cake

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

by Anne Maxfield on December 3, 2018

Accidental Locavore Cranberry Upside Down CakeThis cranberry upside-down cake appeared on David Lebovitz’s website just before Thanksgiving.

It was just the dessert I needed to bring to friends. He says it’s best served warm, and made in a cast iron pan, so I tried to erase memories of one of my biggest cooking disasters ever (a tarte tartin made and cemented into a cast iron pan) and just go for it.

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Topping

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries

Batter

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup coarse cornmeal or polenta
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk, at room temperature

In a 9- to 10”cast iron skillet, melt the 4 tablespoons of butter and the brown sugar together, stirring frequently, until the sugar is moistened and liquefied. When the mixture starts to bubble, remove from heat and set the pan aside.

Accidental Locavore Cranberry Cake PrepPreheat the oven to 350º.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal or polenta, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or by hand in a mixing bowl with a spatula, beat the ½ cup of butter, granulated sugar and lemon zest at medium high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until very light and fluffy. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs one at a time, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides. Mix in the vanilla extract.

At low speed, add half of the flour mixture, then the milk, then the remaining dry ingredients, mixing just enough so that they’re all combined. Do not overmix.

Distribute the cranberries in the prepared pan over the brown sugar mixture and shake the pan so they are in a relatively even layer. Spoon the batter over the cranberries in four mounds, then use a spatula to spread the batter evenly over the fruit.

Bake the cake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, wait 10 minutes, then run a knife around the cake. Place a serving platter overturned on top of the cake in the skillet, then using oven mitts to cover your hands, flip the two over simultaneously, until the cake releases from the pan. Serve and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore CranberryMy Verdict: Phew! Came out of the pan beautifully and tasted great! Frank thought it could use a few more cranberries, so the next time I make it, I’ll just pour the whole bag in.

In a moment of pre-baking terror, I did give the cast iron pan a quick spray of butter, but I’m not sure if it needed it.

The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the cornmeal. It does add a crunch which Lebovitz says he likes in his baking, which Frank liked, but I’m not sure I was a huge fan. Maybe next time, I’ll try it with all flour.

The other thing I would probably do differently would be to cream the butter and sugar together using my stand mixer. I used a hand beater and while it worked fine, it took longer and was not as creamy as when I’ve pulled out the big mixer.

If cranberries aren’t in season, a mess of blueberries or other fruit would probably work just as well.

 

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Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

by Anne Maxfield on December 18, 2017

Accidental Locavore Pineapple Upside-Down CakeWhen was the last time you had a pineapple upside-down cake?

I had some pineapple leftover from making Thai duck curry and thought I’d put it to good use.

This used up all the rest of the pineapple and made a 9” square pan.

Topping

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 20-ounce can pineapple rings in juice, drained, or fresh pineapple, cleaned and cut into ¼” rings
  • Candied red cherries or maraschino cherries (optional)
  • Diced pecans or walnuts (optional)

Cake

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9″ cake pan.

Accidental Locavore Pineapple for CakeTo make the topping:

Melt the butter, and mix with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan.

Space the pineapple rings atop the brown sugar mixture. If you’re using them, place a cherry in the center of each ring and scatter the nuts in any empty spaces.

To make the cake:

Beat the butter and sugar until fairly smooth.

Beat in the egg, then the salt, baking powder and vanilla.

Add the flour alternately with the milk, mixing at medium speed and beginning and ending with the flour. Once the last of the flour is added, mix briefly, just until smooth.

Spoon the thick batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges of the pan. It may not cover the pineapple entirely; that’s OK.

Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven, wait 3 minutes, then turn the pan over onto a serving plate. Wait 30 seconds, then lift the pan off. If anything sticks in the pan, just lift it out and place it back on the cake.

Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

My verdict: A delicious classic!

I used a silicone baking pan and the cake slid out of it perfectly.

Thought briefly about putting some dried cherries in the center of the pineapple slices, but just went for the plain version (no nuts or cherries).

A recipe I saw talked about adding some dark rum to the topping and that might be good if you’re looking for a more grown up version.

