April 12, 2015

Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Could I think of a more superfluous name for this cake - Lemon Poppy Seed Sour Cream Bundt.  I admit it doesn't roll off the tongue so easily but I couldn't help myself, the name says it all.  The naissance of this beauty came from my desire to clear out my fridge of sour cream and lemons.  A rather inauspicious beginning I admit but at least it was a noble cause! 

Luckily for me the recipe is very straight forward and comes together in no time at all.   This is the second bundt cake I've made in a week.  While I love how simple and nostalgic they are, I do confess it's the cake pan that I'm a bit more obsessed with.   My favorite is this one by Nordic Ware...a true gem in any baker's kitchen.

I will pay this cake the ultimate compliment by saying it's as if it came from the box.  What?@!  Yes, you read correctly and it's no joke!  What I mean is that the texture is amazingly moist and tender, not dense and heavy like you find most bundt cakes to be.   My only critique is that I want MORE lemon flavor so next time I think I'll brush on a lemon infused simple syrup while the cake is still warm but before it cools and is glazed.  

April 4, 2015

Hot Cross Buns

This year my friend Gracie decided she was going to give up bread for Lent.  It sounded interesting enough so I thought I would join her.  Truth be told I knew it was going to be a sacrifice but I guess that's the whole point, right?

For the most part it wasn't as hard as I would have thought EXCEPT in the morning.  I had no problems eating a hamburger wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun - I just pretended I was on the Atkins diet.  But in the morning there's nothing more I love than a dark, toasted English muffin dripping with butter.   Oh it was painful I tell you.  

With Easter only one day away I'll soon be able to indulge once again in my beloved gluten.   In preparation I made these glorious hot cross buns using a recipe from Bouchon Bakery.   Their version uses a rich, butter and egg laden brioche dough for the buns, the ultimate indulgence.   I pray that I can hold off until tomorrow to taste these gems.   A few Our Fathers and Hail Marys may be in my future...lol!

Happy Easter to all!

March 15, 2015

Lemon Curd Cake

Can you feel that spring is just around the corner?  I'm loving all the sunny weather in the Bay Area right now and the promise of longer days to come.  For all my friends on the East Coast who have lived through a crazy winter I'm sure there is no season they are looking forward to more.  

I recently hosted a brunch at my house and because the main course I was serving was a little heavy, a version of eggs benedict served on buttermilk waffles with spinach and bacon, I thought dessert should be light and fresh and seasonally appropriate.  Citrus is a favorite flavor profile of mine and I thought this Lemon Curd Cake fit the bill perfectly. 

The inspiration for the cake came from one I saw on Not So Humble Pie.   I took the high ratio butter cake from the blog and filled it with Cook's Country Lemon Curd and Martha Stewart's Swiss Meringue Buttercream.     So delicious!   

I'm definitely reading for spring time to commence!

February 8, 2015

Raspberry Charlotte

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, hesitate to make this Raspberry Charlotte for your loved ones this Valentine's Day.  I cannot begin to tell you how absolutely amazing it tastes and how straight forward the recipe is.  Can you tell how I'm excited I am about it???  It literally took me less than three hours to make, yet the finished cake looks like it came from a posh European tea salon.  Everyone will be impressed! 

Whenever the latest issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine is published online I immediately look to see if there's a dessert or baked good.   Ecstatic doesn't even begin to describe my reaction when I saw the recipe for this raspberry charlotte.  I've made charlottes before, but the kind using store bought lady fingers and some type of mousse.  This recipe blows all of those out of the water!  

Even for a novice the instructions are very easy to follow.  My advice for the best success is to read the recipe several times beforehand and have your equipment and mise en place ready to go.   After that it's smooth sailing.

The only diversion I made from the original recipe was in decorating the finished cake.  Instead of swirling the raspberry jam in a marble pattern on top, in honor of Valentine's Day I made little hearts.  Give this recipe a try...you won't regret it one bit.

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