• Cake,  Fruit,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

    Plummy Skillet Cake

    Golden plummy goodness

    Have a lot of juicy plums that need a place to go?

    Eating fresh plums in the sunshine with the juice dripping down your chin is like sipping nectar in paradise.

    How about this tasty, light cake baked in a skillet?  A cast-iron skillet is perfect for this cake, but you can use any oven-proof skillet or baking dish if you don’t have one.  If you are skilled in campfire or Dutch-oven cooking, take this recipe with you when you camp.  As an interesting change of seasonings, use the Chinese Five-Spice powder that has  been hanging out in your spice pantry since the last time you made stir-fry.

    Chinese Five-Spice powder and plums are a great combination

    If you don’t have any, use freshly-grated nutmeg or ground cinnamon.

    Plummy Skillet Cake
    Author: 
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 6
     
    Dessert in a cast-iron skillet can be cooked over a campfire instead of your oven. No cast iron? Use an oven-proof skillet or baking dish. You can use other stone fruit instead of plums with just as good a result.
    Ingredients
    • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature, plus extra for skillet
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus some for skillet
    • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¾ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice powder
    • 1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • ¾ cup buttermilk
    • 4 medium plums, thinly sliced and halved
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
    2. Butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or ovenproof skillet or dish).
    3. Dust skillet with extra flour and tap out any loose flour
    4. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, Chinese Five-Spice powder and salt.
    5. In large bowl, or in a mixer bowl, combine 1¼ cups sugar and butter until creamy.
    6. Beat in eggs until smooth.
    7. Add a third of the flour mixture with a third of the buttermilk, until all is combined. Don't overbeat.
    8. Pour batter into prepared skillet and smooth top.
    9. Spread sliced and halved plums all over the top.
    10. Sprinkle with extra sugar.
    11. Bake 35 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out cleanly.
    12. Cool for about ten minutes before cutting.

    Bake until golden brown
  • Cake,  Frosting,  Fruit,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

    Lemon Strawberry Jellyroll Cake

    Lemon Strawberry Jellyroll Cake

    Have you ever made a jellyroll cake?  It looks very fussy, but is extremly easy.  My daughter, home from college for a week, wanted a birthday cake that wasn’t “heavy and gunky like college food”.  So I made a Lemon Strawberry Jellyroll cake for her, and it was wonderful if I do say so myself!  You will need a jellyroll pan, which everyone should have anyway because you can do so much with it.  You can fill this basic sponge cake with whipped cream, custard, curd, or even… um… jelly or jam.  You can make a chocolate version with chocolate ganache, or even with pastry cream and mixed candied fruit to follow an Italian meal.  I’ve made one with whipped cream and mango.  This is the basic Yule Log, too.  This recipe is bright with lemon, which is saved from being too much by the fresh strawberries inside, and is very light.  Yum!

    Lemon Strawberry Jellyroll Cake
    Author: 
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 8-10
     
    An easy and delicious cake that looks complex.
    Ingredients
    • For the cake:
    • ½ cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 4 eggs at room temperature, separated
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
    • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
    • and ½ cup granulated sugar
    • One cup lemon curd (see recipes)
    • 2-3 large ripe strawberries, sliced, then halved
    • Sifted powdered sugar
    • Sweetened Whipped Cream, Lemon Icing (recipes follow) and Meringue Mushrooms (optional; see 'recipes' on blog)
    • For Icing:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
    • For Sweetened Whipped Cream:
    • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
    • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla
    • Add meringue mushrooms to complement the 'log' if desired (see 'recipes').
    Instructions
    1. For cake:
    2. Line a 15x10x1-inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper (not waxed paper, it will stick), or grease and lightly flour it.
    3. In a small bowl stir together flour and baking powder.
    4. In a medium mixing bowl beat egg yolks and vanilla with an electric mixer on high speed for 3-4 minutes or until frothy.
    5. Gradually add the ⅓ cup granulated sugar, beating until sugar is almost dissolved.
    6. In another bowl beat egg whites with very clean, dry beaters on medium speed until soft peaks form.
    7. Gradually add the ½ cup sugar, turning up the speed and beating until stiff peaks form and stop the mixer.
    8. Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the beaten egg whites.
    9. Sprinkle flour mixture over the batter and gently fold in until just combined.
    10. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
    11. Bake 375 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched and is just golden brown.
    12. Lay a towel or piece of parchment that is larger than the cake pan on the counter and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.
    13. Quickly invert the hot cake onto the towel and peel off parchment that was on the bottom of the cake, if used.
    14. Roll up the towel and cake, making sure the cake doesn't touch itself, starting from the short side.
    15. Cool rolled cake on a wire rack. You can refrigerate the cake now for a day, slid into a plastic bag.
    16. When ready to fill (on the same day as being served) bring the cake back to room temperature and carefully unroll. I haven't had a lemon jellyroll that hasn't stuck a little to the towel because it's so moist. If it cracks, its okay. You can cover the cracks with icing.
    17. Spread with lemon curd leaving one inch around the edges.
    18. Arrange sliced strawberries across the cake in rows.
    19. Carefully re-roll cake without the towel.
    20. Place on serving plate.
    21. Spoon lemon icing along top of jellyroll cake; it will slowly drip down the sides.
    22. Spoon sweetened whipped cream on servings or into a frosting bag and pipe rosettes or other decorations around cake.
    23. Add meringue mushrooms to complement the 'log' if desired.

