Saturday, February 18, 2023

Coconut Coffeecake with Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan Streusel


In my first blog post after my long hiatus I mentioned that much of my personal cooking these days is centered around using things up: ingredients/partial containers left from cooking classes…private events…etc.  But as I pointed out then, anyone who lives and cooks in a small household is familiar with the need to learn to cook with the odds and ends left from previous meals.
As I reassemble my career in our post-pandemic world, I have begun to focus on my online cooking classes more and more.  I have been teaching cooking classes for over twenty years, but early in the pandemic it became obvious to me that the kinds of things that had worked well for in-person classes were not the same things that would work well for an online session.  So I’ve been adjusting a bit. 
It has occurred to me that the online format is perfect for giving people a peek into the actual workings of a small household kitchen.  I can make the things I actually cook for myself…in the portion sizes I cook them in…basically showing my cooking reality in order to encourage other people who are living the small household life that it is totally possible to cook and eat well when there is “just” one…or two…of you.  As it turns out, those of us living this life are not a small group.  I read the other day that as of 2021, 28% of American households were comprised of single adults.  35% are made up of two adults.  It is clear that small households are the majority of us.  We should be eating well at home!
So you might be wondering what all of this has to do with coffeecake.  Well…besides the fact that I regularly make big coffeecakes and cut them into portions for the freezer (and because it’s just me, they are mine…all mine…), this particular coconut streusel coffeecake came about because I had some ingredients leftover from a curbside dinner.  

I had made a Coconut Bavarian Parfait and had an open can of coconut milk, a partial bag of shredded coconut, and extra egg whites.  Not to mention the big container of granola-like (i.e. eminently snack-able) graham cracker-coconut crumb crust that was left in my pantry.

So I created a coffeecake that used all of these ingredients.  At the time I thought it was a one-off…a never-to-be-duplicated treat…because I was unlikely to ever make the crumb crust again just to fill a coffeecake.  But of course the cake doesn’t need a crumb crust middle.  And as I have been getting ready for my first “cooking for a small household” class, I remembered this coffeecake because one of the recipes in the class includes a can of coconut milk.  

The recipe in question is a delicious purée of spicy roasted cauliflower and chickpeas.
  You can make a big batch and use up the whole can (and freeze or share the extra portions of soup).  Or—like me—you can make a small batch….in which case, you’ll have some coconut milk leftover.  You could roll that can of coconut milk into another dinner later in the week (these pork meatballs are fantastic)…or you can make a cake.  I know.  Tough decision.

You’ll notice when you look at the cake recipe that it uses all egg whites.  I almost always have a container of egg whites in my refrigerator.  I frequently make things that use just egg yolks and I save the whites.  They keep well in an airtight container for several weeks (just mark the date so you won’t keep them for six months…).  But if you don’t have egg whites, just use two large eggs instead. 

I have not included the graham cracker-coconut crumb crust filling in the recipe I’m posting.
  But if you would like to add it, the recipe can be found on the post for my Coconut Bavarian Cream Tart.  Just make the crust…toasting the clumps spread out on a baking sheet instead pressed into a pie or tart pan.  Break the clumps up a bit when they are cool.  To add this to the cake, spread half of the batter in the pan, scatter 2/3 to 3/4 cup (or however much you like) of the toasted crumb crust over the batter, dollop the rest of the batter over the crumbs and smooth out.  Top with the streusel and bake.  Increase the baking powder to a tablespoon if you add a layer of crumbs—the cake batter will need a little extra oomph because of the weight of the crumbs. 
If you make this coffeecake, you’ll have a little over half a can of coconut milk left.  There are lots of great things you can do with that half can.  But if you happen to see this post before February 28, I hope you’ll consider joining me for my “Cooking for a small Household: a Head of Cauliflower and a Can of Chickpeas” class.  I’ll be making that delicious soup…as well as a couple of other nice dishes using cauliflower and chickpeas.

