Category: Cakes

St. Patrick’s Day–Traditional Kerry Apple Cake

St. Patrick’s Day–Traditional Kerry Apple Cake

fullsizeoutput_30da

According to Darina Allen, the doyenne of Irish cooking, apple cake is the quintessential or at least the most traditional Irish dessert. And because it is made everywhere, each baker makes it just a bit differently than the baker next door.

Continue reading “St. Patrick’s Day–Traditional Kerry Apple Cake”

Pear and Almond Torte with Scotch Whipped Cream

Pear and Almond Torte with Scotch Whipped Cream

img_2994In the cooking world, there are recipes most everyone just knows, loves, and admires.  If you don’t make them, you’ve heard of them. Famed cooking guru and writer Marion Burros’ Plum Torte  (New York Times, 1983) is one such recipe. It may be one of the best and tastiest examples I know. Continue reading “Pear and Almond Torte with Scotch Whipped Cream”

38 Power Foods, Week 17 — Berries — Fresh Berry Cake

38 Power Foods, Week 17 — Berries — Fresh Berry Cake

Just looking at this cake will tell you that it’s not difficult to make and it’s NOT.  A quick glance at the recipe, however, might put you off.  Don’t let it.  There may be a little reading involved, but the cooking and baking are fairly simple and don’t take long.  In fact, though it’s two layers, you only bake one cake.  After it’s cool, you cut it in half.

But listen, if you’re not a baker, this is just the cake for you… because you can get away without baking a cake at all!  Just buy a Sara Lee pound cake and cut it into layers–maybe three?–and do a loaf-shaped cake on a pretty rectangular tray.  Follow the rest of the directions for the berries and filling and there you are!   You could also bake a box cake into cupcakes, slice them, put half in a pretty coffee cup and decorate from there.  Whatever you do, this is a beautiful, tasty cake for Easter, Mother’s Day, or the Memorial Day picnic.  (Assemble this cake where you’re serving it.)  If you don’t have a special cake plate, don’t worry about it.  Whoever eats this will be happy no matter what.  Next time you run in Good Will, see a funky antique shop or a garage sale,  keep an eye our for great serving pieces.  No need to spend a fortune at the department stores. 

Another idea comes from my mother-in-law, who, when I was  a young wife, often made a similar cake using a homemade or store bought angel food cake.  To cut calories, she used Cool Whip, but I can’t go that far.   If I’m eating cake I want to eat cake.  Let them eat cake!  But if you really must cut the whipped cream for health or allergy reasons, try the Cool Whip version.
Cook’s Note:  While October isn’t prime berry time (there are still a few blueberries coming from upper Michigan and Canada), I made this earlier in the year and knew it would be perfect for the Power Foods Berry Post.  Save the recipe for next spring if you’d like to try it with all fresh berries.
I made this for Mother’s Day and took it to a friend’s.  We all had a tiny slice with a huge cup of coffee. 

 Easy Berry Butter Cake (Aida Mollenkamp–courtesy Food Network)

Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins, plus cooling time | Active Time: 25 mins | Makes:8 to 10 servings

  • For the cake:*

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the pan

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon fine salt

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened, plus more for coating the pan

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

*Or use a purchased cake like Sara Lee Pound Cake

  • For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

    To assemble:

    • 1 1/2 pounds mixed berries*, washed (if you’re using *strawberries, they’ll also need to be hulled and quartered)  You might not need quite this many berries; mine didn’t fit on the cake. 
    •  
    INSTRUCTIONS
    For the cake:
    1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with butter and flour, tap out the excess flour, and set the pan aside. Combine measured flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until evenly combined; set aside.
    2. Place measured butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium high until light in color and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium high until white in color and the texture of wet sand, about 3 minutes more.
    3. Add eggs one at a time, letting each incorporate fully before adding the next. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated, then add milk and continue mixing until smooth. Add the rest of the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated, about 2 minutes more.
    1. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake and turn out onto the rack, right side up, to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the filling.
    For the filling:
    Place mascarpone in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add cream, sugar, and almond extract, increase speed to medium high, and whip until ingredients are combined and firm peaks form, about 15 seconds more. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
    To assemble: *

    1. Slice cake in half horizontally using a serrated knife. Divide filling evenly between the cut side and the top of the cake. Divide berries evenly over the filling. Stack cakes on top of each other and serve.

