Norwegian Apple Cake; Norway’s Landscape

October 11th, 2018

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Norway.  The place where my maternal Grandmother’s family originated.   I wish I knew more about them, but experiencing the country was part of the reason that we were in Scandinavia.  Of the four Scandinavian countries, Norway is the one with the most amazing heights.  Within the fjords, mountains jut above the landscape like jagged behemoths. The fog, forests and rivers put one in mind of wood nymphs, sirens, trolls and hobbits straight out of The Lord of the Rings.

Fjords of Norway 3

We were fortunate to be a part of a small Firebird Tour group for part of our vacation.  It was well worth experiencing.  All of our transportations (cars, trains, planes and boats) were taken care of.  Our hotel accommodations were excellent.

Grand Hotel Oslo

We stayed at the Grand Hotel in Oslo, Norway.  All of the Nobel Prize recipients stay here before the awards ceremony. Next to the hotel is the Freia shop selling delicious Norwegian chocolates.

Grand Hotel Oslo Lobby

We all met in the lobby after our two days there to take a train to the fjords region and Bergen, Norway.

Flam Viking village

Since prehistoric times, Norwegians had covered their homes with sod roofs.  The sod covered layers of birch bark and acted as insulation, as well as being able to absorb rain water.  The vegetation growing on the roofs was also attractive to goats.  I can picture a humble hobbit warm and snug in his home with a goat chomping away on his roof.  For a region with countless fjords and waterfalls, Norway is known for its pristine water.  Even the tap water is crisp and clean.  Norway exports a very expensive bottled water called Voss that is popular with many Hollywood celebrities.

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Apples have been a crop in Norway and the other Scandinavian countries for thousands of years.  They have been discovered on Viking ships which had been buried in clay.  The clay preserved the ships and allowed us to learn much about the Viking way of life.  Apples are harvested in the Fall as they are in our country.  This a version of a popular, simple apple cake with Norwegian roots.

NORWEGIAN APPLE CAKE

  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  •  1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 large apple
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Grease and flour a 9-inch tart pan (with removeable bottom) and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl combine the flour and baking powder and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk, cream the melted butter and sugar until light and fluffy and the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each egg.
  6. Add the vanilla extract.
  7. Add half the flour mixture and all of the milk.
  8. Mix thoroughly and then add the remaining flour. Combine until no streaks of flour remain.
  9. Spread batter in the prepared cake pan.
  10. Core and cut the apple in half. Cut each half in to ⅛” slices and arrange on top of the cake batter in a decorative pattern.
  11. Sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon and turbinado sugar.
  12. Bake for about 35 minutes or until golden brown and cake is thoroughly cooked by testing with a toothpick.
  13. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Printable Recipe

 

 

 

Eclipse Weekend

August 23rd, 2017

Orange Cake

Our family rented a house in Highlands, NC to watch the total eclipse of the sun.  It was one of the locations along a narrow track that would experience totality. We were excited to be there.  It was also our DIL’s birthday.  As part of the four day event, I made this Orange and Brown Sugar Glazed Cake from Jamie Schler for the celebration.  Her new cookbook, Orange Appeal: Savory and Sweet, has just been released.  It is a gorgeous book that showcases oranges in many ways.  I have been following her blog, Life’s a Feast for years.

Orange Cake

The orange flecked cake is drizzled with an orange glaze.  Because it was a birthday cake for Kristen, I added a brickle topping and extra orange zest.  I served it with Jamie’s orange flavored whipped cream. I will be making this cake often.  I will also be ordering Orange Appeal from Amazon.  I am anxious to try the Beef in Bourbon Sauce and her Chocolate Orange Marmalade Brownies.

Sweet Potato Salsa

Kristen was in charge of breakfast one morning.  One of the components to her Eggs Benedict dish was this Roasted Sweet Potato Salsa from Foster’s Market.  The smell of roasting sweet potatoes with Balsamic vinegar and cumin drew everyone into the kitchen.  This is such a versatile recipe.  Serve it with a steak, add it to tacos or serve it with eggs as we did.

Eggs Benedict

Kristen layered the English muffins with guacamole, cheddar cheese, sweet potato salsa, poached eggs and a crema sauce made from milk thinned sour cream.

Eggs Benedict

This was a unique take on traditional Eggs Benedict and we loved it.

Eclipse Group with glasses

After breakfast we were ready for the eclipse.  Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate.  Clouds rolled in to block our beautiful view.  In spite of that, it was awesome.  Darkness descended quickly, the crickets began chirping, birds flew to their nests, the temperature dropped, and for a brief moment the total eclipse came into view, with a flash of the aurora.  The kids will remember it always.

