Monday, October 31, 2011

Apple Walnut Cake

I'm plowing through those Fine Cooking magazines I received recently, trying to make at least one thing from each issue.

This snack cake is wonderfully moist, with a nice crunchy walnut topping. The original recipe was supposed to be made in a 9 x 13 pan but I knew that would be way too much for our small family so I halved it, which was way easy,  and used an 8" square pan, and it turned out perfect. (The recipe I'm giving you, though,  is for the full amount.)

It's an easy cake to throw together and it's great for breakfast or a late night snack!

Start by combining your dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

Beat the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs, one at a time. Add in one third of the flour mixture, then the applesauce. Add another third of the flour mixture, then the sour cream. Finish mixing in the remaining flour mixture...

Then pour the batter into your prepared pan.

While the cake bakes, make the walnut topping by combining the ingredients, then chill til needed.

Take the cake out of the oven after 15 minutes, then sprinkle on the topping and continue to bake another 30 minutes.

Apple Walnut Cake ( from "Fine Cooking" Magazine Nov. 2004)

Serves 16

2 cups ( 9 ozs.) AP flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. table salt
3 ozs. ( 6 tbsp.) unsalted butter, softened at room temp.
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temp.
3/4 cup smooth applesauce ( homemade or store bought)
1 cup sour cream
Walnut topping ( recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350. Butter the bottom and sides or a 9 x 13 baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment.
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
2. Combine butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed til combined ( but not fluffy). Scrape the bowl as needed.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating to combine and scraping the bowl.
4. Add one third of the flour mixture, mixing on medium low speed til combined.
5. Add the applesauce, mixing on medium low speed til incorporated.
6. Mix in another third of the flour mixture, then the sour cream, then the remaining flour mixture, scraping the bowl. Don't overmix. Just combine til incorporated.
7. Spread batter into your prepared pan and bake 15 minutes.
8. Make the walnut topping and place in the fridge.
9. Take the cake out of the oven and sprinkle with the topping, then place the cake back in the oven for another 30 minutes, or til a toothpick comes out clean ( Mine took a little less time but it depends on your oven).
10. Cool cake on wire rack for about 20 minutes. Serve warm.
Walnut Topping:
1/2 cup ( one stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup ( 4.5 ozs.) AP flour
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
4 ozs. ( 1 cup) whole walnuts, coarsely chopped

 Melt the butter, then pour into a medium bowl. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon and stir til blended. Add the flour, confectioners' sugar and walnuts, mixing with your fingers til well combined. The mixture should be crumbly but clump together. Refridgerate til ready to use. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Cornmeal Rosemary Cake with Pine Nuts & Orange Glaze

I've been trying to figure out how to begin this post since I've been away from it for so long now. It's been well over a month and I have to admit, it feels a little odd just typing this post. It's funny how, once you stop posting for a day, then a week, then a month, you figure, well, so much time has passed, what's another day!

Truth is, I've been so busy with my baking business that I've had no extra time to make a lot of new recipes, although I did manage to make a few, which I hope to share with you in the future.

So, okay, let's get to this wonderful cake. A woman from the Farmer's Market where I sell asked me if I'd like some Fine Cooking magazines and, of course, I was happy to take them off her hands! I wasn't actually familiar with this magazine before but it really a great one, with lots of excellent recipes.

This Cornmeal Rosemary Cake has chopped pine nuts, mascarpone cheese and lots of fresh orange zest to give it a wonderful flavor, especially with the rosemary. And, it's fairly easy to make. You don't have to drag out the standing mixer, everything is mixed or whisked by hand in a few bowls.

It gets an orange syrup that you brush on top, then an orange glaze with the good!

Begin by combining your dry ingredients together with the orange zest.
Then whisk the mascarpone cheese and add the eggs, one at a time, then the sugar.   

Fold in your dry ingredients, in 2 batches...

Then stir in the melted butter.
Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and bake.

After you take the cake out of the oven and invert it, brush on the syrup.

While the cake is cooling, make the glaze.

Then spoon the glaze over the cooled cake and let it set up a few hours.

Cornmeal Rosemary Cake with Pine Nuts & Orange Glaze ( from "Fine Cooking" magazine, Nov. 2004)

Makes one 9" cake


Soft butter for the pan
6 3/4 ozs. ( 1 1/2 cups) AP flour
3/4 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal ( Quaker brand is fine)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped toasted pine nuts
1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp. orange zest
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
5 ozs. ( 2/3 cup) mascarpone cheese, room temp.
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Orange Syrup:
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
3 tbsp. granulated sugar

Orange Glaze:
1 tbsp. whole fresh rosemary leaves ( stripped from the stem but not chopped)
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
5 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp. orange zest
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9" x 2" round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment.

1. In a medium bowl, whick together the flour, cornmeal, pine nuts, rosemary, orange zest, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the mascarpone to loosen it a little. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking to combine.
3. Add in the sugar and whisk til smooth.
4. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the wet, mixing til smooth.
5. Stir in the melted butter with a rubber spatula, til well blended.
6. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake til the entire top of the cake is a rich golden brown and springs back when pressed gently in the center, 40 to 45 minutes.

Make the orange syrup:
While the cake is almost finished baking, combine the orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, til the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat.

Once the cake has cooled about 5 minutes in the pan, invert it so it's right side up.
Poke a few dozen holes, with a skewer or toothpick, into the top of the warm cake and brush with the warm syrup. Continue brushing for several minutes, giving the syrup time to sink into the cake, til you have used all the syrup. Let the cake cool completely.

Make the orange glaze:
1. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Have ready a small bowl of ice water.
2. Put the rosemary leaves into the boiling water and blanch them for a minute.
3. Scoop them out and immediately place them into the ice water. Drain them and spread them out onto a paper towel to dry.
4. In a bowl, whisk the confectioners' sugar, cream and orange juice til smooth. Then whisk in the blanched rosemary and the zest.
5. When the cake has cooled, spoon the glaze over the cake. Let it drip over the sides.
( Excess glaze will spill over so you may want to do this over a larger plate or even a baking sheet to catch the drips!).
Let the cake sit for at least an hour before cutting.
Note: This is one of those cakes that just gets better over time. Enjoy!


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