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Crazy (Cake) Talk

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Kitchen Talk (Crazy Cake)

Good morning, friends! How are you this morning? Depending on where you’re waking up today, it’s either 30 degrees above your usual January temperature or it’s 30 degrees below and you’re digging yourself out from who knows how many inches—or feet!—of snow.

Which brings me to our topic for this week: Crazy Cake. No, not just because crazy climes call for crazy cake, but also because it’s perfectly suited for any kind of weather. Feels like spring where you are? This cake can be prepped in about 10 minutes, which means you get to go outside and enjoy the sun sooner. Snowed in? What better way to spend the day indoors than baking a cake that only calls for ingredients you most likely already have in your pantry?

I did a bit of research online, and learned that Crazy Cake, also known as Wacky Cake or Depression Era Cake, grew in popularity in the 1970s. But that’s not when it got its start. Some say it has its origins in the Great Depression, while others say it was World War II. It was a way to bake without eggs, milk, and butter, which were rationed and scarce during those times. The lift comes from the combination of vinegar and baking soda, and the flour provides most of the structure. Any way you slice it, it’s simple, inexpensive, and even requires minimal cleanup because it’s a one-dish recipe. If you have any special dietary needs, you’ll be happy to know that this cake in its classic form is vegan, egg-free, and dairy-free. More importantly, it’s moist and light and so easy, the kids will love making it themselves. Anything that gets kids involved in the kitchen scores major points in my book.

So let’s talk about crazy cake today! Tell us:

Have you tried crazy cake? Do you have any interesting variations on the classic chocolate version, or tips on how to experiment with different flavors?

Wacky Cake was one of the first cakes I ever successfully baked, back when I thought I would concentrate on becoming a better cook and leave baking to the experts. Baking intimidated me, and all my previous cake and cookie attempts yielded mostly mediocre results. Until I found an old recipe for Wacky Cake, and on a whim, since I had all the ingredients on hand, I decided to give it a go. The cake turned out surprisingly moist and delicious, it helped me take that first step toward finally making peace with the oven.

I haven’t thought about Crazy-Wacky Cake in a while and I now want to start experimenting with it again. I’ve seen some wonderful versions online, like apple, red velvet, pumpkin spice, and lemon vanilla. I’ve also seen them made into whoopie pies. Crazy whoopie!

Now it’s time for you to join in. Crazy Cake dates way back, and many have childhood memories associated with this cake. Share your stories, tips, tricks, and let’s bring back the crazy!

The photo above shows the classic Chocolate Crazy Cake, shared by TK member Krysten Schwartz. Click on the photo to get the printable.

 

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Friday Giveaway: Fast-Slow Cooker! (Winner Announced)

Posted by in Miscellaneous

The winner of the Breville Fast-Slow Cooker is:

#1,197 Deb: “Clean on Saturday, church and small group at our house on Sunday.”

Congratulations, Deb! Contact [email protected] to claim your new cooker!

 
Tasty Kitchen Blog: Giveaway! (Breville Fast-Slow Cooker)

We’ve been learning much about slow cooking and pressure cooking the past week or so, and it’s gotten me fired up for both. We think you might feel the same way, and thanks to a comment on one of the posts, we now know there’s something out there that can do both!

So today, we’re giving away one of these Breville Fast-Slow Cookers to help you churn out delicious meals, whether you have the luxury of waiting all day or need to get it on the table stat. If you’re a bit scared of pressure cooking, this has great safety features to put your mind at ease. It’s also a steamer and rice cooker, making it a a great multitasking tool. And we’d like you to have one!

 
TO ENTER

To enter this giveaway, just answer the following question in the Comments section of this post:

What are your plans this weekend?

Are you sleeping in? Have any big parties lined up? Shopping? Catching up on chores? Are you a serious Super Bowl host and test-driving some game day recipes in preparation for the big day? Just tell us what you’re up to this weekend and you’ll be entered to win!

 
THE RULES

One entry per person, please. Contest ends tomorrow at 9pm PST.

The winner will be chosen randomly and announced this weekend.

Sponsored by Tasty Kitchen.

