Tag Archives: cake

Bon Appetit Blackberry Buttermilk Cake

I’m obviously on a Bon Appetit kick.  This recipe is in the most recent issue, July 2011, in the berry special. I was crazy about the berry special in the first place and then I saw this treat.  It was 96 degrees the day I made this cake, which obviously is a great day to turn on the oven for an hour. You may think I’m crazy, but who could possibly resist a beautiful blackberry buttermilk cake? Not me, and it was worth the extra sweat to dig into this scrumptious summertime cake. And it is easy. Really easy. Yes, it bakes for a long time and heats up your kitchen. But it is worth it. This cake would be perfect of a summer BBQ/potluck type of event. No icing required and the fruit makes it healthy….right? I mean, doesn’t that look so delicious?

Oh, and one more thing. I got a new camera. That’s right, I finally got a DSLR,  Nikon D3100. No, I didn’t get it just to blog. I’ve been taking pictures of everything, but I do admit I am loving the improvement on my food pictures. I am just barely starting to learn how it works, and I have such a long way to go with staging. But, I’m still pleased with my improvement. What do you think?

Ok, on to the recipe!

Like I said, this recipe is very easy. I made it late in the afternoon and it was easily ready for dinner.

Blackberry Buttermilk Cake by Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan and parchment
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour (sifted, then measured) plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting)
  • special equipment:

    Use a 9″-10″-diameter springform pan

Preparation

  • Position a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Butter pan; line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Butter parchment. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Arrange berries in a single layer in bottom of pan; sprinkle evenly with 1/4 cup sugar.

  • Sift 2 1/3 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat 3/4 cup butter and remaining 1 1/3 cups sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and zest. Reduce speed to low; beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until incorporated. Pour batter over berries in pan; smooth top.

Aren’t the orange specks pretty?

  • Bake until cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour 25 minutes. Note: My cake only took 1 hr, 8 minutes. You will see in the reviews some only took 40 minutes. So watch very carefully! A tester should not be crumb free, that is too dry!   Let cool in pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then run a thin, sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen. Remove pan sides. Invert cake onto rack and remove pan bottom; peel off parchment. Dust top generously with powdered sugar and let cool completely.

The easiest way to flip is to first undo the sides of the pan, then put a cake board (you can find them in the cake decorating section at Walmart and Michaels, along with a slew of other stores. Well worth the money!) on top of the cake and just flip! Then you have this:

Dust with powdered sugar and you are the hit of the party! Don’t forget to save a piece for yourself….
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The Best Damn Meyer Lemon Cake with Blueberry Compote

Recently when I was out grocery shopping at Earth Fare, one of my most favorite things to do, I noticed Organic Meyer Lemons were on sale. A really great sale, 10 for $2! What a steal! So I bought 10, realizing that perhaps they might be going bad soon, because why else would they be on sale like that? But I knew I had plenty of baking options, one was the Can’t Eat Just One Sugar Cookie and then the Cake. This recipe came from Saveur Magazine and while I don’t know if it is the best cake, it is pretty close. It’s honestly more of a quick bread than a cake, but it is so tasty. Pretty easy too, as far as cakes go. The hardest part is not eating it until the next day. It’s best to let this cake sit for a full 24 agonizing hours before digging in. Now that is hard. I hope you enjoy!

The Best Damn Meyer Lemon Cake

I didn’t change a thing! It was perfect!

  • 1 tbsp. butter, plus 8 tbsp. melted
  • 2 tbsp. fine dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. fine salt
  • 1 1/3 cups plus 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. lemon extract (I didn’t have enough extract so I subbed lemon juice)
  • Zest and juice of 2 meyer lemons

1. Heat oven to 350°. Grease a loaf pan (do not use a non-stick pan or glass pan) measuring 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 2 3/4″ with 1 tbsp. of the butter and dust it with the bread crumbs (I just used flour). Invert and tap out excess crumbs; set aside.

2. In a food processor, grind the almonds until very fine, about 1 minute; sift and set aside. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

3. Put the remaining butter into a large bowl and add 1 cup of the sugar. Mix with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just long enough to incorporate, about 30 seconds.

4. Add the flour mixture and milk mixture alternately in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until mixed after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, about 3 minutes total. Mix in the lemon extract. With the spatula, fold in the lemon zest and ground almonds. (The mixture will be thin.) Turn batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean and dry, about 65 minutes.

3. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack. Prepare the glaze: Combine remaining sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. (Do not boil.) Brush the glaze over the hot cake. (The excess liquid may pool along the sides of the pan; it will absorb completely as it sits.) Once the cake has absorbed all the liquid, turn it out of the pan and allow it to cool upright on a rack. Once it’s cool, wrap the cake with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours before serving.

