Weight gain is no longer an issue. By any means.

Mr. P’s New Favorite Cake (Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake)

Next up in my baking queue, as I spend a good deal of time these days browsing other people’s cooking blogs in search of new pastry horizons with which to appease my incessant cake cravings, was Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake from Our Best Bites, a site that receives automatic link status in light of this dessert’s attainable yet fancy presentation, as well as its innovative use of standard cake components. I was immediately intrigued by the eggless mousse filling that calls for gelatin, one of those mysterious packet powders I categorize with yeast and pectin. Your stomach will no doubt sink when you see the whipped chocolate “mousse” turn to soup with the addition of the gelatin-water, but I assure you that after thirty minutes in the fridge, all will be right with your first-world once more. Truly impressive is this cake’s ability to shrug off the heat and humidity; while I generally avoid cake mixes (in my opinion, effort is an ingredient), they do practically jump out of the pans themselves. The chocolate ganache frosting was easier than expected – I used semi-sweet baking chocolate squares, roughly chopped, and two minutes in the microwave was all it took to melt them adequately.

Having just finished a heaping plateful of spaghetti and meatballs, I’m taking a post-dishes breather before I face my last 500-calorie intake of the day, but the boys are already hard at work, cramming away their first slices with the occasional “nom” punctuating the silence. I just called over to Mr. P, inquiring if he approves of the crunch element, to which he instantly avered, “yes. Yes I do.” Once again, I followed the recipe pretty much word for word, so I won’t repost it here, since that would be ridiculously redundant as well as fairly lame. Just follow the link above – I’ve taken the liberty of having it open in a new tab so that you don’t stray too far from my wit and charm.

The Cakening

Calgon Key Lime Cheesecake

It’s almost time to start making lemon meringues! To tide me over until the July 4th season opening for cool custard-based desserts, I rolled the dice on the Smitten Kitchen’s Key Lime Cheesecake the night before last. Win! The citrus cuts the heft of sixteen ounces of cream cheese brilliantly, lending a lovely antacid effect and enabling the diner to put away an impressive helping. I’m not much for mini-anything these days, so instead of buying a special pan with a dozen tiny spring-forms, I opted for the nine-inch single unit. It’s less climactic than the individual cakes, since you can’t count on the whipped cream topping and mango slices to keep as long as the headliner, and until she’s done her hair and makeup, she’s not much to look at.

This necessitates one to whip, seal and chill a half cup of cream each morning, as well as maintain a sealed container of mango slices in lime juice to facilitate enjoyment throughout the day. I’m about the only person I know with that kind of time on their hands, so save it for a group you know will leave no leftovers (college students, children of vegan parents, anyone wearing elastic pants – I have temporarily joined this particular group and have to say it opens up a whole new world of comfort and capacity). By last night, the cream was being dolloped as opposed to spread, and you can see it pictured here next to some apricot and mango salad – time was of the essence, and I wasn’t about to waste valuable snacking minutes arranging mango ribbons. Take care not to become too transported; I had yesterday’s afternoon wedge on the porch with my feet in Billy the Kid’s inflatable pool, and as my cabana boy poured water on my ankles with a watering can, a wonderful sense of smugness settled over me in which I basked drunkenly until realizing how similar I am to Steve Martin’s character in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Cake is hot, people are not.

This-Is-My-Kind-of-Cake Golden Layer Cake

Continuing on my Augustus-Gloop-like cake bender, I recently threw caution to the wind and interviewed a new golden layer cake. Historically, I’ve depended on Betty Crocker’s good old standard, but I was flipping through my Gourmet cookbook the other night, half-heartedly contemplating taking on something involving fruit and/or custard, and realized I’d never tried their version of the Yellow Menace. Was there a void, it has been filled. Light, fluffy, moist but not soggy, and a superb vehicle for Chocolate Buttercream, my barely-altered version of Gourmet’s All-Occasion Yellow Cake produced a literally gourmet version of Betty Crocker’s: a little more class, a little less soul. I think we can all agree which of those virtues is slightly over-rated. If not, might I suggest you’d be more comfortable in Rachel Ray’s world. As soon as I can find an available cake stand, I’ll see what happens when I substitute buttermilk, and while I hope it helps achieve an actually yellow and less anemically white color, that experiment most likely will not warrant publicity.

It’s important to know going in that this cake retains a seriously springy dome even after resting upside down, so you may want to trim the layers flat. I opted for more mass, and found the pillow effect homey and comforting. I might rename this Narcolepsy Cake, but I suspect that after I finish my current term serving as housing for people, my impromptu porch snores will conclude.

