Tag Archives: cake

Die Clean, White Girl: All Spice Cake with Tart Cherry Filling

Here’s a free little bit of advice before we begin. Never fill your cake pans with batter more than ¾ of the way, because you never know what may happen. They might mushroom out and it’s chaos. I know you want to use all of the batter, I obviously do too. But you can’t play God, you need to know your boundaries. See? Try to look past my filthy oven windows please.

Big cakes

I made a cake this week and there ain’t much else to say about it. It’s a wonderful spiced sponge cake, with a tart cherry filling and addictive cream cheese frosting. I will say that cake construction is a very vulnerable business. It’s not like brownies, no one gives a shit what happens there. With cakes, it’s as though I fear all of the negative energy buried within my bosom has somehow been imparted onto that cake. Kind of like that pie in Thinner, the film adaptation of Stephen King’s Thinner (book). Except instead of making you thinner and consequently bringing to an end your corporeal life, this cake will probably bloat you a little the next morning, as is typical of most cake. I don’t make witchcraft, I make gluten.

Allspice Cake with Cherry Filling - Alex Marie Lombino

Here, I strip myself bare for you. Despite my life-sapping inclination toward perfectionism, I lay it out there for you. I offer you food for gut, fodder for the psyche, dessert for your mouth parts. After the blood has been let, what is left of my body lies prostrate on the kitchen floor, amidst debris of crumbs and fancy. This is an artist’s struggle, a long and winding journey to an unknown destination. Behold cake, my dreams objectified deliciously before you. Judge me not lest I unfriend you on Facebook.

All Spice Sponge Cake

Allspice cake with cherry filling - Alex Marie Lombino

1 cup Flour
1 ½ tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Salt
2 tsp All spice
6 tbsp Butter, melted
5 eggs (2 whole, 3 separated)
1 cup and 2 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
½ oz Milk

Preheat oven to 350

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and all spice. Whisk thoroughly and set aside.

Melt butter and allow to cool.

Separate 3 eggs, reserving whites for later use. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine your 2 whole eggs, 3 egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and milk. Whisk on high speed for about 5 minutes until eggs are pale yellow and frothy. If you only have one mixer like me and most normal people, transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and wash your mixing bowl and whisk very thoroughly to use in the next step. The cleaning is very important, as eggs whites will not whip with the presence of yolk.

In your mixer, whisk 3 egg whites on med-high speed until they reach soft peaks. Add about 2 more tbsp of sugar to stabilize your whites, then continue to whisk until they reach stiff peaks.

Gently fold dry ingredients into egg yolk mixture. Next, mix about ¼ of egg whites into batter to lighten. Add the rest of the egg whites, and gently but quickly fold into the mixture until there is no more streaking. When egg whites are almost completely folded in, add melted butter and continue to fold quickly until distributed. Immediately distribute batter between two ungreased 8 inch round pans. Bake for approx. (time), until middle of cakes bounce back when touched. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for 12-24 hours for easy trimming.

Cherry Filling

16 oz Frozen cherries
2 oz Lemon Juice
3 oz Water
1 ¼ cup Sugar
1 tbsp Corn starch

In a medium sauce pot, combine cherries, half of lemon juice, water, and half of sugar. Bring to a boil on the stove, then lower heat to a simmer and cover pot. Continue to cook cherries until the mixture becomes jam-like and the liquid is reduced by half, stirring frequently.

In a small bowl, thoroughly whisk together remaining sugar and corn starch. When cherries have been cooked down to a thin jam consistency, add cornstarch mixture and whisk thoroughly. Bring filling to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for about 5 minutes over med-high heat until filling is thickened and starch is cooked out. Allow to cool to room temperature, then chill slightly in the refrigerator before assembling cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Note: This is A LOT of frosting. If you are planning to make a smaller cake, feel free to reduce by a third or by half. However, if you make the full batch, you should just eat it on fruit for breakfast, why not?

½ pound (8 oz or 2 sticks) Butter, softened
1 lb Cream cheese
2 cups Confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 tsp Lemon juice
1 tsp Salt

In a mixer with a whisk, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth and consistent. Turn mixer down to low and add sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Turn speed back up to whip lightly for 30-60 seconds. You’re done!

To assemble

Cherry Spice Cake - Alex Marie Lombino

Trim the browned edges of your cakes. Spoon cherry filling into the center of the bottom layer, and spread out carefully, leaving a ½ inch to an inch border, depending on the size of your cake. Add second layer on top. Let gravity do most of the work to spread the filling. Frost your cake however you see fit! I did mine in a cake ring, so that’s kind of cheating but incredibly. Garnish with fresh cherries! It’s SUMMER!