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Apple Cake Recipe

by Anne Maxfield on September 4, 2017

accidental-locavore-slice-of-apple-cakeNow that we’re moving into apple season, it seemed like a good time to revisit this great apple cake.

Originally the idea of a fruit CSA had its appeal.

Apples and other fresh fruit, weekly when we picked up our regular CSA share at Poughkeepsie Farm Project.

Shared with friends since the Accidental Locavore knew 8 pounds of fruit was going to be too much.

Even 4 pounds is a lot of fruit, but this delicious apple cake will take six of them off your hands.

I’d seen this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and then my cousin called raving about this great apple cake she’d made. She was right!

accidental locavore apple cakeApple Cake Recipe

For the apples:

  • 6 apples, McIntosh or whatever looks good
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons white or light brown sugar

For the cake:

  • 2 3/4 cups (360 grams) flour
    1 tablespoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon fine salt
    1 cup vegetable oil (or mix of butter, olive oil etc.)
    2 cups sugar
    1/4 cup orange juice
    2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    4 large eggs

accidental-locavore apples-for apple cakeHeat oven to 350°. Butter a tube pan (angel food, bundt).

Peel, core and chop apples into 1-inch chunks. Toss with cinnamon and 5 tablespoons sugar and set aside.

Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar, vanilla and eggs.

Mix wet ingredients into dry ones; scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.

accidental-locavore apple cake-assemblyPour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples (and their juices) over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top.

Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmolding onto a platter. Serve and enjoy!

My verdict: Great apple cake! After we devoured a couple of slices of it, I cut it in quarters and stuck most of it in the freezer. Two days later, most of it has already been pulled from the freezer (not to worry, got more apples from the CSA). Slightly warmed up, it makes a great breakfast too! Now I’ve made it twice and it still hasn’t lasted a week.

I used a combo of McIntosh and Macon’s which worked well, you probably want to avoid the mushier apples like Delicious. Since we’re not an orange juice drinking household, I just bought an orange and juiced half of it.

The recipe calls for a cup of vegetable oil and suggests that you can use olive or coconut oil and/or butter. Because butter makes everything better, I used one stick of butter, melted and topped it off with vegetable oil. Might try an olive oil-butter mix the next time.

Update: Because of the plethora of apples, I ended up making this about five times. Olive oil was the least successful batch so I went back to butter and vegetable oil. Everyone who has made this or tasted it loves it. Give it a shot.

 

 

 

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What’s a Lemon LuLu Cake?

by Anne Maxfield on June 19, 2017

Accidental Locavore Lemon LuLu CakeI’d never heard of a Lemon LuLu Cake, but happily, that changed recently.

To me, there’s nothing better than a surprise package arriving on my doorstep with something delicious inside!

Sweet or savory, packages bearing food are always welcome!

Also great is finding out about something yummy that you didn’t even know existed.

Mother Myrick’s, of Manchester, Vermont, happily filled both those roles recently.

HudsonValleyEATS was contacted by Taylor, their PR person, who countered our (slight) objections that it wasn’t actually something from the Hudson Valley by saying, “but we ship to the Hudson Valley all the time.”

Keep him!

The goodies arrived the next day, perfectly packaged and in pristine shape—not a crumb out of place.

Accidental Locavore Lemon LuLu Cake PackagedThere was their signature Lemon LuLu Cake and a box of Buttercrunch.

It came with a lovely, hand-written card that turned out to be from a place I know up in Maine, so I was already inclined to like it.

The Lulu cake is a lemon pound cake. It’s a lovely, light, moist cake, with a lemon glaze and a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar. I’m sure it would be great with some fresh berries and/or ice cream, but ours disappeared before it could be paired with anything except a fork.

If you were ever in need of an “emergency cake,” Lemon Lulu cake can be frozen, or you can just order one for next-day delivery. No need to turn on the oven all summer!

The Buttercrunch, another signature item, looked and smelled amazing.

Accidental Locavore ButtercrunchI say that because, sadly, I couldn’t taste them, so we have to take Janet’s word that they were really buttery and she liked it a lot!

There are lots of other goodies in their catalog or online, so if you have a hankering for something sweet and don’t feel like heating up the kitchen, just relax, shop and enjoy!

 

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