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A Taste For The Past

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Chocolate-Raspberry Rolled Cake (SHF #50)

Posted by bakinghistory on December 26, 2008

artusi-roll

A tender chocolate sponge cake filled with raspberry jelly

shfrolledcakeslogo1As the guest host of the 50th edition of Sugar High Fridays, the blog event dedicated to sweets founded by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess I proposed Rolled Cakes as a theme. My own take on this is from the old classic Italian cook book La Scienza in Cucina e l’ Arte di Mangiar Bene—published in 1891—written by Pellegrino Artusi. It is a sponge cake flavored with  bittersweet chocolate, to which I added a simple filling of seedless raspberry jam and a sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar on top. The final result is a pleasant dessert in which flavors and textures combine perfectly, and that is also quick and easy to assemble.

From the original recipe by Pellegrino Artusi

In: “La Scienza in Cucina e l’ Arte di Mangiar Bene”, 1891—Italy

Ingredients:

6 eggs, divided

200 g confectioners’ sugar, sifted

150 g flour

50 g bittersweet chocolate

1 large jar of seedless raspberry jelly

extra confectioners’ sugar to decorate

Preheat the oven to 350F; line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and generously grease the bottom and sides.

Beat the yolks at high speed and add the confectioners’ sugar little by little, beating at high speed until all is incorporated and the mixture is light.  Mix in the grated chocolate, then stir in the flour, adding it little by little. Finally incorporate to the mixture the egg whites beaten to stiff peaks, folding them in gently to avoid deflating the mixture. Immediately spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Take the pan out of the oven and let the cake cool for 1 minute. Then gently roll the cake using the aluminum foil lining as a guide. Let the rolled cake cool a bit longer on a rack, then while still lukewarm unroll it and gently spread with jelly. Roll it up again and let it cool completely before sprinkling confectioners’ sugar on top.

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Posted in Blog Events, Cakes, Chocolate, Fruit | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Savoy Cake (Gâteau de Savoie)

Posted by bakinghistory on July 13, 2008

A tender sponge cake ideal to serve with tea, preserves or custard

An old-fashioned cake—it dates back to the time of Louis XIV— that is always pleasant to have. Its texture is spongy and light, yet sturdy enough to spread with jam, or to line a mold to make a trifle. It does not contain any milk , butter, or leavening—it’s important to beat the batter well so that it can incorporate enough air for the cake to have a tender crumb.

From the original recipe by Sara Van Buren

In: “Good-living: A Practical Cookery-book for Town and Country”, 1890—USA

Ingredients:

1 cup (4 oz—113 g) unsifted powdered sugar (confectioners’ sugar) + extra to sprinkle on the cake

1/4 cup  + 2 tbsp (1-1/2 oz—42 g) AP flour (sifted) + extra for the cake pan

scant 1/4 cup (1 oz—28 g)  cornstarch

3 large eggs, divided

1 tsp pure vanilla extract (or to taste)

vegetable oil to grease the pan

Grease and flour a Bundt cake pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

Sift together flour and cornstarch.

Beat the yolks at high speed until very light and pale yellow, add the vanilla and then the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time, sifting it through a fine strainer. Beat until light.

Add the flour-cornstarch mixture, sifting it through a fine strainer,  mixing by hand or at the lowest speed, and only until just incorporated.

Beat the egg whites until stiff but still moist (do not overbeat).

Add 1/4 of the egg whites to the yolks and flours mixture, folding them in until well mixed.

Add the remaining egg whites, folding them in gently so that they do not deflate. Pour the batter in the prepared pan, place in the oven, and immediately lower the temperature to 325°F (160°C).

Bake for 40-45 minutes, and do not open the oven door before 40 minutes have passed or the cake will fall.

A cake tester will come out dry and clean once the cake is ready, and the cake will shrink slightly from the sides of the pan.

Place the mold on a rack for five minutes, then delicately unmold the cake and let it cool on a rack.

Once the cake is completely cold sift confectioners’ sugar on top and sides

Posted in Cakes, Dairy-Free, Pareve, Tea | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Madeleines

Posted by bakinghistory on June 30, 2008

Traditional French teacakes baked in shell-shaped moulds

Madeleines are delicate teacakes with a velvety texture and an unmistakable shape. They originate from the town of Commercy, France, and they have been immortalized in Proust‘s “Remembrance of Things Past”.

