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Tag Archives: cakes

Finding My Routine

It’s the new school year, the kids have been back to school for two weeks now, and I’m trying to get a smooth routine running. I drew up a timetable for Big Kid and he appreciates it. He likes having a schedule, that kid. He likes to check the chart, stuck on the fridge, to see what he should be doing. I need a schedule too to make my life more organized and productive. The big thing now for me is the daily meal planner. Big Kid has after-school programmes every day except for Fridays. I have to plan the dishes according to how much time I have to cook e.g. Mondays – I have 30 minutes to cook and I do my prep in the afternoon, Wednesdays – dinner has to be ready by 5pm the latest and we’re out of the door a quarter to 6pm. The last two weeks have been a trial run for both of us since most of his programmes have not started.

French Fridays have taken a back seat until I find the time to make the recipes. (Blogging too for that matter!) I could have made the honey-spiced madeleines, which is this week’s recipe, this past weekend but I made Dorie Greenspan‘s Brr-ownies as York Peppermint Patties 8-pack were on sale for $1 at Wallyland. Furthermore, a family has invited us over for dinner and, I could be wrong but, I think brownies make better desserts to bring over than madeleines.

These brownies are a pretty good snack but they sure aren’t pretty to photograph! However, these fudgy brownies with bites of peppermint patties were eaten so quickly that I could only get a photo like that before they were all gone.

Since I have sour cream to use up, I also made Dorie’s Nutty, Chocolatey, Swirly Sour Cream Bundt Cake, another not-so-pretty-to-photograph cake. (Click the link to the recipe for a second recipe from Dorie.) I used only pecans and mini chocolate chips for the swirl as Hubby doesn’t like raisins. I love the flavour combination of the swirl – cinnamon, nutmeg, pecans and chocolate – and it goes so well with the buttery, orangy cake.

I’m not surprised there was no picture for this recipe in the book but it really tastes better than it looks. :)

One new thing this year that I’m very happy about is Little Guy going to school twice a week at the school just 10 minutes from the house. As long as the weather permits, we would walk there and back. This morning I let him cycle to school on his bike that has never seen the outdoors before. It has always been an indoor toy and now that it’s almost time to give it away, I decided to let Little Guy use it on the streets before he really outgrows it!  Time to seek out a new bike for him…

 
9 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Baking, Food, Life

 

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Lemon Pound Cake with Strawberry Sauce

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This recipe is taken from LCBO’s Food & Drink Summer 2011 issue. I had been looking out for it and was quite pleased to see it was available when I went to get some summer beers yesterday. This pound cake doesn’t require the usual creaming of butter and sugar and uses a combination of oil and butter. It produces a soft and buttery cake with slight tartness from the lemon. 

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The original recipe served the cake with a sauce made from fresh strawberries and strawberry jam but I used my own homemade strawberry sauce instead.

LEMON POUND CAKE

5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt (use greater amount if using unsalted butter)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 lemon
1/3 cup canola or other vegetable oil*
1/2 cup butter, 1 stick, very soft
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160C).

2. Separate eggs, placing whites in a clean mixing bowl. Place yolks in a small bowl. Using extra, very generously butter and flour a Bundt pan.

3. Place measured flour into a large mixing bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup sugar along with salt and baking soda; mix well. Finely zest lemon with a rasp; squeeze 2 tbsp juice.

4. Slowly add oil in batches to very soft butter, stirring well after each addition. Stir in yolks; then zest, juice and vanilla.

5. Beat egg whites until foamy; beat in cream of tartar. When soft peaks form, gradually beat in remaining 3/4 cup sugar until glossy stiff peaks form. A bit of whipped egg rubbed between fingers feels smooth, not gritty.

6. Make a well in the flour mixture; add butter mixture all at once. Stir until all flour is absorbed. Using a large rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of whipped whites into dough until evenly mixed. Then fold in remainder just until streaks almost disappear. Turn into prepared pan; smooth top.

7. Bake in centre of preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in cake middle comes out clean. Cool upright on a rack for 15 minutes to firm up cake. Then loosen and turn out upside down to finish cooling on rack.

8. To serve, dust cake top lightly with icing sugar in a small sieve. Serve slices with some berry sauce.

* I used sunflower oil but I may have mistakenly used half a cup!

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STRAWBERY SAUCE

1 lb strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon sugar (or 3 tablespoons sugar if you’re not using maple syrup)
Juice of 1/4 lemon
Zest of the 1/4 lemon (optional)
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Put the strawberries, maple syrup, lemon juice and zest (if using) into a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 10 mins. Taste and add the the 1 tablespoon sugar if it’s not sweet enough. Mix the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons water and add to the saucepan. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and mash lightly with fork to break up the bigger pieces. If you want a smooth sauce, puree the cooled sauce in a blender.

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9 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2011 in Baking, Food

 

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Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake

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I made a simple cake for tea the other day, a Dorie Greenspan cake – Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake. Blueberries were on sale that week – $1.99 a pint – and they were sweet not tart. Eating them with (or in!) cakes is my favourite way of eating many blueberries at one go!

