Johnnie Gabriel stops by with sweet and savory treats for the perfect holiday party

Johnnie Gabriel from Gabriel's Bakery stops by Good Day Atlanta with sweet and savory treats for entertaining this holiday season.

For today's recipes see below.  For more on Gabriel's Restaurant and Bakery click here.

Red Velvet Cake –“Cooking in the South with Johnnie Gabriel”

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 oz. red food coloring
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Cream cheese frosting (see below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans, tapping out any excess flour.  (We use baking spray to prepare our pans.)  In a medium bowl sift the flour, baking soda, and cocoa powder.  In a large bowl combine the oil, sugar, and eggs, mixing well until thoroughly combined.  In a small bowl. Mix the vinegar, vanilla and red food coloring.  Add to the oil mixture, blending well.  Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture in three stages, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Pour equal amounts of batter into the three prepared pans.  Tap the pans on the counter surface to level the mixture and release any air bubbles.  Bake the cake for 24 to 27 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean.  Remove the cakes from the oven, place on wire racks, and allow to cool 10-15 minutes in the pans. 

Prepare the cream cheese icing:

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup  (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 ½ (8 oz) packages cream cheese
  • 1 ½ (16 oz) boxes confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted, optional
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl combine the butter and cream cheese, mixing well.  Add the confectioners’ sugar in increments, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl once or twice between additions.  Add the pecans and vanilla, mixing well but not overbeating.

Enough frosting for 3 – 9” round cake layers.

When layers are cooled in pan (10-15 mins), invert onto cake racks to fully cool.  If any layers are significantly higher in the middle, level with a serrated knife to keep the layers from cracking with they are stacked.  Put the 1st cake layer on the cake plate ad spread ¼ of the cream cheese mixture evenly across the layer.  Place the 2nd layer evenly and securely on top of the frosted 1st and spread with an equal amount of frosting.  Repeat with the 3rd.  Use remaining to cover the sides of the cake.

Serves 14-16

Hot Pimento Cheese Dip – from “How to Cook Like a Southerner” – Johnnie Gabriel

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups (8 ozs.) shredded mild Cheddar cheese*
  • 1 – 2 oz. jar diced pimentos, well drained
  • 6-8 slices bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
  • 1-2 Roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • Pita chips or pork skins for serving

In a medium bowl whisk the mayonnaise and the sugar, dissolving the sugar.  Add the cheese and the drained pimentos, combining well.  Flavors will meld and consistency smoother if made a couple hours even a couple of days ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.

Preheat oven broiler on low setting if serving with bacon & tomato.

When serving with pitas and the bacon and tomato:  Spread the desired amount of pimento cheese ½ to ¾” deep onto an ovenproof serving plate.  Sprinkle the chopped bacon and tomato to taste over the top of the pimento cheese and place under the broiler until the mixture is hot and beginning to bubble.  Serve hot with pita chips or pork skins.

OR When serving with pork skins: Heap the pimento cheese into a microwave proof bowl and warm in 1 minute increments until warm but not entirely melted.  Serve warm with pork skins.

YUMMY VARIATION: Top with jalapeno (purchase precut & canned)

Makes 2 – 2 ½ cups  

*If time permits, grate the cheese yourself.  Pre-shredded changes the flavor and consistency.