HomeLifestyleFoodIn The Kitchen With Vera: Molasses cookies and a Thanksgiving cake

In The Kitchen With Vera: Molasses cookies and a Thanksgiving cake

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This week on The Very Vera Show, Vera Stewart joins George Laudun, the executive chef at Sub-Zero Wolf and Cove Atlanta Showroom for several recipes using their fabulous kitchen.

Vera Stewart and George Laudun the executive chef at Sub-Zero Wolf and Cove Atlanta Showroom. Photo courtesy Vera Stewart

The show originally aired in February as part of season 9, but it has some scrumptious recipes including Tony Chacheres Yellow Rice and Seasonal Vegetables, ttps://www.veryvera.com/recipes/recipe/tony-chacheres-yellow-rice-w-seasonal-vegetables/, which Vera has “dressed up”; jumbo lump crab cakes with aioli https://www.veryvera.com/recipes/recipe/jumbo-lump-crab-cakes-2/;  molasses cookies, which are just “phenomenal”  https://www.veryvera.com/recipes/recipe/molasses-cookies/; roasted cauliflower https://www.veryvera.com/recipes/recipe/roasted-cauliflower-with-chili-infused-oil/ and sauteed rainbow chard with aged balsamic and crisp pancetta, https://www.veryvera.com/recipes/recipe/sauteed-rainbow-chard-with-aged-balsamic-and-crisp-pancetta/

In Vera’s Corner, she’ll focus on winter vegetables and how to cook them.

The Very Vera Show airs at 12:30 p.m. on WJBF TV.

Crab cakes with aioli. Photo courtesy Vera Stewart

Vera’s Caramel Cake is a hit at my Thanksgiving table

 Joe Edge will be happy to know I don’t plan to quit my day job and open a bakery.

Last week, I mentioned that I was going to do my spin on “Julie and Julia,” the movie about the New York City blogger and her attempts to make every one of Julia Child’s recipes from Child’s cookbook. Julie’s story was paired with Meryl Streep as Julia Child.

Now that I think about it, I liked the Julia Child portion of the movie better than I liked the blogger part. I remember Amy Adams playing the role of Julie and at one point, sliding down into a heap on the floor of her tiny New York apartment kitchen, crying over aspic.

I was determined not to have that same experience.

As I scrolled through Vera Stewart’s website for recipes, I thought I’d make a dessert. Why? I guess because holidays are the time for sweets. I love watching baking shows, but I can see now why they give them four hours to make a cake. Of course, they do elaborate decorations too.

Vera’s Caramel Cake is one of the many recipes at her website, veryvera.com Photo courtesy her website

I wanted something that didn’t require seasonal fruit and something that said “Thanksgiving” to me.

 “Vera’s Caramel Cake” sounded autumnal, and it was posted to her website on my daughter’s birthday last year. Sounded good to me.

Go big or go home, right? Do it afraid. Stretch yourself. Go beyond your limits!

These are mantras that I repeat on a regular basis. I think it was probably a good thing that I was blissfully ignorant enough to attempt something that people on Facebook told me after the fact I shouldn’t have tried. It was too hard they said – but it was too late because by the time they knew, I’d already baked it.

If you missed last week’s column, prior to this experience, every cake I’ve baked in my life, except one, came out of a box. I made one cake from scratch in my life, and it was for a Girl Scout badge. I’m a beginner, so be gentle in your comments.

It had few ingredients – sugar, eggs, butter, milk and a couple of others. I made my list and got most of them in one place. Cake flour I had to make a second trip for. I guess I wasn’t the only one making a cake from scratch last week.

 “Vera’s Caramel Cake” said it had a prep time of 40 minutes and a cook time of 20 for a total of an hour.

I will say this. If you are a novice like me, give yourself more time. Vera can probably make this with her eyes closed and one hand tied behind her back. I’m not Vera.

Vera’s Caramel Cake is three layers. Staff photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

First off, I didn’t have the right tools for the job. My husband did construction for years, and oh, the tools the man had! What were half of them even for? Who knew you needed all those things? The professional doing the job – that’s who.

That being said. I attempted something without really knowing what tools I’d need. Like a stand mixer. That probably would’ve made it easier, but all I had available was a hand mixer. Neither my mother nor I have a sifter, and some spatulas would’ve been nice too.

I followed the recipe to the letter except for the vanilla which required 1 1/3 tsp. of vanilla. The mixing spoons didn’t have the 1/3 measurement, so I had to eyeball it.

The three-layers baked like a charm.

I did add time onto my total because I wasn’t sure how to line a 9-inch round pan with parchment paper. Yay for hacks on YouTube. That was easy, and I didn’t waste parchment paper.

The cakes popped out of the tins with ease.

My caramel icing. Staff photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

The frosting took me a little longer mainly because of that lack of a stand mixer. But it all blended together into a beautiful caramel frosting.

I made caramel frosting.

Yes, I just repeated that because I made caramel!!! You don’t know how exciting that was to me. Sorry, Debbie van Tuyll, I know AP style is not to use exclamation points especially three, but I made caramel! The real stuff – thousands of calories and all. It was pretty amazing and so sweet.

By the time I’d finished, it took me – the novice — a whole lot longer than one hour to make. It took me more than three, but I was pleased with the result even if the cake looked a little wonky and the frosting didn’t look perfect.

Thanksgiving was one of the last “firsts.” My dad died Dec. 2, 2020. This column posts on the anniversary. We’d gone through the first Christmas although it was a blur, first birthday, Father’s Day. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Thanksgiving was quiet even though there were 13 of us attending.

My take on Vera’s Caramel Cake. I added the pecans in attempt to make it prettier than it was. Staff photo by Charmain Z. Brackett

Now, I’m not sure if my cake was good or not, but my father-in-law and son-in-law lied pretty well if they didn’t like my cake. My mother-in-law fussed at just how much my father-in-law ate the cake, so I’m guessing he really did like it. Plus, he took some home, and she wasn’t too happy about that either. My son-in-law took some home too, and my daughter said he did like it.

Oh well, I guess I’ll never know the truth, except that my husband said it was too sweet for him.

When the recipe said it makes 20 servings, believe it. This is a rich cake that needs to be savored in tiny bites. With three layers, the slices were pretty large anyway.

For Christmas, I probably still won’t have a stand mixer, but I’m considering trying another cake. I learned a few things I plan to put to use, and maybe I’ll come out with a prettier cake in the end. Hopefully my son will be here to enjoy it. I’m thinking of making her red velvet cake or her coconut cake.

I’ll let you know.

To make Vera’s Caramel Cake, go to https://www.veryvera.com/recipes/recipe/veras-caramel-cake/

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Charmain Z. Brackett is the Features Editor for The Augusta Press. Reach her at [email protected] 

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