     

    If using a purchased cake like frozen Sara Lee pound cake, you might want to slice it (into thirds, perhaps) while it’s still partially frozen.  (Recipe first posted in May of 2012)
     

    Note:  I’ll share with you that whenever I’ve made a recipe by Aida Mollenkamp, it’s been incredible.  I don’t see her on Food Network anymore; is she still on?  But she does have a lot of recipes.  One that immediately comes to mind is her lasagna. Can’t make that very often.
     

     I like berries because of all the things they can do for us…provide tons of vitamins, fiber, antioxidants,  memory ability boosters, and more…  But I also love them because they’re gorgeous, inexpensive (relatively),  taste incredibly good, and are low in calories.  Many of them are also easy to grow at home.  And while we’re out of berry season in most places in the country, I just got a couple of pints of Michigan blueberries much like the tiny wild Maine berries that are often lusciously sweet-tart and make such great pancakes and muffins.  For more on berries and why we should eat them, click here. 
      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
     I blog with a great group of writers every Friday where we cook our way through the list of foods from Whole Living Magazine’s Power Foods:  150 Delicious Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients:    Read more about beautiful berries this week at these sites: 
    Ansh – SpiceRoots.com  
    Minnie Gupta from TheLady8Home.com

    Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
    .
    Want to join us?  We’d like to have you as part of the group.  Get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits:  Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com


    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Need some fall love?
    Try reading this week on my Dinner Place blog (Cooking for One):
    Sing a new song,
    Alyce
    P.S.  Fellow blogger @donteatalone.blogspot.com,  Milton Brasher-Cunningham, has just published a book you might be interested in:
    Check it out!

     

Fresh Berry Cake for Mother’s Day–Bake or Not

Fresh Berry Cake for Mother’s Day–Bake or Not

Looks like Mother’s Day!

I hope you’re looking for a cake to make for your Mom for Mother’s Day.  If you are, you’re sooo wonderful.  What mom wouldn’t love someone who baked a great-looking and yummy cake like this?   I made it to take to a friend’s for Easter and took it unassembled as I wanted it as fresh as it could be. 

Just looking at this cake will tell you that it’s not difficult to make and it’s NOT.  A quick glance at the recipe, however, might put you off.  Don’t let it.  There may be a little reading involved, but the cooking and baking are fairly simple and don’t take long.  In fact, though it’s two layers, you only bake one cake.  After it’s cool, you cut it in half.

 

But listen, if you’re not a baker, this is just the cake for you… because you can get away without baking a cake at all!  Just buy a Sara Lee pound cake and cut it into layers–maybe three?–and do a loaf-shaped cake on a pretty rectangular tray.  Follow the rest of the directions for the berries and filling and there you are!   You could also bake a box cake into cupcakes, slice them, put half in a pretty coffee cup and decorate from there.  Whatever you do, this is a beautiful, tasty cake for mom or anyone.
If you don’t have a special cake plate, don’t worry about it.  Whoever eats this will be happy no matter what.  Next time you run in Good Will or see a funky antique shop, keep an eye our for great serving pieces.  No need to spend a fortune at the department stores. 

