Tuesdays with Dorie: Apple Nut Muffin Cake

October 4, 2011 at 12:09 am | Posted in breakfast things, cakes & tortes, groups, muffins & quick breads, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 10 Comments
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apple nut muffin cake

This Apple Nut Muffin Cake is quintessential fall baking…apples, cinnamon, brown sugar, walnuts and raisins…all things that make your house smell great.  Rolled oats (and swapping a little whole grain flour for AP) make this easy breakfast cake feel even more wholesome.  It is just like a muffin in terms of technique and texture, but, not that I would ever really call muffin-making fussy, you simply slap the batter into a cake pan and go….ready for coffee in about 35 minutes.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Baking and Boys!, as it was Katrina’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Flip-Over Plum Cake

September 27, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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flip-over plum cake

Plums are one of the last tastes of summer fruit.  Let’s not be too sad to see the summer go…instead, let’s celebrate with plum cake– Flip-Over Plum Cake.  This is the world’s easier batter to throw together…a quick whisk and that’s it.  It doesn’t even have any eggs.  That was kind of a curveball, actually– I had to, like, quadruple check the recipe to make sure I wasn’t missing something.  Scatter the plums over top and toss it in the oven.  The plums magically turn into a sweet-tart jam layer on the bottom, and the bizarrely egg-less batter turns into delicious cake!

Dorie has this in the breakfast section, and it’s so tasty, I’m sure it would be a fabulous way to start the day, but a little whipped cream turns it into a perfectly lovely dessert, which is how we ate it over here.  I’m betting it would also be great with peaches or nectarines, although I am partial to that intense plum-red color bleeding though.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Project Domestication, as it was Becky’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Apricot and Cinnamon Cake

August 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Posted in cakes & tortes, simple cakes, sweet things | 3 Comments
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apricot and cinnamon cake

No big story here…some apricots that needed using up led me to rifle through my cookbook collection for inspiration.  I found this Apricot and Cinnamon Cake in Bill Granger’s Every Day.  When we lived in Sydney, visiting one of the bill’s restaurants was always a special treat, and I think he is a master of simple cakes and baked goods (and he makes the best pancakes!).

This is a cinnamon-spiced cake with halves of juicy apricots baked in.  A crumb topping with more cinnamon gives it a perfect morning coffee cake vibe, but if you add a scoop of ice cream, it suddenly seems more like dessert.  I used small apricots, but I think peaches or nectarines would be equally delicious (if they are large, they may need to be cut into thick slices, rather than simply halved, though).  This cake smells wonderful in the oven.

Apricot and Cinnamon Cake— makes one 8″ cake
adapted from Every Day by Bill Granger

Steph’s Notes:  The cinnamon is front and center in this cake.  If you’d rather have it little more subtly spiced, I’d suggest leaving the cinnamon amount as-is in the cake portion and reducing it by half in the topping.  If you don’t have self-raising flour to make the cake, you can use 140 grams of all-purpose flour combined with 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/8 teaspoon of salt.

for the cake:
140 g (5 oz) self-raising flour
1/2 t ground cinnamon
50 g (1 3/4 oz) sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 T milk (or 3 T Australian)
1 t vanilla extract
85 g (3 oz) unsalted butter, melted
350 g (12 oz) apricot halves

for the topping:
40 g (1 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
1 t ground cinnamon
35 g (1 1/4 oz) sugar
pinch of salt

35 g (1 1/4 oz) unsalted butter, chilled and diced

-Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).

-To the topping, put the flour, cinnamon, sugar and pinch of salt in a bowl. Rub the butter with your fingertips until crumbs form. Chill while you assemble the rest of the cake.

-Grease and line the base of an 8″ (20 cm) round springform pan.  (You can use a regular 8″ cake pan, greased and lined with parchment, instead, but you will need to flip the cake out and reinvert it if you want to serve it out of the pan.)

-Sift flour and cinnamon into a large bowl and stir in the sugar.

-Make a well in the center and pour in the egg, milk, vanilla and melted butter. Mix with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth, then spoon into the cake pan.

-Arrange the apricots, cut-side up, evenly over the batter and then press gently down. Scatter the topping evenly over the apricots.

-Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is light golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Leave on a rack to cool before removing from the pan.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Date-Nut Loaf

June 21, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in breakfast things, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 18 Comments
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date-nut loaf

I hate to admit it, but I didn’t think this Date-Nut Loaf seemed like much when it came out of the oven.  It was kind of pale, and when I sliced into it, I thought it looked a little dry.  Boy, I was wrong!  This was a great cake with a cup of coffee for breakfast.  It’s actually really soft and has a tender crumb.  My husband was pumped for this, because he loves dates.  They taste like soft brown sugar nuggets in the cake.