Later versions call for baking powder in the ingredients, while the old recipe I used here does not, relying only on the air incorporated in the batter and a high baking temperature to ensure the characteristic hump on the cakes top—true sign of a well-made madeleine.

They are traditionally flavored with lemon zest and vanilla which pair well with the buttery texture, but almond extract is another well suited flavoring—and my personal favorite.

From the original recipe by Sara Van Buren Brugière

In: “Good-living. A Practical Cookery-Book for Town and Country”, 1890—USA

Ingredients

1/2 lb (scant 2 cups—227 g) powdered sugar

grated rind of 1 (organic) lemon

1/2 lb (2 sticks—227 g) slightly softened + extra to grease the pans

1/2 lb (2 scant cups—227 g) AP flour

4 eggs

1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Generously grease the Madeleine pans with melted butter and set aside. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).

Cream the butter and add gradually the sugar through a strainer, still beating at high speed and taking care to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula once in awhile.

Add the eggs but keep 1 egg white aside. Beat at high speed until the mixture is light and frothy, adding the zest and vanilla as well. Add the flour through a strainer and mix it in by hand with a wooden spoon just until incorporated.

Beat the remaining egg white until stiff peaks form, then add it delicately to the flour batter, folding it in and making sure not to deflate it.

Fill the moulds 1/2 full with the batter and bake for 10 minutes. Do not open the oven before 10 minutes are past, to check if the cakes are done a tooth pick should come out clean and dry.

They can be kept in an airtight container but they are best eaten fresh. The recipe can be halved.


Posted in Cakes, Cookies, Bars, & Biscotti, French cuisine, Tea | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

Covered Cheesecake

Posted by bakinghistory on June 8, 2008

An unusual version of cheesecake: the cheese filling is baked between two layers of sponge cake

While reading this recipe I was immediately intrigued: a cheesecake that was made by baking the cheese filling between two layer of sponge cake was unusual and I was curious to see how it would turn out. Mid-way through assembling it I was suddenly sure it would never work: the cheese filling seemed too liquid compared to the cake batter and at that point I had not many hopes of getting any decent results.

However, the cake did surprisingly turn out well—the filling stayed in, the cake baked just fine and the final result was surprisingly good. It is also a relatively quick cake to make and overall I found it worthy to share. A good cup of tea or coffee to accompany it are all that is needed. I have made this cake many times since and it is always a pleasant dessert.

The holiday of Shavuot begins June 8 at sunset and ends June 10 at nightfall: to celebrate this holiday it is customary to eat dairy foods, and cheesecake is one of the traditional choices. This recipe would be a nice addition to the holiday menu.

From the original recipe by Florence Kreisler Greenbaum

In: “The International Jewish Cook Book: 1600 Recipes According To The Jewish Dietary Laws…”, 1919—USA

Ingredients

Filling:

2 eggs

1/2 cup (100 g) sugar

1 cup milk

1 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 lb. pot cheese

1 tsp (organic) lemon extract (or to taste)

Cake:

1 cup (200 g) sugar + a little extra to sprinkle on top of the cake

2 oz. (60 g) butter

1 cup (237 g) water

2 eggs

2-1/2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1tbsp butter + 1 tbsp flour for the cake pan

Preheat the oven at 325F (160C). Butter and flour an 8-inch springform cake pan

Make the filling: Dissolve the cornstarch in a little milk (taken form the total), then add the rest of the milk and mix well. Bring to a boil on low heat until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool, stirring once in while to prevent a skin from forming on top.

Put the pot cheese through a fine strainer and set aside. Beat the eggs with the sugar at high speed, until very light and fluffy. Mix in the cheese, lemon extract and finally the cooled milk mixture. Set aside in a cool place.

Using a blender or mixer to make the filling is not a good option: the mixture turns out too liquid.

Make the cake batter: Sift the flour with the baking powder and set aside. Cream the butter then begin to add the sugar a little at a time, then add the eggs well beaten and continue mixing at high speed, then add 1/3 of the flour and mix well. Add 1/3 of the water and mix it in, then continue adding 1/3 more flour, 1/3 water, the the remaining flour and then the rest of the water. The batter should be light and fall in a ribbon when the beater is lifted.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared cake pan, making sure it is well distributed to make an even layer.

