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Lemon Sponge Cake with Pear Marmalade

Lemon Sponge Cake with Pear Marmalade

Lemon Sponge Cake with Pear Marmalade

 

Pear Marmalade needs to sit at least 3 hours; Make the day before.

 

Unsalted butter, for greasing the cake pans

2½ cups cake flour

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

5 T. extra virgin olive oil

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

Grated zest of 6 lemons

½ cup whole milk

¾ cup pear marmalade

Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish

 

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8­inch round cake pans. In a medium bowl, toss the flour, salt, and baking powder with a fork to mix well. In a large bowl, beat the olive oil & sugar together with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Put the dry ingredients in a sifter & sift about one third onto the egg mixture. Add the lemon zest & fold in the flour and zest, then stir in about one third of the milk. Add the remaining flour and milk in two additions each, blending well. Turn batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cakes are beginning to pull away from sides of the pans & spring back when pressed lightly in the center with a finger. Turn the cakes out onto a rack, & invert onto another rack to cool. To assemble, place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread marmalade over the top. Place the second layer on top and gently press the layers together. Sprinkle the top of the cake with confectioner’s sugar.

 

For Pear Marmalade

 

2 lbs. firm unripe pears, peeled, cored, and chopped into small pieces

1 ½ C sugar

3 cloves

1 T freshly ground black pepper

 

In a large bowl, mix the pears, sugar, and cloves together. Cover with a kitchen towel and aside for at least 3 hours to let juices start to run. Transfer the pear and juice to a large nonreactive saucepan, bring to a simmer, and simmer gently, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking, until the pears are tender. Remove from the heat, stir in the pepper, remove the cloves, & allow to cool.

Sheet Pan Vanilla Sheet Cake with Sprinkles

Sheet Pan Vanilla Sheet Cake with Sprinkles

Sheet Pan Vanilla Sheet Cake with Sprinkles

 

Cooking spray

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

4 large eggs

3/4 cup canola oil, or melted and cooled unsalted butter

1 cup whole milk

1 T. vanilla extract

 

8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 T. whole milk

Disc sprinkles (optional)

 

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat a 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheet (also known as a half sheet pan) with cooking spray; set aside. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the eggs, oil or butter, milk, and vanilla and mix with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Pour the batter into the baking sheet. Bake until the cake is lightly browned and springs back when gingerly pressed with a finger, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool the cake on a wire rack while preparing the frosting. Make the frosting: Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and milk and beat until smooth and fluffy. Spread the frosting right on top of the cake and use the tip end of a small spoon to work the frosting back and forth, creating a striped pattern. Decorate with sprinkles if using. NOTES: Storage: The cooled cake can be covered with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerated for up to 7 days.

Better Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting

Better Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting

Better Banana Cake with Caramel Frosting

 

1 package yellow cake mix

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

3 ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup of water

1/2 cup of canola oil

3 large eggs

Quick Caramel Icing (see below)

1 cup of chopped pecans

Instructions

 

Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with Baker’s Joy non-stick spray. In the bowl of your mixer, add the cake mix, brown sugar and cinnamon and whisk to break up clumps. In a separate bowl, combine the bananas, water, oil and eggs until mixed together. Add to the dry ingredients. Beat on low for about 1 minute, stop scrape down the sides, and beat another 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake another 25 to 30 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool in the pan. Pour icing over the still warm cake and sprinkle the pecans on top while the icing is still warm. Allow the cake to set for at least an hour to fully cool.  Variation: Make this an applesauce cake by replacing the bananas with 1 cup of applesauce

 

Quick Caramel Icing

 

1 stick of pure unsalted butter

1 cup of packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup of half and half

2 cups of sifted powdered sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

 

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar and cook over a slightly higher than medium fire, until mixture begins to boil. This will take anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes depending on your stove. Once it begins to boil, slowly whisk in the half and half until well blended. Bring back just to a boil, turn the burner to low, remove the saucepan from the heat, add the powdered sugar and vanilla and blend. Return the saucepan to the burner and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Icing will get stiff quickly so you’ll need to immediately pour over cake and allow it to set.

