Ultimate richness – Spiced orange & grand marnier pound cake

Spiced orange and grand marnier pound cake

 

I don’t know what it is about pound cakes that’s so good….maybe it’s the in between-ness of a cake and a pastry, or the soft texture that just goes so well with milk or tea, or the variety of flavors…I don’t know. I just know that its great. And you know what else I know is great? Grand Marnier. I know this because its given me plenty of fun, in margarita shape. And because crepes suzette will always hold a special place in my heart. And because creme brulée is also one of my top-choice desserts. So a grand marnier pound cake? Why yes please! And mix it up with a ton of spices, and a dense, springy texture which will soak up the liquored up syrup, and you’ve got the richest, most delicious drunk pound cake. Which will also keep over a week, ( I know because as usual I overdid it and made two) making it a great treat for guests, or to accompany a cup of black tea, with a dash of milk. Sounds interesting? Read more for the recipe.

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Insanely sweet – Tres leches and strawberry cake

tresleches0

This post contains what I’m just going to go ahead and without any research or authority on the subject, call Mexico’s favorite cake. While it’s not strictly Mexican (I know it’s also out there in other latin american countries, also probably a favorite) it is an incredibly  mexican flavor for me, because it’s one of those things that you eat in traditional restaurants, in pueblitos, or at your grandmother’s house when your family gets together. And I’m not singing its praises just because its traditional… oh no. Not in the slightest. How could I not talk up the spongiest of sponge cakes that’s thoroughly imbibed in all the variants of sweet milks out there? Because that’s exactly what this cake is, tres leches, meaning three milks. Condensed milk? Yes please. Evaporated milk? Yes please. Table cream? Um, also yes. Top it all with chantilly? Too much cream you say? No. That is absolutely impossible! Especially if you have bits of fresh strawberries all over. Trust me on this, it sounds insanely sweet, but what did you think the first time someone told you to dip your oreos in peanut butter? Aha. Thought so.
This cake is the kind of cake you don’t eat as often you’d like… because it takes a bit of work. But the texture, and flavor, and insanely sweet goodness are absolutely worth it.  Note: The pictures here are for three-layered mini cakes, because I’m crazy like that, but the recipe is for a regular, two layer cake. (Trust me, you’ll want to go for the easier one-cake bit unless you’re insane like me).
Read more for the recipe.
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Things I’ve kept – Best ever lemon pound cake

lemonpoundcake0

So I know that almost the entire blogosphere is talking about the New Year, and their resolutions, and what they learned in 2012, etc. And I know that those who aren’t talking about it are either writing about how everyone is talking about the same thing (like me) or just plain fed up. I know. But I’m still going to go ahead and get my newyearism off my chest. But don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with deep reflexions and the importance of life and the answer to everything! Instead I’m going to give you the best ever lemon pound cake recipe. Yup, best ever. I’ve been sitting on this recipe since Christmas Eve, when I made it for my mom as her present…yes, my mom is one of those people impossible to give gifts to, the only think that makes her truly happy is pound cake. She’s absolutely crazy for it, and she’s always begging me to bake her a couple. Because one just isn’t enough. But lemon pound cake holds a particularly special place in her heart, because eons (seriously, like 20 years) ago she baked one for my birthday party and it was the best cake she had ever made. Everyone complimented her, it was gone within seconds, the texture was perfect, the flavor unsurpassable…you name it. In her mind, the cake was something only angels ate, and she had been blessed with the recipe. Which she of course proceeded to lose. Because that’s what she does. She keeps things so well, they get lost. And I think there’s a little bit of that in all of us… as humans, we tend to keep things, emotions, experiences and feelings so well we end up forgetting where we put them. Be it that spare cash for emergencies you hid god knows where in your house to the memory of that horrible recurrent nightmare you had when you were five, tucked neatly away in your unconscious, the things we keep make us who we are. Just like that lost recipe holds for my mom that part of herself where she used to bake for her kids. So here’s to long lost recipes, memories, things and emotions. Here’s to finding them, organizing them, and eventually forgetting all over again where they were. Here’s to having a year full of new things to keep, and lose. And to looking back into the year gone by, to recognize what we’re made of, even if we’re made of recipes, lost or found.
On a side note: this recipe comes from Dozen Flours, it’s Julia’s recipe for a better than starbucks poundcake, and trust me, it’s waaaaay better. Even if it’s not food from heaven. All you’ve got to do is ask my mom.

