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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
Add the granulated sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- At medium speed, beat in the eggs 1 at a time until just incorporated, then beat in the vanilla;
- scrape down the side of the bowl. Beat in the dry ingredients and buttermilk in 3 alternating batches, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
- At low speed, beat in the lemon juice.Scrape the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and use a spatula to smooth the surface. 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.
- 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.
The glazed cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen.
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.
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
- 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.
- In large mixing bowl, combine nuts, diced fruit, dark raisins, golden raisins, lemon and orange zest. Mix well. Add baking soda, pastis, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Stir to mix.
- In medium saucepan over medium heat, combine 1 3/4 cups water with honey, sugar, rum and star anise. Bring to boil, and immediately remove from heat. Remove and discard star anise. Pour liquid into bowl of fruit and nuts, and stir gently. Let mixture rest for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally . Add all-purpose flour, stir well and let rest for 2 or 3 minutes.
- Divide batter among pans; the pans will be about 3/4 full. Place 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.)
- 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.
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!!
- 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
- Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.
- Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8, 9 or 10 inches. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle 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.
- Bake 1 hour, approximately. Remove 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.)