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rhubarb cake – so easy your kids can make it

rhubarb cake

My mother in law, Aida, is visiting from England and has been with us for the past 12 days. It’s been a whirlwind visit with us trying to fit in every day with something to see, do or eat. At 92 you’d think we would be home more than usual but not with Aida. She’s game to go anywhere…well, most places that is.  I enjoy cooking for her and getting her to try some of my new recipes but this visit feels as though we’ve been eating out more than we have been in.  Last Monday we took Aida to Peggy’s Cove.  It’s one of the ‘if you haven’t been there, you haven’t visited Nova Scotia’ list of attractions.  Continue Reading →

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

lemon olive oil cakeIf you’ve been following my blog, you’ll see that I don’t post many desserts (the most recent was oats & cranberry bars back in March) and if I do it’s usually ones that are easy to make.  My sweet tooth tends to gravitate to things such as blue cheese with fruit and a glass of port, sherry, or ice wine.  Of course I have made my fair share of desserts over the years but I much prefer to focus around the appetizer and main meal.  I find I’m pleasantly satiated and to make room for dessert doesn’t make sense.  Continue Reading →

Pineapple Cherry Upside-Down Cake

pineapple cherry upside-down cake by The Culinary ChasePineapple skillet cake has been around since the early 1920s. Dole held a pineapple recipe contest in 1926 and among the 60,000 submitted, 2,500 were for pineapple upside-down cake. And by the mid 1930s, it was the most widely cake made in America. It was still quite popular in the 1950s and 1960s. I’m sure some of my readers have fond memories of this – I know I do especially when my mom added maraschino cherries inside the pineapple rings. You can use whatever fruit you like. I stuck to the familiar pineapple, using a freshly cored one and frozen cherries in lieu of the maraschino ones. A fuss-free and fun dessert.

Serves 8
adapted from The Kitchn

Glaze
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
pineapple slices and frozen cherries, enough to cover the base of a 9-inch pan or skillet
1 teaspoon cardamom (optional)

Cake
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°f. If using frozen fruit, do not defrost.

pineapple skillet cakeTo make the brown sugar glaze take a baking pan or oven-proof skillet and melt the butter over low heat. Add brown sugar and stir. When sugar has melted add cardamom then remove from heat. Arrange fruit in the baking pan.

For the cake, cream butter and sugar. In a separate bowl measure flour, baking powder, salt and stir to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between, followed by the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined.

Spread cake batter all over the fruit and bake 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let the cake sit for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake. You don’t want the cake to stick when you flip it over. Place a serving plate over the cake and use your oven mitts to flip the cake over. Serve this with ice cream or whipped cream.

upside-down cakeThe Culinary Chase’s Note:
If you have any leftover, cover in plastic wrap. It will keep for a couple of days. Don’t worry if the batter isn’t smooth. I made a mistake by adding the flour before the eggs went in…didn’t seem to make a difference in the taste. Enjoy!

Lava Cake

Lava Cake by The Culinary ChaseWhen we plan a dinner party, there’s careful consideration as to the flow of the evening especially towards the end. We want our friends to be able to walk away feeling satiated but not stuffed to the gills and about to go into a food coma! Choosing the right dessert makes for a fitting end to the evening. Don’t get me wrong, I do like a sweet now and then but more often than not, we like to end our meals with an assortment of cheese and fruit washed down with a glass of port, Gewürztraminer, sherry, or moscato. However, this lava cake recipe is one you must make! It’s super easy, not too heavy, and using good quality dark chocolate cuts out the overly sweet tones of milk chocolate (I am not a fan of milk chocolate). When you take your first cut, be prepared for the chocolate to ooze out.  Your friends will talk about this all evening!

Serves 6
adapted from The TIBS Guide To Desserts

1 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lava Cake Collage by The Culinary Chase1) Preheat oven to 425f.
2) Grease 6 (6oz.) custard or ramekin cups with butter. Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave. Whisk until smooth.
3) Whisk in the flour and sugar to chocolate mixture.
4) In a bowl, beat eggs and yolks until combined. Add to chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Stir in the vanilla.
IMG_28115) Divide the batter evenly among the custard cups and bake in the oven 12 minutes. The edges should be firm but the center will be runny. Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert onto dessert plates.  Serve with fruit such as raspberries, gooseberries (shown), strawberries, or grated orange zest and top with lightly whipped cream or good quality ice cream.

gooseberry by The Culinary ChaseThe Culinary Chase’s Note: Oh my stars, these were absolutely de-li-cious! Tara, TIBS baker extraordinaire, says the cakes should look firm but if you tap the top and it feels sticky or see any movement (wobbly), then they’re not quite ready. I baked the cakes 2 minutes longer as the tops were a bit sticky to touch.  Perhaps that was 2 minutes too long.  However, I still had a soft, gooey center but not as gushy as I had planned.  I slathered the custard cups with butter and as a precaution I dusted them with sugar…I was not taking any chances that the cakes would stick and they didn’t!  From start to finish, these lava cakes are ready in less than 30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Coconut Orange Cake with Honey Whipped Cream

coconut orange cakeAll cake recipes should be this simple!  It’s moist and the flavors coming from this dessert are amazing.  This may look like an ordinary cake but let me tell you this, it’s not! Hints of orange softly perfume the cake and the slight crunch of the coconut will have you going back to the kitchen for a second helping!  The other really nice thing about the cake is that it stands on its own and doesn’t need any topping.  Bring this to your next family gathering…it won’t disappoint!

Happy Memorial Day weekend America!

Serves 8
adapted from Sur la Table

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 teaspoons grated orange rind
4 eggs
1 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1 3/4 cups desiccated coconut
4 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Honey Whipped Cream –
3/4 heavy whipping cream, chilled
3 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 350f. Prepare a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray or butter and flour and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add sugar, butter, and orange rind. Beat until light and creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs and beat on low until well combined. Add the flour, coconut and orange juice through the mixture until well combined. Transfer batter to the cake pan. Bake about 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly on a wire rack (5 minutes). Invert pan and remove cake from pan.

orange coconut collageTo make the whipped cream – place a tablespoon measure in boiling water for about 15 seconds (the heat from the tablespoon allows the honey to liquefy), remove from water and dry off. In a bowl add cream and the liquefied honey. Beat with a whisk until soft peaks form.  To serve, cut into wedges topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:   Before placing cake pan in oven, give the pan a couple of hard taps on the counter top – this removes any air bubbles in the batter.  I made the whipped cream twice; once with the instructions above and the other by beating the cream until soft and drizzling honey on top of the cream – no need to measure at this point!  My take?  I prefer the latter.  Enjoy!