 
 

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Let’s Talk Pressure Cooking

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Kitchen Talk (Pressure Cooking)

Last week, we chatted about slow cookers, and let me tell you, there’s a wealth of information in the comments section there. You got me all excited about firing up my slow cooker again!

This week, we’ll go the other way and talk about “fast cookers” for a change, otherwise known as pressure cookers. These kitchen wonders harness the power of steam and pressure in an almost magical way, rendering tough cuts of meat so meltingly tender and flavorful. That power, however, can wreak havoc when things go wrong, which is why some folks tend to shy away from pressure cooking. As Nanci shares, “I fear them.” While care certainly should be taken when using one, when done right, pressure cookers can make incredible meals in a fraction of the time of traditional methods. (Not that pressure cooking isn’t traditional. It’s been used for centuries, after all.)

We’re hoping to dispel some of that trepidation here and get you excited about pressure cooking! Tell us:

Do you have any tips, tricks, questions, or concerns about pressure cooking?

(Like how I tried to cover all bases there?)

I grew up enjoying beautiful stews featuring ox tails and beef shanks prepared in a pressure cooker, so I’ve always loved it for that. Ours was a stovetop version, and the first thing we kids were taught was not to mess with the little whistling valve on top. Now I have an electric version, though I still miss my stovetop model. I use it for beans, rice (done in about 6 minutes), and my favorite, rich stock in just under an hour. (The photo above is from Patio Daddio’s guest post here featuring stock made in a pressure cooker.)

Lately, I’ve been seeing more innovative recipes for the pressure cooker, and I’m looking forward to trying a number of them. Like cooking pasta along with the sauce, so the pasta actually absorbs all the flavors of the sauce instead of just cooking in salted water. Or quick, easy and fuss-free risotto in just minutes. I’ve even heard of flan made in the pressure cooker. Oh, the possibilities!

So let’s hear your take on pressure cooking. Do you have one? Do you love it? Any favorite recipes? Tales of horror or hilarity? Questions or concerns that more experienced pressure cooking folks can address? Share below!

 

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Let’s Talk Slow Cookers

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Tasty Kitchen Blog: Kitchen Talk (Slow Cooker Tips)

Slow cookers are sometimes the forgotten heroes of the kitchen. They’re either stashed on the top shelf of the cupboard above the refrigerator (you know, the one you almost never open), or in the basement, or behind the waffle maker and panini press. Out of sight, out of mind.

But they shouldn’t be. They’re workhorses, those slow cookers. Just check out all the great recipes in our slow cooker category. They’ll cook amazing meals for you with very little assistance, slaving away while you’re busy working or running errands. And few things are as comforting as coming home to a warm, hearty meal, your kitchen filled with the enticing aroma of a satisfying home-cooked meal.

So let’s talk slow cookers today! We want to know:

What are your favorite tips for cooking with a slow cooker?

We’re leaving this wide open. Do you have a favorite brand or model of slow cooker? A favorite recipe or technique? (The Slow Cooker Korean Short Rib Tacos you see above is one of my favorites.) Any special tips or tricks you’ve learned? We want to hear them all!

Happy Wednesday! Stay warm, cozy, and nourished, friends!

 

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Comfort Food for the Winter

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in my wintry reverie, and it looks like the cold spell isn't going anywhere soon for most of the country. So let's huddle up and keep each other warm! Tell us:

What are some of your favorite cold weather comfort foods?

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Blender Giveaway (Winner Announced!)

Posted by in Miscellaneous

We're giving away a BlendTec Classic 575 blender in your choice of color. Enter now!

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Looks Delicious! Hot Buttered Rum Nog

Posted by in Looks Delicious!

Here's a warm, comforting drink for you to enjoy as soon as you get a chance to sit down, put your feet up, and rest after all the hustle and bustle of your day.

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Let’s Talk Last-Minute Meals

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

We've all had to scramble to pull together a meal in a hurry, so I know you have some last-minute tricks up your sleeve that you pull together out of whatever you usually have in your fridge or pantry. So let's all help each other deal with these occasional crises!