Lemonade Bundt Cake

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Have extra summer squash lurking in your garden? Here’s a fun, summery way to enjoy this plentiful veggie. This recipe works for zucchini, too!

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Ingredients (Makes 1 Bundt cake or 2 loaves)

1 1/2 cups grated yellow summer squash, such as patty pan squash (cut the peel off before grating if the peel is tough)

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1 cup applesauce

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1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 large package instant lemon pudding

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

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1 teaspoon salt

For the icing:

2 – 3 cups powdered sugar

juice from 1/2 lemon

2 drops yellow food coloring

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Directions

Step 1) Grease a Bundt pan (or two bread pans) very well.

Step 2) Combine grated summer squash, lemon extract, applesauce, oil, and eggs. Stir until well combined.

Step 3) Add sugar and pudding mix; stir well.

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Step 4) Add dry ingredients, a little at a time, until well incorporated.

Step 5) Transfer batter to pan(s). Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 – 55 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Step 6) Allow to cool in pan(s) for 15 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, then carefully transfer the cake to a serving plate.

Step 7) In a small bowl, combine 2 cups powdered sugar, juice from 1/2 lemon, and 2 drops of yellow food coloring. Stir well. If icing is too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar.

Step 8) Drizzle icing all over cake. If desired, garnish with slivers of lemon peel. Serve with coffee or tea and enjoy with a friend!

Japanese-Inspired Banana Spongecake

Japanese desserts tend to be a bit lighter and less sugary than Western desserts. Also, bananas and banana-flavored treats are very popular in Japan. This banana spongecake is inspired by desserts we enjoyed throughout Tokyo. Enjoy!

Ingredients (Serves 8)

1 very ripe banana

2 eggs Continue reading

Irish Cream Icebox Cake

cake-3I don’t recall exactly how the topic came up, but recently my mother and I got to talking about something called “Icebox Cake.” I was completely unfamiliar, but she knew exactly what this was. To me, it sounded like an interesting concept… layers of chocolate chip cookies and creamy filling, refrigerated overnight until the whole thing took on a cake-like texture. I filed the idea away for a future rainy day.

Mom did better than that, and actually created an icebox cake for us to try. It was fantastic! This cool, creamy indulgence has definitely earned a spot in the dessert rotation here at Crowded Earth Kitchen. I hope you enjoy Irish Cream Icebox Cake as much as we did!

cake-2Ingredients (Serves 12 – 16)

24 ounces of “Chips Ahoy” cookies (packages vary in size; check the weight)

3/4 cup (about 12 ounces) Marscarpone cheese

1 3/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup Irish cream liqueur

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 teaspoon almond extract

Garnishes such as powdered sugar, whipped cream, and/or miniature chocolates

cake-1Directions

Step 1) Combine Marscarpone cheese, heavy cream, Irish cream liqueur, sugar, cocoa powder, and almond extract. Blend with an electric mixer for one minute, then beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Step 2) Cover the bottom of a large Springform pan (or other round pan, approximately 12″ in diameter) with Chips Ahoy cookies. Do not overlap the cookies. Instead, break a few cookies to fill in the spaces.

Step 3) Top the cookies with a thin layer of cream (about 1/4 of your total filling mixture).

Step 4) Repeat layers of cookies and cream filling until the cream filling is used up. The top layer should be cream.

Step 5) Cover your Irish Cream Icebox Cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Don’t rush this – the cake really does need to rest in the fridge for about 12 hours!

Step 6) If using a Springform pan, run a butter knife around the edge before removing the side of the pan. Immediately before slicing and serving, garnish as desired.

YUM!

 

Autumn Plum Cake

easy-plum-cakeEvery autumn, the New York Times publishes the same plum torte recipe. It has something of a cult following. My friend Denise, a scratch cook who is rather particular about the recipes she endorses, raves about this torte. So, I gave it a try.

