HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Cakes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cakes. Show all posts

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Way Out West...Chocolate Babka from Martha Stewart



            One day last summer, Andrew was in a huge rush to catch the Jitney out to Bridgehampton.  Starving, he ran into a gourmet shop on Lexington Avenue.  Prior to this occasion, Andrew’s only encounter with Babka was on an episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry and Elaine were thwarted in their attempt to buy a Chocolate Babka and had to take a Cinnamon Babka instead.  Andrew was much more fortunate and was soon tucking into this glorious over-the-top indulgence with obscene amounts of chocolate miraculously held together by Brioche-like bread.  And something more:  A great Babka not only contains masses of chocolate, it combines all that chocolate with, yes, Cinnamon!  And as if the whole piece wasn’t already flawless, the Babka Andrew ate was covered in streusel.  I don’t think he was off the Jitney five minutes before he headed straight to the cookbook library we keep in our kitchen.  In very little time, he landed on a recipe calling for staggering amounts of chocolate, tablespoons full of cinnamon, streusel topping and no less than 5 sticks of butter.  Eureka!  Martha Stewart’s Mother’s Babka was coming to our kitchen.  And as I started to think of Thanksgiving recipes, I thought back to that Babka. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Coconuttiest of Coconut Cake of all time from John Barricelli of SoNo Bakery and Café


         
         Our friends, Don and Jeff had a dinner party this weekend.  Among the invitees were two of their friends from Miami, where they have a winter home. We'd met Jorge and Peter before.  In fact, the last time we met them, Andrew had brought the dessert pictured above (on Don and Jeff's kitchen counter).  As it turned out, Jorge had fallen so hard for this coconuttiest of all cakes, that whenever and wherever he saw Coconut cake on a menu, he would order it. For two years,  he kept hoping he'd find one that matched this incredible recipe.  And no wonder, this is a coconut lover’s dream, because it’s coconut on coconut covered with more coconut.  The result is a decadent buttery cake filled with coconut pastry cream. But it doesn’t even stop there.  Shredded coconut covers the coconut buttercream icing like a blizzard of sweetness.  It’s a three layer cake made in a single nine inch pan.  Is it hard to make?  Well I tried to convince Jorge and Peter that they too could achieve this result in Miami.  But I don't think I got very far.   Andrew then offered the following piece of new news.  Apparently one of our friends told him that she had taken a cake recipe off Chewing the Fat, gone to her local bakery and they had baked the cake for her. I keep thinking that Jorge might be able to pull that one off himself.  Because if he did, I could almost guarantee that baker would put this cake on their regular cake list instantly.  To non-bakers like Jorge and me, anything this elaborate looks difficult.  But Andrew assures me it’s not.  And I can promise you that the results are worth any degree of difficulty, it’s just that good.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Martha Stewart's Cornmeal Berry Sheet Cake




 There’s a twitter feed called “Drunk Ina Garten” written by someone as a parody.  And every time I post an Ina Garten piece, the guy who tweets it picks up on it in about five minutes flat, re-tweets it and I get tons of hits from his readers.  Strangely, there doesn’t seem to be one for our other local legend, whom I would have to think, could be subject of more parodies than our Ina.  That local legend is none other than Martha Stewart, whose makes East Hampton one of her four homes all within driving distance of each other—except perhaps the one in Maine which is a private jet away.  I owe a geat deal to Martha and I am not embarrassed to say it.  Here is a woman who almost single-handedly restored the joys of home-making, crafting, entertaining, gardening and housekeeping. I see her influence all over my own house and garden. Despite all I owe Martha, when I occasionally see her out and about locally and I am invariably too paralyzed to say hello to the woman. 
          And then there is her considerable contribution to home cooking.  She is of the  devotees of “Cook Your Way Through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” School of Culinary Education.   And it has certainly served her well.  Now the provenance of her recipes is sometimes questioned. Unlike Ina who is forthright about what she learned from whom, Martha never attributes a thing to anyone but Martha.  I feel compelled to attribute posts from Martha’s recipes not just this week but for two weeks running. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Martha Stewart's Strawberry Shortcake with Basil. The Perfect Cake to celebrate Uncle Andrew's Day!



