Vermont Burgers

Cover recipe- Martha Stewart Living, Vermont Burgers: June 2010

Cover recipe- Martha Stewart Living, Vermont Burgers: June 2010

Grilling season is here again, and burgers are a definite favorite at my house. My kids go crazy when they hear that it’s burger time. I finally perfected the perfect juicy burger on the grill, so it was time for me to move onto the perfect toppings, preferably the homemade kind. I was really interested in the Vermont Burger on the cover of the June 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living. The magazine spread is about Lucinda Scala’s son’s college graduation party. Upon first look, the recipes look pretty fantastic. Definitely a fun spread for a good party. The burger on the cover gorgeous all piled high with thick-cut pickles, classic lettuce and tomato, cheddar cheese, and two homemade sauces – Beer-Spring Onion Mustard and Extra-Special Sauce. I had a feeling that the burger was going to be all about those two sauces. Read my notes below to see what I thought of these recipes.
Vermont Burgers Martha Stewart Living Magazine June 2010

Print Print Recipe

Vermont Burgers

Yield: 20 burgers

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 30 min

PREP: 30 MINS TOTAL TIME: 1 HOUR 30 MINS
YIELD:Makes 20 (10 turkey, 10 beef)

Ingredients:

For the Turkey Burgers

1 pound ground white-meat turkey
1 pound ground dark-meat turkey
1/2 cup fromage blanc or pureed ricotta cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
For the Beef Burgers

2 pounds ground beef, preferably grass-fed
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
For Grilling

Vegetable oil, for brushing
For Serving

20 hamburger buns, split
1 stick unsalted butter, softened

For Beer Spring Onion Mustard:
3 tablespoons safflower oil
2 1/2 pounds thinly sliced Vidalia onions
1/2 cup mustard powder (from 2 containers)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup pale ale

For Extra-Special Sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons pickle juice
1 tablespoon Asian chili sauce (such as sambal oelek

Garnish: Extra-Special Sauce, Homemade Beer-Spring Onion Mustard, pickles, thin cheddar cheese slices, lettuce, and tomato slices

Directions:

For the turkey burgers: Arrange 10 (4-inch) parchment squares on a tray. Gently mix together turkey, cheese, parsley, sage, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Shape meat into 10 (3-ounce) patties (3 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick). Transfer patties to parchment.
For the beef burgers: Shape meat into 10 patties (see turkey burger instructions above).
Refrigerate patties for at least 1 hour.
Heat grill to medium-high; brush grates with vegetable oil.
Cook the turkey burgers: Brush tops with olive oil. Flip burgers onto grill, peeling off paper. Grill for 3 minutes. Brush tops with olive oil. Flip, and grill until cooked through, about 2 minutes more.
Cook the beef burgers: Season burgers with salt and pepper. Grill for 4 minutes. Flip, and grill until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more (6 minutes total for medium-rare, 7 minutes total for medium).
To serve burgers: Brush buns with butter, and grill until browning around edges, about 30 seconds. Sandwich burgers between buns, garnished with desired toppings.

For mustard: Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add safflower oil, and swirl to coat. Reduce heat to medium. Cook Vidalia onions, stirring often, until very soft, about 30 minutes. Stir in mustard powder, salt, and turmeric. Cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Stir in cider vinegar, and raise heat to high. Add pale ale, and cook, stirring often, until mixture is thick, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely.

For extra-special sauce: Stir together ketchup, mayonnaise, pickle juice, and Asian chili sauce.

Tips:

Storage: Mustard can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Storage: Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

The results:

As I said, I feel like I already make a really good burger – the kind of beef used matters a lot, as does the cooking method. So where this burger could have stood out the most was with the two sauces. I did not try the turkey burger recipe – my family doesn’t really care for ground turkey so much, but I would like to give it a try sometime.

Where I’m from we have fry sauce, which is basically the same thing as the Extra-Special Sauce except that the pickle juice and sambal oelek make it extra special. I’m not sure if I’ll ever look at “fry sauce” the same again! I will definitely make it again.

