Summer Baking

Summer in the Pacific Northwest means berries. Strawberries, then raspberries, wild salmon berries, huckleberries, blueberries, and finally blackberries.

Oakleigh is obsessed with berries (or as she calls them: buhs) of all kinds. She and Daddy pick them on their afternoon walks. On the weekends, she and I have been setting out in the stroller to stock up on blackberries. Every handful that goes into the container, she gets one, and is ecstatic every single time. Que enthusiastic “Mmmmm!”

There are two great berry cake recipes that I found over the past few years.

The first is actually for plums, but would probably be great with any kind of buh instead 🙂

From the NY Times:

Fresh Plum Torte

plum cake

plum torte with homemade whiskey vanilla ice cream

INGREDIENTS

  • Âľ to 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup unbleached flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  Pinch of salt (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 24 halves pitted purple plums
  •  Sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon, for topping

PREPARATION

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream the sugar and butter in a bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and eggs and beat well.
  3. Spoon the batter into a springform pan of 8, 9 or 10 inches. Place the plum halves skin side up on top of the batter. Sprinkle lightly with sugar and lemon juice, depending on the sweetness of the fruit. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, depending on how much you like cinnamon.
  4. Bake 1 hour, approximately. Remove and cool; refrigerate or freeze if desired. Or cool to lukewarm and serve plain or with whipped cream. (To serve a torte that was frozen, defrost and reheat it briefly at 300 degrees.)

*************

This second recipe is a new find this year. I was in search of a fruit heavy coffee cake with crumb topping. After scouring the internet I combined two different recipes and am hooked on this new combo. We tried it with raspberries and blackberries…both are excellent. You can load it up with berries and it still comes out light and beautiful!

*************

 

Berry Crumb Top Coffee Cake

For the topping:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter-chilled and cubed

For the Cake:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • â…” cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 4-5 cups fresh berries (raspberries and blackberries are our favorites)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To make the topping: Combine sugar, flour and chilled cubed butter in a bowl. Stir with a fork (ok) or pastry blender (ideal) until the mixture is crumbly.( Make sure the mix is in pea-sized crumbs)
  2. Make the Cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a round 9-inch cake pan (or 8×8, or other pan…it really does not matter just adjust baking time accordingly). Optional: line the bottom of the pan with parchment, grease the parchment, then flour the inside of the pan. Or just butter and flour the pan. Both work fine, but the parchment keeps the cake slightly lighter on the bottom if any berries come in contact with the pan.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat until combined, about 30 seconds. Reduce the mixer speed to medium, then add eggs one at a time; beat for 5 to 10 seconds, then scrape down bowl and continue to beat until fully incorporated (mixture will appear broken). Reduce the mixer speed to low, then gradually add the flour mixture and beat slowly until the flour is almost fully incorporated, about 20 seconds. Use a rubber spatula to finish mixing until no flour pockets remain (the batter will be very heavy and thick). Add berries and allow the mixer to turn 3-5 more times to roughly distribute and mush the berries (you can also just do this by hand with a spatula to keep them whole)
  4. Transfer batter to prepared pan; gently spread the batter evenly to the pan edges and smooth the surface. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter.
  5. Bake until the top is deep golden brown and a thin knife inserted into center of the cake comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Place on a wire rack for 20 minutes (the cake will fall slightly as it cools).
  6. Run a thin knife around the sides of cake. Invert the cake, then peel off the parchment from the bottom of the cake and discard. Turn the cake right-side-up onto a cooling rack or serving dish. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored at room temperature, in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days.
Advertisements

Some Favorite Recipes

We were down all last week with a terrible, horrible, no good very bad stomach bug. It was awful. Matt and I are rarely sick at the same time, but this round took us both out for the whole week. We could barely eat, drink or even move…let alone work on the mountain of projects that we have in the works.

But that sickness is starting to become a memory, and we are regaining our stregth. Last night we celebrated a dear friend’s birthday with a homemade cake. I have been on the search for a really excellent basic, from scratch yellow cake. They are always too dense and almost cornbread like. This one make have proved me wrong. For good measure, I also threw in our favorite cookie recipe below.

