Hummingbird Bundt Cake

March 9th, 2014

Hummingbird Cake 3 Best

 

There is a new angle to the Sun these days.  Even though spring is not quite here, I can feel the promise of an end to winter.  We will be returning to Lake Lure at the end of the month.  Normally we would find the dogwood trees and the forsythia getting ready to bloom.  I am not so sure this year.  It has been such a brutally cold winter.  One of the things I look forward to at Lake Lure is my hummingbird feeder outside my kitchen window.  I like to believe that the same hummingbird couple come back every year.  In honor of spring and the return of my sweet hummingbirds, I made this hummingbird bundt cake.

Hummingbird Cake 1V

 

The cake recipe first appeared in Southern Living Magazine in 1978.  It is a banana, pineapple and spice cake with a luscious cream cheese frosting.  It is usually presented as a layer cake, but this is a much easier version.  This recipe for a hummingbird bundt cake was in a recent Southern Living magazine.  I found it in a magazine at my hair dresser’s and got her permission to tear it out.

Hummingbird Cake Third Picture

I love this cake.  Since we have company coming, it was a good excuse to make it.  Now if spring would just get the message that winter is over, we would all be happy.  Bring on the robins, blue jays and hummingbirds.  I am linking this to Tasty Tuesday at the Comforts of Home.

HUMMINGBIRD BUNDT CAKE

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large)
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
3/4 cup canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze:
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed and softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoon milk ( You may need more.  My glaze was too stiff )

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs and next 4 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Sprinkle 1 cup toasted pecans into a greased and floured 14-cup Bundt pan.  Spoon batter over pecans.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 2 hours).

Process cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 Tbsp. milk in a food processor until well blended.  Add remaining 1 Tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. at a time, processing until smooth.  Immediately pour glaze over cooled cake, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup toasted pecans.

Printable recipe

 

 

Chocolate and Pecan Shortbread Bars

February 28th, 2014

Chocolate Shortbread Bars 3

 

These bars are one of my favorite sweet treats.  I have blogged about them before, but since I have been posting for so many years, I figured that the first blog post is buried deep in the blogging archives.  The original recipe was called Scandinavian Tea Cakes.  I am sure there is a history there, but to me they are basically chocolate and pecan shortbread bars.  David would be happy if I made these every week.  He has a sweet tooth that requires one piece of chocolate every night.  And my, oh my, do these deliver.  Not just chocolate, but crispy, buttery shortbread too.

Chocolate Shortbread Bars 2 V

 

I started a New Year’s tradition this year.  At the stroke of midnight, after the hugs and kisses, we sipped our glasses of champagne while eating these chocolate delights.  Everyone agreed that it was the best way to start the New Year.

Chocolate Shortbread Bars 1

 

The recipe is very simple.  The shortbread crust has just a few ingredients.  Please use the size baking sheet specified.  When you spread the butter and brown sugar mixture on the pan, it is not necessary to get it all the way to the edges.  It spreads as it bakes.  When it is golden brown, take it out of the oven and sprinkle it with good chocolate chips.  The mini chips work well.  Place it back in the oven for 30 seconds to 1 minute just to warm the chocolate.  Then spread it around with a spatula.  Sprinkle it with chopped pecans and place it in the refrigerator to set before slicing the bars.

CHOCOLATE AND PECAN SHORTBREAD BARS

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 cup unbleached flour
6 (1.05 oz.) milk chocolate bars, grated ( I used 7 oz. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips)
2/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, and egg yolk until very smooth. Gradually add flour until well blended. Spread dough on lightly greased 15 1/2″x10 1/2″x 1″ sheet pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until medium brown. Sprinkle chocolate shavings or chips evenly over cake. Put in oven to melt and when warmed remove from oven and spread over top. Sprinkle with nuts. Cut into squares when cool.

Printable recipe

Walnut Gateau Breton

January 17th, 2014

Walnut Gateau Breton 3

I am in love with this cake.  A Gateau Breton is a butter cake from the Brittany region of France.  It is dense, rich and very buttery.  This variation of the cake includes lightly toasted walnuts, ground and incorporated into the batter.  Magnifique!

Walnut Gateau Breton 4

The recipe was in the book On Rue Tatin; Living and Cooking in a French Town by Susan Herrmann Loomis.  This book has been around for a long time.  As a matter of fact I read it years ago.  But on a recent trip to the library, I picked it up again.  Because of our two trips to France, and the time that we spent in Normandy I looked at it with a fresh eye.  Susan’s historic home is in the Normandy village of Louviers.  She currently offers cooking classes in her charming converted convent home on Rue Tatin.  She also has a website.

Walnut Gateau Breton 5

This walnut gateau breton is like no other cake that I have eaten.  It is very similar to shortbread.  The amount of butter in it is astounding.  It is not a light cake.  It is very dense and, did I mention buttery?  It is perfect with red wine or with coffee or espresso.  It is traditionally marked on the top with a criss-cross of fork marks.  The ingredients are few and simple.  No need to get out your mixer.  But I do recommend that you use a good quality butter.

