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Plum Crazy Cake

13 Aug

I’ll admit, I may be addicted to plums. More specifically, those tiny yellow ones that come out near the end of summer. I buy lots, and shove them in my mouth like popcorn. Lord, I wish I was joking. The addiction continues as I fill up on plums when the different varieties appear at the farmer’s market. By the end of plum season I’m usually sick of them and never set eyes on another plum for approximately a year, until those sinfully delicious plums make their appearance all over again. It’s a vicious cycle. You should see my fruit drawer right now; so many plums.

This week’s market visit yielded a mixed basket that the wonderful lady at Warner’s Orchards offered to put together for me: purple, yellow, peachy, big, small, and a new variety apparently developed in Vineland: the vampire plum.

How utterly appropriate that while I baked this plum cake I was watching True Blood…my secret shame in the form of a television show addiction.

What about this cake, you ask? Well, I’m only one person; my manfriend does not share the same silly hunger for fruit that I do unless you include bananas. But who doesn’t like bananas? Bananas are generally adored by all…no? There is just too high a ratio of plums to Fabi.

Ok, back to plums. This cake is a very simple way to use up fruit….any fruit, really. I grabbed a handful of plums and nestled halves into a simple cake batter. The excitement of the process is mainly in making your plum cake look all artsy and delicious at the same time.

Baking for 40 (ish) minutes and waiting for it to cool are the only things standing in your way of eating this cake. Perhaps the fact that it’s cake will save me from putting too many plums into my belly. Wish me luck. I wish you the same.

Plum Crazy Cake

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil (or any mild oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
5-8 Plums, halved and pitted (depending on size)

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together.

Beat the butter until it’s soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for approximately 3 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each egg goes in. Beat in the oil and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients but mix only until incorporated.

Make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into a 8 inch square pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter.

Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes during which time the plums juices will seep back into the cake then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

Once cool, I dusted mine with powdered sugar. No biggie.

You can wrap the cake and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days, during which time it will get softer and moister.

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Plain Glazed Cake Donuts

13 Mar


I’m not good at lying.

I don’t do well at poker.

I can barely keep a straight face when I’m telling the truth; trickery is still a skill I must master.

What I can do, is make donuts that haven’t been deep fried. I can glaze them.

Decorate them with sprinkles.

I can feed them to those who seem deserving of such a marvelous wonder.

And I can get away without having to tell anyone they’re baked.

Now that, is a pretty good skill to have under your belt. None of this poker face nonsense. Donut deception: that’s where it’s at.

I think that the donut pan I bought is the greatest and worst thing that has ever happened to me.

Go forth, make donuts.

(Or donut muffins if you don’t have a special pan. They make delicious muffin shaped wonders as well!)

Baked Donuts

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/4 cup pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into about 8 cubes

1/4 cup whole milk, scalded (I used almond milk)

1/4 cup plain yogurt (I ate all my yogurt and went with ricotta. Worked just fine)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten

Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and sugar.  Add the cold butter cubes and use your fingers to break the butter up into the dry ingredients.  Work the butter  until you have a coarse meal and the butter is broken down very well into the flour.  Set aside.

In a small pan, heat the milk until almost boiling and remove from the flame.  Whisk together yogurt, egg and vanilla extract.  Add the warm milk and whisk to incorporate.  Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together with a spatula until just incorporated.  Be careful not to overmix as it may make the donuts dense. True story.

Pour into muffin tins or a donut pan. I got 10 donuts out of this recipe.

Bake at 350F until they spring back to the touch which is around 8-10 minutes.

Glaze

1/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups icing sugar

Combine milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until warm. Sift icing sugar into milk mixture. Whisk slowly, until well combined. Remove the glaze from the heat and set over a bowl of warm water. Dip donuts into the glaze, 1 at a time, and set on a draining rack. Let the icing set before serving. It can get pretty messy otherwise. Just saying.

Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cheesecake

8 Feb

Friends are awesome, aren’t they? My friends are awesome. I also really like the word awesome.

My friends are always there when I need them. They are very forgiving. They are very generous and understanding.

Lots of my friends like to give me food, too. That’s probably why we became friends in the first place….

One of my lovely friends recently gave me some beautiful meyer lemons. She trusted I would use them well.

My mission: make Michelle and her Meyer lemons proud.

