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Sunday Supper Movement

Cakes

Almond Orange Upside Down Cake

When the February/March issue of Fine Cooking came out, I was immediately drawn to the series on upside-down cakes. Despite being afraid of caramel, I knew that I had to make one of the cakes… the problem was, which one? I settled on the below Orange-Almond Upside-Down Cake but even before I made it, I had to know how the other ones would turn out. I invited my amazing sister-in-law, Lauren, over at Live, Dine, Party to bake one of these cakes along with me.

Lauren started her blog last year to chronicle her adventures in a new home, cooking, and entertaining. Lauren comes from a long line of amazing Italian cooks (ahem, Lauren, you still owe me a ravioli lesson!) and it shows in her food. Today, she’s sharing with you a Cranberry Streusel Upside-Down Cake. I know I just made this cake (two days ago, in fact), but I think Lauren has convinced me to dig that bag of frozen cranberries out of my freezer to give her version a shot.

While Lauren has me drooling over her cake, I was pleased with how my Orange-Almond Upside-Down Cake came out. It was one of the few desserts that I have made that was *really easy* to make look really pretty. I walked by it several times, trying to convince myself that I could dig in. But alas, I brought the cake, untouched, to work. Visually, the cake was impressive. And it tasted fantastic. The almond with the sweet burst of orange juice and the slight bitterness of the peel was an unexpected combination.

Prep Note: There’s a fair bit of prep to this recipe. I don’t mean hours of baking and resting, but a couple extra steps that are best done ahead of time (like toasting and grinding almonds) to make the assembly go quicker. 

Almond Orange Upside Down Cake

Orange-Almond Upside-Down Cake

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 127 (p. 82)

Makes one 9-inch round cake

Ingredients for the Topping:

  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 small oranges
  • 1/2 c. slivered almonds

Ingredients for the Cake: 

  • 2/3 c. slivered almonds
  • 8 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 c. sour cream, at room temperature

Prep Work:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Toast the almonds for the cake (2/3 c.) for about 5 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet before pulsing in a food processor until finely ground.

Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter again. Set aside.

Zest and juice 1 orange (or, if using large oranges, half an orange). You need 2 tsp. orange zest and 3 Tbs. freshly squeezed orange juice. Set aside.

Slice the remaining 2 oranges, as thin as you can get them. Discard ends. Then cut each slice into quarters. Set aside.

Make the Topping:

In a medium-sized pot, combine butter and sugar over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until caramel is just slightly darker in color than peanut butter. Watch carefully – I have a bad habit of ruining caramel by overcooking it. 🙂 When mixture is a light brown, slowly add orange juice. Stir until bubbling stops and orange juice has been completely incorporated, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and pour immediately into the prepared pan. Allow to sit until cool enough to touch, about 5 minutes.

When cake is cool, arrange orange slices in caramel. Fill in extra spaces with slivered almonds.

Make the Cake:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of the bowl and add orange zest and almond extract until just combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl again and add eggs, one at a time. Add ground almonds, baking powder, and salt. Add half of sour cream, then half of flour. Add remaining sour cream and remaining flour, scraping down sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Pour batter into pan. Even out top with a spatula, taking care not to disturb the orange and almond slices.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pan to loosen, and invert onto a serving cake and remove from pan. Allow to cool completely.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

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April 105

I made this cake for my best friend’s bridal luncheon. It was perfect for the occasion – impressive and incredibly indulgent. The cake was rich and chocolatey. It melted in your mouth.

Make Ahead: This cake is best started the day before serving, due to prep times and freezing times. However, the cake and mousse can be made and frozen up to three weeks ahead of time. (See below for details).

American Beauty Cake

Adapted from The Pastry Queen (p. 84-85)

Serves 14-16

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 1 c. unsalted butter
  • 12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs. dark rum or Kahlua (optional)

Ingredients for the Milk Chocolate Mousse:

  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 10 oz. milk chocolate
  • 3 large eggs, separated (into yolks & whites) and then brought to room temperature
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream, chilled

Ingredients for the Dark Chocolate Glaze:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 c. light corn syrup
  • 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Garnish:

  • fresh berries (optional)

Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Spray bottom and sides of pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a double broiler set over medium heat, melt chocolate and butter. While chocolate and butter are melting, whisk together eggs and sugar.

When chocolate mixture is smooth, remove from heat. Whisk in the egg mixture, a little at a time, until well combined. Stir in vanilla and rum.