     

    Baked sponge

     

    Lay a towel or piece of parchment that is larger than the cake pan on the counter and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar.

    Powder a towel

    Quickly invert the hot cake onto the towel and peel off parchment that was on the bottom of the cake, if used.

    Peel off parchment

    Roll up the towel and cake, making sure the cake doesn’t touch itself, starting from the short side.

    Roll it up

    Cool rolled cake on a wire rack.  You can refrigerate the cake now for a day, slid into a plastic bag.

    When ready to fill (on the same day as being served) bring the cake back to room temperature and carefully unroll.  I haven’t had a lemon jellyroll that hasn’t stuck a little to the towel because it’s so moist.  If it cracks, its okay.  You can cover the cracks with icing.  Spread with lemon curd leaving one inch around the edges.  Arrange sliced strawberries across the cake in rows.

    Mine cracked because I was too hasty, but cracks be hidden!

    Carefully re-roll cake without the towel.  Place on serving plate.

    Rolled cake ready for icing

     

    Spoon lemon icing along top of jellyroll cake; it will slowly drip down the sides.

    Spoon whipped cream on servings or into a frosting bag and pipe rosettes or other decorations around cake.

    Add meringue mushrooms to complement the ‘log’ if desired.

    Yummy Slice

    Makes 8-10 servings.

  • Cake,  Recipes,  Sweet Decorations

    Meringue Mushrooms

    Stems and caps

    I had wanted to make these for Christmas, but didn’t get a chance.  My chance came yesterday when I made my daughter’s Lemon-Strawberry Jellyroll birthday cake.  What better to decorate a log than mushrooms?  So here is the recipe; I’ll add the birthday cake recipes soon.

    Meringue Mushrooms
    Author: 
    Recipe type: Dessert Garnish
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: Many
     
    Piping little mushroom decorations for cakes is fun and will bring you great admiration from your family and friends! And they are so good to eat, too!
    Ingredients
    • 2 large egg whites, room temperature and with no bits of yolk in them
    • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
    • ½ cup superfine sugar (if you don't have it, you can use regular white, or blend white sugar up a bit in a blender)
    Instructions
    1. Oven to 200 degrees F., and place the two oven racks to upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (don't use waxed paper; the 'shrooms will stick)
    2. Fit a large pastry bag with a number 6 (1/2 inch diameter) (1¼ cm) round plain tip.
    3. In a mixer bowl beat the egg whites on moderate speed until they are foamy, a minute or so.
    4. Up the speed a little and add the cream of tartar, beating until soft peaks form.
    5. Turn the speed to high and add sugar slowly.
    6. Beat until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved (you can rub a little between your fingers to make sure it isn't gritty). Reserve about an eighth of a cup of meringue for later.
    7. With a spatula, spoon the meringue into the pastry bag.
    8. Piping
    9. To make caps: Holding the bag upright and close to the parchment paper, pipe a round about 2 inches wide and one inch high, giving the bag a twist to separate. Make the caps as close to the same size as possible for even baking.
    10. Leave a good two inches between caps. Use your finger or a toothpick to smooth any points on the caps.
    11. To make stems: Holding the bag upright and close to the parchment paper, pipe a cone about one inch high straight up, making the base a little larger than the top. Some may fall over during baking, so leave good space between.
    12. Make as many stems as there are caps.
    13. Bake both sheets for an hour, rotating the sheets up and down, front to back about halfway through the baking time.
    14. The 'shrooms should be firm enough to be lifted from the sheets without sticking. Using a knife, make a little hole in the underside of the caps.
    15. Pipe a little of the reserved meringue into the hole, and stick in a stem, bottoms up. Return upside-down mushrooms to parchment paper, and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes until dry. (I found that some were still sticky, so I turned off the oven and let the pan sit in there for awhile to dry, like you do with traditional meringue cookies. It worked fine).
    16. Stand mushrooms up.
    17. Some might lean, some stand, some lie down... it all looks natural.
    18. Take about a teaspoonful of cocoa powder and very carefully shake a little over the caps.
    19. Using your finger or a kitchen paintbrush, smudge the cocoa just a little to make it look natural.
    20. Store these cute little devils in an airtight container for a week or so.
    21. Any exposure to moisture will make them sticky, so if using to adorn a cake put them on at the last minute.
    22. Makes about 25 little shroomies.

     

     

    Piping

    To make caps: Holding the bag upright and close to the parchment paper, pipe a round about 2 inches wide and one inch high, giving the bag a twist to separate.  Make the caps as close to the same size as possible for even baking.  Leave a good two inches between caps (I put them too close together and the baking was uneven).  Use your finger or a toothpick to smooth any points on the caps.

    To make stems:  Holding the bag upright and close to the parchment paper, pipe a cone about one inch high straight up, making the base a little larger than the top.  Some may fall over during baking, so leave good space between.  Make as many stems as there are caps.

