Cooking with Paula Deen

FESTIVE CAKES

Savannah Date Nut Cake

Makes 1 (10-inch) cake

1 (8-ounce) box chopped dates
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1½ cups chopped pecans, divided
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup raisins, chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
1 (6-ounce) jar maraschino cherry halves, drained well and patted dry
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup heavy whipping cream

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Spray a 10-inch tube pan with baking spray with flour.

2. In a small saucepan, bring dates, 1 cup water, and baking soda to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; let cool slightly.

3. In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add date mixture, 1 cup pecans, eggs, marmalade, and vanilla, beating until well combined.

4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, raisins, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until well combined. Spread batter into prepared pan.

5. Bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with cherries and remaining ½ cup pecans. Bake until top is lightly browned, about 45 minutes more. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.

6. In a small bowl, whisk together confectioners’ sugar and cream until smooth. Drizzle onto cake. Serve immediately.

Red Velvet Peppermint Cupcakes

Makes 24

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup whole buttermilk
1 (1-ounce) bottle liquid red food coloring
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
Peppermint Buttercream (recipe follows)
Garnish: peppermints

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 24 muffi n cups with paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer

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