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Cherry Jubilee!

July 27th, 2015
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Montmorency cherries!

Montmorency cherries!

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been crazy for cherries. The Montmorency tree we put in a few years ago (or was that 6?) has gradually increased its yield and is finally producing a significant harvest. These are sour cherries, perfect for cooking but too tart to eat. (Unless you’re Sadie, and are so blinded by their ruby perfection that you overlook the puckery part and gobble them by the handfuls.)

In any case, we’ve been putting cherries into everything, from syrup (snow cones! homemade cherry soda!) to muffins to galettes to this yummy coffee cake the girls and I came up with the other morning. It’s a rich, buttery cake that’s perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack–and gets even better the next day.

You can't see them, but this cake is studded with sour cherries

You can’t see them, but this coffee cake is studded with sour cherries from our Montmorency tree

 

Cheery Cherry Coffee Cake

Makes one 10-inch cake

*

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

3/4 cup sour cream

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 1/2 cups sour cherries, pitted

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and lightly flour a 10-inch bundt (or decorative cake pan, like the sunflower pan I used in the photo above).

In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and the baking soda. Whisk to incorporate.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the dry ingredient mixture and beat until combined, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the sour cream and Greek yogurt, beating until combined. Stir in the cherries.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part comes out clean. Cool for at least an hour on a rack, then invert onto a plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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Snowball Cupcakes

February 22nd, 2012
Snowballs

Snowball cupcakes

It’s been such a mild winter that we haven’t had many real snowballs to throw. But in the checkout line at the grocery store the other day, Beatrice spied–and was immediately obsessed by–snowballs of the junk food variety. I couldn’t bring myself to buy them, but I swore to her that we could make some at home. Chocolate cake, marshmallow-y frosting, and vivid pink coconut flakes make for a tasty treat, but despite our many efforts, we couldn’t shape them into that perfect sphere. No matter–they’re just as tasty when you make them as filled cupcakes!

Snowball Cupcakes

Makes 2 dozen

Cupcakes:
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons water
1/4 cup cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups milk (we used goat’s, of course)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
*
One batch Seven-Minute Icing (I use the recipe from Allysa Torey’s More From Magnolia)
Sweetened shredded coconut (I tinted it pink with a few drops of food coloring)
*
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with 24 cupcake papers.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a small bowl, combine the water, cocoa and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Add to the butter mixture and beat well.
In a measuring cup, combine the milk, 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cider vinegar, and the salt. Add to the batter in three parts, alternating with the flour. Beat well with each addition, making sure the ingredients are thoroughly blended, but be careful not to overbeat or the cake will be tough.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining vinegar and baking soda. It will fizz. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl, making sure the batter is smooth and well blended.
Divide the batter among the muffin tins and bake for 18-23 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack while you make the frosting.
To assemble: Fit a wide tip on a pastry bag and fill the bag with half the frosting. Plunge the tip into the center of each cupcake, squeezing in enough icing that the cupcake seems to puff a little. Swirl the remaining icing decoratively on the top of each cupcake and sprinkle generously with the coconut.

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