Speaking of lodging multiples, I’d like to share a disconcerting tidbit I discovered about human reproduction. It turns out that theoretically, a “lady” can become pregnant with children of multiple fathers simultaneously. Well, only if a) she shoots double eggs, and b) she’s, shall we say, extremely socially active. Here’s the kicker; it’s not even just theoretical. There are enough cases of this not only happening but SOMEONE ADMITTING TO IT that you can hop on Google and there they are. Honestly, it’s not the wantonness or wildly inappropriate honesty that offends me. My generally good opinion of cats has always been marred by the fact that they routinely birth multi-father litters. There’s just something so unabashedly crass, so depraved-Mardi-Gras-pub-crawlish about that particular evolutionary agreement. Now, however, I have absolutely no proof that my cat is not my peer species-wise, and that leads me to question the fare I serve him as well as wonder if I’ve committed a whopping karmic faux-pas in hindering his own, shall we say, social activism.

2 C cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 C sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 C milk

Set your oven to 350, grease up and flour two round cake pans. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar by hand until blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla and stir until consistent. Dump in the dry ingredients, and start stirring with one hand while pouring in the milk with the other. Once the batter is moist and all flour has been incorporated from the sides and bottom of the bowl, throw it under the mixer and beat on medium-high for 2 minutes, or until lump-free. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans, and bake them side by side for 22 minutes, switching their positions at 12 minutes to ensure even rising. Let the layers sit in the pans for 10 minutes before inverting them onto wire racks, where they should cool completely before being frosted with the previously mentioned Chocolate Buttercream. And try not to think about the cat thing while eating.

No, not really.

Reddish Velvet Cake with Cream-Cheese-Butter-Cream

I was mistaken as I wrote the previous post; my appetite merely stopped by to pick up some things and then blew right back out of town. However, I’m a firm believer that if you’re sick, there’s a pharmaceutical solution, and I’ve been on the top-secret tier of anti-nausea medication for a few weeks now. To all ladies who may one day decide to incubate: if Zofram doesn’t do it for your barfs, demand no less than Promethazine. Remember, they’re loathe to admit it, but your doctors are technically vendors. Dr. G managed to scare the bajesus out of me the last go around, but I’m calling the shots with this one and have taken to severely berating him each time he raises my stress level over “risk.” He’s already been instructed to drop it regarding the chromosomal craps game, and if he mentions weight as an issue over the next four months, the skillet’s coming out of my purse. Once I couldn’t keep applesauce down, I decided to put mom first for the duration, and I’m delighted to find I don’t feel at all guilty about it. Save for my daily wake-up wretch, I’ve been holding food down like no one’s business, and one particular craving has hit me hard: my own cake.

My cake stand has been full and proud for over a week, and it currently showcases my first execution of red velvet with cream cheese frosting. Having a slight skin-crawl reaction to using an entire tablespoon of red food coloring, as suggested by the Guilty Kitchen’s cake recipe, I cut the amount down to a teaspoon, so mine was more of a not-terribly dark brown. I found the cake itself rather adult, with a less-is-more attitude toward sugar. When I sign up for cake, I expect a glucose-induced forehead tingle to punctuate each slice, and I was left chasing mine with Keebler rainbow cookies in a failed attempt to reach the top of candy mountain.  Mr. P, however, has sworn that his eyes sincerely rolled back upon first bite, even after I promised I wouldn’t be angry if he had just been patronizing Preggy. I have to say that a bite of the cake loaded with the frosting (pilfered from the Smitten Kitchen) is impressive indeed, but I’m unable to finish a slice beyond its surface area.

At the end of the day, if you like dark chocolate, I suspect you’ll love this. For those of us who prefer our chocolate well milked, I’ll refer you to my reliably spectacular Black Midnight Cake.

The Cake:
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C white sugar
3/4 C butter
2 eggs
2 C cake flour
1/2 C plus 2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 C buttermilk
1 tbsp red food coloring if you play fast and loose with your liver
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp white vinegar

The Frosting:
1/2 C butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
some milk

Set your oven to 350 and grease/flour two round cake pans. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and white sugar by hand before creaming in the brown, then beat in the eggs. In a separate bowl, stir together the buttermilk, food coloring and vanilla. Dump the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, then start stirring with one hand while slowly pouring in the milk mixture with the other. Once everything’s moist, quickly stir in the vinegar, then pop the bowl under the mixer and let it ride on high for 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula, give the whole thing a vigorous stir, then divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake the layers side by side at 350 for 22-24 minutes, switching their positions at 12 minutes to keep them level. Set the pans over wire racks and let them sit for 10 minutes before inverting the layers onto the racks to finish cooling.

