Posts Tagged ‘Cake’

Meatless Monday: Blackberry Country Cake

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BLackberry buttermilk cake recipe

Mildred Pierce and her lady pals knew whipping up a fruit-topped cake was no biggie, but most of us were born a generation or two away from women who baked cakes for afternoon coffee and weeknight desserts.  I learned only recently that there’s no magic to making a berry upside down cake.  All you need are fresh berries and a cake you love.  And this cake, I love.

You already have the recipe for Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Buttermilk Country Cake.  Words cannot express how soft and tender it is.  You should play around with it-lemon or orange zest are bright additions.  Or almond instead of vanilla extract.

Making a blackberry upside down cake, how to make an upside down cake

Yesterday morning, I buttered and floured my pan then filled it with a layer of fresh blackberries.  Then dolloped the batter on top and smoothed it out with a spatula.

blackberry buttermilk with powdered sugar

35 minutes in the oven, 10 minutes total work time.

last bites of blackberry country cake

Last bites.

xoxosl

The Classics: Chocolate Cake

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This, my pretties, is not a new recipe.  It may even be familiar to you A & O faithful.  But because I use it at least once a month and because my last photo was heinous and failed to showcase the pools of fudgy frosting I adore, I’m sharing this with you once again.  It makes 48 mini cupcakes, 24 regular-sized and 1 9-inch round cake with batter left over (or 1 9-inch plus a 6-inch round cake for a two-layer chocolate cakeaganza).  It goes gluten free without a hitch.  Flexibility is part of its charm.

Our pal Beth photographed my last batch with blue sprinkles.  Tonight I’m topping them with orange sprinkles and little white ghosts for a Halloween-themed progressive dinner.  I’ll also be serving some of Ina’s blood-red velvet minis.  The recipe’s in her new cookbook.

You need this and one good flourless chocolate cake recipe and you’re good-to-go chocolate-wise for life.

xoxosl

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter

1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (I like Droste or Green & Black)

1 cup water

2 cups AP flour (or gluten-free equivalent)

2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (for the gluten-free version, I use 2 teaspoon vanilla extract and a tablespoon of espresso to cover the chickpea flavor of the gluten-free flour.  You can add espresso to the traditional recipe as well)

Frosting

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (I like Droste or Green & Black)

3 tablespoons buttermilk

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

you can also add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts to the frosting if desired.

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Butter and flour the cake pan of your choice or line your cupcake tins.

2. Make the cake.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and water.  Bring to a boil them remove from the heat.  Let cool.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.   Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.  Blend well using a hand held mixer or a strong hand and whisk.  Add the cooled cocoa mixture, stirring until just combined. The batter will be thinner than regular cake batters, but this only means you are on your way to making a great cake.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, about 20-25 minutes for large cakes, about 12-15 for cupcakes and 8-10 for minis.  Let cool completely  before frosting.

4.  Make the frosting.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and buttermilk.  Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and let cool.  Pour into a large mixing bowl.

5.  Using a handheld mixer, beat the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and walnuts into the cocoa mixer.  Mix until thoroughly combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Pour or spread over cooled cake.  The frosting will set into a shiny glaze that crackles like thin ice when you cut into it.  Beautiful.

6. The secret step.  Wrap the cooled and frosted cake loosely in cling wrap and refrigerate it, even if only for an hour or so before serving.   Whereas refrigerating tends to dry out baked goods, it dampens this cake so that it’s amazingly dark, dense and moist, just how I envisioned mud pies when I was little.

Poppy Seed Cake

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The ingredients—pudding mix, cake mix, creamed sherry—are decidedly un-A &O.  But the resulting cake is completely our style.  Easy to make, pretty but humble with a fantastic home-style taste.  This was my grandmother’s signature cake.

I’ll make it to the end.

xoxosl

Poppy Seed Cake

Makes enough for one 12-cup bundt cake pan

Ingredients
1 package yellow cake mix
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup cream sherry
1/3 cup poppy seeds

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease the pan.

Combine all ingredients except the poppy seeds in a large mixing bowl.  Beat with a handheld mixer at medium speed for five full minutes, scraping the sides as needed.  You will notice the batter thickening.  Gently fold in poppy seeds.

Pour into pan and bake until golden brown, about 55-60 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before removing from pan.

Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

Buttermilk Chocolate Cupcakes

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By Sarah Lagrotteria

This New Year’s Eve I want to share with you one of my favorite recipes from times gone past: my mom’s chocolate cake with buttermilk frosting.  Actually, it’s my mom’s friend Fern’s recipe and I’m sure Fern (don’t you love her name?) got it from a friend who probably got it from a classic cookbook, but to me it’s my mom’s cake and simply the best, most versatile chocolate cake recipe. My mom used it to make our birthday cakes and I used it just a few weeks ago to make Lydia’s birthday cupcakes.  It’s also the last recipe featured in this cookbook under the name “Recipe 66.”

