Cakes · Family · New Traditions

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake is delicious, even though the photo of the finished product is not.  I was disappointed by the appearance of the finished product, but the taste was delicious.

Next time, I would use a slightly bigger pan, since the batter cooked over the side.  However, a few crispy bites of dessert are equally good!

FRESH PEACH CAKE

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined.
  • In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.
  • Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan. Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture. Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

  • Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Cakes · New Favorite

Gin and Tonic Drizzle Cake

Gin & Tonic Cake sounded delicious when my sister-in-law, Betty, told me about it a few years ago.  Summer time evenings on the patio with a G&T and good friends inspired me to make this wonderful cake.  Warning…it is a bit boozy but oh, so delicious!

I converted the recipe to American measures (in parenthesis) and it worked well.  Instead of baking a big pan of cake, I baked in several smaller cake pans and froze a few cakes, minus the lime slices.  It freezes well.

GIN & TONIC DRIZZLE CAKE

Cake:
250g unsalted butter (8.8185 oz. or 1.102 cups)
250g sugar (8.8185 oz. or 1.102 cups)
250g self rising flour (8.8185 oz. or 1.102 cups)
5 medium egg
1 lime, zested

Drizzle:
75g sugar (2.6455 oz. or 1/3 cup)
5 tbsp. Gin
5 tbsp. Tonic Water

Icing:
200g powdered sugar (7.0548 oz. or .8819 cup)
3-4 tbsp Gin

Decoration:
1 lime, zested
lime sliced

For the Cake:

  • Grease and line a 2 lb. loaf tine (i used several small loaf pans instead).
  • Preheat the oven to 180 centigrade or 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light an fluffy.
  • Add in the eggs, flour, and lime zest. Beat again until smooth and combined.
  • Pour the cake ingredients into the cake pan(s) and bake for 40-45 minutes.  When baked fully, a cake skewer should come out clean and the cake shouldn’t be making a bubbling sound.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and cool slightly while making the drizzle.

For the Drizzle:

  • In a small pan, add the sugar, Gin and Tonic.
  • Heat on a low-medium heat while stirring.  Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat.
  • Poke the cake lightly with a cake skewer and drizzle over the cake. Allow the cake to cool fully in the cake pan.

To Decorate:

  • Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the cake pan.
  • In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar and gradually mix in the Gin until you get a thick, pourable consistency.
  • Pour the icing over the cake, sprinkle with lime zest. Add lime slices to the top for decoration.

Recipe slightly adapted from Janespatisserie.com

Breakfast · Cakes · Family · Home

My Favorite Things … What’s Keeping Me Sane

Living through a Pandemic was certain not on my wish list but here we are. While I try to keep an upbeat attitude, my first inclination is go dark but I’ve learned that doesn’t accomplish a thing.

Keeping busy with things that interest me is key. I have a long list of ‘to-dos’ that I have been ignoring so … get on it, Cathy! There is yardwork and garden preparation, closets to be cleaned, Shutterfly books to finish, genealogy research to be done, etc. I try to accomplish a little of this each day but self-care and personal connection is most important.

This is day 13 of self isolation except for a very protected trip to get my allergy shot (extreme tree pollen allergies) and porch delivery of my Mom’s chicken and noodles to my girls and their families.

Each day the weather cooperates, I try to go on a long walk. Seeing neighbors outside playing with their children, sitting on their front porch or simply waving to neighbors warms my heart.  The two best experiences while walking were 1) encountering a family of dinosaurs with Mom and little daughter in full dinosaur costumes and Dad in a mask; 2) completing a chalk lava field drawn by a child on their sidewalk.  I love to see such creativity!

Talking with my girls and my grandchildren is saving me, too.  My grandchildren are ages 6, 4, 3 and 1.  The opportunity to read books, have dance parties, and just play via video chat is a wonderful capability that we all can enjoy.  Talking with friends, Virtual yoga with my Hot Flash yoga pals, virtual happy hour with our local winery, and family Zoom sessions also help to keep me connected.

