Monday, February 28, 2011

Lighthouse Lasagna & Root Beer Bundt Cake

My sister decided she was in a baking mood yesterday so we made some cookies, a cake, and a lasagna for dinner--all new recipes. The Lighthouse Lasagna and Root Beer Bundt Cake were a definite hit, the Butterfinger cookies were alright, but nothing to write home about (or blog about). My husband took the remainder of those to work today. The lasagna and cake managed to stay at my house--which is good, but also so bad.

Lighthouse Lasagna
makes 10-12 servings

1 1/4 lb ground meat (we used 1 lb of italian sausage, the hubby said it needed more)
1 small can tomato paste
14 ounces tomato sauce
1 t. sugar
pinch of Kosher salt
12 ounces egg noodles
1 T. unsalted butter
2 cups sour cream (I will use low-fat next time)
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature (again, I will use low-fat next time)
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese

**we also added oregano, basil, and garlic to the sauce--we think it made it much better since there were no other seasonings other than salt**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8x8 baking dishes or one 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray (will definitely make this in two dishes when it's just for me, Chris, and Logan--make one, freeze one).

Saute the meat in a large skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, breaking it up to crumble as it cooks. Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, sugar, and salt. Fill the tomato paste can with water and add it to the skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes.

Cook the egg noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles, then return them to the pot and add the butter, stirring until melted.

In a small bowl, mix the sour cream, cream cheese, and scallions. Spread a little sauce and meat mixture in the bottom of each dish. Top with a layer of noodles, then spread half the sour cream mixture and half of the meat sauce (1/4 of each if you are using 2 dishes). Repeat the layers and top with shredded mozzarella.

Bake 35-40 minutes until lasagna mixture is bubble and cheese is lightly browned.

**We thought this was very good, but rich. Definitely a keeper!

Root Beer Bundt Cake

For the cake
  • 2 cups root beer (not diet)
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
For the Root Beer Fudge Frosting
  • 2 oz. dark chocolate (60% cacao), melted and cooled slightly **we did not want to spend money on expensive chocolate so we just used a couple Hershey's Special Dark bars**
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup root beer, plus more as needed
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Generously (very generously...learned this the hard way. Let's just say our cake wasn't the prettiest cake I've ever made. It's what's on the inside that counts, right??) spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted.  Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved.  Remove from heat, pour into a large mixing bowl, and let cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined.  Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture.  The batter will be slightly lumpy; do not overbeat, as it could cause the cake to  be tough.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 35-45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time, until a small knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.  Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.

To make the frosting, add all the ingredients to a food processor.  Pulse in short bursts until the frosting is shiny and smooth.  Add more root beer, a few teaspoons at a time, if the frosting is too thick to spread easily with a spatula. **We made our frosting more like a glaze, which looked a little messy but it was much easier than frosting, especially since the cake had fallen apart somewhat**

Use a spatula to spread the frosting over the crown of the cake in a thick layer.  Let the frosting set before serving.  Serve with vanilla ice cream on the side.

**Another keeper. Again, very rich. My sister said it tastes like Dr. Pepper cake, which I've never had. We couldn't taste the root beer at all. It just tasted like a really rich chocolate cake.

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