Coconut Coffeecake with Chocolate-Coconut-Pecan Streusel
80 g. (scant 3/4 c.) pecans, lightly toasted and coarsely broken
115 g/4 oz. (2/3 c.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
50 g (1/2 c.) sweetened shredded coconut
25 g. (2 T.) sugar
25 g. (2 T.) melted butter
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour (200 g.)
1/2 t. salt
2 1/2 t. baking powder
10 T. plus 2 t. (150 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. sugar (200 g.)
100 g. egg whites (see notes)
1 1/2 t. vanilla
2/3 c. coconut milk (160 g.)
75 g. (3/4 c.) sweetened shredded coconut

Butter a 9x9-inch baking pan.  Line the bottom with parchment.  Butter the parchment.  Flour the pan.  Tap out the excess and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 350°.
To make the streusel, place the pecans, chocolate chips, coconut and sugar in a bowl and stir until everything is evenly distributed.  Drizzle the melted butter over all and fold with a rubber spatula until the butter is well distributed.  Set aside.
Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.  Beat the butter and sugar until smooth.  Increase the speed and cream until fluffy.  Beat in the egg whites in two or three additions.  Beat in the vanilla.  Fold in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the coconut milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Add the coconut with the final addition of the dry ingredients. 

Spread the batter in the prepared pan.  Scatter the streusel evenly over all.  

Bake in a 350° oven until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean—40 to 45 minutes.  Serve warm.  Serves 9 to 12.
Note:  If you don’t have any egg whites on hand, you may replace the 100 grams of egg whites with 2 large eggs.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Creamy Gingered Carrot Soup

As is my habit during the early days of the new year, I have been making and enjoying lots of soup.  It really is the perfect food for January.  Not only is it soothing and warm on a dark, cold…and more often than not, wet…day—it is just the thing after the dietary excesses of the holidays.

Not surprisingly, this is also the time of year when I have traditionally taught soup classes.  Most of the recipes that were part of my class rotation have already appeared on my blog.  The carrot and ginger soup I’m posting today was always a class favorite.  I’m not sure why I never posted the recipe here.  It might be because the presence of fresh ginger…and lime…and cilantro…put it just outside the reaches of my normal home pantry.  But I have had fresh ginger on hand quite a bit in recent weeks for various things I’ve been working on…and since I always have carrots (and I’ve been in the mood for soup)…the other day I thought of this soup.  I was so glad I did.  The warm color—and tummy soothing ginger—make it a great post holiday/mid-winter soup.
I’m sure that in previous posts for puréed soups I have had a lot to say about the process.  But since it’s been a while since I wrote one of those posts, I’ll just repeat a few essentials here:
First…make sure you aren’t shortcutting the initial cooking of the onions and carrots in the fat.  This process allows the flavors of these vegetables to infuse the fats and give a deeper flavor to the final soup.  And along those lines, make sure your vegetables are fully cooked before you purée the soup, or you’ll have a coarse purée.  (The cooked vegetables should be tender to the tip of a knife—and you should be able to mash them against a plate with a fork or spoon).

Also, when adding liquid to a soup that is to be puréed, always hold back some—adding just what is necessary to cover the vegetables well and cook them through.  If too much liquid is added at this early stage, the final soup might be way too thin (and I say this as someone who prefers thinner soups).  You can always (and likely will) add more liquid while you are puréeing the soup.  I like the final consistency of my puréed soups to be like thick cream—it shouldn’t mound in the bowl or on the spoon (and should be “sippable”).
If you are using a traditional blender, don’t fill it too full with the hot soup (2/3 full is about right).  The pressure build up when you turn on the blender will push the cap up and off and if the blender is too full you’ll have a mess—and possibly a burn. 
Finally, I always pass my puréed soups through a fine meshed sieve.  I think it gives the most suave and velvety texture.  But I understand that some find this step to be a bit persnickety…and it also adds to the washing up.  Be assured that the soup will taste just as good without straining out the lingering fibrous bits.  Whether you are straining the soup or not though, take the time to run the blender until the soup is super smooth (you’ll be glad you did!). 

