Saturday, January 19, 2019

Madeira Cake with the Cake Slice Bakers

It's a new month and a new year, so we are now baking from a new book, The European Cake Cookbook by Tatyana Nesteruk. If you can bake with butter and mascarpone cheese and cream cheese then you will be in heaven with this book. There are fairly simple cakes and cakes with nuts, cakes with fresh fruit, fancy get the idea. Unfortunately I didn't have any idea that out of 65 recipes there are only 14 that I think I can bake...and some of those 14 use cream cheese which I might be able to find a very expensive non-dairy version I am left feeling sad knowing that I might have a month when none of the choices (we have four a month) are ones I can bake. This is particularly humorous because I was one of the bakers who advocated for this book choice!

The good news is that this month there was one recipe that I could make and it is a delightful, delicious madeira cake with lemon. It is a bit of a drizzle cake, too, since the syrup used to cook the candied lemon slices or peel is also used to drizzle over the cake to give it extra moisture and flavor. The texture of this cake is very tender, delicate and moist with a very tight crumb, similar to a pound cake. The addition of lemon zest and lemon juice, plus the candied lemon ensures that there is a good, bright lemon flavor.

The recipe called for two eight-inch layers, the drizzle, a glaze, and the candied lemon slices. Since I knew that I wanted to give away most of the cake (Sweetie continues to lose weight and I'm still doing OK, too, although at a much slower pace), I decided to bake the batter in small Bundt pans. I still used the drizzle, just 1/3 the amount, and I candied some lemon peel using a method of removing the peels that I saw on a Great British Baking Show masterclass. The lemon peel went on the top of the cakes, using the moist glaze (also about 1/3 the amount in the recipe) to 'glue the pieces' to the cake.

This is sure to be a recipe I bake often, especially at this time of year when lemons are fresh and wonderful. Next time I'll try it with Meyer lemons since they are in season now. Do consider baking this yourself. It makes a great after dinner dessert or tea time treat. The first give-away has already happened since I gave one of the small cakes to a friend yesterday afternoon. She was delighted. You'll be delighted if you try this recipe yourself!

Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through.  This year it is The European Cake Cookbook by Tatyana Nesteruk.  We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!

Follow our FacebookInstagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the thumbnail pictures below to take you to each of our cakes, or visit our blog where the links are updated each month. If you are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

This month our choices included Bird's Milk Torte, Chocolate St. Honore' Cake, Madeira Cake and Torte Birne' Helene.

Madeira Cake
from The European Cake Cookbook

1 cup unsalted butter, softened (I used non-dairy margarine)
1 cup sugar
zest from 1 lemon
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon lemon oil
1 cup sour cream (I used plain yogurt)
1 3/4 cups (219 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (48 g) almond flour
4 teaspoons baking powder (I used 3 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 335 degrees F (168 degrees C). Line two 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides. (I used four small Bundt pans, spray oil that includes flour.)

In a large mixing bowl cream the butter. In a small bowl rub the sugar and lemon zest together (this is not how the recipe was written, but it works well). Add sugar mixture to the butter and cream until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the lemon oil and the sour cream. Mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt. (This works well with a scale that has a tare feature so that you can return to zero. Each ingredient just gets put in when zeroed.) Whisk together. Add to the butter batter and mix until just combined. Use a rubber or silicone spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bow and the beaters and then use the spatula to combine everything with a few more strokes.

Divide the batter between the pans. Level the tops and rap pan on counter a couple of times to get rid of air bubbles. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes (less for the small Bundt pans...about 25-30 minutes), until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the layers completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile prepare the candied lemon peel (or slices in the regular recipe - just increase sugar and water by 2/3, add thinly sliced lemons and cook 7-8 minutes. Remove and cool). Peel the lemon skin into thin strips. In a saucepan place 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water. Heat over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then add the peel and cook over low heat 7-8 minutes. Peel will be limp. Remove peel to a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper and immediately sprinkle with granulated sugar. Let dry for 1/2 hour, then roll peel in the sugar to coat and set aside on a clean piece of paper to dry. Add the juice of 1 lemon to the sugar water. Keep the sugar water for drizzling over the cake.

While the cake cools and the peel dries, measure 2 cups confectioners' sugar into a bowl. Juice a lemon - you should have 1/4 cup, so juice another if needed.

When the cakes are cool, make sure the syrup is thin and sugar is dissolved. (If not, heat it again to dissolve sugar). Drizzle half syrup over each layer. For Bundt cakes drizzle 1/4 syrup over each small cake.

