Monday, March 19, 2012

Save it for a rainy day

Or more accurately, nine rainy days. All of which are perfect for cake. Perfect for no fuss, moist, fruity, dark, breakfast cake. That's right, breakfast cake- it's a thing.  Not coffee cake, not crumb cake, just cake. For Breakfast.

And not just any breakfast cake- cake of honey, molasses, and huckleberries.

 I think I've said it before, but I hate frosting. With the exception of German Chocolate Cake, which I've started to realize can never be replaced or recreated from the birthday cakes of my youth,  I am an anti-frosting-kinda-gal.  Frosting be dammed.  Go for the cake, don't let anything get in the way...

That's also my sentiment on things like honey, molasses, and of course huckleberries.  I've made this cake before from Nigel Slater's recipe for Pudding Cake Of Honey, Cinnamon, and Plums, but which I found on OrangetteSo in the middle of this zillion day rain, grey, streak Seattle seems set on sticking too, I knew just what  to make, but with a few major substitutions. 

First, I still have about 3 pounds of huckleberries in the freezer from my black market, back-alley, mad, and crazed huckleberry run earlier this fall.  Recently, I've noticed a little bit of freezer burn starting to creep in, so to avoid further and more devastating tragedy, I've set in motion a baking plan to use up every last one.  

Secondly, I didn't have Golden Syrup- which although not hard to find these days, didn't sound as appealing to me as did the words honey and molasses. So I made my own by replacing the called for amount of golden syrup with equal parts amber honey and dark molasses.  Personally, I think it gives the cake a richer color and depth of flavor, but really I just like experimenting. 

Pudding Cake of Honey, Molasses, and Huckleberries
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 slightly heaping teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 slightly heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pinches salt
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Honey 

1/3 cup Molasses 
2 Tbsp. honey
9 Tbsp. (125 grams) unsalted butter
¾ cup lightly packed brown sugar 
2 large eggs
1 cup almond milk (you could use regular milk too) 
2 cups frozen huckleberries (frozen or fresh, mixed with 1/4 teaspoon corn starch and the juice of one lemon) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9inch cake pan- circle or square- but I used a circular pan.  Mix, butter, honey, molasses on stove until butter melts. Stir in brown sugar and remove from heat. Let cool slightly.  In a separate bowl mix flour, salt, baking soda, powder, and cinnamon.  Pour cooled honey molasses mixture into flour mixture and stir with a sturdy wooden spoon until just combined.  Batter will be thick.  In another bowl whisk eggs and milk together. Add to flour, honey, molasses mixture.  The batter will resist incorporation at first, but stick it out. The end result will be a rather soupy, but well combined mix.  Pour into cake pan.  Pour huckleberries on top of cake, they will sink.  Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until cake is mostly set. Remove foil, turn off oven, and let the cake sit in the oven for another 20 minutes. This allows the cake to continue cooking, without drying up, or over baking.  

Let cool completely. Cut and serve. Since this cake is so moist, there's no need to cover too tightly for storing. As long as you eat it or share it in 2 to 3 days, which believe me you will have no problem doing, the cake should be find with only the cut exposed edges covered. 

Happy Breakfast cake day everyone! 

Friday, March 9, 2012

that time of year

I've noticed there comes a time every year where one aches for spring.  In my case it usually coincides with the time of year I cut my hair, start drinking iced coffee, and decide I should go for a run.  Sadly, although it means spring is just around the corner, it usually means I get sick and have trouble walking for a few days because there is no world in which I am a good runner.

Regardless, it's just about the perfect time for grapefruit.

A mountain of grapefruit.  Squeezed, zested, strained, and laced with sugar...

Welcome Grapefruit Bars- The Lemon Bars more seasoned sister. As you know I love lemon bars and when a few days ago I stumbled upon a recipe for grapefruit curd I knew there was something there.

A lot of somethings...

That go from tart, to sweet, and hit you with just a hint of ginger.  I think grapefruit is my favorite member of the citrus family.  Growing up my sister and I used to peel them like oranges, juice everywhere as we devoured each ruby colored wedge.  Oddly enough my favorite part was the white stuff, the pilth.  I loved how bitter and astringent it was and how if you ate enough of it your mouth went a little tingly.  Like olives that taste like a dairy barn, there are some things you can't stop eating because you can't quite believe how they taste. Grapefruit pilth, for me, is better than those olives.

Then there's the zest.

Unlike the pilth, it's actually nutritious  and actually tastes like fruit.  Therefore, I used a lot of it.

Grapefruit Ginger Bars
For the crust:
1/2 pound unsalted butter at room temp
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar

For the filling:
6 large eggs at room temp
2 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons grapefruit zest (about 2 large grapefruits)
1 tablespoon ginger juice (I made by grating ginger and pushing it through a micro strainer)
1 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
1 cup flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar together in standing mixer with paddle attachment. Add salt and flour until just combined. Press into a greased 9 by 13 inch.  Let chill.

Bake for 15-20 min.  Whisk eggs, sugar, grapefruit zest, grapefruit juice, ginger juice, and flour together.  Pour over par-baked crust and make for another 35-40 minutes.  Remove from oven and let chill. I put mine in the fridge to speed up the process.  Dust with powdered sugar.  Cut. Share. Eat.