I feel like I accomplished this….I mean…just look at how pretty it looks!

I started with a cookie crust. I just happened to have some random logs of checkerboard cookies in my freezer so I used that. No big deal. You can use a plain sugar cookie dough for the crust or even good ol’ graham cracker crust would work extremely well. Graham cracker crust+any cheesecake = best friends.

Do you like poppyseeds? I hope so. They’re the coolest. I totally feel like I’m living on the edge when I consume them too because of that Seinfeld episode where Elaine tests positive for opium. Don’t know which episode I’m talking about? Pfff. Then you don’t deserve to laugh.

Back to poppyseeds: they just deserve to go with lemons. They just need to be together. I put them in the batter along with some lemon zest and vanilla extract. It felt right.

That’s not all folks. Candied meyer lemon slices jumped on top of this cheesecake and I didn’t argue with them.

Meyer Lemon Poppyseed Cheesecake

500g cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

zest and juice of 2 meyer lemons

4 tbsp poppyseeds

splash of vanilla extract

4 eggs

Beat/cream the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, and beat until smooth.

Stir in the sour cream, lemon juice/zest, poppyseeds and vanilla.

Beat in the eggs, but only JUST until incorporated.

Pour over prebaked crust into springform pan, wrap the pan in foil, and place in a water bath.

Bake at 275F for about 1 1/2 hours or until completely set. Let it cool in the oven for as long as possible before cooling further in the fridge, preferably overnight.

Cover the cheesecake with candied lemon slices….

Candied Lemon Slices

Slice 5 lemons very thinly.

Boil in water for approximately 1 minute until softened.

Pull them out of the water and place immediately in an ice water bath.

Next, simmer them for about an hour in a simple syrup (equal parts water to sugar) until the peel becomes translucent. Place on parchment paper until ready to use.

Vanilla Stout Chocolate Cake with Blood Orange Icing

31 Jan

So here I am, sitting at my kitchen counter, staring at this cake.

Just staring at it.

He’s staring back.

You don’t believe me? There.

It’s kinda creepy. I know what he’s thinking. He knows what I’m thinking.

Cake: Eat me.

Fabi: Ok.

Let’s rewind a bit to how this whole cake began….

I’m a lover of all things stout and porter related. It’s like a meal in a glass, this is true, but sipping a small amount all night is a pretty heavenly situation to get yourself into. When I was graciously presented with a bottle of vanilla bean stout from the wonderful Great Lakes Brewery, my heart skipped a beat: how exciting!

Immediately, I began thinking of all the different ways I might enjoy this bottle of yummy goodness. Who would I share it with? When would I open it? I felt, finally, that the best candidate for sharing this beer with me would be a chocolate cake. Most people would drink a glass of this and enjoy it and that would be all. The beer would be gone. A cake, would gratefully take it in and then continue to give back in a very delicious way.

I liked this idea. So I baked a cake. It’s a pretty simple recipe, and requires very little effort. You are also permitted to drink beer while baking the cake if you should be so inclined; I know I was….

Frost it with a cream cheese icing laced with blood orange juice and zest, and vanilla of course.

Insert into your face and love life. That’s what I did.

Vanilla Stout Chocolate Cake

250ml Stout

250g unsalted butter

75g cocoa

400g sugar

150ml sour cream

2 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

275g all purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Pour the stout and butter into a saucepan and heat just until the butter is melted.

Stir in the sugar and cocoa at this point. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla and sour cream. Mix into the stout.

In another bowl, mix the baking soda and flour, then whisk into mixture until combined.

Pour into springform pan, and bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely before removing from the pan. It is a rather moist cake and certain individuals that shall remain nameless may or may not have learned that being eager to remove said cake will only result in sticking, messes and a few tears.

Blood Orange Icing

250g cream cheese, softened

2 cups icing sugar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 blood oranges, zested and juiced.

Beat cream cheese and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and orange. Frost cake when it is completely cooled unless you want it to dribble over the sides like mine did. What can I say….I couldn’t wait.

Cranberry-Pistachio “Faux-nuts”

24 Jan

Who can say they’re a model law abiding. broccoli eating, regular oil changing, bathroom mildew cleaning, “i”dotting, “t”crossing, cat-in-tree rescuing, paper and plastic-separating citizen?

I can’t, that’s for sure. I’m far from perfect. I’m ok with this. I do try….I try to be the very best Fabi I can be.