If you make this soup, be aware that its flavors are an interplay of strong and subtle…and that they change a bit over time.  On the day it is made, the ginger flavor is strong…and the soup has a warm spiciness.  The next day, the ginger flavor will be much more subtle.   If you like a stronger ginger flavor, simply add a grating of fresh ginger when you are reheating the soup on subsequent days.  If you want to eat it the day you make it…and you don’t like the strong flavor of the ginger, just add the ginger with the stock—its flavor will soften under the longer cooking time.  As far as the lime goes, it is added to balance not only the sweetness of the carrots, but also the honey.  It should not really be seen as the addition of lime flavor (although it will add a little)—but rather as a way to lift and brighten the flavors of the whole soup.  If you want a stronger lime flavor, add a grating of zest to the final soup (or as a garnish). 
As I type this post today, I have a lovely view of snow covered trees.  For the most part, people in my area are staying in after last night’s snowfall if they can.  It is just the right kind of day for this soup.  And even if you don’t typically keep fresh ginger in your home pantry, you can still make a carrot soup (without a run to the store) because this soup also happens to be a great template for a basic carrot soup.  Simply omit the honey, lime & ginger and you will have a delicious soup, the makings of which will already be in most home pantries. 

Gingered Carrot Soup
2 T. olive oil
1 large onion (8 to 9 oz.), thinly sliced
1 T. unsalted butter
1 lb. carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 T. rice (Basmati, Jasmine, Arborio, etc.)
1/2  t. ground coriander
1 t. paprika
1 t. cumin
1 T. honey
3 to 4 c. chicken or vegetable stock
2 T. (18 g.) minced fresh ginger (or more to taste)
1/4 c. heavy cream
1 T. freshly squeezed lime juice (or to taste)
Salt & Pepper
Possible garnishes (alone, or in a combination that pleases you): Fresh Cilantro chiffonade, thinly sliced green onion tops, chopped peanuts, toasted pepitas, lime zest, olive oil, crispy fried shallots

In a medium stockpot or large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onion along with a generous pinch of salt and sweat, covered, until the onions are soft and translucent—about 10 to 15 minutes.  

Add the butter and melt.  

Add the carrots another good pinch of salt and cook for 5 to 10 minutes—until carrots are beginning to soften.  

Add the spices and the rice and cook another 2 to 3 minutes to toast the spices and rice.
  Add the honey, stirring and cooking until the vegetables are coated and everything is sizzling nicely.  Add 3 cups of stock (or whatever you need to cover all the vegetables so that they are moving freely—reserve the remaining stock to add as needed when pureeing the soup).  Bring the soup to a simmer, cover and cook until the carrots are very soft—about 20 to 25 minutes, adding the ginger during the last 5 minutes of cooking.  

Purée the soup (using a traditional blender or an immersion blender), adding more stock as is necessary to produce a smooth, thin purée.  Pass through a fine meshed strainer if you like to achieve an even more suave and velvety texture.
Return the soup to the pot and add the cream.  Heat through.  Remove from the heat and add the lime juice to taste.  You may also add more freshly grated ginger if you like.  Correct the seasoning and serve immediately, garnished as you please.  Makes a scant 6 cups.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Cinnamon Bun Scones

It might surprise people who are familiar with my breakfast preferences to learn that I did not grow up eating cake for breakfast. Or even sweet cereal.
 My mother was into health food long before it was cool.  The only breakfast cereals in our house were things like Shredded Wheat and Grape Nuts…or hot grain-based cereals (oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, etc.).  My favorite breakfast as a child was buttered toast with a soft cooked egg (my mother was ahead of the curve on eggs too: she refused to believe they were bad for you.  Time has of course validated her belief.).  Given all of this, I assume that I inherited my sweet tooth from my father…who, much to my mother’s consternation, preferred sweet things for breakfast (if he even ate breakfast).  When he had cereal (hot or cold), he doused it liberally with sugar.  Most of the time he skipped breakfast altogether—choosing to down a glass of “Carnation Instant Breakfast” instead.  

But occasionally (to make all of us happy), on a Sunday or a holiday morning, my mother would make pancakes or waffles (often with a stealth addition of wheat germ) …or maybe a coffeecake…or cinnamon rolls.
  I don’t have a memory of her making regular yeasted cinnamon rolls.  Rather she made buttermilk biscuit dough and formed that into cinnamon rolls.  They were really good. 

In my restaurant days I occasionally made a version of her biscuit cinnamon rolls for morning staff meal.  Instead of buttermilk biscuit dough, I used the cream biscuit dough we used at the restaurant.  If my mother’s rolls were very good, the cream biscuit version was outstanding.  But that was a long time ago…and as the years passed, those biscuit cinnamon rolls fell off of my radar entirely. 