Put layer on serving plate. Mix some of the lemon juice into the confectioners' sugar and stir vigorously. Add juice, a very small amount at a time, mixing well after each addition, until glaze is desired thinness. Pour half over first layer, add second layer and pour rest over it, then arrange candied slices around the edge of cake. For Bundt cakes, drizzle glaze over each small cake, then decorate with small pieces of the candied peel.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Bread Baking Babes Play with Garnet Yams and Onions

The delightful bread that our Kitchen of the Month, Elizabeth of blog from OUR kitchen, is an unusual combination of cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (garnet yams in my case) with that wonderful golden color, and caramelized onions. It has the fascinating name of Elbow-lick Sandwich Bread because the author made a juicy tomato sandwich with it and the tomato juices ran down her arm all the way to her elbow.

The bread is on the slack side, so I ended up with a flattish donut shape. The crumb is moist and the flavor is strong but good. This one took a lot of kneading and I even added an extra half cup of whole wheat flour towards the end of kneading so that it would hold it's shape enough to be shaped into a round with a hole in the middle. It rose a bit in the oven but was still pretty flat. You can really taste the onions in this bread, so be sure that you like onions in your bread (or just skip putting them should still be a great bread).

I used active dry yeast since my sourdough starter bit the dust a while ago. Using commercial yeast (a bit more that what was called for since this bread has a lot of veggie mass to lift) worked well and meant I didn't need to do the float test. I did some kneading in the mixer and some on a board.

Be sure to visit the other Bread Baking Babes blogs to see what they did with this bread. If they followed the directions (I didn't...are you surprised??), there should be loaves with the marks from having the dough rise in bannetons. Some will have holes, some not, but I bet they will all be great breads.

If you want to be a Buddy, contact Elizabeth after you have baked the bread and taken a photo or two of it, and send her an email with a short description of your experience baking the bread and attach the photo(s). Deadline is January 29th.

Wishing you a Happy New Year of bread baking!

Elbow Lick Sandwich Bread
based on the recipe for Sweet Potato Onion Bread in "Deep Run Roots" by Vivian Howard for 1 loaf  


·                     spoonful (10ml or so) active natural wheat starter at 100% hydration (OR 0.5gm (1/8 tsp) active dry yeast)
·                     60gm (60ml) water, body temperature
·                     60gm (118ml) 100% whole wheat flour
Sweet Potato 

·                     1 five-inch-long orange sweet potato (about)
Caramelized Onions 

·                     375gm (2.5 large) onions, diced
·                     7gm (1.5 tsp) sunflower oil
·                     3gm Kosher salt (0.5 tsp table salt)