Uncle Andrew...there from the very
beginning.
Last weekend, we celebrated Father’s Day with all the necessary cards, salutations on Facebook, telephone calls filled with praise for Dear Old Dad.   I know how much it meant to me and how much I admire the Dad in my own family who is raising one spectacular grandson.  And how spectacular is he?  Well, at age almost 4, he came to visit Uncle Andrew and me for Father’s Day two years ago.  As he proudly handed me an oversized
There for Mason always.
Father’s Day card, he turned to his mother and said “There really ought to be an Uncle Andrew’s Day”.  And well there should be.  When I think of how much Uncle Andrew does for Mason, the grandson in question, and then when I multiply it out for a lifetime of giving to his nieces and nephews and god children, there likely should an Uncle Andrew month.  Then, when I think of all the other uncles –the Terrys, the Shawns, the Jeffs, the Dons, the Michaels, the Jims, the Hueys, the Bills and the Peters—this ought to be a national holiday. Add to them all the single Moms –the Annas, the Cindys, the Zoilas--who are both mother and father to their children and Father’s Day just does not cover all the people it takes to raise a child.  So here’s to all of you on Uncle Andrew’s Day!  And what better way to celebrate than with a cake! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Triple-Chocolate Cheesecake from Abigail Johnson Dodge in Fine Cooking Magazine

        

I needn’t tell you the Sweets Factory at our house has been in overdrive ever since we arrived here for the holidays.  There have been dozens of cookies, a Red Velvet Cake, even a Norwegian “Fyrstekake” a Cardomon Almond confection, beautifully decorated with star-shaped pastry.  But I would have to say that the piece de resistance so far this season has been a Cheesecake that combined three kinds of chocolate – cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate and chocolate graham cracker crust.  It was a cheesecake lovers dream. But Andrew still managed to gild the lily by topping the cake with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.  This cake serves at least 16 people.  It was taken to a dinner party and then brought home and it’s been steadily diminishing in size ever since.   It is the perfect thing to bake for New Year’s Eve because it will actually taste even better tomorrow.  Andrew assures me it is easy to make.  I’ll take his word for it.  And also pass on a couple of hints he wanted to share with you. And here they are. Thanks to Andrew and Abigail Johnson Dodge who shared the recipe in Fine Cooking, one of our go-to sources for great recipes.

Friday, December 6, 2013

B'Soffener Kapuziner, an Austrian Family favourite nut-based cake, liberally doused with Gluhwein from the Stracey Family Cookbook


         When I was growing up in Montreal, my family had an endless stream of visitors, most of whom had some connection to my parent’s time in Britain during the Second World War.  They were both volunteers—my father was a Major in the Canadian Army and my mother worked tirelessly at the American Red Cross in London.  One of our visitors was a young man, my godmother’s nephew, who arrived in Montreal to study Engineering at McGill.   He ended moving in with us and became very much a part of our family.  He stayed in Canada after graduation and married a lovely girl from Austria. They had two daughters, and among other things, opened a restaurant called "Le Carafon". After years in Montreal, Simon returned to England and assumed his hereditary title as the baronet Stracey;  He became Sir John and his wife Lady Martha, who is referred to as her ladyship in the following post.  You may remember Lady Martha from last year’s spectacularly successful post on Austrian Cookies.  It has been downloaded over 2000 times.  Here’s the link:  http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2011/12/three-authentic-austrian-cookie-recipes.html.  This year, Simon promised me another authentic family recipe and he has made good on his offer. Here’s the story of B’Soffener Kapunziner and if it is as good as everything else her ladyship bakes, you should add it to your Christmas repertoire. By the way, you may not know it, but my family always called me Dick.  My first name is, after all, Richard.  “Chimo”, in case you wonder, is a greeting from the Inukitut language, spoken by the Inuits, as Canada's Eskimos are now called. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Blueberry Crumb Cake from John Barricelli's "The Seasonal Baker"