Now we get to the mustard sauce…not so great. I love mustard in every form, but I couldn’t like this one. I tried. Homemade mustard is pretty easy to make and typically pretty darn delicious. I don’t know if this one was terrible because of the beer I used – too bitter? I don’t know if it was the onions? The mustard powder? It was inedible. So, I’m probably not going to be make that recipe again. It was pretty much a burger deal-breaker and went straight into the trash. Bummer! I’m not giving up on the idea itself, maybe just the beer part?

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Summertime is Burgertime, and I was drawn in by that gorgeous cover photo. Sadly because I pretty much hated the mustard, I’m going to be a fence-sitter this time around. I look forward to trying the turkey burger recipe and maybe that will change my mind. :)

Lindsey Johnson writes the food blog, Cafe Johnsonia, and she works as a freelance recipe developer and photographer. She is the mother to three beautiful, fun children and resides in Utah. She became gluten-free in 2010 and has enjoyed the learning process that comes along with gluten-free baking and cooking. When she's not in the kitchen or behind the camera, she enjoys gardening, reading, being outside, and spending time with her husband and children.

27 Responses to “Simple Layer Cake with Vanilla Frosting”

  1. 1

    Averie @ Averie Cooks — May 20, 2013 @ 5:10 am

    Thanks for the review! It puzzles me too about the cake mix when cakes like this are practically as easy!

    I just got a cookbook about cooking with edible flowers. I have been loving reading/learning about a whole new world to me. Who knew you could bake with dandelions. I sure didn’t!

  2. 2

    Kelster — May 20, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    Your perfect wedding cake cupcakes are made with cake mix so they aren’t all soooo bad. But anyway, I bake from scratch a lot but I can understand why some will reach for a cake mix. A lot of my friends don’t bake often and so they don’t keep certain ingredients on hand. They have no use for baking powder so they don’t buy it. It’s easier to just grab a box of cake mix whenever they feel the need to bake a cake instead of getting a can of baking powder just for 2 teaspoons and not being able to use it all before it’s no longer active. I have other friends who rarely have flour on hand. It seems like it would be a staple but for some it’s not.

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 20th, 2013 @ 7:53 am

      That is such a good point… it’s so commonplace for me to have all baking ingredients at hand, but totally understandable for those who don’t bake! And you’re right- those Wedding Cupcakes are pretty darn good for a boxed mix.

  3. 3

    Laurie @ A Wiener Dog in the Kitchen — May 20, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

    I totally agree, Lori. It’s just as easy to make it from scratch and only usually takes a couple of extra steps, but the results are so much better. Your cake is gorgeous and not having had lunch yet, is making me totally hungry… I could put away a slice right now.

  4. 4

    sara — May 20, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

    This cake looks so amazing! Love the edible dandelions…I haven’t seen those before but they’re really pretty! :)

  5. 5

    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — May 20, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

    What a great basic cake to feature here at Culinary Covers! Interesting about the frosting. Warm kitchens can sometimes be the culprit with butter that is a bit soft. Your tip of starting with just 3 tablespoons of liquid (milk) is spot on for the home baker. Thanks for sharing, Lori!

  6. 6

    Kim L. — May 20, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

    I am having friends over for dinner on Thursday and wast trying to come up with a desert. Problem solved!

    Oh, and about the box mixes… Growing up my mom made everything from scratch except for cakes. She always used a box. When I got married and was on my own, I used box cakes for a long time too because I assumed that they were really hard to make. Glad I learned the truth!