Cream the butter and cream cheese together with a wooden spoon until the resulting mixture is completely consistent. Add the vanilla, then stir in the powdered sugar in 1-C increments, adding just a few drops of milk with each. Once all the sugar is in, switch to a whisk to eliminate any unsightly lumps. When frosting the cake, give the circumference a few go-arounds to pile it on, and don’t be frugal in between the layers. It’s ant season, so cover it up!

I’d put prizes in the middle if I didn’t eat them so fast.

She-Should-Be-Reported Cherry-Vanilla Cupcakes

There are several ways in which I am a horrid mother, one of which regards the amount of cake batter I consider appropriate for the pre-bake “tasting.” Billy the Kid starts lobbying to “lick spoon” the minute the eggs hit the bowl, and he eventually obtains clearance to commence his appetizer. For the main course, he tongue-polishes the Kitchen-Aid whisk attachment clean and shiny, and finishes up by hunting for errant batter splatters on the counter. He probably puts away a quarter cup of raw flour, sugar, shortening and eggs. The tragedy is that I’m rewarded for my lackluster display of moderation; the minute the pan goes in the oven, Billy the Kid disappears into the living room, switches on the TV, and sits quietly on the couch for twenty minutes, basking in his little sugar tingle. Were he to transform into a dervish and take down the curtains in his whirl, I would impose a strict two-lick limit, but he comes up with some great stuff during his meditations. For this afternoon’s sugar bullet, we made Cherry-Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, a modified version of the Cherry Dreams-of-Me Cake. I’m a strong advocate of the No-Cupcake-Left-Uncherried initiative; without at least half a maraschino, all you have is a frosted muffin.

2 C cake flour, sifted (sift with the baking powder, baking soda and salt)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 C shortening
1 1/4 C sugar
3/4 C whole milk
3 eggs (do not beat)
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp maraschino cherry juice

Set your oven to 350. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the shortening and sugar and beat by hand until fluffy. Stir in the eggs, vanilla and extracts, and beat until well blended. Sift in the dry ingredients, then add the milk in a slow stream while stirring gently with the other hand. Once combined, add the cherry juice, whip it in quickly, then throw the bowl under the mixer and beat on high with the whisk attachment for 2 minutes. Pour the batter into lined muffin tins, and bake single sheets of 12 for 20 minutes at 350. Our batch yielded 21, but if you’ve ever heard of restraint, you might wind up with a couple of extras.

Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting with Vanilla Buttercream (recipe here, just omit cherry juice), then let them sit uncovered until the frosting sets a shell. You should be able to pile them into a display about two hours after frosting without smudging.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Hamilton!

Deposit-Your-Soul-Here Devil’s Food Cake

Last night, I managed to type the following: “I’m looking forward to an early retirement this evening, having just concluded Mr. H’s annual birthday dinner, Steak Hamilton and Cheesy Potatoes,” then immediately succumbed to the food coma induced by filet mignon, sauteed mushrooms, twice-baked potatoes, and a deliciously sneaky Muscat contributed by the couple, which made for a difficult bed-extraction this morning. But it was the rich, moist, chocolate cake that did me in; elastic pants were donned within seconds of our friends’ departure. Breaking a cardinal rule, I made a new cake for company. How could I act so irresponsibly when Mr. H’s birthday cake was at stake? I’ve had the 1960’s recipe for Betty Crocker’s Devil’s Food Cake for as long as I can remember, and I’ve started assembling the mise en place to make it on countless occasions. However, while I keep a laudable stock of baking ingredients in my pantry, I’m repeatedly foiled by the buttermilk. Yesterday, I remembered the recipe’s existence before a scheduled trip to the market, and I trust Betty more than I do myself.

It was, as expected, hellishly good. By far the heaviest cake I’ve created, forehead-tingle commenced within a record two bites, and though the double-dark buttercream frosting lent an adult depth, Billy the Kid cookie-monstered his slice with standard enthusiastic vigor. It was indeed a truly happy birthday for us all.

Above: Remains of the Cake

1-3/4 C flour
1 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 C buttermilk
1/2 C shortening
2 eggs
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 tsp vanilla

Set your oven to 350 and grease and flour two 9″ cake pans. In a large bowl (preferably that of a stand mixer), cream together the shortening and sugar until fluffy, then cream in the brown sugar until the color’s consistent. Beat in the eggs and vanilla by hand until the batter’s smooth and airy. Add the flour, baking soda and salt, and stir the dry ingredients in while slowly pouring in the buttermilk. Give the whole thing a rigorous beating before stirring in the chocolate.

