Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Eggnog Cake

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy New Year to everyone! We had a lovely little holiday here at Sugar Pies. I got a new Kindle e-reader which I'm coming to love. I honestly never thought I'd join the e-book trend because of my love of paper books. However, after just a few minutes not only was I finding it easy to read but since I read so often in bed just touching a button to turn pages was wonderful. I'm afraid I'm hooked. While I won't give up real books totally, I'll certainly be making more space on my shelves by switching to e-books for a big portion of my reading.

During the holidays a friend commissioned her Christmas dinner dessert from me. My first thought was a sumptuous Eggnog Cheesecake. This would be a brand new recipe for me because my friend, Nora, wanted something she hadn't had before from my kitchen. Of course, this meant either trying out a new recipe or developing one quickly. I opted for trying a new recipe. Long story short, the cheesecake itself was fantastic. In Michael's words it was "to die for." Unfortunately, I hated the crust. It came out far too moist and soggy and while it looked good on the spring form pan tray, it didn't look so hot when plated. I certainly couldn't send that out. So it went into the refrigerator for us to consume.

Lacking a lot of time, I quickly returned to cakes which I can do in my sleep. I threw together a very moist and rich butter bundt cake flavored with eggnog and spices. It's quite delicious and was a hit, I hear, at Nora's dinner. However, I also hear that they would have been happy with the soggy crust cheesecake. I sent Nora a piece when she picked up her cake and she loved it - despite the less than stellar crust. Obviously, that gingersnap crust is optional and when I do it again I might omit a crust completely.

The Eggnog Cake can also feature a little bourbon (I love Southern Comfort in this). It's an optional ingredient which I added to my home version. You didn't think I wouldn't do two so I could taste, did you? The SoCo gives it a little extra oomph. I used it both in the batter and lightly brushed over the warm cake before glazing.

This cake is great glazed or plain. Nora's was glazed with a butter, eggnog and sugar glaze which was quite rich and finished with a sprinkle of nutmeg. My home version was left plain. Both are wonderful and the cake bakes up so nicely that you can get away with sprinkling it with a bit of powdered sugar if you want to forgo the glaze.

Put this little cake in your files for next Christmas or try it out for your New Year's party! You'll be glad you did!

Eggnog Cake
Description: The perfect cake to celebrate the holiday season!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs. Southern Comfort, divided (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup refrigerated eggnog
Glaze:
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup refrigerated eggnog
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. Southern Comfort (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan and set aside.
  2. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment cream together butter and sugars until fluffy.
  3. With mixer on slow speed, add eggs and yolk one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add vanilla and 2 tbs. of Southern Comfort (if using). Add Sour cream and mix well.
  4. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. With mixer on low speed add flour mixture alternating with eggnog - beginning and ending with flour.
  5. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for 45-55 minutes or until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out on wire rack to cool completely. If using the Southern Comfort, brush the top of the cake with remaining 1 tbs. while still warm.
  6. When cake has cooled completely, place powdered sugar in a large bowl. Melt butter with eggnog and Southern Comfort (if using) in a small saucepan. Pour into bowl with sugar and whisk until combined. If glaze is too thick add just a bit of hot water to thin. If too thin add a bit of powdered sugar until you get the consistency you desire. A thicker glaze tends to work well on this cake.

Notes

The glaze for this cake is quite rich. If you wish a more subdued flavor, simply sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 55 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12
Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)
Copyright ©2011.
Recipe by Sugar Pies.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

It seems like forever since I posted anything! Normally, this time of year I'm knee deep in baking for the holidays. Unfortunately, events have transpired to put a hitch in my holiday baking plans.

The day after Thanksgiving Michael wasn't feeling well. Actually, he hadn't been feeling well for a couple months. He was complaining of shortness of breath and a dry cough that kept him up at night. His doctor diagnosed "Post Viral Cough" which supposedly is a cough that hangs around after a cold or the flu. Finally, it was bad enough that he was exhausted and could barely go from room to room without having to rest. The Friday after Thanksgiving he deigned to go to the ER at University Medical Center.

The doctors and residents were able to figure out this wasn't a "Post Viral Cough" but rather congestive heart failure. Long story short they discovered he has several things wrong with his heart. He spent a few days in the hospital and is now on a number of medications as they try to rehabilitate his heart and let it strengthen and repair. He's also on a new "heart healthy" and low sodium diet. Obviously, that is challenge for me in the kitchen since my cooking fortes are Southern and French - meaning a stick of butter or a cup of cream in pretty much everything! But, I'm trying and so far he's liked my low sodium and heart healthy dishes.

Obviously, with all this going on my baking has taken a big hit. I had planned to do big trays for friends, family, and others but have had to put that on hold because I've fallen so far behind.

I did manage to throw together a little snack cake/coffee cake this morning, though. I really love this cake and have made it a couple times. In fact, it was going to go up right after Thanksgiving but, well, you already know. The original recipe was found in the Penzey's Spices catalog. We have one of their stores a few blocks from here and I've become a big fan. Their spices are so fresh and interesting. I simply won't buy grocery store spices now. Their catalog is wonderful and full of great recipes, too.

In this recipe I use their Ceylon Cinnamon which is one of the few true cinnamons available today. The Ceylon variety is very popular in Europe where it's complex and soft flavor are more appreciated than the overpowering cinnamon used here in the states. I adore the citrus notes that can be tasted in this variety and it has become my "go to" cinnamon for use in my traditional recipes. I highly recommend giving this one a try.

I've also become a big fan of Penzey's Mexican Vanilla extract. The first time I opened a bottle of this stuff in the store and took a whiff I was blown away! It has an incredibly complex and floral scent. The taste is also incredibly smooth with none of that slight alcohol bite you find in many supermarket vanilla extracts. Unfortunately, they don't seem to have this one available in their online store.

This little cake is really easy to throw together in a few minutes and pop in the oven for a wonderful breakfast dessert, brunch, or coffee break. It even works if you forget the cinnamon which I admit I have done! In that case it has a lovely buttery flavor that shines through and the brown sugar and vanilla streusel (sans cinnamon) is very rich with hints of molasses flavors. So, if you want to purposely leave out the cinnamon you can have a whole different flavor experience with the same cake!

: Cinnamon Coffee Cake
: A buttery and spicy cake perfect with coffee or as a breakfast or brunch dessert.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (cold)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
 Streusel
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbs. flour
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbs. melted butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease and flour an 8x8-inch baking pan.
  2. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut butter into small pieces and add to dry ingredients. Beat at low to medium speed until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
  3. In 2 cup measuring cup, whisk together the egg, milk, and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until combined.
  4. Pour half of mixture into prepared pan.
  5. In a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the streusel. Sprinkle half of the streusel mixture evenly over the batter in the pan.
  6. Top the streusel with the remaining cake batter and smooth the top. Sprinkle remainder of the streusel mixture over the top of the cake.
  7. Bake in 375° oven for 20-30 minutes or until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in the pan about 5-10 minutes then invert on a plate. Invert again on a wire rack and allow to cool. Cut in 2 inch squares and serve.

The batter can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated in the pan covered with plastic wrap. To prepare the refrigerated cake: reduce the oven temperature to 350° and bake an extra 15 minutes or until done.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8
Culinary tradition: USA (General)

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