       
John Barricelli, Chef and
author of "The Seasonal Baker"
It’s blueberry season but I’ll take any excuse for making this combination of a vanilla cake with fresh blueberries and a chunky brown sugar crumb topping.  And since it can be eaten straight from the oven as a breakfast pastry or saved for an afternoon snack or a dessert with dinner, it’s ideal to have on hand over a weekend.  It’s another one of Baker John Barricelli’s triumphs from his South Norwalk CT SoNo Bakery.  You’ll find it in his latest book “The Seasonal Baker” 
(Clarkson Potter 2012) which we’ve raved about most recently for its French Lemon Tart.   What we loved about the tart—the concentrated lemon curd flavor of the filling—is mirrored in the intense blueberry flavor in this cake.  There’s even a juicy quality to the blueberries hidden under the topping.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Joanne Chang's Balsamic Strawberry Shortcakes from Boston's Flour Bakery

     
It’s strawberry season in the Hamptons and they’re truly flawless this year.  Nothing could be more welcome after our rainy, cold spring than these beautiful, bountiful berries.   And nothing says June like their arrival.  But time isn’t on our side.  The season is fleeting and the chance to put fresh local strawberries on the table is right now.  Out here, there are any number of road side strawberry fields where you can pick your own, a fun way to spend an afternoon with the children in your life.  We opted to go the lazy man’s route and bought our strawberries at our local farm stand down the road. We brought the brilliant red berries home and out came Joanne Chang’s “Flour” Cookbook, one of Andrew’s go-to sources for truly unbeatable baking recipes.  Use the search function on the left side of this page and you’ll come up with no less than 6 recipes from Ms. Chang, every single one of them a winner in our kitchen and with our friends.  This is no exception.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Peppermint Patty Flourless Chocolate Cake...And yes, it's Gluten-Free!


Peppermint Patty Flourless Chocolate Cake decked out for Easter


        
One of my oldest and dearest friends, Michael, was the first person I ever met with Celiac Disease, the root cause of which is gluten.  He suffered terribly through college, fearing the worst and not being diagnosed until after we’d graduated and he’d moved to London. Never one to sit on his hands, he attacked his condition with wonderful gluten-free meals.  He’d always been a good cook, and he swung into overdrive and ended up writing a wildly successful Gluten-Free Cookbook called “Great Healthy Eating Gluten Free” (Carrol & Brown 2000).  With over 50,000 copies sold, it’s now out of print but you can pick it up used on Amazon.  Now he shares his words of wisdom on his website http://www.gluten-free-world.com/ as he writes “Global Gluten-Free”, his foray into International gluten-free cooking. Michael has commented that not many recipes on Chewing the Fat are Gluten-Free.  He’s not wrong. But here’s one for him.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Raspberry Pistachio Cheesecake from John Barricelli of the SoNo Baking Company



            Just before Thanksgiving, Andrew heard from a friend from his college days requesting a dessert recipe using raspberries.  Well it took all of two minutes to remember a spectacular cheesecake he made earlier in the season.  But why it has never made an appearance on these pages is a bit of a puzzle.  The cake is the essence of what a truly great cheesecake should taste like--extremely, densely creamy with that wonderful tang from the touch of sour cream that’s added to the batter.  But in this version there’s so much more...a pistachio-flavored graham cracker crust, more pistachios ringing the cake and topping the whole thing off, a layer of brilliant red raspberries.  In planning our offerings for the dash from Thanksgiving to Christmas, I wanted to give our readers some easy weeknight meals and also to give some ideas for fantastic desserts for all the entertaining that happens this season. It was a no-brainer to include this phenomenal cake because it even looks like Christmas with it’s red and green coloration.  Raspberries, while hardly in season, are one of those fruits that are increasingly found year ‘round so it shouldn’t be too difficult to pull off this.  And oh what a response you can expect when the first bite puts everyone’s taste buds into high gear.  And the surprising thing is Andrew says it's not at all hard to make, it just looks it! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving 101 - Brown Butter Pumpkin Layer Cake



