Archive | November, 2010

Cider Spice Chiffon Cake

27 Nov

I really didn’t think I’d care much for this cake, but I had several other recipes using apple cider, so I decided to try it. It is amazing! It’s like an apple cider angel food cake. The cider flavor really comes through, but not in an overpowering way, and the spice is just right.  I based it on a recipe from Cook’s Country, but replaced the oil with applesauce – less fat, more apple flavor!  I got fresh apple cider from McCutcheon’s.  Look for it in the refrigerated produce section at the grocery.

Make sure to use an ungreased tube pan – one with a removable bottom is even better.  When it comes out of the oven, turn it upside down on a narrow necked bottle to cool.

Cider Spice Chiffon Cake


  • · 5 large eggs, separated
  • · 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • · 1 ¼ c sugar
  • · 1 1/3 c all purpose flour
  • · 2 tsp baking powder
  • · ½ tsp salt
  • · 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • · ½ tsp ground allspice
  • · ¾ c apple cider
  • · ½ c unsweetened applesauce
  • · 1 T vanilla extract


  • · 3 T apple cider
  • · 2 oz cream cheese , softened
  • · ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • · 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • · 1 ½ c confectioners’ sugar

Heat oven to 325°. With electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium- high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. With mixer running, slowly add 2 tablespoons sugar and whip until just stiff and glossy, about 1 minute; set aside.

Combine flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice in large bowl. Whisk cider, applesauce, egg yolks, and vanilla in medium bowl until smooth. Whisk wet mixture into flour mixture until smooth. Whisk one-third whipped egg whites into batter, then gently fold in remaining whites, 1 scoop at a time, until well combined. Scrape mixture into 16-cup ungreased tube pan.

Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cracks in cake appear dry, 50-55 minutes. Cool, inverted, to room temperature, about 3 hours.

Whisk apple cider, cream cheese, cinnamon, and allspice in medium bowl until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth. Pour glaze over cooled cake. Let glaze set 15 minutes.

Apple Cider on FoodistaApple Cider


Winter Cooking Classes

22 Nov

The Winter Cooking Class Schedule is live on  You can’t register yet, but you can pick out your classes now to be ready – they fill up fast!  We’ll be continuing the Date Night series on Friday’s through the spring – if you have any ideas for themes, email them to our new email address just for cooking classes: cooking @ frederickcountymd dot gov – we’re always looking for new ideas.  New this season are themes for Mommy & Me/Daddy & Me – we’ll make something different each time.

We also have a new page just for cooking classes on the Parks & Rec website.  You can see instructor videos, get recipes, and email us. Look for a FAQs page coming soon with tips on how to get the most out of our cooking program.

Don’t forget – bring to-go containers to class so you can make sure to take home lots of delicious food!

Butternut Squash Bisque

21 Nov

This soup is so simple, and tastes so good.  Its a perfect winter comfort food, and is surprisingly filling.   Even the kids liked it, and they think eating soup is practically torture.  It doesn’t take long at all and has a creamy, velvety texture. I got 6 or 7 good sized squash from the garden this year, so we’ll have plenty of soup and Butternut Squash Lasagna this winter.   I like to sprinkle a little chili powder on top to spice it up – freshly ground nutmeg would be nice too, or some homemade croutons.   Use vegetable stock and skip the ham to make it vegetarian.

Butternut Squash & Ham Bisque

  • · 2 T unsalted butter
  • · 1 very large sweet onion, chopped
  • · 1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves, chopped
  • · 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • · 5 c peeled, diced butternut squash – about one medium squash
  • · 1 c peeled, diced all-purpose potatoes – about one large potato
  • · 5 c chicken stock
  • · 1 tsp salt
  • · Black pepper, to taste
  • · 1/2 c light or heavy cream
  • · 1 1/2 c diced cooked ham

Melt the butter in a medium soup pot or a large saucepan. Stir in the onion and rosemary. Partially cover the pan and cook the onion over moderate heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute.

Add the squash, potatoes, chicken stock, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pot. Cook the soup at a low boil for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft. Remove the pan from the heat.

Using a ladle, transfer the soup  to a food processor in batches, filling the bowl only halfway to prevent spills. Puree the vegetables, then return them to a clean pot. Stir in the pepper, the cream, and the ham, heating for several minutes without boiling before serving.


Butternut Squash on FoodistaButternut Squash

Cookies with the kids

14 Nov


The kids and I made ginger cookies tonight.  This is my first post by phone.  Look for a longer one in a few days with a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup with Ham – very yummy!

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