Another idea comes from my mother-in-law, who, when I was  a young wife, often made a similar cake using a homemade or store bought angel food cake.  To cut calories, she used Cool Whip, but I can’t go that far.   If I’m eating cake I want to eat cake.  Let them eat cake!  But if you really must cut the whipped cream for health or allergy reasons, try the Cool Whip version.

courtesy Sara Lee Desserts

Easy Berry Butter Cake (Aida Mollenkamp–courtesy Food Network)

Difficulty: Easy | Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins, plus cooling time | Active Time: 25 mins | Makes:8 to 10 servings

  • For the cake:*

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the pan

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon fine salt

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), softened, plus more for coating the pan

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

*Or use a purchased cake like Sara Lee Pound Cake

  • For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

To assemble:

  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed berries*, washed (if you’re using *strawberries, they’ll also need to be hulled and quartered)  You might not need quite this many berries; mine didn’t fit on the cake.
INSTRUCTIONS
For the cake:
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with butter and flour, tap out the excess flour, and set the pan aside. Combine measured flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until evenly combined; set aside.
  2. Place measured butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium high until light in color and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar and continue to beat on medium high until white in color and the texture of wet sand, about 3 minutes more.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, letting each incorporate fully before adding the next. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low, add half of the flour mixture. Mix just until incorporated, then add milk and continue mixing until smooth. Add the rest of the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated, about 2 minutes more.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of the cake and turn out onto the rack, right side up, to cool completely. Meanwhile, make the filling.

For the filling:

  1. Place mascarpone in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add cream, sugar, and almond extract, increase speed to medium high, and whip until ingredients are combined and firm peaks form, about 15 seconds more. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To assemble: *

  1. Slice cake in half horizontally using a serrated knife. Divide filling evenly between the cut side and the top of the cake. Divide berries evenly over the filling. Stack cakes on top of each other and serve.
If using a purchased cake like frozen Sara Lee pound cake, you might want to slice it (into thirds, perhaps) while it’s still partially frozen.
Note:  I’ll share with you that whenever I’ve made a recipe by Aida Mollenkamp, it’s been incredible.  I don’t see her on Food Network anymore; is she still on?  But she does have a lot of recipes.  One that immediately comes to mind is her lasagna.  Have mercy.  I could double in size eating that stuff.
Need a great idea for Mother’s Day? 
      Send Mom an ecard and give to Share our Strength:  No Kid Hungry here.

Sing a new song and bake/make an easy cake,

Alyce
50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #44- Nigella Lawson – Guinness Gingerbread

50 Women Game-Changers in Food – #44- Nigella Lawson – Guinness Gingerbread

A tender, quite moist gingerbread from Nigella.

Gingerbread is Christmas, right?  Maybe New Year’s Day?  Certainly a cold-weather dessert.  Except that I love it.  I’d eat it in July if I were willing to turn the oven on.  Which I’m not.*  So that’s why it’s April and there’s Nigella Lawson’s gorgeous Guinness Gingerbread on the blog. (Two “n’s” and two “s’s” in Guinness–tells you  alot about how much I know about Guinness.  I did tour the brewery in Dublin once and actually drank a tall one.)  If you’ve been following along on this trip, I’ve joined a group of great food bloggers who are each week cooking, testing, and writing about one of Gourmet Live’s 50 Women Game-Changers.  And, you guessed it, this week (number 44) is Nigella’s week–I’m so grateful.  After all, I needed a reason to make gingerbread in the spring.  Didn’t I? (Cold and nasty in St. Paul today after a great, warm spring.  I was happy to have a warm kitchen.)
   *I have just installed a combination microwave/convection oven above my rangeThis may help with summer baking.  More later!

If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching Nigella on tv or reading one of her books, you just need to do it.  Picture a well-fed, very pretty British woman with a great accent sneaking out of bed in the dark to raid the refrigerator of crispy fried pork fat or snarfing down the last, well-hid piece of flourless chocolate cake.  Not only is she real with a capital R, but she’s fun and brings more than a bit of the seductive into the kitchen, where it surely belongs.  Whatever…it’s great to watch someone enjoy what they do and Nigella does that in spades.  Isn’t that what really draws us to people?  I adore friends who are happy in what they do.

For a biographical sketch that may surprise you, check out Nigella’s Food Network biography page here.  Not only has Nigella been a food tv star for several years and written a variety of best-selling cookbooks, but she was Deputy Literary Critic of the (London) Sunday Times before setting out to follow her own drummer as a free-lancer.  No small apples.