The Comfort Family's Farm on Lumber Lane in Bridgehampton. A great place to get your pumpkin if you are lucky enough to live on the East End.  
           Beyond Roast Turkey and Stuffing, there's nothing that says Thanksgiving more than pumpkin.  But this year, instead of pumpkin pie, how about a phenomenally delicious Pumpkin cake?  This one, with it's brown butter frosting and pecan topping, really does take the cake.  
        For Thanksgiving, Andrew is always bitten by the pumpkin bug…well, not literally, but he goes into high pumpkin mode.  With help from Fine Cooking, the magazine we really think would make a terrific addition to your kitchen, he made this  remarkable cake:  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Perfect Pound Cake courtesy of Michael's Mother Lorraine



         




         Our friend Michael of The Bridgehampton Florist, comes from a family of home bakers whose cakes are consistently the best things we’ve ever tasted.  We’ve featured the most famous, “Beatty’s Chocolate Cake” http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2010/07/beattys-chocolate-cake.html which made its print debut in Ina Garten’s “Back to Basics” a couple of years ago.  Andrew had baked any number of recipes and they’ve all been good.  But at an Event last summer, Andrew tasted Michael’s Mother Lorraine's version for the first time and he had to have the recipe for what is The Perfect Pound Cake.   And let’s face it, a great pound cake is the starting point for all kinds of wonderful desserts.  Topped with fruit, it’s the sweet contrast underneath.  Add a little ice cream and you have the warmth of the cake, the cool creamy richness of the ice cream and the tart tang of the fruit all together in a spoonful of heaven.  You can do so many things with pound cakes, that I counted 50 variations on epicurious.com alone!  So it stands to reason, that once you’ve learned the secrets to the perfect pound cake, you open up a whole dessert repertoire. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Olivia's 13th Birthday and The Pink Cake from Vintage Cakes’s Julie Richardson

Olivia and the Pink Cake


Left to right: Uncle Monte, Olivia and Uncle Andrew 
         Our god-daughter Olivia just turned 13 this month.  That’s a milestone in any girl’s life.  It’s also a pretty big one in ours too.  Andrew and I went to see her the day she was born and she’s been a big part of our lives ever since.  She’s grown into someone we are so proud to call our own.  She’s lovely, poised, and talented.  She has manners that would make any parent proud.  And she’s a sheer delight to be around.  So it’s only natural that Uncle Andrew would go all out for this year’s festivities.  He baked two kinds of Whoopie Pies for her all-girl Birthday party and we’ll get to those in a future post. But  today I wanted to share the every-girl’s-dream-cake that he made. You see, Olivia gets a festival of birthdays.  There's one for her friends. There's one with her family.  And there's one we call “The Uncle’s Birthday” which is where Andrew and I join forces with Olivia’s other uncles, Shawn and Terry, and celebrate.  And that’s where the Pink Cake appeared.  But before we get to the cake, a few words about pink.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Presenting "The Aunt Sassy", Pastachio Layer Cake from Baked Explorations



         It’s been too long since we shared a terrific baking recipe with you. For that I apologize. But after our Christmas baking binge, our house baker has been taking a long rest.  In truth, all our baking is done out at the Beach.  And for most of the winter, the Beach is off-limits to Andrew whose real estate business takes up most of his weekends.  Today, in anticipation of Easter and for all of you who crave the comfort on a great party cake, there’s this phenomenal confection from Brooklyn’s best bakers, the team at Baked, Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis.  And of course there’s a story attached to it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Orange and Olive Oil Cake




