Dear Mary Beth: I’m looking for a dessert to take to a potluck supper that’s easy and fast to prepare. I always enjoy angel food cake, so can you suggest a quick frosting to jazz up a purchased bakery cake?
Answer: I love angel food cake and I think the purchased baked cakes are pretty close to homemade. They are like a blank canvas for you to create something wonderful. I like to frost a purchased cake with chocolate-flavored whipped cream. It’s fun to do, easy and can be assembled the day before serving. What could be better! The recipe I am sharing was my mother’s and it was her go-to dessert for Easter dinner. I have since used this flavored whipped cream to frost chocolate cakes and cupcakes. I have even added a few tablespoons of local chocolate mocha stout or coffee porter to the cream before whipping for a pleasant malty flavor. I hope you enjoy it.
Chocolate Whipped Cream Angel Cake
1-pint heavy whipping cream
6 tablespoons baking cocoa
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large bakery angel food cake
1. In a large mixing bowl, add cream and sprinkle with cocoa and sugar. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
2. Using a serrated knife cut the angel food cake in half horizontally 2-inchs from the top; carefully remove the top and set aside. With the tines of a fork, remove a portion of the top and the bottom layer to form a circular tunnel that is about 3/4-in. deep. This is where some of the frosting will be spread to form a filled center.
3. Beat the cream on low speed to combine the cream, cocoa and sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until stiff. Be careful not to overbeat.
4. Fill the tunnels with whipped cream. Carefully replace the top layer, matching the tunnels together and frost the entire cake. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight. Keep refrigerated until serving.
Yield: 8-10 servings.
Dear Mary Beth: I want to tint coconut for decorating carrot cake cupcakes. Can you tell me how to color shredded coconut into pastel shades?
Answer: Tinting shredded coconut is easy. I like to place the coconut in a resealable plastic bag. Add a drop or two of the desired food color to the side of the bag, not the coconut. Seal the bag and toss until the coconut is tinted. If the color is not intense enough, add another drop or two of food color and repeat the tossing process. You may use either liquid or paste food coloring. Note, the paste varieties are more intense so a little goes a very long way.
Dear Mary Beth: I plan to plant radishes in my garden this Spring and wonder if you have found any uses for the greens? I just hate throwing them out when they are fresh from my organic garden and free of pesticides.
Answer: Last year I b,ought organic radishes from the farmers’ market and looked at those beautiful greens and wondered the same thing. So, I made pesto from the greens using my standard basil pesto recipe. Radish greens are spicy, so the resulting pesto had a wonderful gusto. But if you don’t like that much spice, combine the radish greens with a milder leaf such as fresh spinach or basil. I served my spicy radish leaf pesto tossed over grilled vegetables and it was terrific. Don’t let those radish greens go to waste as they are very nutritious! If you don’t have time to make pesto, simply toss them into a salad or add a few to your favorite sandwich.
Mary Beth Jung is a Hendersonville resident. She is a freelance food writer, recipe developer, cookbook author and the founding food editor of Taste of Home magazine. Email your culinary questions to Mary Beth at email@example.com for this monthly column.