Peach Upside Down Mini Cakes

Peach Upside Down Mini Cakes

Peach Upside Down Mini Cakes

 

Non-stick cooking spray

1 T. unsalted butter cold

6 tsp. light brown sugar

For cake batter:

3 fresh peaches (Note 1)

1 ½ C. (190g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

2/3 C. (130g) granulated sugar

1/3 C. (90g) unsalted butter at room temperature

1 large egg at room temperature

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

½ C. (120ml) buttermilk at room temperature (Note 2)

 

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177° C). Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. To prepare the topping: Cut 1 T. of butter into 12 equal parts. (TIP: cold butter is easier to cut.) Place each butter piece in 12 muffin C.. Sprinkle ½ tsp. of brown sugar into each muffin C.. Slice 1-2 peaches into thin slices. Arrange about 3 slices into the bottom of each muffin pan. To make the cake batter: Cut the remaining peaches into small cubes. You should get about 1 C. of cubed peaches. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat it for another 2-3 minutes, or until well combined. The mixture should be fluffy and white. (Note: It’s totally normal for the mixture to curdle right after adding egg, but keep mixing and it’ll turn nice and fluffy!) Add half of the flour mixture into the batter, beat for 1 minute on low speed. Stir in the buttermilk and beat for another minute. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat just until combined. Don’t overmix the batter, or it’ll make tough cake. Fold in the cubed peaches. Divide the batter into 12 muffin pan C..  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 5 minutes. Then carefully run a butter knife around the edges to release the cake from the sides. Now, place a wire rack over the muffin pan and carefully turn the pan upside down to remove the cakes. Place an empty baking sheet to catch any juice, if needed. Cool the cakes completely before serving.

Holiday Eggnog Cake with Apricot Filling

Holiday Eggnog Cake with Apricot Filling

holiHoliday Eggnog Cake with Apricot Filling

 

1 package (18.25) yellow or vanilla cake mix, plain or with pudding

1 1/4 cups eggnog

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

4 large eggs

3 T. bourbon (optional), for brushing the tops of the cake layers

 

1 jar (10 ounces) apricot all-fruit spread

1 T. bourbon or water

Spiced cream cheese frosting:

4 T. (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature

4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Heaping 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

 

Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly mist three 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust them with flour. Shake out the excess flour; set pans aside. Place the cake mix, eggnog, oil, vanilla, nutmeg and the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat for two minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again, if needed. The batter should look well blended. Divide the cake batter evenly among the three prepared cake pans, about 11/2 cups of batter per pan, smoothing the tops with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven. If your oven is not large enough to hold three pans on the center rack, place two pans on that rack and one in the center of the rack above. Bake the cake layers until they are golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly pressed with a finger, 18 to 20 minutes. The cake layer on the higher rack may bake faster, so it for doneness first. Transfer to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of each cake layer and give the pans a good shake to loosen the cakes. Invert each layer onto a wire rack, then invert it again onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. If desired, brush the cakes with the 3 T. of bourbon, using 1 T. for each; set aside to cool, 15 minutes longer. Meanwhile, make the filling: Place the fruit spread and 1 T. of bourbon or water in a small bowl and stir until well combined.  Make the spiced cream frosting: Place the butter and cream cheese in a medium-size bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until well combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the confectioners’ sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon and beat with the mixer on low speed until the ingredients are well incorporated and the frosting has a spreading consistency, 1 to 2 minutes. To assemble cake, transfer one layer, right side up, to a cake plate. Spread half of the filling to the edge of the first layer, about 1/2 heaping cup. Place a second cake layer, right side up, on top of the first and spread the remaining filling over it. Place the third layer on top, right side up, and frost the top and side of cake, working with smooth, clean strokes. To make slicing easier, place the uncovered cake in the refrigerator until the frosting sets, 20 minutes. Store in a cake saver or loosely covered with waxed paper in the refrigerator for up to one week. Freeze the cake, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to six months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Banana Bread Sheet Cake

Banana Bread Sheet Cake

Banana Bread Sheet Cake

 

3 – 4 ripe bananas (mashed about 1 1/2 cups)

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter (at room temp)

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

3 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup milk

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Set aside. With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, mixing in one at a time. Then add the vanilla and mix until smooth. In a separate large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a separate small bowl mix together the milk and sour cream. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, followed by 1/3 of the milk/sour cream mixture and repeat until it is all combined. To this batter add the mashed bananas and mini chocolate chips, then combine. Pour the batter into your 9×13 baking dish. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (Check your cake after 30 minutes to see how it is baking.) Cool and enjoy!

Almond Flour Sponge Cake

Almond Flour Sponge Cake

Almond Flour Sponge Cake

 

Makes 2 sheet cakes (13 BY 17 BY 3⁄8 INCH), 1 sheet cake (13 BY 17 BY ¾ INCH), or 2 round cakes (9 BY 1 INCH). Butter and flour if using round pans.