Then, about a year into the pandemic, as I was trying to come up with things I could sell to my clients that I prepared in my kitchen…and they finished in their kitchen…I remembered those biscuit cinnamon rolls.
  I had already sold regular cinnamon rolls (as well as my scones…and a sweet Danish-style braid).  It occurred to me that the finishing process for a biscuit style cinnamon roll would be easier for my clients to manage than the traditional yeasted style.  (They would just need to pull them out of the freezer and bake…as opposed to having to thaw and prove before baking.)  I decided to make them with my cream scone dough and dubbed them “Cinnamon Bun Scones.”  They turned out to be very popular (several people said they liked them better than regular cinnamon rolls). 

In a serendipitous turn of events, the cinnamon bun scones happen to bake best when they are baked from frozen.  You can of course make them, form them and bake them straight away, but they will not be as neat looking since the outer edge has a tendency to split or crack when the formed buns haven’t had some time to relax (in the fridge or freezer).   

If you have made my cream scones, you already know how easy the dough is to make. When you roll out the dough for the cinnamon buns, instead of pressing the dough into a thick disc as for scones, you will roll it out into a thin square.
  So, to begin, instead of forming the dough into a round, form it into a thick flat square.  This will help you keep the sheet of dough in a square shape during the rolling process.  It is not difficult; if you have ever struggled with yeasted cinnamon roll dough, I think you will find this dough very easy to work with.

When I started up with my blog again a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t thinking about these cinnamon buns…or even what my next post was going to be.
  I just knew that I missed working on my blog and wanted to find a way to make it a regular part of my life again.  Then, when I opened up the “blog post” file on my computer to work on my Sweet & Spicy Snack Mix for New Year’s Eve, I discovered the beginnings of a post about my Cinnamon Bun Scones…written exactly a year ago.  It was a bit disconcerting to see that I had tried to start up again and failed.  But it also gave me an immediate topic for my next post…which I knew would help get me back into the habit.  So rather than seeing it as a failure, I’m thinking of it as advance planning.  

Cinnamon Bun Scones 

230 g. (2 c.) all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
50 g. (1/4 c). sugar
1 1/4 c (290 g.). heavy cream, plus more for brushing

30 g. (2 T.) butter, melted
50 g. (1/4 c. packed) brown sugar
1 T.  cinnamon

Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Powdered Sugar Glaze (see below)

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl.  Whisk to blend well.  Stir the dry ingredients with a rubber spatula while pouring in the cream, continuing to stir until a soft dough is formed. 

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, dust lightly with flour, and knead briefly (8 to 10 times).  Roll the dough out into an 11-inch by 11-inch square (it will be about 1/4-inch thick).  Spread the melted butter over the dough, leaving a half inch strip without any butter across the top edge.  Combine the cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl.  Spread over the buttered surface of the dough in even layer…making sure to cover the dough right up to the two side edges. 

Starting with the edge nearest you, roll the dough up jellyroll-style. Be careful not to stretch the dough.  It should be just snug.  Pinch along the long seam to seal.

Using a sharp knife, slice the log into 8 or 9 even rolls.   

Place the rolls, cut surfaces up, on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush each roll with some cream and sprinkle generously with the raw sugar. 

The rolls may now be baked…or frozen.  To bake right away, place the tray in a preheated 425° oven until golden brown and springy to the touch—about 15 to 18 minutes. (You may also form them and refrigerate them for a few hours before baking. They may take a minute or two longer when baked from a refrigerator temperature...just keep an eye on them.)

To freeze, place the tray of sugared buns in the freezer.  When hard, transfer the buns to a freezer bag.  They may be kept frozen for 4 weeks (after that, the baking powder loses its potency).  When ready to enjoy, place the buns on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake directly from frozen in a 375° oven until golden brown and springy to the touch—about for 25 to 30 minutes.­

Cool the buns briefly and then drizzle with the powdered sugar glaze and serve.   Makes 8 to 9 buns.

