Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Lemon and Almond Streamliner Cake

This month for my Cake Slice Bakers bake, I could choose from any of the books they had baked from in the past.  As this is my first year with this group, I had do some investigating (much to my family's excitement).  I requested several of the books from our public library and started testing cakes.  Ultimately, I settled on the Lemon and Almond Streamliner cake from Vintage Cakes.

I baked this cake twice, once for a work function and again for my husband's birthday.  It was a huge hit both times.  The almond cake would be delicious all on it's own, as would the lemon custard topping.  Combined, the cake tickles all the right parts of my tastebuds.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Scandinavian Cardamon Coffee Cake

This month for the Cake Slice Bakers I baked a Scandinavian Cardamon Coffee Cake. I had never cooked or baked with cardamon and was a little unsure of what exactly or where to find it.  Cardamon is a spice, and it comes in two forms - whole pods and ground. It's similar in taste to ginger. For this recipe you'll want to use ground cardamon.  Now if you live in a small town like I do, you may have a little trouble finding cardamon.  I ended up stopping at a bigger grocery story while we were driving somewhere.  You can also substitute other spice cake type spices like ginger and cinnamon in this cake.  The cake itself is topped with a chocolate ganache. I made my chocolate ganache with bittersweet chocolate.

The recipe was easy to follow and produced a lovely coffee cake.  I thought the flavor of the cardamon would be a little strong for my children, but they all loved it.  I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe, and now that I know where I can find cardamon will definitely be making it again.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Linzer Torte

A little late this month for my Cake Slice Bakers' bake, but cake a little late is better than no cake at all!  We continue to bake from "World Class Cakes" by Roger Pizey.  This month I chose to bake a Linzer Torte.

The recipe for the crust seemed a little unusual to me (3 hard boiled egg yolks, for example), so I opted for a simpler one.  I had a little trouble with the dough and believe it could have used substantially longer in the refrigerator before trying to roll out and shape.  The taste, however, was superb.  The main flavor of the torte is, of course, the filling.  I used a high quality raspberry jam.  I think if I had homemade on hand, I would definitely opt for that.

This torte was a huge hit with my family, and I think it could easily be turned into cookie bars that would be perfect for a tea party or potluck.

Linzer Torte
8 T butter, room temperature
2/3 C granulate sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 t vanilla
1 large egg
1 C almond flour
1 C all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
18 oz raspberry jam, room temperature
1 egg + 1 T milk to make egg wash

1.  Cream together butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light in color.  Add lemon zest, vanilla and egg and mix until combined.
2.  Sift together almond flour, all-purpose flour and baking powder. Add to butter mixture and mix just until the dough comes together.  Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about an hour.
3.  Cut one-third of dough and place back into refrigerator.  Roll the other two-thirds on a lightly flour surface into a circle a little larger than your tart pan (I used a 9-in pan).  Press into the pan, smoothing up the sides.  Spread the jam evenly into the tart shell.
4.  Take the remainder of the dough and make a lattice top for your torte.
5.  Place the torte back into the refrigerator for at least an hour (I covered mine and refrigerated overnight).
6.  Preheat the over to 350.  Brush with egg wash and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbly.
7.  Allow to cool for 30 minutes before removing from the tart pan.

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Hummingbird Cake

Time for another bake from the Cake Slice Bakers.  We're still baking from "World Class Cakes" by by Roger Pizey. This month our choices were
  1. Olive Oil Cake with Fresh Peaches p.83
  2. Hummingbird Cake p.34
  3. M’hanncha p.234
  4. Oliver Peyton’s Strawberry and Marjoram Cream Tart p.250

They were all tempting options, especially the Olive Oil Cake but I've been wanting to try a Hummingbird Cake for a long time, so it was really an easy decision for me.  I found the recipe easy to follow.  I did substitute 1 can of drained pineapple for the fresh pineapple, and the cake still came out quite moist and flavorful.  

The recipe calls for a cream cheese which I found a little sweet for the cake.  We all liked the taste of the cream cheese with the cake, so I might try to make it with a little less sugar next time.  I also added unsweetened coconut to the top, and I think that might have been good in between the layers.

The cake was very moist and a great texture and flavor.  My family gobbled it up.  It will definitely be added to our regular rotation of cakes.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lemon Tart

Time for another Cake Slice Baker's bake.  This month I chose to make Marco Pierre White's Lemon Tart.  I followed the recipe as written, and had no problems.  It had a delicious taste and a lovely texture.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Chocolate Babka

King Arthur's bake along challenge for April was a Chocolate Babka.  The recipe made two loaves.  It gave two different approaches towards making the loaf.  I chose the "more complex shaping" option, and was pretty happy with the results.  

The filling has chocolate cream with nuts sprinkled in.  There's also a crumble topping that goes over the top.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Herb Bread

King Arthur's March Bake Along was for a Butterflake Herb Loaf:
I actually did bake this in March, but it took until yesterday to get the pictures off the camera!  

 The technique is that you roll out the bread dough, cut large circles, spread filling on the circles, fold them into semicircles and stack in your bread pan to make a pull-apart loaf.  The recipe was a little fiddley for what is basically garlic bread, but it wasn't hard to follow, and everyone liked it. 