I’ve not been to the store since Friday, March 13 but I have plenty to eat.  My Mother taught us to always have a full pantry and freezer and now is the time to use it!  To conserve on eggs, I’ve shifted my daily egg to a breakfast cake I’m loving with a dollop or yogurt!

Breakfast Cake

2 mashed bananas
1.4 cups oatmeal
2 beaten eggs
3 cups berries (fresh, frozen or canned/drained–even less works just fine)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Mix together and placed in greased pan (about 8×10″) and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Cut in squares.

I heat a square of breakfast cake in the microwave for 20 seconds and then add a dollop of Greek Yogurt. So yummy!

This experience causes me to think back to the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic and the hardship of those times.  What did our ancestors do in quarantine, usually with a multitude of children and no chance of grocery delivery or the care of today’s modern medicine.  My Grandma Susie would be slaving over a hot wood cookestove in a very tiny house, with 4 little kids running underfoot.  To my knowledge, no one in our family died during that time but I do not know who may have contracted the disease, either.  

A friend shared with me that her Grandmother had written a journal during the time of the Spanish Flu and she has been reading it.  It prompted her to start a journal for her grandchildren.  What a great idea! I am not a journal kind of person, but this is such a unique time in our lives, that I think it is important to document what this experience has been like.  Perhaps we can actually learn from our mistakes in the future.

In closing let me thank everyone who is sacrificing their own safety to care for the people of the United States. You are our true heroes!

God Bless and Stay Well!

Book Club · Cakes · Holidays · New Favorite

Cinnamon Apple Pie Cake

Cinnamon Apple Pie Cake is absolutely yummy!  I’ve served it multiple times with great reviews and requests for future events.  This is a definite favorite in my recipe box!

CINNAMON APPLE PIE CAKE

6 to 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon- sugar (1 1/4 T. sugar + 1/4 t. cinnamon)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups superfine white sugar (see *Tips below)
1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil (see notes below!)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-Purpose Flour
more cinnamon-sugar to sprinkle on top (same as above)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 1/2 to 10-inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and then spray again.
  • Layer the apple slices in the pan until they come about 2/3 of the way up the side. (I went a little higher than that and it worked out fine). Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar over the apples.
  • Prepare the batter by beating the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the oil (see notes below about the amount of oil called for) and the vanilla and beat well, then stir in the flour. Pour the batter on top of the apples, and sprinkle with additional cinnamon-sugar. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to allow the batter to sink down and around the apples.
  • Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool *completely* in the pan. If you try to remove the cake from the pan while it is still warm, it will tend to break apart. I refrigerated my cake before slicing, and that worked out well. Serve slices with ice cream (warm individual slices in the microwave, if desired).

TIPS:

  • You want “caster sugar” for this recipe: It is a finer grind than table sugar, but not as fine as powdered. Look for “Baker’s Sugar” at the store, or simply put regular white sugar in your food processor and give it a few whirls to create superfine sugar.
  • NOTE:  In the original recipe from this cookbook, the author calls for 1 1/2 cups of oil.  Although my pie cake turned out just fine the way the recipe was written, when I make it again… I will definitely try using 3/4 cup oil and 3/4 cup applesauce instead.  Some readers have noted that this has worked well for them.
Cakes · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Chocolate Cake…Vegan and Absolutely Delicious

Who doesn’t like chocolate cake?  I wanted to make a chocolate cake for a gathering of friends, two of which are Vegan.  We all love to share salads, fruits, pastas, but dessert is always a bit tricky.

This cake was moist, delicious and almost healthy!  I would make it again and again whether my guests were Vegan or not. Even one of my Grand Dogs thought it was worthy of his attention!