Fluffy, Moist Homemade Yellow Cake

source: Divas Can Cook
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened, room temperature (do not microwave)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325. F. (do not use convection like I did…cooked too fast to start)
  2. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  4. Add in egg yolks and vanilla, mixing until fully incorporated. Set aside.
  5. In a seperate bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Gradually add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
  7. Mix until batter is fluffy but be careful not to over mix.
  8. Beat egg whites until stiff and thick. (holds a nice peak)
  9. Very gently fold egg whites into batter and mix JUST until incorporated.
  10. Pour batter into prepared pans and spread into even layers.
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and let cake cool in pans until pans are warm to the touch.
  13. Carefully remove cakes from pan and place on a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  14. When cakes are completely cooled frost with chocolate buttercream frosting.

 

Lauren’s Amazing Cookies (coconut, chocolate, oatmeal)

  • 1 cup butter (or 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup coconut oil)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 ½ cup oatmeal
  • Âľ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Vanilla
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 bag chocolate chips

 

Cream together butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients. Mix in coconut and chocolate chips. Make into 1-2 inch balls and flatten slightly on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until edges start to turn slightly golden. Remove from oven and cool. They will continue to darken out of the oven. Enjoy!

Coconut Chocolate “Ice Cream” (Dairy Free!)

I love making ice cream at home. We have tried many combinations over the years, pretty much settling on a standard base that we mix up with different flavors. In the summer, peach is a favorite, as well as fresh garden mint with cookies. Fall leans towards brown butter or whiskey or something else rich and delicious.

This weekend I wanted to try a dairy free “ice cream” and modified our standard base to accomodate. Coconut chocolate seemed to fit the bill.

Last time I attempted a coconut milk base it turned out a little more grainy than I prefer, so this time I added arrowroot powder. Also note, this is not a vegan base since it does feature rich homegrown egg yolks.

Verdict: this was pretty much perfect! I am looking forward to mixing it up again with different add-ins all summer long!

IMG_9508[1]

Coconut Chocolate “Ice Cream”

  • 4 cups full fat coconut milk (we use cartons from our local Asian market)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbs good quality cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 Tbs coconut oil
  • pinch of salt
  • vanilla extract
  • 4 egg yolks

METHOD

In saucepan, heat HALF the coconut milk with sugars, cocoa, oil, and arrowroot powder, and salt until heated through, stirring or whisking constantly (not boiling). Temper egg yolks with some of the hot chocolate mixture, and add to pot. Continue cooking until the consistency is of thin pudding. Add in vanilla extract and remaining 2 cups of coconut milk.

At this point I choose to pour the ice cream mix through a mesh strainer to remove any lumps, but this is optional .

Cool ice cream base in the fridge until cold, overnight is ideal. Churn in ice cream maker for ~20 minutes or until done. Freeze in containers for at least 30 minutes before serving.

YUM!

Summer: Season of Zuchinni

Last year our zucchini growing efforts were unsuccessful. I am still not sure how that was possible but it was.

This year is the total opposite. We have plants that are literally almost thigh high, with leaves like platters. HUGE flowers are producing lots of zucchini and we are thrilled. Ask me again in a month if I still feel this way!

Sunday morning I took our largest friend on the kitchen counter and turned him into two beautiful loaves of scrumptious chocolate chip zucchini bread. I have never had a standard recipe so here is what I made this time.

This made two loaves.

  • 1.5  cups all purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup coconut oil (melted if solid)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup plain whole greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups zucchini, shredded and squeezed in a towel to dry a bit
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method: in a bowl, mix dry ingredients. In separate bowl, mix wet ingredients and sugar. Stir together gently. Add zucchini and chocolate chips. Do not overmix!

Bake in two loaf pans lined with parchment at 350 for ~40 minutes or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.

Comfort Food Favorites

Now these are staples of our family’s holiday table. They are not the tried and true “been there since great-grandma-whoever” but they are SO GOOD that we can’t have a holiday feast without them. In fact, they are so popular that every guest also requests the recipes. And they are vegetable dishes…totally healthy! 🙂

First up: Carrot Puff. My grandma introduced this to our family 10 or so years back and it is a stronghold year round. We have made it with carrots, or squash, or sweet potatoes…or a combination. We have made it in a Dutch oven over a fire. In deep round dishes and big flat 11x17s for picnics. It is best hot but we have been known to eat it cold. It tastes like vanilla pudding so even the pickiest of vegetable eaters will gobble it up.