Read more for the recipe

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Peace and quiet – Apple cinnamon pound cake

Apple and cinnamon pound cake

I can’t remember when I was little and I came home tired from school to find that delicious smell of apple pie in the oven and finding my mom in an apron with a tall glass of cold milk and a big smile on her face. Mainly because my mom never baked apple pie, doesn’t like milk and she was rarely around when I came home from school (she did wear aprons though, and she cooked a lot, hence the me). So whenever I have apple pie-cake/chocolate cookies/glasses of cold milk, I pretend I do have that nonexistent memory, simply because it appears to be something that everyone has in spite of rarely anyone actually having a mom who did any such things. And pretending that makes me find so much peace and comfort in those classic flavors. Because even though it’s not something I learned when I was little, there’s something undeniable warm and homey about apple baked goods. I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s embedded somewhere in our unconscious, but there’s something about that smell, fresh from the oven, that makes me feel like I live right next to the orchard where those apples where lovingly hand picked and placed in an immaculate wicker basket, covered with a red and white checkered cloth and then brought inside, waiting eagerly to become a cake. It’s a pleasant image, and one not to hard to keep in mind as you munch away on your cake. This pound cake isn’t too sweet, so you can have it with your morning coffee or as mid-afternoon treat, and you won’t feel like you’re over-indulging. It’s not the kind of cake that will disappear in an instant but that will see you through three-four days, just sitting on your pantry, homey, familiar and warm. Ready to help you feel that comfort of fake memories, or if you’re lucky, real ones. Read more for the recipe. Continue reading

The classics – whole wheat banana and cream crumble

Whole wheat banana and cream crumble

After an eon of not posting anything (and I do have stuff to post! like pan seared artichokes and honey mustard glazed salmon with a wilted spinach and goat cheese salad…I just haven’t had the time to get to the actual posting part) I’m coming back with one of the absolute classics in my sweet stuff repertoire. And it’s just as good as it sounds in the title….. Yep. Just what you read. Bananas in sweet caramelised cream with a topping of crumble that melts in your mouth and golden sliced almonds. And no, I am not talking about something you can only try in heaven. Oh no…this dessert (or breakfast, or lunch, or dinner, or snack) is as easy to make as it is to commit sin. You’ll bake it in 5 minutes and watch as it disappears in 2.

I’m not exaggerating. In fact, I even doubted posting this recipe for the sake of everyone’s health. But hey, when have I ever concerned myself with that? (ok…..I have…but this is whole wheat, and brown sugar! I know…I know) But enough with singing it praises, go make it!

Making the whole wheat and brown sugar crumble Continue reading

Work for it – Key lime pie

Key lime pie with meringue topping

I’ve always been exceedingly good at procrastination. Really, nothing gets done better than when you leave it for 20 minutes before it’s deadline. Particularly if its something you don’t actually want to do, like balance your account or cleaning out your closet. But I don’t stop at that…oh no. It can take me quite a while to start even on the things that I love doing, and that, I can tell you, is a terrible habit, because if one of those things happens to involve oven and chilling times and quite possibly an exact time to be served….well, really…you shouldn’t postpone getting started. Because you might just end up running around the kitchen with sticky meringue hands looking for the torch and leaving sugary fingerprints all over your house, encouraging your creamy tart filling to set with only 5 minutes time of fridge rest, and ruining your pajamas with flour and syrup because you also put off taking a shower before starting.
Which is so not what happened to me as I made these pies. So not. Really. Ok, it totally was. But in my defense, I did make two of them, and in spite of all the rushing, they turned out absolutely delicious (can key lime pie ever not be?) and gorgeous looking. I used Deb’s at Smitten Kitchen version of the filling, with my own shell recipe and a regular italian meringue topping. You can find both links after the jump.

Limes, eggs, pie shellRolling out the dough to make the shell

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Tiny dinner again? – Chocolate and Peanut Butter Tartlets

Chocolate and peanut butter tartletsChocolate and peanut butter tartlets

I have continued to neglect the uploading of recipes….I know…I’m terrible. But I’m always busy or sick. Right now I’m recovering from my 4th respiratory disease of some sort in less than two months. It’s crazy. Just when I’m getting back on the wagon, back to a good daily routine with lots of exercise, cooking, crafting and gazillions of endorphins per day (either from exercise or chocolate…you guess)….no, my body says. And its back to resting for three days straight without doing anything fun. Hmmph. This has to stop! The good part of not posting though, is that I’ve cooked a lot of new things in between posts, and so I can pick the yummiest! This time I present you with a hard to surpass combination; chocolate and peanut butter, on a crunchy, buttery, flaky tartlet. Sounds delicious? That’s cause they are. I created these because I had a birthday dinner party for one of my best friends, but she’s super tiny (tinier than me) and so I made mini everything for dinner. (Yes, again) Tiny burgers, tiny fries, tiny salads, tiny stuffed portobellos, and of course, tiny desserts! Pavlovas, which I’ll post as soon as I sort the photos out, and these incredibly good chocolate peanut butter tartlets. The tartlet shells are a bit tedious, yes. But you can skip that and make a regular size tart using a pastry ring, because the filling is really really easy and fast. Just make sure you weigh your tart shell properly. Read more for the recipe!

(The above mentioned tiny dinner. See why I had to make tarlets?)

tiny dinner

Beating eggs into doughSablageShort pastry dough

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