Tag Archives: cake

Happy Valentine’s Day 2019

I decided to splurge on a pretty pink St. Valentine’s Day cake to brighten up an otherwise ho-hum occasion.

As you can tell, my cake decorating skills are at the novice level. (Is there something below that?) The cake was tasty though … I ate a third of it to confirm that fact.

Profile of the Pink Cherry Cake

Pink Cherry Cake – makes 2 mini cakes baked in 1 cup ramekins

Basic Vanilla Cake for Two recipe
pink gel food colouring
1 tsp Kirsch, substituted for the vanilla extract
2 tbsp finely minced red glace cherries, stirred into batter just before pouring into ramekins

Glace Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting – enough to frost 2 mini cakes including filling

2 oz/57 gm gm cream cheese, room temperature
1 oz/28 gm unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp Kirsch

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a small bowl until smooth. Add the Kirsch and beat in briefly. Beat in the powdered sugar.

Spread/pipe the frosting over the cake.

Advertisements

Vanilla Cake for One (Review) and a Variation

Sadly, you can’t just omit the cocoa powder in the previous ‘chocolate cake for one’ recipe and get a vanilla version, because the chemistry of the leavener doesn’t work, so I went net surfing for a real vanilla cake recipe.

My answer was found in a ‘vanilla cupcake for two’ recipe baked in a cupcake/muffin pan … so I buttered a couple of ramekins instead. Because a CUPcake is NOT a cake. I had some sticking in the very center of the mini cakes so on my second attempt, an orange flavoured variation, I buttered the ramekins and lined the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, cut to size, which solved the problem.

Frosting a cake at midnight does not result in the most photogenic of images but I had to snap a picture before going to bed.

Crumb/profile of the vanilla cake … yes, there’s some orange zest in the vanilla buttercream frosting in case you spotted that fleck of orange.

REVIEW: Very tasty cake. Fast and easy to assemble. Of course you can frost each ‘cake’ individually but the two layer version just has a lot more visual appeal. For a quick and easy frosting, slightly sweetened whipped cream would work.

Of course I had to take the plain vanilla cake to the next level by adding 1 tsp of orange zest and substituting orange extract for half of the vanilla extract, in the next version I made.

I also decided to switch to a less sweet filling/frosting since the vanilla buttercream that I had used, from the same web site as the chocolate cake, was just too sweet. My ideas evolved from a cream cheese/butter/icing sugar version to one that reduced the amount of sugar and substituted it with home made curd. Since I had made an orange flavoured cake, I made a batch of orange curd to enhance the orange taste. I scaled down a frosting recipe that I found here.

I used less curd than I had originally calculated but I still think the frosting was too soft, even after half an hour in the fridge, so I’d cut back even more on future attempts.

I’d also use the frosting for a filling, in the future, because the orange curd oozed out while cutting into the cake. Hopefully the frosting as filling will stand up to serving better. I’m a firm believer in not skimping on the amount of frosting used but I think the amount I made is enough to fill and frost two mini two layer cakes.

Crumb/profile of the orange cake

Orange Curd Frosting – enough to frost 2 mini cakes including filling

2 oz/57 gm gm cream cheese, room temperature
1 oz/28 gm unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp orange curd *

* Start with the smaller amount and decide whether you’ll need another 1/2 tbsp. You probably won’t need the full amount

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a small bowl until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar, then the orange curd.

Spread the frosting over the cake.

NOTE: The original recipe says the cake may be frosted a day before serving and covered with a cake dome and refrigerated so it doesn’t dry out.

Coffee Cake for One (Review) and a Variation

After having LOVED the chocolate cake (for one) recipe found on the same site, I thought I’d give the coffee cake for one a try as well.

It’s another winner.

I WOULD cut back on the topping though since half the amount is plenty. The excess just fell off when I turned out the cake to transfer it to a serving plate. Perhaps if I’d drizzled some melted butter over the top, as the post suggests doing, it would have “glued down” the cinnamon sugar topping.

REVIEW: The cake itself is tender and tastes just sweet enough for my taste. I used the same one cup ramekin as I had used for the chocolate cake and thought that the resulting coffee cake was a bit thin.

So, I opened a can of tuna (made a tuna salad sandwich with the tuna inside), peeled off the label and washed it out carefully. I added some home made cranberry sauce in this variation. The revised baking instructions/topping are posted below.

Cranberry Coffee Cake for One

Cranberry Coffee Cake for One

Cranberry filling

1-2 tsp cranberry sauce, home made preferred

Topping

1 tbsp melted unsalted butter
1-2 tsp rolled oats
1-2 tsp brown sugar
pinch ground cinnamon

Make the coffee cake batter as in the original recipe.

Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the prepared baking dish. Using a very small spoon place small amounts of cranberry sauce over the batter. Spread it out a bit. Spoon small amounts of the rest of the coffee cake batter over the cranberry sauce.

