Category Archives: Cakes

Still Eating, If Not Writing

What’s been for dinner lately:

Sheet pan pizza with prosciutto, Parmesan, and white sauce. The crust is from America’s Test Kitchen’s “Pizza al Taglio with Arugula and Mozzarella,” but I baked it with a Parmesan/garlic white sauce, fresh mozzarella, baby spinach, and prosciutto. [There’s a paywall on this site.]

Beef stir fry. This is just a version of the one I make on the grill in the summer, with more veggies. I used some steamed frozen broccoli to avoid the longer cooking that fresh broccoli requires.

Rigatoni and butternut squash casserole with pancetta and Parmesan. Just like the one I’ve made before with bacon, but I find the pancetta to be milder and less overpowering than the bacon.

Boston Cream Pie—made this for my husband’s birthday. Specifically the Wicked Good Boston Cream Pie from America’s Test Kitchen. One word of caution: The written recipe omits the most important line from the video. When making the pastry cream, you don’t stop when bubbles break the surface; you continue whisking until the whisk leaves a trail in the bottom of the pan, sort of like when making jam. Otherwise the pastry cream will be runny. It’s a delightful cake. [There’s a paywall on this site.]

Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Muffins

This is a merging of two recipes in my old Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book (1961): “Cranberry-Orange Muffins” (p. 88) and “Oatmeal Muffins” (p. 90). The recipes are so similar in amounts of ingredients, that it didn’t take much to combine them. The only big decision I had to make was whether to use white or brown sugar, so I compromised and used half of each. Oatmeal takes the place of half the flour in the cranberry muffins, a formula you can use to add oatmeal to a variety of muffin recipes.

Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Preheat oven to 400°; line a muffin pan with paper liners or butter the cups.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup almond milk (or any kind of milk, even buttermilk)
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (thawed, if frozen)
  • 1/2 cup shelled walnuts
  • 1/3 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • orange zest from one large orange
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Preparation
  1. Mix oats and milk; let soak for about 20 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Add cranberries and walnuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 10 times until the ingredients are roughly chopped. Don’t worry about uniformity.
  3. Cream butter, sugars, and egg in the bowl of a mixer until creamy. Mix in orange zest.
  4. Add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) and oat/milk mixture. Carefully mix on low speed until combined.
  5. Stir in cranberry/walnut mixture.
  6. Fill muffin cups at least 2/3 full.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove muffins to rack to cool.

Summer Company Dessert: Genoise Cake

We had company for four days, and I just wanted to have something available for dessert that was not too high in added sugars, yet looked pretty without any fuss. Plus, we were going to be in the heat dome all week, so I wanted something cool. I decided on a nice genoise cake made in a jelly roll pan—lots of servings, small or large—fresh fruit, and many cans of whipped cream ready to adorn it all. To some of the fruit, I added powdered sugar to make a syrup, but there was also a lot of unadorned fresh fruit. I picked what looked good at the market—strawberries, blueberries and black plums. Instead of making my own whipped cream, it seemed more fun to have the canned variety that keeps well and is always ready to go.

What would you do with this cake?

The cake can be cut in squares, of course, but I tore it into bite sized pieces so that more of the cake was exposed to the fruit and cream.

The simple cake starts with 6 eggs and 1 cup of sugar, whisked over simmering water just until the mixer bowl feels warm. Then the bowl goes back on the mixer to be whipped until pale and fluffy, as here:

You know the cake is going to be light and tender with a fluffy base like that.

Genoise Cake

  • Servings: 1 sheet cake
  • Difficulty: easy
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This recipe is based on Martha Stewart’s Yellow Genoise Cake. The only difference is that I used salted butter, and in the future, I would add 1/4 teaspoon salt to the batter. Unsalted desserts taste flat to me, no matter how hard I try to like them.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for parchment paper
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for parchment paper
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 12-by-18-inch jelly-roll pan, line with parchment paper, butter and flour the paper.
  2. In a small bowl, combine butter and vanilla. Set aside.
  3. Whisk sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer over a pan of simmering water until the bowl is warm to the touch, and the mixture is pale yellow and beginning to thicken.
  4. Place the bowl back on the mixer and beat on high speed with the whisk attachment until mixture is very thick and pale, 6 to 8 minutes. With a silicone spatula, pour out the   mixture into a large mixing bowl. Sift in the flour in three additions, folding each addition in carefully, streaming in the butter/vanilla mixture with the last addition of flour.
  5. Fold gently, and pour out onto prepared pan. Smooth top into corners with spatula.
  6. Bake until cake is springy to the touch and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on rack, then turn out and cut the cake into servings or tear into bowl in bite-size pieces.

Here’s the bowl I made with black plums and blueberries—the cake is under there somewhere:

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Cherry Clafoutis with Coconut Milk

When I went to buy fruit for the blueberry crumble of a few days ago, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to use, so I came home with blueberries, peaches, and Bing cherries (not named for the crooner). Even though it seems soon for another dessert, those cherries were expensive and wouldn’t last forever, so I decided on another clafoutis with coconut milk, but I chose a different recipe as base, mostly because the batter is made in the blender.

After stemming and pitting the 2.5 lbs of cherries—and regretting not wearing gloves—it was incredibly simple to whip up the batter and get it into the oven. Luckily, we aren’t having the high humid temperatures of the last few days, so the oven didn’t overheat the house. I had 5 cups of pitted cherries and used 3 cups for the clafoutis. I’ll use the remaining 2 cups in a savory cherry sauce to eat with our next grilled pork dish.

I started with this recipe from Saveur, and then I made only a minor change or two, including using a rectangular baking dish. Unlike the pear clafoutis I made not long ago, this one uses 6 eggs, and that has a wonderful effect on the final dough. It’s eggy like the center of a baked cream puff before you pull out those moist strands to fill it. I like that most clafoutis recipes are low in sugar—this one uses only 3/8 cup for a dish that serves eight. Very unlike the blueberry crumble that I could only eat in tiny amounts.

I’m still looking for stray drops of cherry juice splatter

Cherry Clafoutis with Coconut Milk

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Adapted from Saveur “Cherry Clafoutis”: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Cherry-Clafoutis

Preheat oven to 425°; butter a dish that holds about 8 cups of batter with room to rise. The original recipe suggests a 9″ skillet; my 11″ x 7″ dish worked well and is about 4 inches high.

Ingredients
  • butter to grease baking dish
  • 1 1/4 cups full fat coconut milk
  • 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups pitted Bing cherries
Preparation
  1. Combine coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and salt in blender just for a few seconds.
  2. Add the flour and blend for 1 minute or until smooth.
  3. Distribute 3 cups of cherries, or however many will fit in one layer, in bottom of baking dish.
  4. Pour batter over cherries and bake for 30 minutes until puffed and golden.

Lightly sweet, eggy and tart, this is a wonderful summer dessert to highlight ripe cherries.