It’s good. Really good! The recipe is included here. I had larger plums on hand, so I used slices rather than halves. Whether this recipe is a “torte” or a “cake” is in the eye of the beholder. I’m going with “cake,” as for me the word “torte” conjures up images of complicated, many-layered German desserts. This recipe is blessedly simple. It is quite similar to Rustic Apple Cake, with different fruit. Enjoy this cake (torte?) with a cup of coffee as you watch the leaves fall.

Lemonade Bundt Cake

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Lemonade Bundt Cake

Have extra summer squash lurking in your garden? Here’s a fun, summery way to enjoy this plentiful veggie! This recipe works for zucchini, too.

Join Amazon Third Party Video Subscriptions Free Trial

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Yellow Summer Squash

Ingredients (Makes 1 Bundt cake or 2 loaves)

1 1/2 cups grated yellow summer squash, such as patty pan squash (cut the peel off before grating if the peel is tough)

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1 cup applesauce

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Patty Pan Squash, peeled

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 cup sugar Continue reading

Chocolate Kiss Date Cake

WIN_20160109_090746This recipe is a variation on the chocolate date chip cake that my Great Grandmother Helen used to make. It’s a chocolate cake so delicious, it doesn’t need frosting… seriously. The dates simply “disappear” in the cake, adding sweetness and preventing the cake from drying out, but otherwise are a secret ingredient. The Hershey’s Kisses sink down into the center of the cake, providing surprise bites of chocolate in each slice. I recommend Chocolate Kiss Date Cake as a fun variation on classic chocolate cake for dessert, and also as a decadent coffee cake for Sunday brunch. Enjoy!

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Ingredients (Makes a 10 inch round cake)

1 cup chopped dates

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup boiling water

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/3 cup flour

3 tablespoons cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

16 Hershey’s Kisses

WIN_20160108_205429Directions

Step 1) In a small bowl, combine dates and baking soda. Pour boiling water over the top and allow to sit until cool. The dates will mostly dissolve – this is normal.

Step 2) In a separate bowl, cream together butter and 1 cup of sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.

Step 3) Combine flour, cocoa, and salt. Add dry ingredients and date mixture, alternating a little at a time, to the butter mixture. Stir until well combined.

Step 4) Grease a 10 inch round Springform pan (a cheesecake pan), or a 9 inch square baking pan. Dust the greased pan lightly with flour. Transfer batter to the greased and floured pan.

10 inch Springform Pan

WIN_20160108_210238Step 5) Arrange the Hershey’s Kisses evenly on the top of the cake. Don’t press down; just set them lightly on top. [As the cake bakes, the Hershey’s Kisses will sink into the middle of the cake.] Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Step 6) Bake your Chocolate Kiss Date Cake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 55 – 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Step 7) Sprinkle the baked cake with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar. Allow to cool completely before slicing and serving.

Mardi Gras King Cake

King Cake wholeThis cake is so very, very delicious.

It’s “Why can’t every day be Fat Tuesday?” delicious! It’s “Please Mom, why can’t I have a third piece?” delicious! It’s “To heck with that resolution, life is short and I want CAKE!” delicious!

 Mardi Gras Beads & Feather Masks Party Pack With 6 Mardi Gras Tattoos

King Cake is a staple of Mardi Gras festivities, Mardi Gras being the joyful and exuberant two week period ending with Fat Tuesday. Throughout much of Europe and the Southern United States, Mardi Gras is when Christians indulge in butter, eggs, sugar, and other luxuries, in preparation for the coming austerity of Lent. As you can see from the recipe below, King Cake is chock full of rich and delicious ingredients. Lent is approaching… let’s enjoy this King Cake now!

WIN_20160128_133351Ingredients (Makes 1 large King Cake, serves 16)

For the cake:

1 cup milk

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter

WIN_20160128_1542502 envelopes of yeast

4 eggs, lightly beaten

6 – 7 cups flour

For the filling:

3/4 package (6 ounces) cream cheese

WIN_20160128_1544181 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup raspberry jam

For the frosting:

1/4 package (2 ounces) cream cheese

2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup milk

food coloring (if desired; I used purple)

decorations (I used gold dragees/nonpareils and green sugar)

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Directions

Step 1) Heat 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup butter in a large pot (the pot will function as a mixing bowl, so use a big pot). Once butter is melted, remove saucepan from heat. Allow to cool to lukewarm.

