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Red, White and Blue Velvet Cake for the 4th of July

Red, White and Blue Velvet Cake Recipe

Red Velvet cake has become an American favorite, because of its lovely texture and fun color. Add blue and white for a show-stopping dessert this 4th of July. The inside of the cake is as striking as the decorative icing. Bring it to your holiday picnic and it will outshine the fireworks.

Red, White and Blue Velvet Cake
Makes: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Baking Time: 30+ minutes
Decorating Time: 1 hour
Level: multiple steps, but all of them are easy

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Rightside Up

Rightside-Up Pineapple Cake Recipe

Have you ever made a pineapple upside-down cake and had all the goodies stick to the bottom of the pan? I have. I hold my breath as I invert the pan and then sigh with either frustration or relief as I unveil the cake. Granted, prying the caramelized fruit from the pan and carefully putting it back on the cake easily remedies it, but there is a touch of disappointment nonetheless. Here is a simple and elegant solution — bake the cakes in jars and leave them rightside-up.

And if you really want to serve them upside-down, just flip the jar over onto the plate.

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How to Make Fudge

How to Make Fudge

Addiction warning: I can’t stop eating this fudge! I’ve been giving away bags of it to anyone I meet, just to keep from eating the whole batch. I like chocolate fudge with all kinds of stuff in it, especially nuts, but my boys are purists and just want uninterrupted chocolate.

This recipe is made by boiling down evaporated milk until it reaches just the right temperature and poured over really high quality chocolate. No marshmallow fluff! I’ve done those recipes as well, but I like the texture of this better and the flavor is more intense and not as sweet. It requires a candy thermometer, but don’t let that scare you, it is really very simple

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Philadelphia-Style Chocolate Ice Cream

Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

When I was little I lived in Philadelphia, just steps from an ice cream parlor. At the time I didn’t know what Philadelphia-Style ice cream was, nor would I have cared. All I knew was that the ice cream was cold, creamy and delicious.

Fast-forward 40 years and I am brought back to this memory by a desire for chocolate ice cream. I’d usually make my favorite “French” custard base, which results in a rich, creamy, luscious ice cream, but I wanted it fast and without fuss. The French-style requires making an egg custard and then adding flavors. But, this is by no means the only way to make fantastic ice creams. The eggless version is often referred to as Philadelphia-style, which is just cream, sugar and lots of flavor. The texture is a bit lighter but no less delicious, and it is so simple and fast to put together.

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Lemon-Lime Mousse

Lemon-Lime Mousse Recipe

This mousse reminds me of a super light key lime pie filling. It is tangy and just a touch sweet. The mousse is equally as tasty made with just lemons or limes, but I thought the combination gave it a more complex flavor, that tastes like fragrant key limes. The strawberries lend a perfect balance of flavor and texture to the summery dessert.

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Honey-Rhubarb Ice Cream

Honey-Rhubarb Ice Cream Recipe

Rhubarb is one of those ingredients that people either adore or avoid. I fall into the former, and use it as much as possible during its rather short growing season. I’ve made it into crisps, pies and even eaten it raw, dipped in sugar (which is admittedly hard core).

Combining the mouth puckering sour flavor of rhubarb with sweet, creamy honey ice cream base may just be the perfect marriage. I think this is going to turn even the most ardent rhubarb haters, into its biggest fans. For those of you who just can’t get enough of it, spoon some of the remaining ruby-red rhubarb sauce over the top.

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Butterscotch Pot de Creme

This Pot de Creme is like a turbo-charged version of butterscotch pudding. The texture is like silk and the taste is sweet, with just a slight bitter edge from the burnt sugar in the butterscotch. Cooking the butter and brown sugar together until it is smoking hot is the key to the flavor. If you don’t bring them to the brink of burning, the pudding will be way too sweet for my taste. The creme fraiche (young sour cream) is unsweetened and the perfect balance for the pudding.

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St. Patrick’s Day Cheesecake

St. Patrick’s day is a time to turn everything green in honor of the Irish Saint. This creamy cheesecake with festive green stripes is perfect to serve after corned beef, cabbage and a Guinness. Using fresh mint makes the rich cake as bright in flavor as it is in appearance.

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Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding

Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding Recipe

One of my all-time favorite comfort foods is a fresh loaf of banana bread, still warm from the oven. To create a decadent dessert, I have combined that simple loaf with a velvety chocolate ganache. Top it with a spoon of crème fraiche or a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and the result is an elegant comfort food fit for any occasion — even breakfast.

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The Icebox Cake, Reinvented

Icebox Cake

This is a “cake” I adored as a little girl in the ’70s, but hadn’t really thought about again until I was asked for my take on icebox cake. It really isn’t a cake at all — it’s layers of chocolate wafer cookies and whipped cream. I’m sure the version I ate as a child was made with Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers, which are still available, and Cool Whip. Although that was satisfying when I was a kid, my taste buds now crave more flavor and a touch less sweet. I added burnt sugar to the fresh whipped cream and baked my own bittersweet chocolate wafers.

Something old is new again and so much tastier.

Icebox Cake

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