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BANANARAMA (Is a Really Good Band, and Also This Cake with Brown-Butter and Coconut Mousse)

Banana and Brown-Butter Cake

I would like to think of myself as a woman of my word. When I say I’m going to do something, I do it. When I say I’m not going to do something, you can bet your buns that, instead, I am on the couch trolling The Superficial archives for candid bikini shots of Mrs. Coco T because, damn, that ass. You might recall that in the previous entry, I mentioned I would not be making banana bread in the foreseeable future, and I am proud to report that the statement still stands. Here are some other things I did not do this week:

I did not finish watching season one of Friday Night Lights.
I did not get any portion of my body hot-waxed.
I did not eat a cheeseburger, despite my unyielding desire to do so.
I did not cry in the shower (on Tuesday).
I definitely did not read 50 Shades of Gray, even though I just learned that this thing is actually a trilogy? Like, there is more than one of these books, prosaically detailing the most degrading ways a lady might bruise her vagina? Color me dumb-founded.

Here’s what I did do:

I watched Girls again, and regretted it.
I made ricotta dumplings for dinner one night.
I cut my toenails with reckless, reckless abandon.
I rediscovered Basement Jaxx, and, consequently, day-glow hot pants.
I made a banana-type cake.

Did you catch that last one? That’s the important one. Listen, I really like banana bread. I especially want to eat it when it is full of chocolate and toasted nuts. But the last thing I want to do is write a blog post about it. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to read about it either. I feel bad for you guys sometimes, having to trudge through yet another, “Best Paleo Yogurt-Bacon Muffin EVER!!” recipe, which is not to say that I have any idea what Paleo means. Because I don’t, it’s made up, it isn’t real.

So, the next time you find your freezer is overflowing with a nauseous collection of overripe bananas, do this thing. Make a brown-butter and banana cake with fresh fruit and coconut mousse. I’ve been eating the scraps of this cake all day and, I have to say, it’s a little addictive. Somewhat savory brown-butter gives the bananas purpose in this cake, other than just being overtly banana-y. The cake being somewhat dense in texture, as fruit batters are wont to be, I opted for mousse over buttercream. The coconut keeps the tropical theme wafting languorously to the tune of some shitty Jack Johnson song (redundant, I know), while fresh fruit (of your choosing!) gives the cake the acid and brightness it needs.

Brown-Butter and Banana Cake with Coconut Mousse
BananaCake2
Brown-Butter and Banana Cake

6 oz Butter, Browned
4 Large eggs
6 oz Sugar
2 Squishy bananas
8 oz Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan.

In a small sauce pan, brown your butter on med-high heat. In class, we learned to simply leave the butter on the stove and burn the crap out of it. It will smell burnt and gross. It will look black. However, all you are burning are the solids in the butter, which you would have strained out anyway. In this method, however, if you do not stir the butter as it’s browning, the solids will simply burn and stick to the bottom of the pan, and you can pour off the liquid on top with ease. If you have a gas stove, please be careful and don’t have your flame too high, because butter will catch fire and scare you a little if you aren’t accustomed to starting kitchen fires. I am a seasoned veteran of kitchen-fire-starting and have a reserve of kitty litter at my disposal for such occasions. Set butter aside to cool.

In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat together eggs and sugar on high for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg and whisk together thoroughly.

When the eggs have beaten, add your squishy bananas and beat for another 5 minutes.

Fold egg mixture into the flour mixture. When the eggs are halfway folded in, pour in butter and continue to fold gently, but thoroughly, making sure the butter isn’t just sitting at the bottom of your bowl.

Pour batter into pan and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick may be cleanly pulled out from the center of the cake. Wrap and freeze cake for easiest trimming!

Coconut Mousse

3 tsp Gelatin
4 oz Water
8 oz Milk
2 oz Sugar
3 Egg yolks
10 oz Cream of coconut
Zest of 1 lemon
7 oz Heavy cream, whipped.

In a small dish, sprinkle gelatin over your water and set aside. This is called “blooming,” which is a word that I love.

In a medium sauce pan, bring milk and half of your sugar to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk together yolks and remaining sugar. When milk has boiled, remove from heat and slowly pour into your yolks, whisking constantly. Once mixed, pour the whole mixture back into your hot and return it to the stove on low heat. Do NOT boil. Eggs don’t like that. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens a bit. Strain mixture into a bowl.

Melt your gelatin in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. It happens real quick! Add the gelatin to your mousse base and mix. Next, stir in coconut cream and zest. Occasionally stir the mixture as it is gelling, so as not to develop a skin. Give it an hour, at the least, to set up nicely.

Whip your cream so it’s nice and stiff, stiffer than if you were to serve it solo. Give your mousse base a good beating so it is smooth and lump free, then fold in your whipped cream.

To Assemble:
BananaCake3
Please trim your cake! Take off the less delicious, crusty sides, top, and bottom of the cake. Using a very sharp, serrated knife is the way to go. After it is trimmed, very carefully cut your cake in half. Reserve your trimmings, if you so choose, to use in decorating. In a food processor, pulse your softer trimmings until they are like nice, fluffy cake-snow. You can use these later to sprinkle on top of your cake.

Slice fruit of your choice to layer in the center layer of the cake, as well as to decorate the top. I chose to use kiwi, because I thought the color would look nice against all of the white and tan. Strawberries would also be complementary, flavor-wise.

