Everyday Cakes Archive

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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Monday, March 1, 2010

st. louis gooey butter cake

gooey butter cake

Many good things happened this weekend. First, we abruptly ended my unsavory spell of cold weather lament by taking Jacob to see Central Park in all of its snowy glory, reminding me, yet again, why seeing the city muffled and blanketed is the highlight of my winter. Nothing cures you of greyslushdisgust faster than views like these.

And these.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

walnut jam cake

walnut jam cake

Given my fixation with both walnuts and everyday cakes, it should come as exactly no surprise that the time between me spying this recipe and me getting it in the oven was about six days. Which is the equivalent of less than one day in If You Don’t Have An Impish Four-Month Old terms. I fell for it quickly, it came together even faster (spoiler: the whole thing can be made in a single-bowl food processor) and all of that voluptuous stuff on top — a schmear of jam and a “drift” of whipped cream that’s been tarted up with a little sour cream — are standard no-fuss ingredients. This cake is an easy win.

one brown, three white eggs
whipped cream with a little sour

And yet, I must fuss. It is my way. I am 33 years old, clearly too old and entrenched to change. I found the jam a little overpowering. Now, I intentionally went out and sought a jam that would be more tart than sweet, and then I did add the optional lemon juice to further the punch. Nonetheless, when you have a subtly delightful cake — built on a flavor bed of walnuts toasted nearly to the point of caramelization) — it’s hard to find that under a pile of jam. I might halve it next time, or just spread a thin slick of it on top. Or even skip it and for once, listen to my husband who thinks that everything is better with chocolate and perhaps puddle some ganache on top instead. Or my waistline, that thinks this cake is rich enough plain? Nah, definitely the husband.

jam on walnut cake

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

cranberry syrup (and an intensely almond cake)

cranberry syrup, almond cake

Almond cake, schmalmond cake… Can we just talk about this syrup? I got briefly and over-enthusiastically into making fruit syrups this summer when this September arrival forced me into a mocktail kinda lifestyle. I had quickly dismissed all of those new grown-up sodas everywhere; they were either too sweet or their so-called “natural” nature was a theory easily poked holes in upon a cursory glance at the ingredient label. Wouldn’t it be easier to just make my own fruit syrups and stir them into a glass of seltzer? I did alright with a rhubarb and a mango syrup, but they were really nothing to write home, er, I mean to you all, about. It took me a while to get back to the drawing board.

cranberries from the freezermostly defrosted cranberrieschoppy choppysugarsugar, starting to meltbubbling syrup

I understand that homemade fruit syrups probably don’t sound particularly exciting from the outset, but do consider all of the things that you can do with them: beyond the aforementioned homemade sodas, imagine splashing it in some champagne, if you’re fancy, or building a cocktail around it. You can swirl it into your morning yogurt or splash it over your oatmeal. It would be a tasty swap for maple syrup over pancakes, if maple syrup isn’t your thing (but if it is not, who are you?) or an accent to a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Or, as this cranberry syrup did a couple nights ago, it makes a easy, delicious dessert sauce for the kind of cake that needs some contrast.

almond pastespringforms, batter-ed upalmond cakes, baked and coolingalmond cake, toasted almonds, powdered

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