         For us, fall starts bang on Labor Day.  That’s it for Andrew being at the beach.  His real estate business in the city totally takes over his every weekend.  We will be lucky if he gets to Bridgehampton once between then and Thanksgiving.  This leaves me alone out there because, between Monte’s Ham and the blogs I work on, I need to be there at least every two weeks.  What it also does, is pretty well rule out having a fabulous dessert to take to fall parties.  Because I don’t really bake any more at all.  It reminds me of the old joke about the Limousine pulling up to the Plaza Hotel.  The chauffeur opens the trunk and removes a wheel chair.  He then opens the car door and assists a young man into the chair.  The boy’s mother follows and as they reach the hotel door, the doorman says to the mother; “I am so sorry your son can’t walk”.  The mother answers: “Can’t walk? Thank God he doesn’t have to.”  Can’t bake?  Thank God I don’t have to. Except recently I did and the results were really well received.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Perfect (Birthday) Party Cake adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”



         I was quite surprised to see that my Facebook Birthday reminders numbered 10 for this week.  It was by far the highest number I’d seen in a while and I wondered what on earth had caused this minor baby boom.  So I did some math.  It was then I discovered that if you’re born around this time, you were a twinkle in your parent’s eyes right around Christmas.  Apparently they seized upon the season to be jolly and you’re the living proof.  And to prove my point, according to Facebook, there another 16 September birthdays still to celebrate.  So I thought it might be fun to send you all a virtual birthday cake, something Andrew baked a little while ago that’s simply terrific.  With any luck, someone will take it upon himself or herself to bake you the real thing first chance they get.  This cake is truly worthy of any kind of celebration. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Peach Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Adapted from “All Cakes Considered”


  

         One of the most anticipated arrivals at our local farm stand is the peaches.  These deliciously juicy fruits with their beautiful golden flesh are the height of summer’s goodness.  It’s always a struggle to avoid those awful hard and hardly ripe early birds in favor of waiting until the real deal arrives.  Fortunately, this year’s crop is in full flavor right now.  Now peach pies and cobblers are standard ways to use this fruit.  But Andrew loves to find a reason to bake a cake and he found this fantastic recipe for one in “All Cakes Considered”.  The book is “a year’s worth of weekly recipes tested, tasted, and approved by the staff of National Public Radio’s ‘All Things Considered’ (Chronicle Books 2009).

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Andrew’s Flourless Chocolate Cake with the greatest accolade ever and a Meringue Topping to boot!



Roan and the Birthday Girl, Blythe.

         Andrew has quite the reputation for providing a great birthday cake.  Last weekend, he outdid himself by making three! Two were for a seventieth Birthday Party and one was for our lovely friend Blythe, who turned eleven. 
         The day after having a piece of this incredibly rich chocolate confection with its gorgeous meringue topping, Blythe’s 7 year old brother, Roan, was quoted as saying: “One of Andrew’s cakes is worth 10,000 birthday presents.”   Now if that is not a complement of the highest order, I don’t know what is.  But I do think it’s justified.  Andrew went all out on this one.      
         The author of this recipe, Sherry Yard, has an illustrious career. She’s the Executive Pastry Chef for Wolfgang Puck Worldwide.  As such she’s responsible for the sweet end of every meal at Spago, Chinois and Cut.  And for the celebrity mad among us, you may interested in knowing that her desserts are prominent features at the Academy Awards, the Grammy Awards and the Emmy Awards.  The Flourless Chocolate Cake recipe came from her second cookbook “Desserts by the Yard", (Houghton Mifflin 2007).
         The reason Andrew chose this recipe is that Blythe, Zoe and Roan’s mother, Monique has recently discovered that she is much better off eating gluten-free.  So in order for everyone in the family to enjoy Blythe’s birthday cake, Andrew went for a gluten-free recipe. Now if gluten-free sounds like a turn-off to you, you’ll be robbing yourself of an amazing treat.   
         Gluten-free is big these days because thousands of people have discovered that their tummy issues are linked to gluten, a protein that is commonly found in rye, wheat, and barley. Therefore, it is found in most types of cereals and in many types of bread. Not all foods in the grain family contain gluten. You’re safe with wild and brown rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teff, oats, soybeans, and sunflower seeds.  

