Sunday, December 4, 2016

Cowboy Cake - American Cake - Yeah, no.

Served scooped into a bowl. 
This cake is made in a dutch oven, in theory you can make it in camp fire. I baked this one in a oven, clearly. Well not clearly but if you know me you there is no campfire anywhere around.

This is SWEET, sweet cake. It has a cup of raisins and 2 cups of sugar. It has only 2 cups of flour. A one to one sugar to flour ratio is super sweet. I poured cream over it (not that that's ever bad) to calm that sugar down.

But on the theme of learning new techniques, I've never done this before.

The recipe:
1 cup raisins
3 cup water
1 tablespoon shortening
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
.5 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups flour

Topping
reserved cooking liquid
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon shortening

Preheat the oven 350 degree.
Simmer the raisins in water for 15 minutes in a dutch oven. Drain and reserve the liquid. Return 1 cup liquid to the dutch oven. Add 1 tablespoon shortening, stir until melted, cool. Add the baking soda, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Stir until smooth. Add the plumped raisins.

In a small pan heat the rest of the cooking liquid, 1 cup sugar and the last tablespoon of shortening. Bring to a boil. When it reached 220 degrees gently pour over the raw cake batter.

Cover with a lid and bake 25 to 30 minutes. Test with toothpick, when it comes out clean the cake is done. Serve warm with ice-cream or cold whipping cream.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Lemon & Molasses Marble Cake - (sorry that's not chocolate and vanilla) - American Cake

Surprise! Not chocolate! 
So if I had to guess the author Anne Byrn, bless her heart, didn't bake these cake in consecutive order in which they are published. You know, kind of how I'm almost doing. I say that because I'm about sick to death of cinnamon and I'm on cake nine (10th in the book, I'll swing back for the Great Cake). I like cinnamon, but a girl can only take so much. The one before and the one after this is heavy on the cinnamon. I know, it's the taste of the times. No wonder chocolate, when it found its way, made such an impression.

This cake was moist and stunning, which is a lot when talking about cakes. If I were ever called on creating a lemon/molasses flavored anything I'd make this cake again. I do have a gingersnap cookie that takes lemon oil, so I can't say it I've never put these two together before. But your mind really wants you to think this is chocolate and vanilla. There were sad imaginary trombones going waa-waa when I announced the true flavor of the cake to the teens in the crowd. Hopes were so dashed.

We see cream of tartar, baking soda, and buttermilk coming into play, LEAVENING! which is nice.

You're going to need 3 bowls. One for molasses, one for lemon, one for egg white whipping.

Molasses Layer

6 tablespoons butter, room temp
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
3 egg yolks, reserve the whites
.75 cup molasses
1.66 cups flour
.5 teaspoon baking soda
.5 teaspoon cream of tartar
.5 teaspoon cinnamon
.25 teaspoon mace
.25 teaspoon nutmeg
.25 teaspoon cloves
6 tablespoons buttermilk

Lemon  Layer

6 tablespoons butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
zest from 2 lemons
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1.66 cups flour
.5 teaspoon baking soda
.5 teaspoon cream of tartar
.75 cup buttermilk

3 egg whites
.125 teaspoon salt (1/8)

Spray a tube pan. Set oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the molasses and eggs. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredient so the creamed mixture, mix lightly. Lastly add the buttermilk. Let mix for a full minute. Set aside.

For the lemon cake, cream the butter and sugar. Add the zest and juice. Combine the dry ingredients and add to the creamed sugar mixture. Add the buttermilk.

In clean bowl whip the egg whites and salt until stiff. Put about a quarter of the eggs into the lemon batter. Mix vigorously, it will loosen the batter. Fold in the remainder of the egg whites gently, but thoroughly so there are no streaks of white.

I use a scoop to portion the batter, alternating between the two, into the tube pan. Take a knife and swirl the batters together twice-ish. Don't do it too much or you'll get a muddy cake.

Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out cleanly. I'm reluctant to give a time because pans vary too much.

You can glaze the cake with a glaze made of 1.5 cups powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Or you can just sprinkle it with powdered sugar.




Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Fraunces Tavern Carrot Tea Cake - American Cake - Meh

It's pretty enough
I love carrots. 
My kid will tell you I'd cook them all the time if she'd eat them. I do cook them regularly in things let her pick around because you know, it's not a restaurant I'm running here. This recipe comes from a restaurant Washington dined at. 

I saw this recipe and thought, yes! Carrot cake. Then I looked more closely and saw it was going to be dense because this predates chemical leavening. I was pleasantly surprised that it got taller than I expected however, it was still a tighter crumb than what I find pleasant. At two cups of sugar to two cups of flour this is a sweet, solid cake. 

I'm looking forward to the invention of baking soda, to be honest. 

4 medium carrots, peeled, simmered, then grated
.75 cup butter (12 tablespoons)
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg or mace 
.5 teaspoon salt

350 degree oven, 10 inch springform pan, sprayed and lined with parchment. 

Simmer the carrots until tender, drain, cool and grate. 
Cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix until smooth and satiny. Add the dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly about a minute on a stand mixer. Stir in the carrots by hand. Pour into the cake pan and bake 40 minutes until a tester inserted comes out clean.

Serve with whipped cream. 

 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Amazing Sponge! Harriott Horry's Water Cake - American Cake

Raspberries on Water Cake
American Cake is great because I'm learning new things and techniques! Back when sugar was sold in cones of sugar one needed to process the sugar to use it for baking. This recipe makes a thick syrup of sugar that's about the consistency of corn syrup. 

Like all sponges this has no fat outside of what you find in eggs and is baked in an ungreased pan. From what I read it's very close to an Italian Sponge Cake. This recipe just tickles me. I call it an honest cake. It is the flavor of sugar, eggs and flour. It is such a beauty, and easy to make with a stand mixer. The one caveat is to allow time for this one. The syrup mixture needs time to cool. The cake needs to cool in the pan as well. This isn't a rush home and toss it in the oven kind of cake, but you know taking TIME is the secret element that no one discusses. Many people tout getting things accomplished in as little time as possible. Not me and not this cake.   

Water Cake
12 ounces sugar
4 ounces water
5 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
6 ounces flour

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Prep a 10 inch springform pan by NOT greasing it, but cutting a disc of parchment to fit the bottom. 

I'm using weights here because I used weight to make the cake. If you don't have a scale for baking, you sincerely should. 

In a small pot combine the sugar and water, bring to a boil and simmer until the sugar is no longer granular. Brush down any crystals clinging to the sides of a pan with a pastry brush dipped in water. Let cool. 

In a bowl of a stand mixer gently combine the eggs. In a slow stream while the mixer is on low, add the sugar syrup. Once it's all combined, scrape the sides of the bowl and whip on medium-high for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the volume is doubled. Remove the bowl from the stand and gently mix the flour in by hand. Be careful not to deflate the eggs and don't be slow to getting the cake to the oven once it's poured into the pan. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan 15 minutes; while it is still warm run a knife around the cake, loosening it from the pan. Allow it to cool completely. 

It's a sturdy cake and can handle being flipped to remove the parchment from the bottom. Serve with anything. It's delicious. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Moravian Sugar Cake aka Butter Potato Cake - American Cake

Looks kind of brainy. Cinnamon and butter brainy. 
So much butter. So, so, so much butter.

Only after I followed the recipe in the book and the cake went in the oven did I look up this style of cake up on the internet. My typical way with a completely new recipe is to look at least 4,  compare them and go with the middle of the road or the recipe that tends toward the median. Well Anne Byrn's recipe calls for many more butters than the other recipes.

So in the quest to do things I've never done before, I've never riced a potato for a cake before. I have done it for gnocchi so this was fun. Also using warm potato water to foam the yeast was new. This is the 6th cake I've made from the American Cake. 

All this talk, there is also sugar, flour, cinnamon and eggs. You know, the yummy things found in cake. Oh and it take hours and three rises, so this is more of a weekend kind of cake, not an after work cake.

