Category Archives: Cake

30-day Photo Challenge, Day 5: From a high angle

Today was a busy (for me) Sunday filled with brunch and baking.  My friend Whit and I tackled not one, but two recipes from the Baked Explorations book, and Shawn was our cheerleader.  It was a whirlwind of dishes, dish towels, pots and pans, and 10.5 sticks of butter.

The results were quite lovely (albeit a little fall-like), and here is my day 5 “from a high angle” photo:

And just for kicks, a few extras.

Burnt Sugar Bundt Cake – delicious. Love bundt cakes. The burnt sugar shards on top are pretty good. Page 141 of the book.

Caramel Apple Cake (page 138 of the book). Super moist. First three layer cake I’ve ever made, and definitely one of the fussiest cakes I’ve made…ever. But I had fun frosting it, so I’m thinking I’ll need to start making more layer cakes.

Here’s the Flickr group.

Here’s White Peach Photography’s Day 5 photo.

Coming up tomorrow: from a low angle.

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Babies, Book Club, and Bundt Cake

This past weekend was the annual Nawakwa Women’s Book Club Weekend. Our book this year was “The Good Earth”, by Pearl S. Buck. The book is amazing, if you haven’t read it. I never had to read it in high school, and I am really glad that I have read it now!

All the PREP girls were there, if only for Friday night. I got to meet Sophie for the first time, and she was tiny, adorable, perfect. Charlie was so much bigger than the first time I met him…and he was such a little flirt!

There were so many willing and eager arms waiting to take Sophie and Charlie off of their mamas’ hands.

Two loving sets of hands tucking a tired Charlie into his car seat.

Plus, as always, there was an abundance of food. This year, I made spinach & artichoke dip (a.k.a. The Dip), almond roca, and an orange olive oil bundt cake (from Baked Explorations).

The orange olive oil cake was delicious – it had a texture similar to pound cake, and although I expected a stronger olive oil taste, it really did not come through very much. The orange flavor was beautiful though. It is the type of cake that’s great for dessert, snack, or breakfast.

In my mind, it’s also not terribly unhealthy…there’s four eggs, but no butter!  And there’s yogurt!

Zest two oranges – mine ended up being about 1/8 cup. Mmmm…I love the scent of orange zest.

Then you separate the eggs and beat the yolks (save the whites for later). After the egg yolks are thick and pale, add the sugar slowly with the mixer on low. I wasn’t expecting this, but it becomes really thick – a grainy paste. After you add the orange zest, vanilla bean paste (or just plain old extract), yogurt, and olive oil, it loosens up. Then, you add the dry ingredients, and it is a pretty thick batter.

At this point, you set the batter aside and beat the egg whites till they form stiff peaks. I don’t know about you, but I’m always amazed at how egg whites work. Seriously, they start out as a liquid and then they triple in size and become a fluffy foam. So cool.

Then you begin the kind of hard work (ok, “hard” for someone who is not very strong): folding in the egg whites. You start with a small amount and fold it in gently, gently, gently. Then, you fold in the rest, still very gently, until they’re all incorporated. The batter becomes lighter, and the texture is more like what you’d expect from a cake batter.

You pour it in a bundt pan and put it in a 350 degree oven. It’s supposed to bake for 40-50 minutes, but mine probably took closer to 60 minutes. You rotate it once, halfway through baking. The smell wafting through my apartment was amazing, and the cake itself was really good.

Not too sweet, great texture. I didn’t use the powdered sugar because I transported it in the pan, but I think that would have added a really nice sweet touch. I want to try a grapefruit version of the cake as well.

This was definitely a time- and labor-intensive recipe. For everyday cakes, I’d probably try something a little easier (possibly this one from Smitten Kitchen), but for special events or get-togethers, this is perfect.

Orange Olive Oil Bundt Cake

From: Baked Explorations (page 36)
Yield: 1 10-inch bundt cake

Ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup plain yogurt (I used low-fat)
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
Freshly grated zest of 2 oranges (about 1/8 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 1.5 teaspoon vanilla extract)
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting – optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan – either with cooking spray or butter and dusted with flour.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk or sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a mixer with the paddle attachment (or just a regular old hand mixer), beat the egg yolks on medium speed until they are pale and thick.
  5. Turn mixer to low and slowly add the sugar until it is completely incorporated. You may have to increase the speed slightly as the mixture gets thicker. Scrape the bowl.
  6. Add the yogurt, olive oil, orange zest, and vanilla and mix on medium speed just till combined. Scrape the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.
  7. Add the flour mixture in two parts, scraping the bowl after each addition. Mix just till incorporated. It will be quite thick.
  8. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  9. Scoop about a cup of the egg whites into the batter and gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
  10. After about 30 seconds of folding, add the remaining egg whites and gently fold them in until they are almost completely combined.
  11. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 40-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Start checking for doneness after about 40 minutes – mine took close to 60. Rotate the pan halfway through the baking process.
  12. When it’s done, transfer cake (still in pan) to a rack to cool. Then, once cooled, turn onto a rack.
  13. Store tightly wrapped; cake will keep for a few days.
  14. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving (optional).
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Apple Cardamom Cake

This delicious cake recipe is courtesy of The Kitchn, and it’s a perfect fall/wintery cake.