Pour mixture into prepared cake pan. Place cake pan in a large roasting or baking pan, and fill with enough hot water to come two-thirds of the way up the sides of the cake pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, until cake is firm to the touch. Remove from oven and roasting pan. Place cake in the pan on a wire rack to cool completely. (Note: Cake rises in the oven but deflates to it’s original size as it cools).

American Beauty Cake

Make the Mousse: In a double broiler set over medium heat, melt chocolate and butter. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Reduce speed to low or “stir,” and add vanilla. Slowly add cooled chocolate mixture until just incorporated. Scrape down sides of both and, if needed, mix again. Transfer to a clean bowl.

With a clean bowl and whisk attachment in the stand mixer, whip egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture, one-third at a time. Set aside.

Again, with a clean bowl and whisk attachment in the stand mixer, whip heavy cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture.

Pour mousse on top of cooled cake, spreading evenly. Mousse should come to the top of the cake pan. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Freeze for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight. (If making ahead, cake can remain in freezer like this for up to 3 weeks).

The day you serve, make the glaze by heating corn syrup, heavy cream, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Add chocolate to saucepan. Stir or whisk until smooth. Keep glaze at room temperature so that you can pour it over cake (add more heavy cream if it gets too thick).

Assemble the cake: Remove cake from freezer and unwrap. Dip bottom and sides of pan in hot water to loosen. Invert onto a plate to remove from pan. Invert onto another plate or serving dish again, so that mousse is on top. Pour the glaze over top, ensuring top and sides are completely covered. (Not going to lie, my sides weren’t completely covered, but that’s ok!)

Refreeze until ready to serve. (The Pastry Chef says to cover with plastic wrap when refreezing, but the plastic completely ruined the set of the glaze. If you have a covered cake plate, and room in your freezer, I’d recommend using the covered cake plate, and then wrapping that in plastic wrap, to protect the surface of the cake.)

Garnish with fresh berries just before serving.

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This week, I teamed with Eva over at Eva Bakes to try out another recipe in the drool-worthy, although sometimes daunting, Bouchon Bakery cookbook. I was pretty excited when Eva suggested we make rum cake. It’s something I only make once a year, and although I enjoy it, the recipe I use isn’t exactly baking from scratch.

Besides trying out a new recipe, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to bake along with Eva. While I don’t talk about it much, one of the things I enjoy most about blogging is getting to meet and get to know others who share my passions. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know Eva, my Mixed crew, and a fabulous group of bloggers from around the country (and a few even farther!). We don’t just exchange recipes, restaurant recommendations, and favorite books, but we share our families, our careers, our lives. Baking with Eva has been an awesome way not just to compare notes on a new recipe but also to continue to get to know one another.

Rum Cake

And now I remember why I rarely bake anything in bundt cake pans. 🙁

Despite the appearance, the cake actually turned out pretty well. I made the cake and the rum-infused simple syrup (don’t skip it – that’s where much of the flavor comes from). Since my broken cake was going to be turned into a trifle, I skipped the rum icing (listed below) and exchanged it for a rum whipped cream (recipe at the bottom of this post). Overall, the flavor was pretty good, but the almond meal gave the cake a nuttier flavor and a bit grainier texture (perhaps I should have kept it in the food processor longer). While the cake was good, I think I’m still partial to the recipe used in my rum cake cupcakes. I’ll continue to search for the perfect from-scratch rum cake recipe but you should head on over to Eva Bakes to check out Eva’s blog and see what she thought about this Rum Cake recipe.

Thanks for baking with me, Eva!

Rum Cake

Rum Cake

Adapted from The Bouchon Bakery (p. 106)

*** Ingredient estimates in parenthesis are provided to ensure that you have enough of the ingredients. Please don’t use them when making the cake – weigh out each ingredient with a kitchen scale!!! ***

Equipment:

  • 15-cup “original bundt” cake pan
  • 7-quart stand mixer (a 4.5 quart might work, but it will be tight!)

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 468 g. unsalted butter, at room temperature; plus more for pan (about 4 1/2 sticks total)
  • 562 g. granulated sugar; plus more for pan (under 3 c.)
  • 468 g. almond meal, pulsed 10 times in a food processor to break up clumps (4+ cups)
  • 150 g. all-purpose flour (1+ cup)
  • 562 g. eggs (about 11 large eggs)
  • 75 g. dark rum* (1/3 c.)

Ingredients for the Rum-Infused Simple Syrup: 

  • 100 g. granulated sugar (1/2 c.)
  • 117 g. water (1/2 c.)
  • 50 g. dark rum* (3 Tbs.)

Ingredients for the Rum Icing:

  • 180 g. confectioners’ sugar (1 1/2+ c.)
  • 15 g. dark rum* (1 Tbs.)
  • 15 g. water (1 Tbs.)