·                     232gm (400ml) bread flour, OR 225gm unbleached all-purpose + 7gm vital wheat gluten
·                     5gm (10ml) wheat germ
·                     200gm (200ml) water at body temperature, divided (hold back about 18gm for mixing in the salt)
·                     All of the Starter from above
·                     7gm (5 ml) honey
·                     9gm Kosher salt (1.5 tsp table salt) + 18 gm (18ml) from above  
·                     120 ml (~100gm) roasted sweet potato puree
·                     All of the caramelized onions from above
1.             leavener IN THE EVENING OF THE DAY BEFORE MAKING THE BREAD: Put the starter (or active dry yeast, if you're using that) and water into a smallish bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon. Use the wooden spoon to stir the flour in well. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside overnight in the oven with only the light turned on.
2.             sweet potato IN THE EVENING OF THE DAY BEFORE MAKING THE BREAD: Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the ends off of the sweet potato and place it whole on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until tender. This should take about 45 minutes. Vivian Howard wrote the following:
Once you start to smell them, probably after about 45 minutes, give the potatoes a look. My mom always looked for a little of their juice to have leached out and caramelized, but that is more romantic than necessary. When the potatoes are done, their skins should have separated slightly from their flesh and they should pierce easily with a knife or fork.
Slice the baked sweet potato in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh out into a bowl. Mash well. Cover the bowl with a plate and set aside in a cool place until the next morning. 
3.             onions IN THE EVENING OF THE DAY BEFORE MAKING THE BREAD: Heat oil for onions in a cast iron pan. Add the onions and salt and caramelize the onions over medium heat until they are golden brown. Vivian Howard says this will take 30-40 minutes. Set aside in a cool place until the next morning.
4.             mix the dough IN THE MORNING OF THE DAY YOU WILL BE MAKING THE BREAD: When a small forkful of the leavener floats in a small bowl of room temperature water, you can go ahead and mix the dough. If the leavener does not float, stir in a little more whole wheat flour and water - even amounts by weight - cover with a plate and leave for about 30 minutes more. Chances are that it will now float. (If you have used active dry yeast, you can safely skip the floating test.) Put flour, wheat germ, all but 18ml water, leavener, honey, sweet potato puree into a large mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon or dough whisk to mix these ingredients to make a rough dough. Cover the bowl with a plate and leave on the counter for about 40 minutes.
5.             adding the salt: In a small bowl, whisk the salt into the final 18gm (18 ml) water. Pour the salt mixture over the dough.
  1. kneading: Use one of your hands to squoosh the salt and water into the dough; use the other hand to steady the bowl - this way you always have a clean hand. At first the dough might be a bit messy and seem like it's coming apart. Persevere. Suddenly, it will seem more like dough than a horrible separated glop. Keep folding it over onto itself until it is relatively smooth. Cover with a plate and leave to rest for about 20 minutes.
  2. stretching and folding the dough and adding the onions: Put a quarter of onions on top of the dough and turn it by folding the dough into the center. Let sit 20 minutes. Repeat at 20 minute intervals until all the onions are in the dough. You'll notice that after each time, the dough will feel significantly smoother. Cover with a plate and leave on the counter (or if the kitchen is cool like ours in winter and early spring, into the oven with only the light turned on). Once all the onions are added, leave the covered bowl in the oven - with only the light turned on - for a couple of hours to allow the dough to double. (A good way to tell if the dough is reading to shape is to run your index finger under water, then poke a hole in the center of the dough. If the hole disappears immediately, the dough still need to rise. If there is a slight whooshing sound and the hole remains in place, the dough has probably over-risen. If the hole very very gradually begins to close, the dough is ready to shape.
  3. prepare the brot-form: Put rice flour into a brotform and distribute it as evenly as possible. (If you don't have a brot-form, you can line a bowl, basket or sieve with parchment paper. You can also use a liberally rice floured tea towel (but then you have to deal with a floured tea towel once the bread is baked). If you do not have rice flour, you can use any other kind of flour. Note that higher gluten level make it significantly more difficult for the bread to be released from the basket....
  4. pre-shaping: Scatter a dusting of wheat flour on the board and gently place the dough on the flour. Using wet hands, stretch the dough into a longish rectangle, then fold it like a letter, gently patting off any extra flour that might be there. Continue folding until the dough is shaped in a ball. Cover with a clean tea towel and let the ball rest for about 20 minutes.
  5. shaping: Without breaking the skin, tighten the ball further. Place it seam side UP in the well floured (rice) brot-form. Sprinkle the reserved bran evenly over the top of the bread. Loosely wrap the shaped loaf with a clean tea towel and enclose the whole thing inside a plastic bag and leave it in the oven with only the light turned on for 3 or 4 hours (until it has about doubled and there are bubbles). Please note that Vivian Howard shapes her bread into rounds with holes in the center:
    Shape [the dough] into a round. Let [it] rest for 10 minutes. [...]Line [a baking sheet] with parchment and dust with flour. Stick your finger through the center of [the dough ball]. [...] Stretch it slightly to form a little hole. Transfer that dough round to the baking sheet and continue to carefully stretch the center into a 3-inch hole. Your bread round at this point will look like a giant flat doughnut." 
    - Vivian Howard, Deep Run Roots, Chapter 14: Sweet Potato | Sweet Potato Onion Bread
  6. baking: To know when it's time to bake, run your index finger under water and gently but firmly press it on the side of the bread. If the dough springs back immediately, recover the bread with the plastic bag and leave it in the oven with only the light turned on. If the dough gradually returns back after being pressed, for the round loaf, put combo cooker (or a cast-iron frying pan and stainless steel bowl) into the oven and preheat all to 400F.
  7. When the oven is preheated about fifteen minutes later, put a square of parchment paper on the counter (the paper should be large enough to cover the bottom and sides of the frying pan). Overturn the shaped bread onto the parchment paper (the bran covered part will now be on the bottom). Using a lame (or scissors, or serrated knife), score the bread. Take the pan and bowl out of the oven (wear oven mitts!!) and place the frying pan on the stove (to prevent burning your countertop...). Transfer the bread to the middle of the frying pan and immediately put the lid of the combo-cooker (or stainless steel bowl) overtop like a hat. Put everything into the oven on the middle rack and immediately turn the oven down to 375F. Bake for 40-50 minutes in all, removing the hat half-way through baking. Turn the oven down to 350F when you remove the hat. The bread is done when the crust is a deep golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  8. cooling: When the bread has finished baking, remove it from the pan and allow it to cool on a footed rack before slicing and eating; the bread is still cooking internally when first removed from the oven! If you wish to serve warm bread (of course you do), reheat it after it has cooled completely: To reheat any uncut bread, turn the oven to 400F for 5 minutes or so. Turn the oven OFF. Put the bread into the hot oven for about ten minutes. This will rejuvenate the crust and warm the crumb perfectly.

