My photo
Washington, DC, United States
"A rose is a rose is an onion." -Ernest Hemingway


Apple Cake

This dense, moist cake is full of delicate spices and - you guessed it - apples. What's not to love?

You'll need:

+ butter, 3 sticks, softened
+ sugar, 1 cup
+ brown sugar, 3/4 cup
+ ground cinnamon, 3 teaspoons
+ ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon
+ baking soda, 3 teaspoons
+ applesauce, 1 1/8 cups
+ sour cream, 1/2 cup
+ 5 eggs
+ whole wheat flour, 2 1/4 cups
+ flour, 1 1/8 cups
+ salt, 1 pinch
+ 3-4 small, tart apples, peeled & cored

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; liberally grease a Bundt pan. Set aside.

Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar. Add eggs, applesauce and sour cream; beat until thick and smooth. Sift together cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, whole wheat flour, flour and salt. Gradually incorporate dry ingredients into wet mixture; set aside.

Slice apples paper thin. The rounds should remain intact, but be flimsy, too. (If your knife skills aren't spectacular and you own a mandolin, this would be a great time to use it.) Transfer 1 cup of cake batter into Bundt pan; smooth with a spatula, and arrange apple slices in a thin layer, as shown.

Repeat until batter is completely used, bearing in mind that the last layer should be of batter, not apples. Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Mine was particularly moist and began to ooze halfway through baking, but don't fret if this happens to yours! Carefully scrape away this delicious goo from the top of the cake (it'll burn quickly, and won't be quite so tasty, then) and discard (or eat); continue baking cake as normal.

While cake is cooling completely, prepare the candied apple peel garnish. You'll need:

+ 1 large red apple
+ 1 large green apple
+ water, 3/4 cup
+ sugar, 3/4 cup + 1/4 cup

Remove peels from apples in thick strips; julienne. Simmer in water and sugar until the flesh on the inside of the skin turns transparent; drain. Gently toss in reserved sugar. After inverting the cake onto a plate, top with the candied peels. Enjoy!


Whiskey Sour Cupcakes (Cocktail Cupcake No. 4)

Each of these rich, moist cupcakes is topped with a dollop of lemon frosting and (to my dismay) a maraschino cherry. They may look a bit cheesy, but they're certainly tasty!

For 18 cupcakes, you'll need:

+ shortening, 1/4 cup
+ butter, 1/4 cup, softened
+ brown sugar, 1/2 cup
+ sour cream, 2/3 cup
+ 2 eggs
+ sugar, 2/3 cup
+ whiskey, 3 tablespoons
+ 1 lemon, zested
+ baking powder, 2 teaspoons
+ salt, 1 pinch
+ flour, 2 2/3 cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; place paper liners in muffin tin. Set aside.

Cream shortening, butter, brown sugar and sugar. Add sour cream, eggs, whiskey and lemon zest; beat until smooth. Sift together remaining ingredients, and gradually incorporate into wet mixture. Distribute evenly between 18 cups; bake for 15-16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool completely.

While the cupcakes cool, prepare the frosting and garnish. You'll need:

+ butter, 12 tablespoons, softened
+ lemons, 4, zested and juiced
+ powdered sugar, ≈ 4 cups
+ 18 maraschino cherries

Whip butter, lemon juice and lemon zest. Gradually incorporate powdered sugar until frosting is stiff. Gently pipe onto cupcakes; top with a single cherry. Enjoy!


Huckleberry Buckle

This slightly sweet coffee cake makes a great breakfast treat. I divided the batter between two cake pans, making two thin layers of cake, and added a liberal amount of spiced frosting. Enjoy!

For 1 cake, you'll need:

+ butter, 1 stick, melted and cooled
+ whole milk, 1/2 cup
+ 2 eggs
+ sugar, 2/3 cup
+ flour, 2/3 cup
+ whole wheat flour, 1 cup
+ ground coriander, 1 teaspoon
+ baking powder, 3 teaspoons
+ salt, 1 pinch
+ orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon
+ dried* huckleberries**, 1 cup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; liberally grease 2 round 9" cake pans.

Whisk together butter, eggs and milk. Sift together sugar, flour, whole wheat flour, coriander, baking powder and salt. Gradually incorporate dry ingredients into wet mixture. Fold in huckleberries and orange zest.

Divide batter evenly between cake pans. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely.

While the cakes cool, prepare the frosting. You'll need:

+ butter, 6 tablespoons, softened
+ ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon
+ ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon
+ powdered sugar, ≈ 2 cups
+ pecans, coarsely chopped, 1/2 cup

Whip butter, cinnamon and cloves. Gradually incorporate powdered sugar until frosting becomes stiff. Fold in pecans.

To assemble, place the first layer of cake top-down. Evenly spread frosting on top; place the second layer of cake top-up, directly over the frosting. Dig in!

Huckleberry on Foodista

* If you're lucky enough to live in the NW United States, feel free to use fresh huckleberries. Reduce to 3/4 cup; rinse and pat dry. Toss in flour (this prevents the berries from sinking to the bottom of the cake) and proceed with recipe.

** If you can't procure huckleberries, you can easily use dried cherries, raisins or dried blueberries. Mix it up!


Lychee & Raw Honey Sorbet

When I saw these delicious fruits hanging out at the grocery store, I couldn't resist purchasing a few. This mild, floral sorbet makes a great light, summery dessert, but is also an excellent palate cleanser. Dig in!

For about 1 pint of sorbet, you'll need:

+ lychees, 1 pound
+ water, 3 tablespoons + 1 cup, divided
+ sugar, 1 tablespoon
+ raw honey, 2 tablespoons

Slice each lychee in half; gently peel away the pink skin and remove the nut. Discard. Add the flesh of the lychees to a small saucepan with the sugar and 3 tablespoons of water. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the liquid evaporates.

Fresh Lychee on Foodista

Puree in a food processor; pass through a sieve to remove pulp. Add reserved water to lychee mixture. Whisk in raw honey (if your honey has a "crown" of broken honeycomb and pollen, you may want to scrape this aside and use only pure honey), and refrigerate until cold.

Churn in an ice cream maker, according to directions, until thick and icy. Enjoy!