Sunday, February 28, 2010

Apple Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake

Ah, a new week. I am so not ready for it. Purim is tomorrow night and the city is going to be chaotic. And then, worst of all, I go back to school. So not prepared for that. At least I have my trip to America to look forward to... Anyway, this is the second cake I made for the break fast on Thursday night. This is another offering from Rose's Heavenly Cakes. I must say, I LOVE this book. (I cant wait to bring my copy of The Cake Bible home and order the Pie and Pastry Bible...) I had my hands on an apple about to go bad so I chose this cake instead of the Golden Lemon Cake to make use of it. Simple enough to make, this came together beautifully. I'll just jump straight to my notes and comments on this one. I think this makes a great coffee crumble cake but one apple is not enough here to give it an appley flavor. Next time, I would add at least another apple or two. The cake was moist and the crumble delicious- who can resist anything with crumble? I know I cant. I did omit the nuts and used regular dark brown sugar instead of Muscovado. Also, out of laziness to wash dishes, I used a whisk to make this cake and I think this choice resulted in a slightly denser cake. So for maximum lightness and tenderness, be sure to mix thoroughly with a hand mixer or a stand mixer. Otherwise, this was yummy and like all of her other recipes, a keeper.

Apple Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake
as I made it from Rose's Heavenly Cakes

1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
4 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 tsp vanilla

1 small tart apple
2 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream, divided
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper and set aside.

For the crumble, place the sugars and cinnamon in a bowl.
Mix until combined. Reserve half a cup of this mixture.
Add the flour, melted margarine and vanilla.Stir with a fork to form crumbles, not a smooth mixture. Chill until ready to use.Peel, core and slice your apple. Sprinkle with lemon juice and set aside.

In a small bowl. place the eggs, vanilla and 3 tbsp of the sour cream.
Whisk until blended and set aside.
In a larger bowl, place the flour, sugar, salt and leavenings.
Whisk to combine.
To this, add the remaining sour cream and the margarine.Beat this mixture for two minutes on high until all the flour is moistened.
Add the egg mixture in two parts.
Blend after each addition.
Weight 18 ounces or about 2/3 of the batter into the pan.
Sprinkle with the reserved cinnamon mixture.
Place the apples over the sugar mixture.
Top with the remaining batter. Smooth to the edges of the pan.
Bake about thirty minutes.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the crumble mixture. Continue to bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool for ten minutes. Loosen the sides of the cake and remove the ring. Allow to cool completely.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lemon Bread

It's raining, it's pouring! It has not stopped raining since yesterday- the storm went through the night and doesnt look like it's letting up any time soon. This is good news because we need as much as we can get, but bad because I need to get someplace for Shabbat. Oh well, out come the rainboots. Anyway, Purim is coming up this week. The girls are getting excited and creative, diligently preparing their costumes for our upcoming party. Before the actual holiday begins there is a fast observed, the Fast of Esther. Since it was meant to fall out on Shabbat and we dont observe the minor fasts on Shabbat, we observed it yesterday. To me, there's no better way to spend the fast than by baking. Now, normally I bake bread, but I didnt really think the girls would appreciate a loaf of bread. So I did what any normal madricha would do- I made cake. I made this Lemon Bread, which I do think is more of a cake, and an apple coffee cake, which I'll post later. This lemon bread was inspired by the fresh lemons I bought for another use and the buttermilk sitting in my fridge. Add that to the fact that this is pretty simple to put together and you have a winner. The recipe comes from King Arthur Flour and recommends an optional lemon glaze, but I chose to leave it off. What I'm noticing again and again about the combination of lemon and dairy is that the dairy always mellows out the assertiveness of the citrus so that you have all the lemony goodness without the typical bite. The dairy flavor is on the prominent side- this bread tasted to me like lemon cheesecake! The texture was soft and moist but sturdy enough to slice. You can choose to add poppy seeds which would add a nice visual pop, if you like.

