Monday, March 21, 2016

Easter Anise Cake

  As I was trying to think of delicious new Easter recipes to share, I called my sister Jeanie to ask if she had any ideas. She suggested this cake recipe that she got from her bestie (and my unofficial 5th sister), Roz. So when I called Roz to ask how/where she got the recipe, she told me she got it from her Aunt Antoinette, commonly known among her family as Aunt Toni. This was EXACTLY the type of recipe I was looking for! I love the idea of family recipes being passed around and shared from one generation to another. It's what keeps traditions alive, which brings families together, dontcha think?
 Ok, so, whenever I decide to try a new cake recipe, I like to invite a few friends over for dinner and then serve the cake for dessert. Usually people choose a dessert to go with the dinner, but in this case, I was doing it the other way around. Since this is a traditional Italian cake, I decided to go with a simple lasagna dinner (Lasagna, salad, Italian bread, home made iced tea. YUM). Everything turned out perfectly and the cake was a huge hit! It's definitely the kind of cake that you might go back for a second piece. (come to think of it, I think everyone did!) It's SO tasty! We decided that if pizzelles and pound cake had a baby, it would be this cake. It was really easy to make too! (Yes, it has a few specific ingredients that you might not happen to have on hand, but everything was readily available at the grocery store, so it's not like I had to go to any specialty shops to find anything.)
 So I hope you'll try this recipe. It's fun to try something different for a change! Thanx again to Roz and Aunt Toni for sharing! It's so delicious and light, it's the perfect dessert to have for your Easter holiday dinner. Enjoy!

For the cake:
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
5 eggs
4 cups flour
5 tsp. baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. anise seed
1 1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup Anisette liqueur

Cream together shortening and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat for 5 minutes on medium. Blend together flour, baking powder and anise seed. Mix this into shortening egg mixture alternatively with milk and vanilla on low. Stir in Anisette. Beat 5 minutes more, then pour 10" tube pan - greased. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Remove from oven and glaze while still warm.

For the anise glaze icing:
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 drops anise extract
3 tbs milk
3 tbs Anisette
Whisk together all ingredients and pour over warm cake.
Be sure to pour the glaze when the cake is just warm and not HOT out of the oven. If the cake is too hot, the glaze will just melt and run right off the cake. I let mine cool until it was just a little warm to the touch.
When you make the glaze, if it comes out a little too thick, add a few more drops of milk or Anisette. If it's too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar until it's the right consistency.
For a little variation, you can add a little orange, lemon, or lime zest to your batter just before you bake it. You could always use orange juice instead of milk for the glaze. Anise and citrus are delicious great friends!
To grease the pan, spread it with a generous amount of butter or shortening, and then coat with flour. (Watch my Baking Tips Video if you'd like to see how to do it!) If you're using a decorative Bundt pan, it's easiest to spray it with a baking spray which is regular nonstick spray that has flour in it. It works beautifully!

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