The Bouchon Bakery recommends using Meyer’s dark rum. I used Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum.

Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350F (325F for a convection oven). Melt 1-2 Tbs. of butter. Brush bundt cake pan with butter, being sure to get into all of the crevices. Refrigerate the pan to harden butter. Remove from fridge and sprinkle evenly with a few tablespoons of granulated sugar. Rotate pan until evenly coated on the sides and bottom. Tap out extra sugar and set pan aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter. Add sugar and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce speed to low and add eggs, one third at a time. Mix for only 15 seconds after each addition. The mixture will look broken, but you don’t want to overmix (which would cause the cake will expand too much). Scrape down sides of the bowl again.

Whisk together almond meal and all-purpose flour in a small bowl. With the mixer on low, add almond meal  mixture, one third at a time. Mix for only 15 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl and stir any remaining dry ingredients in.

Place 1 cup of batter in a small bowl. Add rum and stir until combined. Return to bowl and fold into batter.

Pour into prepared bundt cake pan. A half inch should be left at the top after filling the pan with batter. Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean – 55-60 minutes for a convection oven and 65-70 minutes for a standard oven.

While the cake is baking, make the simple syrup: Combine water and sugar in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in rum and refrigerate until using.

When a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and set on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Place another cooling rack on top and invert cake onto cooling rack, removing the cake pan.

Allow to sit for another 10 minutes. Brush cake with simple syrup. Allow to soak in for a few minutes before reapplying syrup. Continue until syrup is gone and cake is evenly coated. Allow to cool completely.

And in case your cake doesn’t turn nicely out into the pan like mine….

Turn it into a….

Rum Cake Trifle

RUM CAKE TRIFLE!!! 

rum cake (soaked in simple syrup) + rum whipped cream

Ingredients for the Rum Whipped Cream: 

  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 4 heaping tablespoons (the kind you use for dinner, not the measuring scoop) granulated sugar
  • 2-3 Tbs. dark rum

Make the Rum Whipped Cream: Place whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until soft peaks form. Without turning off the mixer, sprinkle in sugar. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Add rum and whisk until just incorporated. Refrigerate until using.

Make the trifle just before serving. Cube rum cake and layer with whipped cream.

Enjoy. 🙂

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‘Tis the 1oth week of the 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats, hosted by Meal Planning Magic. This year has flown by – I can’t believe Christmas is just around the corner! Most of my holiday shopping is done, although I didn’t have much of a choice because of the upcoming move. I’m really looking forward to some down time during Christmas week. While I know we’ll be visiting a lot of family, I’m hoping for a few hours to curl up with a book while my hubby serves me tea and cocoa (ha! wishful thinking, right?)

Anyway, after last week’s rich, decadent Bourbon Balls, I thought I’d bring you something a little lighter. I made this Lemon-Cranberry Cake for no special occasion, just for my hubby and I to have a sweet around the house. I enjoyed the cake for breakfast (it’s got fruit in it!), snack with tea, and for dessert. With all of the rich sweets that are served from mid-November through the Christmas season, this cake felt refreshing, with a burst of lemon and cranberry flavors. (Note: The lemon flavor still comes through in the cake, even if you decide to skip the glaze.)

Lemon-Cranberry Cake

Adapted from The Pastry Queen p. 76

Makes 1 loaf cake

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 1 1/4 c. fresh cranberries
  • 1 2/3 c. plus 1 Tbs. all purpose flour (divided)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 Tbs. more to grease the pan
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 Tbs. lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

Ingredients for the Lemon Glaze:

  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)

Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan with butter. Be sure to get the edges so that the cake doesn’t stick to the pan! Flour lightly, tap out excess flour, and set aside.

In a small bowl, toss cranberries in 1 Tbs. flour. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about a minute. Lower speed slight and add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With mixer on low speed, add baking powder, salt, and half of remaining flour. Add half of milk, and when incorporated, add the rest of the flour, followed by the remainder of the milk. Scrape down sides of the bowl, mixing again on low speed if needed. Fold in lemon zest and floured cranberries.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55-70 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes.

Set a cooling rack on top of a piece of parchment or wax paper (to catch any glaze that may drip if you glaze the cake). Invert cake onto wire rack to continue cooling.

Make the Glaze: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, cool sugar and lemon juice until sugar has melted, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook until it has come to a boil. Allow to boil for 30 seconds before removing pan from heat. Allow to cool slightly, as glaze will thicken a little as it cools.

Glaze the Cake: Pierce top of cake all over with a toothpick. Use a pastry brush to apply warm glaze to cake. (My cake was still warm when I glazed it.)