Carrot Puff

  • 2 lb carrots or sweet potato or squash or mix of all – peeled, cut into cubes, cooked till tender ~ 20 min boiling
  • 1/2 c. melted butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 6 Tb flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients together in blender, adding cooked carrots a little at a time. Blend till smooth. You may need to do in 2 batches and mix together. Pour into greased casserole dish. Bake at 350 about 50 – 60 min until firm in the middle and golden.

Next up? Super awesome corn bake. Again, this one is pretty versatile in the veggie department. Sometimes we add cubed summer squash. Sometimes not. It is great either way!

Baked Corn (and squash if you choose)

this makes an 8×8 pan or so…….

In large bowl:

beat 2 eggs
add:
1/2 cup milk
salt, pepper
2 Tb flour (~ 4 if you add squash)
1 Tb sugar
1/4 c melted butter
2 -3 Tb onions chopped small
1/2 c grated parmesan
1/2 c grated cheddar (I probably use more)
add: a pound of corn / squash cubes mix and pour into greased 8×8 pan Bake 350 about 45 min. Done.

Enjoy!

Sticky Sweet and Tart: Cranberry Orange Cake

Thanksgiving was full of good things to eat. A few favorites: my mom’s carrot puff and corn casserole, turkey, green beans and of course, dessert. This year I made a revised version of last year’s cranberry upsidedown cake. Sticky and sweet and tart and fresh. The addition of extra butter, orange juice and a sour cream glaze really kicked it up a notch. Rave reviews.

Cranberry Orange Upsidedown Cake with Vanilla Glaze

INGREDIENTS

Topping

  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen whole cranberries (fresh float, frozen sink and make a bright red top to the cake…I learned this from last year)

Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temp (plus more for buttering the pan)
  • 3 large eggs
  • zest of 1 large orange
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • fresh juice of 1 large orange (about 1/3 cup)

METHOD

1 Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch diameter cake pan. Springform works well.

2 In a small saucepan, place the stick of butter and the 3/4 cups of packed brown sugar. On medium high heat, stir the sugar as the butter melts. Once the butter is melted and mixed in well with the sugar, stop stirring and let the mixture simmer for 15 seconds or so.

3 Pour the brown sugar butter mixture into the prepared cake pan. Spread the cranberries on top of the sugar butter mixture.

4 Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl vigorously whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.

5 In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until light. Add the sugar and beat together the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla and orange zest.

6 Mix a third of the dry ingredients into the mixture. Beat in half of the sour cream and orange juice. Mix in another third of the dry ingredients.  Mix in the remaining sour cream. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients.

7 Pour batter over the cranberries in the cake pan, and smooth the surface. Place in the preheated oven and lower the heat from 350°F to 325°F. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 55 minutes to an hour. Cool cake in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the inside rim of the cake pan to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Then turn the cake out onto a platter. Glaze when cool if desired.

Easy Vanilla Sour Cream Glaze

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 Tbs powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbs milk (or orange juice?)
  • Vanilla

Whisk together in a bowl, adjusting ingredients as needed until desired consistency.

Home Grown Mint Cookie Ice Cream

Last weekend we broke in our ice cream maker. It was a wedding gift and really needed to be put to good use. We perused ice cream flavors and settled on homemade mint with crushed cookies. I found a few variations and eventually make my own take. Verdict: awesome! The mint flavor of freshly extracted mint is not like store bought or mint extract…it is much earthier and floral. Perfect for enjoying after a farm fresh meal. Even better out of antique bowls.

Garden Mint Cookie Ice Cream

2 cups cream

2 cups whole milk

3 egg yolks (though next time we plan to use 5)

1 cup sugar

2 cups fresh mint leaves and flowers

1 pinch salt

Crushed oreos or other sandwich cookies (we used Newman’s Own)

1. In saucepan, combine 1 cup cream and 1 cup milk. Add mint leaves and flowers. Heat until steaming and then turn off heat. Let sit 3o mins. Then reheat to steaming and let sit another 15 mins.

2. Pour mint liquid through a strainer to remove leaves. Return liquid to saucepan.

3. Add sugar and salt to the mint mixture and heat until just steaming. Temper egg yolks and add. Stirring constantly, cook over low heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 10 mins.

4. Remove from heat and add in remaining 1 cup cream and 1 cup milk (both cold). This will stop the cooking. Put mixture in fridge for at least an hour before putting in ice cream maker.

Churn in ice cream maker for 20 mins or until nearly done. Add cookies and churn until desired consistency.

Enjoy!