On Rue Tatin

I highly recommend this book.  It is the tale of buying and restoring an historic home and learning to live in a small village while cooking in a picturesque kitchen.  There are recipes at the end of each chapter.  The last recipe featured is, of course, a Tarte Tatin.  The Gateau Breton was made to please and influence the local priest.  You can read the book to see if it worked.  Check out “My Favorite Reads” from Amazon on my sidebar if you are interested in ordering On Rue Tatin. 

WALNUT GATEAU BRETON

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
7 large egg yolks
16 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.  Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch cake pan.

Place the walnuts and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind so that most of the walnuts are finely ground but not anywhere near a paste.

In a large bowl, whisk together 6 of the egg yolks and the remaining sugar until the mixture is blended, just a few minutes; there is no need to use an electric mixer here.  It will be thick and yellow but shouldn’t form a ribbon.  Slowly whisk in the walnuts and sugar, then the butter.  Sift the flour over the mixture and whisk it in just until the mixture is homogeneous.  Don’t overmix the batter or the cake will be tough.

Whisk together the remaining egg yolk and 2 teaspoons water to make an egg glaze.

Turn the batter, which will be quite stiff, into the prepared pan and smooth it out.  Lightly but thoroughly paint it with the egg glaze.  Using the back of the tines of a fork, deeply mark a crisscross pattern in the top of the cake, going three times across it in one direction, then three in another. (The marks in the cake will fade, leaving just their trace on the top of the cake.)

Bake in the center of the oven until the cake is deep golden on the top and springs back slowly but surely when it is touched, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Using a knife or cake tester isn’t recommended as it always comes out looking slightly damp because of the amount of butter in the recipe.

Remove from the oven, transfer the cake to a wire tack, and let cool for about 10 minutes before turning out of the cake pan.  Let it cool thoroughly before serving.

Printable recipe

 

Christmas Pretzel Hugs and a Merry Christmas

December 23rd, 2013

Pretzel Hugs 3

Here is a very easy Christmas treat.  There is minimal baking and all you need is patience and a steady hand.  The cookies use square pretzels, Hershey’s Hugs and Christmas M & M’s.  I found the recipe on Pinterest from Jaclyn of Cooking Classy.

Pretzel Hugs 1

It makes 70 treats.  We will be taking these to North Carolina for the Grandkids.  I wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with special hugs from me.  May you have a magical time with your loved ones.

Mimi&Gampy Christmas Card

Card designed by The Green Kangaroo.  Photo by Azul Photography.

CHRISTMAS PRETZEL HUGS

70 Square pretzels (Do not use Butter Snaps)
70 Hershey’s Hugs, unwrapped
70 milk chocolate M & M’s. (I used Christmas ones)

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Align pretzels on cookie sheet in a single layer then top each pretzel with one Hershey’s Hug chocolate. Bake in preheated oven for 4 – 5 minutes, until the chocolate is shiny and soft (but NOT melting, the chocolates should still hold their shape).
  • Remove from oven and carefully place one M&M in the center of each soft Hug and press down on M&M to spread the chocolate. Place in refrigerator and allow to rest until chocolate has set, about 5 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
  • Printable recipe

Glazed Citrus Rounds

December 20th, 2013

Glazed Citrus Rounds 1

Santa Baby may find these cookies to his liking.  They are not too sweet and have a strong citrusy tang that will keep him going on his rounds.  We will be spending Christmas with the grandkids and their parents this year.  It means a trip back to North Carolina, but it is so worth it.  Christmas through a child’s eyes can’t be beat.

Glazed Citrus Rounds

 Baking cookies has not been high on my holiday priority list this year.  Since I am trying to simplify and relax this year, baking sweets seemed to be an obvious task to relegate to the “I’ll get around to it when I can” list.  Well, I found time this week on a sunny afternoon.  Gifts were ordered on line, the tree was up, wreaths on the door and cards were mailed.  Butter, flour and sugar were calling my name.

Glazed Citrus Rounds 2

 

These are very easy cookies to assemble.  I didn’t have time or the inclination to do anything more complicated.  They are also very good, even though someone in the family would have preferred chocolate.  That will be coming up next.

GLAZED CITRUS ROUNDS ( The Food Network Magazine)

Makes about 30 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated citrus zest (orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit)
2 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon orage extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh citrus juice (use the same kind as the zest)

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.  Beat the butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth.  Add the granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon citrus zest and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat i the egg and orange extracts.  Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture and beat until a soft dough forms.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Scoop rounded tablespoonfuls of dough about 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets.  Freeze at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Bake the cookies straight from the freezer, 1 baking sheet at a time, until the edges are set and the bottoms are lightly browned, 15 to 17 minutes.  Let cool 3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons citrus juice and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon zest in a medium bowl until thick and smooth.  (Add 1 more tablespoon citrus juice if the glaze is too thick.)  Spread on the cookies; transfer to a rack and let set, about 1 hour.

Printable Recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.