Oreo Marshmallows

Oreo Marshmallows – They may look like dirt, but they taste like heaven.  In my marshmallow experimentation phase, I slightly deviated from my usual batch of Vanilla Marshmallows and gave these a twist by stirring in crushed Oreo cookies and giving the squares a generous dusting of Oreo cookie crumbs.  Since the Vanilla Marshmallow recipe is so flexible, nearly any cookie-type add in would probably work well, so experiment away!

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Peach-Raspberry Cake

This post is for anyone stuck in a cold, wet winter yearning for memories of the warm days of summer (and all the juicy fruit in season then).

My peach tree exploded with fruit this year, so much so that the tree dramatically split in half due to the weight of the peaches.  And to further add to the peach drama, it seemed like all the peaches ripened at the exact same time.  Luckily I discovered that the next best thing to eating a juicy, ripe peach picked moments before from the tree, is baking those sweet peaches into a cake.  This Peach-Raspberry Cake is an easy and delicious way to use up extra peaches.  Raspberries and orange zest provide a tart, fresh punch to the mellow peaches.  And yeah, it really tastes as good as it looks.

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Peach-Raspberry Cake

Makes one 9 inch cake
(from Fine Cooking)
Serves 8-10

Ingredients

Cake

6 oz. (1-1/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup sour cream

Topping

1 large, ripe peach (about 7.5 oz.), halved and cut into very thin slices (approximately 1/16 inch)
3/4 cup (3-3/4 oz.) fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions

Cake

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly butter a 9×2-inch round cake pan.  Line the bottom with parchment, and  lightly flour the sides and tap out the excess.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed until just blended.
  6. Add the orange zest and vanilla along with the second egg, and mix until blended.
  7. Use a spatula to fold in half of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.
  8. Stir in the sour cream.  Then stir in the rest of the flour mixture.
  9. Pour the batter into the pan and spread it evenly.  Lightly tap the pan on the table to get ride of any air pockets.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes.

Topping

  1. While the cake is baking, stir together the peach slices, raspberries, sugar, and flour in a small bowl.
  2. Use a fork to mix the ingredients and evenly coat the fruit and lightly crush the raspberries.
  3. After the cake has baked for 15 minutes, quickly scatter the topping evenly over the top of the cake.
  4. Continue baking the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (approximately 20 to 30 minutes).
  5. After the cake has cooled on a rack for 15 minutes, run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake.  Use a dry dishtowel to protect your hands and put a cooling rack on top of the cake pan, and holding onto both the rack and the pan, invert the cake.  Remove the pan from the cake, and peel off the parchment. Put a flat plate on the bottom of the cake, and flip the cake over so that the fruit is on top.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Lemon Almond Butter Cake

A few weeks ago, I was an extra for a cake baking competition TV show, but sadly no cake was served during the shoot.  I was so disappointed that I went home and baked a Lemon Almond Butter Cake.  Disappointment turned into elation when the cake turned out to be one of the most amazing things I’ve baked.  The combination of rich, tart lemon curd nestled throughout a light fluffy almond cake makes this cake dangerously irresistible.  It takes a bit of extra time to make the lemon curd from scratch, but the cake itself comes together pretty quickly.

A few days later, I couldn’t stop thinking about how good the cake tasted, so I experimented with adding Nutella (instead of lemon curd) which made the Nutella fans in my life very happy.  Fast forward to a few days after that, I wanted to pull together a quick dessert and used strawberry jam as the add in.  Again, deliciousness ensued.  It appears you just can’t go wrong with this cake recipe.

Lemon Almond Butter Cake.  The globs of lemon curd make the flavors of this cake over the top in the best possible way.

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Lemon Almond Butter Cake.  My brother ate three slices of this.

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Nutella Almond Butter Cake.  How can you not get excited about a dessert that involves Nutella?

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Strawberry Jam Almond Butter Cake.  Another successful flavor pairing.