Lemon Bread
from the King Arthur Baker's Companion

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
3 tbsp lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
Place the sugar, oil, lemon zest and juice in a bowl.
Whisk to combine and set aside.
In a measuring cup, place the buttermilk and eggs.
Whisk until blended and set aside.
Place all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine thoroughly.
Add the lemon mixture alternately
with the buttermilk mixture, stirring after each addition.
Here is the completed batter.
Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Banana Streusel Snack Cake

What a nice day! I spent the day babysitting for my niece O while her parents were out. She is a little monkey, curious and climbing everywhere. But she was truly a pleasure to watch and I'm so glad we got to bond. Crazy though how cold it is where they live. It was spring last week and now it's winter again.... Go figure. In other news... I'm going to New York for Pesach! I couldnt be more excited. Pesach will be almost a year since I've seen my parents and even more than a year since I've last seen my sisters and nieces. This time around, there's a new baby to meet, too. I can hardly wait. Finally and most importantly....the last of the bananas are finished! And I must say, I don't think they could have gone to better use even if they tried. Seriously, I'm not sure where this banana cake has been all my life- it puts banana bread to shame. Moist, tender and bursting with banana flavor, this cake rocks a crunchy streusel that is nothing short of brilliantly divine. The recipe comes from Flo Braker's masterpiece, Baking for All Occasions. (Sadly, this book is an underused one on my shelf, but that all changes right now! Thumbing through the book again it amazes me how many creative and mouthwatering recipes there are. Buy this book, people.) I made this yesterday around lunch time and it disappeared in no less than fifteen minutes. It didnt even have time to cool completely. They had a hard time waiting the fifteen minutes before I would let them dive into it. But they unanimously decided that it was well worth the wait. I made this recipe exactly as is except that I substituted all purpose flour for the cake flour, by weight. Also, if there's no one around demanding a slice, make sure it cools completely- you cant get a smooth slice if its too hot.

Banana Streusel Snack Cake
from Baking for All Occasions

6 tbsp all purpose flour
6 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp softened butter or margarine
1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 ounces unsalted butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly coat a 9x5 inch loaf pan with butter or margarine. Set aside.
Place all of the streusel ingredients into a small bowl.

Rub together with you fingers until crumbs form. Set aside.
Place the bananas in another small bowl,
and add the milk and vanilla.
Blend thoroughly and set aside.
Sift the flour onto a sheet of parchment. Add the leaveners and salt and set aside.
Place the margarine and sugar in a bowl.
Cream.Add the egg,
and beat until combined.Add the banana mixture,
and mix. It will look curdled at this point; that's okay.
Add the dry ingredients,
and mix until all the flour is moistened. Do not overbeat!
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula.
Top evenly with the streusel.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Place on a rack to cool for ten minutes. Place another rack onto the pan and use it to invert the cake onto it. Once the cake has released, use the first rack to turn it right side up. Allow to cool completely.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Banana Chocolate Chip Squares

My efforts to use leftover, neglected fruit continues! This time around the star is bananas. Having so much of the same fruit to use gets frustrating as I've used them in so many different applications and it's difficult not to repeat! So far I've made banana bread, muffins, cake, etc. I'm running out of ideas. I thought about making a banana chocolate chip bar and so after striking out with the Cookie Companion, I headed to the Nestle website and found this recipe. Simple to put together with a generous yield, this is what I made yesterday. I made these early in the afternoon and held them until evening, when all of the girls returned from their night off. The girls, as usual, were excited to have something to munch on and these disappeared slowly but surely. The reviews were quite positive, I myself liked them. The only interesting comment I received was about its texture... not a cookie but not a cake, somewhere in between. I admit I was expecting more of a blondie texture and was somewhat disappointed so I suppose that was an accurate assessment but these are still yummy. (Because of the high moisture of the bananas, it's possible that the texture just can't be chewy and blondie like. Or perhaps I should have baked them for a few minutes less.) In any case, if you have left over bananas and want something other than the typical banana bread, try these. I used mini chocolate chips, but I'm sure you can use regular.

Banana Chocolate Chip Squares
from the Nestle site, also found in Delectable Desserts

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup margarine or butter
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 medium mashed ripe bananas
1 egg
mini chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350. Line a jelly roll pan with a sheet of parchment. Set aside.
If you havent already, mash your bananas and set aside. I like to use a sandwich bag as if it were a glove and mash them that way.
Place the margarine and sugars and vanilla into a bowl.
Add the bananas and egg.
Mix until well combined.
Add all of the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips.
Mix thoroughly until a smooth batter is formed.
Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake 20-30 minutes or until even golden. Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer to a rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.