In a separate container, combine the brown sugar, rolled oats, ground cinnamon and melted butter. Spoon over the top of the coffee cake batter.

Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

The top of the coffee cake could have been a bit darker but the bottom was nicely browned.

There was a bit more height compared to the coffee cake baked in the ramekin, as well.

Happy Belated National Chocolate Cake Day (Jan. 27, 2019)

I recently commented on Dolly’s “koolkosherkitchen” blog that her National Chocolate Cake Day post made me want to make/eat some chocolate cake and she responded with “So go for it – it only takes a minute!”.  Well, the recipe that I used took a bit longer than a minute but the resulting cake was rich and chocolatey and pretty easy to make.

Although the recipe title says it’s a cake for one, on reading the post you’ll see that she recommends splitting the batter among two mini pans. Do it. You’ll be glad you did cause the batter really puffs up. And make twice as much of the frosting using the link at the bottom of the page. I have one cup ramekins so that’s what I used to bake the cake in. If you don’t … use an empty tuna can that you’ve washed thoroughly. Remove the label.

Chocolate buttercream frosting

Pour yourself a big glass of cold milk and dig in.

REVIEW: It’s delicious.

Single Serving Apple and Blueberry Desserts

My pantry is rather sparse in terms of dessert ingredients, other than the basics. And my fruit crisper drawer is limited to a few apples (Red Delicious), so when I was planning on a seasonal fruit-based dessert for Thanksgiving (I don’t like pumpkin), the pickings were slim.

I decided on a single serving dessert that could be made and served in a cup sized ramekin.

I was intrigued by two possibilities and, rather than decide, I made them both. I included blueberries from the freezer in the apple crumble for colour and bit of extra flavour. The original apple crumble dessert recipe also used rhubarb.

Blueberry Pudding Cake

Blueberry Pudding Cake – serves 1

Blueberry Base

1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries*
1 tsp lemon juice

* If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw.

Cake

1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tbsp sugar**
2 1/2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp melted butter or margarine

** I tried 2 tbsp and thought it needed a bit more sugar next time.

Topping

1 tsp cornstarch
2 – 2 1/2 tsp sugar
1/3 cup boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit.

Use a ramekin that holds a bit more than 1 cup. Place onto a baking sheet for ease of transport and in case of boil overs.

Place the blueberries in the bottom of the ramekin and sprinkle the lemon juice over the top. Stir a bit to coat the blueberries.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and sugar. Stir to combine. Add the milk and melted butter and stir until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Gently spoon the cake batter in a layer over the top of the blueberries.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Spoon evenly over the top of the cake batter.

Carefully pour the boiling water over the top, then place the baking sheet with the ramekin on it into the oven. (NOTE: This was the tricky bit for me as the water threatened to overflow the ramekin. I had to pour some water in, wait for it to trickle down through the edges of the batter and into the blueberries below, finding any available spaces, before adding some more. There was a bit of overflow during baking, making the baking sheet underneath a smart idea.)

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or pouring custard/Creme Anglaise.

Apple-Blueberry Crumble

Apple and Blueberry Crumble – serves 1

Filling

1 large apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 tbsp blueberries
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tbsp brown sugar

Crumble

2 tbsp butter or margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp rolled oats or sliced almonds*
2-3 tbsp sugar

* I didn’t have any rolled oats in the pantry so I added the almonds for texture and bulk.

Preheat the oven to 350-360 deg F/180°C. Lightly oil a 1 cup ramekin with a neutral tasting oil like canola. Place the ramekin onto a baking sheet for ease of transport and in case of boil overs.

Place the prepared apple and blueberries in a bowl. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the top of the fruit; add the brown sugar and stir through. Place the fruit into the ramekin, packing down a bit as needed.

Place the flour, butter,  sugar and oats in a medium bowl. Use your fingers or a fork, rub in the butter until it’s well combined and large crumbs form.

Sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the fruit.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the topping is golden and bubbling.

Serve with sweetened whipped cream, ice cream or pouring custard/Creme Anglaise.

“Cake in a Mug” Duo

A few years ago I ran across a wonderful post on Diethood which had links to a collection of microwaved ‘cakes in a mug’. I copied several of the recipes and even made one … a “Strawberries and Cream” version. I served it with some macerated strawberries on top.

It was tasty but, for some reason, I never tried any of the other recipes in the collection I saved. Until this week.

By the way, I heartily recommend checking out Katerina’s blog. She’s a talented home chef, wife and mother of two young girls, and a beautiful person, inside and out.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter ‘Cake in a Mug’

Chocolate and Peanut Butter ‘Cake in a Mug’ – makes 1 cake

Dry ingredients: 1 tbsp all purpose flour, 1 tbsp cocoa, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp brown sugar
Wet ingredients: 1 egg, 2 tbsp of peanut butter
Add ins: 1 tbsp chocolate chips

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and combine. Add the chocolate chips, giving the ‘batter’ a quick stir.

