Everyday Cakes Archive

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

rhubarb snacking cake

rhubarb snacking cake

Almost every year, as soon as the weather gets warm, I become obsessed with a simple, single layer cake that can be made in little time and that I promise will be all you need to be welcome at any picnic/barbecue/cook out/pot-luck that summer.

pretty stalks of rhubarb, at last
rhubarb with sugar and lemon juice

Three years ago, it was a raspberry buttermilk cake, which was the equivalent of taking a single, thin layer from the very best yellow birthday cake you’ve ever had, scattering fresh raspberries over it and baking it until bronzed and perfect. Needless to say, it went on repeat. Later that summer, it was blueberry boy bait, a cake so decadent and buttery I briefly questioned if it had too much butter, then checked my pulse, realized any talk of too much butter was simply madness, and enjoyed the cake thoroughly for as long as the blueberries lasted. (Also, it worked.) Last year I become enamored with something I called a strawberry summer cake. Round and finely crumbed, yet almost butter-slathered-hot-biscuit in texture, it works best with just-picked and borderline-overripe strawberries that, when baked, nearly dissolve into jammy puddles throughout the cake. I also found that I liked it with some of the regular flour replaced with barley flour; just trust me, it works.

sour cream cake batter

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Friday, January 6, 2012

apple sharlotka

apple sharlotka

At last, I have a new recipe for you in the heavily neglected category of Russian food. How could this have happened, you ask? Are you not married to a Russian? Does your son not respond to the question “Would you like to go to the library?” with “Da!”? Are you not still in love with all of the Russian food you’ve encountered in your (holy wow) 8 1/2 years of courtship? And the answer is very simple: I needn’t cook Russian food because my mother-in-law does it so well.

great green granny apples
apple peelings

Weekly, she brings us deliveries of stuffed cabbage or Salad Olivier (which is one of my oddball son’s favorite foods) or blintzes or vegetable soups, oh, and farmers cheese, which I have come to believe Russians imbue with the healing/halo-ensconced qualities most American parents do yogurt. But, she never brings us this, and so I had to take matters into my own hands.

halved and cored apples

Continued after the jump »

Monday, September 12, 2011

red wine chocolate cake

red wine chocolate cake

Saturday night, New York City was the loudest I’d heard it in a long time. I should preface this by saying that I live in a noisy part of an already noisy neighborhood and under the best of circumstances — NYU students gone for the summer, long holiday weekend, rain — there’s always a Saturday night ruckus. But this was something else. This woke me up. I swear, I heard a trumpet, more sirens than feasibly possible, people cheering like the Yankees had won the World Series (did they? no wait, something about football?) and when I went to the window, I saw a Vespa go down the sidewalk and I couldn’t get back to sleep. For the eve of such a somber anniversary, there was hardly anyone bummed out after midnight. I like that about this place, even grudgingly, even at 1 am.

the line-up, with bedell first crush!

I don’t have a 9/11 story. It barely happened to me. I mean, it very much happened to me, it happened to my city, I lived here at the time and it broke my heart. But I didn’t work down there, I didn’t know anyone that did, and were I to spin any kind of dramatic retelling, it would be inauthentic as it’s just not my story to tell. I wasn’t even on the island at the time, as I worked in the Bronx back then and I remember, distinctly, and in hardly my finest moment, feeling like I immensely hated my life right then, stranded miles and miles from everyone I cared about, stuck at the kind of job where they asked you to get back to work shortly after the first plane crashed. I wanted a different path, I just didn’t know how to forge it for myself.

swirly batter

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Monday, May 23, 2011

strawberry summer cake

strawberry summer cake

It is not summer yet. In fact, it’s been raining for more than a week, and another week — the one in which I presume we’ll be introduced to our new mosquito overlords — is promised. In fact, it was so cold that I met a friend for lunch today and had to wear both a light wool sweater and a jacket. It’s almost like summer looked at New York City and said “pbbbblt!”

jersey strawberries
hulled, halved

But I know it’s coming. I know it’s coming because strawberries appeared at the Greenmarkets last week and if you think I dork out pretty badly when the first asparagus stalks appear, you ain’t seen nothing like my “the strawberries are here!” dance. (And hopefully, you never will, or at least until Jacob gets his tell-all YouTube channel.) Suffice it to say that it is awkward but that’s almost besides the point. Strawberries — the kind that really taste like strawberries — are always promised for weeks before they appear and without fail, I go overboard when they arrive, bringing home pounds, plural, when a single box would get us through the weekend. When Monday rolls around and the strawberries are on their last legs, if you listen closely to them, they’ll tell you that this cake is how they’d like to go out.

making the batter

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Monday, February 28, 2011

piña colada cake

pina colada cake

You might want to start rolling your eyes right now, you know, to get a head start before you hear what I’m about to say next: You know that time I dashed off to Aruba for a lazy weekend? I couldn’t find a decent piña colada anywhere. I know! Can you imagine having to suffer like this while on vacation? I mean, life is hard enough when your resort has a water slide with no age limit that deposits one mere feet from the swim-up bar; where you can cat-nap under your cabana while reading a book — with pages — any time being awake is just too exhausting to bear and wake up to gaze at the turquoise water meeting the impossibly blue sky until all of your thoughts file neatly into order. Obviously a watered-down piña colada from a piña colada mix is taking things just one step too far.

good things start here

All joking aside, can we eversobriefly have a moment of silence for a once-great drink that’s been drained of all frolic and joy — waves of sharp pineapple juice, creamy coconut foam and a dark island rum undercurrent — by beachside hotel bars trying to increase their profit margins? That pour corn sweetened weakly flavored mixes from cartons and clear rum from a no-name brand with ice into a blender and think this is what one travels all the way from NYC in the dead of winter for? Once upon a time, a coworker taught me the secret to astoundingly delicious piña coladas, and it is not pineapple juice but crushed pineapple from a can in its juice. You run this through the blender with ice, cream of coconut and enough dark rum to make you arch your eyebrows and blink a few times after the first sip, but quickly return for your second, pour it into a glass, pop a pineapple wedge and a paper umbrella — yes, even if you’re snowbound in your living room in the Northeast, actually especially if so — near the rim and beam yourself anywhere you want to be.

peelingpeeledquarteredfinely chopped

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