Everyday Cakes Archive

Monday, October 25, 2010

spiced applesauce cake

to share with the baby

If there is anything as magnificent as October in New York City, well, I don’t believe you. The trees I didn’t know we had deposit rust-colored leaves all over the sidewalks, the sky is impossibly blue, the air drinkably crisp and suddenly, you can walk for miles and never feel overheated or spent. It leads to a lot of trips to the market. Even when we don’t need anything, we just make up excuses to go, like just to get a tiny apple for our 13 month-old anti-New Yorker who smiles at and chats (“Ga-ga! Gaga!”*) willingly with strangers who pass him on the sidewalk and if that hasn’t charmed you yet, imagine this same child clutching a handful of flowers the eggplant lady at the market gave him to give to his mama. Seriously, guys, New York City is sweet in the fall.

batter
cake belly

And without fail, this is my favorite month to cook, the one in which every recipe that crosses my path delights me more than the one before. Remember last week, when I was all “these scones are October on a parchment-lined baking sheet”? I was lying. Turns out, this is. Well, in a buttered square cake pan. It’s one of these cakes you should make just because you can. Just because there’s nothing not to love about a kitchen filled with the scent of freshly baked spiced cake. Or because you’re probably drowning in apples and applesauce from your apple-picking excursions and are out of ideas for them. Or because you’ve never met an application for cream cheese frosting that you couldn’t love.

beaters

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

everyday chocolate cake

everyday chocolate cake

Chocolate gets stiffed every summer in my kitchen and this one has been no different. Apparently, the only time I have come near chocolate with a ten foot pole this summer was more than six weeks ago, when I made some impromptu chocolate doughnut holes in the lull between rhubarb/strawberry season and every awesome fruit since. And I love chocolate like some people love bagels. This isn’t right.

cocoa

It’s just that every time I think about making something with chocolate in it, I push it back to the fall, and then the winter. How boring I have become since I started aligning my cooking with the seasons! I reason that I can make chocolate goodies any time of year, but nectarines will only be as brilliant as they are right this very minute and then not again until next summer and I will miss them the whole time and thus we must focus only on each other for as long as we can. Me and summer fruit, we get intimate.

battered up

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

nectarine brown butter buckle

baked, buckled

I have to apologize in advance: this is a cookbook reject. I know! “A reject?!” you’re probably thinking. “Now why would I want your rejects?” Because this is a delicious reject; it failed because I decided to go in another direction, such a different direction that about the only thing the other one has in common is the word “buckle” and I’m probably renaming it anyway. Gosh, I sure like to make things difficult, though that’s not really news.

jersey nectarines
nectarine sections

Needless to say, working on a cookbook is keeping me busy. Well, that and this (and this lost kneecap; we can’t find it anywhere!). I’m learning a lot I probably should already know. Just Monday, I learned that if I didn’t bake a cake long enough, it would sink in the middle! The week before, I realized if I had my camera on the wrong settings, everything would come out blurry and I’ve have to start all over again. Because I’m cooking seasonally, I’ve learned that things only go out of season when you need them most. (Rhubarb, baby, come back! I wasn’t finished with you!)

batter

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Friday, May 7, 2010

pecan cornmeal butter cake

pecan cornmeal butter cake, berries

I spend a ridiculous amount of time falling in love with recipes from the title alone and then talking myself out of making them. Take this Pecan Cornmeal Butter Cake recipe run alongside a New York Times article about Durham, North Carolina, where hundreds of acres that were once used to grow tobacco have been transitioned to sprout peas, strawberries, fennel and artichokes, and that now house chickens, lambs, rabbits and cows. The warehouses once used to dry tobacco are being converted to art studios, bio labs and radio stations. You know, because I didn’t have enough reasons to love North Carolina.

brown butter, toasted pecans please
pecans, powdered + granulated sugar

I fell instantly in love. Delicious sounding title? Check. Great story? Check. A good fit with my South infatuation that flares up every time the sun comes out? Check. A recipe not tied to a season we’re not in? Check. The word ‘butter,’ anywhere? Oh check. So why didn’t I make this a month ago? It uses eight egg whites. (Boo to the better part of a dozen leftover egg yolks.) It calls for white cornmeal, which despite my hunting, I was unable to find in New York City, or frankly anywhere above the Mason-Dixon line. (I know I could mail order it but I dug my heels in; I can buy eight different types of mozzarella at my local bodega but not white cornmeal? I am spoiled.) It calls for 10 4-inch tartlet pans, which I have, because I’m insane (even my son agrees), but know that the vast majority of home cooks do not, because they are not.

batter, after three hours chilled

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

lime yogurt cake with blackberry sauce

lime yogurt cake with blackberry sauce

Seeing as I can’t get enough of those I Don’t Need A Special Occasion To Make Cake Cakes and also those Of Course You Can Stop By At The Last Minute (psst, ’cause I’d already made some cake) Cakes, I am clearly long overdue to make a classic French yogurt cake. I first learned about yogurt cakes nearly five years ago from Clotilde; they’re perfect anytime-of-day cakes (bless the French for understanding the utmost importance of this), not too sweet, fluffy and perfect just from the oven or wrapped in plastic for a day or two, as the corners soften. Most people don’t measure them — the math is based on the volume of your yogurt cups (they use two), to which you add an equal amount of sugar, a double amount of flour, a little less than one of oil, two eggs and some leavener and flavors.

blackberriesblackberries, sugar and lime juiceblackberry pureestraining the blackberry coulistiny limelimes, minelime zestlimes, used up

Those flavors are usually gentle things, like a bit of lemon zest, or vanilla, a splash of rum or maybe a handful of berries. But I — having all but given up on waiting for the market to produce the things I really want to eat, at least for this weekend — spied a bag of golfball-sized grass-colored limes at Whole Foods this week and did not blink an eye before tossing them onto Jacob’s stroller (I dread when he gets big enough to fill it out, and he can no longer be reasonably expected to schlep groceries home for me) and since I’d already gone down that path, decided not to even pretend that I wanted to resist the 2 for $5 blackberries, admired the pretty pretty grass color against the dark magenta-violet berries and knew at once I’d have to put them together.

greek yogurteggs, flour, yogurt, sugar and limesifter, lift offlime yogurt cake

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