Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Three Cake Recipes To Get You Through Till Spring

Ahh..it is March 15th today, only five days till spring! So, of course, we need cake to get us through. Here are three of my favorite recipes. Perfect for these last chilly days with a cup of tea...wonderful in summer with fresh fruit topping. Which one is your favorite?

Meyer Lemon Marmalade Cake (just happens to be vegan)
(with Strawberry/Balsamic Sauce)

For the cake:
3 2/3 cups organic unbleached flour
2 cups sugar (organic will really make a difference)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp alum free baking powder
2 cups cold water
1/2 cup plus 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract (I use Tahitian vanilla)

Meyer lemon marmalade syrup
2 cups organic sugar
zest from 1 Meyer lemon, plus 3/4 cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 cups water
2 tbsp Meyer lemon marmalade

Combine sugar, zest, and 2 cups water in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has completely dissolved. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat and allow syrup to come to room temperature (keep in the saucepan). When completely cool, pour through a strainer into a small bowl (throw away strainer contents). Stir in Meyer lemon juice and marmalade.

Strawberry/Balsamic sauce
2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries
1 1/2 tbsp organic brown sugar
One tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
a handful of fresh mint for garnish, rough chop
(I use this sauce all summer on cakes, pancakes, waffles, ice cream, fresh fruit. .etc. feel free to substitute other berries..whatever you like)

Wash, stem and puree 2 cups of the strawberries in a blender or food processor. Add the brown sugar, orange zest, pepper and balsamic vinegar and puree until almost smooth. Pour into serving bowl. Slice the remaining 1/2 cup berries and add to bowl. Taste and add a bit more sugar if needed...total amount will depend on how sweet your berries are.

step 1...make cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil and flour a bundt pan and set aside. Combine the water, e.v.o.o., vinegar and vanilla in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients...do not skip the sifting, you want all the small lumps removed... add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. (do not over-mix). Bake in preheated oven approx. 45 min-1 hour. Start checking at 45 minutes...when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean...the cake is finished. Remove from oven and place on rack. Let cool for 10 minutes.

step 2
Turn out the cake from bundt pan onto a serving plate. Using a toothpick, poke a number of holes in cake top. Using a large spoon, drizzle Meyer lemon marmalade syrup onto cake top, about 1 to 1 1/2 cups in total. Cake should look really moist...not soggy. Allow to cool completely. garnish cake with large pieces of lemon peel from the marmalade (I just use a fork to strain out from the syrup mixture)

step 3
To serve, slice cake and plate...either spoon strawberry/balsamic sauce around cake...or serve plain and pass the sauce separately. Top serving with a sprinkle of mint...as my friend Richard says.."the mint is key...it wakes up the entire mouth."

Vegan Chocolate Cake with Balsamic & Olive Oil

I am resharing one of my go-to recipes, Vegan Chocolate Cake.  This recipe was inspired from the Moosewood Restaurant Book*Desserts. I substituted balsamic vinegar and olive oil, doubled the ingredients and turned it into a bundt cake. Regular readers know how often I use in-season fresh figs in my recipes, but this cake is very adaptable. If figs are out of season, or you do not like them..leave them out or use dried dates. This is one of those *just happens to be vegan* recipes. I did not start out with that as a goal but hey! Don't tell your non-vegan friends. They will never know!

3 cups unbleached flour (organic if possible)

2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (best quality)

1 tsp salt

2 cups organic sugar 

2 tsp baking soda

1 3/4 cups cold water

1/4 cup cold coffee (just use your leftovers from breakfast)

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp plus 1 tsp balsamic vinegar of Modena 

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup fresh figs, stems removed..figs finely chopped (or use dates when figs are out of season)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (use olive oil) a bundt pan and set aside. Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda together in a bowl. In a large mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients (except figs) and mix well. You can use a mixer..but I just use a wooden spoon and do this by hand. Add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir until just combined..do not over-mix. Add the figs and stir again until incorporated into the batter. Pour into prepared bundt pan and bake approximately one hour until a cake tester inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool until just slightly warm. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

You can drizzle your favorite chocolate glaze over cooled cake or sprinkle with powdered sugar...this recipe also make delicious cupcakes.

One more favorite recipe:

It is Cake week at Food Network's Comfort Food Feast roundup. Do you have a favorite cake recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

Homemade Delish: No-Bake Mascarpone Cheesecake in a Cup
Creative Culinary: 
St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Three Cake Recipes To Get You Through Till Spring
Red or Green: 
Spiced Gingerbread Cake
Healthy Eats: 
5 Cupcakes That Are Secretly Lighter
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Dark Chocolate Brownies
The Mom 100: 
Raspberry Streusel Coffee Cake with Sweet Vanilla Drizzle
FN Dish: 
5 Stunning Cakes with Sky-High Fan Reviews


I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos."  Please visit and let me know what you think.

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