Then pour the cheese filling all over it, working in circles starting from the center (the filling should be soft enough to fall in a ribbon) and making sure the cake layer is well covered by the cheese filling.

Finally pour the remaining cake batter on top of the cheese filling, still working in circles to distribute it as evenly as possible. With the back of a spoon gently even out the top cake layer and then sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden.

Let the cake cool in the pan placed on a rack for about 5 minutes, then gently remove the side of the pan. Let the cake cool and then refrigerate overnight in a closed container.

Remove from the refrigerator 15 minurtes before serving. Keep any leftover cake refrigerated.

Posted in American Cooking, Cakes, Desserts, Holidays, Jewish Cooking | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »

Pesach Cake With Walnuts

Posted by bakinghistory on April 16, 2008

A moist and light walnut torte for Passover

One of my favorite songs in the Sephardic music repertoire begins with this verse:

“Purim, Purim, Purim lanu

Pesach, Pesach a la mano”

which in the Ladino language means that Purim is over and Passover is approaching.

Tortes and pastries made with ground nutmeats (almonds and walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts) are common in the Passover menus of Jewish communities around the world given the prohibition against foods that are considered leaven. Grains such as rye, spelt, wheat, barley, and oats, which can ferment, cannot be used to make baked goods to be eaten at Passover. Ground nutmeats, and potato starch, are then used instead.

This cake is simply made with ground walnuts, a small amount of matzo meal, no shortening, and a relatively high amount of eggs. The result is a moist sponge cake that can be enjoyed at the end of the Seder meal or with afternoon tea and coffee. The walnut taste is intense thanks to the long baking time at a moderate temperature, which toasts the nuts and brings out their flavor. There are many variations on this basic type of cake, such as those made with a mixture of walnuts and almonds and flavored with orange juice and zest, or by using toasted hazelnuts in place of the walnuts.

From the original recipe by Florence Kreisler Greenbaum

In: “The International Jewish Cook Book: 1600 Recipes According To The Jewish Dietary Laws…”, 1919—USA

Ingredients

1/2 lb shelled walnuts

1/2 lb sugar

9 eggs, divided

2 tbsp fine matzo meal

1 pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 300° F (150° C). Line an 8-in cake pan with aluminum foil and generously grease with almond oil (or olive oil).

Grind the walnuts with 2 tbsp of sugar until fine and set aside. Beat the yolks at high speed until pale yellow and fluffy, then add the remaining sugar 1 tbsp at a time until the mixture is light. Mix in the ground walnuts, salt and the matzo meal and beat at high speed until well mixed. Take care to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula once in a while. Beat the egg whites until firm peaks form and add a small quantity to the walnut mixture, mixing well to lighten it. Add the remaining egg whites by hand, gently folding them in with a spatula, making sure they are well distributed (the walnut mixture tends to stick to the bottom of the bowl). Pour the prepared batter in the pan and bake for about 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean (not less than 45 minutes anyway).

Make sure not to open the oven door before 45 minutes, or the cake might collapse.

Take the cake out of the oven and leave it in the pan on a rack to cool for about 5 minutes. It will slightly sink and shrink from the sides. Unmold it and let it cool completely on the rack.

This year the Festival of Passover, the celebration of the Exodus from Egypt, from slavery to freedom, begins at sundown on Saturday April 19.

Chag Pesach Sameach!!

Posted in Cakes, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Flourless Cakes, Jewish Cooking, Pareve, Passover, Treenuts | Tagged: , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

Almond-Orange Cake (Focaccia alla Portoghese)

Posted by bakinghistory on April 9, 2008

A light and delicate sponge cake made with almonds and orange zest

The original name of this cake is Focaccia alla Portoghese which means Portuguese-Style Cake in Italian. In fact, the word focaccia in Italian does indicate both a savory flat bread and a sweet leavened cake. Artusi does not tell us anything more about the origins of this recipe besides its name, however the combination of almonds and oranges is an unmistakable characteristic of the cuisine of Sephardi Jews. This recipe might then have been inspired by those brought to Italy by Portuguese Jewish merchants or by the refugees that settled in many Italian cities at different times in history, such as following the expulsion of Jews from Portugal in 1497.