This cake is called a plain cake – “no crumbs, streusel, nuts, icing or filling” – but it is not plain in taste. It is very moist, with blueberries in almost every bite, and has a strong caramel flavour from the brown sugar. There’s also a hint of cinnamon.

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Blueberry-Brown Sugar Plain Cake
adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar (I didn’t pack it)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 pint blueberries – fresh, preferably, or frozen

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Generously butter an 11-x-8-inch baking pan and place it on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and the 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they form firm, glossy peaks.

Put the butter and sugar in the mixer bowl and beat on medium speed until creamy. Add the egg yolks and beat 2 minutes more. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the dry ingredients, then all of the milk and then the remainder of the dry ingredients, adding each new batch as soon as the previous batch has been incorporated.

Using a large rubber spatula, stir in about one quarter of the stiffly beaten egg whites. Gently fold in the rest of the whites. Still working with a light hand, fold in the blueberries, and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until it is golden and a thin knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and cool in the pan for about 30 minutes before dusting the top with confectioners’ sugar and serving warm. (I served mine the next day and warmed it up in the microwave.)

 

 
6 Comments

Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Baking, Food

 

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Banana-Nut Bread

I made another recipe from the Williams-Sonoma cookbook. This time it’s Banana-Nut Bread made with 3 very ripe bananas – one from my fridge and two from my neighbour’s freezer. :) It’s the first time I’ve used frozen bananas and I must say, when they’re defrosted and peeled, they look highly unappealing! Thankfully, the flavour remains the same. This banana bread is soft but not cake-like and it makes a very good snack.

Banana-Nut Bread
Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Cookbook

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
3 very ripe bananas, coarsely mashed
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk (made it myself with whole milk and lemon juice)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground nutmeg (I used 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (or pecans or hazelnuts)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the mashed bananas and eggs and beat until smooth. Add the buttermilk and beat on low speed until just combined.

In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, salt and nuts. Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and beat until just combined. The batter should be slightly lumpy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the loaf is dark golden brown and dry to the touch and the edges pull away from the pan sides, 55 – 60 minutes. A cake tester inserted into the centre should come out clean.

Let rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Baking, Food

 

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Carrot Cake

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It’s been so long since I’ve baked on a weekend. I had time yesterday and really wanted to bake but couldn’t decide on what to bake. So I opened the question to the family. Hubby said, “Marble Cake” and Little Guy said, “Carrot Cake.” I chose Carrot Cake for I have a good one in my notebook of handwritten recipes that is quick and easy to make. As an aside, if I were to make a digital copy of this recipe in the future I still won’t discard this page. Big Kid scribbled on it when he was 3 or 4 and it’s a sentimental reminder to me of the time when he was a cute little preschooler just discovering a pen. Smile

Carrot Cake-recipe

CARROT CAKE

A.
300g grated carrots
250g flour
100g castor sugar
50g light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon Allspice

B.
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil

C.
120g chopped nuts, toasted (walnuts or pecans)
120g dried fruit (dates or raisins)

Cream Cheese Frosting
250g cream cheese, softened
60g butter, softened
160g castor sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

1. Line a 8″ square cake pan with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 175 degrees C.
2. Combine A in a medium bowl with a fork, making sure the carrots are not in clumps.
3. Combine B in a small bowl and, using a spatula, mix it into the dry ingredients (A).
4. Stir in C.
5. Scrape batter into pan and bake for an hour. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
6. To make the frosting, cream the ingredients in a bowl with an electric mixer until the frosting is fluffy and smooth.

 
8 Comments

Posted by on February 21, 2011 in Baking, Food

 

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Christmas Fruit Cake

I’m not a big fan of rich fruitcake but this particular recipe from my mum, I like. The taste of alcohol is not overly strong and it’s not too sweet either. Big Kid likes it so it’s suitable to a kid’s palate although I have to say Big Kid does not have a palate of a typical 7-year-old!

Christmas Fruit Cake

1 kg mixed fruits and peel
100g almond nibs
250g butter
200g dark brown sugar
4 large eggs
250g plain flour, sifted
50g almond meal

Put fruits and peel in a medium bowl and pour over 1/4 cup brandy, 1/4 cup liqueur (I used Cointreau) and 2 tablespoons rum. Toss the fruits and cover the bowl with food wrap. Soak up to 2 weeks. If using glazed mixed fruits, rinse fruit before using.

Line a 8″ square tin with 2 layers of parchment paper. Leave the paper higher than the sides of the tin. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C/300 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and almond meal. Add in the soaked fruits and almond nibs and turn to mix evenly. Pour cake batter into the bowl and fold mixture by hand. Scrape mixture into pan and bake at 150 degrees C/300 degrees F for 30 minutes then lower temperature to 120 degrees C/250 degrees F and bake for 2.5 hours and top turns golden brown.

Brush top of cake with 2 tablespoons of brandy/rum while cake is still warm. Let cake cool completely before wrapping in food wrap and storing in an airtight container. Wait at least 2 days before cutting. The cake is successful when it doesn’t crumble when cut. Cut cake with a thin, sharp knife. The cake will mature and taste better overtime.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 21, 2010 in Baking, Food

 

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