Store covered tightly with plastic wrap at room temperature.

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This is my third week participating in the Twelve Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Meal Planning Magic. This week, I bring to you a sweet for those mornings when family stays over or an afternoon coffee with friends.

This crumb cake comes together easily and quickly.  The cake is light and airy and the crumb topping is more than generous. It tastes as good as bakery crumb cake, if not better.

New York-Style Crumb Cake

Adapted from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2008/Cooks Illustrated

Servers 8-10

Makes an 8×8 in. pan

Ingredients for Crumb Topping:

  • 8 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted and still warm
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 c. cake flour

Ingredients for Cake:

  • cooking spray/vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 c. cake flour
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
  • 1/3 c. buttermilk or plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Make the Crumb Topping: Whisk together melted butter, sugars, cinnamon, and salt. When combined, add cake flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture is thick and cohesive. Set aside and allow to come to room temperature while you prepare the cake.

Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8×8 inch pan with aluminum foil, with an inch or two overhanging edges of pan. Spray with vegetable oil/cooking spray and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk (or beat on “stir”) flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. With a mixer on medium-low speed, add butter, one piece at a time, until mixture is crumbly and butter is pea-sized. Increase speed to medium-high and add buttermilk, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. The batter will be thick and very sticky.

Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to even it out, making sure the batter reaches all four corners and edges of the pan. Using your fingers to crumble the cinnamon-sugar-flour mixture into pea-sized pieces evenly over cake batter.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until cake is browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes in pan before using aluminum foil to remove cake from pan, move to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Storage: May be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days.

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Last Halloween, my friends and I had a Clue-themed Halloween party. It was fantastic. We all dressed up as characters from the movie (yours truly was Mrs. White). We decorated a friend’s house with props from the movie – a set of keys, pumpkins with the weapons carved into them, the weapons (a lead pipe, two candlesticks, etc.) scattered about the house. Our hosts, Ms. Scarlet and Mr. Body, did a fabulous job of transforming their dining room table into a billiards table, which is where the food was served. Our menu was also inspired by the movie. I never issued a post with the menu, but here it is:

Ms. Scarlett’s Red Velvet Cupcakes
Mrs. White’s White Pizza
Soft frosted sugar cookies with the weapons piped onto them
“Monkey’s brains” (crab dip)
Red herring (bagels & lox)
Colonel Mustard’s homemade pretzels and mustard dip
Almond brandied pound cake (because they drink tons of brandy during the movie)
Mr. Green’s chips & guacamole
Professor Plum’s chocolate-covered plums

I had been eying this pound cake recipe for a while, and was thrilled for an occasion to make it. I was a huge fan. It was just barely sweet with a slightly crunchy top. It’s recipes like this one (and the almond poppy seed bread) that make me wish that I had friends over for tea, because I can’t help but think that this would be fabulous with tea or after dinner coffee. But even if you don’t entertain for tea or coffee, you should make this recipe. Make it for your coworkers for their morning coffee. Or hoard it for yourself. Either one is perfectly acceptable. 😉

Almond Brandied Pound Cake

Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, via The Novice Chef featured on Love & Olive Oil (wow, that’s a mouthful!)

Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1¼ c. sugar, divided
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. brandy
  • 1 Tbs. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ c. cake flour, sifted

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and continue whipping until the egg white form soft peaks. With the mixer still running, slowly add 1/2 c. of the sugar. Continue whipping until egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks. Transfer egg whites to a clean bowl and set aside.
  3. Clean stand mixer bowl and switch to the paddle attachment. Beat butter on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Lower speed and add salt and remaining ¾ of sugar. Increase speed again, mixing until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  4. In a small bowl (or measuring cup), whisk together egg yolks, brandy, almond extract and vanilla extract. With mixer on medium-low speed, add to butter-sugar mixture. Beat for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides of mixer as necessary, until thoroughly combined.
  5. Now we’re going to add the flour and egg whites with a rubber spatula. Alternate folding in ingredients: flour – egg white – flour – egg whites – flour. Flour and egg whites should be completely mixed in.
  6. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 45-60 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Top with be golden brown (if it browns too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil).
  7. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Then, use a knife to loosen edges of cake from pan. Invert, removing from pan. Place back on a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve at room temperature.

Serving suggestions: with tea, coffee, or a dollop of whipped cream.

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I’ve been dying to make this cake again since the summer fruit started appearing in the grocery store. Not as pretty as the photos in the magazine, but this cake is a light summer treat.

