God, family, friends and food……pretty well sums up happiness in my book. High on the list would be friends. Of course, Kathy has been my business partner and best friend for more than 30 years! Hard to believe isn’t it? Each and every day I am so thankful for her presence in my life. Another group of great friends have been my Culinary Cookbook Club.
My Culinary Cookbook Club has been meeting once a month for at least 16 years. We have experienced weddings, adoptions, divorce, cancer and sadly, death of a spouse. We have also laughed, cried, giggled, gossiped and even traveled to a chateau in France for a week. Those memories are priceless and will be ones I cherish always. It is a tremendous group of “Mid-western” women, originating from strong roots and Midwestern values.
This month we got together and had one of those, “never to be forgotten” experiences. Usually we select a book that is either a cookbook with a story or a novel with recipes. The theme for September was any Italian recipe from an Italian book. We changed it up a bit and decided to watch a movie. It seems the group couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen the movie, Moonstruck. I am so happy they decided to watch this movie and we even enjoyed the experience outside by the pool. If you haven’t seen this move, please try and rent it. The food and fun the movie provides promises to be one you will enjoy.
Our hostess was my dear friend, Elizabeth Benson. You haven’t lived until you’ve been invited to Elizabeth’s house for dinner. Elizabeth is one of those friends that you love dearly, for you will never meet a kinder spirit. When it comes to talent, she knocks the ball out of the park. She always has the perfect music, dishes, food, ambiance and setting for an unforgettable evening. It is like watching Next Food Network Star and HGTV’s Design Star all rolled into one.
The ladies have been more than supportive of our new cookbook, 175 Best Babycakes Cupcake Recipes and have tasted, tested and sampled their fair share of these two-bite morsels. My contribution to the evening was Italian Cream Cake Bites. These are moist, filled with coconut and pecan crunch and, thanks to their small size, you don’t need to feel that guilty for just eating one.
I hope you will try this recipe and let me know what you think.
Italian Cream Cake Bites
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped, toasted pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese frosting (see Kathy’s post on Red Velvet Cupcakes)
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine shortening, butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at time, beating well after each addition.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Using an electric mixer, on low speed, add the flour mixture and buttermilk, making three additions of flour and two of buttermilk, beating until smooth.
In a separate medium bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into cake batter. Add coconut, pecans and vanilla.
If desired, place paper liners in cupcake wells. Fill each well with about 1 1/2 tbsp batter. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes*, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer cupcakes to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.
Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkle with additional toasted, finely chopped pecans.
Makes 28 to 30 Babycakes Cupcake Maker cupcakes
The Babycakes Cupcake Maker is a small appliance made by Select Brands, Inc. While I haven’t tested this recipe using the traditional oven method, I feel confident it would work. Pour batter into a mini cupcake pan and bake according to your mini cupcake recipe, check for doneness with a wooden pick.