    Space them farther apart!

    Bake both sheets for an hour, rotating the sheets up and down, front to back about halfway through the baking time.  The ‘shrooms should be firm enough to be lifted from the sheets without sticking.  Using a knife, make a little hole in the underside of the caps.  Pipe a little of the reserved meringue into the hole, and stick in a stem, bottoms up.  Return upside-down mushrooms to parchment paper, and bake for another 15 – 20 minutes until dry.  (I found that some were still sticky, so I turned off the oven and let the pan sit in there for awhile to dry, like you do with traditional meringue cookies.  It worked fine).

    Turn the mushrooms right-side-up.  Some might lean, some stand, some lie down… it all looks natural.  Take about a teaspoonful of cocoa powder and very carefully shake a little over the caps.  Using your finger or a kitchen paintbrush, smudge the cocoa just a little to make it look natural.  Store these cute little devils in an airtight container for a week or so.  Any exposure to moisture will make them sticky, so if using to adorn a cake put them on at the last minute.  Makes about 25 little shroomies.

    Sift cocoa powder onto shrooms

    An option for putting the dried stems and caps together is to dip the end of the stem in chocolate ganache (see recipe for Buttermilk Chocolate Ganache Cake) or frosting, and using that as glue.  Don’t do the additonal baking.  With even a little ganache, the chocolate flavor overwhelms the meringue flavor, but that isn’t all that bad, is it?

  • Cake,  Frosting,  Photos,  Recipes,  Vegetarian

    Easy and Incredible Buttermilk Chocolate Ganache Cake with Perfect Chocolate Frosting

    Spread ganache on cake layers, leaving some in the bowl for licking!

    A rare thunderstorm in San Diego, after days of 100+ degree heat.  A few drops of rain and enough crashing to make my dogs nervous.  They are happily taking advantage of my push-over self and are in the living room, while my cats are furious in the rest of the house.  The cooler fallish weather and darker skies makes me want to cook!

    I bake for friends, and this is one of my most requested cakes.  It is easy, it is wonderful, it is satisfying: it is chocolate.  I don’t like wimpy chocolate cakes; if I’m going to invest my calories in a dessert, it better pay off in flavor and texture.   Making this cake a day ahead allows the flavors to meld, but it can be eaten right away in case of chocolate emergency.  This recipe does use dairy products, and the acid reaction between the buttermilk and baking soda helps it rise and makes the chocolate flavor be yum.   I have directions for a layer cake or sheet cake, but it makes great little bundt cakes, too.  I have a humongous sheet cake pan and I quadruple the recipe with complete success.  I’ve given directions for chocolate frosting, which is absolutely great, by the way, but feel free to use other colors for decorations.  Although I enjoy dark chocolate, I find semi-sweet is best in the ganache, although I’ve used extra-dark baking cocoa for the batter and frosting with much success.  Enjoy!

    Easy and Incredible Buttermilk Chocolate Ganache Cake with Perfect Chocolate Frosting
    Author: 
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 10 - 12
     
    My best and most satisfying chocolate cake recipe, without a lot of hassle!
    Ingredients
    • Buttermilk Chocolate Ganache Cake
    • For Cake:
    • 2 cups white sugar
    • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose unbleached flour
    • cups powdered unsweetened baking cocoa
    • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • cup vegetable oil
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 cup boiling water
    • For Ganache:
    • cup heavy cream
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate in pieces
    • For Frosting:
    • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
    • ⅔ cups powdered unsweetened baking cocoa
    • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
    • ⅓ cups milk, water or buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    Instructions
    1. Heat oven to 350 F.
    2. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round baking pans, or one sheet cake pan.
    3. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.
    4. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
    5. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).
    6. Pour evenly into baking pan(s).
    7. Bake 30 – 35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out cleanly.
    8. Cool ten minutes.
    9. For layer cake, or for the more adventurous sheet cake bakers, turn cake(s) out onto wire racks and cool completely.
    10. For ganache, combine heavy cream and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.
    11. Turn off heat.
    12. Add the chocolate pieces and swirl around to cover them with the hot milk mixture, and then cover for five minutes until chocolate is melted.
    13. Stir until smooth and creamy.
    14. Pour into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ganache is thick enough to spread.
    15. For frosting, melt butter and pour into bowl.
    16. Stir in the cocoa.
    17. Alternately add sifted powdered sugar and milk, beating on medium speed to spreading consistency.
    18. Add more milk if needed.
    19. Stir in vanilla.
    20. Makes about 2 cups.
    21. To finish: If making a layer cake use the ganache as filling.
    22. Cake may then need to be chilled to keep ganache firm before and after frosting. Ganache can also be used both as filling and as a coating for the top layer, and the frosting spread around the sides of the cake and piped decoratively around the top edge as a barrier to contain the ganache.
    23. If making a sheet cake, spread thickened ganache on top of cooled cake.
    24. Pipe frosting decoratively around edge to contain ganache and, if you’ve managed to turn the cake out of the pan, spread the frosting around the sides.
    25. This cake is excellent if made the day before serving, to give the flavors a chance to meld.