ORANGE AND BROWN SUGAR GLAZED CAKE WITH ORANGE-FLECKED WHIPPED CREAM
(As printed in Fine Cooking Magazine by Jamie Schler)

For the Cake:
8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
12 oz. (scant 3 cups) unbleached cake flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. table salt
2 oranges
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
3 large eggs
1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup fresh orange juice

For the Glaze:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 Tbs. orange marmalade

For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream, well chilled
1 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp. finely grated orange zest

Make the cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350 degrees F.  Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Use a rasp-style grater to remove 1 tbs zest from the oranges.  Juice one of the oranges to yield 1/4 cup juice.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and orange and lemon zests on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition just to combine.  Add the vanilla, and beat briefly to combine.
In three additions and alternating with the milk and orange juice, add the dry ingredients, beating on medium speed after each addition and scrapping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to remove air bubbles, and smooth the surface with a spatula.
Bake until the cake is just set in the center and golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. (A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake may have a few crumbs clinging to it.) Check the cake during the last 10 minutes of baking; if it’s browning too much, tent it loosely with aluminum foil.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then slice a knife around the edge to release the cake, if necessary.  Remove the side of the pan, and using a large cake spatula, transfer the cake from thee pan to a cooling rack.  Let cool.

Glaze the cake:
Poke holes all over the cake with a toothpick in 3/4-inch intervals.
Combine the juice, sugar, and marmalade in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, lower the heat to low, and whisk often until syrupy, about 10 minutes.  Brush the glaze onto the cake, letting some drip down the sides.  (The cake can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature for up to 2 days before serving.)

Make the whipped cream and serve:
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a bowl using a hand mixer, whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and zest, raise the speed to medium high, and continue to whip until medium soft peaks form, about 2 minutes more.  Serve the cake with the whipped cream.

FOSTER’S MARKET ROASTED SWEET POTATO SALSA

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled/chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic or red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tomato, cored and chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 to 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
2 scallions, minced (green and white part)
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
juice and zest of 1 large lime
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, vinegar, chili powder and cumin and spread in one layer on a large, rimmed baking pan.
Place in the oven and roast for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring a couple of times, until the potatoes are golden brown and soft.  Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl, place the tomato, red pepper, jalapeños, scallions, cilantro and lime juice and zest with the sweet potatoes; toss until combined.
Season with salt and pepper and serve warm with eggs, tostadas, grilled steak or chicken.

Printable Recipe Orange Cake

Printable Recipe Sweet Potato Salsa

Rhubarb Spoon Cake

June 6th, 2017

Rhubarb Spoon Cake

Rhubarb season is almost over, but I did find some fresh rhubarb at the market last week.  My history with rhubarb is long.  In my day, children walked to and from school every day; sometimes alone.  I remember my Mother going with me to my kindergarten orientation.  We walked.  She told my to pay attention to where we were going because I would be responsible to get myself to the school building every day.  On the first day of school I made the trek alone and found my way.  I marveled, later, as an adult that my Mom would allow me to do that even though we lived in a small town and the school was not too far away.  But years later, my Mom confessed that she discretely followed me on that first day.  It was a safer world in those days.

One of the things that I loved about these walks was taking in the houses, lawns and gardens as I passed by.  I still remember the cracks in the sidewalks and the neighborhood dogs.  But every Spring, one home in particular held my attention.  It had a huge garden with a rhubarb patch.  The appearance of rhubarb became my harbinger of Spring in our cold Michigan weather.

Rhubarb Spoon Cake

This Rhubarb Spoon Cake is another recipe from Erin French’s new cookbook {the} Lost Kitchen.  It is a simple cake with great flavor.  The rhubarb is made ahead of time as a sweetened compote.  The batter is light and by the time it is baked, you will almost wish you could spoon it out of the skillet and eat it with dollops of whipped cream.

Rhubarb Spoon Cake

Why not just do that very thing?  Place the cake in the center of your table and spoon out what you want.  It is that good.

RHUBARB SPOON CAKE ( {the} Lost Kitchen by Erin French )

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pan
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup sour cream
Rhubarb Compote (Recipe follows)
Whipped cream for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Coat a 10-inch ovenproof skillet, preferably cast iron, with butter and flour, shaiking out any excess flour.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, milk, sour cream, and melted butter.  Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just incorporated.