For a list of all of Nigella’s books, lots more info and recipes, check out her website.

But!  If you’re intrigued by the gingerbread:   get out a 9×13 pan and get baking.  Easy as pie (which isn’t easy–who said that?)  you warm up some butter, a cup of Guinness stout and a couple of other things, whisk in a few dry ingredients, pour into a greased pan and bake for 45 minutes.  Cool, cut, and serve with whipped cream, ice cream, or Crème fraîche.  Nothing better.  My own notes are in red.  Enjoy!

Guinness Gingerbread by Nigella Lawson

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 sticks 10 (tablespoons) butter, plus some for greasing
  • 1 cup golden syrup (such as Lyle’s) (I used Organic Corn Syrup plus a little Molasses.)
  • 1 cup (packed) plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup stout (such as Guinness) (There’s just a taste left for a chef’s snack!)
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • (I added 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 rectangular aluminium foil pan or cake pan, approximately 13 by 9 by 2-inches

Directions

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Line your cake pan with aluminium foil and grease it, or grease your foil tray.

Put the butter, syrup, dark brown sugar, stout, ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves into a pan (2-3qt saucepan)  and melt gently over a low heat.

Organic Corn Syrup with a little molasses poured in…quite pretty.

Dave was so sad that I bought a whole 6-pack.

Take off the heat and whisk in the flour and baking soda. You will need to be patient and whisk thoroughly to get rid of any lumps.

Whisk the sour cream and eggs together in a measuring jug (4c glass measuring cup) and then beat into the gingerbread mixture, whisking again to get a smooth batter.

Pour this into your cake/foil pan, and bake for about 45 minutes; when it’s ready it will be gleamingly risen at the centre, and coming away from the pan at the sides.

Let the gingerbread cool before cutting into slices or squares.

Add sweetened or spiced whipped cream, Crème fraîche,  or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.  Just a winter dusting of powdered sugar is lovely if you’re into simplicity:

For grin and giggles, watch this Nigella Interview:

If you’d like to read more great recipes, try one of the other blogs on our trip visiting 50 Women Game-Changers in Food:

Val – More Than Burnt Toast, Taryn – Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan – The Spice Garden
Heather – girlichef, Miranda – Mangoes and Chutney, Amrita – Beetles Kitchen Escapades
Mary – One Perfect Bite, Sue – The View from Great Island, Barbara – Movable Feasts
Linda A – There and Back Again, Nancy – Picadillo, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits
Veronica – My Catholic Kitchen, Annie – Most Lovely Things, Jeanette – Healthy Living
Claudia – Journey of an Italian Cook, Alyce – More Time at the Table
Kathy – Bakeaway with Me, Martha – Simple Nourished Living, Jill – Saucy Cooks
Sara – Everything in the Kitchen Sink

Next week we’ll feature Diana Kennedy, the very fine Mexican cookbook author.  Join us!

Sing a new song,
Alyce

Peaches and Cream (and Cake) Two Ways or Have Your Cake and Eat it Two

Peaches and Cream (and Cake) Two Ways or Have Your Cake and Eat it Two

 I don’t want to live in a world without peaches.  Really.  And I only like canned peaches pureed into Bellini Soup (is there such a thing?) or on top of cottage cheese for lunch in the winter if I’m just desperate and out of time and am feeling tres fat.  And while, “Sorry don’t get it done, Dude,” is one of the more famous John Wayne quotes, I often remember him in front of a campfire, “Open me up a can of those peaches.”  Poor cowboys.  They didn’t have fresh peaches.  Just cooked, peeled, old canned things.

In St. Paul, we’ve had peaches from several places for a few weeks.  And some of them have been glorious.  We’re still waiting for Colorado western-slope, but that’s as it should be.  Having lived in Colorado for years, I’m not addicted to those peaches.  In fact, I like peaches from other states better.  (These are fighting words, I know.  Sorry, Colorado.)  There’s just not enough rain in Colorado for fruit trees.  Around Penrose,  (south of Colorado Springs) there are some apple orchards that nearly bite the dust every few years despite large-scale irrigation.

