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Cookbook review: 'Festive Feasts' is fun for the whole family
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Red Velvet Peppermint Cake is from Jeni Potter Scott's "Festive Feasts: Meals and Memories from Halloween to Christmas." - photo by Tara Creel
"FESTIVE FEASTS: Meals and Memories from Halloween to Christmas," Jeni Potter Scott, Hobble Creek Press, $19.99, 200 pages

Jeni Potter Scott, owner of and author of the food blog Bakerette.com, has put together a festive cookbook that's easy enough for the whole family to use.

With sections separated by holiday, from Halloween through Christmas, Potter includes beautiful pictures that entice and simple instructions to invite readers to make their holiday season more festive.

"Festive Feasts" includes recipes ranging from simple snacks such as Bacon Wrapped Crackers with Parmesan Cheese, to elegant main dishes such as Roasted Rack of Lamb that can be used in the comfort of your home or share at a holiday party.

The recipes cover all types of diets including some vegan and vegetarian recipes, such as The Great Pumpkin Soup and Spinach Salad with Balsamic Strawberries and Feta cheese, so no one is left out.

Scott also includes festive feasts for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are even beverage recipes like The Christmas Layered Drink and The Magical Disappearing Drink.

One of the most unique chapters is one that includes recipes to use up those abundant Thanksgiving leftovers.

With plenty of ideas to satisfy the reader's taste, "Festive Feasts" will provide memories and meals for any family.

*****

Red Velvet Peppermint Cake

There is so much to love about red velvet. Not only is the color beautiful, but the buttermilk and cocoa go a long way to making this a moist and luscious cake as well. I have a friend who makes the best red velvet cakes, and Ive learned a lot from her. Im not certain shed approve of me using premade cake mixes in this recipe, but hey, if it doesnt scrimp on taste, why not? Oh, and youll love the peppermint-flavored frosting.

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 22 minutes

Yield: 1 (2-layer) cake

Cake

1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix

3 egg whites

1 13 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 (9-ounce) package yellow cake mix

cup buttermilk

1 large egg

1 tablespoons cocoa

teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

peppermint cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)

peppermint candies, to garnish (optional) two 9-inch cake pans

Frosting

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 (2-pound) package powdered sugar

2 teaspoons peppermint extract

Cake

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans; set aside.

2. Beat together white cake mix, egg whites, buttermilk and vegetable oil with an electric mixer on medium speed.

3. In a separate bowl, beat together yellow cake mix, buttermilk, egg, cocoa, baking soda, red food coloring and vinegar with an electric mixer on medium speed.

4. Evenly divide white cake mix between prepared cake pans. Spoon red cake mix in dollops over top of white cake batter in both pans. With a knife, gently swirl red batter throughout the white batter.

5. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick entered into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes before turning out on wire racks to cool completely.

6. Generously layer frosting to the top of one cake, layer with second cake. Gently spread frosting on top and sides of the cake, using swirling motions as you go. Stick peppermint candies to frosting all around the bottom of the cake. Reserve a couple of candies to crush and sprinkle on top.

7. Cake may be refrigerated up to two days or frozen up to one month before frosting.

Frosting

1. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat together cream cheese and butter until creamy. Reduce speed to low and gradually add in sugar until creamy and smooth; scraping down sides as you go. Add extract and continue beating until well blended.

"Festive Feasts" by Jeni Potter Scott