 

1½ cups almond flour

½ cup plus 1 T. cake flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

4 eggs

6 egg whites

Pinch of cream of tartar, unless using a copper bowl

Confectioners’ sugar, if making a sheet cake

 

If you are making round cakes, preheat the oven to 350°F and butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. If you are making sheet cakes, preheat the oven to 375°F and line two 13 by 17-inch sheet pans with parchment. Combine the almond flour, cake flour, and ½ cup of the granulated sugar in a food processor. With the motor running, add the eggs, 2 at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl large enough to hold all the batter. Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar (if using) on medium-high speed in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment for about 2 minutes or with a handheld mixer for about 3 minutes, or until medium peaks form. Add the remaining granulated sugar and beat on high speed for 1 to 5 minutes longer (depending on what kind of mixer you are using), until stiff peaks form. Mix one-fourth of the egg white mixture into the almond mixture until smooth, to lighten the mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold this mixture with the remaining egg white mixture. Transfer the batter to the cake pans or sheet pans. If you are using sheet pans, spread the batter with an offset spatula and run your thumb around the edges to make a small moat to keep the edges of the cakes from sticking to the pans. Bake round cakes for about 25 minutes, or until they bounce back to the touch. Bake sheet cakes for about 15 minutes, or until firm and they bounce back to the touch. If you are baking sheet cakes, sprinkle 2 sheets of parchment paper as large as the sheet pan with confectioners’ sugar. Run a knife around the edges of the cakes to make it easier to get them out of the sheet pans. Quickly flip out the cakes over the parchment paper as soon as they come out of the oven by placing the cakes right next to the parchment. Peel away the cooked parchment from the bottoms of the cakes. Cut the cakes into rounds or rectangles and layer them with the same fillings you’d use for a sponge cake. If you are baking round cakes, let them cool for 5 minutes in the cake pans and then turn out onto cake racks.

Spellbinding Sweet Woodruff Prosperity Cake for May Day Eve

Spellbinding Sweet Woodruff Prosperity Cake for May Day Eve

Spellbinding Sweet Woodruff Prosperity Cake for May Day Eve

Sweet Woodruff is a common ground cover garden plant, and while it is native to Europe it has naturalized in many of our forests. Leaves and flowers should be harvested just before and during blooming, but they must dried or at least wilted before using to capture their flavor/aroma. The stems are bitter, so make sure you just use leaves and blossoms.

 

By baking this magical Sweet Woodruff cake we can combine our magical powers together and cast a powerful blessing to enrich us, one and all and make our hearts merry. And here’s a little prosperity spell to say over your cake, while you’re making it, while it’s baking or just before you serve it. Abracadabra!

 

Money, money come to me

In abundance three times three

May I be enriched in the best of ways

Harming none on its way

This I accept, so mote it be

Bring me money three times three!

 

1 cup & 2 tsp. of DRIED Sweet Woodruff leaves and flowers (no stems!)

4 large egg yolks

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

3/4 cup organic cane sugar (or whatever sugar you like)

2 tablespoons cold water

8 tablespoons melted butter

3/4 cup of wholewheat, or spelt, or all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tsp. lemon zest

2 cups light cream

Powdered icing sugar for dusting

 

Three days before making your cake: Take your dried sweet woodruff and place in your cream. Stir well. Cover and allow to sit in a warm place for 24hrs. Then transfer to fridge. After two days, strain the plant material from the cream. Line a 8 X 8 inch square pan with sheets of parchment paper. Leave a generous amount sticking out from the sides. These will be your “handles” when you take the cake out of the pan. Heat Oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar and water together until creamy and the sugar is dissolved. 5 to 6 minutes. Drizzle in the melted butter into the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Add in the flour, lemon zest, salt and two tsp. of dried woodruff (crumbled into a powder) then blend until fully combined. Add the milk or cream and mix them in gently. Whisk the egg whites on high speed until the egg whites hold stiff peaks. Add the egg whites to the yolk mixture and flour mixture. Stir VERY gently with a large spoon just a dozen or so times, leaving large clumps of egg whites in the batter. Do not overmix! Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until the edges are set, the top is a warm brown, and the center is still a wee bit wobbly. 50 to 55 minutes. Leave the cake in the pan at room temperature until completely cooled. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Best left overnight. Dust with icing sugar and serve!