Now you can be creative! I built my cake inside a cake ring, which is a snobby, pastry-school way to go about things, but it’s effective. You can “frost” this cake with your coconut mousse using whatever method you choose, but I do recommend chilling the mousse for about 30 minutes after adding the whipped cream before you do anything. In the center layer, make sure to spread a thin later of mousse, then arrange fruit, and then another layer of mousse. If you only have one layer of mousse, your cake may begin to slide around on top of the slippery fruit.

If you’d like to decorate as I have, after frosting place a cutter of any shape or size in the center of your cake. Arrange fruit within the center of the cutter. Around the cutter, sprinkle the aforementioned cake-snow on top of the cake, then remove the cutter. Chill the cake in the fridge for another half-hour or so before serving to ensure that the mousse has set.

People who claim to not really like cake will like this cake. I know this, because the man in my apartment just gave it a proverbial thumbs-up by eating it twice, despite much initial protest. So go on, force-feed a vegan, and let freedom ring.

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I Do What I Want: Strawberry Cake with Blood Orange Glaze

Strawberry cake.

As I was gathering my mise en place for this post (that’s fancy chef’s talk for “all your shit”), I realized I was running pretty low on eggs. I definitely didn’t want to leave the house, but sometimes, like hopefully not more than thrice a week, you have to leave the house. I threw on my track jacket and marched down to my local mini-mart. They are my favorite convenience shop by a large margin, because they carry unsalted butter, slush, and Four Loko. I’ve never had a Four Loko, but it’s just a comfort that when the time comes to finally go to a Bruins game, I know just where to brown-bag. As I went about my shopping, a very snarky stock-gentleman took inventory of my appearance and said, “Saw that look in GQ this week.” I told him, “Why don’t you shut the hell up, Jacko, and sell me a Fresca?” Hahahaha, just kidding, his name is Steve.

I look great.

I’m sorry, bro, not feeling my snowflake-patterned mukluks and spandex? I’ll have you know that these Wayfarers FOLD UP. They completely fold into themselves for even more convenience than any other Ray Bans have thus provided. What I’m trying to say here is I look dope, so get off my case young Tibetan-male-Joan-Rivers.

I’m just trying to do me over here. I’m trying to stay original while cultivating a learned mind and stout body. I go to the gym five days a week, eat a lot of arugula, and read the New York Times on my iPhone. That’s not the Post, people. I just bought a ukulele on Amazon for thirty bucks. I’ve worked hard to achieve this balance in my life, and you could too if you were unemployed. A gal’s got to do something while she waits patiently in the dead, dark silence of the phone never ringing.

That’s kind of what this cake is all about. This cake is like, “This is me, I am here. You can accept it or you can eat a cookie.” This cake is about being the true you. That’s why I just took some strawberries and threw ‘em in there. Strawberries just want to be themselves, shining brightly like a natural ruby in a big pile of lab-cultivated rubies.

This cake is made in a bundt pan and drizzled with Blood Orange glaze. It is soft and cuddly, with a tangy zip from fresh lemon juice. I would serve it at a fancy brunch, or in bed with a fork when you’re feeling really lonely.

“I Do What I Want” Strawberry Cake with Blood Orange Glaze

IMG_1371

1 lb Fresh strawberries
1 cup Sugar
6 tbsp Unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs
1 egg yolk
2 cups Flour
1 ½ tsp Baking powder
½ tsp Salt
2 tbsp Fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp Milk

Preheat oven to 350°F

Cut the green tops off of strawberries, halve them, and set aside.

Butter and flour your bundt pan. Place a few of your strawberries on the bottom of the pan, like so:

DSCN0550

In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar and beat on high speed to cream. Scrape the bowl down after a few minutes, and continue to beat. The mixture should become light, fluffy, and very soft. Turn down the speed and add eggs and yolk one at a time, making sure each is incorporated before adding the next. Once all are in, scrape down the bowl, then beat the mixture on high for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk together. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and milk. This will curdle, but that’s perfectly fine.

After the eggs have beaten, turn the speed down low and alternate adding flour and liquid, starting and ending with the flour. Once added, scrape down the bowl again, mix for another few seconds, then stop! Do not over mix. We don’t want to make bread.

Pour batter into bundt pan and spread out evenly. Then, just stick your strawberries into the batter throughout the cake! You can definitely add them all. I happened to reserve a few to clean the mixing bowl with, and eat. That’s a gross thing to do. Don’t be like me.

Bake cake between 25-35 minutes. Use a toothpick to test cake, making sure the toothpick comes out cleanly when piercing the cake. Allow to cool slightly, then turn upside-down onto a plate. If the cake is still a little warm, the glaze will stick to the cake much more easily.

Blood Orange Glaze

Zest of 1 Blood Orange
Juice of 1 Blood Orange
3 cups Confectioner’s sugar

In a mixer or by hand, whisk together zest, juice, and sugar. Use a spoon to drizzle over warm cake.

IMG_1379

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