Rum Cake

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Rum Cake by Alexis Zepeda
Story and Photos by Sara Jauregui

This delicious Rum Cake manages to create a home away from home for the amazing chef, Alexis Zepeda, senior English major at St. Mary’s University. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas, Alexis manages to bring some flavors from her family’s traditional recipes to San Antonio, where she now resides for school.

As she prepares for her future career as a graphic designer, her hobbies include art-making, photography, design, and just like any other talented foodie – eating!

“My favorite thing about attending St. Mary’s is that I am able to live in San Antonio, a city full of different flavors.” Cupcakes and ice cream are some of Alexis’s favorite sweets to try around town.

As a result, she spends a lot of time experimenting with traditional recipes by adding her favorite flavors to create new modern desserts. Alexis chooses to share this recipe because it holds a special place in her heart. This delicious Rum cake is a staple in every family function and is traditionally gifted to loved ones during the holidays from her mother.

She gives some tips on how to perfect the Zepeda family’s signature Rum cake such as pouring the glaze over the cake immediately after baking. “The warmth coming from the cake allows the glaze to seep into the cake which adds much more flavor”.

Another tip is to bake the cake for less time than the instructions from the box recommends. “Instead of baking the cake for an hour, I prefer to bake the cake for 45 minutes because it keeps the bread from losing its moisture.”

Finally, she suggests placing the finished cake on a decorative plate for visual appeal. “My family and I always gift Rum cakes to loved ones during the holidays, so every time I make one it’s like a celebration is waiting to happen!”

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix (~18 oz.)
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3.5 oz.)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup Rum
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of Rum

Makes 12 servings.

Directions

Begin by preheating your oven to 325 F. Grease a bundt cake pan with cooking spray or butter. Sprinkle crushed up pecans on the bottom of the pan. Follow instructions on the box on how to prepare your yellow cake batter. Pour the batter over the pecans and smooth out. Bake for about 45 minutes, until the bread is light golden in color. For the glaze, begin by melting the butter in a saucepan. Add in water and sugar and stir until boiling. Lower the heat and stir the rum into the glaze. After letting the cake cool for a couple of minutes, and while your glaze is still warm, invert onto a serving plate and drizzle part of the glaze on top. With the help of a fork, prick the surface of the cake and continue drizzling with the rest of the glaze. Cool to room temperature and serve.

 

Cheesecake

Cheesecake by Maria Garza and David Culbreth

Videography and Production by Jacqueline M. Bracero

Maria Garza and David Culbreth are both seniors at St. Mary’s University. They are making a cheesecake and explaining how they started cooking/baking together.

Ingredients

  • 4 bars of cream cheese
  • 1 container of sour cream
  • 1 box of graham crackers
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • A pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

Crush graham crackers into a fine powder. Mix cinnamon into graham crackers. Melt butter in the microwave for 30 minutes. Pour melted butter into graham crackers. Mix crust. Pour crust mixture into spring form pan and press to form crust. With an electric mixture, begin to mix the cream cheese one at a time with sour cream. Beat eggs into cream mixture one at a time.  Add sugar into cream mixture 10. Pour cream mixture into crust. Bake in the oven at 350 degree for 1 hour. Let the cheesecake rest until cool to touch. Place cheesecake in fridge for 12 hours. Serve and enjoy.

Taste of St.MU: Rich and Delicious 14 Karat Cake

14 Karat Cake by Fernando Tapia

Videography and Production by Jose Arturo Tapia

A demonstration about how to make his famous Carrot cake. He also includes a bonus demonstration over how to make the cream cheese icing. They came out great by the way.

14 Karat Cake

  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 1 ½ Cups of Oil
  • 4 Eggs
  • 2 Cups Finely Grated Carrots
  • 1(8oz) Can crushed pineapples, drained
  • 1 Cup Coconut
  • 1 Cup Nuts, Walnuts or Pecans

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees Farenheit. Grease 3-9 Inch Pan. In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, sal and cinnamon. Add sugar, oil, eggs and mix well. Stir in carrots, pineapple, nut and coconut and mix well. Divide the batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before inverting it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 lb. powdered sugar

Cream together butter, cream cheese and vanilla until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy (make sure butter and cream cheese are smooth before adding powdered sugar).

Mexican Wedding Cookies

Mexican Wedding Cookies by Kimberly Salazar

Videography and Production by Samantha Salazar

Kimberly Salazar, sophomore psychology major, bakes Mexican Wedding Cookies. The dessert represents her love of baking which stems from her mother and grandmother.

Ingredients

  • ½ lb. butter or margarine, softened
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Directions

Cream butter; add sugar and mix well. Add flour, nuts and vanilla. Roll into small balls and bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 325° for 20 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar after they have cooled.