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Lemon Almond Butter Cake

Makes 8 servings
(adapted from NY Times Cooking)

Ingredients

Lemon Curd

Grated zest and juice of 2 medium or large lemons
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Cake
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
3/4 to 1 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (I used 3/4 cup when I baked this with the Nutella topping)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
½ cup almond flour

Directions

Lemon Curd

  1. In a medium sized saucepan, beat together the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and eggs.
  2. Add the butter, and place over a saucepan over low heat until the butter melts.
  3. Over low-medium heat, cook the mixture while stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until it thickens into curd (I like to do this slowly over lower temperature so that the egg doesn’t cook too quickly.  Depending on the heat you use, it could take about 5-12 minutes to get the curd to the right consistency.  Do not let it boil!  For a visual of how to tell when your lemon curd is ready, check out this page.).
  4. Using a fine sieve, strain the lemon curd into a bowl (this will help get rid of any cooked egg whites and ensure the curd is smooth).
  5. Press plastic wrap onto the surface of the lemon curd to keep a skin from forming. Refrigerate the lemon curd until it is cool (at least 1 1/2 hours).

Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 9-inch spring-form pan with 1 tablespoon of butter, and dust with 1 tablespoon of flour, shaking out the excess.  Or line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment (no buttering or flouring needed).
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together 8 tablespoons of butter and 3/4 (or 1 cup with you want your cake a little sweeter) cup of sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture, and mix until combined (don’t overmix).
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until they start to foam. Do not overbeat or the cake will be tough.
  7. Add the eggs and the almond flour to batter, and mix until well combined.
  8. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan, and spread it evenly.
  • Drop 8 individual tablespoons of lemon curd (or whatever add-in you’re using) around the perimeter of the batter, leaving a 1-inch border, and space the drops evenly.  Drop 3 to 4 tablespoons of lemon curd into the center of the batter. (You will have leftover lemon curd which you can refrigerate for another use.  It’s also OK to use all of the lemon curd.).
  • Sprinkle the top of the cake with 1 tablespoon of sugar (optional.  I did this for the lemon curd version but not for the Nutella or strawberry jam add-in versions).
  • Bake the cake until it is toasty brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the cake (not the curd) comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.
  • After letting the cake cool on a rack for 10 minutes, remove the sides of pan, and cool completely.  Or if you’re baking in an 8×8 inch pan, remove the cake by using the parchment paper.

Note:  The lemon curd version of this cake should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  The Nutella and strawberry jam versions can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.

Apple Fritter Bread

If you’d like more apple fritter in your life but don’t always want it in doughnut form, here’s your next best option – Apple Fritter Bread.  This cake is swirled with chunks of cinnamon apples and a cinnamon-brown sugar ribbon and topped with a thick glaze.  The other pro is that because it’s not deep-fried (like the doughnut version), it may be less likely to give you the post-apple fritter indulgence tummy ache.  No guarantees though.

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Apple Fritter Bread

Makes one 8-inch loaf
(from Averie Cooks)

Ingredients

Apple-Cinnamon Mixture

1 large apple or 2 small peeled, cored, and diced into 1/4-inch pieces (approximately 1 heaping cup diced)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Mixture

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

Bread

1 large egg
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray an 8×4-inch loaf pan with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan.  Set aside.

Apple-Cinnamon Mixture

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the apples, sugar, and cinnamon until combined.  Set aside.

Cinnamon-Brown Sugar Mixture

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon, and set aside.

Bread

  1.  In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the egg and sugar until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add the oil, sour cream, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth and combined.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.  Don’t overmix.
  5. Pour half the batter into prepared pan and smooth out the top with a spatula.  Because there is just enough batter, do not add more than half of the batter.
  6. Sprinkle half the apple mixture over batter in an even, flat layer.
  7. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the apples.
  8. Pour the remaining half of the batter into the pan, and smooth the top with a spatula, making sure to push the batter all the way into the edges of the pan.
  9. Evenly sprinkle the remaining apples mixture over the batter.
  10. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture over the batter.
  11. Put the loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet (in case the apple juice overflows during baking).  Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes until the top is domed, set, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  12. If the top seems to be browning too quickly, during the last 10 minutes of baking, tent the pan loosely with foil.
  13. Cool the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before turning out onto rack.  Cool completely before glazing.

Glaze

  1. In a small bowl, add the confectioner’s sugar and slowly drizzle in the heavy cream/milk.  Whisk until smooth and well combined.
  2. Add heavy cream/milk as needed for desired consistency.
  3. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze on top of the cooled bread.  Extra glaze can also be spread on the cut surface of the bread.

