Showing posts with label cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cake. Show all posts

Friday, September 8, 2017

Harvest Time Again

My apples are almost all ripe. I planted the first tree--a Northern Spy that I call Nathan, after Nathan Hale--in 2007, and seven trees after that. Two, sadly, have passed away, but the others have gone crazy this year, including Nathan. 



Last year I had a crop of two apples. Not two bushels or two baskets or even two bowls, but two. Period. There was a late frost last year (oh, look, a book plug!) which took out all the blossoms at once. This year has been a polar opposite, with enough sun and warmth and rain to produce a great crop. Even Nathan has cooperated, which is worth noting since the Northern Spy variety is usually late to bloom and late to ripen.

Hudson's Golden Gem -- small, crisp and sweet
(and a squirrel favorite!)

In past years I have featured a wide range of apple recipes on Mystery Lovers' Kitchen, and my creative colleagues here have added more. Sweet and savory. Slaws and slumps, buckles and grunts, crumbles and crisps--they've found their way here. So it's always a challenge to come up with a new one, but I keep collecting cookbooks. Apples have been around in this country from the beginning, so there are plenty of choices for recipes, both old and new.

This harvest offering comes from a recipe in the delightful Brass Sisters' Heirloom Cooking cookbook. Of course, the first problem I encountered with it was the choice of apples: the sisters recommended Granny Smiths. Now, there's nothing wrong with a Granny Smith apple. They're hardy, dependable, keep well, and are good in cakes and pies and such because they hold their shape in cooking. But they're boring. I don't have any in my mini-orchard, because I'm having fun trying old New England varieties, that you'll never see in a store, only at the rare farm stand on a country road in the fall. Many of them don't hold well, don't travel well, and the trees produce for a short time only. So to taste them you have to be in the right place at the right time.

Well, my mini-orchard is the right place, but I didn't have enough of any single variety that were ripe enough to use in this dish, so I used whatever looked good. It won't hurt your pie or cake. In fact, you kind of cover your bases by using multiple varieties, with different textures and flavors and varying amounts of sweetness. I have a couple of Northern Spies in this, and some Hudson's Golden Gems, and a few Cortlands, and what I think is a Newtown Pippin or two. They taste fine together.


Dorset Apple Cake (with a nod to the Brass Sisters)

Ingredients:

3-1/2 cups peeled, cored and 
Chopped apples

   diced apples (half-inch dice)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup golden raisins
grated zest of one lemon

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon (or more!)

1/2 cup ( 1 stick) cold butter, cut into dice

1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 eggs, beaten

2 Tblsp Demerara (coarse) sugar


Instructions:

Set the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. 
Butter (or grease) a 9" square baking pan.

Toss the apples, sugar, raisins and lemon zest in a bowl.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Work in the butter by hand.

Before

After

Mix the vanilla and the cream, then add it to the batter and mix (do not overmix!) Add the beaten eggs, half at a time. The mixture will be stiff.

Fold in the apple mixture with a large spatula.

Place the dough in the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the top.

Ready for the oven

Bake about 40 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Leaving the cake in the pan, place on a rack to cool.

Baked



Best served warm or at room temperature, maybe with a dab of whipped cream.


By the way, I don't mind sharing my apple crop.




A Late Frost, coming in November from Berkley. 

www.sheilaconnolly.com



Saturday, September 2, 2017

Almond Flour Tart #Recipe @PegCochran

This is a Mark Bittman recipe I discovered and decided to try.  Hubby loves sweets but also has to watch his carbs so I thought this cake would be perfect with the substitution of Splenda for sugar.  I also had blueberries on hand so I decided to live dangerously and threw those in!

I ended up making this again a couple of nights later--that's how much he liked it.  But then he likes anything with sugar in it so take that with a grain of...er...salt.  These pictures are from the first time I made it--I thought my skillet was a little too big so the second time I used an 8" cake pan, and it turned out perfectly.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ to ¾ cup sugar (according to personal taste) or substitute the same amount of your favorite artificial sweetener that can be used for baking
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup ground almonds
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup sliced almonds, more if you want to garnish the top of the cake
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Powdered sugar for garnish


Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, ground almonds, cream, sliced almonds, lemon zest and juice.




Melt butter in an 8-inch ovenproof skillet over low heat.


Add almond mixture to pan, tilting pan to distribute batter evenly. 



Continue to cook tart on stove top until edges just begin to set, then put pan in oven and finish cooking, about 10 to 15 minutes more.




When tart is done, put it in broiler for about a minute or until just golden on top. Mine came out of the oven already quite golden so I skipped this step. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and sliced almonds.  


