Cakes

Banana Rum Cake

March 2014 118 Edited Banana Rum Cake

My calendar indicates the season is officially spring! The days are filled with light, the trees are studded with blooms, and the temperature has warmed by what feels like a whopping one degree.

I am a warm weather gal, and this wait for spring-like temperatures is trying my patience. I am also a very impatient gal, so I will let you draw your own conclusions about how I am handling this weather-related nonsense.

Fortunately, I have sense enough to realize that colder-than-normal temperatures as the biggest thing I have to complain about means I am actually doing quite well.

March 2014 091 Edited Banana Rum Cake

I have a kitchen stocked with ingredients I can bake with. It is not yet so warm that I do not want to think about the oven, much less turn it on (here’s looking at you, July). And I actually look forward to spring cleaning.

I started in the kitchen, turning to this recipe to use up a small bunch of quickly ripening bananas. The subtle flavor is delivered via a dense crumb that I can best describe as nearing a custard-like bread pudding.

It’s the next best way to get a banana rum fix this side of cocktails on the beach. Enjoy!

March 2014 099 Edited Banana Rum Cake

Banana Rum Cake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons self-rising flour
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, zest of
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup rum
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 (medium to large) ripe bananas
  • confectioner’s sugar, for sprinkling
Instructions
  1. In a skillet over low to medium heat, toast the walnuts (or pecans) until slightly browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the self-rising flour, sugar. lemon zest and salt.
  3. Next add the melted butter, rum, lightly beaten eggs and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients.
  4. Cut the bananas into slices and add three bananas worth of slices to the batter, folding to incorporate.
  5. Pour the batter into an 8-inch round cake pan lined with parchment paper on the bottom and then lightly greased.
  6. Arrange the remaining banana slices across the top of the cake, pushing them in just slightly to be level with the top of the batter.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 50 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Before serving, sprinkle the cake with confectioner’s sugar. The sugar will melt a bit if sprinkled over a warm cake, but that is okay.

 

Parsnip Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

March 2014 006 Edited Parsnip Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

March. That time of year when spring tries to break through but can’t quite out muscle winter just yet. I think Dickens described it best: “It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

Said with less eloquence: March is a tease. I can shiver through a morning in a hooded sweatshirt and follow it up by a jog in shorts and a t-shirt. Nothing thrills me more than bright yellow daffodils blooming and warming up the landscape, but most everything else stays stubbornly brown.

March can’t make up its mind, and in some ways, neither can I. Don’t get me wrong; I am ready for warm spring days and light in the sky past 6 p.m.  But I am not quite ready to give up the two things I enjoy about winter (can “enjoy about winter” qualify as an oxymoron?).

March 2014 045 Edited Parsnip Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Those two things I enjoy are dark beer and parsnips. I relegate parsnips to winter list since I pay them no mind after the cold months where roasted root vegetables are the in-season choice. Unless someone starts selling bags of prepared parsnips like baby carrots, they probably have a good three weeks of kitchen life left until I remember them again come November.

Fortunately, I have found a new way to enjoy parsnips via this spice cake recipe. Carrot cake is one of my favorite desserts, so it was really no surprise that I liked this parsnip cake too. The spice cakes are so incredibly similar that I don’t know that I would be able to tell them apart in a blind taste test. Which may beg the question, why bother with the parsnips in the first place?

I don’t know. Because it’s fun to cook and bake with something different every once in a while. Or it’s a pleasure to find a new way to use something I love (parsnips) in a way (baking a cake) that I love. So until spring arrives, I’ll pair them with a few dark beers.  Enjoy!

March 2014 020 Edited Parsnip Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Parsnip Spice Cupcakes with Maple Frosting
 
Author:
Serves: 16
Ingredients
  • For the Cupcakes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups (peeled and) grated parsnips (from 4 to 6 parsnips)
  • For the Frosting
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, melted butter and vanilla.
  3. Whisk the eggs, one at a time, into the large bowl of wet ingredients.
  4. Next stir the dry flour mixture into the wet ingredients until combined.
  5. Fold in the grated parsnips.
  6. Spoon the batter nearly to the top of each well of a paper-lined muffin tin.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes; a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake will come out clean.
  8. While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting.
  9. Beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  10. Sift in the confectioners’ sugar (always sift to remove lumps) and continue to beat until smooth.
  11. Add the maple syrup and whip until well combined.
  12. Dollop the frosting onto cooled cupcakes, then immediately sprinkle with walnuts to garnish.
Notes
Some parsnips have a tough, woody core. (These cores remind me a lot of stringy ginger.) To avoid using this part of the parsnip in the cake, grate the side of the parsnip until you hit the core (it will get tougher to grate once you hit it). Keep grating along the sides, as opposed to holding the parsnip perpendicular to the grater, until you have the two cups you need.

