Fresh Peach Cake

We have had many people stay in our guest room over the four short years that we’ve lived here.  Friends, family, students and even a few puppies.  It’s a joy to share our home with all of these wonderful people.  Our last guest gave me a bag of fresh Georgia peaches and told me to make some fun recipes with them.  Here’s round #1.

This recipe is from Food Network Magazine, June 2011.

No substitutions were made.

peach cake 1

Fresh Peach Cake

1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 c sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 c sour cream, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large ripe peachs, peeled, pitted and sliced
1/2 c chopped pecans

peach cake 2

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 inch square baking pan.

IN the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and 1 cup of the sugar for 3 to 5 minutes on med-high speed, until light and fluffy.  With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, then the sour cream and vanilla, and mix until the batter is smooth.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and slat.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix just until combined.  In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.

Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan.  Top with half of the peaches, then sprinkle with two-thirds of the sugar mixture.  Spread the remaining batter on top, arrange the remaining peaches on top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture and the pecans.

Bake the cake for 45 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

peach cake 3

cartoon-strawberry-9Fresh Peach Cake – Is there anything more need be said?  This is not an overly sweet cake, and pairs wonderfully with a vanilla latte.  (Thank the heavens for my barista husband.)

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Nathan’s Lemon Cake

I’m a sucker for anything lemon.  Lemon cake, lemon cookies, lemon/honey glaze on chicken.  It’s bright and tangy and makes me happy.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, May 2008.

No substitutions were made.

Lemon Cake 1

Nathan’s Lemon Cake

Cake:
2 tblsp all-purpose flour
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 c nonfat buttermilk
2 tblsp finely grated elmon rind
2 tblsp fresh lemon juice

Icing:
3 c powdered sugar
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1 tblsp lemon rind
1/4 c fresh lemon juice
Lemon Rind Strips (optional)

Lemon Cake Collage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare cake, coat 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; line bottoms of pans with wax paper.  Coat wax paper with cooking spray.  Dust pans with 2 tblsp flour, and set aside.

Lightly spoon 2 c flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine 2 c flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes).  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Beat in lemon rind and juice.

Pour batter into prepared pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles.  Bake at 350 for 32 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans.  Cool completely on wire rack; remove wax paper from cake layers.

To prepare icing, combine all ingredients in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth.  Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread half of icing on top of the first layer.  Top with second cake layer.  Spread remaining half of icing over the top of the cake.  Garnish with lemon rind strips, if desired.  Store cake loosely covered in the refrigerator.  Yield 16 servings.

Lemon Cake 2

cartoon-strawberry-9Anybody out there a fan of Starbucks Lemon Loaf Cake?  You know how their cake is moist in an ‘oily’ sort of way?  This cake is on par for taste of Stbux Lemon Loaf, but is moist and light and not oily, and it has TWO LAYERS.  It’s probably my favorite lemon cake to date.  (I’m contemplating making another one tonight…)

Ode to a Strawberry

strawberries

I love strawberry season.  I’ll buy 2 lbs of strawberries and eat them all myself in just a few days.  And there are endless recipes to be found using fresh strawberries.  Below I’ve listed the few I’ve made in the last month or so.  Click on the title to link to the recipe.

Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

roasted strawberry buttermilk cake

I made this for sweet Kari’s birthday cake.  Super Yum.  I would double the strawberries being roasted, just to be sure you have enough for the cake and extra for topping.  The roasted strawberries would be great too as a topping for yogurt in the mornings.

Strawberry Almond Bread

strawberry almond bread

I’ve made three loaves of this bread in the last month or so.  It’s great for toasting or sandwiches, and husband loves it.  I’ve used plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream each time.

Fresh Strawberry Mint Lemonade

strawberry-mint lemonade

I’m a sucker for anything with peppermint in it.  I did strain out a bunch of the pulp from the berries, but it’s still thick and wonderful.  I cut in a little Trader Joes Sparkling Lemon water to thin it out.

Strawberry Crumb Bars

strawberry crumb Collage

We had some friends over for dinner and I made this as our dessert.  So buttery.  So crumbly.  So good.  Make this now and invite some friends over for dessert.

Extra-Special Dark Chocolate Cake

Last fall, husband and I went out on a Saturday for some wandering.  In our adventures, we came upon a small antique store and decided to see what treasures it might hold.  Not surprisingly, I came home with a cook book.  Meta Given’s Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking, Vol 1, A-F.  If I’m reading the inside cover correctly, mine is from the sixth printing in 1957.  It’s a worn out book, the printed spine is about to fall off and the previous owner left notes, newspaper clippings and other recipes tucked inside.  Such a treasure to me.

We had some friends over for dinner a last week, and I thought the “Extra-Special Dark Chocolate Cake” would be the perfect dessert to serve to some extra special people.

No substitutions were made.

dark choc cake 1

Extra-Special Dark Chocolate Cake

2 1/2c cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4c brown sugar, packed
3/4 c shortening
1 whole egg and 3 egg yolks
3 squares unsweet chocolate, melted & cooled
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c sweet milk – from the touch of research I did, ‘sweet milk’ is fresh milk. I used 2%.

Line bottoms of two 9-inch layer pans with waxed paper – grease paper.  Start oven 10 min before baking; set to moderate (350 degrees). – I skipped the wax paper and sprayed my pans with Bakers Joy.