It doesn't look too pretty--my skillet was too 
big--but it was delicious!




Bon Appetit!




The county fair is the highlight of the year for the small town of Lovett, Michigan—especially for food-and-lifestyle blogger Shelby McDonald, who writes as the Farmer’s Daughter. She’s submitting jams and jellies she’s created from the produce she grows at Love Blossom Farm in hopes of harvesting a blue ribbon.

But the townspeople get more than just the excitement of hayrides, tractor pulls, and cotton candy when Shelby’s neighbor and volunteer fireman, Jake Taylor, extricates the body of Zeke Barnstable instead of a dummy during a demonstration of the Jaws of Life. The fact that Jake and Zeke were known to be at odds plants suspicion in the minds of the police. As evidence against Jake grows, Shelby knows she has to plow through the clues to weed out the true killer and save her friend.

Follow me on Facebook to learn about upcoming giveaways! 

 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Mrs. Smith's Orange Cake #Recipe @PegCochran

This cake is known in the family as "Mrs. Smith's Orange Cake--Fletcher's Favorite."  Fletcher is my husband and this recipe comes from his high school girlfriend's grandmother!  So it's been around a loooong time!

I made this for Easter, and it's light and lovely with a hint of orange.  Next time I think I would add some orange zest to the batter for a stronger orange flavor.  But we enjoyed it as is!


CAKE

5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 tsp. baking powder

Separate eggs and beat yolks until lemon colored.  Add the sugar a little at a time.




Mix and sift baking powder, flour and salt.



Add flour mixture and orange juice to batter, alternating between them.



Beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks and fold into the batter.



Pour batter into an *ungreased* angel food pan (a tube pan.)

Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. 

Invert and cool completely.



ICING

Mix together:
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups confectioner's sugar
Add enough orange juice until spreading consistency (about 1/2 cup)



GIVEAWAY!!!

I am giving away TWO copies of Dead and Berried, 
#3 in my Cranberry Cove Series.  
It will be out on May 2nd!
Leave a comment below to be entered to win!



For news of more giveaways, follow me on Facebook.

And be sure to sign up for my newsletter for more giveaways and other fun things!
 
 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Apple Caramel Cake

Trolling for new recipes (always!) I came upon a lovely one in an Irish cookbook I’ve had for a while. One thing that appealed to me was that you start with a nice thick layer of caramel on the bottom, rather than a crust, and you pour batter over it and top with sliced fruit before baking.

The original recipe called for pears, but I had apples on hand so I used those. Butter, sugar, apples and cinnamon—yum! What could go wrong?

Plenty, as it turned out. What I ended up with was a runny heap of brown goo. Tasted great—as a topping for ice cream, maybe. But it was not a cake! It was a mess.



The Disaster Version

But I am both stubborn and curious. Where had I gone wrong? Several places, as it turned out.

-- I failed to caramelize the butter and sugar sufficiently, so there was no real base and everything leaked all over the oven (always put a pan under whatever you bake!).

-- The recipe just said four pears  but said nothing about their size. I think Irish pears must be smaller than apples, so when the recipe called for grating one apple and adding it to the batter, I put in a lot of very juicy apple. One more strike against the poor cake, lying in a sad puddle.

But I persevered! Self, I said, make sure you get the caramel right, cut back on the amount of apple (and use a kind more appropriate for cooking—not all apples are), and bake it as long as you need to (the original instructions were a little vague about that too). When it comes time to unmold it, pray to the kitchen gods.

It worked!



APPLE CARAMEL CAKE
Adapted from The New Irish Table by Margaret Johnson (2003)


Ingredients:

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

4 apples, peeled and cored

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil


Instructions:


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wrap a 10-inch round springform pan with two layers of foil, to prevent leaking. (Only time I’ve seen this recommendation, but it’s a good one)

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes, until the butter and sugar caramelize. Pour the caramel into the springform pan and set aside. (It makes a layer about 1/2-inch thick. Yes, you may lick the pan--after it cools!)





Coarsely grate one of the apples (I left the skin on—you’d never know it). Slice the remaining apples.



Grated apple
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and oil together. Stir in the shredded apple, Then stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. 





Pour the mixture over the caramel base and arrange the sliced apples on top (in circles or rows).





Bake for 1 hour or longer (mine baked for about an hour and a half), until the base bubbles and the apples are soft and lightly browned. (Use a toothpick or wooden skewer to make sure the batter is cooked inside.)

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Then (carefully!) remove the sides of the pan.



Eureka!

Cruel Winter (County Cork Mystery #5), available everywhere!