Pour about two-thirds of the compote into the greased skillet and spread evely.  Pour the cake batter over it, spread evenly, then dollop the remaining compote over the top.  Use a butter knife to swirl together the batter and compote.

Bake until a cake tester or knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 25 minutes.  I like to serve this warm, directly from the skillet, with a big spoon and a bowl of whipped cream to dollop on top.

RHUBARB COMPOTE

3 cups chopped rhubarb (1-inch pieces)
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons cornstarch

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the rhubarb, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly until the rhubarb becomes tender and sauce-like, about 5 minutes.  (Mine took longer).  Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  This will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Printable Recipe

A French Cake and Cookies for Christmas

December 12th, 2016

French Christmas Cake and Cookies

My cottage was supposed to be on a local Christmas Tour this year.  Since it has a country French look to it, we decided to carry the theme throughout the house.  David downloaded some lovely Christmas carols sung in French and I made Eiffel Tower sugar cookies and a French Cake from Mimi Thorisson.  Because of the fire on the mountain, the tour was cancelled . . . so, I ended up with a freezer full of cookies and this delicious cake.

French Christmas Cake and Cookies

The sugar cookies are simple.  Use your favorite sugar cookie recipe.  I used this one from Alton Brown. You can use royal icing or any white icing that you prefer.  Sprinkle with gold sparkles and the Eiffel Towers will glow as if they were lit.  I bought my eiffel tower cookie cutter on line.

French Christmas Cake

I received French Country Cooking by Mimi Thorisson in October.  I had pre-ordered it from Amazon.  This is her second book and it is just as delightful as her first book, A Kitchen in France.  She says about this salted butter chocolate cake “This is the dessert I make when I don’t know what dessert to make.  It sounds like a second choice, but it’s not at all.  It’s the popular choice, the one that I know everybody will always like and that never goes out of fashion.  The salted butter is a subtle touch; you can taste it, but I’m careful never to let it overpower the chocolate, which would be hard anyway, because this cake is just so chocolate-y.  I like to bake this cake so it’s set but still moist, but my kids often ask me to take it out a minute or two earlier so it’s runny and delicious.  The choice is yours.”

French Christmas Cake and Cookies

All of these treats will remain in the freezer until Christmas.  It feels good to have a stash of goodies ready to go for family and friends.

SALTED BUTTER CHOCOLATE CAKE (Mimi Thorisson)

6 1/2 Tablespoons Salted Butter, plus more for the pan
8 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, Chopped
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Fleur de Sel
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
A Handful of Red Berries or Currants
Confectioners’ Sugar for Serving

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a 9-inch cake pan with butter and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

Pour an inch or two of water into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Combine the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set on top of the pan of simmering water.  Stir until the butter and chocolate are melted.  Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.  In another bowl, sift the flour and add the fleur de sel.

Stir the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.  Add the vanilla.  Fold in the flour until just combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes.

Let cool in the pan for at least 1 hour before unmolding.  Serve topped with berries, if desired, and a sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar.

Printable Recipe

Fig and Almond Cake

August 11th, 2016

 

Fig and Almond Cake 1

To continue with the fig bounty, I made this almond and fig cake.  I always keep some almond flour in the freezer for Financiers, those dainty French cakes in the shape of  gold bars.  I love almond flour and this cake has both the flour and almond extract.  I went easy with the extract because I find it very strong.

Fig and Almond Cake 2V

The cake was moist and studded with the halved figs.  It was perfect for an afternoon tea or with coffee for breakfast.  You could sprinkle it with powdered sugar or top it with a dollop of whipped cream.

Fig and Almond Cake 3

Now that all of my figs are gone, I am wishing for more.  I have heard from a local acquaintance who has a fig tree in her yard.  Hopefully she will share!  Talking about you Donna.

FIG AND ALMOND CAKE (Adapted from The New York Times)

4 Tablespoons butter, melted, plus butter for greasing pan
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar for sprinkling
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
12 to 14 rip figs

Heat oven to 375 degrees F/  Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan or pie pan; set aside.  Put almond flour, 1/4 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and stir to combine.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, melted butter, honey and almond and vanilla extracts.  Add almond mixture and beat for a minute until batter is just mixed.  Pour batter into pan.

Remove stem from each fig and cut in half.  Arrange fig halves cut-side up over the batter.  Sprinkle figs with Demerara sugar and bake for 30 minutes, until golden outside and dry at center when probed with a cake tester.  Cool before serving.

Printable Recipe

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