The Cake Slice: Fresh Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

September 20, 2010 at 12:21 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 19 Comments

fresh apple cake with brown sugar glaze

OK, I am the first to say that my Fresh Apple Cake cake looks an awful lot like a meatloaf, but it is in fact the perfect sweet way to welcome fall and apple season!  I scaled back the recipe to make a standard loaf cake, but to tell the truth, we could have easily polished off a full-sizer.  It’s moist texture reminded me of  banana bread (and I even swapped a third of the oil for unsweetened applesauce), but the taste here is all about apples, walnuts and vanilla.  Yes– vanilla, a welcome change from the usual cinnamon!  A brown sugar glaze makes an addictively sticky topping.

This is the last cake the group is baking from Southern Cakes.  Not all of the cakes I’ve made from this book have been so successful, so I’m glad to go out on a high note with this one.  Speaking of going out on a high note, this is also the last cake I’ll be baking with The Cake Slice group.  I’ll certainly still be following the other blogs as they move on to the next book, but I think I need to ease off the baking commitments for a bit.  Thanks so much, Katie, for all the hard work in keeping this group going– I’ve had such a great time!

Here’s a printable link to the recipe.  Or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our apple cakes this month!

The Cake Slice: Johnny C’s Tres Leches Cake

August 20, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 19 Comments

Johnny C's tres leches cake

Who is Johnny C?  Yeah, I don’t know.  What’s a tres leches cake?  That I do know!  “Tres leches” actually refers to a soaking sauce usually made of condensed, evaporated and regular milks (sometimes coconut milk or cream gets in there, too) that soaks its way into every pore of a spongy cake.  As a self-proclaimed connoisseur of fine cakes from around the globe, pastel de tres leches is truly one of my favorites.

This recipe, though…well, it wasn’t a bad one, but an old coworker, who’s from Columbia, gave me the recipe his sister makes for every family gathering, and I think it’s much better.  While this cake is made using the creaming method, hers is more of a separated egg sponge, and it really takes in the soaking liquid in a different way.  When you put a fork into hers, you see how spongy and it is, and the milk just barely starts to weep out…it turns almost puddingy if you keep it overnight.  Johnny C’s absorbed the milk and just trapped it there…it was a little too heavy for my tastes, but I’ll admit it was much improved with a little rum whipped cream (then again, what isn’t?). 

I’ll stick to my preferred version of pastel de tres leches (I’ll post it sometime, I promise!), but if you want to give Johnny C’s a go, here’s a printable link to the recipe, or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our tres leches cakes this month!

The Cake Slice: Shenandoah Valley Blueberry Cake

June 20, 2010 at 1:23 am | Posted in breakfast things, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 13 Comments

Shenandoah Valley blueberry cake

Hey– Happy Father’s Day!  Why not do something nice for pops and make him a Shenandoah Valley Blueberry Cake today??  It’s super easy, I promise.  You can even make it by hand without breaking a sweat.  I’d make it for my dad, but he lives clear across the county.

This cake is nothing fancy…plain, but soft and good.  It reminds me of a blueberry muffin, which made it perfect for breakfast with a cup of coffee.

Here’s a printable link to the recipe.  Or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.  I made a couple of tiny tweaks…a little spelt flour in place of some of the AP, and a bit of lemon zest for extra flavor.   Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our blueberry cakes this month!

The Cake Slice: Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake with Almond-Cream Cheese Frosting

May 20, 2010 at 5:12 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 13 Comments

lemon-poppy seed cake with almond-cream cheese frosting

I almost forgot to bake this cake.  That’s not quite true…I didn’t forget about the cake, I just didn’t realize the 20th is already here!  For the month of May, we Cake Slice Bakers have mixed it up a bit and are throwing back to last year’s book, with a recipe for Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake with Almond-Cream Cheese Frosting from Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes.

It’s pretty, isn’t it?  Something about this cake seems so sweetly charming and old-fashioned…like something my grandmas might bake (except for my grandmas have never been much into baking).  Underneath the almond-cream cheese frosting is a light white cake, flecked with lemon zest and poppy seeds.  I added a few drops of lemon oil to the batter, just to enhance the lemon flavor.

The lemon oil was my only tweak to the recipe (also not quite true…I cut back on the almond extract in the frosting just a tad), although I did a wackadoo two-fifths of the original amount of batter and frosting (I only wanted to use two egg whites).  I baked the cake in a quarter sheet pan, then cut it into three strips for frosting and stacking.  I like the change from the usual round layer cakes, although I do find squares and rectangles to be a bit trickier to frost.

lemon-poppy seed cake with almond-cream cheese frosting 

Poppy seeds are so freakin’ cute!  Their amazing ability to get absolutely everywhere, though, really isn’t.

Here’s a printable link to the recipe…it’s really a keeper.  Better yet, get your hands on a copy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our mile-high cakes this month.

