Breakfasts, Desserts

sixteen

Cinnamon Streusel Bundt Coffee Cake

It’s sweet sixteenth post! (Yeah, I thought that’d sound lame. Oh well, I’m leaving it anyway) So I figured I’d go with something dessert-y, it is my forte after all. The things I love the most about coffee cake are that (a) it is basically implied that it is to be eaten with coffee, of which I drink more or less 4 cups a day. I probably should not be doing that.. and (b) it is completely acceptable to eat for breakfast even though it really is just cake with no frosting. Both great things in my book.

While coffee cake itself has roots going back to 17th-century Germany, Scandinavia, France, and the Netherlands because of the people’s desire to much on sweet yeast bread to compliment their bitter coffee, the aluminum bundt pan was trademarked in 1950 in Minnesota! The pans didn’t do very well until 1966 when Pillsbury sponsored a bake-off in which a bundt cake won second place, causing a run on the pans. They even out sold Jello molds! In the 60s no less!

Coffee Cake

Streusel Filling

– 2 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature

– 3 tbsp all-purpose flour

– 1/3 cup golden brown sugar

– 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

– 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional

Batter

– 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

– 2 tsp baking powder

– 1/2 tsp baking soda

– 1/4 tsp salt

– 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

– 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

– 4 eggs

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt or sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10 inch bundt pan.

For the filling: Using a fork combine the butter, flour, brown sugar, nuts, and cinnamon until crumbly. Set aside.

For the batter: In a bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy on medium low speed. Best in the eggs one at a time then stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients alternatively with the yogurt until smooth.  Pour half of the batter into the pan then smooth the surface over with a spatula, the add half of the streusel topping. Pour the remaining batter over the top, then sprinkle the rest of the topping.  Bake 40-45 minutes, cool for 10 minutes, then turn out of the pan and cool completely. Slice into small pieces. Or giant pieces.

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Desserts

ten

Chocolate Torte with Mocha-Rum Glaze

Sorry about the brief hiatus, anyone who noticed/cared! I just got back from a trip where I was given the possibly one of the best things any future retro housewife could hope to get- a vintage cookbook; The Best of Russian Cooking by Alexandra Kropotkin to be exact. So it seems natural that my first post back should be from the book. Now, if anyone went and looked it up, okay, you got me, the first edition was printed in 1947. Not technically the 50s-60s. BUT the edition I was given was published in 1964. So I win. Hey you, you who gave it to me, I hope you see this and are pleased it’s going to good use.

I’ve adapted the book’s recipe a bit, because after coming back from the grocery store I realized I’d overlooked the part where one of the ingredients I needed was 1 cup of freshly riced cooked potatoes. Yes, you read that correctly, potatoes. In cake. I’m sure if there are any experienced bakers out in my blogosphere you’re all saying, “Obviously it calls for smushed potatoes in the torte. Becca is so naive to our way of life!” Well, pat yourselves on the back, because I’ve made many tortes before and never knew this was a thing. Anyway, on to the recipe! It involves chocolate, rum, and coffee- I ask you, what could be better?!

Torte

– 1 cup all-purpose flour

– 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate

– 1 cup sugar, plus extra 4 tbsp

– 3/4 cup unsalted butter

– 6 large eggs, room temperature, separated

– 1 cup apricot (or your favorite flavor) jam or preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan, lining the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.  Sift the flour onto a plate.

Place the chocolate, 4 tbsp sugar, and butter on a double boiler (I don’t have one, so I just put a large glass bowl over a pot; works like a charm!) over not touching, simmering water. Stir often until melted then remove from water. Whisk 1/2 cup sugar into the egg yolks and into the melted chocolate, gently stirring constantly.

Using a stand mixer (or a whisk if you’re feeling athletic) beat the egg whites until soft peaks form while slowly adding the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Using a spatula, fold 1/4 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the flour, then add remaining egg whites, folding gently. Pour batter into pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, giving an extra 5 if the center looks soupy. Place on a wire rack, cook in pan for 3 minutes, then release the spring and flip the cake onto the rack. Remove the parchment circle and flip the cake right-side-up onto another rack. Cover with a slightly damp towel and cool completely.

Glaze

– 3/4 cup butter

– 2 tbsp corn syrup

– 1 tbsp dark rum

– 2 tsp coffee

– 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate

– 1/4-1/2 cup powdered sugar

– scant 1/4 cup cocoa powder

Place butter, corn syrup, and chocolate into a double boiler. While melting, add rum and coffee, then cocoa and sugar. Stirring often. Once mixture is combine, pour through a mesh sieve to get out any lumps. Let cool for a while, but not completely.

Assembly

Cut cake in half horizontally, remove top half and spread 1/3 cup jam/preserves onto the bottom layer. Replace the top and spread the rest of the jam over the sides and top. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm the jam. Pour warm glaze over the cake, then refrigerate for another 30 minutes. Transfer cake to a serving plate, grab a fork, and go crazy! Plates are quite unnecessary, table manners even less so.

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Desserts

nine

Strawberry Shortcake

Okay, before all the haters read that title and say “but wait, I know for a fact that strawberry shortcake wasn’t invented in the 50s or 60s!! This blogger is obviously a phony and I will never take her seriously ever again!” just hear me out- I was perusing ebay and found the cutest 1950s birthday card featuring, yep, you guessed it, a strawberry shortcake! And I was inspired to make one of my own. So, hah!

Bit of history on strawberry shortcake for any interested parties: “Short”cake gets its name from the adding of shortening or butter to the recipe, the word coming from 15th-Century English meaning “easily crumbled”. By the 1850s, strawberry shortcake parties were a sign of the approaching summer. An article in Harper’s Bazaar magazine published this quote, which became quite popular, “[The shortcake parties] give you good eating, strawberries and short-cake- Ohh My!” So, in honor of this year’s arriving summer, please enjoy my recipe, adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book!

Shortcake

– 1 3/4 cup flour

– 1/4 cup granulated sugar

– 1 tbsp baking powder

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

– 1 egg

– 1/3 cup heavy cream (plus extra)

– 1 1/2 tbsp raw sugar

– 4 cups fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Plus a few times, then add the butter and pulse until the mixture turn into coarse crumbs. In a bowl whisk egg and cream, then add to original mixture and pulse until moist. Remove blade from processor and add 3 additional tablespoons of cream, stirring after each until the dough is quite soft. Spoon out the dough on a baking pan covered with parchment paper into 3 inch-wide mounds spaced about 1 inch apart. Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. Prepare whipped cream (recipe below) and slice strawberries.

Whipped Cream

– 2 cups heavy cream

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 3 tbsp granulated sugar (add more or less to your taste)

In a large bowl using an electric mixer or (if you’re in the mood to pump up your biceps) a big whisk, whip the cream until medium peaks form. Be careful not to over whip! Stir in vanilla and sugar.

Cut the shortcakes in half, spoon on generous amounts of whipped cream and strawberries, then replace top half and eat!

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