Stick the bowl under the mixer or get out your hand-held, and beat on high until it looks smooth and delicious, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the batter into the pans and pay close attention to leveling for this one. Bake them side by side in the center of the oven for 30 minutes (give or take 5, until a wooden-pick inserted into the center comes out clean, duh), but give each pan a 180-degree turn half-way through. Let the layers sit in the pan for 5 minutes before running a knife around the perimeters, then turn them out onto wire racks to cool.

The outsides of the layers harden quickly, so a soon as they’re barely warm, seal them with the following non-optional frosting.

2 C powdered sugar
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/3 C butter
1 tsp vanilla

Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat in a medium saucepan, stirring frequently to prevent the chocolate from burning. Once melted, turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Proceed to stir in the sugar in half-cup increments, and accompany each addition with 1 tbsp of water. Add more water as needed throughout the process, but no more than 1 tbsp at a time, lest your frosting turn into icing. Once you’ve incorporated all the sugar, the frosting will probably look a little greasy. That means you need to add more water and beat it as vigorously as you can. You can grab the hand-held if you don’t do a lot of baking and it’s killing you, but you’ll wind up sacrificing the love. I don’t have a slightly more muscular right upper-arm for no reason.

After you frost your cake, let it stand uncovered for a half hour to let the shell set, then cover it up until you don’t have anywhere to be for the rest of the day. I felt awful for so gastric-ly incapacitating the Hamiltons, as they had an hour of driving ahead of them, but as someone who enjoyed the option of passing out quickly, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the evening.

It was much too cold to leave the house today.

Because You Can’t Be Trusted Cake

A candle-lit cake for Billy the Kid

If you’ve ever tried to halve a double-layer cake recipe in an attempt to minimize potential gluttony, you probably wound up cutting more calories than planned as you deposited the unfortunate anomaly directly into the trash bin. Almost all recipes can be doubled with little repercussion, but a division symbol has no place in the kitchen. Betty Crocker perfected the formula five or six decades ago for the “Dinette”, a single layer of moist vanilla cake slightly denser than the traditional double-stack. It’s also well-suited for my sudden late-night baking compulsions, as I can always come up with an egg and some Crisco, even at my pantry’s leanest.

1-1/4 C flour
1 C sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C milk
1/3 C shortening
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Set your oven to 350 and grease and flour a square or round 8″ cake pan. Cream together the shortening and sugar by hand until fluffy, then mix in the egg and vanilla, beating until smooth and airy. Add the dry ingredients and stir them in while pouring the milk in a slow stream. Once the mixture is combined, throw the bowl under the mixer (or use a hand-held) and beat it on high for 2 minutes. Pour the batter into the pan, even it out with a spatula, and bake for 28 minutes or so, peeking in after 20 to make sure everyone’s behaving.

Let the cake sit out of the oven in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the perimeter before inverting it onto a wire rack to cool. I always frost this with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting, and as a follower of the never-halve rule, there’s usually half a batch leftover from the previous Dinette sealed in a plastic container in the back of my fridge.

As a mother and baking enthusiast, I find few things more gratifying than watching BK slip into a trance as he savors and relishes each mouthful of a cake I’ve just made, emitting barely audible grunts and sighs of delight as his beard of frosting takes shape. I decorate most of my cakes with my little fella in mind these days, and he goes crazy for a ring of maraschino cherries and a circle of nonpareils (set a light-weight round cookie cutter in the center and sprinkle generously, then press the nonpareils down gently to assure adherence).

Whether you use your small canvas for a burst of creativity, or just spread some Nutella over the top and cut it into quarters, you can only do so much damage, so go ahead and make this Friday cake-for-dinner night.

Run, run, run, fast as you can, can’t catch me ’cause you had some of this.

Good Night Gingerbread

Mr. Peña and I turned in before 9 last night, partly due to overenthusiastic helpings of shepherd pie, but mostly from the effects of one too many return trips to the best gingerbread I’ve ever had. And I’ve had a lot of gingerbread. The following recipe produces a single-layer iced cake perfect for a holiday dessert, but you could also serve it plain for breakfast, hot from the oven with a slab of salted butter and a tall glass of milk.

2 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp dried ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 C shortening
1/4 C butter
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
1 C unsulfured molasses mixed with 1 C hot water

1/2 C powdered sugar
2 tbsp maple syrup
cold water

Set your oven to 350, then grease and flour a square 8×8 or 9×9 cake pan. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar until fluffy. Stir in the egg, then dump in the dry ingredients as well as the molasses water and mix well. Use a stand mixer or hand-held to beat on high for 3 minutes before pouring into the pan, then bake at 350 for 50 minutes, but check at 40 to make sure the edges aren’t in danger of burning. If they are, cover them with aluminum foil, leaving the center exposed, and continue baking until an inserted pick comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, run a knife along the edges, and flip it out onto a work surface. I cut the top off with a cake leveler, then ice it bottom side up. I suggest you do the same.