Pour the batter into a mug. Make sure that your batter only fills about 1/3 of the mug because it will rise A LOT.

Place the mug into the microwave and cook for 1 min 45 sec or 2 min on 80 % power.

Trial 1: Cake cooked for 2 minutes. Good texture (maybe a touch too firm) and taste. I’ll try 1 min 45 sec next time.

Blueberry ‘Cake in a Mug’

Blueberry ‘Cake in a Mug’ – makes 1 cake

Dry ingredients: 5 tbsp all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 3-4 tbsp granulated sugar
Wet ingredients: 1 egg, 2 tbsp blueberry yogurt, 1 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract
Add ins: 2 tbsp frozen or fresh blueberries

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and combine. Add the blueberries, giving the ‘batter’ a quick stir.

Pour the batter into a mug. Make sure that your batter only fills about 1/3 of the mug because it will rise A LOT.

Place the mug into the microwave and cook for 1 min 45 sec or 2 min on 80 % power.

Trial 1: Cake cooked for 1 min 45 sec. Texture of the cake was very good, more tender compared to the slightly tougher one of the chocolate and peanut butter one that was cooked longer.

Crumb of the cake

I split open the ‘cake’ to see the distribution of the frozen blueberries. Everything was great UNTIL I tasted it and realized that I had forgotten to add the sugar.

So I poured the rest of the container of blueberry yogurt over the top and dug in. A tablespoon of sweetened whipped cream would have worked too. Or maybe some honey.

Rigo Jancsi … a Hungarian Chocolate Mousse Cake

Sometimes you just get inspired by a recipe, even when you don’t have enough of the ingredients to make a full recipe. Or the right sized container to assemble it in.

There’s a sad and romantic story about the purported origin of this chocolate mousse cake, involving a gypsy violinist and the unhappily married wife of an impoverished Belgian prince. I just made it because I had a chocolate craving and was bored on a Saturday afternoon. The recipe was found on the blog “Zsuzsa in the Kitchen”, the source of many delicious Hungarian and Canadian recipes.

You may see this cake with a white whipped cream layer between the chocolate mousse and the cake top. It’s a nice visual but not found in the original version, I understand.

I was low on eggs and only had a couple of teaspoons of gelatin for the mousse so I scaled down … everything.

The cake (a half batch) was made in an eight by eight inch glass pan and then cut in half, rather unevenly, as it turned out. Mostly because I was distracted by the lumps of unmixed egg white foam in the chocolate batter. I made one third portions of both the mousse filling and the chocolate glaze for the cake top. The mousse melted in the heat of my kitchen as I incorporated the warm cream containing the gelatin into the cold whipped chocolate cream. And, since I didn’t have a pan of the right size to build the cake and mousse filling in, I piled the mounds of chocolate mousse on the slab of cake in a couple of batches, refrigerating the cake in between.

Diluted and slightly warmed apricot jam spread over the base of the cake. Chocolate mousse piled on top.

The chocolate ganache used to glaze the cake top turned out beautifully. Glossy and just thick enough to set quickly, so I could precut the cake layers before piling them on top of the mousse. Unfortunately, by this point it had set firmly enough that the two didn’t glue themselves together. It was at that point that I realized that I hadn’t trimmed the two cake layers to match.

Oh well … it wasn’t being made to serve to company.

Rushing to get the cake assembled and back into the fridge to set, led me to only cut the mousse cake into six portions, even though I HAD planned for eight. No matter, as I ate two servings, even as wonky  as they turned out, that same day. Midnight chocolate mousse cake is a decadent treat we should all indulge in periodically.

 

Individual Lemon Pudding Cakes

Another unplanned dessert inspired by a craving for lemon curd and a bag of lemons.

This recipe for individual lemon pudding cakes made in one cup ramekins is one I bookmarked a while ago. It was fast, simple and I could make two portions instead of the four it was meant for.

It’s a novelty (magic) cake recipe in which the batter separates into a cake top and a lemon pudding base. As recommended in the comments, I increased the amount of lemon juice used and reduced the sugar.

I rushed through the assembly of this dessert as I was making a batch of dill Hollandaise at the same time so my folding of the eggs whites into the cake batter wasn’t as thorough as it should have been. The resulting cake top was lumpy and unevenly browned. Which didn’t matter because the cake is supposed to be turned out onto a plate anyway. Still, it would have been nice to have had a prettier result when I took the water bath with the ramekins out of the oven. Note: The cakes shrink as they cool, pulling away from the edge of the ramekin, and making it easy to unmold.

I didn’t have any pretty berries to use to decorate the plate but a sprig of mint leaves helped, a bit.