Incidentally, Artusi mentions a number of ingredients and dishes in his cook book that were introduced by the Jews and became part of mainstream Italian cuisine, for instance eggplants, pumpkins, and Pan di Spagna (sponge cake).

This cake has a wonderfully moist and spongy texture and is nicely flavored by the orange zest and the almonds without being too sweet. It keeps fresh for many days and it is actually better when made one day ahead. It is excellent served with tea or coffee, cut into tiny squares (or other fancy shapes) .

It is important to grind the almonds until they are reduced to a very fine powder, and even the granulated sugar should be ground briefly in the food processor or coffee grinder, especially if you use—as I do—organic sugar that tends to be relatively coarsely grained. The ground almonds need to be sifted and the larger pieces that remain in the sifter should be ground again until of the necessary fine consistency. These steps require an extra amount of time and might be tedious but are necessary to ensure a successful result and make a significant difference. Of course you can prepare the ground almonds ahead of time.

It is also essential to bake the cake at a very low temperature.

Artusi suggests to cover the cake with a crisp icing made with egg whites and sugar syrup. Personally I find that a light sprinkle of powdered sugar is more suited to the delicate texture of this cake.

From the original recipe by Pellegrino Artusi

In: “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene”, 1891—Italy

Ingredients:

1 cup (150 g) whole Almonds, blanched, raw

3/4 cup (150 g) Granulated Sugar

1/3 cup (50 g) Potato Flour (starch)

3 Eggs

1-1/2 (organic) Oranges (juice and zest)

Powdered sugar to sprinkle on top of the cake

Preheat the oven to 300° F (150° C). Line a 9-inch (23 cm) round cake pan with aluminum foil and grease with vegetable oil (I used almond oil, grapeseed oil is also good for this).

Grind the almonds with 1/3 of the sugar in the food processor or coffee grinder until very finely powdered. Sift the almond mixture with the potato flour and grind again any large pieces of almonds that might have remained in the sifter. Set aside.

Grate the zest of 1/2 orange. Squeeze the oranges and strain the juice; set aside.

Grind the remaining sugar with the orange zest until fine and powdery.

In the bowl of a stand mixer using the balloon whip attachment beat the egg whites until stiff and glossy; set aside.

Beat the yolks at very high speed until light and pale yellow (using the balloon whip attachment). Gradually add the ground sugar and beat until well incorporated.

Switch to the flat beater attachment and add the ground almond mixture to the yolks and beat at high speed until light and well incorporated, taking care to scrape the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula.

Add the orange juice and mix well.

Finally gently fold in the whipped egg whites, by hand, making sure they are well distributed and without deflating them. Pour the mixture in the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven (place the rack in the middle position) for about 45 minutes. A cake tester in the center must come out clean and dry when the cake is ready.

Place the pan on a rack and let cool for 10 minutes. The cake will slightly deflate and shrink from the sides of the pan. Unmold it and let it cool on the rack. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top once the cake is completely cool.

Note: I had inadvertently forgot to write when to add the orange juice to the batter. I have just corrected the text.

Posted in Cakes, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Flourless Cakes, Fruit, Gluten-free, Italian Cuisine, Italy, Pareve, Tea, Treenuts | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

Lincoln Cake

Posted by bakinghistory on February 21, 2008

lincoln-cake-3.jpg

A moist, buttery cake with a delicate lemon scent

 

I recently read a very interesting post about a luncheon menu for Presidents’ Day written by T.W. from Culinary Types. Every dish featured in the menu was gorgeous, but I was particularly interested in the Lincoln Cake, created in 1865 to commemorate President A. Lincoln. The recipe was published in Godey’s Lady’s Book, while Sarah J. Hale was the magazine’s editor.

The cake is very nice, with a moist crumb and a texture reminiscent of traditional pound cakes, with a pleasant lemon scent. It keeps fresh and moist for a relatively long time, and it is even better after a day or two.

From the original recipe by Sarah Annie Frost

In: “The Godey’s Lady’s Book Receipts and Household Hints”, 1870—USA

Ingredients:

2 eggs

2 cups (400 g) sugar

1/2 cup cup (113g) butter

1 cup (237 ml) milk

3 cups (375 g) flour

1 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp (organic) lemon extract

All ingredients must be at room temperature.