Blueberry Compote

Really, really easy. Leftovers can be used on pancakes!

  • 2 1/2 cups frozen blueberries, unthawed
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Combine 1 1/2 cups blueberries, sugar and 1/3 cup water in heavy small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until berries burst, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup berries. Cook until compote coats spoon, stirring often, about 8 minutes. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.) Serve warm.

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    French Four Spice Cake with Browned Butter Spice Frosting

    We recently got a subscription to Sunset Living, even though we live on the East Coast. We used to live on the West Coast and hope to one day move back. So, when we had SkyMiles that were going to expire and no chance of flying at the moment, we got a few subscriptions. Sunset Living was one of them. At least we can now pretend to be on the West Coast!

    After daydreaming about all the spas I would like to frequent, I saw this cake recipe. First thing, it was rustic looking, which I loved. It’s nice to see a cake in a magazine that looks like anyone can do it, yet still looks so pretty. Second, the whole “spice” part really sounded appealing.

    I had no idea what French Four Spice was, but thankfully we have our trusty Google search (seriously, how did anyone survived before Google?) and I found it is a spice blend made with pepper (all black or white and black), and a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or cloves. I was out of cloves, so my four spice blend had black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. The dominant ingredient is the pepper.

    I admit, this scared me. Pepper in a cake? That’s different. And the icing – YUM. Browned butter? Ok! The icing ended up being my favorite part. No surprise there! But, the pepper -it was different. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t something I crave, or maybe even make again. The pepper part was just too overpowering for me. But, I’m glad I tried it. Something new! But next time I think I will leave out the pepper and have “Three spice cake”. That’s more my thing. Or maybe just add about half as much pepper so that you still get a hint of pepper, but it isn’t the dominant flavor.

    My husband, who is a pepper fanatic, really liked this cake. He loves the pepper and he too loved the icing. So, if you’d like to try something new that is easy, different, and not overly sweet, definitely give this cake a try. It might surprise you.

    Find the recipe here

    French Four Spiced Cake with Browned Butter Spice Frosting

    Sunset Living

    Cake

    • ½ cup butter, softened
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • Zest of ½ orange
    • 2 large eggs
    • 11/3 cups flour
    • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
    • 2 tsp. quatre épices
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • ½ tsp. each baking soda and salt
    • ½ cup buttermilk

    Frosting

    • 2/3 cup butter
    • ¼ cup honey
    • 1 tsp. quatre épices
    • 2 tbsp. half-and-half
    • 1½ tbsp. lemon juice
    • 3 cups powdered sugar
    • 2/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts

    1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-in. square pan.

    2. Make cake: Beat butter, brown sugar, and zest in a large bowl with a mixer until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well blended. In another bowl, combine flour and other dry ingredients. Add flour mixture to butter mixture one-third at a time, alternating with buttermilk half at a time, and beating on low speed after each addition until blended. Spread batter in pan.

    3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack, 10 minutes. Loosen cake from pan with a slender spatula, then invert onto a rack. Re-invert onto another rack; cool completely.

    4. Make frosting: Cook butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into a mixer bowl, let cool, then chill until firm enough to beat, about 30 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except for nuts and beat until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, occasionally scraping inside of bowl.

    5. Split cake horizontally with a long serrated knife. Lift off top layer with 2 wide spatulas. Set bottom layer on a platter, then spread with half of frosting. Replace top layer. Spread top of cake with remaining frosting, then sprinkle with nuts.

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    Red Velvet Cake

    Cake is not one of my favorite things to make. I much prefer cupcakes.  I stress and stress about making a perfect cake every time.  Considering I only make full cakes a handful of times of year, it’s probably unreasonable to expect perfection each time.  But each time I do, and each time I disappoint myself with my errors. Of course, most people will not notice the little imperfections that us perfectionists notice. They will notice a delicious, homemade cake. And that’s what matters.

    Red Velvet is the one cake I’ve struggled with not just on the decorating side (that’s with all cakes) but with the cake itself. But as they say, practice makes perfect and I’ve certainly had my fair share of practice with this cake!

    The first time I made red velvet it was brown (I ran out of food coloring), dry, and really not all that great. The second time I used a different recipe. Again, it came out average. The third recipe I tried was Smitten Kitchen and finally felt I was on to something. The first time I did this recipe though, it didn’t turn out perfect, mostly because I strayed from the recipe! Tsk, tsk! I try not to do that the first time using a recipe, and I did and suffered! It seemed so minute, how could it cause me problems? She clearly states “1 tsp red gel coloring dissolved in 6 TB of water.” Instead, I simply dumped gel food coloring into the cake until it was my desired color. I think that affected the end result. Maybe not the only thing, but the second time I made the cake I dissolved the gel and the color was not only better, but the cake was better! Who knew?