Chocolate Cake…Vegan &Delicious

3/4 cup plain flour/GF flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar/brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Frosting: 

This makes a small amount of frosting as the cake doesn’t need much, but for a full batch

    1 1/2 tbsp. lite Nuttelex or other dairy free butter/margarine alternative
    1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
    1/2 tsp. vanilla

    • Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.
    • Grease and line a small cake tin (or cupcake tins)
    • In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    • In a separate medium mixing bowl combine applesauce, sugar and vanilla and pour into dry ingredients.
    • Mix until just combined and pour into cake tin.
    • Bake for 20-35 minutes or until cooked through and a skewer inserted removes clean. If making cupcakes, cook for ~10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
    • For the frosting, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a mixer, adding in the cocoa and vanilla and mixing until combined. If needed, add a couple of drops of milk/non dairy milk until your desired consistency is reached

    Recipe from Southerininlaw.com

    Cakes · New Favorite

    Pumpkin Zucchini Bundt Cake

    Pumpkin Zucchini Bundt Cake

    3 cups all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I used 1/8 teaspoon)
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    3 large eggs
    1 cup pumpkin puree
    1 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup butter, softened
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    2 cups shredded zucchini
    1 cup Raisins (I skipped the raisins since the family doesn’t like)

    • Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a Bundt or 9 inch loaf pan.
      In a bowl, add the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and combine.
    • In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla until
      light and fluffy. Stir in the shredded zucchini. Then transfer this batter to the flour mixture and stir until everything is combined. Fold in the raisins.
    • Pour into the baking pan. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in
      the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack to completely cool.
      ** Please note, cook time for Bundt pan will be around 60 minutes and for the 9 inch loaf pan, around 1 hr 10 minutes. Always check after 1 hr for doneness as all ovens are different.

    Slightly adapted from Lovefoodies.com 

    Cakes · Cookies and Bars · New Favorite

    Apricot Crumble Cake

    Fresh Apricots are tangy yet sweet and not something I purchase on a regular basis. Last year our CSA delivered a large bag of apricots week after week. This recipe was a delicious way to use the fresh apricots and have a chewy, moist dessert or breakfast treat.

    IMG_6960

    FRESH APRICOT BARS

    2 lbs ripe Apricots
    2/3 cup sugar
    1 Tablespoon orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier) or orange juice
    1 cup flour
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon Kosher or Sea Salt
    1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
    1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
    1 cup old fashioned oats

    • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 2 quart baking dish.
    • Combine the apricots and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the apricots are soft (will vary tremendously depending on the ripeness of the apricots-very ripe apricots will only take minute or two). Stir in the orange liqueur.
    • Puree the apricots in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into a bowl and set in freezer to chill while you make the crust.
    • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda. Pinch in the butter pieces into the flour mixture (or cut them into the flour with a pastry cutter), until it resembles coarse sand. Pinch in the oats until well combined.
    • Press 2/3rds of the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread the apricot puree over the crust bottom. Sprinkle the remaining crust over the top of the apricot puree.

    IMG_6940

    IMG_6950 IMG_6955

    • Bake for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown.

    IMG_6957

    • Allow to cool, then slice and serve. Store in the refrigerator.
    Recipe Adapted from: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

     

    Cakes · Family · New Favorite

    Raspberry Lemon Cupcakes

    Two of my favorite flavors…raspberry and lemon…together they are heaven. When we were planning older daughter Megan’s baby shower we made these cupcakes.  The cupcakes (which you cannot see) were divine and the icing tasted wonderful, although it didn’t look as wonderful as I would have liked. The icing had a lumpy look to it but not in taste or texture.

    The theme of the shower surrounded children’s books so we purchased edible children’s book toppers on Etsy. Adorable!

    I’ll make the cupcakes again but I’ll play with the icing to get it just right!

