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

Summer Berry Buckle

June 13th, 2016

Summer Berry Buckle 1

Our hearts are hurting right now with the senseless loss of life in Orlando, Florida.  I try to keep my blog free of political comments so you will hear none of that from me, but the tragedy that took so many lives has nothing to do with politics.  It is just a sad commentary on the hate that seems to permeate our otherwise great country.  The hate needs to stop.

When the world seems too much to bear, baking cookies for your neighbors or making a breakfast cake to share can be a small token of friendship that can tell people that you care.  Please do not lambast me for such a silly response to what has happened. I fully understand the complexity of our problems and the great loss.  We are trying to deal with it by being actively involved in finding solutions.  But no act of kindness is too small. Besides, baking is good for the soul.

Summer Berry Buckle 2v

This summer berry buckle is a fruit studded coffee cake.  It is more fruit than cake, but the combination is a wonderful summer treat.  Add whipped cream or ice cream and you have the perfect dessert to enjoy on the porch or deck.  Or serve it for breakfast with juice and coffee.  You may think that 4 1/2 cups of fruit is too much but it is not.  I used a pint of washed and dried blueberries, 1/2 pint of washed and dried raspberries and 1/2 pint of washed and dried blackberries.

Katie Praying

My nephew and his family live in Orlando and Paul’s daughter Katie made this sign to honor the fallen victims of the horrible tragedy.  Katie has a big heart.  It is not right that our young children should have to endure such horrors.  We all need to unite, without animosity, to find a solution.

Summer Berry Buckle close

Bake this Summer Berry Buckle to share with friends.  It is a small gesture of good will.

SUMMER BERRY BUCKLE ( The New York Times )

  • ½ cup/114 grams (1 stick) butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
  • ½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar, more for sprinkling
  • ¼ cup/55 grams light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon/5 grams finely gratedlemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon/5 milliliters vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups/156 grams all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 ½ cups summer berries (a mix of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or use any one kind)
  • Cinnamon, for dusting (optional)
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add lemon zest and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg and baking powder, and whisk to combine. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Gently fold berries into the batter, then spread batter in pan and sprinkle lightly with more granulated sugar. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until top is golden and cake is cooked through.
  5. Allow cake to cool, then sprinkle with cinnamon, if using, and confectioners’ sugar.

Thanksgiving Tried and True Side Dishes

November 16th, 2015

Sugar-Spiced-Nuts-2

With Thanksgiving approaching, I wanted to share a few dishes that have been on my table and on my blog in the past years.  These are recipes that have worked well for me and I am sure they will add a special punch to your usual menu.  Notice that I am not including a recipe for turkey.  I would not presume to tell you how to cook your turkey.  Everyone has their personal idea of the best way to do that.  Let’s start with appetizers.  Because there is a huge meal waiting in the kitchen, appetizers should be light.  These Candied Spiced Almonds require a little attention upfront, but can be made way in advance.

Chipoltle-Cheddar-Wafers-1

I always love homemade savory shortbread crackers and the addition of dried cranberries to these appetizer rounds make them perfect for the holidays.  The recipe for these Chipotle Cheddar Cranberry Nut Wafers can be found here.

Sweet-Potato-Soup-1

If you prefer your sweet potatoes as a first course, this Creamy Sweet Potato Soup is sure to be a hit. It is easy too.  The sweet potatoes are cooked in the microwave and the mixture comes together smoothly with an immersion blender, although you could puree it in a blender or food processor.

Leek-Bread-Pudding-1

Leek and Artichoke Bread Pudding makes a great dressing if you do not stuff your bird.  It is an Ina Garten recipe and you can make it ahead of time.  Bacon can be substituted for the pancetta or you can leave it out all together if you have vegetarians at the table.

Cranberry-Lime ChutneyThis Cranberry-Lime Chutney is definitely a new take on cranberry sauce.  It is a combination of fresh cranberries, lime, apples, onion, raisins, pecans, and lots of spices.  It is best made ahead of time.

Green-Beans-Gremolata-3

Instead of a green bean casserole, try these Green Beans Gremolata.  This dish is best made with the thin French Haricot Vert.  They have been readily available in several supermarkets that I visit.  They are usually found in a cellophane bag. The beans are cooked quickly and then tossed in a mixture of garlic, parsley, parmesan and pine nuts.

Acorn-Squash-4

This Maple Glazed Acorn Squash with Sausage, Apple and Sage could almost be a meal on its own.  But it would certainly look pretty on the Thanksgiving table.

Apple-Bundt-Cake-11

Instead of an apple pie you could make an Apple Bundt Cake.  This spice cake with a caramel frosting is a snap to make and there is a good tip on how to turn your cake out of the bundt pan easily.

Pumpkin-Dump-Cake-1

If you are in a hurry you could make this Pumpkin Dump Cake.  For a while this cake was on my DIL’s family Thanksgiving table every year.  I first made it for Kristen for her birthday and she loved it so much that she shared it with her family.  They adopted it for Thanksgiving.

Apple Crostada 2

Instead of that apple pie you could make this free form Apple Crostata.  This is one of my favorite desserts.

Enjoy the preparations and fun of the Thanksgiving holiday.

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