Maple Pound Cake

I have been baking, and cooking, just not writing! We got a late start on camping this summer so are trying to make up with the weekends that are remaining through October. There’s something about camping that makes sitting around doing nothing very productive. This is compared to sitting around at home doing nothing which is just plain laziness.

I am back to using King Arthur Flour recipes. I have not yet taken up their current bake-along challenge but may do so in the future.The catalog flyer they send each month has a few recipes in it along with the promotions of their products for sale. This latest had a Maple Pound Cake with Maple-Rum Glaze recipe which looked and sounded tasty and seasonal. It is definitely fall in New England and the Sugar houses will be full of maple syrup soon. Here is the link to the recipe on their website. http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/maple-pound-cake-with-maple-rum-glaze-recipe

I followed the recipe almost exactly because that is just the kind of baker I am! Mise en place is essential for baking and I failed to pay attention to the recipe and what ingredients I had in the house. What type of baker runs out of butter! I had only some butter so I substituted coconut oil. This was solidified being less than 70 degrees F in my pantry. I also made my own cake flour using the directions from Mark Bittman’s book How To Cook Everything.

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour whisked with 1/4 cup cornstarch (OR 2 cups cake flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons coconut oil and 2 tablespoons butter (OR 3/4 cup butter, softened)
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dark maple syrup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (the recipe also calls for 1/4 teaspoon maple flavor but this I do not have)

Sift the first four dry ingredients in a bowl. Cream the coconut oil/butter with the brown sugar in separate bowl. To this add and beat eggs one at a time and then add the maple syrup. Now add half the flour mixture followed by the sour cream and vanilla. Then add the remaining flour. Mix just until combined.

You will have preheated the oven to 350 degrees F and lightly greased a 9-10 cup bundt pan. Pour batter into the pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until cake test done. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out on a cake plate. My cake did not come out cleanly. I had to patch some of the pieces of the top (or bottom, depending on your perspective) of the cake back to the cake like a puzzle. Luckily this does not affect the taste. No Star Baker for me though!

While the cake is baking, or actually when you pull it out of the oven, make the glaze by combining 2 tablespoons butter (I found a partial stick of butter in the camping butter container), 1/4 cup maple syrup, and 1/4 cup rum (or water) in a saucepan. Bring this to a rolling boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 5-8 minutes until thickens to a syrupy consistency. I forgot to check the consistency and just simmered it for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over the warm cake.

The directions say to let the cake cool completely before serving. What? Why?

I let it cool just a bit while finishing an episode of the current Binge Watch on Amazon!

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This is a flavorful and moist cake. Hubby asked for a piece to put in his lunch the next day. This recipe is a definite keeper. Ice cream or real whipped cream could be added but is not necessary.

 

 

Cherry Custard Tart!

I confess this is an experiment. I long to make cherry cafloutis and have not been successful. I think it is the texture that is foreign to this mid-American palate of mine! And ever since I watched all of the BBC series As Time Goes By I have urges to make Custard Tarts which were Lionel’s favorite teatime treat.

The weather cooled off sufficiently for me to want to turn on the oven. What to bake? I dream of biscuits, cakes, pies…and custard tarts! I have a pie dough circle in the freezer and get that out to thaw. I go through my French Feasts cookbook looking for custard. There are lots to choose from. Questions flood my brain: do I pre-bake the crust? which custard cream can be baked? do I bake the cream in the crust? Should I make the whole recipe or half. I see that I and the son have marked the recipes on Page 456 with the amounts for half recipes.

I chose the creme patissiere (pastry cream). I chose to prebake the crust and possibly bake it again with the cream filling. I do not spend any time researching what to do through cookbooks or the internet. I roll out the crust and try to fit it to an 8 inch spring form pan. This was my first mistake: I should have used a regular 9 inch pyrex pie pan. Who knew?

I also decide to make a topping using canned tart cherries. I “melt” 1/2 cup apricot jam in a small sauce pan and add 1/2 can of cherries. Bring to boil and stir.

20160911_215721278_iosFor the “creme pat”:

  • 4 cups milk; I make this with 2 cups half-and-half and 2 cups water. The only milk I have in the house is almond milk and that has very little fat in it.
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup butter

Whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar until pale. I don’t think mine got to pale. I used a hand whisk and not the mixer. I add about 1/2 teaspoon vanilla to add some flavor. Meanwhile put the milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan with the butter. And scald. To this I added the zest of one lemon to augment the custard for the cherries. Add a little of the scalded milk to the egg mixture and then return to the saucepan whisking constantly while adding. I then remembered to add 2/3 cup sifted flour to the egg mixture before I had added it all to the milk. I got that sorted out and this mixture gets cooked gently for 10 minutes. I whisked it a lot of that time to be sure it would be smooth. It came out nicely. I have too much pastry  cream for the little crust I had formed.

I baked the crust for 10 minutes with lid used for the baking blind. I have to get me some of those “baking stones” soon! Ugly, ugly, ugly! And not so crisp. The sides shrunk down as well. I have very little success pre-baking pie crusts. I put it back in the oven for 5 minutes without the lid in it. Now it looks a bit browner. Maybe it is okay. I decide at this time to just add the pastry cream and chill.

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The mistakes I made:

  1. not properly shaping and pre-baking the pie crust in the proper pan. This is not a short crust but a flaky crust that most of us Americans use for all pies.
  2. making too much pastry cream and not letting it cool before filling the pie crust.
  3. not cooking down the jam and cherries long enough to make a thicker sauce.

But how does it taste? Let’s find out.

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Nice flavors. The custard was loose. Perhaps more time in the refrigerator will set it better. I will find out tomorrow. The crust was nicely colored and crisp on the bottom. Good bake! I have lots of pastry cream leftover so cream puffs may be on the menu this week!

Banana cake: baking season returns!

September has brought cooler weather. At least for a day or two. Never mind that the forecast shows 90s by the end of the week! Meanwhile I turn on the oven and bake a cake.

Ohiocook sends us over to the diabetic living website to check out dessert recipes. And there is this cake first thing: cinnamon banana cake with chocolate ganache: Cinnamon-Banana Cake

I have frozen bananas, cinnamon, whole wheat pastry flour, so here goes. I follow the recipe exactly except for the dark chocolate in the ganache because, for some reason, I don’t have dark chocolate in the house. Oh well, life in my kitchen must go on.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup mashed bananas; I used 2 whole frozen bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup non-fat milk; I used cashew milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all the dry ingredients. Mix all the wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients all at once and mix till combined.

Oh, you would have preheated the oven to 325 F  and have generously greased a Bundt cake pan. Spread evenly in the pan and bake for 45-55 minutes. Mine took 50 minutes. I thought it would take longer because of the frozen bananas but it was a good looking cake at 50 minutes. Let cool completely and then frost with ganache.

I had to rescue the ganache! The ganache was made with 3 ounces German sweet chocolate and 1/4 cup half and half. Melt the chocolate and stir in the half and half. Well, this was a grainy mess. Very unappealing! Somewhere I remember in my cookbook rambling that chocolate could seize and there was something the cook could do about it. The internet is a life saver for modern day cooks. In the olden days one could call up the grandmother or even ask a neighbor over the back fence what to do, but not in these times. So I put “rescue the ganache” into the search engine and voila! First aid arrived. All the sites said the same thing: heat up a low fat milk and slowly incorporate that into the split ganache. Something about water molecules, etc., would solve the problem. And it did!

Here’s the final product. It looks very much like the picture from the recipe website. How often does that happen?

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This cake is not too sweet and Hubby and the ganache complements it well. Yum!