    IMG_7154 IMG_7186

    RASPBERRY LEMON CUPCAKES

    Yield: 24 regular cupcakes

    For the Cake:
    2 1/4 cups cake flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/4 cups buttermilk
    4 large egg whites
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    lemon zest from two large lemons
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

    For the Frosting:
    1/2 to 2/3 cup fresh raspberries (or frozen, thawed) (use 2 cups for 1.5x recipe of frosting)
    1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup shortening
    1 tablespoon vanilla
    3 cups powdered sugar
    1-3 tablespoons milk, if needed

    To Make the Cake:

    • Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Position the rack to the center of the oven.  Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
    • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.  In another medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg whites until well blended.
    • Place the sugar and lemon zest in a large mixer bowl and rub together with your fingers until the zest has moistened all the sugar.  Use the paddle attachment to beat the butter in at medium speed for 3 minutes, until very light.
    • Add in the extracts and then one third of the flour mixture, while continuing to beat on medium speed.
    • Mix in half of the milk-egg mixture, then half of the remaining dry ingredients.  Beat in the rest of the milk and eggs until fully incorporated, then mix in the remaining of the dry ingredients.  Beat at medium speed for a full 2 minutes to aerate.  Evenly distribute the batter into the cupcake pans.
    • Bake for 18-22 minutes (for regular cupcakes) or 10-12 minutes (for miniature cupcakes).  The cupcakes are done when they pass the toothpick test and are springy to the touch.   Cool completely on a wire rack.

    To Make the frosting:

    • Puree the raspberries in a blender and then push through a fine mesh strainer to discard the seeds; set aside. Cream together the butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl, with the paddle attachment.
    • Beat in the vanilla and most of the raspberry puree, until fully combined.
    • Stir in the sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition, until reaching desired consistency.  Use more or less sugar as needed, and add more raspberry puree to taste.  If the frosting is too thick, beat in milk one tablespoon at a time.

    Source:  My Baking Addiction, originally from Dorie Greenspan and Seeded at the Table 

    Cakes · Garden · New Favorite

    Chocolate Zucchini Cake…good for you, right?

    Zucchini has been plentiful this year and I was craving a chocolate fix.  I found this recipe and LOVED the cake. The glaze turned into chocolate globs which I did try to spread on top of the cake.  Next time I’d either just skip the glaze, or make my own.

    The cake is moist and delicious…a keeper!

    CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE

    Unsalted butter, for the pan
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
    1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg or allspice
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
    2 large eggs
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry
    1 teaspoon honey

    • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-square cake pan. Dust the pan with flour, tapping out the excess.
    • Toss 1/2 cup chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl. Whisk the remaining flour, the cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.
    • Beat the sugar, 1/2 cup olive oil, the eggs and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth and pale, about 3 minutes. Add the flour-cocoa mixture; beat on low speed until combined, about 2 minutes (the batter will be thick). Add the zucchini and beat until combined, about 2 more minutes. Fold in the flour-coated chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
    • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.
    • Make the glaze: Combine the remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 1 teaspoon olive oil and the honey in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high power in 30-second intervals, stirring, until the chocolate is melted. Spread over the cake, then cut into pieces.

    Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/chocolate-zucchini-cake-recipe.html?oc=linkback

    NOTE:  I made this recipe again and used a different glaze that was perfect:

    GLAZE
    3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    3 tablespoons butter
    1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave at 15 second intervals and stir each time until mixture is smooth. Pour over cake.

    Cakes · New Favorite

    Cherry Crumble Coffee Cake

    Sour cherries in coffee cake sounded perfect given the wonderful frozen pie cherries in my freezer.  I did not have a recipe for a cherry coffee cake but was delighted to find this recipe.  Perfect for a Sunday brunch and perhaps leftover for breakfast during the week.

    CHERRY CRUMBLE COFFEE CAKE

    TOPPING

    2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    CAKE

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    1/4 cup buttermilk
    2 1/2 cups (1 pound) fresh sour cherries, pitted, or frozen dark sweet cherries
    •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch square baking dish, and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
    • Make the topping: Stir together butter, flour, sugars, salt, and cinnamon.
    • Make the cakes: Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. With a mixer, cream butter and granulated sugar in another bowl until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Working in alternating batches, add flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Pour into prepared dish, and smooth with a spatula.
    • Dot top with cherries, and sprinkle with crumb topping.
    • Bake until golden and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. (Note from Cathy:  My oven tends to bake hot so about 50 minutes worked for me). Let cool before serving.

    Recipe from Martha Stewart