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

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!!


Friday, February 24, 2017

Almond Cheesecake Pound Cake

All right, I’ve been throwing a lot of weird vegetables at you lately (but I have to grab them when I see them at the store), so let’s go back to more familiar territory: cake (we here at MLK seem to be doing a lot of baking lately!). In this case, this is a recipe based on one I saw recently in our local paper, for a pound cake with a twist—it has cream cheese in it.



While the original recipe called for lemon flavoring, I decided to change it up a bit by substituting almond extract (Krista and I have to have a pound cake duel!).


Almond Cheesecake Pound Cake
(really needs a better name, doesn’t it?)

Ingredients:

3-1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1-1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter,
at room temperature

1 pkg (8 oz.) cream cheese, at room
temperature

2-3/4 cups granulated sugar

5 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp almond extract


Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan (Note: you really need a pan that holds about ten cups. While there’s not a lot of baking powder/soda in this recipe, it does rise a bit, and if you try to squeeze into a smaller pan, it may overflow. Or don’t fill your pan to the top.)

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

This is a vintage sifter I bought
at a flea market. Big enough for
just about any recipe!
In a stand mixer set on medium-high, cream the softened butter for 2 minutes. Add the softened cream cheese and beat for 2 minutes more.

Lots of butter!
Add the sugar in 3 additions, beating for after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl. When all the sugar is added, beat for 1 minute more.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing enough to blend (do not overbeat). Add the vanilla and almond extracts blend.

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions.

All in
Scrape down the bowl and spoon the mixture into the baking pan. Smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

BTW, I weighed the batter--
it's more like five pounds!
Bake for 65-70 minutes in the middle of the oven (this is important: because it is a dense cake, the outside may begin to brown before the interior is cooked. If you’re concerned, cover the top loosely with a piece of foil and/or reduce the heat to 325 degrees). The cake is done when a skewer comes out clean and the cake shrinks a bit away from the sides of the pan.

Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn out on a wire rack and cool completely. (If you want to dress it up, you could add an almond glaze using butter, confectioner’s sugar and almond extract.)



This cake slices neatly and keeps well (good thing, too, because it’s big!)


Still counting the days until the release of Cruel Winter (County Cork Mystery #5). 

Here's what the NY Journal of Books had to say about it:

"A crafty and marvelous twist to the classic whodunit... A totally captivating page-turner of a book, perfect for winter nights with a storm beating against the windows."


Available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (and still on sale at both).

www.sheilaconnolly.com




Friday, January 13, 2017

Chestnut Cake with Maple Icing

I’m going to call this my snowstorm cake. Not because it looks like a snowstorm (although a dusting of confectioner’s sugar could take care of that pretty fast) but because I was snowed in all day this past Sunday (17.6 inches!), and I wanted to bake.

I had all the necessities—flour, butter, eggs—but I wanted to experiment with nuts. Except I forgot that my daughter had cleaned out my nut supply over the holidays when she was visiting. Which left one lonely little package of . . . chestnuts?



I have never cooked with chestnuts. I bought the package because I’d never seen it for sale before. Why not give it a shot? I set out to find a recipe for something baked that included chestnuts.

I came up with some odd and interesting ideas, both sweet and savory, but the only one that grabbed my attention was a 1999 recipe from Bon Appetit (I used to love that magazine!) for a cake flavored with maple syrup. Aha! I had plenty of maple syrup (which I bought in Granby, Massachusetts, from the Parker family, whose sugar house I visited because I always wanted to see how maple syrup was made). So I was off to the races.

As you may have noticed, we here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen seldom leave a recipe alone—we tinker with it, we swap out ingredients, and we have fun. That’s true in this case. The original recipe called for mashing up half the chestnuts and combining them with some of the other ingredients. I tried, really, I did. These chestnuts, soft and lovely though they might be, would not mash. I gave up and just threw the chopped bits in (the other half of them get scattered on top but then disappear into the batter). It all came out fine.

And wait until you get to the icing part—it’s wicked! And easy.


Chestnut Cake with Maple Glaze

For the Cake:


1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-3/4 cups peeled roasted chestnuts (12 oz) or jarred chestnuts (8 oz)
3/4 cup plus 1 Tblsp light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (real) maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8x8x2 baking pan. [Confession: I don’t have one, so I used a 9" springform pan, which is roughly the same volume. It worked fine.)

Sift together the dry ingredients.

Coarsely chop the chestnuts. Split into two equal parts.

The chestnuts (they are peeled)
A single chestnut
The chestnuts, chopped

Mix 3/4 cup brown sugar, butter, maple syrup and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer, or mix with hand-held mixer. Beat until well-blended.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each.

Beat in flour mixture. Stir in half the chopped chestnuts.



Spread the batter in the pan. Sprinkle the top with the remaining chopped chestnuts, and the extra Tblsp of brown sugar.

Ready for the oven

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out with only a few moist crumbs.

Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan on a rack.

Baked

For the Icing:


3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
4 Tblsp maple syrup

In a small bowl, blend the powdered sugar, melted butter and maple syrup and beat until there are no lumps and the icing forms thick ribbons.

Pour over the cooled cake.

Let stand until icing is set (about 20 minutes).


My verdict? The chestnuts have a mild pleasant flavor and add an interesting chewy texture to the cake. I would make this one again, if I ever find a package (or a jar or can?) of chestnuts again. The icing I would eat with a spoon any time!



In case you haven't heard, I'll be starting a new Victorian Village series--the first book will come out in 2018. It's so new, there are no pretty pictures yet! It's about a magnificent mansion that hasn't been touched for a century, in a small town that's desperate for a new venture to bring in tourist dollars and keep the town alive--and the woman who comes up with an idea to save the town.

But before that, Cruel Winter! Coming March 14th.


Yes, it does snow in Ireland! Spoiler alert: the snow melts.

Find it for preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

www.sheilaconnolly.com