One of the loaves
The loaf pulled apart

I followed the recipe as listed, but the website also includes options for other types of fillings including a sweet filling.

After making two loaves, I still had some dough leftover.  My daughter and I used that to make rolls.  We rolled small dough ball, stacked two or three of them into a muffin cup and spread the filling on top.  These were very good and not nearly as much work.  I could see these making an appearance at our dinner table.

Sacher Torte

It's May 20th which means it's my wedding anniversary!  It's also the day for my Cake Slice Bakers reveal.  We continue to bake from Roger Pizey's World Class Cakes book.  All of the choices this month looked enticing, but as May is also the month of my favorite helper's birthday, and she only has one flavor, the Sacher Torte was my obvious choice.

The Sacher Torte is a deep chocolate cake covered in chocolate ganache.  I made the cake almost as described.  I used bittersweet chocolate (60%) instead of the 70% called for in the recipe because of the expense.  Traditionally, the cake has the letter S or the word Sacher on top, but ours had a letter L for Laura.

The finished cake

My best helper blowing out her candles
The cake was a big hit!  Everyone enjoyed it, and I expect to get requests for it in the future.
It tasted as good as it looked

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mandarin, Polenta, and Macadamia Cake

This month my Cake Slice Bakers cake choice was the Mandarin, Polenta, and Macadamia Cake from Roger Pizey's World Class Cake book.  I was really drawn to this recipe in part because I needed a good gluten-free cake recipe for potlucks and company.

Both my husband and I really enjoyed the texture of this cake, but my kids did not enjoy it as much.  They all seemed to think it was too gritty.  That may make this more of an adult cake, something I also don't have very many of.

I found the recipe a little confusing because I was unclear how many mandarins to use.  The recipe call for four whole mandarins which you boil several times to soften, and then pulp up in your blender or food processor.  By the time I had done three, I felt like I had more than enough pulp.  I had about 2 cups by that point and so left out the fourth.  I wish I knew how much I was supposed to end up with.

Mandarin Pulp

I also felt like the cake was too sour, and this opinion was shared by everyone in my family.  There was definitely too much peel in the cake mix for our tastes.  It's possible that the mandarins we get on the East Coast of the US in March aren't quite as sweet as they might be closer to the source.  I think the next time I make this cake, I'll pulp two whole mandarins and then add one more peeled mandarin.  Hopefully, that won't make the cake mixture two wet.  I also wonder about using something other than macadamia nuts. They're difficult to find where I live and pretty expensive.  So I might try another kind of nut the next time.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Victoria Sponge Cake

It's the twentieth which means it's time for my Cake Slice Bakers' post.  This month I baked a Victoria Sponge Cake two ways.  It seemed a no-brainer that this would be my pick for the month given that my daughter and I have been feasting our eyes of Victoria, and my Anglophile son thinks I should become an expert on anything that makes an appearance on the Great British Baking Show.

This is basically two vanilla layers with whipped cream and jam in between.  The recipe calls for strawberry jam, but I opted to use one of my last jars of homemade blueberry jam for a little taste of summer in February.

I had no problems baking the cake, and the family loved it.  I do need to work a little bit on my powdered sugar dusting technique.  It was a little squisy when I cut a slice, but that could be because I put a little more filling in than was called for.

World Class Cakes has an alternate form the author calls a Fairy Cake.  To me they looked like butterflies, so I decided to give it a go as a candidate for the daughter's birthday party in May.  To make the butterfly, I cut the top off the cupcake, sliced it in half, and used it for wings.  I used my own buttercream recipe for the frosting and flavored some of it with some strawberry jam.  World Class Cakes has its own buttercream recipe, but I found it a little fiddely for my tastes. 

I put a little strawberry jam in the middle of the cupcakes before frosting.  I thought to try to insert it with a pastry bag, but the cake was too dense for that.  Instead, I caught a little divot out and filled it with the strawberry jam.  I might try adding the jam before baking next time.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Lemon Drizzle Cake

January was my first bake with the Cake Slice Bakers, and one of this month's choices was just the solution to the chocolate overload that Christmas brought.  This year we're baking from Roger Pizey's World Class Cakes, and I opted for the Lemon Drizzle Cake.  I followed the recipe exactly, except substituting regular granulated sugar for the superfine sugar called for.  

The cake had a great lemon taste, and the drizzle really did add something special to both the taste and the moistness.  As you can see from the picture, I had a little problem with it sticking to my pan.  Greasing and flouring the pan should solve that problem.

It was a really easy recipe to put together and would be perfect for a brunch or for afternoon company.  I could also imagine giving it as a gift.  My family really enjoyed it!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

King Arthur Bake Along, January

January's King Arthur Bake Along was for pizza rolls.   Last Saturday's snowy day seemed like the perfect opportunity to set dough to rise, turn on the oven and produce something special for my crew. The recipe uses milk in the dough, which I was a little suspect of.  However, it worked out great. It was much stretchier and sturdier than the dough I usually use.  No unexpected tears, easy to roll into a consistent thickness, and relatively easy to shape into a rectangle.  Definitely a recipe to save and try again.