Category Archives: cake

Rustic Chocolate Chip Tea Bread

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Think of this as a giant chocolate chip studded scone. With its crispy crust and cake like interior this is a quick bread that is just as nice for dessert as it is for a snack. And it is easy; very easy. The recipe comes from the kitchens of the Washington Post and the first time I baked this recipe the bread got eaten so quickly that I now make two (baked on two separate baking sheets). It is that good. The loaf is free formed so you can experiment with its shape–make two or four smaller loaves, make it round or rectangular–whatever you prefer. Just be sure to adjust the baking time if your loaves are smaller.

And because I am a fan of chocolate I prefer to use miniature chocolate chips since I think they give you more chocolate for your buck. You can also switch out the chocolate chips for diced dried fruit or use a combination of chocolate and fruit (sour cherries are particularly good).

RUSTIC CHOCOLATE CHIP TEA BREAD

3 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt

1/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling

10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into teaspoon-size chunks

1 large egg

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons, if needed

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and 1/3 cup of the sugar.
  • Drop in the chunks of butter pulse until pea sized dough balls form. Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, the 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of buttermilk and the vanilla extract.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture, sprinkle with the chocolate chips. USe a wooden spoon or paddle to stir, forming a rough, cohesive, slightly sticky dough. If the dough seems a little dry, drizzle it with an extra tablespoon or two of buttermilk.
  • Gather the dough into a rough mass with your hands, then knead lightly until it comes together completely, using firm strokes to gather it all cohesively. Form the dough into a 5 1/2-to-6-inch ball.
  • Place the ball of dough at the center baking sheet. Use a sharp paring knife to score an 1/8-inch-deep cross in the top of the ball of dough, then sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the loaf is set, golden on top and baked through. It should sound hollow when you lightly tap the top or bottom with a wooden spoon.
  • Cool, on the baking sheet, on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes.
  • Slip a metal spatula under the loaf and transfer it to a separate rack to cool completely.
  • Use a serrated knife to cut slices or wedges.

Serves 12

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Lemon Burst Buttermilk Cake

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If you love lemons, and lots of them, then this bright and tangy lemon cake from Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen is just the recipe for you. It is so good that it has become my go-to recipe whenever I have an abundance of lemons on hand.

I love this cake because it is so moist. It also contains buttermilk which has become my preferred dairy product for baking.  And because it contains a generous amount of both lemon juice and lemon zest, you are rewarded with a mouthful of lemon flavor with every bite. And by all means don’t skip the lemony glaze; it is the finishing touch for this already delicious cake.

LEMON BURST BUTTERMILK CAKE

For the cake:

3 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 cup butter, softened

2 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs

4 large lemons, juiced and zested

¾ cup buttermilk

For the glaze:

1½ cup powdered sugar

1 Tbsp heavy cream

1 Tbsp lemon zest from lemons

2 Tbsp lemon juice from lemons

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat 2- 8 x 4½ x 5-inch metal loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  • Using a hand mixer and a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla.
  • Beat until creamy then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Reserve 1½ tablespoons of the lemon zest for the glaze then add the rest to the creamed butter and eggs.
  • Mix together ¼ cup fresh lemon juice with ¾ cup buttermilk.
  • Add to the mixing bowl alternately with the sifted dry ingredients. Beat until fully combined and all of the dry ingredients are fully moistened.
  • Divide the batter between the 2 loaf pans, tapping the pans to release air bubbles.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center shows moist crumbs.
  • Cool in the pan then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • To make the glaze, mix together the powdered sugar, heavy cream, lemon zest and lemon juice until drizzling consistency. If needed add additional cream 1 tsp at a time to thin.
  • Drizzle the loafs with glaze, slice and serve.

Yields 24 slices

Sticky Apple Date Cake

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What is sweet and tangy, moist and sticky and all around delicious? The answer is, this sticky apple date cake from Brooklyn Supper. I love this cake and it is a real treat for the senses. Filled with both dates and apples it is rich and dense. And when you add in a generous amount of fresh ginger, you are rewarded with a surprisingly zippiness in every bite. The ginger takes you by surprise but its warming flavor completes this cake making it a welcome treat. And by all means, don’t skip the caramel sauce. It makes this already great cake extra special. I love to serve the cake slightly warm; it makes the sauce extra drippy and delicious.