Powdered Sugar Glaze
: In a small bowl combine 76 g. (2/3 cup) powdered sugar with 1 T. (15 g.) milk.  You should have a thick glaze that drizzles slowly from a spoon.  Adjust with more sugar or more milk as needed to obtain this consistency.

Printable Version

Saturday, December 31, 2022

A Sweet & Spicy Snack Mix for New Year’s Eve

Most of the cooking that I have done at home in recent years has been all about using up odds and ends.  Sometimes these things come from classes and private events (leftover partial containers of ingredients…things I over bought so as not to run short…etc).  Other times it is simply the familiar story of cooking for a small household (a head of cauliflower or cabbage…a bunch of kale or chard…a big winter squash—are all things I love and want to eat, but because of their natural size they have to be spread out and worked into several meals in interesting ways).  I joked in a recent Instagram post that I needed to write a cookbook called “This Has Got to Go.”  But the truth is, it is difficult to share recipes/foods that come about because you are trying to use stuff up.  Everyone’s leftovers look different! 

Today’s post came about because of the remains of a box of graham crackers that I had to purchase for my private dinner business.
  After the event, I had 2/3 of a box left.  They will obviously keep for a little while….  But they will also be a temptation for late night snacking.  Finding a good home for them as soon as possible would be my preference.

Believe it or not, this rotating pantry of odds and ends is always rolling around in my head—as I look at cookbooks, recipes on line, food images on Instagram, etc.  Thus it was that the graham crackers came to mind as I was thinking about what to take to my family’s annual NYE game night.  Coming up with contributions is not as easy as I would like.  Foods I take to this gathering have to be appealing to a wide range of palates…easy to eat…and due to a nut allergy, nut free.  (This last is difficult for me.  I love nuts…and I use them a lot—particularly in snack-type foods.)

Nut free versions of “Chex mix” would obviously fit all of these criteria.
  But I have to admit I don’t like Chex Mix.  Furthermore I definitely don’t want any boxed cereal taking up space in my pantry.  But it occurred to me that shards of graham crackers would have the same textural impact as the cereal squares in the traditional mix…and would taste much better. 

After this “Aha” moment it was just a matter of coming up with seasonings. The sweet aspect of the graham crackers brought to mind an outstanding “Sweet and Spicy Seeds and Nuts” recipe from Sami Tamimi’s new book Falastin.  His unusual combination of curry, turmeric and hot pepper…along with sugar and salt…is positively addictive.   

As for the other components, pretzels seemed obvious.
  Yes, they appear in Chex mix.  But more importantly, they are the one “processed” snack that I occasionally buy, so having a partial bag in my pantry isn’t the end of the world.  And finally, I included Tamimi’s “seeds”: pepitas and sunflower seeds.  I love them both…and always have them in my freezer. 

There isn’t too much to say about the process of making this snack mix.
  Because the spice mixture is a bit sticky and thick, it will take a little extra effort to coat the components.  It works best to add it in two additions.  Drizzling the first bit over and tossing well…then doing the same thing again with the second addition.  Two rubber spatulas accomplish the job efficiently.  Just think of it as tossing a salad: dipping in from the sides of the bowl and moving toward the center before lifting the spatulas up and then rotating the bowl before the next pass. 

As for the baking, it is mostly about drying out the syrupy coating so that you don’t have a gooey, sticky snack mix.  When you can touch the mix without your finger coming away wet or sticky, it’s ready.  If you’re worried, leave it in for another five minutes.

Finally, snack mix recipes direct you to stir at regular intervals while baking.
  Don’t do that with this mix.  The stirring is mostly to separate the ingredients…and for this mix I want the seeds to stick to the pretzels and graham crackers.

Before I end today's post, it occurs to me I should mention my long hiatus.  It isn’t that I haven’t been cooking.  (If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I cook all the time!)  Rather, in addition to the difficulties inherent in translating recipes for one that have been created from odds and ends, for most of the past three years I have been too busy trying to cobble together an income from what remains of my professional work (after the pandemic) to spend the time it takes to write posts about the things I have been cooking. 

I don’t know if this will change too much in 2023.
  As much as we like to believe that things get a nice magical reset at midnight on new year’s eve, the sad reality is that they don’t.  But I have always loved posting to my blog…so as I am able, I will try to get back to occasionally (maybe even regularly!) adding to this catalog of foods and techniques that I find interesting, inspiring and delicious.