The recipe:
1 medium baking potato, peeled and diced
2.25 teaspoons yeast
.25 teaspoon sugar and 1 cup sugar
.25 cup of the reserved potato cooking water, plus 2 tablespoons
4 ounces shortening
2 ounces butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 cups flour plus plenty more for kneading
1 cup (2 sticks - a half pound -seriously)
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Put the potato on to boil. When it's tender, drain and reserve the water. Rice the potato or mash it, adding back 2 tablespoons of the reserved potato water. Keep this warm.
In a bowl combine the yeast, the .25 teaspoon sugar, the .25 cup potato water. Allow to foam about 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl combine the riced potatoes, the yeast mixture, the cup sugar, shortening, the 2 ounces of butter and salt. Mix until the shortening is melted and there are no lumps.
Rise One. Cover and let rest 1.5 hours.
Add eggs, blend then add the flour. It will be sticky. Oil the bowl and the top of the dough. Let it sit covered with plastic wrap and a towel for 1.5 to 2 hours for Rise Two.
On a well floured surface, knead the dough for five minutes. Add additional flour to make this process manageable, however don't add too much. It should be moist. Press it into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rise for 90 minutes, for Rise Three.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Poke it down with your fingertips, be aggressive but don't flatten the dough. Dot liberally with the half pound of butter cut into very small pieces into the finger indentations. Combine the cup of brown sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the cake.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until when you press in the center of the pan it has some resistance.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Pound Cake - American Cake

Four pounds to make a cake.
Take a pound of this and a pound of that plus another pound of that and lastly a pound of butter, mix it all together and then you have a cake.

The batter:
1 pound of butter
1 pound of granulated sugar
.50 teaspoon vanilla
.25 teaspoon salt
1 pound of eggs
1 pound of flour
zest of a lemon

Glaze
juice of the lemon
.75 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven 325 degrees.
Oil and flour a circular pan. I don't generally flour a pan, but I did for this. I used a vintage Bundt pan that's particularly pretty.

In a stand mixer combine the butter and sugar and cream until the sugar isn't granular. Add eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl between each egg. Add the vanilla and salt and mix thoroughly. Add the flour in 3 different batches.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake 1 hour and 25 minutes.
Cool in the pan 1 hour. Tip out of the pan and allow to cool completely.

Combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar, make a thick, thick paste. Pour over the top of the cake.

Make it a day or two before you plan on serving it.

Monday, November 7, 2016

17th Century Cheesecake - American Cake

This reminiscent of very old recipes. 
I know my way around cheesecake. It's really one of my favorite easy to prepare, knock a person's socks off kind of cake. I have a few I make depending on the season.
I also have had experience cooking some medieval recipes because I'm a nerd like that. I won't share the details of how I win the "I'm a bigger nerd than you contests" in which I find myself occasionally embroiled. But it has to do with cooking recipes from many centuries ago.

Shove currants and nuts and sugar and soft cheese with a little sugar and nutmeg into a crust and serve it up to your lordship, if you get my drift.

The crust on this was perfectly beautiful to assemble and roll into the pan. The walls stayed upright, the cake is gorgous but alas it doesn't hold up to what one expects of textures today. There was a certain amount of mealiness to the cheese part. While I didn't toss my portion away my daughter took a hard pass after just one bite. Again, the crust was powerfully good.

Between you and me, I'm hoping the next few cakes are winners. I need a winner.

Crust:
1.3 cups all purpose flour (the recipe calls for half whole wheat flour0
.25 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter
1 egg white-save yolk for filling
.33 cup cold water

Filling
.25 c finely ground whole almonds
.25 cup (4 tablespoons butter)
.25 cup sugar
.25 teaspoon nutmeg
.25 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
16 ounce ricotta cheese
.5 cup heavy cream
.5 cup currants

In a food processor cut pulse the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until combined and looks like meal. Add the egg white, mix briefly, add the water slowly, reserve some, you might not need it all.

Turn out onto a piece of parchment. Form into a disc and refrigerate. Roll and place into a springform pan. It should go a 1.25inch up the side of the pan.

In the processor, grind the nuts. Transfer to a different container. In the processor cream the butter and sugar. Add the nutmeg, salt, egg yolk, ricotta and cream. Whirl until well mixed. Scrape into the bowl with almonds and add the currents. Fold together. Pour into the the crust and level the top. Bake 65-75 minutes. Cool and remove from pan.