 

EGGciting Rosemary Angel Food Cake with Lemon Glaze

Egg Week 030 Edited EGGciting Rosemary Angel Food Cake with Lemon Glaze

The second of three EGGcited posts features an angel food cake I made with the help of OXO’s 3-in-1 Egg Separator. I have used my fair share of egg separators over the past few years, but nothing could beat the good old fashioned use of my hands to remove an egg white from and egg yolk. Still, as much as I do not really mind using my hands, I would prefer to use a tool of some sort to get this done.

Enter the 3-in-1 Egg Separator. This little gadget did not disappoint. I liked the way it hooked onto the side of  both my thick- and my thin-edged bowls. I had to give it a gentle tap or shake from time to time, but that was only because some of the egg whites were simply thicker than others. I even went a little wild and put two eggs in at one point simply to see what would happen. I would not recommend that, as the bottom yolk wants to press out through the edges where the whites slip through.

My favorite part of this gadget was the edge that let me crack the eggs right there on the separator. Every other tool I used required I crack my egg on the side of the bowl or another edge, then quickly move it up to the separator. I never lost more than a few drips of egg white this way, so I would not categorize that as a major issue, but I do like that edge. I could basically do this whole egg separating process with one hand – just crack and drop. Now, on to cake!

Egg Week 053 Edited EGGciting Rosemary Angel Food Cake with Lemon Glaze

Angel food cake made a fair number of appearances in my childhood home. More often than not, my sister would request an angel food cake for her birthday. Sometimes the angel food would be speckled with funfetti (my personal favorite), and it would always be served with whipped cream and berries on top.

For this version, the cake is very lightly flavored with bit of vanilla and almond extracts and speckled not with funfetti but rosemary. None of the flavors are overwhelming, but they work together just enough. Every now and then you get a bite coated in the tart, flavorful lemon glaze and are transported to a happy place. In hindsight, I imagine the cake would taste quite nice if flavored with lemon extract as well.

Now for a word on baking. While you do not need an egg separator to create this recipe, you most likely need an electric mixer. Preferably,  a stand mixer. However, I did this whole thing with a hand mixer, and as you can see it turned out just fine. It took a bit of time, but that was by no means a deal breaker. I’m sure angel food cakes were made before electricity was popular, but I don’t love it enough to figure out how that happened. Probably with a hand-cranked egg beater not nearly as nice as OXO’s.

Egg Week 041 Edited EGGciting Rosemary Angel Food Cake with Lemon Glaze

I used my egg separator 11 times to get the amount of egg whites called for in this Rosemary Angel Food Cake recipe, so it was certainly well worth it.If you need something to do with the 11 to 12 egg yolks you will have left after baking this cake, here are my best ideas from this blog:

You can also make some candied lemon slices to use as a garnish if you like. That link also includes a recipe for rosemary and lemon shortbread cookies, so if you are digging the flavors but not so much in angel food cake form, perhaps those will strike your fancy. If you are not a baker, you can still get great use out of this tool for all of your egg white omelets. Or other omelets.

Now that omelets are on your mind, I will share the recipe I made with the Flip & Fold Omelet Turner in just a couple of days. In case you missed it, I made Bombay-Style Curried Eggs with the help of the OXO Egg Beater earlier in the week. In the meantime, if you are too EGGcited to wait for my final egg recipe, head on over to OXO’s We’re EGGcited Pinterest board to see more great recipes bloggers have cooked up in recent weeks. Enjoy!

OXO provided their egg separator to me free of charge, however, the opinions shared in this blog post are my own.

Egg Week 057 Edited EGGciting Rosemary Angel Food Cake with Lemon Glaze

Rosemary Angel Food Cake with Lemon Glaze
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For the Cake
  • 1½ cups egg whites (approximately 11-12 eggs), at room temperature
  • 1½ teaspoons cream of tartar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1½ cups cake flour, sifted
  • For the Glaze
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Beat the egg whites at high speed until they are foamy.
  2. Add the cream of tartar and salt to the mixing bowl with the eggs.
  3. Continue to beat on high speed while adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time.
  4. After all of the sugar is incorporated, continue to beat the mixture until soft peaks form. The mixture should look glossy, and the peaks will gently curl over themselves when the beaters are lifted from the mixture.
  5. Mix in the rosemary, vanilla extract and almond extract.
  6. Sift one-third of the cake flour over the mixture and use a spatula to gently fold the flour into the meringue. Do this two more times until all of the flour is mixed into the batter.
  7. Spread the batter into a 10-inch angel food cake pan.
  8. Bake at 325 degrees F for 20 minutes, then increase the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes more. When done, the top of the cake will be light golden brown and spring back when touched.
  9. Allow the cake to cool and remove from the pan.
  10. To make the glaze, simply mix the powdered sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice together until smooth.
  11. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake and allow to set, about 30 minutes.
Notes
When making the glaze, take care to sift the powdered sugar in order to avoid unsightly lumps in the glaze.