Sweet & Spicy Snack Mix

140 g. ( 3 1/3 c.) mini pretzel twists
140 g. (1 package) graham crackers, broken into rough 1-inch pieces (about 2 1/3 c.)
40 g. (1/4 c.) pepitas
40 g. (1/4 c.) sunflower seeds
45 g. (3 T. plus 1 t.) unsalted butter
40 g. (2 T.) pure maple syrup
37 g. (3 T.) packed brown sugar
1 t. (5 g). kosher salt
2 t. curry powder
1/2 t. turmeric
3/8 t. cayenne (more…or less…depending on your heat preference)

Place the pretzels, graham cracker pieces, and seeds in a large bowl.

Place the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally with a heat proof spatula, until the mixture is homogenous and bubbling.

Drizzle half of the spice mixture over the contents of the bowl and stir/fold to begin coating the ingredients.
  I find that two heatproof/non-stick rubber spatulas work best for this.  Add the remaining spice syrup (scraping the pan well) and continue to mix until all the components are evenly coated and sticky. 

Spread on an oiled/buttered/sprayed rimmed baking sheet/half sheet pan.
  Place in a 325° oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.  I don’t stir during the baking process because I like the seeds to stick to the pretzels and graham crackers…stirring will keep everything separate.  Rotate the pan once.  When done, the graham crackers and pretzels will no longer be sticky/wet to the touch. 

Cool the snack mix completely on the sheet pan.
  Transfer to a bowl to serve…or a sealed container if making in advance.  Makes 7 to 8 cups.

Printable Version 



Friday, August 27, 2021

Raspberry & Almond Tea Cake

Way back in June one of my dinner clients gave me some beautiful raspberries from their garden.  They were just perfect for eating with my yogurt for breakfast.  But I also couldn’t resist the idea of adding them to a cake to enjoy with that bowl of breakfast fruit and yogurt.  So I made a simple raspberry almond streusel cake (a slightly tweaked version of my yogurt coffee cake).  The cake was delicious…made even better by the spectacular raspberries.  But as I was enjoying it I got to thinking about how much I really like the combination of raspberries and almond…and how I would really like to have even more almond flavor in my cake.  I decided I needed to make more cake.

A second reason I wanted to make another cake was that the streusel cake I had made didn’t really have enough structure to stand up to the damp addition of berries in the long term.  It was fine the day I made it…but the streusel (and even the cake) got a bit soggy as it aged.  This would not have been a big deal if I had been making it and serving it all right away to a crowd (for a brunch, for example).  But since I keep my cakes on hand for a while…and always freeze most of the slices…this wasn’t really ideal.

I thought that the best way to strengthen the structure might be to add some more egg.  I tend to make cakes that have what some bakers might consider an insufficient quantity of egg.  Classic pound cake is the poster child for “balanced formula” cakes—balanced in that the ingredients that give strength/structure (eggs and flour) are balanced by ingredients that add tenderness (sugar and fat).  I find the classic formula for pound cake to be a bit rubbery—even tough—because of the volume of egg.  (Some recipes add more sugar…or butter…or replace some of the egg with another liquid to work around the rubbery/toughness factor).

ven considering my usual preference for softer textured cakes, I had a couple of reasons to think more egg was the direction I needed to go with my raspberry cake.  First, when I began thinking I wanted to increase the almond flavor in my cake, Danish almond cake (probably my all time favorite cake) immediately came to mind.  Danish almond cake has an intense almond flavor because it is made with almond paste.  It also has a high proportion of eggs. This higher volume of eggs doesn’t make the cake tough because the eggs are well balanced by the tenderizing effects of the almonds and sugar. 

Then, in my quest to find ways to incorporate raspberries in my cake, I ran across some delicious looking raspberry cupcakes in
Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh. I noticed that they had used a higher proportion of eggs in their recipe. Helen Goh appears to be a precise baker (thoroughly testing all of her recipes)…I thought I wouldn’t go wrong by following her lead.  The cake I ended up making was essentially a cross between the cupcake recipe and the Danish almond cake recipe. 