STICKY APPLE DATE CAKE

For the cake:

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups copped dates

1 cup water

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

6 tablespoons peeled, minced, fresh ginger

1 1/2 cups sweet-tart apples peeled, cored and cut into a 1/4-inch dice (1 1/2 cups)

For the sauce:

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, bring the dates and water to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until dates start to soften, about 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat and immediately stir in baking soda. Set aside to cool.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy 3 – 4 minutes.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then add the ginger.
  • Add flour mixture and beat until just combined.
  • Stir in the date mixture and then fold in the apples.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 40 – 45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by combining the brown sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter has melted and the sugar’s dissolved – about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the cream, bring mixture to a gentle simmer, and then turn heat to low.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened, 5 – 7 minutes. Set sauce aside to cool slightly.
  • Cool the cake for 15 minutes, then remove sides and set on a serving plate.
  • Use a toothpick to poke holes all over cake. Pour half the warm sauce over the cake.
  • Slice, and serve warm cake with a generous drizzle of sauce.
  • Leftovers will store well wrapped at room temperature for 3 days.

Serves 16

Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Cake

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Here is an easy cake from The Washington Post that makes use of any left over sweet potatoes you may have lying around. (Of course it is so good that I intentionally bake extra potatoes just for this purpose). To me this cake combines the best flavors of the season–sweet potatoes, dried fruits and nuts, and lots of spices–and packs them into a tasty bundt cake. This cake is wonderfully versatile and can easily be altered to fit your liking. You can substitute pumpkin if you don’t have sweet potatoes. I added dried cherries, toasted pecans and candied ginger pieces to my batter but you can use whatever nuts and fruits you have on hand or omit them entirely.

The cake is dense and just slightly sweet; dust it with a bit of confectioners sugar to dress it up for a dessert or serve it as is for an afternoon snack with a cup of tea. Glenn brought slices of this cake in to work for their morning coffee break and returned home with an empty container and just a few crumbs.

 

BROWN SUGAR SWEET POTATO CAKE

3 cups flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 tablespoons molasses

2 cups sweet potato puree

1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped

1/4 cup candied ginger pieces, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves into a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  • Using a hand held mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add the dark brown sugar in three additions, beating for 1 minute after each one.
  • Add the granulated sugar and beat for 1 minute longer.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition, to blend.
  • Blend in the molasses and vanilla extract on low speed.
  • Add the sweet potato puree; beat on low speed to incorporate. The mixture might look slightly curdled at this point, but it will smooth out once the sifted mixture is introduced.
  • Continuing on low speed, add the sifted mixture in three additions, stopping to scrape down the bowl after each one and mixing just until absorbed.
  • Fold in the cherries, nuts and candied ginger pieces.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the top.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the cake emerges clean.
  • Transfer (in the pan) to a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a separate cooling rack and remove the pan.

Serves 16

German Chocolate Cupcakes

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I blame it on a partially opened bag of shredded coconut but I’ve been on a coconut kick these past few weeks. Actually, maybe it is my love of coconut that has me using it in everything from sweet treats to savory dinner dishes. Regardless of why, I think that coconut, whether in shredded or milk form, is one of the easiest ways to add flavor, texture and moisture to whatever I make. Plus it simply tastes delicious. So what other reason do you really need?

So when I needed to make treats to share at a recent gathering I naturally found myself searching for coconut based recipes. And bite-sized cupcakes were exactly what I was looking for. I adapted this recipe from bakingmoment.com and these morsels of chocolatey-coconut goodness are sure to please your crowd as much as they pleased mine. And from a baker’s perspective, they are incredibly easy and quick to make. All in all that sounds like the perfect recipe for a winning dessert.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

For the cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups cake flour

3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 egg

1 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the topping:

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 tablespoons water

3/4 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted

To make the caramel:
  • Heat the cream, butter, vanilla, and salt gently, in a small pot, until the butter is melted and the salt is dissolved.
  • In a separate saucepan, heat the sugar, corn syrup, and water swirling occasionally, until bubbling and amber-colored.
  • Remove both pans from the heat and whisk in the cream mixture until well combined.
  • Transfer to a heat-safe container and cool completely.
To make the cupcakes:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Combine the egg, coconut milk, melted butter and vanilla extract in a separate small bowl.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  • Line a miniature cupcake pan with cupcake papers.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake papers, filling until they are 3/4 full.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before adding the topping.

