February 1st, 2011
How many different ways can I serve a sour cream bundt cake? Breakfast in the car, after dinner on a plate with a linen napkin, after a take-out lunch of Potbelly sandwiches with the in-laws. It was THAT good. The cake was dense but not heavy, not too sweet, delightfully moist and terrifically pleasing. Many, many thanks to Jennifer of Cooking for Comfort for her selection.
The chocolate and cinnamon swirl was delish, except the fruit seemed horribly out of place. Skip the raisins.
But the lunch with the in-laws got me thinking. It seems the cake reminded one of us of another one of us’ favorite cake, the one his mother always made for his birthday and that he still requests as a 40-plus-year-old-person: a sherry raisin cake.
Really? Sherry raisin for or a kid’s birthday? It’s not the alcohol I question, it’s the something-other-than-chocolate-or-vanilla issue that makes me raisin an eyebrow. I doubt I would have liked that as an 8-year-old.
Apparently his brother’s birthday cake was pineapple upside down cake.
? Again, something I really enjoy now at 30+, but not something I’ll whip out when my baby has a b-day.
Does anyone else think this is odd, or do you share this untraditional birthday tradition?
February 4th, 2010
I took a stand this week, and it did me no good. I ended up with really dry mini-cakes. Though they were exceptionally cute.
On principle, I refused to go out in cold and snow just to buy whole milk for the fraction of a cup this recipe called for. I used the skim I had in my fridge. And that was a mistake.
The cake was delicious, but it totally needed a big glass of (skim) milk to wash it down, as well as a plate to catch all the crumbs that came off in big chunks. I had pieces breaking off around the delicious walnut-cocoa-sugar swirl. I hoped that piping the melted-chocolate-and-corn-syrup glaze over the top would help - and it was delicious - but the cake remains drier than I would like. I think the fat from whole milk would have made a world of difference.
The Other Eater and I split the valentine treat above for breakfast on Sunday, and the rest went to a baby shower I co-hosted Sunday afternoon. I few made it home from that, but they remain uneaten in my beautiful cake dome four days later. That can’t be a good sign.
Thanks to Kristin from I’m Right About Everything for choosing it.
January 20th, 2010
I’m pretty darn sure that this is the is the first cookie I have ever rejected warm from the oven.
Like a good lasagna, however, it was far better the second day.
The batter has (or rather, batters have, since yu have to make the cookie dough and then the chocolate layer) just about everything: oatmeal, peanuts, craisins, chocolate and lots brown sugar. Bakers divide the cookie dough into two parts, spread one in the bottom of the pan, slather with a gooey chocolate mess, and then drop more cookie dough on top. It’s fun. It’s ok if it’s sloppy. What’s not to like?
Maybe it’s the warm craisins, but these are just not good straight from the oven. Even The Other Eater in this Household said “they’re ok” - a significant rejection, given that his usual criteria for Dorie’s creations include 1) is it good? and 2) did it kill me?
So, I split the tray of cookies in two and took a plate to work with me the next day. They were a hit! I didn’t understand it, so I had to try another, and I agreed! Far better than the first day I had baked them. Who would have guessed?
You can find the recipe here, at Confectiona’s Realm. They are far easier to put together than the list of ingredients makes them look.
January 5th, 2010
I am so excited to be celebrating Tuesdays with Dorie’s second birthday by posting on time and in synch this week. Congratulations to our founder, and to those who have kept up faithfully for the last 104 weeks. You all should be proud of your accomplishments.
I must say, though, that I think the celebration makes this week’s Tarte Tatin selection especially enjoyable. It was the simplest of recipes (butter, sugar, apples, pastry dough), but I’m just loving it. Even though mine looks nothing like the photo is the cookbook, I’m loving the clean flavors. It’s really cold in Chicago right now, and warm apples with whip cream are just what the doctor ordered for when I’m snuggled up on the couch trying to stay warm and awake through the 10 p.m. news. Nevertheless, I think I would be equally comfortable serving this dessert for a dinner party in the dining room. It’s just that nice.
So tonight when I settle in for another slice of Tart, I’ll toast (with my fork) to another 104 weeks of baking with Dorie!
(You can find our host’s analysis and a link to the recipe here)
December 12th, 2009
These were a treat right around Thanksgiving, and given that I have a whole new bottle of molasses in the pantry now, I’m thinking they might be a treat again someday soon!
These cookies were chewy and dense and certainly spiced well - you must like ginger snaps to like these cookies, because they offer FAR MORE than your grocery store variety spice cookies. Also, they were a bit of a handful to get into the baking pan, so definitely chill the dough as Dorie recommends before trying to rol them out (I still ended up with a thin layer of dough on each hand after I rolled a dozen or so out). The woman knows her stuff!
I, of course, was drinking them with milk or weak tea, because that’s how I roll these days. But they would also be lovely with the last of the wine after dinner. They certainly are not overly sweet to where they might compete with the wine. I served them after brunch (french toast, quiche, sausage and cocktails) with friends for the perfect ending to a delightful Sunday morning.
October 21st, 2009
I am proud to report that this week I followed as few of Dorie’s instructions as possible and I STILL came up with a product that made me eat an otherwise undesirable vegetable. I feel like I am making progress.