Note: The bread can be stored in an airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Milky Swirl Brownies

If you’re going to break your New Year’s diet resolution, it might as well be with these Milky Swirl Brownies because you won’t regret it…not one bit.   The combined super powers of chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder  result in an intensely chocolatey and rich brownie, and swirls of sweetened condensed milk amplify the already moist and fudgey center.  Fire up that oven because making these brownies has turned into your new New Year’s resolution.

P.S. Using a high quality cocoa powder makes a big difference in taste and texture.  My baking fairies (MG and SB) gifted me with  Rodelle baking cocoa, and my world has been extra chocolately ever since.

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Milky Swirl Brownies

Makes one 9×13 inch pan of brownies (that’s a lot!)
(from Fine Cooking)

Ingredients

12 ounces (24 tablespoons) unsalted butter; more for the pan, softened (Yep, that’s A LOT of butter, but that’s why these brownies are so good)
4 1/2 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour
4 ounces (1-1/3 cups) Dutch-process cocoa (use the best quality possible.  I used Rodelle baking cocoa)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
16 ounces (2-1/4 cups) granulated sugar
2 ounces (1/4 packed cup) light brown sugar
1 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 large eggs, cold
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional, but not really since it’s part of the chocolate trifecta)
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment (make sure it goes up the sides of the pan and overhangs on the longer sides) or aluminum foil (butter lightly to ensure the brownies don’t stick too much.  Buttering the parchment is not needed).
  3. In a small bowl, mix the flour and cocoa powder until well combined, and set aside.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  5. Increase the heat to medium and simmer, stirring while the butter hisses and pops. Continue cooking, scraping up any brown bits that form at the bottom of the pan, until the butter is golden yellow.  Remove from the heat, and stir in the chocolate until it has melted, and the butter and chocolate are well combined.  Set aside.
  6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the sugar, brown sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla, and espresso powder (if using.)  Whisk on medium-high speed until thick and fluffy (about 7 minutes), scraping down the bowl as needed.
  7. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and pour in the warm chocolate mixture in a slow steady stream.  Mix until well incorporated.
  8. Turn off the mixer, and fold in the flour mixture in thirds with a spatula, and fold until well combined.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth with an offset spatula.
  10. Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, drop one-tablespoon scoops of condensed milk on top of the brownie batter in a configuration of five rows (vertically) of four (horizontally).  Drag a butter knife through the milk and batter, and very lightly swirl.  Do not mix too much or the swirls will disappear.
  11. Bake until the brownies are glossy and just barely firm, 25 to 30 minutes.  If you insert a cake tester or toothpick into the center, a few crumbs will cling to it.
  12. Cool to room temperature. Use the parchment or foil overhang to lift the brownies from the pan, then cut into 24 pieces. Do not cut the brownies while they are warm as they won’t hold their shape well.  Also, you may need to clean off your knife between cuts, as things can get a bit gooey.
  13. Store in an airtight container for up to one week at room temperature.

Lemon Bread

Recently I went into a huge lemon curd making frenzy after a neighbor gave me loads of Meyer lemons from her tree.  Afterwards, I realized that my options for consuming thus lemon curd were fairly limited.  Yes, eating it directly off a spoon is a totally reasonable option, but with the amount of lemon curd I made, I needed additional options.  What’s the perfect accompaniment for lemon curd?  My answer was more lemon… specifically Lemon Bread (cake).  On its own, this lemon bread probably won’t garner “oh my god this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever eaten” praise, but it’s a perfect partner to lemon curd.  It’s a tender and moist cake, yet dense enough to stand up to a heavy slather of lemon curd on top.  Plus, it’s easy to whip together.  I left the lemon glaze off  to make room for every little bit of lemon curd (and to make sure things wouldn’t get too sweet).