To assemble the cupcakes:

  • Combine the toasted coconut and the chopped pecans in a shallow rimmed dish.
  • Using a small knife or spatula, spread the top of each cupcake with the cooled caramel.
  • Sprinkle the top of each iced cupcake with the coconut-pecan mixture.

Yields 48 miniature cupcakes

Flourless Chocolate Orange Cake

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This is another easy dessert–the only kind I make– courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen.  I’ve adapted it to bring together one of my favorite flavor combinations; chocolate and orange but I think lemon would be equally as good.  To add depth to the cake, I use a combination of semi sweet and bittersweet chocolate.

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE-ORANGE CAKE

1 pound semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

1/4 cup strong coffee

Zest from 1 orange

8 large eggs, cold

Confectioners sugar or cocoa powder (for serving)

12 orange or Mandarin sections (for serving)

2 ounces dark chocolate melted (for serving)

Colored sugar crystals (for serving)

  • Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly coat an 8-inch spring form pan with vegetable oil spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper.  Wrap the outside of the pan with two sheets of heavy-duty foil and set in a large roasting plan.  Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
  • Heat the chocolate, butter, and coffee together in a large bowl in the microwave, whisking often, until the mixture is melted and smooth, 1 to 3 minutes.  Let cool slightly.
  • Fold the orange zest into the chocolate mixture.
  • Whip the eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until they double in volume, 5 to 10 minutes.  Fold one-third of the whipped eggs into the chocolate mixture using a large rubber spatula until only a few streaks of egg are visible.  Repeat twice more with the remaining eggs, then continue to fold until there are no more streaks.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan inside of the roasting pan and smooth the top.  Set the roasting pan on the oven rack and pour the boiling water into the roasting pan until it reaches about halfway up the sides of the cake pan.  Bake until the edges are just beginning to set, a thin glazed crust has formed on the surface, and an instant read thermometer inserted halfway into the center reads 140 degrees, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the spring form pan from the water bath and let cool completely on a wire rack, about 3 hours.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • About 30 minutes before serving, run a paring knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, then remove the sides of the pan.  Invert the cake on a parchment-lined plate and peel off the parchment from the bottom.  Flip the cake upright onto a serving platter, discard the second piece of parchment, and let come to room temperature.
  • Dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar.
  • Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and dip each orange section into the melted chocolate then dip in colored sugar crystals.  Place evenly along the edges of the cake.

YIELD:  one 8 or 9 inch cake; serves 10 to 12

Almond Joy Bundt Cake

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As a child one of my favorite candy bars was an Almond Joy. Moist coconut topped with crunchy almonds and slathered in chocolate made for the perfect special treat. As I grew older my love for this flavor combination continued and here it has manifested itself in an amazingly moist and flavor packed cake that is sure to disappear all too quickly.

I’ve adapted this cake  from The Brown Eyed Baker. The cake is rich and moist and filled with coconut goodness thanks in part to using three different types of coconut. Coconut oil takes the place of traditional butter or vegetable oil thus making the cake both moist and flavorful. Coconut milk adds an additional punch ensuring that you taste coconut in every bite. And if that isn’t enough, you get a touch of crunchy toasted coconut on top of the cake. Its delicious.

ALMOND JOY BUNDT CAKE

For the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup coconut oil
2½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1⅓ cups unsweetened coconut milk

For the Glaze:
4 to 6 tablespoons coconut milk
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
6 ounces dark  chocolate, melted and still warm

Shredded coconut & sliced almonds, toasted, to garnish

 

To make the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat the coconut oil and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the eggs and the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Scrape down the bowl again, add the almond and vanilla extracts and beat until just incorporated.
  • Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the coconut milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, mixing after each addition until just combined. Be careful not to overtax the batter.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top into an even layer.
  • Bake until a sharp knife or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 50 to 55 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before continuing.

To make the Glaze:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons of the coconut milk, the almond extract and vanilla extract.
  • Add the powdered sugar and whisk until incorporated and smooth.
  • Slowly stir in the melted chocolate. The glaze should be thick yet pourable; adjust with additional coconut milk if necessary.
  • Pour the glaze in large, thick ribbons over the crown of the cake, allowing the glaze to spread and drip down the sides of the cake.
  • Top with the toasted shredded coconut immediately and slivered almonds.
  • Allow the glaze to set before serving.

Yields 16 slices

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