Everyday Cakes Archive

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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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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