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Lemon Bread

Makes one 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf
(from Fine Cooking)

Ingredients

Bread

1/4 cup (2 ounces) fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup (6 ounces) buttermilk (I used reconstituted dried buttermilk powder) or yogurt
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter, softened
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
2 large eggs

Glaze

(I didn’t make this because I topped my bread with lemon curd)
1/4 cup (2 ounces) fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) sugar

Directions

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan.  I used baking spray with flour and my cake came out of the pan easily.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk (or yogurt), lemon juice, and lemon rind, and set aside.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until well combined.  It will look a bit crumbly.
  6. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture.
  8. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. [NOTE: since I didn’t make the glaze, I stopped at this step.]
  9. While the bread is baking, whisk together the glaze ingredients (1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar) to dissolve the sugar.
  10. Remove the bread from the oven, and poke it all over with a cake tester, skewer, ice pick, or other long, thin tool.
  11. While the loaf is hot, drizzle it gradually with the glaze, stopping periodically to allow it to soak in. Set it aside, and let it cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.
  12. Remove the bread from the pan, and allow it to cool completely before slicing.

Note: The bread can be stored in an air tight container on the counter for up to 5  or frozen for up to 3 months.

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies with Maple Bacon Buttercream Filling

Oatmeal Whoopie Pies with Maple Bacon Buttercream Filling.  Take a moment to savor those words and let them fully sink in.  These Oatmeal Whoopie Pies with Maple Bacon Buttercream Filling may just be everything you have ever dreamt of … and more.  Imagine breakfast all rolled up into one decadent, handheld sandwich of oatmeal, smokey bacon, and maple syrup.  It’s as epic as it sounds, and you totally need this in your life.

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Oatmeal Whoopie Pies with Maple Bacon Filling

Makes about 24 two-inch whoopie pies
(from Whoopie Pies: Dozens of Mix ’em, Match ’em, Eat ’em Up Recipes)

Ingredients

Oatmeal Whoopies

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not fast-cooking), separated into 3/4 cup and 3/4 cup
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt

Maple Bacon Buttercream Filling

4 thick strips bacon, cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2-3 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
3 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon maple flavoring
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions

Oatmeal Whoopie

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy and smooth.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
  5. Add the vanilla, and beat until light and creamy.  Set aside.
  6. In a food processor or blender, process 3/4 cup of oatmeal until it resembles whole grain flour.
  7. Transfer the ground oatmeal to a medium bowl and add the remaining 3/4 cup of oatmeal, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Stir well to combine.
  8. Add the oatmeal mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, and beat on low speed until just combined.  Do not overmix.
  9. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, making sure to leave at least 2 inches between each scoop of batter.
  10. Bake one sheet at a time for 8-11 minutes or until the cakes begin to brown.
  11.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes.  Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Maple-Bacon Filling

  1. In a medium skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp.
  2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and powdered sugar on low until combined.
  4. Add the heavy cream, sour cream, vanilla extract, maple syrup, maple flavoring, and salt, and beat on low until smooth.
  5. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the bacon bits until just combined.

Assembling the whoopie pies

  1. Spread the filling onto the flat side of one of the cakes using an offset spatula, knife, or spoon.
  2. Top it with another cake, flat side down.  Very lightly press down.
  3. Repeat with the rest of the cakes and filling.

Note:  I store these in the refrigerator so that they stay as fresh as possible.

Brown Sugar Sour Cream Cake with Peach Jam Swirl

While making a big batch of peach jam, I discovered that one of my jars of jam did not process correctly and had to be used within a week.  Instead of eating almond butter and peach jam sandwiches for a week, I opted to bake a Brown Sugar Sour Cream Cake with peach jam swirled through the center of the cake and spread as a glaze on top.  Turns out peach jam is a perfect accompaniment for this light and tender, buttery cake.

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Brown Sugar Sour Cream Cake with Peach Jam Swirl

Makes one bundt cake
(adapted from King Arthur Flour)

Ingredients

16 tablespoons (1 cup; 8 ounces) butter, at cool room temperature
1 cup (7 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 8-ounce jar of jam (I used peach jam)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly grease a 9- or 10-cup Bundt pan.
  3. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and sugars at medium speed for about 2 minutes. The mixture will be light and airy, and will have lightened in color.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for a minute or two between additions. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat briefly to recombine any residue.
  5. Add the baking powder, salt, and baking soda, then gently beat in half the flour.
  6. Gently mix in the sour cream and vanilla,
  7. Add the remaining flour, mixing just until blended.  Don’t over mix to ensure the cake will be tender.
  8. Scoop the half of the batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Evenly dollop approximately 2/3 of the jam on top of the batter (set aside the remaining 1/3 or jam for use after the cake has finished baking).  Use a knife to lightly swirl the jam into the batter.  Then pour the remaining half of the batter on top.  Make sure that the jam is covered by the cake batter, otherwise the jam will burn.
  10. Bake the cake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  11. Remove the cake from the oven. Cool it in the pan for 15 minutes before turning it out of the pan onto a rack to finish cooling.
  12. When the cake has cooled for about 15 minutes, spread the remaining jam on top of the cake.  Cool completely before slicing.