Apple Yogurt Cake with a Cinnamon-Sugar Streak

Apple Yogurt Cake with a Cinnamon-Sugar Streak

Apple Yogurt Cake with a Cinnamon-Sugar Streak

 

Cooking spray or olive oil

1 1/2 cups whole regular or Greek yogurt, well-stirred

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 pounds apples (preferably tart, such as Granny Smith)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

Pinch freshly ground nutmeg

2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided

1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar

2 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature

 

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking pan with baking spray or olive oil. Place the yogurt, granulated sugar, oil, lemon juice, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Peel and core the apples, then chop into rough 1/2-inch chunks. (Do not grate the apples or the batter will be too wet.) You should end up with 4 to 4 1/2 cups of apples. Add the apples to the yogurt mixture and stir to combine. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and 1/2 tsp. of the cinnamon. Stir just until no dry pockets of flour remain; set aside. Place the remaining 2 tsp. cinnamon, brown sugar, and butter in a small bowl and smash with a rubber spatula to combine.  Pour 1/2 of the batter into the pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 of the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture on top, dropping it on the batter in small lumps. Spread the rest of the batter over the top, then sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-brown sugar. Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, covering with aluminum foil toward the end if the top is browning too much, 45 to 55 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and let it cool for at least 1 hour. Cut and serve the cake warm or at room temperature. Storage: This cake can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 4 days, and it gets even more moist as it sits, due to the apples.

Bewitching  Maibowle Cream Cake for Beltane

Bewitching  Maibowle Cream Cake for Beltane

Bewitching  Maibowle Cream Cake for Beltane

 

3-4 tablespoons dried/wilted sweet woodruff

2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

½ cup may wine

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar

Powdered sugar, for dusting cake (optional)

Whipped cream, for serving (optional)

 

Glaze

½ cup white sugar

¼ cup butter

¼ cup white wine

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, or as needed

 

Place dried/wilted woodruff, whipping cream into a pot and set on lowest heat. Bring just to a simmer, then allow to cool completely Strain out the leaves, then chill in the fridge. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift flour mixture and set aside. In a bowl, whip the infused cream on low, gradually increasing speed to medium-high as the cream thickens, until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, whisk together wine, eggs and vanilla. Gradually add egg mixture; beat until thickened (like mayonnaise) and well combined. Gradually add sugar. Gently fold half the flour mixture into the cream mixture until flour is dissolved and well combined. Repeat the process with the remaining flour mixture. Transfer batter to the prepared cake pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, 25 to 35 minutes. Combine 1/2 cup white sugar, butter, 1/4 cup white wine together in a saucepan immediately after removing the cake from the oven. Cook sugar mixture, stirring constantly, over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and butter is melted 3 to 5 minutes. Spoon 1/2 the glaze over the cake while the cake is still warm. Let cool. Invert the cooled cake onto a cake plate and spoon remaining glaze over top of the cake. Allow the cake to absorb glaze, about 15 minutes. Using a metal spatula, loosen the top edges of the cake and invert onto the prepared wire rack. Let glaze set. Before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

 

Maibowle Wine

A handful of wilted woodruff leaves (preferably harvested the previous day)

1 bottle of sparkling wine

2  bottles of  white wine,

¾  cup of sugar

Juice of ½ lemon

Directions

 

Pour one bottle of wine into the punch bowl, add the sugar and lemon juice stir until it has fully dissolved in the wine. Add the woodruff and let steep for 20 – 30 minutes. Remove the woodruff and discard. Add the remaining white wine and top off with the sparkling wine.  Chill and serve with ice and strawberries.

Cast Iron Peach Upside Down Cake

Cast Iron Peach Upside Down Cake

Cast Iron Peach Upside Down Cake

 

1stick butter

2 eggs

1½ cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup milk

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

 

Cream butter, eggs, sugar, and salt together. Add flour, baking powder alternately with milk; beat until fluffy. Add vanilla. Put a layer (¼”) of brown sugar in cast iron skillet. Lay peach halves over brown sugar (round side up). Pour batter over and bake in oven at 350°F for 55-60 minutes. Insert toothpick to check for doneness. To remove from pan, lay a flat plate over top of baked cake and flop cake onto platter. Any kind of fruit can be used.

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Cinnamon Roll Cake

Cinnamon Roll Cake

 

3 C. all-purpose flour

1 C. white granulated sugar

4 tsp. baking powder

2 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/2 C. milk

1/2 C. salted butter (1 stick) melted

 

3/4 C. (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter softened to room temp (1/2 C. will be lighter and still taste yum)

1 C. packed light brown sugar

2 T. flour

1 T. ground cinnamon

 

2 C. powdered sugar

5 T. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (I like the kind that has flour in it.) In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), combine ingredients for cake (except melted butter). While your mixer is running, slowly add the 1/2 C. melted butter. Mix just until combined (overmixing flour in baked goods can make it tough and rubbery.) Spread this batter evenly into your baking dish. In a small bowl, combine all your filling ingredients: softened butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir until combined well. Drop the cinnamon filling by spoonfuls onto the cake batter. Take a butter knife and make swirly, marble-effect patterns all around the cake. Drag the knife through both the cinnamon and cake batter. Bake the cake for about 35-40 minutes (it took about 40 minutes in my oven), until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract in small bowl. Pour the glaze over the warm cake.