:: why hand mixing? These instructions, as usual, do not mention using an electric mixer: I don't have one; I don't know how to use one. But of course, if you want to use your electric mixer for mixing and kneading, you should do so.  
:: brotform: If you do not have a brotform, you can use Jim Lahey's method for proofing the shaped loaf: he coats a parchment covered cookie sheet with bran, than shapes his loaf into a ball and places it seam side down onto the bran. He scatters a little more bran on top before covering the shaped loaf loosely with a clean tea towel. He lets it sit at room temperature that way until it has almost doubled in size. Or, you can use Vivian Howard's idea to place the bread on a flour covered parchment papered cookie sheet....  
:: cooking container: If you're lucky enough to have Le Creuset or a cast-iron combo cooker, of course, you should use that. But if you don't, do use your cast-iron pan and cover the bread with an overturned stainless steel mixing bowl for the first half of baking. The dome creates a steam chamber that encourages oven spring.  
:: oven temperature and baking times: Howard suggests preheating the oven to 450F and baking for a total of about 30 minutes at 450F. Because of the presence of honey and sweet potato, and fear of scorching, I lowered the oven temperature.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Maple Works for Winter

Having experience five years of drought (and a major wildland fire just over a year ago that was so major partly due to that drought) in the not too distant past, it is understandable that everyone I meet in Sonoma County is thrilled that this winter seems to be a rainy one. December was a bit dry, but the New Year has seen a goodly amount of storms and this week we are supposed to have rain for seven days running. Since all except a tiny bit of our precipitation happens in the fall and winter, this is good news.

The flip side is that it feels damp and chilly. A great time to make soup and stew and braises of all sorts, plus a good time to bake. A few days ago I baked some Maple Blondies using a new recipe I found in the Holiday 2018 issue of Sift, the King Arthur Flour publication that has so many tempting recipes. This was part of an article on maple syrup and it included lots of recipes including a Maple Oat Bread that I'll probably be baking soon.

Maple syrup, the real kind, not the ersatz pancake syrup kind, is made from maple tree sap that is boiled down until it is a syrup. The sap starts flowing towards the end of winter, so I always think of maple as a winter flavor. This recipe has maple syrup in the blondies themselves and in the optional glaze (which I skipped), plus maple flavoring. I don't care for the way maple flavor tastes, so I substituted pure vanilla and that worked out well.

These are a firm, springy kind of blondie with a close crumb. The chopped walnuts add both flavor and crunch. The maple flavor develops over time. The blondie I ate the day I made them was OK, but the ones that were in an airtight tin which sat in a drawer for a few days were excellent and very much immersed in full maple flavor.

These are easy to make. For one less bowl to wash, sift the dry ingredients together onto a large piece of waxed paper. Gather up the sides of the waxed paper and you can slide the dry ingredients into the butter mixture when it is time and then re-use the paper to wrap some of the cooled blondies for lunch boxes if you like.

Just be sure to read the recipe carefully. I forgot to add the maple syrup at the right time, so I had to add it to the batter later, which may have changed the texture a bit.

Happy snacking!

Maple Nut Blondies
from Holiday 2018 Sift, a King Arthur Flour publication
Makes sixteen 2" squares

1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter (I used non-dairy margarine)
3/4 cup (5 5/8 oz) packed brown sugar
1/3 cup (3 5/8 oz) maple syrup
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon maple flavor (I used same amount of vanilla extract)
3/4 cup (3 oz) chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8" square pan.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.

In a medium heatproof bowl in the microwave, or a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together. Remove from the heat and stir in the syrup.

Let cool to lukewarm, then stir in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla (or maple if you are using maple flavoring).

Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until evenly combined. Stir in the nuts.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes, until the top is shiny and the edges just begin to pull away from the pan. Remove from the oven and let cool before cutting.

Optional: Make a glaze by whisking together 1 cup (4 oz) confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons (1 3/8 oz) maple syrup and 1-2 tablespoons milk or cream (using enough liquid to get a pourable consistency) and drizzle over the cooled bars.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

January Musings

There is something about cold, rainy weather that allows me to reduce my expectations for myself enough that there is room for introspection. It's sort of like new years resolutions, but different because I'm not actually making any promises to myself for behaviours, just reviewing how its worked out with the way I've been doing things.

This past year was a good one as far as art is concerned since I finished both the large sea paintings and the smaller portrait. I've already decided on at least two projects for this year and will probably start next week.

Although the photo above is from a few years ago, we do have these sheep and a few others eating the rich green grass that is the result of all the rain we have been having. We are fond of them and, except in the morning when they are hungry and want their hay, they are quiet and lovely to have around. With additional fencing recently installed and provided by G & AM (the sheeps' owners) Sweetie will now be able to skip mowing the hillside facing the back deck, so it is a win-win. He feeds them a half flake of hay in the morning, so the sheep are very fond of Sweetie, too.

This past week has been a study in putting Christmas away. One day it was clearing the greenery and apples and pomegranates, another day taking down the tree and storing the ornaments, another day the garlands on the front porch, another day the wreaths, another day (today) taking down the Christmas cards and cutting off the fronts to send to a friend who recycles them in cards for next year. She is a true artist and so they don't look recycled at all when she is finished. Somewhere in there the contents of the liquor cabinet that were moved to the hutch for the holidays (since the Christmas tree would have made it impossible to get into the cabinet) were moved back into the cabinet. Still need to update the changes in the Christmas card list when we found that a few people had moved without our knowing about it. There might be one gift to return or exchange, too. When I was working this would all have happened over one weekend, but now I have the luxury to spin it out over a whole week! One of the joys of retirement. Of course part of the reason is that it seems to take twice as long to do anything as it used to.

This coming week will include the baking of a new bread and maybe a cake. The Bread Baking Babes have a good one for January and the Cake Slice Bakers are starting on an new book! I've also transcribed a recipe that Charlie wants a taste of from the Great British Baking Show master classes.

 I've also been having fun looking through travel books about London as I prepare for a potential trip there this year. With Brexit looking very volatile, it's hard to know when the trip will happen. I was hoping for May but if the UK does a 'hard' Brexit at the end of March with no 'divorce agreement' then it may be months and months before it makes sense to visit. They are projecting shortages and employment problems and other upheavals that don't make spring in England very appealing. Still, it's always fun to see what is recommended and to plan which sights I'd like to see and activities I'd like to do when I do get there.

Cooking has been pretty much already posted recipes like Turkey Pot Pie, Pizza (and I still haven't found a good non-dairy replacement for pizza cheese), Split Pea Soup, along with plenty of green salads. Sweetie continues to lose weight and only has five pounds to go to reach his goal. I've lost a few pounds myself and find that I have to keep hoisting my jeans up when I get out of the car or get up from a chair because the waistline is too loose now. A nice 'problem' to have.

Hope to have a recipe for you in the next post. Want to share what you have been up to the last 10-12 days?

Friday, January 04, 2019

Delicious Without Dairy

It's been about three years now that I have known that I have a severe dairy allergy. It does limit the ingredients available, especially for baking, but that has challenged me to see what I can do with alternatives to dairy while still baking delicious things to eat.

A few days ago I visited a wonderful bakery where everything is made from scratch with high quality ingredients. They make super special cakes for special occasions so I wanted to see if they ever bake without dairy so that I could order something. I was told, kindly, that they never bake without dairy because they don't feel that they can maintain the quality and 'if it was easy everyone would be doing it'. Fair enough. It isn't easy, but I know that most people can't tell if I've baked with butter or not. Baked goods carefully made with non-dairy ingredients can be really delicious!

Last Wednesday I provided cookies for a punch and cookies reception after a meeting our our scholarship group, P.E.O. In case you have forgotten...or never knew... receptions for things like baby or bridal showers and sometimes even for weddings used to be fairly simple and the refreshments were usually punch and cookies or cake, plus tiny pillow mints and maybe a small bowl of nuts. I wonder if we should think about going back to that low key style of entertaining for more occasions. It's is relatively inexpensive and easy.