Polvorones

Polvorones by Holly Basaldu

Videography and Production by John Paul Coronado

Holly Basaldu, a Speech Communication major at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas tells her story behind her favorite Mexican pastry dish, polvorones. She describes the recipe, her origins of baking and the unspoken bridge between culture and food.

Ingredients 

  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons of unsalted butter at room temp
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Put the confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl. Roll the dough by two teaspoonfuls between your palms into balls. Arrange the balls on a large baking sheet, spacing them 1/2 inch apart.

Bake the cookies until golden brown or for 18 minutes. Cool cookies down for 5 minutes. Toss the cookies in the powdered sugar. Transfer the sugar-coated cookies on a separate plate.

 

 

Flan De Queso

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Flan de Queso
Story and photos by Holly Basaldu

Johanna Magee, a child of both Mexico and New York, shares with us her favorite dishes, some imprinted cooking experiences and an insight into why cooking is a part of her identity. A sophomore international relations and political science double-major at St. Mary’s University, Magee embraces cooking as a way to feel at home.

Studying far from home, Magee explains her aunt’s friend, an alumnus of St. Mary’s, recommended her to the university’s English program to assist her in bridging the gap between English and Spanish.

She also loves the home environment that St. Mary’s provides. Geography plays into another big part being close to Mexico—she’s never too far from her Mother.

“My mom’s food led me into the kitchen…I wouldn’t like the way she cooked something so I would end up going into the kitchen to see if I could redo it my own way,” she says.

My mother “is my inspiration. She is why I started into the kitchen in the first place,” Magee explains.

Influenced by the Italian family environment, Magee’s favorite type of dishes are pasta-dependent, which include lasagna and Penne de Vodka—a penne pasta with a tomato vodka sauce that has a creamy, rich taste.

Cooking helps her distress and results in having a delicious treat in the end. Enjoying time in the kitchen, she shows how to make Flan.

“This is the dish my mom taught me when I was young, and this is my favorite dessert,” she says.

 

Tools

Aluminum Foil

Baking Pan 9″x9″

Blender

Can Opener

Knife

Measuring Cups (½ cup)

Oven Mitten

Wisk

Ingredients

Condensed Milk- 1 Can (14oz)

Cream Cheese- 1 Bar (4oz)

Eggs- 4 (large)

Evaporated Milk- 1 Can (12oz)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil- 2tsp or Non-stick cooking spray

Milk- ½ Cup

Sugar- ½ Cup

Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 350°F .Drizzle EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) or spray with non-stick cooking spray and Sugar on the bottom of the Baking Pan. Heat the pan over the stove top on medium (this makes a sugary glaze on top) or put into oven for 3-5 minutes (till golden brown). Combine the rest of the ingredients into the blender and blend on high till you get a thick consistency. Pour the mixture into the pan over the sugary glaze. Cover the pan with Aluminum Foil. Bake at 350°F for 35m-45m, till golden brown (it will puff up and rise during the baking). Let cool at room temperature for 35m. Carefully in a knife along the edges, then flip the Pan onto a serving plate.

Strawberry Jelly Cake

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Strawberry Jelly Cake
Story and Photos by Selina Rodriguez

A good challenge and spending quality time with others is something that inspired Iris Bermea, an alumna of St. Mary’s Univeristy, to choose cooking as a hobby.

Bermea graduated from St. Mary’s with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sports science and is currently working for Cadillac dealership.

“I enjoy the company I work for right now and plan on growing with it,” she says.

Bermea says her love of cooking and baking was inspired by her mother whom she watched cook just about every family meal since she was little.

“I remember always wanting to help my mom cook for our family and being really proud when everyone liked the meal we had prepared,” she says.

“She has taught me to cook every dish that I now know how to make and I am so grateful to her for that. I am trying to make some new dishes here and there though,” Bermea says.

In 2016, Bermea’s chili recipe won 2nd Place at the St. Mary’s inaugural chill cook-off.

“St. Mary’s was a great university to attend. I love the community-based environment; nothing compares to the friendships I made there,” she says.

“I thought I would prepare this new cake dish because I have a co-worker’s birthday coming up. I love making recipes with and for people. It’s a good and inexpensive way to make people feel special on their birthdays because they know you put in that effort for them,” she says.

“I don’t really have a favorite type of food. I truly love all kinds. I am not a picky eater at all but I love my mom’s chicken quesadillas if I had to pick,” she says.

To a fellow cook or baker, Bermea offers important advice.

“Never give up on trying to perfect a dish. It won’t always be a piece of cake, but just try to enjoy it and learn from mistakes you make. You will get better with practice and a positive attitude,” Bermea advises.

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
  • 1 (3-ounce) box strawberry-flavored instant gelatin
  • 1 (15-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
  • 7 cups confectioners’ sugar

Makes 8 servings.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans. Then, in a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. For the frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and the strawberry extract. (The rest of the puree is leftover but can be used in smoothies or on ice cream for a delicious treat.) Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth. Spread frosting in between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if desired.