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Cooking with Crevolyn: Baking memories with pound cake, peppermint
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

We are right in the middle of the Christmas season and that just calls for some quality time spent in the kitchen. The smell of pies baking, cider simmering and chestnuts roasting on an open fire ­­­— personally, I’d prefer toasted pecans — seems to bring to mind some wonderful family times spent together.

Some of our fondest family memories are made when we are all in the kitchen baking. When our daughter, Emily, was in high school, we began a “baking day” tradition which consisted of an entire day dedicated to whipping up decorated sugar cookies of all shapes and sizes, as well as pies or cakes, depending on what our sweet tooth might be craving. Once she went to college, we would put this designated day just for meeting in the kitchen on the calendar months in advance so our busy schedules wouldn’t pre-empt it from happening.  We looked forward to spending time together and sharing those goodies with our family and friends. Sweet memories were made with my girl. 

Last year, as I was puttering around in the kitchen thinking about Christmas, I decided I might like to create a signature Christmas cake. Remember, I’ve told y’all everyone needs a signature dish of some kind. So given my love of pound cake, red velvet, peppermint and cream cheese, this cake came to be. I encourage you to put on your Christmas apron — you really do need one — and make some sweet memories with those you love. 

Red velvet peppermint pound cake

For cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup all-vegetable shortening
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 medium eggs
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bottle red food coloring
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 10-inch tube pan with butter and dust with flour or sugar to coat.

Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.

Cream shortening, butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add cocoa, vanilla, peppermint extract, salt and food coloring. Mix well.

Add alternately the flour mixture and the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Combine well.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes or until pick comes out clean.

Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool completely on wire rack before icing.

For icing:

  • 12 soft peppermints
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) cream cheese
  • 1 box powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Hard peppermint candies, for garnish

Put soft peppermint candies in a resealable bag and crush. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese. Gradually add powdered sugar and then the vanilla. Cream until smooth.

Divide the icing in half. Add crushed soft peppermint candies to half and spread on top of cake. Spread the other half on the side of the cake.

Place hard peppermint candies around base of cake for garnish.

Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at crevolyn.wiley@jandjfoods.com.

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