I made lemon bars with non-dairy margarine (located near the punch in the photo above). They were the first thing to go so obviously no one knew that there was no butter in them. I also made a refrigerator cookie with red and green cherries (yes, baked for Christmas, but still delicious since they had been stored in an airtight cookie tin) that had butter in them. Those went quickly too. Some Spritz cookie in the shape of a flower also made with butter didn't get eaten very much at all, but Linzer Bars without butter were eaten right up! This leads me to believe that cookies can easily be delicious without dairy.

Cakes and pies can also be delicious when made with non-dairy margarine and with soy milk creamer or almond creamer instead of whole milk or half and half creamer. I have even successfully made ganache (chocolate melted and mixed with whipping cream) using chocolate and soy creamer. A friend makes a whipped cream substitute from chickpea canning liquid (aquafaba) but I find that it doesn't hold up very long, so is OK if you are eating it right away.

I also cook savory things with the unflavored soy creamer, but it still has a slight sweetness to it, so I always check the seasonings and add some lemon juice or vinegar or salt and pepper as needed.

My most favorite non-dairy cake of late is this lovely one that has custard and apples on the bottom and a light sponge layer on top. Do try it with either dairy or without dairy - it's a winner and perfect for winter when apples are so delicious. One of the key bits of this recipe is to microwave the sliced apples a bit until they are pliable, so don't skip that step. Also, remember to remove part of the batter to another bowl so that you have it for adding the flour to for the top sponge layer.

French Apple Cake
from The Perfect Cake, America's Test Kitchen
serves 8-10

1 1/2 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 8 wedges, and sliced 1/8 inch thick crosswise
1 tablespoon rum
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup (5 oz) plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup (7 oz) plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 cup [1 stick/8 tablespoons] non-dairy margarine, melted and cooled, plus 1/2 cup plain vegetable oil)
1 cup whole milk (I used Silk Original [unflavored] soy creamer)
1 large egg, plus 2 large yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
confectioners' sugar

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray 9-inch spring form pan with vegetable oil spray. Place prepared pan on aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Place apples in microwave safe pie plate, cover, and microwave until apples are pliable and slightly translucent, about 3 minutes. Toss apples with rum and lemon juice and let cool for 15 minutes.

Whisk 1 cup flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt together in bowl.  whisk oil, milk, whole egg and vanilla in second large bowl until smooth. Add flour mixture to milk mixture and whisk until just combined. Transfer 1 cup batter to third bowl and set aside.

Add egg yolks to remaining batter and whisk to combine. Using spatula, gently fold in cooled apples. Transfer batter to prepared pan, using offset spatula, spread batter evenly to pan edges, gently pressing on apples to create even, compact layer and smooth surface.

Whisk remaining 2 tablespoons flour into reserved batter. Pour over batter in pan, spreading batter evenly to pan edges, and smooth surface.

Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon granulated sugar evenly over cake.

Bake until center of cake is set, toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and top is golden brown, about 1 1/4 hours, but check at 45 minutes and keep checking until done.

Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Run thin knife around edge of pan to loosen cake, then let cool completely 2-3 hours. Remove sides of pan and slide thin metal spatula between cake bottom and pan bottom to loosen, then slide cake onto platter. Dust cake lightly with confectioners' sugar before serving.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Favorite New/Old Recipe for 2018

Here we are in 2019 and I'm glad to be in January, but I realized that I never did a round-up of 2018. Instead I'm going to tell you my favorite post of 2018. When I first made this onion tart I used puff pastry as called for in the recipe, but I found, in March of 2018, that a regular pie crust works even better. The filling is the same because I've yet to find a savory tart filling I like better. This one has lots of onions (caramelized), white wine,  bacon 'Hello! Bacon!', honey and a nice yogurt based base so that you have creamy, sweet, savory, salty, flaky deliciousness. With pre-made pie crust it is a fairly easy recipe, too. If you haven't tried it, here is the may want to see why it's my fave for 2018.

This year I posted 82 recipes or links to recipes on this blog. Most were actual recipes, new ones at that. If you have checked out my index you'll see that I have been terrible at keeping it up to date. Part of the reason is that adding about 82 new links per year is a chore that takes more time than I have to devote to it. Sorry about that, but for about the last five years you can just click on the sidebar calendar of months and many posts have a descriptive title to help you know what is posted. Play around, wander around...and you might find a new favorite recipe yourself.