Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

50 Women Game Changers in Food - #15 - Sheila Lukins and Julee Russo

The world changed when The Silver Palate opened in New York City.     And the world changed further when The Silver Palate Cookbook was published in 1982.      As a young wife and mother, that cookbook opened a different food world for me.     I loved the way the cookbook was written and illustrated and I loved the food inside those pages.     It was fun to experiment with those recipes.      And their Chicken Marbella is now a classic.

The women behind The Silver Palate and The Silver Palate Cookbook are Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.     They sold The Silver Palate in 1988 but continued to write cookbooks together, but eventually went their separate ways.    In 2007, they reunited for the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Silver Palate Cookbook.

Sheila Lukins passed away at the young age of 66 in 2009.    Julee Russo is back in her home state of Michigan running a bed and breakfast with her husband.    I imagine that the breakfast part has to be stupendous!

I have wanted to join in the 50 Women Game Changers in Food for some time and I was pleased that I could join in week No. 15.    For I truly admire these women and the contributions that they made.

I decided to make their carrot cake which I had not done before for I thought I had a pretty good carrot cake recipe.    But I had company coming and needed a dessert and carrot cake is always a winner!

The story as told by Julee and Sheila is that one of their Mom's (I can't remember who) would drive the carrot cakes down to Manhattan daily from her Connecticut kitchen.    But then that's a mother for you!

The Cake

The Silver Palate Carrot Cake

The Recipe

3 cups flour
3 cups sugar
1 t. salt
1 T. baking soda
1 T. cinnamon
1 1/2 c. oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 T. vanilla
1 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 1/2 c. pureed cooked carrots
3/4 c. drained crushed pineapple
1 1/2 c. coconut

Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat oven to 350.    Grease two 9 inch springform pans (or use regular cake pans with buttered wax paper lining in the pan bottoms)

Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon into a bowl.    Add eggs, oil and vanilla.    Beat well.    Fold in walnuts, coconut, carrots and pineapple.

Divide batter between prepared pans and smooth tops with a rubber spatula.    Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake until edges have pulled away from sides and a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

Cool 15 minutes, then remove sides of pans and place layers still on pan bottoms on cake racks to cool completely, 3 hours.   (or remove from cake pans and cool on cake racks).

Gently remove layers from pan bottoms and use cream cheese frosting to fill cake and frost the sides.    Dust top of cake with powdered sugar.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 T. butter, room temperature
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 T. lemon juice

Cream butter and cream cheese.    Slowly sift in the powdered sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated and lump free.    Stir in vanilla and lemon juice.

I did omit the coconut because I didn't know the tastes of my guests and I find that people either love coconut or loathe it -- there is no middle ground!

I also frosted the whole cake rather than putting powdered sugar on top -- it's shown that way in the new The Silver Palate Cookbook.

I also decorated the top of the cake with walnut halves.

Half the cake left!!!!

Four pieces of cake for my guests!

And a piece for me!!!!     After my guests leave!

Will I make this cake again, definitely.    I really really liked it especially the pineapple.    Will it replace my tried and true carrot cake -- perhaps.    It was really good.

I must admit that as other cookbooks  came along, both of the Silver Palate cookbooks got relegated to the sunroom.    I didn't cook from them as much as I used to.  Ina Garten and Anna Pump replaced them actually.    It was fun getting them both out and going through them again -- so many pages brought back so many great memories.    And it's been a while since I've made Chicken Marbella -- I think that soon I shall have to remedy that!

It's also Foodie Friday and I'm sharing the carrot cake with Michael at Designs by Gollum.


Wendy@~Chez~La~De~da~ said...

OOoooh I just had to come visit at night when that cake just looked so good and made me sooo hungry!!

Thanks for stopping over at my blog!


Cass @ That Old House said...

Oh my, that original Silver Palate Cookbook was the BEST. You are bringing back memories. that was a time of tremendous change in how Americans ate and cooked, wasn't it? I have pages of recipes I used to use then -- SO much more adventurous than I use now -- we were all so into the new cuisines.

The "Chili for a Crowd" from that cookbook made me some nice pin money back in the 80s -- used to make it and sell frozen quarts of it. I still make it, and I've even posted the recipe on my blog in the past. Other great recipes that were my favorites back then -- pate Maison, the flourless chocolate cake (who didn't make that?), their macaroons, and the beef carbonnade, which as I recall I made with Flemish beer. And I remember the first time, panicking that it was going to taste all "beery."

One good thing about the SP recipes, when they say they serve 6, they DO, with leftovers!

Hmm, I think I need to bring out that old cookbook if one of my kids hasn't wandered off with it.

Your carrot cake looks sublime; I have never made carrot cake!

Pondside said...

I'll have to dig out my old SP cookbook and try that carrot cake. I've never made one that I really liked, but I always like it when others bake it. Yours looks wonderful.

Barbara said...

Lovely post, Martha, and a super looking cake. It was fun to dig that cookbook out, wasn't it? I'd forgotten how much I used it!

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

I have got the Silver Palate cookbook after a friend insisted I add it to my collection, but I honestly don't think I've ever made a recipe from it. Glad to know you liked the carrot cake so well... I should definitely dust the book off and take a look.


Sue/the view from great island said...

This cake looks luscious. I really have to try it(when I have a crowd in the house). I'm not so sure about the carrot puree, though, that hardly seems worth the extra trouble. I'd try it with grated carrots. And your frosting looks particularly yummy.
Oh, and I agree, Ina's books are the best.

The Charm of Home said...

I have a love affair with those cookbooks. I bought almost all of them and still use them almost weekly. I loved the recipes they created out of all the old classic and loved their fresh takes on them. Your carrot cake looks gorgeous and I know it taste wonderful too!

Heather S-G said...

Well, that's it...I am totally trying this cake. After drooling over it twice in one day, I'm sold. So glad you've joined us in the tribute to these women! :D

Jeanette said...

My copy of the Silver Palate Cookbook has been well worn, although I never tried this recipe. This luxurious carrot cake reminds me of one they sell in our town that gets rave reviews.

Susan Lindquist said...

You picked a beauty of a recipe to make for this tribute to Rosso & Lukins! It is a classic! I love the icing recipe ... mmm to the lemon juice added!

Welcome to the blogging group! Nice post!

Bernideen said...

It looks very moist and definitely lovely! Yes...I have a number of their cookbooks too and love them! Your words are so true - they changed many of our attitudes and influenced us with their cookbooks.

Rushd Lady said...

Carrot cake, yum! My son's favorite! Fort Scott, KS. Been there a time or two, but it's been awhile. I love the old recipes too -- have a few of my grandmother's & a great aunt's cookbook that I treasure. :)

Taryn said...

I still don't have a copy of this cookbook, but I think I need to get one. This carrot cake looks delicious - your guests were lucky :)

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Wow, your cake looks so moist and delicious! I have to admit I never owned The Silver Palate Cookbook but it's been fun reading all the the 'game changer' posts about it. I love the idea of the pineapple in this version of carrot cake.

Miranda | Mangoes and Chutney said...

Love your write up of these two women, I learn a little more at each step. I would love a huge chunk of that cake right now!