Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lemon Lavender Pound Cake


 
 
There are two kinds of dessert I am most likely to never turn down, and that is anything made with chocolate or lemon. Now that spring is here, I feel like my usual baking of rich chocolate desserts are being switched out for lighter, fruity ones. Since I happened to have some lemons sitting on the kitchen counter that looked kind of lonely, I decided to try a new recipe for lemon pound cake. Because honestly, is there anything more wonderful than a perfect slice of lemon pound cake? I think not. 
 
 


This weekend we stopped by Union Market in DC and found this amazing little stand, Bazaar Spices, which sell spices and herbs from all over the world. Among other things, I picked up a bunch of dried lavender that I wound up using in the pound cake. By adding a teaspoon of lavender buds to the sugar, and grinding them together in a mortar, it releases the flavor of the lavender into the sugar. It smelled amazing and added a whole new dimension to the cake.




I have tried a couple of lemon pound cake recipes in the past, and I must say this one is one of my favorites. I made a few minor changes, such as using buttermilk instead of milk, adding lemon peel when it only called for juice, and including lavender. The result is a lemon flavor that isn't overpowering, and a crust that gives a nice texture to an otherwise moist cake.

I have found that a lot of recipes call for mixing sugar and lemon juice together, and soaking the cake just as it has come out of the oven. Sometimes I find that it makes the pound cake too sticky, so if you're like me and enjoy a little crust on your pound cake, I would say, just let it be. Sift some powdered sugar on top of the cake and call it a day!






Lemon Lavender Pound Cake
altered recipe from food.com 

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
2 eggs, well beaten
1 tablespoon lemon juice
the peel from one lemon
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 cup buttermilk (milk + 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar. Let stand for 10 minutes before using.)


Instructions:
  1. Put the sugar and lavender in a bowl and with a mortar, grind the lavender.
  2. Run the sugar through a fine sifter to get rid of any big lavender pieces.
  3. Mix together 1 cup lavender sugar and butter.
  4. Add eggs,1 tablespoon of lemon juice and lemon peel; mix well.
  5. Add salt, flour, and baking powder to mixture.
  6. Add buttermilk.
  7. Bake at 325°F in a well greased loaf pan for 1 hour, or until golden brown.
  8. Dust some confectioners sugar on top before serving. Enjoy!


Citronkaka med lavendel
 
113 g smör
2,5 dl socker
1 tsk torkad lavendel
2 ägg, vispade
1 msk citronjuice
skalet från en citron
1 krm salt
3,6 dl mjöl
1 tsk bakpulver
1 dl buttermilk (mjölk + 1 tsk citronjuice eller vinäger som får stå i 10 minuter innan användning)

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Speckled Easter Cake


 
 
Easter is one of my favorite holidays. Not only is it a key celebration in the Christian faith, but it's also such a bright and colorful holiday. The heavy jackets have been put away (depending on where you live), the trees are budding, colorful tulips and lilies are standing on our tables, and most importantly, it's a time for family to come together. Oh, and candy. Lots of candy.

This year we were invited over to our friends Brandon and Sarah's house for an Easter potluck, and I just had to bake a cake. Well, I didn't have to bake a cake, but this was a great excuse. I'm always browsing on Pinterest for some inspiration and remembered how impressed I'd been with a speckled cake I saw from the Cake Blog. It's not your traditional fluffy bunny butt cake or hatching chicken cupcake. I had never seen anything like it, and as a learning baker, I love a challenge.
 

 
 
As a base, I used this incredibly moist and rich coconut cake recipe. I baked this cake for my husband a couple of months back, and he swears it was the best cake he has ever had. To keep it light and fresh, I made a pineapple curd filling. Oddly enough, there are not a lot of recipes for pineapple curd out there (let me know if you have one!), so I tried the one that had the best reviews. Unfortunately, it came out a little too sweet for my taste, so I ended up making a lemon curd and mixed the two together. The tartness from the lemon cut the sweetness from the pineapple, and vice versa. It worked perfectly.

Now, a cake needs frosting. Before I found this buttercream recipe, I was walking around thinking I was a cream cheese frosting kind of girl. Because, frankly, how appealing does a butter spread on a cake sound? But I was wrong, it's delicious. This recipe is not overly sweet and has a nicely hidden salty note in it. It's definitely a crowd pleaser. 
 
A tip though, when using gel food coloring, be careful to not put in too much. The frosting will get darker the longer it sits. My light aqua cake turned a lot darker within just a few hours.
 
The eggs were the easy part. I just dyed some fondant and then rolled them into the shape of eggs. Make sure you put them in the fridge to cool so the fondant hardens. That way they will keep their shapes nicely when they're on top of the cake.
 
The most fun, and the messiest, part was speckling the cake to look like an egg. I used a clean paint brush and then gently dabbed it in a small bowl of water and cocoa. Then I splattered the cake to get the effect I wanted. My hubby laughed at me, because not only did I get cocoa spots all over my kitchen counter, cabinets and stove, but I also ended up looking like a polka-dotted version of myself! Next time I'll remember to put down some towels first.
 
So, if you're looking for a delicious springtime cake recipe, this one's great. It's light and has a perfect balance between sweetness and tartness. You'll love it!
 
 
 
 

Incredible Coconut Cake 

5 eggs, separated
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups flaked coconut, chopped - I used finely shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar


Instructions:
  1. Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. 
  2. Preheat oven to 325°. In another large bowl, beat sugar, butter and oil until well blended. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in extracts. 
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Stir in coconut. 
  4. Add cream of tartar to egg whites; with clean beaters, beat on medium until stiff peaks form. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into batter, then fold in remaining whites. 
  5. Transfer to three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
 

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
from add a pinch

1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
3 - 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch salt
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream



Instructions:

  1. Place softened butter into the bowl of a stand mixer that has been fitted with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer on a medium setting and cream the butter until it is smooth and has lightened in color, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add confectioner's sugar, ½ a cup at a time. After each cup has been incorporated, turn the mixer onto the highest speed setting and for about 10 seconds to lighten the frosting.
  3. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt and combine until well-incorporated.
  4. Add heavy cream until the frosting has reached the preferred consistency. For a firmer frosting, add more confectioner's sugar, a ¼ cup at a time. For a softer frosting, add more cream, a tablespoon at a time.
 
 
Fantastisk Kokostårta

5 ägg, separerade
4,7 dl socker
113 g smör, rumstemp
1 dl veg olja
1 tsk kokosnötextract
1/2 tsk vaniljextract
1 krm mandelextract
5,4 dl mjöl
1 tsk bakpulver
1/2 tsk bikarbonat
1 krm salt
2,4 dl buttermilk (mjölk + 1 tsk vinäger. Låt stå i 10 min före användning)
4,7 dl kokosflingor

 
Vaniljsmörkräm Frosting
från add a pinch
220 g smör, rumstemp
7-9 dl florsocker, siktat
2 tsk vaniljextrakt
nypa salt
2-3 msk grädde