Sift the flour with the baking soda and cream of tartar.

Cream the butter at high speed until fluffy, then add the sugar 1 tbsp at a time, still beating at high speed. It is important not to add the sugar all at once or the mixture will be heavy instead of fluffy, which will compromise the cake’s final texture. Once all of the sugar has been incorporated, add one egg and beat well until thoroughly mixed, then add the second egg and the lemon extract and mix well.

Add 1/3 of the flour (sifted with cream of tartar and baking soda) and mix it at the lowest speed. Add 1/3 of the milk, in a thin stream, mixing it in at low speed, then increase the speed to high and beat the mixture till light and creamy. Add 1/3 more of the flour , then 1/3 more of the milk, and mix as described above. Add the remaining flour and then milk as described before. Beat the mixture for 3 minutes at high speed, until creamy and light.

Pour the batter (which might look like it is too liquid, but that is how it is supposed to be) into a 5.4 x 9.1 inch (13.6 x 23.2 cm) loaf pan, lightly greased. I find that lining the pan with aluminum foil and greasing the foil liner makes it much easier to unmold the cake.

Place the cake in a cold oven and set the temperature  at 300°F (150°C) and let the cake bake for about 2 hours, or until golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, than unmold it and let it finish cooling on a rack.

P.S. Louise of Month of Edible Celebrations suggested baking the cake at very low temperature and starting with a cold oven. If the oven is too hot, because of the high amount of sugar in the ingredients, the cake will brown too fast on the outside and remain raw in the center.

 

 

Posted in American Cooking, Beverages, Cakes | 12 Comments »

Boston Cream Pie

Posted by bakinghistory on January 20, 2008

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The official dessert of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: delicious Boston Cream Pie
———–
———
——— 
taste300.jpg This is my entry for the blog event “A Taste of Terroir” hosted by Anna’s Cool Finds for which entries should highlight a specific food typical of a given area.
I write from beautiful Massachusetts, and there are many wonderful foods that are typical of this area: from chowder to corn muffins, from cranberries to chocolate chips cookies to Parker House rolls.
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One of my favorites is Boston Cream Pie, which is Massachusetts official dessert—A light sponge cake filled with vanilla cream and then iced with a dark chocolate icing, which provides a nice counterpart to the sweetness of the filling.
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The version I propose here is the most known, and was created in 1856 at the famous Parker House Hotel in Boston by French chef M. Sanzian. An earlier version was made without the chocolate icing and simply sprinkled on top with powdered sugar.
As for why it is called a “pie” while it is in fact a cake is not entirely clear, one possible explanation is that pie plates were once more common and easily available and were used to bake cakes as well.
Whether this is the actual reason for the name or not, it is indeed a delightful dessert.
—-
The recipe I used is an antique receipt and gives outstanding results—it is really worth trying.
Of course, if you have a chance, do visit Massachusetts and taste the Boston Cream Pie in its home State.
From the original recipes by Fanny L. Gillette
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In: The White House Cook Book” , 1887—USA
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Ingredients
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Filling
2 cups (475 ml) whole milk
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2 eggs
—–
1 cup (200 g) sugar
——-
1/2 cup (60 g) flour
———
2 tbsp (30 g) butter
———
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract or paste
Cake
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3 eggs, divided
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1-1/2 cups (180 g) sifted flour
1 heaping tsp (6 g) baking powder
—-
2 tbsp (30 ml) milk or water
—–
Plain Chocolate Icing
—–
1 oz (30 g) bittersweet chocolate
3 tbsp (45 ml) milk or cream
1 tbsp (15 ml) water
scant 2/3 cup (120 g) sugar
—-
Make the Cream Filling: Scald the milk and set aside to cool. Mix together the flour and sugar, then beat the eggs and add the flour-sugar mixture, stirring until well incorporated. Add the warm milk in a thin stream, mixing well. Place on medium-low heat and cook stirring continuously, adding the butter as soon as the mixture starts to simmer. Cook the cream, always stirring to prevent scorching, until it thickens–it will offer some resistance to the spoon while you stir. Take the cream off the heat and stir in the vanilla, mixing well.
If any lumps should form, you can either strain the cream once it is ready, or blend it briefly with an immersion blender. Let the cream cool and then refrigerate it in a glass container with an airtight lid.
Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease two 9-inch (23 cm) cake pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease the paper as well.
Sift the flour with the baking powder. Beat the egg whites until stiff and glossy, being careful not to overbeat them. Set aside.
Beat the yolks at high speed for at least 15 minutes, adding the sugar little by little until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Add the milk or water, then add the flour-baking powder mixture little by little. Finally fold in the egg whites, making sure not to deflate them. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for about 20-25 minuets, until golden. Let the cakes cool in the pans for five minutes, then unmold them and let them finish cooling on racks.
When the cakes are cold, assemble the cake: spread a thick layer of cream on top of one of the cakes, then place the second one on top.
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Make the Chocolate Icing: Melt the chocolate on very low heat, then mix in the cream or milk and the water, finally adding the sugar little by little. Place on low heat and mix until the sugar is dissolved. If any sugar granules adhere to the sides of the pan, wash them off with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, or the icing will be grainy. Stir the mixture until it starts to boil, then let it cook, without stirring, for five minutes. Immediately pour the hot chocolate icing on top of the cake, starting form the center and letting the icing fall down the sides. Do not use a spatula to spread the icing or it won’t be glossy. The icing hardens quickly, so you need to be fast pouring it on the cake.
Let the icing set, then place the cake in the refrigerator in a closed container large enough that the lid does not touch the top of the cake. Serve the cake slightly chilled.
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Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Cakes, Regional American Food, State Foods | Tagged: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Lemon Cake (Novel Food: Winter 2007 Edition)