The Cake Slice: Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting

April 20, 2010 at 7:30 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 22 Comments

banana cake with chocolate frosting

This is the second time I’ve made a banana cake with The Cake Slice Bakers.  The two are quite different, but my reaction is the same:  bananas make for a darn good cake!  The cake itself was so moist and flavorful.  I can see it being great with a little cinnamon or espresso powder mixed in, or re-engineered as a snack cake.  It’s one I’ll make again, for sure…

…The chocolate frosting, though was a different story.  It turned super thick after I added the last addition of powdered sugar.  So thick, that I couldn’t spread it.  Rather than toss it in the bin, I put it over gentle heat until it just started to soften.  Then it was use it or lose it time, so I immediately swiped it on the cake in one pass.  I think I did a reasonably good job, all things considered, but can you see how the frosting looks a little dry and crackly?  It tasted good, and had quite a fudgy consistency, actually, but I think I’ll go with a tried-and-true chocolate frosting next time and save myself the stress.

Here’s a printable link to the recipe.  Or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our banana cakes this month!

The Cake Slice: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

March 20, 2010 at 1:01 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 15 Comments

pineapple upside-down cake

The Cake Slice Bakers are flipping out some Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes this month.  Sounds good, right?  Looks good, too, I think.  The taste…ehh.  I used fresh pineapple and dried cherries in my topping, and boy was that yummy, all baked up in buttery brown sugar.  But the cakey bit seemed heavy and doughy.  It was a relatively lean cake, with only four tablespoons of butter and just one egg…maybe that had something to do with it.  I dunno, but I think I’ll stick with this recipe, which I remember liking quite a bit.

If you do want to give it a shot, here’s a printable link to this month’s recipe.  Or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.  To see if anyone else had setter success with this recipe, cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers!

The Cake Slice: Red Velvet Cake

January 20, 2010 at 1:01 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 20 Comments

red velvet cake

The Cake Slice Bakers are baking up a true slice of Americana this month– Red Velvet Cake.  Even though this cake has been super trendy in recent years, and I even though make a giant batch of it at work every day, I’ve never been so enthusiastic about red velvet.  All that food coloring makes me a bit uneasy.  A good thing about making it at home, though, is that you can control how much Red 40 does or does not go into it.  Just like the other time I made red velvet here, I used only a couple drops of gel coloring…more of a “rust velvet,” I guess.

I generally think cream cheese frosting and red velvet go hand-in-hand (although where I work, we use a cinnamon buttercream), but this recipe has a boiled milk frosting with coconut and pecans.  That’s new to me, but I really do think the frosting made it the best red velvet I’ve ever had (probably because it reminded me of my most favorite cake, German chocolate)!  And the texture of the cake’s crumb was great, too…soft and, of course, velvety.

Here’s a printable link to the recipe. Or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our red velvet cakes this month!

The Cake Slice: White Chocolate Layer Cake

December 20, 2009 at 1:11 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 20 Comments

white chocolate layer cake

As I type, we are in the midst of the first big winter snowstorm here in NYC…so it seems only appropriate that I share with you this white-on-white White Chocolate Layer Cake chosen by the Cake Slice Bakers this month.  I’m not super keen on white chocolate, so I probably would have bypassed this recipe if not for the group, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s the toothachey sweetness that really bugs me about white chocolate, but for every element of white chocolate here (it’s in both the cake and the frosting), there is an element of tanginess to balance it out.  For the cake, it’s buttermilk.  For the frosting, it’s cream cheese.  The cake is moist and soft, and c’mon, let’s face it…cream cheese icing would make pretty much anything taste good…so whats not to like here?

Here’s a printable link to the recipe.  Or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our white chocolate cakes this month!

The Cake Slice: Burnt Sugar Cake

November 20, 2009 at 1:11 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 32 Comments

burnt sugar cake

I almost forgot about this posting!  My head has been somewhere else, and the date kind of got away from me.  Oh well, here it is in all its sweet glory: the Burnt Sugar Cake for this month’s Cake Slice.

A burnt sugar syrup (really a dark caramel simple syrup) is the key to this recipe.  Both the cake and the frosting have a nice dose of this syrup, giving them a very eye-catching soft caramel color.

The cake itself is nice– a dense crumb, but moist.  Thanks to heaping amounts of powdered sugar added to the sugar syrup, the frosting is, predictably, very sweet.  While my husband was a big fan, it was a bit too much for me…I made a bee-line to my toothbrush after each slice! 

burnt sugar cake

Here’s a printable link to the recipe.  Or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our sugary cakes this month!

The Cake Slice: Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake

October 20, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Posted in breakfast things, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 30 Comments

 cinnamon-pecan coffee cake

The Cake Slice Bakers have shifted gears, and we’re now baking from the book Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.  I’ve actually had this book for quite sometime, so it will be nice to do more than just admire its words and pictures.  Although I’ll miss making a fancy layer cake each month just for the heck of it, this book has cakes of all types– like this here Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cake, for instance.

This was a nice cake to wake up to (it freezes well, so you really can make it ahead and save it for a weekend morning).  It has a whopping amount of cinnamon and pecans, so you know right there that it’ll be tasty. I replaced the raisins in the recipe with dried wild blueberries (they came from TJ’s and I was surprised at how flavorful they were!), and subbed in a bit of whole wheat flour for some of the AP.  Makes me feel better about eating cake in the morning if there’s a little whole wheat in there!  And it didn’t seem to harm the nice texture of the buttery crumb at all.  So that I wouldn’t be tempted to gobble up too much cake, I made a third of the recipe and baked it in a loaf pan. 

 cinnamon-pecan coffee cake

Here’s a printable link to the recipe.  Or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our coffee cakes this month!

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