When I finally got around to making my second version of the raspberry and almond cake, I decided that I was tired of always make streusel cakes for my breakfast cakes.
 There is of course nothing wrong with streusel.  (I will continue to enjoy streusel cakes!)  But somehow for this particular cake a topping of toasted almonds—glued in place with a buttery, powdered sugar drizzle—seemed particularly appealing.  If you don’t want to go to the trouble of adding icing and almonds, I discovered the cake is also very nice—and kind of elegant—with a simple dusting of powdered sugar.

I love this simple little cake.  It has enough structure to slice beautifully and stand up to the moisture in the raspberries…yet it is still very tender and moist.  Best of all, it has a delightful almond flavor—a perfect backdrop for the tart raspberries.  If you like raspberries in combination with almonds, I think you will find it to be delicious—and just the thing…whether you like to enjoy your cake for breakfast...or a little later in the day.  

Raspberry & Almond Tea Cake

150 g. (1 1/3 c.) all-purpose flour
1/4 t. fine salt
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. baking soda
175 g. (1 c. less 2 T.) granulated sugar
85 g./3 oz. almond paste, (not marzipan)
5 oz./10 T. unsalted butter, divided—5 T. at room temperature and 5 T. kept cold and cut into 5 chunks
1/2 t. almond extract
3 large eggs (150 g.), at room temperature
80 g./1/3 c. plain yogurt
7 to 8 oz. fresh raspberries, divided
Powdered sugar for dusting
1 recipe powdered sugar glaze (optional)
2/3 c. sliced almonds, lightly toasted (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Butter a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan.  Line the pan with a round of parchment, butter the parchment.  Flour the pan, knocking out the excess flour. 

Place the first four ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to aerate and combine.
  Set aside. 

Place the sugar and almond paste in the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, mix on medium low to begin breaking up the almond paste.  Add the cold butter and increase the speed to medium high (you may need to put some plastic wrap around the mixer to prevent the almond paste, sugar and butter from being flung out of the bowl).  Beat until the mixture is smooth.  When no lumps of almond paste or butter remain, increase the speed to high and add the soft butter.  Cream until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the bowl add the almond extract and mix in.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly on medium-high speed after each addition to return the batter to fluffiness and scraping down the sides before each next addition.  Fold in half of the dry ingredients, followed by the yogurt.  Add the remaining dry ingredients followed by 4 to 5 oz. of the raspberries on top of the dry.  

By hand fold in this remaining flour with the berries.  It is not necessary to be too gentle….the cake is actually kind of nice if some of the berries break up.  Don’t overdo it though…you don’t want pink batter.  

Turn the batter into the prepared pan.
  Smooth the surface and scatter 3 oz. of berries evenly over the top.  

Transfer the cake to the oven and bake for about 40 minutes.  The cake is done when it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.
  Run a small palate knife around the edge and invert the cake onto a rack or plate.  Place a rack on the bottom and reinvert so that the cake cools right side up.  Cool completely. 

The cake may be served simply—dusted with powdered sugar and accompanied by whipped cream.
  Or, serve as a brunch/breakfast cake by drizzling with a powdered sugar glaze and sprinkling with toasted almonds (see below).  Serves 10. 

Powdered sugar glaze:
  In a small heat-proof/microwave safe bowl combine 1 c. (120 g.) powdered sugar with 2 T. melted butter, 1 1/2 T. heavy cream, 1/2 t. vanilla extract and 1/2 t. almond extract.   Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.  This frosting “sets” as the melted butter cools.  If it is too stiff for drizzling right after mixing (from cold cream straight out of the fridge…or a chilly room…for example), gently warm until the consistency is right.  If you overdo it, just let it sit for a few minutes and it will start to thicken/firm up again. 

To decorate the cake, generously drizzle some of the glaze over the surface of the cake.  Sprinkle the toasted almonds over to cover (the glaze will act as a tasty kind of glue).  If you like, drizzle more glaze over the almonds in a uniform, back and forth (across the cake) motion.  (Or, dredge the almonds with powdered sugar.)  If you want to insure perfectly clean cuts, portion the cake and then apply the glaze and almonds as for the whole cake (the sliced almonds might cause the tender and soft cake to tear when you cut it).

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