Here are some of my favorite ways with peaches:

Unadorned and sweetly loved

Into a salsa for fish or pork or chicken or as a salad all alone with avocado .

 Here’s the link for the salsa recipe here at More Time at the Table.

Grilled with a little fresh cheese, thyme and a squiggle of honey

Here’s the salsa served with a grilled pork chop and my mustard tarragon green bean salad.

 This year, I’ve been baking in the wee, small hours of the morning. (Don’t you love that song?)  It’s the only way to get something in and out of the oven without adding to the heat index.  I tried Peaches, Cream, and Cake in two varieties, taking each to friends’ houses for dinner.  I can always be counted on to bring dessert.  Besides, it transports easily.

First off was Peach Shortcake and I recommend it highly if only because the shortcakes bake quickly and you could even do them in a counter top oven should you be blessed enough to have one.  I am not.  Second was Elvis Presley’s Favorite Cake with Peaches and (homemade) Ginger Ice Cream.  For some reason (not wanting to appear the forever blogger at dinner)–I only have a pic of the cake.  But you’ll get the idea.

Peach-Ginger Shortcake with Vanilla Ice Cream

First make the shortcakes, which are much like biscuits, but a tad sweeter:

Use a light hand with the dough.  Don’t pat or reform too much.

I like to bake them in a glass pie dish so you can see the bottoms.  You want them barely done.

Slice them in half and layer with the peaches.

 Fluffy Shortcakes from THE FANNY FARMER BAKING BOOK by Marion Cunningham
(Don’t bother to reinvent Marion Cunningham’s wheel.–That book is out of print, I think, but you might find a used one.  There is nothing like it.  It’s a veritable, perfect baking bible without any froofroo. BTW, her biscuit recipe is love in a bite and comes from years of testing/working with James Beard.)

2 cups cake flour (I’ve used all-purpose flour for years..just noticed she said “cake”)
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
3T sugar
8T (1 stick or 1/2 cup) butter
1 egg, well beaten
1/3 milk or cream, plus droplets more if needed

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Get out two 8 or 9″ cake pans or a large baking sheet, but do not grease.  (I like glass pie pans for these and for biscuits, too.)
2.  Combine the cake flour, salt, baking powder, cream of tartar, and sugar in a mixing bowl, and stir and toss them together with a fork or wire whisk.  Cut the butter into bits and add it to the dry ingredients.  Then, using two knives or a pastry blender, or your fingertips (Dorie Greenspan would approve), work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have a mixture of fine, irregular crumbs that resemble fresh bread crumbs.  (I do this all in the food processor and have for years.)
3.  Add the beaten egg and the milk all at once, and stir with a fork just until the dough holds together.
4.  Turn out (it will probably be very sticky) onto a smooth, well-floured surface, and knead 12-14 times.  Pat into a rectangle (I do a circle) 1/2″ thick Cut the dough into squares or rectangles (I do circles), using a knife or into rounds with a 2″ cookie cutter. (Like I said.)  Place the biscuits, touching each other in the pans or on the baking sheet.
4.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until very lightly browned.  (Do not overbake.)   makes 16

Minced fresh ginger mm

  For the peaches and ginger (1 peach per serving)

Peel and slice about one ripe, but firm peach per person.  To easily peel peaches, gently drop them in boiling water for 30 seconds, retrieve using a slotted spoon, cool a bit and the peel will slide right off when coaxed with a sharp knife.  If not, put the peach back in the water for another 10 seconds or so.  You could use an ice bath to cool the peaches, but I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.

Add about 1tsp freshly minced ginger for each 4 peaches.  Stir together.
Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over all and stir again.  Set aside until needed or refrigerate if not using within an hour or so.  (The lemon will keep the peaches from turning brown so quickly.) 

To assemble:
  For each serving:  Slice a shortcake in half.  Place bottom half in a small bowl and top with  gingered peaches.   Add the top half and spoon the rest of the peaches on top. You’ll use  about 3/4-1 c of peaches (1 large peach) per person.  If you’re flush with peaches, slice and use more!