Fluffy Banana Cake

Fluffy Banana Cake

Fluffy Banana Cake

 

1 ⅓ cup mashed bananas

2 ½ T. lemon juice divided

1 ½ C. milk

3 C. flour

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. salt

⅔ cup butter softened

1 cup white sugar

½ cup brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

 

8 ounces cream cheese

⅓ cup butter softened

3-3 ½ C. powdered sugar

1 tsp. lemon juice

1 ½ tsp. lemon zest from 1 lemon

 

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan. Place 1 ½ T. lemon juice in a measuring cup. Top to 1 ½ C. with milk. Set aside. Mix together mashed banana with 1 T. lemon juice, set aside. Beat together butter, brown and white sugar until combined. Add in eggs one at a time and vanilla. Mix on high until light and fluffy (almost the texture of frosting). Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Alternate adding flour mixture and milk to egg mixture stirring just until combined. (Do not overmix). Fold in bananas. Pour into prepared pan. Put into the oven and reduce heat to 300°F. Bake 60 – 70 minutes (see note below) or just until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (do not over bake). Remove from oven and place in the freezer for 45 minutes to make the cake extra moist. Cool completely before frosting. FROSTING: Cream together butter & cream cheese until fluffy. Add in lemon zest and juice. Add powdered sugar a little at a time until you reach desired consistency. Spread over cooled cake.  Note: The cooking time on this cake can vary! Mine takes about 60 minutes. Check your cake at 55 minutes, if it isn’t ready, continue cooking until a toothpick comes out clean (this can be up to an additional 20-30 minutes depending on your oven).

Basic Sponge Cake (Genoise)

Basic Sponge Cake (Genoise)

Basic Sponge Cake (Genoise)

3 eggs room temperature

70 g (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) sugar

100 g (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) cake flour

45 g unsalted butter melted

butter, parchment and flour for prepping the cake pan

 

Preheat the oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Trace and cut out a circle of parchment, grease the cake pan with butter, insert the parchment cut out and dust with flour. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture triples in volume, reaching the ribbon stage. The ribbon stage is attained when you test the batter and it temporarily holds a shape. Sift the flour and fold it into the egg mixture in stage until incorporated. In a separate bowl, ladle out a portion of the batter and fold it with the melted butter. Return the buttery batter to the main mixing bowl and gently fold it with the remaining batter. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 minutes. Check for doneness by inspecting to see if the edges have sprung away from the pan or by inserting a toothpick into the center. Allow it to cool on a wire rack for ten minutes before removing from the pan. Note: Genoise cakes are dryer than many sponge cakes. You can add moistness and flavor with a simple syrup of choice.

Quick Old-Fashioned Pear Cake

Quick Old-Fashioned Pear Cake

Quick Old-Fashioned Pear Cake

 

1 1/2 cups flour, stir to lighten, then measure, (plus additional, below)

3 T. cornstarch

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 cup sugar (plus additional, below)

3 extra large eggs

5 T. butter, room temperature

1 tsp. pear brandy, vanilla or almond extract

1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

4 pears, peeled, two in chunks, 2 in 3/8″ slices (make sure pears are fully ripe)

2 T. flour (for pear chunks)

2 T. sugar (sprinkle on top)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″ spring form pan. In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and 3/4 cup sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add brandy or extract of choice. Next add the dry ingredients, alternating with the sour cream: Add about 1/3 of the flour, then 1/2 of the sour cream, the next 1/3 of the flour mixture, the final bit of sour cream and then the remaining four mixture. Beat all additions on slow, as little as possible, scraping down after each addition. Toss pear chunks in the two T. flour, then gently mix in by hand, holding back about 5 or 6 chunks for the top. Scrape into prepared pan, level, and then top with the pear slices in a ring. Add the remaining chunks to the center. Sprinkle with the additional 2 T. sugar. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the top just barely begins to color around the edges and edges are firm; it’s ok if the very center is just a little soft. Do not over bake. Remove from oven and rest 10 minutes, then run a knife around the sides and release the spring form. Cool and serve. Note: If using canned pears, add an additional T. of cornstarch to the batter.