Eggnog Coffee Cake

Eggnog Coffee Cake

Change can be hard – real hard.  I live a very different life at work and at home.  At work there is chaos constantly – and I love every minute of it.  I long for change at work – for things to be shaken up, and to try and put the pieces back together again – like a big puzzle.  If things stay static for too long, I get a little antsy.  At home, it is a completely different ball game.

I think one of the reasons why I can deal with such chaos at work, is because things are pretty stable at home.  Well, most of the time.  Tonight I attended a meeting at the new school my daughter will attend next year.  This is going to be the 5th school she has attended since kindergarten, and next year she will be in 7th grade.  The district likes to move them around – and it makes me sick.  Unfortunately she is being separated from the majority of her friends, and being taken out of a school that she has grown to love in only a few short months.  This new school has nothing.  It will start from the ground up.  There are no teachers.  There are no books in the library.  There isn’t a mascot.  There is no orchestra, band or choir.  There is only a principal who was hired to take on this great task.  And there are tons of very unhappy parents.  I had to fight back my tears as I heard parents tell their stories – stories about kids who have finally found their niche in the school they currently attend, only to be redistricted to a new school with lots of uncertainty.

I look at my daughter though in sheer amazement.  Sure, there were plenty of tears when she heard about the school board’s plan – but when the decision was made, she took the high road.  She sees this as an opportunity – a chance to create a school the way she envisions it.  She is an extremely strong willed 6th grader – she is a leader, and boy am I a proud parent.  It doesn’t make it any less painful for me – but knowing that she has a positive attitude is the only way I am going to deal with this change.

Last weekend she wanted to make sure she had something easy to eat for breakfast in the morning.  She found this recipe in Cooking Light – and was planning to make it for herself.  Unfortunately homework got in the way – so I decided to help her out (I know, twist my arm) – as I was making it though, she ran into the kitchen to remind me to make sure the coffee cake had lots of cinnamon.  I told her that the recipe had nutmeg instead – to give it that eggnog flavor – that’s where she drew the line.  She didn’t want that – she wanted a cinnamon coffee cake – that’s what she is used to.  This coffee cake was delicious – nice and moist, with lots of flavor.  Cinnamon or nutmeg, you can’t go wrong.  Again, change can be hard at times – and if this is the only change she wants to resist – I am completely supportive.

Ingredients

Crumble:

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Cake:

  • 6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • Baking spray with flour

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare crumble, combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in toasted pecans.

To prepare cake, weigh or lightly spoon 6.75 ounces flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 6.75 ounces flour and next 4 ingredients (through 1/4 teaspoon salt); stir with a whisk. Place 3 tablespoons butter and granulated sugar in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined. Add whole egg and egg yolk, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk, sour cream, and vanilla; beat at low speed for 1 minute or until well combined. Add the flour mixture; beat at low speed 1 minute or just until combined.

Spoon half of batter into an 8-inch round metal cake pan coated with baking spray. Sprinkle with half of crumble mixture. Spread remaining batter over crumble, smoothing top with a spatula. Sprinkle evenly with remaining crumble mixture. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Place a plate upside down on top of cake; invert onto plate. Place another plate upside down on top of cake; invert onto plate.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Eggnog Coffee Cake

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Dairy-Free Apple Cake

Dairy-Free Apple Cake

The human body is just amazing – for so many reasons, I could go on for days.  If you have ever been hurt, and then in a very stressful situation, it is amazing how your adrenaline can make your pain go away.  I have read about it before – but only recently have truly experienced the power.  But what is the hormone that can help you if you are hurt emotionally?  Many people think it is food – they turn to food when they are upset – and more often than not, when that is the case – you are looking at a serious weight problem.  Other people are quite the opposite – they starve themselves when they are hurt or depressed – it seems as though depriving yourself food can make people feel more in control, and sometimes feel better.

Most of the time, when I am in this situation, I go right to the kitchen.  Not to eat, but to cook.  When I am cooking, it releases some type of chemical in me that makes me feel better.  I can get lost in the kitchen, forget about all of my troubles – and just focus on the food.  When it is all over, the hurt comes back, but at least for a few hours, I am able to put things aside, and just relax.  Now that my kids are getting older and they can be in the kitchen cooking along side of me – it is even better medicine – there is nothing I love more.

Today my husband and I celebrated our 17th anniversary.  It is hard to believe that I have spent more of my life with him than without him.  I am an unbelievably lucky person – he loves and supports me unconditionally, but always pushes me to be the best person I can be – he is the best father in the world, and has helped me to be the best mother – he has dedicated his life to cancer research, and never ever stops forging ahead.  I admire him more than he will ever know.

He has been staying away from dairy for some time now – but I know how much he loves cinnamon cake.  My mother sent me a recipe that her friend had made, who also stays away from dairy.  This is very similar to my mother’s recipe for blueberry cake – but for a cinnamon lover like my husband, this recipe definitely “took the cake.”  He absolutely loved this cake – I have a feeling I will be making this weekly for a while.  It is the least I can do, for all he does for me.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 Tbs. cinnamon
  • 4 cups peeled, chopped apples
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350o. Grease and flour a 13×9 inch baking pan. In large bowl, cream together first four ingredients thoroughly. Sift together dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture, mixing well by hand. Stir in apples.  Spread batter into prepared pan.  Mix the 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon in a bowl – and sprinkle over the top of the batter.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until straw inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Dairy-Free Apple Cake

Double Chocolate Swirl Pound Cake

Marble Bundt Cake

Unfortunately there will be no stories tonight…I am afraid that anything I say will be misunderstood.  Instead of waiting until I am in a better place, I am doing something different – I am leaving you with a recipe.  That’s really what this blog is about anyway.  I am a little different from most – I do not eat when I am upset – I react in the opposite way.  Some people would say that is a blessing.

Many people think that making a healthy cake is worthless – I see it as a challenge.  And this was a challenge well worth taking.  I love a good bundt cake, but most of the good bundt cakes I make have at least 2 sticks of butter.  Even with the oil, this was a much healthier version – and we all thought it was delicious.  No, I didn’t make this today, but this was something I made a while ago and have not had the chance to share it with you.  With fall coming, this is a great dessert that definitely feeds a crowd.  You might even have enough for seconds…

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • 3.4 ounces whole-wheat pastry flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 ounce chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • Baking spray with flour

Glaze:

  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating until incorporated. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.  Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level. Combine flours, powder, soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Combine sour cream and 1/4 cup milk. Add flour mixture and sour cream mixture alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Combine 1 teaspoon canola oil and chopped bittersweet chocolate in a microwave-safe dish. Microwave at HIGH for 1 minute, stirring every 20 seconds until smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons cocoa. Remove 2 1/2 cups vanilla batter; add to chocolate mixture, and stir.  Using 2 ice-cream scoops or 2 large spoons, add batters alternately to a 10-cup Bundt pan coated with baking spray; swirl.

Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.

Combine powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon cocoa, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; stir until smooth. Drizzle glaze over cake.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Double Chocolate Swirl Pound Cake

Little Apricot Cakes

Apricot Cakes

Another beautiful weekend in Seattle – boy have we been spoiled this summer.  And you should just see the markets.  I seriously haven’t seen such amazing looking produce at the farmer’s markets in years.  I walk around in awe at just about everything.  This Saturday was no exception.  The market was more crowded than usual – because word is getting out about how beautiful everything is – I just know it.  There was so much to buy, my daughter finally had to tell me to stop, and walk around the entire market before I put anything else in my bag.  I have taught her well.

I remember leaving work on Friday and telling my coworkers that I was not going to work this weekend.  One of them even had the audacity to suggest that I turn off my email on my phone – like that would ever happen.  I told her that the anxiety I would get when I started syncing my mail again would be enough to throw me over the edge – and that I would do better just monitoring things, but reminding myself that it was time for a break.  Then they asked me if  I was going to cook this weekend – as I emphatically said “YES!”  I explained that I had absolutely no idea what I would be making – and that it would all depend on what I found at the farmer’s market in the morning.  Well, I found the mother-load.  I had big plans based on what I brought back to the house – and I am pleased to report that I made everything that I wanted (ok, not exactly – I made everything I thought I could make, but believe me, that was not everything I wanted – that would take me another couple of weeks)…and everything turned out exceptionally well.  What did I make?  Well, I started with a couple jars of these, I made a big batch of this, and some new stuff that I can’t wait to show you.  Everything was made from locally sourced produce, which makes me even happier.