Step 2) After the milk mixture has cooled slightly, stir in yeast and beaten eggs. Slowly stir in 6 cups of flour. Dump the dough onto a floured counter top.

Step 3) Knead dough with your hands until the dough is nice and smooth, about 6 – 8 minutes. Add additional 1 cup or so of flour as needed to prevent sticking.

Step 4) Place dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a slightly damp cloth (a clean kitchen towel works well) and set dough in a warm (not hot) place to rise for 1 hour.

Step 5) After 1 hour, divide dough in half. On a lightly floured counter top, roll into two approximate rectangles, each approximately 2 feet long and 6 inches wide.

Step 6) Spread raspberry jam down the center of one rectangle. Fold the sides over the jam to make a long, skinny rectangle of dough with the jam trapped in the center.

Step 7) Blend together 6 ounces of cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup of sugar. Spread this mixture down the center of the second rectangle, and fold the same way as the first rectangle (see photo, above).

WIN_20160128_163110Step 8) Place the long, skinny rectangles right next to each other and simply twist them together. You can leave them in a long line to make a straight King Cake, or shape the twisted dough into a wreath as shown.

Step 9) Carefully transfer the unbaked King Cake to a well greased baking sheet. Use a big baking sheet, as the King Cake will expand in the oven! If possible, have someone help you move the dough.

Step 10) Bake your King Cake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and sounds a bit hollow when tapped with your fingertip. If you are baking a wreath-shaped cake, place a few well greased canning jars in the center to help retain the shape.

WIN_20160128_172259Step 11) Remove King Cake from oven and immediately remove jars from center of wreath. Use the largest spatula you can find to help transfer your King Cake to a wire rack for cooling.

Step 12) While your King Cake cools, blend together 2 ounces of cream cheese, 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and milk to make frosting. Add the milk only 1 tablespoon at a time – you don’t want runny frosting! Add food coloring if desired, keeping in mind that traditional King Cake colors are purple, green, and gold.

Step 13) When your King Cake is completely cool, drizzle ribbons of frosting all over the top. Sprinkle with colored sugar or other decorations. Enjoy!
King Cake slice

 

 

 

 

 

Grandpa John’s Flourless Chocolate Cake

WIN_20160130_121602Grandpa John likes chocolate cake. No, Grandpa John loves chocolate cake… but Grandpa John is watching his carbs. No worries. Here at Crowded Earth Kitchen, we love a good baking challenge!

This cake was inspired by the Chocolate Heaven Cake posted at ditchthecarbs.com. Suspecting that Grandpa John’s sweet tooth was just a bit stronger, I used dark chocolate chips with a lower cacao content to cut the bitter undertones. I also added a bit of almond extract and peanut butter, because we love peanut butter around here!

WIN_20160130_100016Ingredients

10 oz bag of dark chocolate chips (53% cacao)

3/4 cup real butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

6 eggs

6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon sugar or other sweetener (I used stevia crystals)

1/4 cup “real” creamy peanut butter (not hydrogenated)

WIN_20160130_103228Directions

Step 1) Melt chocolate chips and butter together in a large skillet over low heat (you’ll be glad you used a LARGE skillet later). Stir constantly to avoid burning the chocolate.

Step 2) Once chocolate is melted and mixture is completely smooth, remove skillet from heat and set aside.

Step 5) In a separate bowl, whip together eggs, whipping cream, and sweetener on high for 5 minutes. The mixture will fluff up very slightly and will turn a pretty lemon yellow color.

Step 5) After the egg mixture is beaten, your chocolate mixture will have cooled enough to proceed. Stir your extracts into the chocolate mixture.

Step 6) Take your time here… slowly fold the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture. Add about 1/4 of the egg mixture at a time, carefully whisking everything together before adding more egg mixture. Aren’t you glad you used your larger skillet now?