BTW, I've mentioned before that this book is loosely based on a real crime that took place in 1996. That crime lives on: the primary suspect (never arrested) is now suing the Irish police for framing him and concealing information--it was in the Irish news just this week. The Irish take crime seriously!

www.sheilaconnolly.com




Monday, March 27, 2017

Berry, Berry, Berrylicious Cake!



You knew it would not be long before I baked another cake. This may be one of our favorites. It contains five cups of berries! You're guaranteed berries in every piece and almost every bite!

The original recipe gives the option of using fresh or frozen berries, so frozen should work just as well.

It makes a nice sized cake. Inspired by Double Berry Cake at Food.com, I switched it up and added all kinds of berries. It's a great way to use them up. We enjoyed it for afternoon tea every day. Even the dogs got a bite and approved.

I made a cream cheese frosting for it. Frosting fans, please note that this makes enough for a very light amount of frosting. If you're frosting crazed, you may wish to double the frosting recipe.

However, it would be equally good plain and served with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream. If you plan to serve with whipped cream instead of the frosting, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of sugar before baking.


Berry Berry Berrylicious Cake
Inspired by Double Berry Cake at Food.com


5 cups fresh berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries,  blackberries)
1 tablespoon flour
2/3 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons sugar, optional (if using whipped cream instead of frosting)

Soften butter and bring 4 eggs to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x11 baking pan.

Wash the fruit, spread on a couple paper towels and dab with another paper towel to dry. Chop the strawberries into chunks. Pour all into a bowl, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour and turn to coat. Set aside.

Pour the vinegar into the milk and set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cardamom. Stir well with a fork or whisk to combine.

Cream the butter with the sugar for five minutes until it is light in color and creamy. Beat in each egg. Alternate adding the flour and the milk in small portions. Add the vanilla and beat well. Add the fruit and stir in using the lowest possible mixer setting. Pour into prepared pan. (If serving with whipped cream, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons sugar before baking.)

Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool on a rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Place butter, cream cheese, and vanilla into mixer and beat together. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Beat an additional 5 minutes for great frosting. Spread on cooled cake.


Mix the berries with a tablespoon of flour.

Mix the flour and spice.

Beat, beat, beat!

Berries everywhere!
Pretty even without frosting.

Almost a berry in every bite!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Chocolate Irish Whiskey Cake #Recipe @PegCochran


Yes, St. Patrick’s Day was yesterday but I had to take a dessert to a St. Patty’s Day-themed party last weekend and this was so delicious I wanted to share the recipe with you.  It comes from Bay Area Bites and I didn’t do anything to change the recipe (a first!)  Except I did use bourbon since I didn’t have any Irish whiskey but it was suggested that that would be a fine substitute.

I even invested (a whopping $9.99) in my first bundt pan for this cake!  




Making it was quite the adventure, I must admit.  First I solved a mystery! I invested in an oven thermometer because I suspected my new oven runs cool.  Does it ever!  It indicated it was pre-heated to 325 when the thermometer read only 225!  No wonder the chocolate roll cake I make every Christmas didn’t turn out this year—my oven was off.


I forgot to take my butter out to soften it so I had the bright idea of popping it into the microwave for ten seconds.  Good idea except I hit one minute by accident.  Yup—melted butter all over the inside of my microwave.  And those were my last two sticks so everything had to go on hold while I went to the grocery store.


Then I was about to put the cake in the oven when I noticed a bowl on the counter—full of the whiskey soaked raisins that were supposed to go in the cake!  I managed to gently stir them in and finally got the cake in the oven!


It was worth the effort—it was rich and moist without being overly sweet.   



Ingredients:

Butter or nonstick spray for greasing pan
3/4 cup Irish whiskey
1 cup strong coffee
1 cup golden raisins
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting pan
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan.
Pour whiskey and coffee over raisins and set aside.
In a double boiler over simmering water, melt chocolate. Remove from heat and let cool.


Cream one cup butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until well combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla extract and melted chocolate.
Whisk together the salt, baking soda, cocoa powder and flour. Stir one-third of the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, until just combined. 



Add one-third of the coffee-whiskey mixture and stir to combine. Repeat two more times, alternating flour and coffee. 



Fold in the soaked raisins at the end. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, approximately 50-60 minutes. 




Transfer cake to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes then unmold. Optional: for a more potent whiskey flavor, sprinkle warm cake with about two more tablespoons whiskey. Let cool, then sift confectioners’ sugar over cake before serving.


COMING IN MAY!




STILL ONLY $2.99 FOR E-BOOK!!