Sunday, July 29, 2007


So I'm finally getting around to posting stuff and contributing to this blog! I tend to seem non-existent, but I do exist, and so do my desserts! I'm posting a few recipes below that I've enjoyed making over the past few months and thought were worthy of sharing. So here's to the summer dessert challenge ...and spring, and winter, and whatever else I never made myself a part of!

Classic Coconut Cake
This recipe is Ina Garten's, which some of you may have made before. I've used it a couple times because it's one of those cakes that you can count on being good every time - the coconut in the cake itself makes it extra moist and it's even better a day or two old. I especially like that she uses almond extract, because I think it's a great complement to the coconut flavor.

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3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup milk
4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes (according to the recipe, although I usually do 40-45 min), until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out

The next 2 recipes are a result of trying to figure out something to do with peaches before they go bad... My aunt lives in Georgia, and every summer she comes and brings a bazillion peaches for my family, and this year I was determined to bake with them before they rotted. The first recipe is a peach coffee cake, which is in no way meant to be a competitor with Susan's "Morning After Coffeecake" (which I have made at least 6 times I think!) The second is a peach shortcake, which I made as a birthday cake for my aunt (the one that brings all the peaches) and she said it was the best birthday cake she's had in years.

Peach Streusel Coffee Cake (taken from Williams-Sonoma "Muffins" cookbook)

To peel the peaches for this recipe easily, bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil. Using a small, sharp knife, cut a shallow X on the blossom end of each peach. Immerse the peaches in the boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds. Lift out with a slotted spoon and let cool on a work surface. Using your fingers or the knife, slip off the skins.

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For the streusel:
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter,
cut into small pieces

For the cake:
1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 tsp. salt
1 egg
4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1⁄2 cup milk
1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 firm, ripe peaches, 1 lb. total, peeled, pitted and sliced 1 inch thick

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch round springform pan or square baking pan or baking dish.

To make the streusel, in a bowl, stir together the flour, brown and granulated sugars and cinnamon. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut or rub in the butter until coarse crumbs form. Set aside.

To make the cake, in a bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a wire whisk, beat the egg, melted butter, milk, vanilla and almond extract until creamy, about 1 minute. Add to the flour mixture and beat just until evenly moistened. There should be no lumps or dry spots. Do not over mix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. If using a springform pan, arrange the peach slices in concentric circles from the pan sides to the center. If using a square pan, arrange the slices in rows. Gently press the slices into the batter. Sprinkle evenly with the streusel.

Bake until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform pan, if using. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges or squares. Makes one 9-inch cake.

Note: If using a glass baking dish, reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Also, cake calls for 2 peaches, but I used 3.

Warm Peach Shortcake with Brandy Whipped Cream (taken from Food and Wine Annual 2007 Cookbook)

this recipe calls for 3 tablespoons total of brandy. I'm not a brandy person, so I had to go to ye ole liquor store for this one... I bought one of those baby bottles and used the whole thing... I used 1/3 of the bottle for the part that calls for 1 tablespoon (the whipped cream) and the rest to soak the raisins in. You could measure it out if you wanted, but I found it to work fine like this. Also, I added a little powdered sugar to the whipping cream to sweeten it a bit. Picture isn't mine - I got it from the Food and Wine website.

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* Vegetable spray
* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
* 3/4 cup buttermilk
* 2 large eggs, beaten


* 3 tablespoons brandy
* 1/4 cup golden raisins
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 4 firm, ripe peaches—halved, pitted and sliced 1/2 inch thick
* 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1 cup heavy cream

1. MAKE THE SHORTCAKE: Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with vegetable spray. In a small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon of the sugar with the cinnamon. In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, the baking powder, nutmeg, salt and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the cold butter until it is the size of small peas. Make a well in the center of the flour and butter mixture and add the buttermilk and the beaten eggs. Stir with a fork, until a dough forms. Scrape the dough into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35 minutes, until the top is golden. Brush the top of the hot shortcake with the melted butter and sprinkle all over with the cinnamon sugar. Transfer the shortcake to a rack to cool for 10 minutes.
2. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE FILLING: In a small bowl, pour the brandy over the raisins and let stand for 20 minutes. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the peaches, cover and cook over moderately low heat until just softened, about 6 minutes. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the brandy. Add the remaining brandy, raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon to the skillet. Cook the peaches over moderate heat, stirring often, until glazed and crisp-tender, about 8 minutes.
3. In a medium bowl, whip the cream with the reserved 1 tablespoon of brandy until soft peaks form. Remove the shortcake from the pan and transfer to a plate. Using a serrated knife, slice the cake in half horizontally; slide the top of the cake onto a plate. Spoon the peaches and sauce over the bottom of the shortcake. Top with the other half. Cut the cake into wedges and serve with a dollop of brandy whipped cream.

The shortcake can be baked up to 1 day ahead.

Blueberry and Buttermilk Tart

You may have seen this next recipe in 'Living' magazine a few months ago. I especially wanted to share this one because it's a great dessert when you're in the mood for something that's not super sweet. The buttermilk gives it a tangy flavor and accompanies the sweet blueberries well. It's one of those desserts that just tastes fresh and light, and I think is great for summer!

I didn't take a picture, but this is Martha's...
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Serves 8

* 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
* 1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup sugar
* 1 cup all-purpose flour
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
* 1/3 cup blanched whole almonds
* 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
* 1 tablespoon cold water
* 1/2 cup heavy cream
* 3 tablespoons sugar
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
* 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
* 3 cups fresh blueberries (about 1 1/2 pints)

1. Make the crust: With an electric mixer on low speed, beat butter and 1/4 cup sugar until just combined, about 15 seconds. Add flour and salt, and beat until dough comes together, about 3 minutes. Shape into a disk.
2. Pulse remaining 1/3 cup sugar and the almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Scatter half of the almond mixture onto a clean work surface, and place dough on top. Scatter the remaining almond mixture on top, and roll out dough, resprinkling with almond mixture and incorporating into dough, until dough measures an 11-inch square.
3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Fit dough into a 9-inch square tart pan with removable bottom, pressing into bottom and up sides. Trim dough flush with rim. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day).
4. Bake tart shell, occasionally pressing bottom to flatten using the bottom of a glass, until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool.
5. Make the filling: Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a small bowl; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
6. Heat cream, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Add gelatin mixture, and stir until it has dissolved. Remove from heat; let cool. Stir in buttermilk and lemon juice.
7. Remove tart from pan. Spread custard into crust. Refrigerate until custard is slightly set, about 15 minutes. Scatter blueberries evenly over top. Refrigerate until custard is firm, about 2 hours (or up to 1 day). Cut into squares to serve.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, speaking of tarts! This one from Everyday Food was really easy and uses plums. I. Love. Plums. I love plums too much. I want to bathe in plum juice every day.