Step 7) Once your batter is thoroughly mixed (you shouldn’t see any streaks of egg), carefully pour your mixture into a well greased baking dish. I’m using a 9 inch Springform pan, but a pie pan ought to work just as well.

WIN_20160130_103911Step 8) Spoon peanut butter into a snack size bag and snip off one corner of the bag as shown above. Use this homemade pastry bag to draw a design with peanut butter onto your chocolate cake batter.

Step 9) Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes or until set.

This cake slices easiest when very cold. Enjoy!WIN_20160130_121719

Apple Gingerbread

WIN_20150901_172011What tastes like autumn and makes your kitchen smell amazing? Apple Gingerbread! Imagine warm, fragrant gingerbread combined with baked apples… what’s not to love? This dish is equally fabulous for Sunday brunch or a weeknight dessert.

WIN_20150901_154959Ingredients (Fills a 9 inch pie dish)

1 large apple, diced

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/3 cup all-natural applesauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/3 cup molasses

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons milk

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Step 1) Grease a 9 inch pie dish. Sprinkle chopped apple evenly on bottom of the pie dish.

Good Cook 9 Inch Ceramic Pie Plate, Red

Step 2) Combine all remaining ingredients in a medium size bowl and blend well. Spread batter evenly over chopped apple.

Step 3) Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. If desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Coffee Cake

WIN_20150713_112917This recipe is perfect for tossing in the oven on a rainy weekend morning, reading a book while the cake bakes, and then enjoying a late breakfast in your jammies. What could be better than that?

WIN_20150713_101940Ingredients (Makes a 9″ x 13″ pan)

For the cake batter:

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup softened butter

2 eggs

WIN_20150713_1036251 cup sugar

1 cup milk

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

WIN_20150713_1033261/2 cup mini chocolate chips

For the crumb topping:

1/4 cup cold butter

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

WIN_20150713_1038521/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

1 tablespoon crushed peanuts

Directions

Step 1) Using two forks or a pastry cutter, combine 1/4 cup cold butter, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. This will be part of the topping; set it aside.

Step 2) In a separate bowl, cream together 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1/4 cup softened butter, 2 eggs, and 1 cup sugar. Add flour/baking soda/baking powder mixture alternately with milk. Stir in mini chocolate chips.

Step 3) Pour batter from step 2 into a greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Sprinkle with crumb topping from step 1. Top with 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon crushed peanuts.

Step 4) Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Best served warm.

Rustic Apple Cake

WIN_20150601_195318Have you ever bought a boxed apple cake mix – the kind where you add an egg and a chopped apple to the mix, and the whole thing turns out pretty darn well? This is, essentially, that cake. Instead of taking 30 seconds to prepare, this will take you five whole minutes (gasp!). For five minutes of effort, you’ll save a few dollars and avoid a few preservatives.

Note: there’s no need to peel the apples for this recipe. I recommend using one red apple and one green apple, for a fun splash of color. A warm slice of this cake makes a lovely dessert, but also makes a pretty fancy breakfast with a big mug of coffee. Sigh. Now I’m hungry!

WIN_20150507_171955Ingredients (Makes a 9 inch round pan)

1 egg

1 1/4 cup sugar, divided (see directions below)

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

WIN_20150507_1726441 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder

1/4 cup milk

2 medium apples, chopped

WIN_20150601_1620381/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Step 1) Cream together butter, 2/3 cup sugar, egg, and vanilla extract.

Step 2) Add flour, salt, and baking powder alternately with the milk (add half the dry ingredients, half the milk, the other half of the dry ingredients, and the other half of the milk).

Step 3) Spread batter into a greased, 9 inch round baking dish (a deep dish pie plate works well).

Step 4) Mix 1/4 cup sugar with the chopped apples, and sprinkle sugared apples over batter.

Step 5) Mix 1/3 cup sugar with the cinnamon, and sprinkle over the top of everything.

Step 6) Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the batter comes out clean.

