chocolates and cakes

Recipes for cakes

Spread Christmas Cheer with these Decadent Cake Recipes

Christmas is a time for food, friends, family and fun. Nothing rings in the Christmas mood as temptingly as a house filled with the warmth of oven glow and an air impregnated with the aroma of cakes and cookies. Where there is food there is entertainment. So in the true spirit of Christmas giving and sharing the rare delight of gathering friends and family over the dinner table to be treated to an unforgettable meal is an occasion that no one chooses to skip by.

In the same strain, hosting dinner parties have started making style statements. Holiday feasts are now looked upon as an opportunity to showcase culinary talents. Every entertainer wishes to bask in the momentary glory of being hailed the kitchen diva! Quite naturally there is an increasing demand for recipes that are a sophisticated blend of both taste and finesse. In this space the concentration is on some delightful and decadent dessert recipes that brings together the traditional Christmas cake ingredients yet elevates it both in taste and appearance to suit any party occasion.

Christmas fruit cake This recipe is steeped in Christmas traditions. With nuts, raisins, cinnamon and whisky this cake is a twist on the traditional fruit cake recipe whose lustrous taste is sure to be a crowd pleaser.Procedure: Combine one cup each of red and golden raisins and one orange rind in a microwaveable bowl soaked in a cup of brandy for 2 minutes.

In the mean time prepare this batter. Separately cream 2 sticks of butter, with 2 cups light brown sugar, using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

Beat in 3 eggs one at a time into the creamed mixture. Now whisk in the dry ingredients comprising of 4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon each of allspice, ground cinnamon and salt.

Strain the brandy from the raisins and reserve. Stir in the raisins, pineapple and pecans into the batter.Grease two, 8 by 4 inch loaf pans and line the bottom with waxed paper to prevent sticking.

Spoon the batter into the pan. Bake for 3 hours in a pre-heated 250 degrees oven. At the end of baking time cool the cake and remove it from pan. Poke holes with a large skewer all over the cake. Douse it in reserved brandy. Set it aside in a cool dry place wrapped in cheesecloth. This recipe yields 8 to 10 servings.

Tip: Give your own twist by serving it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream atop the cake on a serving platter.

Double chocolate lava baby cakes: This dessert is rich, decadent and suitable for serving in individual portions. This pint-sized wonder packs in a surprise at its center. A dig into its heart and the miniature mountain oozes out a fountain of chocolate from its vertex.

Procedure: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease and flour six 1 to 1 1/4-cup souffl dishes or six ten ounce custard cups. Place souffl dishes on a shallow baking pan and set it aside.

Make the praline sauce - In a heavy medium saucepan

combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup packed brown sugar and two tablespoons of dark corn syrup. Stir in 1/2 cup whipping cream.

Cook over medium-high heat until boiling, stirring occassionally to prevent burning. Reduce cooking temperature and cook uncovered for 10 more minutes until it acquires a thick consistency. This recipe makes 1 cup praline sauce. Set aside until its next use.Make the cake - In a large mixing bowl break in 3 large eggs, 3 large egg yolks, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

Beat them with an electric mixer until the mixture becomes thick and pale lemon yellow. Fold in cooled and separately melted chocolate mixture into the above concoction. Sift flour and cocoa into the chocolate mixture. Stir until just combined.

Divide batter evenly into souffl dishes or custard cups. Bake for 10 minutes. Pull cakes out of oven. Using a table knife make incisions on the top of the cake until a small dime-sized hole is accomplished. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the praline sauce into the center of each cake. Return cakes into oven and complete baking for another 5 minutes till the edges are firm to the touch. Cool. Carve out the cakes from the cups into individual dessert platters.

Tip: To decorate add some toasted pecan halves to give this cake a warm, nutty flavor. Accessorize it with a drizzle of Praline sauce. Top it all with sweetened whipped cream. Serve immediately. It makes six servings.

Glazed gingerbread cake: This dessert is an improvement over the traditional gingerbread cookie made in Christmas. Lemon-glaze and crystallized ginger sparks the flavor and updates the presentation of the plain, old-fashioned gingerbread.

Procedure: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch flute pan and set aside.Sift together 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and ground ginger with 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon baking soda in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Place 1 cup of shortening in a large mixing bowl and beat it with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup packed brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add 2 large eggs and 1 cup molasses; beat until combined. Add flour mix and water alternately to the egg mixture and continue beating on low speed after each addition until combined. Pour the batter into prepared pan.Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes until a toothpick inserted at the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool and then remove from pan.

Tip: For a tasty zing add 1 cup of powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a mixing bowl. Bring it to a drizzle consistency. Carefully drizzle it over cake. Garnish with crystallized ginger strips. It yields 12 to 16 servings.

Pumpkin pound cake:A cross between a typical pumpkin cake and a fruit cake, this recipe succeeds in tying the flavors of both. This light and tender fruitcake is appropriate for sweet endings after a heavy Christmas feast.

Procedure: In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup each of granulated sugar and packed brown sugar, 3/4 cup shortening and 2 large eggs with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl as you go to get a uniform consistency. In another mixing bowl sift together 2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoon baking soda, 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground cloves, 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add flour mixture and one, 15 ounce can pumpkin alternately to the shortening mixture beating on low speed after each addition until combined. Fold in raisins, nuts and cherries.Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch fluted tube pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour. Cool completely.

Tip: When at room temperature brush the edges with orange juice and decorate with sprinkled coarse sugar. Garnish with maraschino cherries.

Berry trifle cake:This easy and portable cake is quick to whip up but is big on flavors. The creamy, fruity blend makes it ideal for the fanciest picnic spread in all Christmas seasons to come.

Procedure: For this fast recipe take some help from your neighborhood grocery store and get started with a plain, market-bought 19, 1/2 inch tart-shape sponge cake. Sprinkle the cake with 1/2 cup berry or orange juice. Set aside. Stir together a 1/4th of an 8 ounce container of whipped dessert topping and one 6 ounce berry flavor yogurt until it is easily spreadable on top of the cake. Cover and chill up to 2 hours. Right before serving arrange 2 cups blend of raspberries, strawberries and blueberries decoratively atop cake. Cut into wedges and lay it on the serving plate. This recipe makes 8 servings.With these dessert recipes impressing your guests will be a snap. Conventions indicate that dessert is by far the heart of banquets. When all other culinary efforts fade into oblivion it is the lingering memory of a well-crafted decadent dessert that stands the test of time in peoples minds. If you wish to accomplish a similar feat try these recipes this festive season and voila! You could be well on your way to becoming the reigning kitchen goddess amongst family, friends and relatives. Happy holidays!