I normally would not have tried this recipe, but I had recently purchased a bottle of cardamom for a butter chicken recipe (this one, from Tasty Kitchen – very good). I don’t know if you know, but cardamom is freaking expensive. So, needless to say, anything that would help keep the spice from going to waste will catch my eye. To be honest, I went into this half expecting to not like it. I love cinnamon and ginger, but I am not always a fan of super spiced things. And cardamom is a pretty strong spice. But I’m glad I tried it – it’s so delicious! Just a note: if you want to try this but don’t want to shell out $12 at the grocery store for cardamom, try a place like World Market – their spices are much more reasonably priced. Or find a friend willing to give you a teaspoon or so.  Or, I also think this would still be good without the cardamom, if you want to try just the cake (it’s a very tasty cake).

I had everything on hand: apples from my CSA (Papa Spud’s), an expensive bottle of cardamom waiting to be used, and the other pretty basic ingredients and spices – ginger, cinnamon, cloves, eggs, flour, etc. I love when that happens – I don’t have to buy anything to bake or cook something.

The only thing I didn’t have was dark brown sugar, but I did in fact have molasses, so I was able to add about a teaspoon to my regular light brown sugar. I melted the brown sugar and some butter together in a small pan. Yum. {sidenote: I’ve kind of become obsessed with melting butter and sugar together….another recipe to come}

While I was waiting for it to boil, I sliced two apples into thinnish slices. The recipe called for thick slices to be cut in half…I wasn’t sure how that was supposed to work but I was envisioning a nice pinwheel of apples, so that’s how I sliced em.

Then, after the brown sugar/butter mixture bubbles for a few minutes, just pour it into a greased cake pan, and arrange the apple slices in a pretty arrangement around the bottom.

Then, beat the eggs till they’re nice and thick and pale yellow, and add the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, salt, sugar.  Then you pour in some milk that’s been warmed on the stove, and it becomes a beautiful spiced batter.

Pour it over the apples and bake for 40 minutes. I recommend putting it on a baking sheet in case anything bubbles up or over (mine did a little bit).

When it’s done, let it cool a bit, run a knife around the edge, then turn it over onto a plate. Gorgeous! The end result is so good. It’s not a heavy cake, but it’s got a nice texture; I expect because of the beaten eggs. The crust on top is exactly what you’d expect a butter and sugar topping to be – a little crunchy, sweet, rich. I almost wanted more of it, so I’d add a bit more butter and sugar next time.  I think it would have been better if it had a chance to sink into the cake more, but the number of apples I used kind of kept it on the top. But still…pretty perfect.

Apple Cardamom Upside-Down Cake

Makes one 9-inch cake. From The Kitchn, where it was adapted from Canal House Cooking No. 5.

Ingredients:
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (or 1/3 cup light brown sugar + 1 teaspoon molasses)
2 medium-sized firm apples
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for the apples
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan (I used cooking spray). Gather your ingredients.
  2. Peel the apples, core them and slice into thin slices (about 12-16 slices per apple). I used Granny Smith.
  3. Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the brown sugar (or 1 teaspoon molasses and light brown sugar) and stir until well-combined. Note: I accidentally added the butter and sugar at the same time, and it turned out just fine.
  4. Let the butter/sugar mixture bubble for about 2 minutes, then pour in the bottom of cake pan. Spread so it covers the bottom. Set aside.
  5. Arrange the apples in a circle, overlapping slightly, in the prepared cake pan on top of the sugar mixture. Start on the outside and then overlap smaller slices in the middle in a smaller circle.  Sprinkle them lightly with cinnamon.
  6. Put the milk in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat until it is warm (but doesn’t boil). Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter so it melts. Keep warm.
  7. Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom, as well as 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Note: I almost never do this (mainly because I have a tiny kitchen and hate doing extra dishes) – I just add the ingredients separately into the bowl of the mixer. It turned out fine for me.
  8. Beat the eggs for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they are very thick and pale. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 5 minutes. Add the flour mixture, and then the warm milk. Mix until the batter is smooth.
  9. Pour the batter over the apples in the cake pan and lightly tap the pan a few times to make sure the batter settles completely to the bottom.
  10. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden. Let the cake cool for a full 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the inside of the pan to help release the cake, and invert onto a serving plate.
  11. Note from the original article – the cardamom flavor develops overnight, so this is a great cake to make ahead of time for a get together. It would be delicious with tea or coffee.
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