Spongy spoonful of cake with the lemon pudding.

Pie Filling Duo … Two Desserts in One Can

E.D. Smith is my favourite brand of pie filling and, around the holidays, it often goes on sale. I’ve had a can (540 ml in Canada) of cherry pie filling in the pantry for four to six months. Originally, I had planned on making a New York Style vanilla bean cheesecake and using the pie filling to top it. Even individual mini cheesecakes made in a muffin tin with a base of ‘Nilla wafers were a possibility.

And then … I changed my mind.

I ended up with a couple of scaled down cherry desserts designed for a single person or a couple to enjoy, each using half (a bit over a cup) of the filling.

This coffee cake was originally made in a 9 by 13 inch glass baking pan but I used a small disposable aluminum pie tin.

Cherry Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping – cut into 9 squares

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
4-6 tbsp sugar (use the lesser amount if you prefer less sugar)
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1-1 1/4 cups cherry pie filling (or flavor of your choice)
2 tbsp finely chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or almonds), optional

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a 7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch aluminum baking pan with shortening or margarine.

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and melted butter in a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together with a fork until crumbly. Break up by hand if necessary.

Take 1/4 cup of the crumbs out and place into a small bowl. If you’re using nuts in the topping, add the finely chopped nuts to this portion of crumbs and set aside.

In a small bowl whisk the slightly beaten egg and milk together, add the milk mixture to the large bowl of crumbs and stir until incorporated. (There will be small lumps in the batter.)

Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan. Spoon the cherry pie filling over the cake. Sprinkle the reserved crumb topping over the pie filling.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the batter comes out cleanly. Cool for at least 15-20 minutes, cut and serve.

Instead of a full sized cherry pie, I used the pastry from a single crust pie, to make six mini cherry pies in muffin tins and used the leftover pie filling from the coffee cake above to fill them, making sure to reserve least 3 cherries per mini pie.

Mini Cherry Pies – makes 6 mini pies

1 disk of single crust pastry
1-1 1/4 cups cherry pie filling (or your favourite pie filling flavour)
1 tbsp whipping cream, to brush over the the pastry decoration on each mini pie
coarse sugar for sprinkling over the pastry decoration (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roll out the pastry to about 1/8th of an inch thickness. Cut six 3 3/4-4 inch diameter circles out of the pastry. Use the leftover pastry to cut out six mini stars or hearts for decorating the tops of your mini pies. Fit the pastry circles into large sized muffin tins.

Distribute the pie filling evenly among the muffins tins, making sure there are 3 cherries in each tin. Decorate each mini pie with one of the pastry cut-outs.

Brush some whipping cream over each pastry decoration and sprinkle some coarse sugar over each.

Bake the mini pies until the filling is hot and bubbling and the pastry crust is set and golden brown, about 35-40 minutes. Let the muffin tin cool on a wire rack before removing.

Serve on their own or with a scoop of vanilla or cherry ice cream.

Greek Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup

During a pre-Christmas visit, my SIL mentioned a syrup soaked cake that my mother had made years ago. She had discussed the dish with a work colleague who was curious about the dish but didn’t have a lot of recipe details to share with her. Since it had been a long time since I’d tasted the dessert myself, I was vague on details, but I thought it contained semolina. My nephew, however, thought it was finely ground cornmeal. His memory has been proven to be better than mine, in the past, but I thought I was right this time.

My mom never wrote down any of her recipes and I had, over the years, done some web searches for dishes that I remembered having eaten and liked. I was pretty sure I had saved something similar on one of those searches so I checked my hard drive, before I went web surfing again.

I ran across a recipe for a Greek semolina cake, with orange syrup, from “The Spruce” website, called “revani/ravani” which I thought I’d give a try. A similar dish, with Arabic/Algerian origins, is known as “basbousa”.

Since I was only cooking for one, I decided to scale down the recipe, designed to be baked in a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, and baked it in an 8 by 8 inch disposable aluminum baking pan.

Greek Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup – served with a spoonful of sweetened whipping cream

Just before folding the beaten egg whites into the rest of the batter.

Ready to bake

The baked cake after soaking in the syrup.

Cut and decorated with sliced almonds. It turned out well, though I decided to get creative in my cutting, and ended up touching the top of the cake, while it was soaking in the syrup, with my flexible cutting board which I was using as a guide. It took the top layer off the cake … so the result wasn’t as pretty as I hoped. And my cutting design was disappointing.

Conclusion: An easy to make cake, tasty and moist. The texture isn’t as ‘grainy’ as I remember my mom’s being. Maybe she used a coarser semolina grind, #2 not the finely ground #1, that the recipe called for.

If making this cake again, I’d cut it into 2 inch squares and not scale down the soaking syrup, since there wasn’t enough to get to the center of the cake.