Mother’s Spice Cake

WIN_20150330_202258 [Note: This was shared as post on The Ranting Chef earlier today!] This recipe should really be called “Mother’s Mother’s Mother’s Spice Cake,” because I believe it originally belonged to my Great-Grandmother. Take a look at the recipe card below, typed on an old school typewriter… clearly, this is a very old and much loved favorite! WIN_20150407_222818 I love how this recipe, like so many old recipes, is really just a list of ingredients. In some cases, it can be very difficult to recreate a dish from ingredients alone! In this case, however, coming up with instructions and baking times was pretty straightforward. The updated set of instructions below are user-friendly and simple enough to follow with confidence. If you’re reading this post from the U.S., remember that Mothers Day is May 10th. Wouldn’t this make a fun Mothers Day cake? WIN_20150330_174809Ingredients (Makes a 9″ x 13″ cake) 1 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup room temperature butter 1 cup milk WIN_20150330_175239 2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg WIN_20150330_2000571/2 teaspoon cloves 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 egg yolks For the frosting: 2 egg whites WIN_20150330_2002321 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar Directions Step 1) Cream together butter, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup white sugar until thoroughly blended and fluffy. Add milk and egg yolks. Blend well. WIN_20150330_201244Step 2) Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt. Blend slowly until batter is smooth. Step 3) Pour batter into a greased and floured 9″ x 13″ cake pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool WIN_20150330_201700thoroughly. Step 4) After cake has cooled, add 1 inch of water to the bottom of a double boiler.  Combine egg whites, 1 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup white sugar in the top of the double boiler. NOTE: you can make your own double boiler simply by setting a metal or glass mixing bowl over the top of a medium saucepan so that the water in the saucepan is “sealed” inside (the mixing bowl you select should be perfectly round and have smooth sides in order for this to work). Make sure the water in the bottom saucepan doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Step 5) With the double boiler over medium heat, beat the egg whites and sugars at high speed using an electric mixer for seven minutes. Yes, seven minutes. This isn’t complicated, but you need to be patient! Making this frosting is a bit like making candy… we’re creating a chemical change (protein denaturation via heat and mechanical agitation, if you are interested in that sort of thing) which will turn your egg whites and sugars into an absolutely fantastic browned marshmallow frosting! If you’ve never had this frosting before, you’re in for a treat.  🙂 Step 6) The frosting will cool as soon as you remove the top of the double boiler from the heat (don’t get any water in your frosting!). Frost your cake and enjoy!

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A few cousins enjoying their Great, Great Grandma’s spice cake recipe. For me, remembering loved ones through their recipes is the very best part of cooking!

Tropical Island Cake with Coconut Rum Frosting

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Baking a Tropical Island Cake with Coconut Rum Frosting while singing along (badly) to an old Bob Marley CD is my little way of wrinkling my nose at Old Man Winter.  The wind and cold outside my kitchen window just don’t stand a chance against bananas and pineapple, coconut, rum, and reggae music!

WIN_20150104_104344Ingredients (Makes a 9×13 inch sheet cake)

1/2 cup softened butter

2 eggs

3 very ripe, mashed bananas

1 cup fresh, diced pineapple

WIN_20150104_1103001 cup sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans, but macadamia nuts would be fabulous, I think!)

WIN_20150104_111532Directions

Step 1) Grease and flour a 9×13 inch cake pan.

Step 2) In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, eggs, mashed bananas, diced pineapple, and sugar. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chopped nuts.

WIN_20150104_115422Step 3) Spread batter into cake pan and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Step 4) Allow to cool completely.  While cake is cooling, prepare Coconut Rum Frosting (below).  Frost cake and sprinkle with coconut.  Enjoy!

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Ingredients for Coconut Rum Frosting (cream together all ingredients)

WIN_20150104_1755531/4 cup softened butter

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

2 tablespoons rum

3 tablespoons milk

3 cups powdered sugar

1 drop yellow food coloring

1 cup shredded coconut (to sprinkle on top of frosted cake)

 

Breakfast Cake (Frühstückskuchen) in Fehmarn, Germany

If there is any such thing as a perfect day, I may very well have stumbled upon it the day I first baked this cake. Last summer in northeast Germany, I enjoyed an early morning slice of warm Frühstückskuchen with a mug of strong, black coffee while watching my children play outside in the land of their great, great grandparents.  For an American intent on reconnecting with her German ancestry, it was an amazing moment.

