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One little cake makes a bundle, box, sweet stick.

Behind each of these beautiful desserts is one recipe for a fine-grain, tender-textured cake. You bake the batter in muffin cups for the dessert bundled in fila to make a gift package to end a meal. For another dessert, you bake the batter in little rectangular pans, then wrap the cake in pink marzipan with a marzipan bow. For the last dessert, you add a little cornmeal to the batter and bake it in cornbread stick pans to make a crunchy cooky-cake just right for dunking in hot chocolate.

Fila-wrapped Rum Cake


1/2 cup finely chopped salted macadamia nuts

1 recipe pound cake batter (directions follow)

Rum syrup (directions follow)

24 sheets fila dough, each about 11 by 17 inches (1/3 to 1/2 lb.)

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter or margarine, melted

Cotton string

About 6 yards 1/2-inch-wide satin or grosgrain ribbon, cut into 12 equal pieces.

Stir nuts into cake batter, then spoon batter equally into 12 buttered and floured 2 1/2-inch muffin cups. Bake in a 300[degrees] oven until a toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Run a knife between each cup and cake and invert pan to release cakes.

Set warm cakes close together on a rimmed plate or pan. With a fork or slender skewer, pierce holes about 1 inch deep and about 1/4 inch apart all over tops of cakes. Immediately pour an equal amount of rum syrup over each cake. Let cakes stand until cool, about 30 minutes.

Lay 1 fila sheet flat; brush lightly with butter. Keep remaining fila covered with plastic wrap to prevent drying. Top buttered fila with another fila sheet; brush lightly with butter. Cut buttered sheets in half crosswise. Set 1 section on top of the other to form a cross.

Place 1 rum-soaked cake in center of fila cross. Gently lift fila up and around cake, gathering at the top; tie pastry with a piece of string to hold it around cake. Set cake bundle in a buttered 10- by 15-inch rimmed pan.

Repeat to shape remaining cake bundles, setting them slightly apart in pan. At this point you can cover them airtight with plastic wrap and chill up to 1 day.

Cut 12 pieces of foil, each 6 inches square. Loosely cup a foil piece over ruffled top of each bundle. Bake on the lowest rack in a 350[degrees] oven for 10 minutes; gently remove foil caps and continue baking until ruffles are browned, about 5 minutes longer. Let cool 10 minutes. At once, with a wide spatula, transfer bundles to a platter or dessert plates. Tie ribbons in bows below fila ruffles. Serve warm or let stand up to 1 day. Makes 12.

Per piece: 472 cal.; 4.4 g protein; 25 g fat (13 g sat.); 53 g carbo.; 300 mg sodium; 105 mg chol.

Pound cake batter. In a large bowl with a mixer, beat 3/4 cup (3/8 lb.) butter or margarine until creamy. Add 1 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar; stir to mix, then beat until mixture is fluffy. Add 3 large eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1 1/4 cups sifted cake flour; stir to mix, then beat to blend well.

Rum syrup. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan, combine 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, and 6 tablespoons water. Stir over medium-high heat until mixture simmers. Continue hearting, without stirring, until mixture boils. Cover and boil until sugar dissolves and liquid is clear, about 1 minute. (If you don't cover pan and do stir boiling syrup, crunchy sugar crystals will form in cake.)

Remove from heat and uncover; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 10 tablespoons rum. Use hot or reheated; if made ahead, cover and let stand up to 1 day. Makes 1 3/4 cups.

Miniature Marzipan

Gift Boxes

1 recipe pound cake batter (directions precede)

1/4 cup raspberry preserves

2 tablespoons black raspberry-flavor liqueur

Powdered sugar

Tinted marzipan (directions follow)

2/3 cup packed (6 to 7 oz.) marzipan

Butter and flour-dust 6 miniature loaf pans, each about 2 1/2 by 4 inches. Spoon cake batter equally into pans; spread batter smooth.

Bake in a 300[degrees] oven until a toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Set pans on a rack for 5 minutes. Run a knife between each cake and pan; invert cakes onto racks to cool.

With a serrated knife, slice each cake in a half horizontally. Combine preserves and liqueur; equally spread mixture on cut surface of each cake bottom. Set cake tops (cut down) on jam. If made ahead, wrap each cake airtight and hold at room temperature up until next day.

Lightly coat a sheet of waxed paper (at least 12 by 15 in.) with powdered sugar. Form 1/6 of the tinted marzipan into a flat, square patty and set on sugar. Sprinkle marzipan lightly with more sugar, then cover with another sheet of waxed paper. Roll marzipan to form a rectangle about 5 1/2 by 7 inches. If paper wrinkles and gets embedded in marzipan, peel off and replace paper.

Peel top paper off marzipan. Gently pull and lift marzipan from bottom paper. Carefully center marzipan atop a cake and drape edges over cake sides. At narrow ends, fold marzipan to fit snugly against cake; trim edges flush with cake. Repeat to wrap remaining cakes.

Roll plain marzipan between sheets of sugar-dusted waxed paper to form a 9-inch square. Peel off top paper; cut marzipan into 18 equal strips. To create a "ribbon" on each cake, gently lift 1 marzipan strip and lay it lengthwise on center of a cake, pressing lightly to stick to tinted marzipan. Drape a second strip of plain marzipan across the center of the first, pressing gently into place. Trim edges flush with cake base.

To make a bow, cut 1 strip into a 6-inch piece and 3-inch piece. Loop ends to the center of each strip. Center small loop on top of the big one, then center on top of the cake. Repeat to put bows on remaining cakes.

Gather plain scraps and reroll between sugared waxed paper; cut 6 strips about 1/4 inch by 1 1/2 inches. Fold each strip around the center of the bow to cover the joint. Serve, or cover airtight without touching up to 1 day. Makes 6; each cake serves 2.

Per serving: 392 cal.; 4.5 g protein; 15 g fat (7.7 g sat.); 61 g carbo.; 140 mg sodium; 85 mg chol.

Tinted marzipan. Put 1 cup packed (about 12 oz.) marzipan in a bowl. Add red food coloring, kneading in 1 drop at a time, until mixture is an even-colored pale pink. If made ahead, chill airtight up to 2 days. Use at room temperature.

Corn Cake Sticks

in Cornhusks

About 1/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1 recipe pound cake (batter directions precede)

Cooking oil spray

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa

About 42 dry cornhusks (6 to 8 in. long)

Stir 1/4 cup cornmeal into cake batter. With oil spray, lightly coat cornstick pans with molds about 5 1/2 inches long. (You will need to bake about 19 cakes total, but batter can stand if you have only 1 pan and bake cakes in sequence). Sprinkle cornmeal lightly into molds; shake out excess. Spoon 2 1/2 tablespoons batter into each mold.

Bake in a 300[degrees] oven until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Then, with the tip of a small knife, loosen sticks from pans; invert onto racks and cool completely. (If reusing pan, wash, dry, oil, and dust with cornmeal after each batch.)

Lightly dust the patterhead side of the cakes with cocoa. Overlap 2 cornhusks lengthwise; set a cake in the center the length of the husks. Fold husk around cake, overlapping, then tie cut end of husks with a thin strip of more husk. Repeat to wrap remaining cakes. If made ahead, cover airtight and hold up to 1 day. Makes 19.

Per piece: 144 cal.; 1.8 g protein; 8.5 g fat (4.9 g sat.); 16 g carbo.; 85 mg sodium; 53 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Holiday Entertaing special section; desserts
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:Holiday beverages: choice is the word.
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