Raspberry Peach Cake

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 80 (p. 68)

Serves 8-10

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour, more for the pan
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for the pan
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 c. plain yogurt

Ingredients for the Topping:

  • 1/2 large, ripe peach, sliced very thinly (~ 1/16 an inch)
  • 3/4 c. fresh raspberries
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour

Make the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Lightly butter a 9-inch round baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper (trace pan and cut out a circle). Butter the parchment paper and the sides of the pan. Gently sprinkle with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Lower speed slightly and dd eggs, orange zest, and vanilla, beating until thoroughly combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and sift in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and half of the flour. Fold into butter/egg mixture. The fold in the yogurt. Sift in the remaining flour and fold into wet mixture. Pour into prepared baking pan, and bake for 15 minutes.

While baking, make the topping: Using a fork, combine all ingredients in a small bowl, so that the fruit is well coated.

After 15 minutes of baking… pull out the cake (still on the oven rack) and quickly add topping to cake. It will still be very wet and look soft, but should hold the fruit.

Continue to bake for another 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife along edges of pan to loosen it, and then invert onto a plate. Peal away the parchment and flip cake right-side-up to cool completely.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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I have to thank my good friend S. for picking out this recipe. We were bumming around the house while our husbands were playing video games, and she decided that I was bringing dessert to her house over the weekend. I’m always happy for an excuse to try out a new recipe, and was thrilled when she picked one from How to Be A Domestic Goddess, a cookbook that has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years. I’ve flipped through it, but this was the first time I’ve ever made anything from it. After this recipe, I’ll definitely be going back to this book for more recipes.

This Chocolate Mousse Cake was super rich and fudgy. You can also skip the baking and just refrigerate the batter (chocolate mousse) in a bowl instead of baking it in a spring-form pan (and after licking the spatula, you may just want to do that!)

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How to Be A Domestic Goddess (p. 176)

Ingredients:

  • 11 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 oz. good-quality milk chocolate
  • 3/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 8 large eggs, separated
  • scant 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Prep: Preheat oven to 350F and put a pot or kettle on to boil (if making cake).

Line the inside of a 9-inch spring-form pan with aluminum foil, being sure to smooth out wrinkles. (The cake is baked in a water bath, and this will prevent the water from getting inside the cake. I lined the outside of the pan with foil instead, simply because I didn’t want to deal with pealing away the foil from the cake. There was a little water in the bottom, but none seemed to get into the cake.)

Make the Mousse: Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat egg yolks and butters on medium-high speed until creamy – when the paddle is lifted, the batter should fall in ribbons, about 5 minutes. Add in salt and vanilla. When combined, add in cooled chocolate. Scrape down sides and make sure chocolate is thoroughly incorporated (I found some left on the bottom of the bowl). Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Clean the bowl, and with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high-speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add in dollops to the chocolate mixture, folding in to lighten.

Mousse or Cake?

If making chocolate mousse, transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate.

If making cake, pour into the prepared spring-form pan. Place pan in a baking dish and add water – water should come about 1-inch up the sides of the pan. Bake 50-60 minutes, until top is dry and cooked, and inside is damp and mousse-like. (For me, at 50 minutes, the whole cake was a fudge-like consistency, so I recommend baking for 40 minutes and then re-evaluating from there). Remove from water bath and let cool completely on a drying rack. When cooled, release the pan and peel away foil.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve with whipped cream, raspberry sauce, or fresh fruit.

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Operation Red Velvet Snowball Cake: Fail

I don’t normally post recipes for things that did not turn out well, but my mom and I really liked the idea behind the Red Velvet Snowball Cake and thought someone might use it for inspiration.

The original idea and recipe for this cake came from Redbook Magazine. The cake was supposed to be 4 layers of red velvet cake, with a cream cheese frosting, and coconut sprinkled on top and on the sides. Never having made red velvet anything before, we began by making Redbook’s cake, but the result was a very dense and flavorless cake.

Convinced it must have been a flawed recipe, we set out to try the cake again, this time using Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cake recipe. However, Paula’s cake was also quite dense. Again, we weren’t sure where we went wrong.

Interestingly enough, Paula also has a similar Red Velvet Cupcake recipe, that my parents had both tasted before and loved. It was light and airy, what a cake is supposed to be. Her two recipes had some pretty significant differences, including the use of cake flour v. all-purpose flour and the use of butter v. oil. Perhaps these really made the difference in a light and fluffy cake?

Anyway, Operation Red Velvet Snowball Cake was deemed a failure. If someone has a tried-and-true red velvet recipe, please leave me a comment… I’d love to have another recipe in case I embark on this mission again next Christmas.

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