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 20th, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

      My Mom always made spice cake from a box. I loved it then and I still love boxed spice cake now too :)

  7. 7

    Jill P. (@MamaGing.com) — May 20, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    This sounds perfect! I’ve been in search for a good, simple (not just using egg whites) vanilla cake recipe. I can not handle boxed mixes – they have such a chemical, mass produced taste to them, as well as canned frosting. When I see a delicious recipe on Pinterest and and soon as I see that first ingredient says a boxed mix, I immediately back out. My mother made most everything from scratch and I try to too. My new years resolution is no canned cream of whatever soups… make my own! Thanks for sharing this one, this I WILL pin! ;)

  8. 8

    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — May 20, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

    The cake came out gorgeous, Lori! I love your thoughts on the cake. Definitely will be trying it! And edible dandelions? Who knew? Pinning!

  9. 9

    Katrina — May 20, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

    Beautiful! And I agree–why do people used boxed cake mixes. sigh

  10. 10

    Faith — May 21, 2013 @ 7:34 am

    This cake is such a beauty – I love Martha Stewart Living for the same reasons you mentioned above. I’m glad this cake was a winner flavor-wise too!

  11. 11

    Deborah Harroun — May 21, 2013 @ 8:31 am

    This is so pretty! I’m on the search for the perfect yellow cake so I definitely need to give this one a try!

  12. 12

    Tieghan — May 21, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

    Sp pretty!! I am not normally a yellow cake person, but this one just looks so good! I need to venture away from chocolate and make it!

  13. 13

    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — May 21, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

    I love a quick simple cake. This one looks beautiful. I’d love to give it a try. I also love decorating cakes with flowers. It just looks so simple and beautiful.

  14. 14

    Donalyn@The Creekside Cook — May 23, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

    I definitely hang out with food bloggers too much – the idea of using a mix always shocks me just a tiny bit. This cake looks wonderful and I love a nice vanilla cake, so I’ll be giving it a try – thanks for the review!

  15. 15

    Clover — May 23, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    That cake looks perfect. I will definitely be setting aside this recipe for a special occasion. Thanks for the review.

  16. 16

    Donna @ The Slow Roasted Italian — May 24, 2013 @ 10:25 am

    What a lovely cake. I am tucking this one away. I have found such awful recipes for yellow cake and would love to try this one.

  17. 17

    Darla — May 24, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    Just baked this cake this morning! I didn’t want to do layers so I did a 9×13 cake pan. It worked beautifully and the cake had such a smooth level top, my cakes don’t usually come out that nice. It has a very nice light tender crumb to it, reminiscent of a cake mix, but it tastes soooooo much better! Made a half a batch of frosting as well and since I like my frosting with a light touch, we still have enough leftover for a pan of cinnamon rolls! :) Thanks for sharing this recipe, Lori…will definitely make it again!

  18. 18

    Suzanne — May 24, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

    I made this as cupcakes & it was really good!

  19. 19

    chris — May 28, 2013 @ 10:36 am

    Hi Lori, I am looking forward to making this cake, however, it states-“Yield: One 8-inch layer cake; but the
    instructions state-“Butter two 8-inch round cake pans.” Could you let me know which to use?
    I just bought your cookbook and can’t wait to make some of those delicious recipes!!
    Thanks.

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 28th, 2013 @ 11:41 am

      Hi Chris- One 8-inch layer cake means that you will butter two 8-inch round cake pans (the layer cake uses two round pans). Does that make sense? I hope you enjoy my cookbook!

  20. 20

    Teana — February 24, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

    im 13 yrs old and did this cake yesterday b/c i want to become a baker i wish i could see Lori so she can help me work on cakes for in the future thanks lori for putting this up !

    • Lori Lange replied: — February 25th, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

      You’re welcome!

  21. 21

    Mary — February 25, 2014 @ 2:05 am

    This is my first cake from scratch and it was a great success. The texture, moistness and density was perfect. It was truly simple to make. The batter tasted great too. It will be our ‘go to’ vanilla cake recipe from now on.

    • Lori Lange replied: — February 25th, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

      Glad to hear it worked out so well for you!

  22. 22

    Mary — February 25, 2014 @ 2:09 am

    One more comment. For the middle I spread a thin layer of strawberry (or raspberry) jam and then put icing on. It gives it a little ‘other’ flavor which complements the vanilla nicely.

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