.

Some events and things can be handled on-line, but others can't.
We still have to eat something solid, something that we can touch.
Virtual reality will not work for the dining room table.
Meal times and snack times demand a bit of cooking.

The take out places have been saying that NOBODY touches the food they sell.
All well and good.
I do support local businesses, but after a while one can actually get tired of take out.
Since cheesecake usually helps keep me calm, last month I posted the recipe for Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake.
It’s an old favourite, and I do love cheesecake, but just like take out, one can get tired of eating cheesecake. Really.

When I was growing up Entenmann’s Crumb Cake was a popular dessert.
Ma had a recipe for it.
Warning: the recipe requires cake flour.
If you have cake flour on your shelf, all is well and good.
If you don't have it, you can make a cake flour substitute.

If you don’t have time to make a cake flour substitute and your store doesn’t have bags of cake flour on its shelf (yes, supplies - even of staples - have been a bit erratic since the virus came), then this recipe is for you.
Time was a precious commodity in Ma's home so she often used this recipe.
It calls for regular flour and will give you a delicious crumb cake.

About the sky this month...
The annual Perseid Meteor Shower is returning, with the peak of the shower happening between August 11 to 13.
The bright meteors are a favourite summer sight, and the virus can’t stop them.

Why not bake a crumb cake and enjoy the night skies with a slice? 
The kiddies can have a glass or two of lemonade.
Piña Coladas or Strawberry Daiquiris (with or without the rum) would be appreciated by the adults.

Stay safe and well, everyone!


It your family really likes crumb toppings, the crumb recipe can be doubled.
it won't affect baking time.

If you have salted butter, don't add the 1/8 teaspoon salt.

This cake is denser than the recipe using cake flour. 
A smaller slice will be filling.

                        Crumb Cake

For the Crumb Topping
In a small bowl mix together 
1/3 Cup sugar
1/3 Cup dark brown sugar 
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1 3/4 Cups flour
Stir until the mixture is a solid dough.
Set aside to cool.

For the Cake
Place the oven rack in the upper-middle position.
Preheat oven to 350º F
Grease and flour 2 8-inch square baking pans

In a large mixer bowl place
1 Cup butter, softened
1 3/4 Cups sugar
4 large eggs 
Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

2 1/2 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
Beat at low speed just to combine.

1/2 Cup milk
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla 
Beat at low speed just to combine.

Spread the cake batter in the prepared pans.
Using a rubber spatula, spread the batter into an even layer. 

Break apart the crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread the pieces in an even layer over the batter.
Do not push the crumbs into the batter.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. 
The crumbs should be a golden brown.
A toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
Place the pans on a wire rack.
Let the cakes cool at least 30 minutes.

Just before serving dust with
confectioners' sugar 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake & Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake / Comet NEOWISE

Thanks to the COVID-19 virus we’ve been staying home for the past four months.
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.
Staying home is always better than having to stay in a hospital.
For one thing, the food is always better.

Ah… the food.
Since the virus started there's been a growing interest in home baking, especially in baking bread, particularly sourdough.

The only problem is, since we’ve been staying home eating all that bread and not going out for walks or errands unless absolutely necessary, the calories have been staying on our hips, as well as on other places.

It’s time to get back to normal and to start getting back into shape.
But we’re still in a stressful time, and occasionally need a bit of comfort food,

If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog, you know that cheesecake is my idea of the ultimate non-pasta comfort food.
Well, there are cheesecakes, and then there are cheesecakes.
Some are rich and thick and loaded with calories.
But there are cheesecake recipes that are more diet-friendly.
And many are easy to make.

The Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake is a delicate lemony dessert.
The Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake is a light and creamy dessert.
Neither recipe requires using an oven.
Looking for something for the kiddies to do? These recipes could be fun projects.

Stay safe and well, everyone!

Here are more cheesecake recipes. Enjoy!!

Cheesecake with Strawberry Glaze from the 1960’s Argo® Cornstarch Box

                        Woolworth Icebox Cheesecake

Shake well
12 ounce can evaporated milk
Place it, along with a large mixing bowl and beaters, in the freezer.
Chill for at least 1 hour.

For the crust, combine in a medium bowl
1 2/3 Cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 Cup confectioners' sugar
6 Tablespoons butter, melted 
Reserving 1/3 Cup, press the remaining mixture in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan.
Refrigerate until needed.

Place in a small mixing bowl
1/2 Cup boiling water
Stir in until completely blended
3 ounce package lemon jello
Stir in
1/2 Cup cold water
Place the bowl in the refrigerator. 
Leave it there until the jello is slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. 

Place in a large mixer bowl
8 ounces cream cheese
1 Cup granulated sugar
5 Tablespoons lemon juice 
Beat with mixer at medium speed until smooth. 
cooled thickened jello 
Beat until well blended. Refrigerate.

Take from the freezer the can of milk, the mixing bowl and beaters.
Pour into the bowl the cold can of evaporated milk
Beat on high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
It should be similar to the consistency of stiffly beaten egg whites.
Beat in the cream cheese/jello mixture.

Gently spread the filling over the chilled crumb crust.
Top with the remaining crumbs.
Refrigerate at least 4 hours. (It's better to refrigerate it overnight.)
Cut into squares and serve.

                        Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake

Spread over bottom of a 9x13 inch pan
1 1/4 Cups graham cracker crumbs
Set aside. 

2 pounds strawberries
Cut the tops off of the strawberries and slice them 1/4 inch thick.
Set aside. 

Place in a large mixer bowl
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
Beat with mixer until smooth and creamy. 
2 3.4 ounce packages instant cheesecake-flavoured pudding (or vanilla)
3 Cups milk
Mix at low speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture starts to thicken. 
Fold in
2 cups whipped topping
Blend until smooth. 

Pour half of the cream cheese mixture into the prepared pan.
Arrange half of the strawberry slices in a single layer over the cream cheese mixture. 
Cover the strawberries with 
1 Cup graham cracker crumbs
Cover with the remaining cream cheese mixture. 
Top with the remaining strawberry slices.
Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. 

When serving, top with whipped topping and a sprinkling of graham cracker crumbs. 

According to the Farmers’ Almanac:

There’ll be quite a few interesting and bright spots in the sky this month!

Along with Comet NEOWISE you’ll see the bright blue star, Vega, which will be the North Star 12,000 years from now.

If you look tonight or tomorrow, some time after midnight but before dawn, Mars will be near the Moon. Rising in the East after midnight, Mars is not as bright as Jupiter or Venus, and it’s found midway between them. 
At midnight, you’ll see the brightest "star" in the sky, the yellow-white planet Jupiter. The bright "star" to its left is Saturn. 

On July 14 Jupiter is at opposition to the Sun. 
Look in that same eastward direction before 5 AM to see the Morning Star, Venus.

On July 17 Venus will be joined by the crescent Moon and Taurus’s orange star, Aldebaran. Enjoy it at pre-dawn when it outshines Mars in the south, and Jupiter setting in the west.

On July 20 Saturn has its own opposition. It is also at its closest and brightest for the year. With the new Moon on the same night, Saturn viewing should be perfect.