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.
As you probably have noticed, I’m kind of obsessed with peaches. How many desserts can you really come up with that contain them, you might ask? Well, if you’re me, a lot. Most of the time, I buy a dozen and eat them plain, but every now and then I like to do a little something special with them. This cake, from the inimitable Barefoot Contessa, combines two of my favorite dessert ideas — a “tatin”, which involves cooking the fruit in a rich caramel sauce until they are juicy and golden and delicious, and a lemony cake recipe which nicely offsets the fruit. Though I love traditional Tarte Tatin and will probably be making it sometime in the next few months, it takes a bit more work and fiddling to make a more complicated caramel and roll out tart dough. This cake, on the other hand, comes together in half an hour and is the perfect way to use up those end-of-season stone fruits — you could also try it with plums, nectarines, apples, or pears if you are embracing fall produce.
It definitely doesn’t feel like summer any more in New York, but as long as there are still a few peaches and tomatoes at the market, I’m going to enjoy it for as long as I can.
If you are new to this blog, you may not know that we are pretty big stone fruit fans around here. Though I love the early-summer strawberries, my favorites are the endless peaches, plums, and apricots that show up in July for just a few short months. Though I feel like I have generally confined myself to desserts in the past, this summer, I’m excited to try using stone fruits in more inventive ways, such as making a peach salsa or adding them to a salad. I haven’t seen apricots at the farmer’s market yet, but these were at a local market and were surprisingly good. I think that next time I make this, I would make a couple of changes, including adding just a bit more lemon zest to both the mascarpone cream, and using this crust recipe instead of the one below — I felt that you could taste the cornstarch a little too much, although that could also be solved by adding more flour and cutting the cornstarch. That said, I think that this still makes a lovely summer dessert, and since you only bake the crust, it’s a great way to not have the oven on for too long, and to show off those lovely berries or apricots.
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!
I started this post a couple of days ago, meaning to write something about summer, and delicious strawberries, and then something happened. I’m feeling kind of adrift at the moment, and I’m not really sure what exactly I should be doing. I don’t share a ton of personal stuff on this blog and since it’s relatively new I’m still not sure where I want to draw the line — so I think I will leave things vague for now. But in any case, this post isn’t for sympathy, or for any other reason than to share this tart with you. I just can’t bring myself to write about anything else at the moment.
In any case, the strawberries I bought from the farmer’s market for this tart really were excellent, and disappeared in a matter of days. This tart is another old recipe from Gourmetmy mom always makes, since my dad is allergic to chocolate, and so reminds me of home — something I need right now. You can also use raspberries or a variety of berries, but to me, strawberries mean that June is here and I eat them as much as I can.
Terribly sorry, everyone. I have been dreadful about posting over the last couple of weeks due to a trip home and a computer being upgraded. I also seem to have contracted a penchant for writing rather like a 19th-century Englishwoman, which may or may not be due to the fact that I have reread all of my favorite Jane Austen novels over the last several weeks.
Anyways, my love for Emma and Pride and Prejudice is not why you are here. My trip home was rather a whirlwind, mostly spent with family and much of it spent in the car on the five-hour drive to Iowa (which was quite pretty, actually). However, I did manage to take a few pictures of my grandma Nancy’s famous rhubarb cream pie, homemade the day of my arrival by my mom. I can thus claim no credit for this recipe, but I do hope to pick up some rhubarb at the farmer’s market this weekend to try to recreate it in my (much smaller) kitchen.
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