One of my favorites stands at the University District farmer’s market is this woman who sells her amazingly perfect apricots.  They are just stunning.  I get them in my hands, and I don’t want to put them down.  I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, and I immediately thought of this nice woman.  Her apricot’s would make these little cakes glow.  These little babies were delicious – just the perfect size, and just the right amount of golden apricot flavor.  They were super easy to make – and with or without whipped cream, they were a wonderful summertime treat.  I can hardly wait to see what the market will bring next week – all I know is that I am starting the week refreshed and ready to go, with my eye on the prize – next week’s market that is.

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher  salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 apricots, halved, pitted, cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat muffin cups with nonstick spray.  Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in another  medium bowl, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until light and fluffy,  about 2 minutes. Add egg, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat until combined.  With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in 3 additions  alternately with milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Divide batter among muffin cups (cups will be only 1/3 full) and smooth tops.  Top with apricot slices and sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake until cakes are golden and a tester inserted into the  centers comes out clean, 20–25 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let pan  cool 5 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack and let cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Cakes can be made 1 day ahead.  Store airtight at room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Little Apricot Cakes

Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie 2

Just two more days, and two more lunches to make.  I can’t believe it, could summer possible be here?  My younger daughter asked me tonight – while she was changing out of her bathing suit after swim team  – if I thought this summer it might actually get warm?  What a funny question – I guess not so funny in Seattle though.  I told her I didn’t know, but I sure hope so.  The kids here are used to going in the water when it is barely 60 degrees out – the idea of hot weather means the coaches actually go in the water too.  I will keep my fingers crossed, although there is one thing I don’t like about hot weather…no baking.

My older daughter’s birthday was Memorial Day weekend – and I asked her what kind of cake she wanted.  Before she could answer me, I asked her if she wanted a Boston Cream Pie.  She asked some questions about it – and when she found out it wasn’t a pie at all, just a moist vanilla cake with vanilla custard and a chocolate glaze – she was sold.  Finally.  I have been wanting to make a Boston Cream Pie from Cook’s Illustrated for years – yes, literally years.  I think the recipe was sitting in the pantry for over 3 years.  Each week when I would go through the stack, I would look at this longingly, wondering when I would ever find the time to make this beautiful specimen.  I knew it would come eventually – and I was finally right.

I was so excited to dive into this adventure.  I started with the cake – and that was rather easy.  The batter was pretty different looking, but I was not turning back.  When I started the pastry cream – I tried not to focus on the number of egg yolks I was using and instead focus on making sure I didn’t make scrambled eggs.  Fortunately that did not happen.  When it was time to put the cake together, I was amazed at how light it was.  It was at this point that I realized, I had never really had a real Boston Cream Pie.  I have had things like it before, but never the real thing.  I was getting more and more excited.  The glaze was slightly thicker than I imagined, and decided just to glaze the entire outside of the cake – I thought it looked prettier than gobs of chocolate trying to drizzle down the side.

We waited the required refrigeration time that the recipe suggested, and then I cut a slice.  I almost starting jumping up and down.  The slices looked beautiful – but not nearly as gorgeous as it tasted.  This was – hands down – the best cake combination I have ever had in my life.  Ok – I do love a good red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, but even this was better.  The cake was so moist, even after being refrigerated – and the pastry cream had such body and taste – and that chocolate glaze – just the right richness to counter balance the sweetness of the cake and cream.  It was a birthday to remember.

So – even though I am excited for summer to come – I am not ready for a baking break just yet.  I need to make this recipe into cupcakes next…

Ingredients

Pastry Cream

  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) sugar
  • Pinch of table salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into four pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (7.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces) sugar

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

Preparation

For the pastry cream

Heat the half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat until it just simmers. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt until smooth. Add the flour to the yolk mixture and whisk until incorporated. Remove the half-and-half from heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add 1/2 cup to the yolk mixture to temper. Whisking constantly, return tempered yolk mixture to half-and-half in saucepan.

Return saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer, whisking constantly, 8 minutes.

Increase heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until bubbles burst on surface, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat, whisk in butter and vanilla until butter is melted and incorporated. Strain pastry cream through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Press lightly greased parchment paper directly on surface and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours.

For the cake

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl Heat milk and butter in small saucepan over low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat, add vanilla and cover to keep warm.

In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk eggs and sugar at high speed until light and airy, about 5 minutes. Remove mixer bowl from stand. Add hot milk mixture and whisk by hand until incorporated. Add dry ingredients and whisk until incorporated.

Working quickly, divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until tops are light brown and toothpick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes.