I know you try too. We all do. We try to steer clear of the bad (most of the time) and keep striving for good.

That’s why things like doughnuts are a treat. We know that they’re not the ideal thing to give your body. We tend to avoid them. They’re a treat. Treats are good once in a while. But….not always.

That’s where these come in. They’re what fill the gaps between doughnuts and salad in our lives. They’re still a treat. But not too much. Just the right amount.

They’re not really doughnuts but I baked them in a doughnut pan and glazed them…so that must count for something.

Tart cranberries, and the buttery crunch of a pistachio here and there. It’s pretty magical.

With these and a cup of hot tea, I’m ok with knowing that it’s time to scrub my bathroom floor or pay my bills.

That’s my two cents anyway. Or 50 cents is more like it.

Make these. Be good. Be bad. It’s life.

Cranberry Pistachio “Faux-nuts”

adapted from joy the baker.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup medium or fine ground cornmeal (I used white cornmeal)

1/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup honey (or pure maple syrup if you have it on hand)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped pistachios

1/2 heaping cup fresh cranberries

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder.

In a smaller bowl whisk together honey, eggs, buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla extract.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until blended.

Fold in the cranberries and pistachios.

Divide batter into 6 donuts if using a donut pan, or 6 muffins, or a small loaf pan….your choice.

Bake at 350F for about 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Invert onto a plate or board and let cool.

Cranberry Glaze

1 cup cranberries

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup icing sugar.

splash of vanilla extract.

Cook cranberries in sugar until they burst. Mash them, and strain through a sieve.

Add the icing sugar and stir until smooth. Add water if necessary to achieve the right consistency.

Drizzle on cooled donuts.

Jump for joy. Squeal with excitement. Shove one of these bad boys into your pie hole. Love life. Repeat if necessary.

Happy Birthday White Coconut and Cranberry Curd Cake (With Lime Marshmallow Frosting)

18 Dec

It’s true. It was my birthday the other day. No big deal.

Unfortunately, what’s also true, is that I am not ashamed to admit I like to make a big deal about my own birthday. Why? Because I don’t know about you, but I like celebrating the fact that I am alive. I like being able to look back on another year of my life and think about all the wonderful (and horrendous) things that happened. And… well.. shoot…who doesn’t like to feel like the centre of attention once and a while?

I made my own birthday cake. If you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself…right?

How else was I going to get exactly what I wanted or what I was craving?

Pfff. Exactly.

So I made this cake. It sounded pretty stellar in my head…but….let me tell you about it:

White cake. Cranberry curd with just the right amount of tartness in between the layers. The outside? Lime “marshmallow” frosting and toasted coconut.

Yep. I went there. And I’d do it again too! Buuuut….next time….I’ll make it less shameful. Trust me to shame-ify my own birthday cake. This cake was delicious. But it was a nightmare.

The curd was not a good idea. Too loose. I had to add gelatin.

The marshmallow frosting was supposed to be whipped to stiff peaks. My bad….

It was too loose. It started to ooze down the sides. It was pretty melty.

The cake layers? Not straight. It looked a little pathetic….ok terrible. But gosh darn it, the taste was spectacular.

So other than the fact that I made some boo boos, this cake was amazing and I do not regret a minute of it.

Does that not make you want to spoil yourself on YOUR birthday? That’s what I thought. Maybe next time your birthday rolls around you will shower yourself with cake and goodies that make you happy. You deserve it!

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Don’t Make These Donuts

15 Dec

So I bought myself a donut pan for my birthday. (Which is today….by the way….no big deal!) How awesome is it to get a box of goodies in front of your door from none other than yourself! Happy birthday me!

I tried to make some super yummy chocolate cake donuts like the ones you get at Tim Hortons…

They looked pretty darned good.

They tasted….bleh.

I tried again: This time I tried to make chocolate yeasted donuts, I figured they’d be more authentic tasting and delicious.

The taste was ALMOST there. But I totally messed up and didn’t account for the rising in the oven. I should have cut the donut holes bigger….

I may or may not have collapsed with laughter while pulling these out of the oven.

Anyway.

What I’m saying, is that I’ve been working on chocolate candy cane donuts and I haven’t succeeded just yet but succeed I will.

You just sit tight. Have some coffee.

I got this.

Promise.