Everyday Cakes Archive

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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Friday, December 25, 2009

pear bread

pear bread

A year and a half ago, an Op-Ed ruined bananas for me. Everyone knows in a kid’s mind, there are only three fruits: apples, oranges and bananas. Apples grow in the fall. Oranges grow by grandma’s house in Florida. And bananas grow in… corporation-cleared rainforest in Latin America by laborers deprived of worker’s rights, an economic condition reinforced by heavy-handed military tactics? Egads, people, I so didn’t learn that side of the story as a kid.

pears, eggs, dry ingredientspears, ready to grategrated pearready to bake

Look, I didn’t give up bananas that day; they’re still sliced them into my oatmeal, over my cottage cheese and eaten to occasionally convince myself that it’s not a real dessert I’m craving, and I’m not here to nudge you to either. But there has been a whole lot less banana bread in my life since last year, and I’ve missed it. Yet you can imagine my surprise realizing that most of what made banana bread awesome for me had little to do with bananas, something I discovered making pear bread last week.

letting it snow

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Friday, September 25, 2009

date spice loaf

orange date spice bread

Shh, the baby is sleeping.

First of all, thank you so much for so warmly welcoming little Jacob to the Smitten Kitchen! Such love! I must officially be a mom because I have read all 2,500-plus comments, twice, and it turns out that hearing how objectively cute your newborn son is doesn’t ever get old.

And he is, that is, insanely cute. Did I mention that he punches his left fist in the air in his sleep? That he has so much hair, we had to buy him a little baby comb and brush set? Gah, do not even get me started.

top of the rock

So, while we’re catching up and stuff, it seems worth mentioning — you know, now, after the fact — that we were given a week’s notice that they wanted to induce little Jacob, just to play it safe. A whole week! So much time! I asked people what they would do if they knew they were having a baby, say, the very next day and I used everyone’s suggestions as an activity schedule of sorts for our last week before becoming parents. I got a manicure, pedicure and a haircut. We went out for long, luxurious meals, watched movies, finally got to Top of the Rock, came home and nearly sent myself into labor and delivery days early cracking up over Bill Cosby: Himself (this should so be a must-watch for all almost-parents) especially the part where he wants to give the baby back because it looks like a lizard that needs at least another two, three months to cook but the hospital makes them take it home. Right so, where was I? Basically, we did so much lazy, indulgent stuff that I was bored of all of that indulgence and ready to get on with it by the time his eviction date rolled around.

datesorange zestmisepecans
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