Transfer cakes to wire rack and cool completely in pan, about 2 hours.  Run a small plastic knife around edge of pans, then invert cakes onto wire rack. Carefully remove parchment, then reinvert cakes.

To assemble

Place one cake round on large plate. Whisk pastry cream briefly, then spoon onto center of cake. Using offset spatula, spread evenly to cake edge. Place second layer on pastry cream, bottom side up, making sure layers line up properly. Press lightly on top of cake to level. Refrigerate cake while preparing glaze.

For the glaze

Bring cram and corn syrup to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Remove fro heat and add chocolate. Whisk occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.Pour glaze onto center of cake. Use offset spatula to spread glaze to edge of cake, letting excess drop decoratively down sides. Chill finished cake 3 hours before slicing. Cake may be made up to 24 hours before serving.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Boston Cream Pie

Boston Cream Pie 3

Apple-Molasses Upside-Down Cake

Apple Mollases Upside Down Cake

Cast Iron pans are a secret weapon.  Yes, they are heavy enough that they could actually be used as a weapon, but that’s not what I am talking about.  I love my cast iron pan, but I hardly ever use it!  The problem is, because I don’t use it very much, whenever I go to use it – I usually have to re-season it.  It is not that hard, but kind of a pain.  It is always completely worth it though – particularly for baking.  The one thing I have not done yet is use my cast iron pan to bake something on the Big Green Egg…now we’re talking.

The other week I signed up to bring dessert for book club.  I decided that I would make two desserts – one for the kids, and one for the adults.  What did I make for the kids?  Of course these…but I wanted to do something completely different for the adults.  Something that was easy, not too heavy, but that looked appetizing enough for everyone to try it.  I was so happy when I found this recipe in Bon Appetit, and it called for a cast iron pan.  It had been a while since I baked on my cast iron pan, and it was time.

It was a little risky to make this when we were trying to think spring, but I think I pulled it off.  The apples really made this dish – the cake had such an intense flavor that the apples offset it nicely.  Most of the Moms had a taste, and many of the kids did too.  Now, all I have to do is make this on the Egg to give it a nice smoky flavor…now that would be something else.

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted  butter
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose  flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher  salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground  cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking  soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking  powder
  • 3/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons grated  peeled ginger
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 3-4 Honeycrisp or Pink Lady apples,  (about 2 pounds), peeled

Preparation

Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°. Melt butter  in a 10-inch (as measured across the bottom) cast-iron or other ovenproof  skillet; set aside. Whisk flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder  in a medium bowl.

Whisk molasses, egg, ginger, and 1/4 cup sugar in a large  bowl. Whisk in sour cream, then milk. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients, then 3  tablespoons melted butter from skillet. Set aside.

Place 1 apple on a work surface  stem up. Cut a large piece of  apple from 1 side, leaving core behind. Rotate apple and repeat twice for a  total of 3 large pieces (a triangular core will remain). Repeat with remaining  apples.

Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar to butter in skillet. Cook over  medium-high heat until sugar begins to caramelize, 2-3 minutes. Add apples; stir  to coat. Cook apples rounded sides down for  3 minutes, then turn over and cook  flat sides down until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes longer. Space apples  evenly in skillet flat side down and pour cake batter over.

Transfer skillet to oven. Bake until a cake tester inserted  into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30-40 minutes.

Let cake cool in skillet for 10 minutes, then carefully invert  onto a plate. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Apple Mollases Upside Down Cake

Pistachio Pound Cake

Pistachio Pound Cake

Wow…what a weekend!!  It was spectacular – blue sky, warm temperatures.  You would have thought it was July.  Seriously – this is nicer than any weekend that we usually get in June.  We get these days here and there – and you know who I feel sorry for the most?  Those poor people who have just moved to Seattle, and think that we are all under a conspiracy here with our weather.  They are all thinking that we just make up the fact that it’s raining all the time.  I wish it were true…but sadly, it is not.  Just wait until Junuary, and you will see.

I love pistachios – no, I mean really LOVE pistachios.  I cannot just eat one, in fact, I cannot just eat ten.  Once I start, I can’t stop.  They are definitely my weakness, especially those crunchy salty ones. My daughters love pistachios too, and are always asking me to buy them.  I seriously say no only because I know I will be eating most of them.  Every once in a while I buy a big sack though, and we all sit around the table cracking open those shells and popping them in our mouths.  So, when I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, I knew I had to give it a try.  Fortunately for me, Trader Joes now sells bags of pre-shelled pistachios – and they are not salted.  It makes baking with pistachios such a pleasant experience.  I remember the first time I wanted to make something with pistachios – my husband and I spend hours shelling the nuts so I had them ready.  At first it was one for me, one for the bowl…but I soon realized if I kept doing that, I would run out of nuts – and I needed to have enough for the recipe.  Boy was that a test of my will power.

