Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Posts Tagged ‘Cakes’

Announcing Sugar High Fridays #50: Rolled Cakes

Posted by bakinghistory on December 10, 2008

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I am delighted and proud to be the host of the 50th edition of Sugar High Fridays , the wonderful blog event created by Jennifer of  The Domestic Goddess, which celebrates sweets in all their glorious variety. As a theme, I propose Rolled Cakes, those old-fashioned desserts that are also known as  jelly rolls, Swiss rolls or roulades. They are usually made with sponge or Genoise cake baked in a rectangular pan (the jelly roll pan, of course) and filled with jam or cream.

For this edition of SHF I hope to gather as many variations on this basic type of cakes as possible, from the simplest to the most elaborate. You can use any type of batter such  as genoise, meringue, chocolate sponge, etc. etc., and fillings, icings, and decorations as you like, and any size from regular to miniature. Use classic recipes or make up new creations—possibilities are virtually endless.

To participate, please:

*Post a recipe of rolled cake by December 22, 2008 and include in your post a link to this page and to Jennifer’s blog. You can also include the logoshfrolledcakeslogo

*Send me an email at bkhst AT yahoo DOT com including:

>your name

>your blog name and URL

>name of your recipe and permanent link

>a very brief description of your cake

>your  location

>the language in which your post is written

> a picture of your cake (200 width)

If you do not have a blog and still wish to participate send me an email including all the above info (minus blog name and URL  🙂 )and I will include it in the roundup.

The roundup will be posted on December 26th, 2008

I look forward to many many gorgeous rolled cakes and I thank Jennifer for the opportunity to host!

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Posted in Blog Events | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

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 »

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 »

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
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——— 
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.
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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
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1 cup (200 g) sugar
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1/2 cup (60 g) flour
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2 tbsp (30 g) butter
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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
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2 tbsp (30 ml) milk or water
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Plain Chocolate Icing
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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
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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 »