I made a half recipe in my little loaf pan, so I shortened the baking time to under an hour (and didn’t bother to foil tent it).  Because it sounded like a good candidate for a little whole grain flour swapping, I subbed about a quarter of the AP for whole wheat pastry flour.  I haven’t yet tried Dorie’s suggestion of toasting left over slices, but if there’s any remaining tomorrow morning, I might give it a shot.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Popsicles and Sandy Feet, as it was Mary’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake

June 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Posted in breakfast things, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 15 Comments
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blueberry-brown sugar plain cake

A trip to up Boston for my Wellesley reunion this past weekend meant that I wasn’t able to make this Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake until this morning.  Glad I got around to it though, because it is just plain good.  It has a hint of cinnamon, a kiss of brown sugar and a big whomp of blueberries.  With almost as much fruit as batter, I think it should stay moist for a good long time…although I won’t find out, because we’ll be polishing it off for breakfast tomorrow!  (Hey–don’t judge–I only made half a recipe…we can’t eat that much cake in two days!)

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here on Culinate) or read Everyday Insanity, as it was Cindy’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

P.S.: I forgot to mention that I swapped out some of the AP for spelt flour, one of my favorite flours to use in muffins and fruity cakes like this.  Also, I think this cake would be tasty with raspberries, and I may try that out later in the season.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

May 10, 2011 at 12:10 am | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 19 Comments
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brown sugar bundt cake

Well, I do think we have finally found ourselves at the end of the TWD Bundt cake chapter.  A bittersweet day, perhaps…if that may be said concerning something called a Brown Sugar Bundt.

The recipe for this brown sugar and buttermilk cake calls for chunks of apple or pear in the batter (and some prunes, too), but in the interests of being sort of seasonal, I was really hoping to make this with rhubarb.  That plan was foiled, though, after trips to two different farmers’ markets and one produce stand turned up zilch.  I returned home with a nice, ripe mango in my bag and just used that instead (and nixed those prunes).  Despite all the brown sugar in the ingredient list– I used half light, half dark–this cake was not a sugar-bomb at all.  The sweetness was understated enough that I think it would have been a fabulous breakfast cake, even though we had it for dessert.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Pantry Revisited, as it was Peggy’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Matcha Marbled Loaf Cake

May 3, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 12 Comments
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matcha marbled loaf cake

Chocolate and vanilla may be the classic marble cake combo, but a flash of springtime color inspiration made me want something different from the usual swirls of black and white for my Basic Marbled Loaf.  After wondering what I might have at home that would give me a “natural” green swirl (besides frozen spinach, that is), I remembered my tiny tin of matcha tea powder.  I used it to tinge half of my batter green, and added almond extract to the other (plain) half.

I made a half recipe in my little loaf pan, so I was already on the lookout for a shorter baking time than the recipe suggests, but it sounds like even if you bake a full-sizer, you may want to check your cake several minutes early.  My marbling efforts looked more like blobs, but I don’t care too much since it tasted good.  I had a slice with some tea while watching the Royal Wedding.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read The Bake More, as it was Carol’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake

March 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, simple cakes, sweet things | 9 Comments
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whiskey-soaked dark chocolate bundt cake

I’m not an Irish girl (although with my reddish hair and fair skin, you can’t imagine how often I’m asked), but I’m still up for celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day.  I’m long done with the overcrowed pub thing though, so this year I’m going to get my booze on with Melissa Clarke’s Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt instead.  It is loaded with a whole cup of whiskey, Jameson Irish in this case, and if you like this sort of thing, it is amazingly good.  The crumb is tight and not fluffy, but instead of being a dense chocolate cake, the texture is soft as velvet.

If you read through the recipe, you’ll notice that the cake isn’t meant to be frosted.  It truly doesn’t need it, but my cake needed it.  You see, I decided to ignore the direction to flour my Bundt pan.  Usually a good spray is all I need to get a clean release, but when I went to turn this cake out the entire outer layer stuck to the pan.  Crappola.  I patched back what I could (and ate what I couldn’t!), and then whipped up a quick gancahe to spackle and hide my goof.  I think I did a good job with the reconstructive surgery– I can barely tell. 

Bottoms up!

whiskey-soaked dark chocolate bundt cake

Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake- makes 10 to 12 servings
adapted from Melissa Clark’s fabulous book  In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, more for greasing pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting pan
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup bourbon, rye or other whiskey, more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
confectioners’ sugar, for garnish (optional)

 -Grease and flour a 10-cup-capacity Bundt pan (or two 8- or 9-inch loaf pans). Preheat oven to 325° F. In microwave oven or double boiler over simmering water, melt chocolate. Let cool.