Fresh Peach Cake

One of the most delicious things I’ve eaten so far this year are the juicy, sweet peaches from my tree.  And if that weren’t enough, my peach tree pumped out peaches at such a plentiful rate that I had to find other creative ways to eat peaches.  Enter the Fresh Peach Cake.  This thick, tender, fluffy, vanilla cake is layered and topped with fresh, ripe peaches, and the cinnamon sugar sprinkle adds a sweet crunch to the crust on top.

I was rich is peaches this year.
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Peaches abound on top of the cake, but they’re also layered within the cake too.
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Even people who claimed not to like peaches liked this Peach Cake.
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Fresh Peach Cake

Makes one 9-inch square cake
(from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That?)

Ingredients

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 large or extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large, ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and thinly sliced (if you don’t fully peel the peaches, the skill will create an unappetizing greyish hue after baking.  Also if the slices are too thick, they’ll sink too far into the cake batter.)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 1 cup of sugar for 3-5 minutes on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy.
  4. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time.
  5. Add the sour cream and mix well.
  6. Add the vanilla and mix well.
  7. In a separate large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  8. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until combined,
  9. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of sugar and the cinnamon.
  10. Spread half of the batter evenly in the pan.  Use a small offset spatula to spread the batter all the way to the edge of the pan.
  11. Top with half of the peaches, laying in single layer, evenly distributed.
  12. Sprinkle 2/3 of the sugar mixture on top.
  13. Spread the remaining batter on top.
  14. Arrange the remaining peaches on top.
  15. Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture.
  16. Bake the cake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  17. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

Two years ago, I lived in downtown Los Angeles among the hustle bustle of high-rise buildings and endless construction and traffic.  My valiant efforts at growing herbs on my rooftop patio were constantly thwarted by the sooty layer of city grime that always covered my plants.  So, when we moved to a house in the suburbs with a yard, high on my wish list was a garden of edibles including fruit trees.  Fast forward to the present, and those fruit trees have produced their first crop.  After eating more white nectarines in a month than I’ve previously eaten in a year, I decided to bake with them too.  This Nectarine Upside-Down Cake takes everything good about nectarines and amps it up 100% with a caramelized layer of nectarines resting on top of a tender, vanilla-almond cake.

Even though the tree was small, the fruit was plentiful.
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Tree-ripened, just picked, super sweet and juicy nectarines are a little slice of heaven.IMG_9095[1]

Upside down cakes look so demure and unassuming in the pan…
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But when you flip the pan over, the nectarine party is in full swing.IMG_9107[1]

Nectarine Upside-Down Cake

Makes one 9-inch round cake
(adapted from Fine Cooking)

Ingredients

7 1/2 ounces (15 tablespoons) unsalted butter (3 tablespoons melted, 12 tablespoons softened; more for the pan)
3 tablespoons demerara or other raw sugar
4 to 5 nectarines, cut into wedges (you can keep the skin on)
6 3/4 ounces (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or paste
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven,  and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  3. Pour the 3 tablespoons of melted butter into the pan, and tilt so that the butter covers the bottom.
  4. Sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over the bottom.
  5. Lay the nectarine wedges over the bottom in snug concentric circles, starting from the edge. Set aside.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
  7. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 12 tablespoons of softened butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  8. Beat in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next.
  9. Add the vanilla and almond extracts.
  10. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined; the batter will be very thick.
  11. Use a silicone spatula to spread the batter over the nectarines, being careful not to move them. Smooth the top.
  12. Bake until the cake is dark brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
  13. Let the cake cool in its pan on a rack for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto a cake plate. Remove the cake pan and parchment, and let the cake cool completely before serving.