This cake was delicious – it was densely populated with pistachio nuts – and they didn’t just float to the top or bottom.  It was rich and buttery as well – as you would expect when you are using two sticks of butter.  The girls loved it, as did I – it was quite a treat – and so easy to make – that is, if you have a Trader Joes nearby.  Otherwise – good luck with this.  If you can get through shelling the pistachios, with enough left for the recipe – a big gold star for you – and a beautiful pound cake to celebrate…

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped, divided

Preparation

Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 325°. Coat a 9x5x3″ loaf pan with nonstick spray. Dust pan with flour; tap out excess.

Whisk 2 cups flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Add sugar; beat until well incorporated, 1–2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions. Add juices and zests; beat until well combined (mixture will look curdled), 2–3 minutes. Add dry ingredients; reduce speed to low and beat just until blended. Fold in 3/4 cup pistachios. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup pistachios over.

Bake cake, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely in pan. Run a sharp knife around sides to loosen; unmold cake.

DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Pistachio Pound Cake

Passover Apple Cake

Passover Apple Cake 2

It is Passover time – one of my favorite times of the year – specifically for this – oh, and don’t forget about this. It’s funny – but I look forward to making both of those recipes every year.  I haven’t found a new one in quite a while…until I went to Israel.  Hold that thought…

So, Monday night we had a wonderful Seder at my neighbor’s house.  They had 24 guests – which meant 48 matzo balls, because you can’t just have one.  As I was heading home from work, I saw an email from my neighbor about a bad accident that occurred in the neighborhood, causing a huge back-up on one of the main streets that takes you from the highway to our house.  Our neighborhood has been the target of many burglaries lately, a shooting, and bank robbery – which has caused the schools to go into lockdown and traffic to stand still.  But this was different.  It was a drunk driver.  He drove into 3 adults and an infant.  A mother, her 10 day old son, and her in-laws.  The grandparents died at the scene of the accident, and the mother and son were rushed to the hospital, where they remain in critical condition.  What a tragedy.  The biggest tragedy of all, this was not the person’s first time with a DUI.  It makes me sick.  Something must be done.  I actually found this link tonight on the internet – in case you want to do something to help the family – I certainly did.

Ok, back to the recipe.  When I was in Israel last week, they had a special toast to celebrate the beginning of Passover.  It is definitely a big deal there, and one of the women told me about a cake she makes for Passover.  Now for those of you who celebrate Passover, you know that for the most part – Passover cakes are not that delicious.   It is hard to make a Kosher for Passover cake that you would actually long to eat – you cannot use any leavening in the ingredients.  Over the years, some of the boxed mixes have gotten pretty good – but I always prefer to bake from scratch.  The other wrench in the process is, technically, if you are serving meat for dinner, the dessert must be dairy free as well – so that means no butter.  So, when I heard about this amazing cake – I had to give it a try.  I figured, with 24 people at the Seder, there can always be an extra dessert.  I baked this on Sunday in preparation, and I could tell it was going to be a winner.  I was a little nervous with the number of eggs – but it completely worked.  This cake was delicious, particularly for a Passover cake – although I must say, even if I didn’t celebrate Passover, I would have been very happy to eat this.  For those of you who are cinnamon lovers – this is definitely a cake for you.  Happy Passover!

Ingredients

Filling

  • 2 pounds Golden Delicious Apples, peeled and sliced ​​into pieces (about 5 apples)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Juice of one lemon

Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups matzo meal
  • 1/2 cup potato flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup canola oil 240ml (1 cup)

Topping

  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make the filling by mixing the apples, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice until completely coated.  Set aside approximately 30 minutes.

Make the dough.  Whisk the matzo and potato flour.  Add the sugar and stir.  Add eggs and oil and blend with an electric mixture until the dough is uniform and very soft. Set aside for 20 minutes.

In a third bowl, mix the walnuts, sugar and cinnamon.