    Finally, the third time, this most recent, the cake turned out so wonderful. Yes, my piping was just average. But the cake, oh my god. So yummy. This time I used King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour. I love this flour! Thankfully, it is now sold at Publix. And, it isn’t bleached. I still don’t understand the need for bleaching flour. Extra chemicals? No thanks. But this flour was soft and delicate, and I’m certain it contributed to the wonderful, moist cake. Did I mention how good this cake was? I wish there was some left.

    As noted, you should use non-dutch process cocoa powder. I have tried dutch process and it doesn’t work well. If you aren’t sure if it is dutch process, just look at the ingredient list. Straight cocoa will just say cocoa. If it says anything else, it is dutch process. Also, DON’T forget to sift your cocoa powder! For most everything else you can get by with just whisking but with cocoa powder you are almost guaranteed to have lumps! Lumpy cakes are no good!

    The pictures aren’t great for this post, but well, we were busy devouring the cake. We had a lot to celebrate! I’m sure you understand.

    I followed Smitten Kitchen’s recipe exactly, except I made two 10 inch cakes instead of three nine, and I added the flour/buttermilk in three batches instead of two.  I also used her cream cheese icing but modified it slightly. I tripled it (yes, triple. I like my icing) and used one part mascarone and two parts cream cheese.

    As you may notice in the first picture, I did multiple layers. The easiest way to do this is to use cake boards and a turn table, both of which can be bought for relatively cheap at your local craft store, particularly if they offer coupons! Second, you should use a serrated knife. Make small sawing motions while turning the cake and slowly work your way through the whole layer. Do not do this in large motions – it won’t work as well. Once you are done, use a cake board to help flip the layer you won’t be using right away. Load up on the icing, then top again with the layer. Repeat.

    Before doing the crumb coat, you may want to take your knife around the entire cake and even it out. This is easy, only takes a second, and will really improve the appearance of your cake. Also, if you are really a perfectionist like me, you will also level out the top since cakes often bake with that “bump”. Then, you can enjoy the crumbs! After the cake is all level, do a thin layer of icing and chill for about 30 minutes. Then put another layer until the desired thickness. Smooth the icing and you have a beautiful cake!

    Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Icing from Smitten Kitchen

    Red Velvet Cake

    Yield: 3 cake layers

    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
    3 1/2 cups cake flour
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    2 cups canola oil
    2 1/4 cups granulate (room temperature)
    6 tablespoons (3 ounces) red food coloring or 1 teaspoon red gel food coloring dissolved in 6 tablespoons of water
    1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    1 1/4 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
    2 teaspoons baking soda
    2 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar.

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place teaspoon of butter in each of 3 round 9-inch layer cake pans and place pans in oven for a few minutes until butter melts. Remove pans from oven, brush interior bottom and sides of each with butter and line bottoms with parchment.

    2. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and salt in a bowl. Be sure to sift your cocoa powder first!!

    3. Place oil and sugar in bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well-blended. Beat in eggs one at a time. With machine on low, very slowly add red food coloring. (Take care: it may splash.) Add vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk in three batches. Scrape down bowl and beat just long enough to combine. Always end with the flour mixture.

    4. Place baking soda in a small dish, stir in vinegar and add to batter with machine running. Beat for 10 seconds.

    5. Divide batter among pans, place in oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pans 20 minutes. Then remove from pans, flip layers over and peel off parchment. Cool completely before frosting.

    Cupcake variation: The yield is approximately 35 cupcakes, with the liners filled only 3/4 of the way, and the baking time should be between 20 to 25 minutes, but check in on them 2/3 of the way through in case your oven gets the job done faster.

    10 inch cake variation: I figured it would take longer to bake 10 inch cakes, but it didn’t. They only took about 30 minutes, but this could just be my oven. The lesson here: keep a close eye on your cakes! Another way to tell if your cakes are done is when they pull away from the side of the pan.

    Cream Cheese Icing

    Adapted from several sources

    Makes 6 cups

    8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter room temperature
    3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Place cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl. With a handheld electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and vanilla. Beat, on low speed to combine. If too soft, chill until slightly stiff, about 10 minutes, before using.

    Note: as mentioned, I made this recipe times three, and used eight ounces mascarpone and 16 ounces cream cheese. I like the texture the mascarpone provides.

     

     

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