It’s time to bake another Frühstückskuchen and reminisce!

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Bridge to Fehmarn Island

Ingredients (makes 1 9″ x 13″ cake)

2 cups grated carrot

1 cup peeled, chopped apple

3/4 cup real applesauce (no corn syrup)

1/4 cup canola oil

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

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Fehmarn Lighthouse (One of several, but the only one open to the public)

 

Directions

Step 1) Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Step 2) Combine carrots, apple, applesauce, oil, eggs, and sugar in a large bowl.

Step 3) Combine spices, baking powder, baking soda, and flours in a second large bowl.

Step 4) Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir until just combined.

Step 5) Spread batter into the pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick

inserted into the center comes out clean.  Check after 35 minutes; do not overbake.

Step 6) Let cool slightly before cutting.  Serve with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar, if desired.

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Roses bloomed everywhere on the island!

 

Orange Sponge Cake

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This is a grand summertime cake!  Bursting with orange flavor, simply dust this cake with powdered sugar and decorate with candied orange peel – you’ll never notice the absence of traditional frosting (which typically adds around 200 calories per piece of cake!).  This recipe gives you a great excuse to dust off the tube pan lurking in the back of one of your kitchen cabinets, and the resulting cake is pretty enough to stand out at your next outdoor party.  Enjoy a slice for me!

picture599Ingredients (serves 12)

6 eggs, whites and yolks divided

1 tablespoon grated orange zest (use an organic orange for this!)

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 teaspoon Grand Marnier liquor or orange picture600extract

1 1/2 cup sugar, divided into 1 cup and 1/2 cup portions

1 1/4 cups white flour

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions

picture602Step 1) Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks for 5 minutes on high speed.  Add orange zest, orange juice, and Grand Marnier.  Slowly add 1 cup sugar, blending at low speed.  Gradually increase speed to medium, and blend mixture for 3 more minutes.  The mixture should be thick, and should double in volume.

Step 2) “Sprinkle and fold” flour into egg picture603yolk mixture, 1/4 cup at a time.  In other words, sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour over the egg yolk mixture, and gently fold the egg yolk mixture over the flour using a rubber scraper.  Repeat until all flour has been added.  Do NOT over mix.

Step 3) Using a scrupulously clean mixing bowl and beaters, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until soft picture604peaks form (see photo).  This will probably take 2 or 3 minutes.  Then, slowly add 1/2 cup of sugar, adding 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.  (see photo).

Step 4) Now we need to combine the yolk mixture and the white mixture without losing all of the “poof” we just created with the electric mixer!  To do this, gently fold 1 cup of the white mixture into the yolk picture605mixture.  Then, fold all of the yolk mixture into the white mixture.  Don’t overthink it… just combine the two mixtures as gently as possible.

Step 5) Transfer the batter into an ungreased tube pan, approximately 10 inches in diameter (“standard” size).  Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for approximately 55 minutes.  The top of the picture606cake should feel springy when touched.  If you press gently with your finger and the imprint doesn’t bounce back, give the cake a few more minutes.

Step 6) Remove from oven and tip the pan over to cool.  I find that balancing the pan on a bottle (a beer bottle or a wine bottle, don’t judge) works well.  After cake has cooled completely, slowly loosen cake from picture608the sides of the pan with a butter knife and gently shake onto a serving plate.  If your cake doesn’t come out of the pan perfectly, don’t panic.  Powdered sugar and candied orange peel will hide “cake owies” very well!

Step 7) Dust, decorate, and enjoy!

About that candied orange peel… simply peel an orange using a potato peeler, to get picture607thin slices of peel without the white pith.  Add the peel to a small pan with 1/4 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar.  Simmer for 10 minutes, remove peel, and place peel on a baking sheet.  Dry peel in a 250 degree oven for 20 minutes, while your cake is cooling!