I’ve been aware of the gluten issue for a very long time. My college roommate, Michael Cox, went through agony before he was finally diagnosed with celiac disease which is a gluten allergy gone wild.   In the end, Michael became such an expert on the subject that he’s written not one but two Gluten-Free Cookbooks!  You can order them here. I likely should too since I just gave my copy to Monique.

Sherry Yard, meanwhile, writes “if there is one recipe in this book that you must make, this cake is the one.  High praise indeed!  She gives full credit to Charlotte, the owner of a tiny London restaurant called Charlotte’s Place which was across Ealing Green from the cooking school Sherry attended in London. All hail Charlotte!  Andrew offers one final word of advice.  This cake is only as good as the chocolate you use to make it.  So spring for the good stuff and stay away from low-end supermarket chocolate.  Here is the recipe:
Here's a high-sided (2 in.)
10 inch tart pan made
by "Fat Daddio's"--
How appropriate!
Recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake with Meringue Topping courtesy of Sherry Yard
Equipment:  You must have a 10 inch fluted pan with side at least one inch deep or a 9 inch springform pan.  Anything less and the batter will overflow.





For the cake:

8 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or in pistole form (238g)

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces (4 ounces or 112g)

5 large eggs

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (236g)

½ cup cocoa powder (20g)





For the meringue topping:

8 large egg whites (~240g)

¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 ½ cups sugar (315g)

1
. 
For the cake base: Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10-inch diameter tart pan (at least one inch deep) or a 9-inch diameter springform pan, place on a foil-lined baking tray, and set aside.







2

. Place chocolate and butter in a double boiler or microwave-safe bowl and heat until completely melted, stirring often to avoid scorching the chocolate.



3
. Meanwhile, place eggs in a bowl and run under warm tap water for a few minutes until eggs no longer feel cool to the touch. Crack eggs into the bowl. Add sugar. Using the mixer's whisk attachment, whip the eggs and sugar on medium speed until mixture is light and thick and falls in a ribbon from whisk - about 2 minutes.












4. 
Add cocoa powder and mix on low speed until combined. Add melted chocolate mixture and mix until well combined.



5. 

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate tray front to back and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, until surface of cake is just firm to the touch but still looks wet in the center and has a bit of jiggle. Place on a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.











6. 
For the meringue topping: Preheat oven to 375F. Place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer and allow whites to come to room temperature.

7. 

Continue whipping the whites, while adding the sugar little by little, until meringue is thick and glossy and stiff peaks form.



















8. 
Pile meringue onto cooled cake. Spread meringue to within an inch of the outer edge of the cooled cake base, twirling and fluffing the meringue into attractive peaks and curls.



















9. 
Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned. Serve directly from baking pan. Refrigerate leftovers.



Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blackberry or Blueberry or Raspberry or Strawberry Buttermilk Cake





         Today, I wanted to share a really terrific cake that Andrew made last weekend…twice.  The tangy buttermilk makes the cake so deliciously moist and adaptable to any one of those gorgeous berries that are at our Farm Stands right now.  It lets the flavor of the fruit come through because it’s topped with a dusting of powdered sugar  which takes nothing away from the berries but gives you a sweet and decorative finish.  As delicious as it is, that’s not really the reason Andrew made it twice.  Read on…

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake and Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream with thanks to Melissa Clark and David Lebowitz



        It’s been a long, rainy spring here.  But true to form, we’ve gone directly from complaining about the cold to exclaiming about the heat. It hit the 90s this week which is way too hot, way too early.  Our garden, however, has never looked better and we’re ready to celebrate the end of what seemed like an endless winter.  And if anything says let a new chapter begin, it’s Rhubarb and Strawberries.  Sad to say, our local crops aren’t yet ready. But we were. And so last weekend, Andrew combined the two to create a wonderful dessert.