Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Lemon

November 29, 2016 § Leave a comment

When the weather starts cooling, it becomes all the more appealing to retreat to the kitchen, warm up the oven and bake something delicious. If I have extra time, I will go all out and spend the afternoon making some easy-to-freeze cakes, that I know will be ready anytime. Such an afternoon happened recently and one of SWEETTABLESCAPES creation was this massive and massively-yummy Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Lemon  from Food and Wine Magazine.

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You’ll need: 

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
GLAZE
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of fine salt

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 
325°. Generously butter a 10-inch Bundt pan and dust with flour.img_0010In a medium bowl, whisk the 3 1/2 cups of flour with the salt 
and baking soda.

  1. MAKE THE CAKEIn a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the 1 1/2 sticks of butter with the shortening at medium-high speed until smooth. img_0011img_0012
    Add the granulated sugar and 
beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.img_0013
  2. img_0014At medium speed, beat in the eggs 1 at a time until just incorporated, then beat in the vanilla; img_0015
  3. img_0016scrape down the side of the bowl. Beat in the dry ingredients and buttermilk in 3 alternating batches, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. img_0017
  4. img_0018
  5. img_0019At low speed, beat in the lemon juice.Scrape the batter into the prepared 
Bundt pan and use a spatula to smooth 
the surface.img_0020 Bake in the middle of the oven 
for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking, until 
a toothpick inserted in the center of the 
cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool on 
a rack for 30 minutes, then turn it out on 
a platter or cake stand to cool completely.
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  6. MAKE THE GLAZEIn a medium bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar with 
the lemon zest, lemon juice, butter and 
salt until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over
the top of the cake, letting it drip down 
the sides. Let stand for 20 minutes 
until the glaze is set. Cut the cake into wedges and serve.

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MAKE AHEAD

The glazed cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen.

Thanksgiving Cookies, 2016

November 22, 2016 § Leave a comment

Time to prepare for the beautiful traditions of Thanksgiving and to reflect on all that is good in our lives. At SWEETTABLESCAPES, the good in our lives is really the pleasure of baking sweet treats that make people happy and become a fun and tasty part of their celebrations…So here are some of our creations for this Thanksgiving season:

These pie-cookies are just too cute in their individual package> Perfect as favors or place-settings!!

These pie-cookies are just too cute in their individual package. Perfect as favors or place-settings!!

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Give your guests a cookie to write on…everyone is thankful for something!!

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Look who came to visit, a couple of pilgrims. Give them to each guest!!

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Pain d’epices: a French classic

November 18, 2016 § Leave a comment

I still remember the Pain d’Epices of my childhood, store-bought, dense, and plain (no nuts or dried fruit in it, which suited me just fine since I really did not care for the extra-sugary, syrupy cherry bits that seemed to be the standard addition in many a “pain d’epices”). Mine was simple and perfectly sliced in its cellophane wrapping. I could grab a piece anytime and I did!! I particularly enjoyed it with a piece of chocolate…

Fast forward a few years(..??) and here I am attempting the real deal…A Pain d’Epices with loads of dried fruit and nuts; and since homemade is still the bomb, it came out fantastically spicy, nutty and altogether delicious. Even got a major husband’s stamp of approval!

This recipe had been sitting in my files ( I think I cut that one out from the New-York Times) for quite some time and with the holidays approaching,  I really wanted to give it a try. Done! And needless to say, this will become a traditional giveaway dessert at SWEETTABLESCAPES. 

img_0021You’ll need:

2 cups nuts, preferably a mix of sliced almonds, slivered almonds, skinned pistachios, skinned hazelnuts, walnut halves and pine nuts

1 cup dried fruit cut in small dice, preferably equal amounts of apricots, figs, prunes and dates

1/4 cup dark raisins

1/4 cup golden raisins

finely grated zest of 1 lemon

finely grated zest of 1 orange

4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp pastis or other anise-flavored liqueur (we used Anisette)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves (optional)

pinch of salt

1 cup pine honey or other strong flavored honey (we used lavender honey)

3/4 cup sugar

2 TBsp dark rum

2 pieces star anise, tied in cheesecloth

3 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter four or five aluminum-foil baby loaf pans. Dust insides with flour and tap out excess. Place pans on baking sheet; set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine nuts, diced fruit, dark raisins, golden raisins, lemon and orange zest. img_0001Mix well. Add baking soda, pastis, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Stir to mix.img_0002
  3. In medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 3/4 cups water with honey, sugar, rum and star anise. img_0003Bring to boil, and immediately remove from heat. Remove and discard star anise. Pour liquid into bowl of fruit and nuts, and stir gently.img_0004 img_0005Let mixture rest for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally . Add all-purpose flour, stir well and let rest for 2 or 3 minutes.img_0006img_0007
  4. Divide batter among pans; the pans will be about 3/4 full. img_0008Place baking sheet in oven. Bake until knife inserted in center of cakes comes out with the tiniest bit of moist batter at the tip, 45 to 50 minutes. (Check cakes after 20 minutes of baking; if at any time the cakes appear to be browning too quickly, cover them loosely with tent of aluminum foil.)img_0009
  5. Transfer cakes to a rack, and cool to room temperature. Unmold, and wrap in plastic film. To serve, cut into thin slices. the cakes are best after ripening for 3 days at room temperature. If sealed in airtight wrap, they may be frozen for a month.

NOTE: This cake is an excellent keeper. In fact, it should not really be eaten until 3 days after it’s made; its flavors need time to ripen. In addition, this cake is great toasted for breakfast and superb with savory foods.

 

 

 

 

 

Date Night cookies!

November 10, 2016 § Leave a comment

SWEETTABLESCAPES recently got a request for a Date Night basket for a raffle; so we found a book on romantic excursions, the DVD of the movie “Date Night” (Tina Fey and Steve Carell), some candy and most of all some cookies:

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(sorry for the dark pics)

Election Night Cookies!

November 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

Like most Americans by now, you probably have had it with the continuous coverage of the presidential campaign…I have to admit that I have! I am ready to get to the booths already and do the deed!

What is much more fun however, is to bake some Election Cookies and devour them with friends on November 8th!

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Plum Torte, too easy and delicious to pass up!!

October 31, 2016 § Leave a comment

This recipe is apparently the New York Times most requested recipe ever and has appeared in its pages since 1983. It was published yet again this year and SWEETTABLESCAPES pounced on the opportunity to make this extra simple recipe which only requires a handful of ingredients!! The results explain the incredible popularity of this torte which is truly delicious, moist and fruity!!

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You’ll need:

  • ¾ to 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  Pinch of salt (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 24 halves pitted purple plums
  •  Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. img_0013img_0014Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.img_0015img_0016img_0017
  3. Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8, 9 or 10 inches. img_0011img_0018Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. fullsizeoutput_26e7fullsizeoutput_26e8Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon.
  4. Bake 1 hour, approximately. img_0020Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream. (To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.)

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Halloween Treats 2016

October 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

Quick, quick before it’s too late, some of SWEETTABLESCAPES ‘s creations for this year’s Halloween:

Our classic Minis!!

Our classic Minis!!

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Fun with words: Trick or treat, Hocus Locus Minis

as well as EEKs and BOOs!!

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Using stencils from the Cookie Countess, we created those cute spiderwebs..

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Our confetti cookies in Halloween colors are perfect to fill small boxes for favors…

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Some regular size sugar cookies:

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Some Pumpkin Spice and Vanilla Marshmallows:

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Some pretzels:

fullsizerender-2And some fun cans of Hot Chocolate:

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Then came the time for packaging…

First some colorful filler:

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And some nice ribbon!!

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