To make the icing, put the sugar and maple syrup in a small mixing bowl and stir, adding water by the tbsp as needed until you achieve the desired consistency; it should drizzle but not weep. Cover the ball of a whisk with the icing and flick it back and forth over the cake for some artsy striping, and serve while it’s still warm. If you plan to consume the entire cake yourself, you can retain some semblance of dignity by going through the motions of cutting individual slices and using a plate, as opposed to taking the whole thing into the bathtub.

I can’t help it, the mall makes me snarky.

Old Timey Crumb Cake

This is a fun breakfast meeting contribution when the majority of your coworkers are dieting. Nothing passes the weekly departmental status update like a game of clock-the-caver, and it’s even more compelling if coordinated around an in-house Weight Watchers meeting. I know it’s not in the spirit of the season to exploit one’s neighbors for personal entertainment, but you’ve worked hard this year, so give yourself a little end-of-year gratification. Would you feel better if I reminded you that your boss will probably get a substantial bonus, in actual money, when we worker bees have been hearing that companies can’t “afford” even annual holiday parties “this year” for a while now? I thought it might.

1 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C butter, softened
1/2 C whole milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C raspberry jam

3/4 stick butter, softened
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/4 C flour

Set your oven to 350 and grease & flour a square 8×8 cake pan. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla and milk. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and combine well. Use a stand mixer or hand-held to beat the batter on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.

If using a stand mixer, you should be able to complete the topping just in time. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, then add the brown sugar and mix out the lumps. Combine the flour, spices and salt in a small bowl, then add to the butter and sugar, and stir until all flour is incorporated. If you couldn’t pull it off exactly, don’t let it keep you up too late.

Pour the batter into the pan and level the top with a spatula. Drop spoonfuls of jam onto the batter, spacing evenly over the cake, and swirl them gently with a knife. Distribute the crumb over the jammed cake, and use it all; it should pile high. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, then check with a wooden pick. If any batter adheres to the pick, give it another 7 minutes and it should be done.

Cool the cake in the pan for half an hour. Cut it into 2″ squares, and seal them into a plastic container until you’ve set the stopwatch.

Keys, anyone?

I-didn’t-know-it-was-this-kind-of-party Icebox Cake

About the only time I wouldn’t rather be baking a big fluffy cake is when I’ve got my hands full with a complicated dinner menu or cocktail party spread. On the other hand, nothing conveys “by dessert I’ll be too drunk to care” like following a home-cooked tour de force with pie-in-a-box. My mother introduced me to Famous Chocolate Wafers and the classic icebox cake, a simple dessert hearkening back to the ’50’s that must be prepared well in advance, hindering any possible procrastination that would result in a frazzled host. Predominantly a summertime dessert, you may also serve it between Thanksgiving and New Year’s without obtaining prior authorization from the Emily Post Institute. The flagrant log presentation, the brazen spectacle of cream, and the artful placement of a single maraschino cherry imply that everything’s going to be all right if you’re white and in plastics. The addition of a little something facilitates the often awkward transition from the dinner table to the cocktail lounge, guests already having feet in various bags.

1 9-oz pkg chocolate wafers
1 pint whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar (my addition)
1 tsp vanilla
1 shot Grand Marnier (also my suggestion, obviously it becomes not so much for the kids)
1 maraschino cherry

Get out your stand mixer and click in the whisk attachment. Beat the cream on high until soft peaks form, then pour in the vanilla and sugar and keep whipping. Once the cream forms stiff peaks, slowly pour in the liquor and keep whipping until it’s firm but not meringue-ish.

Separate out any broken wafers, dip them in the whipped cream and eat them. Lay a wafer right side up on a protected work surface. Use a spatula to dollop 2 tsp of cream onto the wafer, then place another wafer on top of the cream (same orientation, please), and press down gently to squeeze the cream out to the edges. Repeat, forming 4 small stacks of wafers and cream. Assemble the log directly on the serving dish; place the stacks on their sides in a row with all wafers facing the same direction and push them together. Use the remaining whipped cream to frost the whole cake, and make sure you get the corners and tuck in under the bottom curve. Use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe the excess cream off the dish.

Cherry placement is entirely up to you. I go for dead center, but 2″ from the middle can say a lot about a person. Tent aluminum foil over the log and dish and chill for at least 4 hours. When serving, slice on the diagonal for a striped effect. If you went for the Grand Marnier and are hoping to fortify your guests’ table wine, shoot for a three-slices-per-log portion size.

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