You can use the recipe below to make one 9-inch round cake, a square 8×8, a rectangular 8×13 (for a very thin but rich cake) or to fill 2 cupcake or mini-cupcake tins.  It is equally delicious gluten-free, which is how I make it for Lydia’s FIANCEE (!!), dear Drew.

What you’re looking at are the cupcakes from Lydia’s birthday which I gilded and silvered because it was fun and unlike how I normally handle foodstuffs.  I usually like my food to look like food, not mini spaceships.  Lydia’s birthday had a chic Mad Men theme and so I decided to turn these cupcakes into homemade Hostess Cupcakes, complete with a mascarpone cream stuffed center.  I got the idea from Sarah Magid’s charming Organic and Chic.  Her baked goodies are beautiful and whimsical and fun and her voice is thoughtful and loving and kind.  And she likes to use paints, such as these.  So I went for it and the cakes sparkled and shone and tasted extra special.

Had I remembered to take a shot before I began painting, you’d see the a shiny, crackly buttermilk frosting that is, quite simply, the bomb, and a definite upgrade from the original Hostess Cupcake glaze.

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with Buttermilk Frosting from Sarah’s Mom’s friend Fern*

Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter

1/2 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (I like Droste or Green & Black)

1 cup water

2 cups AP flour (or gluten-free equivalent)

2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup buttermilk

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (for the gluten-free version, I use 2 teaspoon vanilla extract and a tablespoon of espresso to cover the chickpea flavor of the gluten-free flour.  You can add espresso to the traditional recipe as well)

Frosting

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder (I like Droste or Green & Black)

3 tablespoons buttermilk

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

you can also add 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts to the frosting if desired.

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Butter and flour the cake pan of your choice or line your cupcake tins.

2. Make the cake.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and water.  Bring to a boil them remove from the heat.  Let cool.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.   Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.  Blend well using a hand held mixer or a strong hand and whisk.  Add the cooled cocoa mixture, stirring until just combined. The batter will be thinner than regular cake batters, but this only means you are on your way to making a great cake.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, about 20-25 minutes for large cakes, about 12-15 for cupcakes and 8-10 for minis.  Let cool completely  before frosting.

4.  Make the frosting.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and buttermilk.  Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and let cool.  Pour into a large mixing bowl.

5.  Using a handheld mixer, beat the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and walnuts into the cocoa mixer.  Mix until thoroughly combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Pour or spread over cooled cake.  The frosting will set into a shiny glaze that crackles like thin ice when you cut into it.  Beautiful.

6. The secret step.  Wrap the cooled and frosted cake loosely in cling wrap and refrigerate it, even if only for an hour or so before serving.   Whereas refrigerating tends to dry out baked goods, it dampens this cake so that it’s amazingly dark, dense and moist, just how I envisioned mud pies when I was little.

Enjoy and best wishes for a happy, healthy 2010.

xoxosl

* Fern gave Angus and I a beautiful pewter cake server as a wedding present-little does she know how perfectly appropriate a gift it was.

Buttermilk Country Cake

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By Sarah Lagrotteria

I’ve been on a cake-baking kick these past few days because I only recently bought my own copy of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s seminal work The Cake Bible.  I tried a few recipes this weekend, but my favorite is this simple buttermilk cake.

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It’s not much to look at, but it has the softest, most gently sweet crumb.  It’s delicious after dinner or to enjoy with friends and iced tea on a warm afternoon–nothing fancy, just a happy cake for a happy time.

I’ll share the recipe below, but first please indulge me and take a look at that Bonne Maman jar just to the right of the cake.  It’s filled with–get this–homemade creme fraiche.   As the name suggests, creme fraiche is French, a product that only recently began appearing anywhere but the most upscale gourmet food stores here in the states.  It’s thick like sour cream but less sour and, with a teaspoon of sugar, whips up into something thicker and far more luxurious than whipped cream.  Of all dairy products, it alone has that certain je ne sais quoi.

You can get it at Whole Foods or other stores, but I hit the dairy aisle this weekend and of course couldn’t remember why I was there, so I bought some yogurt and left.  When I realized what was missing, I remembered once seeing a recipe for creme fraiche that, insanely enough, called for leaving a mixture of heavy cream and buttermilk out overnight to thicken at –wait for it–70 degrees or above.  Eeew, I thought, but I mixed my dairy, covered the jar, jacked up the heat and in the morning, voila!

I was afraid to taste it.  My mom taught me to fear any and all dairy that isn’t straight from the fridge and it looked suspiciously like mayo, of which I am not a fan.

