I know, I know. No posts during the week of Thanksgiving, which is probably the single most important holiday for food bloggers – or, as I overheard a woman telling her mother in the grocery store last Wednesday night, “This is the Black Friday of grocery store shopping”. But the fact is, I didn’t make anything for Thanksgiving this year, and so I didn’t have anything to share. We went to a friend’s house, and brought pie (and it was store-bought! But only because it had a croissant (!) crust and was from the best bakery in Brooklyn.)
If you’re not on a post-Thanksgiving cleanse (and let’s be honest, I’m not) then you should definitely make this cake. It was my birthday last weekend and, not being content with store-bought cake (blasphemy) I decided to try out a couple of new recipes. I combined this banana cake recipe (the two-layer recipe makes about 20 cupcakes + one mini cake) from Smitten Kitchen with the best cream cheese frosting recipe I have ever found (the secret: use cream cheese and mascarpone for icing that’s not too sweet or tart). These would also make great cupcakes to bring to a party should you find yourself tired of Christmas cookies.
Happy belated Thanksgiving to you all, and hope you’re all enjoying this happiest of seasons.
I really love bread. There, I said it. I think the hardest diet for me would be to cut out carbohydrates, since, let’s be honest — they are the best. Bread, cake, crackers, even fruit, all have carbs. But in an effort to be slightly healthier (and I have been reading a lot about the rise of gluten allergies and intolerance in recent years), A. and I have been trying to cut back a little on our gluten intake. This cake (another one found on Pinterest! I guess I’m kind of obsessed) was an effort to make one of my favorite desserts (lemon bundt cake) a little bit better for you. It’s not exactly low in fat, but there’s no gluten, so it’s a nice one if you have friends who are gluten intolerant.
To be honest, I had kind of a hard time with this recipe — perhaps because I am still learning the ins and outs of baking without regular flour. But I thought I would post it anyways to see if any of you have some different ideas on how to make it better — or if you have had more luck with certain kinds of gluten-free flours. I think if I make it again, I would use almond flour rather than ground almonds, cut back on the cornmeal, and maybe use some marzipan to make it just a tad sweeter. I think I would also cut back on the lemon zest and use it only in the cake itself, rather than the glaze and the syrup — for me it just made the glaze a little too bitter. Let me know if you make it and how it turns out!
Another cake post, I know. For some reason I have been on kind of a baking spree lately. Perhaps it’s the crazy weather, 70 one day and 50 and raining the next. Perhaps it’s waiting for spring produce to arrive. Or maybe I’ve just been craving sugar. Either way, this cake is not very sweet and could possibly be called somewhat healthy, due to all of the olive oil (healthy calories!) and orange juice. Or at least that’s what I tell myself after my second slice. So far I have resisted eating it for breakfast, but it’s been close. Throw a dollop of yogurt on there and some (unsweetened) berries, and you are basically eating a yogurt parfait. With cake, but that’s beside the point. Continue reading
In honor of Sunday night’s Mad Men premiere (so great. It’s been far too long!) A. and I went over to my friend Justin’s house for a retro dinner, including deviled eggs, tea sandwiches, and classic iceberg wedge salads (and, of course, Manhattans and martinis). I was in charge of dessert, and decided to make a chiffon cake, a first for me. Chiffon cake is similar in theory to a soufflé, folding egg whites separately into the dough. Mine collapsed — actually not sure if that’s supposed to happen, but I think so? In any case, it did make a nice, light dessert after a ’60′s-inspired dinner. Continue reading
We interrupt today’s normal “$10 Mondays” posts for something much more important: buttercream. I first attempted buttercream a couple of years ago, and it has since become my favorite frosting, although it is certainly more work than the usual method of creaming butter and sugar. However, I think it is worth the effort and in this case, the lightness of the buttercream offsets the dense and rich cake very nicely. I do, however, have a confession to make: I was so distracted on the day of Ari’s party that I didn’t even realize I had taken out the 1/3 measuring cup instead of the 1/2 — thus, my total amount of sugar was 1 1/4 cup, rather than 1 1/2 cups, as specified in the recipe. I actually found that it was plenty sweet and didn’t realize my mistake until later on, so I will include both measurements below. The recipe comes from Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller, probably my all-time favorite cookbook and a master of technique and instruction. I also think that next time I would make all Nutella buttercream, rather than dividing it into two batches, as the flavor wasn’t discernibly different.
Since this would be an incredibly long post if I wrote both the cake and frosting recipes in one, I decided to break it up into two separate posts. I actually love making layer cakes and really any excuse is a good one for me to make one — birthdays, obviously being the best. Though they have a lot of steps, there is something incredibly satisfying in the end product, and I love all of the smoothing and decorating that goes into it. I know, I’m weird, I guess it’s just the detail-oriented editorial assistant in me. Also, I always make the layers of a cake a few days ahead of time and freeze them, as frozen cake layers are much easier to work with than soft ones. Anyways, on to the recipe… Continue reading
As today’s temperatures are reaching almost 50 degrees, I couldn’t resist making a trip to the farmer’s market at Grand Army Plaza this morning. Of course, I always love the market best in the summer, but there is something very comforting about the apples, root vegetables, and hearty greens that are available now. I also wanted to try out my camera a little more in a setting outside my kitchen. I’m still very much learning about all of the settings and options, but below are a few of my shots from the market.And when I got home…
Alright, finally: the recipe. When I was little, one of my favoite “breakfasts” was the incredibly sweet lemon-poppyseed mini muffins from the supermarket. I’m not quite sure why my mother let us eat these as they were bascially dessert. In any casee, this dessert was inspired by those muffins, but is a slightly more sophisticated take. I made this the other night when I didn’t have my camera, so forgive the instagram photos. This recipe was taken from one of my favorite food blogs, Always With Butter, but I made a few tweaks, including changing the cirtus from orange to lemon. I also was far too excited to eat it when it came out of the oven, which explains why the glaze pretty much melted into the cake. In addition, I would use more powdered sugar next time to make the icing thicker. Still good though.
Lemon Poppyseed Cake (adapted from this recipe on Always With Butter)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour an 8×8 baking pan. Sift first three ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. Best butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix well. Mix in flour mixture and poppy seeds. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for one hour or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely. Whisk powdred sugar and lemon juice until you have a thick glaze, then pour over cooled cake.