-Put espresso and cocoa powders in a 2-cup (or larger) glass measuring cup. Add enough boiling water to come up to the 1 cup measuring line. Mix until powders dissolve. Add whiskey and salt; let cool.

-Using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract, baking soda and melted chocolate, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula.

-On low speed, beat in a third of the whiskey mixture. When liquid is absorbed, beat in 1 cup flour. Repeat additions, ending with whiskey mixture. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes for Bundt pan (loaf pans will take less time, start checking them after 55 minutes).

-Transfer cake to a rack. Unmold after 15 minutes and sprinkle warm cake with more whiskey. Let cool before serving, garnished with confectioners’ sugar if you like.

Olive Oil Citrus Cake

February 19, 2011 at 10:49 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, simple cakes, sweet things | 14 Comments
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olive oil cirtus cake

We’ve had a long, cold winter here, but for two days this week we got a little peek of spring.  The temperature has gone back downtown, but two days of melting snow and no jackets required has left me feeling less weighed down and in the mood for something fresh and light.  I have heaps of citrus in the fridge right now, and have had my eye on this Olive Oil Citrus Cake from a sweet little book called Rustic Fruit Desserts for a while It is bright and sunny in flavor (kind of reminded me of Fruit Loops!) and moist and springy in texture.  It puts me in the mood for more things citrus.

The recipe calls for a whole cup of fruity extra virgin olive oil, so I broke out my special bottle.  To be a little more thrifty in terms of both dollars and calories, next time I may experiment with 2/3 cup of oil and 1/3 cup of low-fat yogurt.  Sounds like it would work here, no?  The recipe calls for grapefruit, lemon and orange zests, but these can definitely be switched up.  I didn’t have a grapefruit on hand, so I subbed lime zest in the cake and orange juice in the glaze.  I’m sure this cake would be excellent even made with only lemon or orange.

olive oil cirtus cake

Olive Oil Citrus Cakemakes a 9-inch cake
adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson

Steph’s Note:  Use a fruity olive oil here rather than a peppery one.  Feel free to mix up the citrus, depending on what you have at home.

1 1/4 c unsifted (5 oz) cake flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t fine sea salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1 T plus 3/4 c (5 1/4 oz) granulated sugar
zest of 1 grapefruit
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t lemon oil (optional)
1 c extra-virgin olive oil

¾ c powdered sugar
2 T freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

-Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Using a paper towel, coat a 9-inch by 2-inch round baking pan with olive oil (I also lined mine with a parchment round), then sprinkle it with about 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.

-To make the cake, sift flour, baking powder, and salt together twice. Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and zests on high speed for 5 minutes, until the eggs are thickened and lighter in color.  Add the vanilla and lemon oil. Turn the mixer down to medium-low speed and drizzle the olive oil into the batter, pouring slowly along the edge of the bowl.  Add the flour and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

-Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is golden and domed slightly in the center.  Cool to room temperature.

-To make the glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl.  Add the grapefruit juice, and whisk to combine.  Pour the glaze over the cooled cake.

-Wrapped in plastic wrap, this cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Nutty, Chocolaty, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake

January 25, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in bundt cakes, cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 21 Comments

nutty, chocolaty, swirly sour cream bundt cake

It’s cold.  So cold that I don’t want to go outside.  So cold that I just want to stay at home and bake all day.  And that’s just how I spent this past Saturday.  First up was this Nutty, Chocolaty, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake.  It’s kind of a cross between a pound cake and a coffee cake…a pound cake-type base with a swirls of sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts and chocolate running through.  Dorie’s recipe also calls for raisins, but since I don’t normally go for fruit and chocolate combos, I left them out entirely.  However, to totally contradict what I just said, I did add the orange zest (actually I used tangerine), and liked the gentle citrus flavor a lot. 

A word of warning…making the cake was easy, making the swirl was easy, but combining them was not.  I read about sticking, so I was careful not to let the first layer of the sugar-based swirl mix come in contact with the pan.  That wasn’t too tricky, but then when I added the second and final layer of swirl, the cake batter was so stiff, I really couldn’t easily work it over the swirl to cover it.  Not wanting to bake it with exposed swirlage (because it would fall out when I flipped the cake), I popped the cake in the oven for about three minutes, until the batter just started to soften.  Then it was a breeze to get that swirl covered up with batter.

My husband asked for “big pieces” of this cake.  We both liked how it had a nice outer crust with soft cake inside.  And course cinnamon, nuts and chocolate, too!

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (it’s also here on NPR) or read Cooking for Comfort, as it was Jennifer’s pick this week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

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