Tag Archives: cakes

Caramel Cake and Wishes for a Very Sweet New Year

with-champagne-1 Restraint can wait. Let’s usher out 2016 with decadence. This is a time-honoured Southern Caramel Cake. If anyone knows how to bake a Southern classic it is the Lee Brothers, Matt and Ted, from Charleston. This recipe hails from their book The Lee Brothers Charleston Kitchen.

Admittedly, this cake is a labour of love. But, if you can read and follow instructions, the Lee Brothers will take you by the hand and guide you, step by step, through this challenging but fun to make cake. The tricky part is the caramel icing. A candy thermometer and an instant read thermometer are critical to success.

The cake layers are rich and buttery, and come together quickly.cake-into-pansIt never ceases to amaze me how simple ingredients like milk, sugar and butter are transformed into a fluffy caramel frosting. spreading-caramelThe gossamer light caramel icing, dissolves almost instantly on your tongue. It has a perfect salty-sweet balance that keeps you coming back for bite after bite.adding-pearlsI found some leftover Callebaut Dark Chocolate Pearls in the cupboard and decided to decorate to top of the cake with them.

Wishing you all a sweet, happy and healthy new year.

Click here for recipe for Caramel-Cake.


Apple Custard Cake

sliced-cakeI have a recipe for an apple caramel cake that is outstanding. But some occasions (maybe breakfast if you’re my husband) call for a simpler cake. This cake is perfect for those times. This is a dense cake. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I mean dense in the best possible sense. This is yellow cake at it’s finest. Owing to butter, eggs, whole milk and sour cream it has a compact velvety texture.

My dad would have described this cake as plain. And he would have meant it as a great compliment. He liked subtle flavours, nothing too sweet, ornate or fancy. The inspiration for this cake comes from Sarabeth’s Good Morning Cookbook. Sarabeth knows good breakfast!

The first tweak I made to the original recipe was to toast the sugar. Stella Parks over at Serious Eats convinced me to give it a try. The bottom line is that toasting sugar in the oven tames sugar’s sweetness and the longer you toast it, the more intense the caramel flavour will be. Check out her article if food science is your jam.

I toasted my sugar for about 2 1/2 hours. The toasted sugar is on the right. I tasted both, side by side and did find that the toasted sugar tasted less sweet. You can toast 4 pounds at one time and it will keep forever, just like white sugar. toasted-sugarStart with a 9 inch tube pan (also called an angel food cake pan). Butter and flour the pan very well.brushing-panI made this cake twice last week. The first time I made it, I found it too plain. (Sorry dad!). On the second go-round I added an additional layer of apples and coated the apple slices in cinnamon-sugar.

Half the batter goes into the pan. Smooth it out.smoothing-batterI used the first Honeycrisp apples of the fall season! Pink Lady or Granny Smith would also be great choices.slicing-applesTop batter with cinnamon apples.arranging-applesRepeat with a second layer of batter and cinnamon apples. Then drizzle with custard mixture.drizzling-custardResist the urge to turn the cake out of the pan until it has completely cooled. Your patience will be handsomely rewarded. 3-slicesThe ribbon of cinnamon coated apples that runs through the center of this cake is quite beautiful.one-slice-1

Click here to print recipe for Apple-Custard-Cake.


Brown Butter Banana Cake with Coconut Meringue

serving cake 2Ok, let’s all breathe a big sigh of relief. We made it through January. We’ve heaped the recommended daily servings of veggies onto our plates all month long. I’ve posted about carrots, green beans, cauliflower and chick peas. It’s officially February. Can we please talk about (and eat) cake?

Specifically, this cake. Brown Butter Banana Cake with Coconut Meringue. This is indeed a magical cake. A layer of airy coconut meringue is spread over a base of banana cake batter. The whole thing goes into the oven and comes out perfectly baked, 30 minutes later. As I placed it into the oven, I  had my doubts that the cake layer would be completely baked by the time the meringue was golden brown.

But, given the source of this recipe, I should have known not to worry. This cake was crafted by the genius mind of pastry chef Joanne Yolles. I have been a fan since I first tasted her coconut cream pie at Scaramouche restaurant many years ago. It’s kind of brilliant to layer meringue over cake batter. Culinary alchemy at it’s finest.

We need to brown the butter because “brown food tastes better“. This recipe is a perfect way to use up those brown bananas buried deep in your freezer.what you'll needbeating brown butterI used a 10 x 10 inch cake pan. A 9 x 13 pan would also work well. Don’t use anything smaller. You want a shallow layer of cake, so that the cake batter and meringue are done at the same time.tipping batter into pansmoothing out banana battertopping with coconut meringueThe brown butter banana cake is feather light and very fragrant. The coconut meringue is soft and all marshmallowy underneath that crispy browned top.cake for 1Top with a light dusting of icing sugar.a dusting of icing sugarAnd, a scoop of vanilla ice cream too, because you deserve it.with ice cream 625 sq

Click here to print recipe for Brown Butter Banana Cake with Coconut Meringue.

cake for 3

Cherry Cake with Pistachio Crumble Topping

If you happened to be at Your Independent Grocer (or “THE YIG“, as my sister likes to call it) in Smiths Falls, Ontario, last Wednesday, at around 2:30 p.m, and you heard a crazy woman let out a gleeful scream, well, that would be me. You see, as I turned the corner, just past the pluots and nectarines, I spied a bin filled with Ranier cherries.

The Rainier cherry is the sweetest, prettiest and most pampered of cherries. Developed in 1953, it is a cross between the Bing and Van varieties. Golden to orange to pale red in colour on the outside, one bite reveals a creamy yellow flesh. They are more delicate and sweeter than Bing cherries. The season for Ranier cherries is extremely short, a few weeks in mid July, and then it’s over.

During cherry season, I eat cherries like it’s my job. During Ranier cherry season, I work overtime! I filled my cart with several bags of Ranier cherries and probably ate at least a pound of them on the drive back to the cottage. I continued to gorge on Ranier cherries for the next several days and pretty soon I was sweating cherry juice. (In my defense, it was quite humid.) It became apparent that I would have to do something with the cherries before the rest spoiled.

Tartelette’s blog  came to my rescue! If you haven’t discovered this blog yet, I urge you to go on over for a visit. It is charming and filled with wonderful recipes and gorgeous drool inducing photography. She made little cherry cakes topped with a pistachio crumble. Brimming with fresh cherries and slightly flavoured with lemon zest. this cake is a wonderful way to celebrate cherry season. I made it with my surplus of Ranier cherries, but in hindsight, the flavour of Ranier cherries is so delicate, and the colour so pale, they were lost in the cake. Next time I make it, I will use Bing cherries.

Pitting the cherries is the most time-consuming task in making this cake. if you don’t have a cherry pitter, do it this way:

The crumble and cake come together very quickly. I made a 9 inch square cake, although if you have mini cake pans, it would make an adorable presentation!

Click here to print recipe for Cherry Cakes With Pistachio Crumble Topping .