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White Almond Sour Cream Cake

[singing] “Happy Birthday To Me. Happy Birthday To Me …”

I’m quite sure that you guess that it’s someone birthday. Well not quite but my birthday is fastly approaching. August the 26 to be exact and who doesn’t celebrate with cake? God knows I do. And one of my favorites and birthday cake of choice this year is the white almond sour cream cake. Some refer to it as the “White Wedding Cake” but no matter what the name is all I know is that it’s GOOD. And Meca likes!

Ingredients

for cake:

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg whites

for buttercream frosting:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soften
  • 3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon clear imitation vanilla or almond extract
  • up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour an 11×13 inch cake pan.

2. Stir together the white cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl until well mixed. Pour in the water, sour cream, canola oil, almond and vanilla extracts, and egg whites, and beat with an electric mix on low until all the ingredients are mixed and moistened but some lumps still remain, about 4 minutes.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and bake in the preheated oven until the top is a light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Allow cake to cool.

4. While cake is cooling prepare frosting. Beat shortening and butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the sugar doesn’t blow everywhere) until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add remaining sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add remaining milk or cream 1 tablespoons at a time..

5. Spread frosting over entire cake and decorate as desired.

*CHEF’S NOTE – Buttercream is very versatile and the flavor can be occasionally changed by substituting the vanilla extract for other flavors such as almond, coconut milk, or lemon. Also, the frosting can be easily tinted with food paste gel or food coloring.

Mac & Cheese Bake

Whats more soulful than a heaping of mac & cheese. Old school baked that is and here in the Porter House it’s a tried and true staple. Anytime we can have it. We make it. It’s just that popular. I believe it’s one of the most requested. It’s a great accompliment to the main course but good enough to stand alone. Behold the POWER of cheese.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray or butter
  • 16 oz cooked elbow macaroni or shells
  • One 12-oz can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick ) of butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of dry mustard
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 10-oz Cabot Seriously Sharp Yellow Cheddar Cheese, grated
  • 10-oz Cabot Seriously Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, grated

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Cook macaroni or shells according to the directions on the box. Drain and set aside.

Butter or spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish. Next mix the cooked macaroni or shells, evaporated milk, whole milk, butter, salt, pepper, and dry mustard together. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and slowly add 1/4 cup of the macaroni mixture (this is to temper the eggs). Now combine the egg mixture to the macaroni mixture. Next add all of the grated white cheddar cheese and mix. Pour macaroni and cheese mixture in the greased casserole dish and evenly sprinkle all of the yellow cheddar cheese over the top. Place in oven and bake for 50 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

*Chef’s Note: BYOC (Be Your Own Chef) and use what ever cheese you like. If you don’t like Sharp Cheddar use Mild Cheddar. Or Provolone. Or Gruyere. Or whatever floats your boat. The options are endless.