Posted by bakinghistory on December 19, 2007

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A velvety lemon cake to have for tea–inspired by Edith Wharton’s “The House of Mirth”.

nf_chef_100px_2.jpg This is my entry for the lovely blog event co-hosted by Simona of Briciole and Lisa of Champaign Taste, for which participants prepare a dish that has a connection to a literary work.

Edith Wharton is one of my favorite American writers, I enjoyed all of her novels–and her ghost stories too.

The cake I made is inspired by the tea and cake shared by Lily Bart and her friend Lawrence Selden as told in the early pages of The House of Mirth (1905).

This cake–with its moist texture and pleasant lemony flavor–goes really well with a nice cup of tea, so it might very well be the one mentioned in the book. And I do have a green teapot as well.

here is the excerpt from chapter 1 of “The House of Mirth”:

He paused a moment. “Come up and see,” he suggested. “I can give you a cup of tea in no time–and you won’t meet any bores.”

Her colour deepened–she still had the art of blushing at the right time–but she took the suggestion as lightly as it was made.

“Why not? It’s too tempting–I’ll take the risk,” she declared.

“Oh, I’m not dangerous,” he said in the same key. In truth, he had never liked her as well as at that moment. He knew she had accepted without afterthought: he could never be a factor in her calculations, and there was a surprise, a refreshment almost, in the spontaneity of her consent.

On the threshold he paused a moment, feeling for his latchkey.

“There’s no one here; but I have a servant who is supposed to come in the mornings, and it’s just possible he may have put out the tea-things and provided some cake.”

He ushered her into a slip of a hall hung with old prints. She noticed the letters and notes heaped on the table among his gloves and sticks; then she found herself in a small library, dark but cheerful, with its walls of books, a pleasantly faded Turkey rug, a littered desk and, as he had foretold, a tea-tray on a low table near the window. A breeze had sprung up, swaying inward the muslin curtains, and bringing a fresh scent of mignonette and petunias from the flower-box on the balcony.
Lily sank with a sigh into one of the shabby leather chairs.

“How delicious to have a place like this all to one’s self! What a miserable thing it is to be a woman.” She leaned back in a luxury of discontent.

Selden was rummaging in a cupboard for the cake.

“Even women,” he said, “have been known to enjoy the privileges of a flat.”

“Oh, governesses–or widows. But not girls–not poor, miserable, marriageable girls!”

“I even know a girl who lives in a flat.”

She sat up in surprise. “You do?”

“I do,” he assured her, emerging from the cupboard with the sought-for cake.

“Oh, I know–you mean Gerty Farish.” She smiled a little unkindly. “But I said MARRIAGEABLE–and besides, she has a horrid little place, and no maid, and such queer things to eat. Her cook
does the washing and the food tastes of soap. I should hate that, you know.”