But finally I did and it was the real deal.  Really.  I’m not saying you should run home and make it yourself, but I’m glad I did.

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Sorry for the bad image of the completed cake, but Lydia and I were having a little too much fun to remember the shot.  And yes, the cake was actually made this past weekend.  The summery-looking peaches are from Blum Ranch in Acton, CA which grows a variety that ripens later than most,  from August through the end of October.  These were the last of the bunch.

Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Buttermilk Country Cake

4 large egg yolks

2/3 cup buttermilk

1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups cake flour, sifted

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

Preheat the overn to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper then butter again and flour.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yolks, 1/4 of the buttermilk and the vanilla until just combined.

In a large mixing bowl, use a handheld mixer to combine the dry ingredients.  Add the butter and remaining buttermilk and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are just moistened.  Turn the speed to medium and beat for a minute and a half to develop the cake flour’s gluten which will give the cake its structure.  Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Continue mixing and add the egg mixture in three batches, mixing thoroughly after each addition.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top of the cake with a spatula.  Bake until lightly golden brown and a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean,about 30-40 minutes (mine took 35).  Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes before inverting.  Because this cake is so soft, make sure to gently invert again, so that the top of the cake is facing upward, which will keep the cake from splitting.

Whip cream or creme fraiche with a teaspoon of sugar until fluffy.  Smooth a generous amount of  cream on top of the cooled cake and top with fresh fruit of choice.  I arranged peach slices into a circular pattern, but this cake would be wonderful topped with summer berries as soon as they’re back in season.

xoxosl

Olive Oil Lemon Yogurt Cake

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by Lydia Ellison
Olive Oil Lemon Yogurt Cake

Olive Oil Lemon Yogurt Cake

This is the quintessential light cake of summer. Fruity, eggy, sweet and yet refreshingly tart. The olive oil and yogurt give a divine spongy texture. Serve it for a luncheon or at a dinner party with fresh berries. Pack thick slices wrapped in parchment paper for the beach. Best part, no mixer or beater required, just a spoon!

last slice


Olive Oil Lemon Yogurt Cake

Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (I like Face brand Greek yogurt)
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (fruity)
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
glaze-
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions
Bring the eggs to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Fold the olive oil into the batter, making sure it’s well incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake. Best eaten within 3 days of baking.

Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake

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by Sarah Lagrotteria

I confess that I like making cakes even more than I like eating them.  There’s something about a perfectly smooth frosted cake just waiting for colorful candles, a dusting of coconut flakes or the perfect blooms that makes my heart flutter.   I love how pristine they look when all white or a deep dark chocolate. And the process of smoothing and re-smoothing frosting over the top and sides…it gives me chills.

While my personal cake preference runs toward chocolate or French almond cakes (or chocolate almond cake!) I think the best cake to make for a celebration is a strawberry whipped cream cake. You can use your favorite cake recipe (or cake mix, of which I mightily approve if you add some orange or lemon zest), and make this frosting in minutes.  Just be sure to have leave time for the finished cake to chill before your party starts.

Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake

Serves 9

1 9-inch round vanilla cake (can use pound cake or angel food, whatever you prefer), sliced horizontally into 2 layers

2 pints fresh strawberries, washed hulled and cut into thin slices

4 cups heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Note: Place strips of parchment paper along all 4 sides of the cake stand or serving platter, leaving the center of the plate open—it will look like an empty square.  These strips will collect any frosting that falls off the cake while you are frosting it so that your plate stays clean and your presentation perfect.

Place the bottom cake round on top of the parchment-lined cake plate.

Pour the heavy cream into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Turn the mixer to high.  Pour in the vanilla extract as the cream whips and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar.  Whip the cream into firm peaks.  If the cream gets too soft at any point during frosting, just whip it some more.

Add a generous dollop or two of the cream to the center of the cake and use an off-set spatula to spread the cream evenly over the top and sides of the cake.  The cream layer should be abundant, so feel free to add as needed.

Use half your strawberry slices to decorate the top of the cake round—I like concentric circles—then top the strawberries with a small dollop of cream.

Place the second cake layer over the cream and strawberries.  Add the remaining cream as needed to the top of the cake, smoothing the cream out and over the top edges and down the sides.  When the entire cake is coated with thick cream, hold the off-set spatula sideways at a 45-degree angle away from the cake, so the side of the spatula is just touching the cream.  Holding the spatula steady, slowly rotate your cake plate so that the spatula edge smoothes out the sides of the cake in one long sweep.

Use the spatula at an angle to smooth out the top of the cake and decorate as desired with the remaining berry slices.  Gently pull the parchment slips out from under the cake.  Chill until just before serving.