Scoop up some great vanilla ice cream (I like Haagen Dazs 5 or make your own) and nestle it to the side or on top of the peaches and shortcake.  Whipped cream would be nice if you had some.  Not needed, though, unless you skip the ice cream.

 
Elvis Presley’s Favorite Pound Cake with Peaches and Ginger Ice Cream
 1.  Make the cake up to 2 days ahead…. Does this look like something you’d call someone’s favorite (pound) cake?  I don’t think it does, but it is.  The recipe is NOT an urban legend, but is on epicurious.com and is so fattening and so tender and so scrumptious that you should even make it at Thanksgiving and top it with a cranberry conserve and gingered whipped cream!
Cool thing:  this serves about 12 so it’s a great thing to take to a picnic.  I won’t put the recipe in this blog, but you can just click here for it. It also is a good deal for camping, etc. as it keeps at room temperature for several days.  I loved making this great big buttery cake with its tender crumb. 
2.  Make homemade ice cream the day you’re serving this dessert.  I used this recipe for homemade ginger ice cream from an old (1998) GOURMET, but it’s on epicurious.com now and you can click here for it.  You can make whatever kind of ice cream you like, but this was yum.  In a pinch, buy some best-quality ice cream.  Don’t scrimp here.
3.  Slice up a dozen peeled peaches and squeeze the juice of a lemon over all; stir.  (See directions above for peeling peaches.)
4.  To assemble, slice cake into 12 pieces and place each piece in a serving bowl.  Top with a big spoonful of peaches and a scoop of ginger ice cream.  
5.  Say, “AH, summer; I love thee!”
 ——————————————————————–
Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood
We’ve been up on Devil Track Lake (just west of Grand Marais, MN and Lake Superior) cooking and grinning this last week.

Grilled lake trout filet salad at The Angry Trout

   We made simple things like bacon and leek pasta, grilled chops and steaks, and of course blueberry pancakes and eggs in the hole.  We ate a few restaurant meals, but not many.  Didn’t even have cell service.  For restaurants, I’d recommend The Angry Trout (sit outside) and Chez Jude right on the main drag of Grand Marais.  Of course you’d better visit:
P.S.  As a Blogger Against Hunger, I receive a lot of information about starving people.  The situation in Somalia is so critical, I ask you to take a look at sending just a small amount of money to the World Food Programme to help.  One woman walked for days looking for food; three of her children died as she searched.  Meantime, I’m writing about peaches and cream.  Read about it?
Sing a new song and live summer!
Alyce
Pagliacci’s New York Cheesecake

Pagliacci’s New York Cheesecake

Pagliacci’s New York Cheesecake–Made and photographed this year in St. Paul

I don’t double blog.  Or if I do, I do it rarely.

This cake, however, belongs on both blogs.  I’ve made it for Dave’s birthday since l984 and for lots of other occasions since.  In different reincarnations.  Chocolate, pumpkin, toffee, cranberry compote.  You get the idea.

Pagliacci’s New York Cheesecake

Crust

  • 1 1/4 cups graham wafer crumbs (I prefer vanilla wafer crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling

                                                           Directions:
First:  Mix crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar and butter and press into a 10″ spring form pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  1.  Preheat oven to 500º.  Make sure your oven is clean before you start!
  2.  Beat cream cheese with electric mixer in large bowl until very smooth. Blend in lemon juice and vanilla. Sift sugar, flour and salt together and gradually beat into cheese. Beat until creamy, smooth and light, about 5 minutes. Beat in eggs and yolks one at a time. Blend in cream. Pour into crust.  Place filled pan on a  baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.  
  3.  Bake 12 minutes.
  4.  Reduce oven temperature to 200º. Continue baking until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. The original recipe said for 45 minutes but I find it takes much longer–an hour and a half or more.  Keep testing. (You can also set the oven at 300 and it’s less time–perhaps only 65 minutes.  I think the 200 might have been a typo??)
  5.  Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan. Cool cake completely and refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving.