Assemble the cake. With wet hands, spread half the dough on the bottom of the pan. Spread the apples on top – without the liquid.  Place the rest of the dough over the apples and spread using wet hands or a spatula, cover the apples evenly.
Sprinkle the surface of the dough with the topping. Bake for about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes, until dough is golden.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Passover Apple Cake

Sticky Ginger Cake

Sticky Ginger Cake

I feel like we are in the home stretch.  The holidays are over for some of us, and for others, they are just around the corner.  All of the treats have been made, the teacher gifts are wrapped and ready to be handed out, and winter vacation is just a few days away. Wow – I can’t believe I am almost there.

I can’t let this season go by without making at least one gingerbread recipe.  Every year I try something different  – but I always get the same result – a beautifully flavorful cake that is rich in spices and incredibly moist.  This time the recipe came from Cooking Light – from a 10-year-old girl.  She has started to write a column for the magazine each month – and I just love it.  These are definitely recipes that my daughter could easily make.  In fact – my birthday is coming up – and would you believe that my older daughter asked me what kind of cake I want??  I couldn’t believe it – she is actually going to make me a cake for my birthday.  It is like a dream come true – I usually go pick out my own cake because I am so picky – it can’t be just any cake, if we are going to spend money on it – it has to be better than one I could make myself.  Seriously she could make me just about anything, and I would love it.

Ok – back to this cake.  So – since this came from a 10-year-old, it is super easy – and just the recipe you need as you come into the home stretch.  So – if you spent all your energy on your main course – and need a quick and easy dessert for this time of year – here is your answer.  Better yet – find a 10-year-old, and they can make it for you…

Ingredients

  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2  large eggs, beaten
  • 5 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 5 tablespoons molasses, divided
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

Lightly coat an 8-inch square metal baking pan with cooking spray. Set prepared pan aside.

Weigh or spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt); stir with a whisk. Combine buttermilk and eggs. Combine 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup molasses, brown sugar, butter, and fresh ginger in a pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar melts. Remove pan from heat; cool 5 minutes. Add egg mixture to honey mixture, stirring with a whisk. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir until well combined.

Pour batter into pan. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Place on a rack; pierce surface with a skewer. Combine 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon molasses, and 1 tablespoon water; brush over hot cake. Cool. Dust with powdered sugar.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Sticky Ginger Cake

French Apple Cake

It is apple season, and in the state of Washington, it is a wonderful thing.  The farmer’s markets have more varieties of apples than you can imagine.  There is one podcast that I listen to called SpilledMilk – and last year at this time they played a little game, Mathew read names of apples to Molly (some of which were real, some of which he made up) and she had to guess which ones were real.  It was hilarious listening to these names, and would you believe that I got most of them wrong?  That is how many varieties there are.

As I am sitting here in the airport writing this, I am wondering what is in season where I am going.  Fortunately I am going with a few people who have been there before, and they know I love food – so I am excited.  It is funny how things change – when I little, I was always so focused on the food I would get on the airplane – I could really care less about what I would eat when I landed.  Even today,  my little one commented on the food that was served on a flight we were on last year – it was disgusting, but to her, it was such a special treat.  Unfortunately for them, they don’t really serve food on the airplanes anymore – because that was definitely my favorite part of flying when I was their age.

So – I am leaving you tonight with this delicious apple cake – a Cook’s Illustrated classic recipe – it was really outstanding.  The recipe didn’t come out like it was supposed to – and I was really glad it didn’t.  This was more like an apple pudding cake – rich and delicious – perfect for this time of year.

Ingredients

  •  1/2 lbs granny smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges, and sliced 1/8 inch thick crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon calvados
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • confectioners’ sugar

Preparation

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 9-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray. Place prepared pan on rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Place apple slices into microwave-safe pie plate, cover, and microwave until apples are pliable and slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Toss apple slices with Calvados and lemon juice and let cool for 15 minutes

Whisk 1 cup flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Whisk egg, oil, milk, and vanilla together in second bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and whisk until just combined. Transfer 1 cup batter to separate bowl and set aside.

Add egg yolks to remaining batter and whisk to combine. Using spatula, gently fold in cooled apples. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using offset spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges, gently pressing on apples to create even, compact layer, and smooth surface.

Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons flour into reserved batter. Pour over batter in pan and spread batter evenly to pan edges and smooth surface. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar evenly over cake.

Bake until center of cake is set, toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and top is golden brown, about 1 1/4 hours. Transfer pan to wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of pan and let cool completely, 2 to 3 hours. Dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges, and serve.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  French Apple Cake