“You shouldn’t dine with her on wash-days,” said Selden, cutting the cake.

They both laughed, and he knelt by the table to light the lamp under the kettle, while she measured out the tea into a little tea-pot of green glaze. As he watched her hand, polished as a bit of old ivory, with its slender pink nails, and the sapphire bracelet slipping over her wrist, he was struck with the irony of suggesting to her such a life as his cousin Gertrude Farish had chosen. She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate.

And now for the cake:

From the original recipe by Jane Cunningham Croly

In:Jennie June’s American Cookery Book”, 1870–USA

Ingredients

1 cup (227 g) butter

3 cups (600 g) sugar

4 eggs, divided

1 cup (245 g) milk

1 large (organic) lemon–juice and grated zest

4 cups (454 g) flour, sifted

Icing: 1 small egg white, beaten till light and foamy

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325°F (170°C), grease and flour two 9.1 x 5.4 inch (13.6 x 23.2 cm) loaf pans

Cream the butter until light and fluffy, then gradually add the sugar. Add the 4 yolks, one at a time, then the lemon juice (strained) and the grated zest. Gently add the flour, little by little through a strainer, and then the milk in a fine stream, still beating at high speed. The mixture should be light and creamy. Finally fold in the egg whites, beaten until stiff and glossy, taking care not to deflate the mixture.

Divide the batter into the prepared pans and bake at 325°F (170°C) for 45 minutes or more, until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of each cake.

Let the cakes cool in the pans placed on racks for 5 minutes, then take them out of the pans and let them finish cooling on the racks. Ice the cakes once they are perfectly cold.

Icing: mix the confectioners’ sugar with a little egg white and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice to a spreading consistency and cover the top and sides of each loaf.

Notes: This cake does not contain any leavening, and to be light the batter must be worked well to incorporate as much air as possible. It must be baked at no more than 325°F , otherwise it will brown too fast on top and still be raw in the middle.

The recipe can be halved.


				

Posted in American Cooking, Blog Events, Cakes, Fruit, Tea | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Honey Cakes, No. 1

Posted by bakinghistory on September 11, 2007

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Honey cake is one of the traditional sweets served on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This recipe is one of the best versions ever: it produces a moist, mildly spiced, golden cake with a deep honey flavor. It is best made one day ahead and it just improves over time.

Shanah Tovah–5768

From the original recipe by Florence Kreisler Greenbaum

In The International Jewish Cook Book” 1919-USA

Ingredients

1 lb (1-1/3 cup–454 g) honey

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 tbsp (6 g) ground allspice (see note)

3 tbsp salad oil + extra for the cake pan

4 cups (1 lb–454 g) all-purpose flour

3 tsp (15 g) baking powder

 

 

Preheat the oven at 350°F (180°C). Generously oil a cake pan (I used a traditional Bundt® pan–if you prefer you can use two 5.4 x 9.1-inches loaf pans (13.6 x 23.2 cm).

Pour the honey in a pan, and warm it up, on low heat, taking care not to let it boil.

Beat the eggs with the granulated sugar at medium-high speed for 20 minutes, until light and pale yellow in color. Add the oil and beat until well incorporated.

Sift the flour with the ground allspice and the baking powder, then add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Finally add the warm honey and beat well.

The batter will be creamy and glossy and golden in color. Pour it delicately into the prepared mold(s) and bake for about 1 hour–a toothpick must come out clean when the cake is ready. Take care not to bake the cake at too high a temperature (not above 350F–180C) or it will brown too quickly on the outside and remain raw inside.

Let the cake cool in the pan placed on a rack for about 10 minutes. Then take it out of the pan(s) and let it finish cooling on the rack. When completely cold, wrap it in aluminum foil (not plastic wrap) or place it in an airtight container for one day before serving. It lasts a long time and improves.

Note: if possible, it is best to use whole allspice berries. Toast them lightly in a pan (not non-stick) on low heat stirring with a wooden spatula until the fragrance rises. Take immediately off the heat and let cool. When cold, grind the allspice berries in a spice or coffee grinder, then sift the spice powder into the flour using a fine strainer.

 


 

Posted in Cakes, Holidays, Honey, Jewish Cooking, Spices | 15 Comments »