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.
Everyday Cakes Archive
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.
Old-school pound cakes come with their own easily-remembered formula (a pound of butter to a pound of sugar, eggs and flour) with leavening only coming from the air one whips into the batter. But just because it’s the classic way to do it, doesn’t mean mean I don’t think most pound cakes need a little extra creativity to keep them from becoming foamy, forgettable bricks. You can swap out some of the butter for cream cheese, as I do in my favorite non-traditional pound cake recipe, you can add loads of lemon, baking powder, baking soda and buttermilk, rendering something that is impossibly delicious but really, a pound cake in name only, or you can do as James Beard does, and apply smart cake-baking techniques to improve the predictable.
I’ve been curious to make a yeasted coffee cake for years, but every time I got close to making one, I decided against it. Would it be dry or overly-firm? Would it taste too much like bread? How would I know a good one if I’ve probably never had an authentic German kuchen — a general name for a type of sweet, yeasted cake, usually served with coffee — one? I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: I’m a master at talking myself out of things.
A few weeks ago, as I was going on about how much I like just about every color and shade of baked fruit desserts, the goofier the name — be it “grunt”, “slump”, “buckle”, or “betty” — the better, a reader named Shirley asked me if I’d ever tried anything called Blueberry Boy Bait.
Every summer, chocolate grows a little neglected in my kitchen. I don’t mean to let it happen — in my mind, there are few higher confectionery callings than brownies or ganache — but as soon as I start seeing rhubarb and strawberries and raspberries at the markets, and just today peaches (!) and blueberries (sorry NYC, there are none left. I bought them all), I start daydreaming about crisps and cobblers and grunts and crumb cakes and suddenly the winter’s stash of chocolate has grown soft and neglected in my pantry.
Let me guess: It’s Sunday. If you’re lucky, you’ve got at least a whole extra day left of a summer-summoning holiday weekend and if you’re even luckier, and the weather is a little more barbecue, pot-luck or picnic-friendly than it is where I am in the mountains of North Carolina, and maybe, just maybe, you’re trying to figure out what you can bring that won’t take you any time to make.