Contrary to what the cookbook said I put the sweet potatoes and room temperature butter in the food processor and then mixed the puree with he dry ingredients, including pumpkin pie spice from one of my favorite stores. I then dropped the dough onto a cookie sheet in heaping tablespoons, smoothed the shape with my finger and baked them.
The resulting biscuit probably isn’t as light and flaky as Dorie would like, and it certainly wasn’t as well shaped, but they are as delicious with pot roast as they are with apple cider or my morning coffee, and I am darn proud of my low maintenance technique.
I’ve never been a fan of sweet potatoes, you see, and I know they are good for me when prepared appropriately. Here’s why, according to the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission:
- The Center for Science in the Public Interest ranked the sweet potato at 184 in nutritional value, more than 100 points ahead of the baked Idaho potato, spinach or broccoli.
- Sweet potatoes provide twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A
- Sweet potatoes provide more than one-third of the daily requirements of vitamin C.
- Sweet potatoes are an important source of beta-carotene, vitamin B6, iron, potassium and fiber.
- Studies have consistently shown that a high intake of beta carotene-rich vegetables and fruits, like sweet potatoes, can significantly reduce the risks for certain types of cancer.
- Sweet potatoes contain virtually no fat or sodium.
I imagine, however, that this is all negated by the butter in these biscuits or by the deep fryer in the case of sweet potato fries. DRAT.
October 15th, 2009
I had such high hopes for these, but they failed me on various levels:
1) My crumbs were runny, turning to crusty when the muffins cooled.
2) The muffins were excellent warm, but kind of dry when they cooled off. I needed coffee to go with them later in the week. Would the lemon zest have made a difference? I didn’t have any in the house!
3) Without the crumbs, the muffins were kind of dull. Nice with coffee, but not the kind of thing I was eager to eat in the car on the way to the train in the morning.
But I have high hopes for the sweet potato biscuits I’ll make Sunday when I return from Nashville!
September 7th, 2009
I made the bold decision to leave the espreesso out of these brownies, and I feel like I stopped mid-step. I should have left the sour cream topping off, as well.
The brownies were really good - though my marbling left a lot to be desired. The brownie part was dense, the cheesecake part was creamy, and the combination was a delight! I really enjoy chocolate and cheese together in general (so much so that I once attended a chocolate and cheese pairing class at Vosges, where I made a mess of myself eating white chocolate panini, and I would do it again in a heartbeat), second only to chocolate and peanut butter, and this 9″ pan of goodness did not last long in my refrigerator.
However, the sweetened sour cream topping added nothing but a big mess. The taste didn’t really enhance the brownies at all, and it made them difficult to eat in the car - one of my true tests for good feed: can I eat it in transit? Sour cream leaves too much evidence, and it smells if you forget to wipe it off your steering wheel before you leave your cap in a sunny parking lot and board the train in the mornin.
I’m just saying: leave the topping off, then love the brownies.
August 11th, 2009
These desserts are so tiny, I’m hesitant to say too much in my post: these were not great, but they have a great form and so they may end up in a holiday basket just for their darling appearance.
The chocolate cake is kind of dry and I’m not digging the orange-chocolate combination. I would have preferred instant espresso powder to deepen the flavor. BUT, the hard white chocolate topping and mini-muffin cup size is wonderful - totally different from anything else I’ve made, and so I might make them again just for the aesthetics.
You’ll find the recipe at Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen (who photographed them is a darling cake dome!). I have a few suggestions to enhance Dorie’s advice:
1) Use a tablespoon of batter in each mini muffin cup, but a teaspoon. These barely rose at all.
2) Butter the muffin cups really well or else use paper liners. The batter looked so slick I might have skimped on the Crisco, and I had a really hard time getting them out of the pan. Several buttons were lost in the process.
3) Skip the orange in favor of almond extract, espresso, or mint even.
August 5th, 2009
As I’ve come to expect, Dorie’s creation is moist, delicious, sweet, perfect even without icing, blah blah, blah. It’s also easy to make, and produces few dishes to wash. The Other Eater in my Household likes that part, especially.
My challenge will be to find reasons why it is ok to eat this for breakfast the rest of the week. I am proud to say that I made it with fat free yogurt rather than sour cream, which is always nice. Also, the cake does have 4 bananas. These offer potassium, fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin B, (Thanks, Tao of Good Health). Practically good for me!
What never fails to amaze me is how other TWD bakers move past the excitement of simply having fresh baked good in the house and think creatively. Confectiona’s Realm added almond extract and apple butter (and considered other stuff) before putting hers in the oven. Prudence Pennywise added maple extract, wheat flour and nuts. And Ezra Poundcake is thinking about peanut butter cream. A hat tip to you all!
You’ll find the recipe for Dorie’s masterpiece at The Food Librarian, where Mary touts all things Bundt. I kind of agree that I love my bundt pan and the beauty it brings to the table without icing or frosting or in-some-other-way polishing a less-than-perfect dessert. I’m going to have to check out some of the other 10 bundts she’s blogged about this year…
Side Note: While looking for reasons to eat more of this cake, I found that:
- An average American eats 26 pounds of bananas every year - that’s about 150 bananas.
- Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island in the early years (1892-1920s) were given bananas to eat. Many had never seen them and didn’t know how to eat them - some ate the whole thing, peel and all.
- Bananas were introduced to the American public at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, the same expo that introduced Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone.