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raspberrycake2

Sunday means baking. And laundry. But more enjoyably, baking.

This is a simple, sweet cake to take you into the week. This particular week is my last before a week of vacation, so it’s extra sweet. Deb from Smitten Kitchen (where I found the recipe, although it is originally from Gourmet…what a tangled web we weave) calls this an “everyday cake”. And it’s true — this cake came together very quickly, with minimal ingredients. The texture of the batter as it goes into the pan is divine. It was so light, fluffy, and extremely glossy. As I was smoothing it into the pan I was imagining what kind of crumb a batter like that would produce and I was right. Soft, super moist, and light. This is an awesome summer dessert, when the berries are fresh and juicy.

The only modifications I made were to sub almond extract for vanilla, and I omitted the lemon zest. I also baked mine in an 8 1/4″ cake pan instead of 9″…I don’t think it needed more than a few minutes added onto the cooking time suggested. Check your cake about 5 minutes before it’s supposed to be done. The line between underbaked and overbaked is a fine one with this cake. I will say that it is probably a good idea to add parchment paper to the bottom of your pan. Despite the buttering and flouring I still managed to half destroy my cake trying to get it out. It is quite delicate. Good thing it still tastes delicious!

raspberrycake

evobread

People go nuts for Dorie Greenspan (and by people, I mostly mean foodies and food bloggers). Her specialty is baked goods, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. This is possibly the simplest cake you’ll ever make — and it’s mouth-wateringly moist and delicious. The texture is something like pound cake, but made with olive oil instead of butter, and it’s not too sweet in the slightest. I added a simple lime juice and powdered sugar glaze (to complement the lime zest in the recipe), but it would be delicious without.

Here is the recipe at Serious Eats: EVO and Yogurt Loaf Cake

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When I was a kid growing up in Hayward, CA (hometown shout out!), I distinctly remember going to one of those pop-up fairs that travel to school yards everywhere. At this particular fair, I won a pineapple upside-down cake. This was an enormous triumph. My memory is a bit fuzzy as to how I won this cake, but I have some impression that it had to do with musical chairs. It definitely involved my incredible skill in some area, I mean, this was an entire cake! At the time, pineapple upside-down cake was very exotic. It had pineapples! And it was upside-down! But how?! And this is how it came to be that I will forever associate upside-down cake with musical chairs.

Truth be told, I don’t think much about upside-down cake (wow, how many times can I put that phrase into one post?). But I was trying to find another way to use seasonal fruit (besides bars, crumbles, crisps or cobblers) so I could take something yummy and sweet to a barbecue last weekend, and epicurious gave me the idea. I tweaked the recipe slightly, because I can’t get enough of sour cherries and also cardamom. My food obsessions are starting to emerge, no?

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popsicles

So I had an epiphany the other day, at the DUMBO flea market in Brooklyn. I was willing to pay $3.50 on a hot day for a delicious popsicle. $3.50! They’re not even filling! But it made me realize I could probably make popsicles just as delicious at home — and then I remembered I actually had a popsicle mold! I acquired said mold from a friend, who hosted trivia night at her house and gave it out as a prize. I promptly stashed it somewhere and forgot about it, until it got to be a billion degrees outside. Thanks, New York summer!

A couple of slightly overripe peaches and a handful of frozen blueberries later, I had delicious, awesome popsicles for a lot less than $3.50 each. This is a method moreso than a recipe — you could use juice instead of yogurt, any kind of fruit (mostly), and you could get creative. And, for a summer dessert, they’re not even bad for you. I bet a mojito popsicle would be pretty damn good!

Peach Blueberry Yogurt Popsicles

2 peaches, pitted and chopped finely
1/3 c. frozen or fresh blueberries
2 T. butter
2 T. brown sugar
splash vanilla extract
1 c. plain yogurt (whole milk is best)

Melt the butter in a small saucepan and add the brown sugar. Once the sugar is melted, add the fruit and vanilla and bring to a boil. Lower the heat so the fruit is just simmering and cook for 5 minutes or until the fruit is softened and the mixture has thickened slightly. Let cool to room temperature. Combine with yogurt and pour into molds. Freeze, and enjoy!

bars

I don’t think I’ve ever taken advantage of summer fruit to the degree I have this year! Lately, I’ve noticed myself becoming a baker…someone who actually measures things. Which is weird. I am usually a “throw it in” kind of cook. (I am still not the most meticulous baker around). But I have to say, baking is a singularly satisfying activity. It doesn’t have to be complicated — I rarely make anything that requires much special expertise or equipment — but the smell of baking, the satisfaction of watching batter or dough turn into something not just edible but delicious…it’s fun, I’ve got to admit! Especially since baking usually means I have way more than two people could or should eat, so I get to share the results.

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen, which I’m sure had been heavily adapted from All Recipes…so here is my take on it. The original featured blueberries and lemon. I switched it up to include sour cherries and almonds. Let your imagination run wild…there are a lot of possibilities here! And if you are not visiting your farmer’s market fruit stands with regularity, shame on you. You’ll be sorry when it’s snowing!

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cobbler

Awhile back I made a cobbler with cinnamon-cardamom biscuits, and tonight I did it again — and this time I took a picture.

Cobbler, crumble, crisp…look no further for simple, delicious fruit desserts. This time I used some nice, ripe black plums (5 to be exact) and a pint of blueberries. I was going to use peaches or nectarines, but they were all completely unripe. This was no compromise, though. I can never quite believe the color cooked blueberries become, that deep purple-magenta. It’s almost like the unnatural quality beets have when cooked. That color comes from nature? Really?

plumblueberry

To any cobbler situation, you just fill your chosen vessel with fruit, toss with a couple tablespoons of sugar (more or less depending on the inherent sweetness of the fruit), a couple tablespoons of flour, a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I added a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract here as well. Top the fruit with these biscuits and then brush with cream (or butter, or buttermilk) and sprinkled with coarse sugar. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes and there you have it. Summer at its finest.

tart

I just had to make something with cherries from the farmer’s market. I couldn’t keep walking by those baskets full to the brim of juicy fruit. I don’t recall being much of a cherry fan growing up, but I think cherries are one of my favorite fruits now, particularly in preserves or dried in granola. But ’tis the season for fresh cherry preparations, and I needed a recipe I could execute without spending $20 on cherries. I love them, but not that much. For inspiration, I turned to tarts.

cherries

A tart is really just a modest-sized pie, although the opportunity for cramming a lot of flavor into a very shallow pan is huge. I modified a recipe I found on epicurious for an almond raspberry tart (cue my obsession with almonds: now) and added a sour cream topping, to great effect. The crust is very buttery and delicate, and the almond portion of the filling is like marzipan (one of my favorites). Topped with stewed cherries and a lattice of more buttery pastry, the combination of the three elements is heavenly. I’ll admit the recipe is very labor intensive, but I had the day off work, so I had plenty of time on my hands. This would be a very impressive recipe to make for guests.

Tart recipe is here. The only modification I made was subbing the raspberries for 1 c. sweet cherries and 1 c. sour cherries (approximately 1 pint of cherries total). I imagine almost any berry or stone fruit would also be delicious here.

wholetart

And finally, the sour cream topping was very simple:

1/2 c. whipping cream
1/4 c. sour cream
1 T. sugar

Whip the ingredients together until they form soft peaks. Serve on room temperature tart and devour!

cookies

I’ve had a little bit of a lemon curd obsession of late. I found this recipe for strawberry thyme shortbread cookies and decided they would be better sandwiched with some lemon curd, obviously! The cookies were fairly labor intensive (anything that requires 2 bouts of refrigeration in the midst of preparation is not really my kind of recipe…I have the attention span of a gnat) but the lemon curd was so, so simple. And, might I add, delicious. Tart, tangy, sweet, lemony — why is it that this is not as popular in the States as any other toast accoutrement??

Here is the lemon curd recipe, which you should feel free to make sans cookies. I was practically eating it out of the jar with a spoon. Classy!

lemoncurd

Lemon Curd
via epicurious

1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
2 t. finely grated lemon zest
1/2 c. sugar
3 eggs
6 T. unsalted butter

Whisk together juice, zest, sugar, and eggs in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over moderately low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubble appears on surface, about 6 minutes.

Transfer lemon curd to a bowl and chill, its surface covered with plastic wrap, until cold, at least 1 hour.

beer--002

photo by Amy Wang

Without further ado! Bread pudding recipe! Make at your own risk of butter-induced heart attack!!

The Breads*

3 c. self-rising flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. molasses or light corn syrup
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla (for light bread only)
12 oz. beer

* For the “black” bread, use molasses and a dark beer. I’ve used Young’s Double Chocolate Stout. For the “tan” bread, use corn syrup and a light beer. Nothing too hoppy. I’ve used Belhaven Scottish Ale.

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table2

Yesterday was the First Annual Brooklyn Beer Experiment, and boy am I exhausted! There I am with my nerdy t-shirt and sign and recipe cards before the event started. I had a great time, met some awesome people, and the best part? I won 2nd place in the audience vote! So exciting!

That said, I never want to drink beer or eat bread pudding ever again.

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