 

 

Note:  In July, 2016 Dave and I took a week-long Alaskan cruise and our last night was in Victoria, British Columbia. You know where we went for dinner:

IMG_4020The meal was lovely, the service attentive, and the cheesecake divine. Dave said it wasn’t as good as mine. But he would say that, wouldn’t he?
Bake on,
alyce
Carrot Cake Baby Shower

Carrot Cake Baby Shower

This blog dedicated to our new little friend-to-be, N.R.W.

Baby and bridal showers can be so complicated, intense and have just too much food. There was a time when such events were not much more than cake, punch and mints and nuts on the table. Now, they’ve turned into rich buffets (with rich presents involved) in homes or even more expensive, rich meals at restaurants. Why not go back to the easy style of shower…a few treats, a couple of games to lighten up the day and lots of chatter and laughter? After all, the person giving the event has first got to organize it, cook a bit and definitely dust something or other (a lick and a promise is my idea of cleaning) before the guests arrive.

Spending the day loving the guest of honor and not worrying about the food or the house would be the goal here.

I hosted a baby shower last week for one of my good friends and made it easy, easy, easy. Here’s the menu:

** Sangria (see Chicken Taco Salad blog from last Monday)
** White wine
** Iced Tea/Water
** Spinach Dip and tortilla chips (brought by the grandma-to-be)
** 3 different cheeses (Humboldt Fog, Manchego, and Gouda) with
** 2 kinds of crackers and some thinly-sliced baguette
** Lindt truffles in small bowls around room

 

Dessert: Carrot Cake
Coffee
Of course, there’s a story for the carrot cake.
I once worked for the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C. I held several different jobs (mostly library ones), but finally moved out to Woodlawn Plantation in Mt. Vernon, Virginia. Woodlawn is a beautiful house, built by George Washington for his foster daughter, Nelly Custis Lewis. Originally part of the Mt. Vernon estate, it is just down the road from that lovely house and just north of Ft. Belvoir.
We had a great group of people working there, all of whom I loved dearly; I was quite attached to them. Lots of healing went on there after a few traumatic years of my life. Among the great work force was housekeeper Grace Herson. A nearly-elderly woman then, the mansion was a big place with which to keep up and she cooked for us, too! When there was a fine occasion or some vip was coming, Grace would make her carrot cake. We all adored it.
 
I left Woodlawn in 1985 after my husband went to Officer’s Training School and we were then transfered to Spokane, Washington. When it was time for me to go, the people I worked with wrote a cookbook for me, putting down on paper in one book all of their favorite recipes that we had eaten together over the years. Grace included a few, but the carrot cake was the one I’ve treasured over the years. Here’s Grace’s version that has become mine over the intervening years… and never fails to make a big hit, especially among carrot cake lovers. I doubled it for the shower and baked it in a 1/2 sheet cake pan.
 Grace’s Carrot Cake
makes 1 9×13 cake; serves 12
2 cups whole wheat
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 c vegetable oil (I use Canola now)
3 cups grated carrots (blotted dry w/ towel if you use food processor)
1 cup chopped nuts
Icing: 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, 4 T softened butter, 3 1/2 c powdered sugar, 2 t vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  (If you make cupcakes, use 350 F.)

Cake: mix dry ingredients together and add eggs, oil and mix well. Add carrots and nuts. Turn into greased 9x13x2″ pan and bake 45-55 minutes until a toothpick stuck in middle comes out clean. Cool well in pan and ice. Refrigerate if not eating that day. Cake freezes very well for up to one month.

 

Icing: Beat cream cheese and butter together very well for 2 minutes. Slowly add powdered sugar (or you’ll have a big mess).
Beat in vanilla and whip icing until very smooth.
.
Sing a new song, and great thanks to the mother-to-be………someone very special, who’s been a pewmate in a new church for the last several months (what a difference that’s made) and is also the daughter of one of my very closest friends,
Alyce