Sift four, measure, re-sift 3 times with soda and salt.  Put sugar through coarse sieve if lumpy.  Cream shortening and sugar with wooden spoon until smooth and shiny.  Remove spoon and use rotary beater to bean in egg and yolks, beating until smooth and fluffy.Remove beater and use spoon.  Stir in chocolate and vanilla. – I used my stand mixer for all beating and stirring.

dark choc cake 2

Add flour and milk alternating in 3 or 4 portions, beginning and ending with flour and beating until well-blended after each.  Turn into prepared pans.  Bake 22 to 25 minutes or until cake tests done.  Cool in pans on cake racks 5 minutes, then turn out on racks, strip off paper and invert to finish cooling.

dark choc cake 3

And what would chocolate cake be without a great frosting??  I used the Coffee Butter Frosting, from this same cookbook.

Coffee Butter Frosting

1/3 c medium grind coffee
1 c cold water
1/4 c soft butter
2 c xxxx sugar (powdered sugar), sifted and packed
1/4 tsp salt
1 tblsp corn syrup

Add coffee to water and heat just to boiling; remove from heat, cover and let stand 2 min, then strain through fine sieve or cheese-cloth to remove all grounds.  Cool before adding to frosting. – I had husband make me a shot of espresso. 🙂

Cream butter until smooth and shiny, gradually blend in sugar alternately with about 3 tblsp of the coffee.  Then beat in the salt and the corn syrup until mixture has good spreading consistency.

dark choc cake 4

cartoon-strawberry-9Oh what a cake.  The batter was almost the consistency of pudding, and I had to rinse out the bowl before I stuck my head in it to lick it clean.  As you can see, the frosting wasn’t quite enough to cover both layers, but there was enough to make them stick.  In the future I’d double all the ingredients for the frosting, except for the coffee and maybe add a bit of chocolate syrup to make more of a mocha flavor.

A slice of this cake and one of husband’s latte’s were a wonderful compliment of each other.  And a perfect treat to share with our Extra-Special friends!

Individual Gooey Butter Cakes

The first time I had Butter Cake was at a restaurant here in Nashville, I was splitting a piece with a friend.  We very politely fought over every last bite and both considered licking the bowl.  Maybe a year later I came across a recipe for Butter Cake on Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen Blog.  So far I’ve always halved the recipe, not wanting to over indulge in the deliciousness.

Then my darling friend Leslie had the best idea EVER, why not use a muffin pan and make individual cakes?

Here is the link to the original recipe – Gooey Butter Cake

butter cake 1

Individual Gooey Butter Cakes

Crust:
1 1/4 c flour
1 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c milk
1/2 stick butter – melted
1/8 c beaten egg

Filling:
4 oz cream cheese
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 stick butter – melted
1 1/2 + 1/8 c confectioners sugar

butter cake 2

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter muffin cups.

Prepare crust first.  In a large bowl, combing all crust ingredients with a wooden spoon until moist.  Measure out 1/8 c of crust mixture into each muffin cup, press down evenly and set pan aside.

Prepare the filling.  With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy.  Add eggs, vanilla and melted butter and continue to mix.  Add sugar 1/2 cup at a time until all sugar is mixed in.  Pour 1/8 c of filling over crust in each muffin cup.

Bake for 20 minutes until tops are slightly browned.  Cool 15 minutes before serving.  Use a small offset spatula to remove the cakes.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh berries (or both!).

butter cake 3

Caramel Cake

I found another cookbook hiding in my office.  Hallelujah! The Welcome Table by Maya Angelou.  A memoir of her life and the accompanying recipes.  I decided to try her mothers Caramel Cake.

Caramel Cake

8 tblsp butter
1 1/4 c Sugar
1/4 c Caramel Syrup
2 c sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c milk
2 large eggs
Caramel Frosting

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two 8 inch layer cake pans with greased wax paper. – I sprayed mine with Bakers Joy and skipped the wax paper.

In large mixing bowl, beat butter, and add 1 cup sugar gradually until light and fluffy.  Beat in syrup.

In medium mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt together.  Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture, alternating with milk.

In separate medium mixing bowl, beat eggs about 3 minutes, until foamy.  Add remaining sugar, and beat until there is a fine spongy foam.  Stir into cake batter until blended.

Divide batter between cake pans.  Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove pans from oven.  Gently press center of cake with forefinger.  Cake should spring back when finger is removed.  If it doesn’t, return to oven for 10 minutes.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto rack, and remove wax paper.  Let cakes cook to room temperature before frosting.

To assemble: Center one cooled cake layer on cake plate.  Cover top and sides with generous helping of frosting.  Place second layer evenly on frosted layer.  Repeat frosting procedure.  Make certain that sides are completely frosted.  Cool in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Caramel Syrup

1 c white sugar
1 c boiling water

Heat sugar in a heavy skillet over low heat. Stir constantly until melted to a brown liquid. When it bubbles over entire surface, remove from heat. Slowly add boiling water, stirring constantly. Pour into container to cool.
I’m not sure how long I thought this would take, but just to melt down the sugar was at least a 40 minute process. If you decide to make this cake, I would make the caramel syrup in the morning and the cake in the afternoon.

Caramel Frosting

6 tblsp butter
8 oz package confectioners sugar
4 tblsp heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Brown butter in heavy pot over medium heat – be vigilant or it will burn.  Allow butter to cool.  In large mixing bowl, add sugar, cream vanilla and salt to the butter, and beat until smooth.  If frosting is too stiff, add tblsp of half and half or cream to thin.

This cake was baked for a special birthday, and we all LOVED it.  It’s time consuming, but well worth the effort.