Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

Rosy Carrot Cake—cover me with roses May 4, 2010

Filed under: cake,gardening — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 11:12 am

bed of roses

organic roses from our backyard---easy to grow, pretty to show

petal power

See Broccoli Bonus for cake recipe.  Triple the frosting recipe at Broccoli Brings It for the easy and luscious cream cheese icing.

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Crummy Top—Strictly Streusel April 2, 2010

Filed under: breakfast,cake,dessert,easy,locavore — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:06 am

slice o' streusel

I’ve been putting our locally-grown, freshly ground Richardson Farms whole wheat flour through its paces lately.  Here’s a quick cake composed of a slightly dense and chewy spongecake layer blanketed with an unreasonable heap of sweet, cinnamon-y crumbles.  More streusel than substrate, crumb bums will appreciate this easy, tweedy whole grain goodie.  For streusel fans only!

TEXAS MUFFIN TOP CAKE makes one 9″ round

Streusel:

  • 1 stick organic butter, melted.  I love Organic ValleyClick for a coupon.
  • 4 3/8 ounces organic light brown sugar.  Central Market’s brand usually costs less.
  • 5¼ ounces Richardson Farms whole wheat flour.  Sifting out the bran is optional.
  • ¼ teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt.
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.  I used my homemade Christmas gift from SouthAustinFoodie Adventures.  Check out her foodie fun this week on the Anthony Bourdain trail.
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • zest of one Texas orange, optional

Cake:

  • 2 local eggs
  • 200 grams turbinado sugar.  I buy this in bulk at Central Market.  Bring your own container and a staff member can tare the weight for you.  We go through a lot of this—we always have homemade lemonade on hand—so I buy about three pounds at a time.
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 121 grams Richardson Farms whole wheat flour, most of the bran sifted out.
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder.  I use Rumford, aluminun-free and non-GMO.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup boiling water

Preheat your oven to 350°.  You can melt the butter in the oven while it’s heating up.  Combine the remaining streusel ingredients and stir them into the melted butter.  Line a 9″ X 2″ round pan with a piece of waxed paper or parchment (I use If You Care brand) and butter the bottom, but not the sides.

Combine the eggs, turdinado sugar and salt in a mixer bowl and begin whipping (with the whip attachment if using your stand mixer, which I recommend) at low speed.  Gradually increase the speed to medium-high.  You’re starting the eggs and sugar out slowly to give the sugar a chance to dissolve.  It won’t liquefy completely, however.  Meanwhile, whisk together the flour and baking powder.  Get your water heating up.  I use the microwave.  It’s fast and energy efficient.

When the eggs look very light and fluffy and fall back into the bowl in ribbons that take a moment to dissolve when the beater is lifted, gently add the flour and quickly whisk it in.  Pour in the boiling water and quickly and gently whisk it in to achieve a smooth batter.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan right away.  Working quickly, squeeze handfuls of streusel into clumps and distribute them in chunks over the batter, moving from the outside to the center.  You don’t want the middle of the cake to be too heavily laden with topping so be more generous around the perimeter.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake portion tests done in the center.  The lava-like batter will erupt magmaticaly, creating a sweetly fissured surface.  Never mind the cratered face, she’s tastes like a beauty!

 

Texas Velvet Biscuit Cake March 28, 2010

Filed under: biscuits,bread,breakfast,cake,easy,locavore,vegetarian — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:00 pm

honey me this

Back to baking!  With the reintroduction of beans into our diet after last week’s brush with death (well that’s what it felt like, anyways), and it being Sunday and coolish, I decided that biscuits were in order.  And honey.

This super easy recipe combines local Richardson Farms fresh ground whole wheat flour with a softer flour from King Arthur for a fluffy and super-light texture that soaks up a hive of honey.  So comb your cupboards and nectar nooks for the bee sap to enjoy this mound melligenously.  Yeah, that’s right.  I made up an adverb.

TEXAS VELVET BISCUIT CAKE makes a 9″ round of 6 (sort of) large biscuits

Combine the dry ingredients in your food processor and whirl until mixed.  Add the butter and lard and process until the mixture looks mealy.  You’re not going for flaky here so do blend the fat in well.  Turn the flour out into a bowl and stir in the yogurt with a fork until well blended.  Using a greased ½-cup measure or spring-loaded scoop (best), scoop out six heaping ½-cup portions and place them in a buttered 9″ round pan (1½” to 2″ high).  You’ll get five biscuits around the perimeter and one in the middle.

Bake at 425° for 20 to 25 minutes, until the biscuits are golden brown and well-risen.  Let the biscuits cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning them out.  Use a fork to pull the biscuits apart (they’ll have coalesced) and split them for honeyin’.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzz!

 

Gingerbread

Filed under: cake,easy,locavore — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 9:12 pm

nice hat, lady

Spring cleaning, interrupted.  Not much accomplished around the house last week—I definitely fell behind in my efforts to clear out last year’s (last decade’s!) old food.  When my appetite recovered, the first treat I wanted to enjoy-up was that opened pint of Organic Valley heavy cream.  So I baked some gingerbread as an excuse to rest under a dollop.  Read into that what you will, but this here unrefined cake comes out just coarse enough to luxuriate in a slumming slap of whoop cream (Forgive me.  I’ve been out of commission.)  Lightly sweetened with a bit of turbinado and aromatized with Maker’s Mark-based homemade vanilla extract, my chantilly made a dainty lady out of a wholesome dessert.

TEXAS ENOUGH GINGERBREAD makes one 11″ X 7″ panful

  • 2½ ounces (5 Tablespoons) organic butter, softened.  I love Organic ValleyClick for a coupon.
  • ½ teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt.
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon grated fresh domestic organic ginger root (don’t bother to peel it), or 1½ teaspoons ground dried ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • fresh zest of a Texas lemon or orange, optional
  • 1/3 cup local honey.  Good Flow‘s my standard brand.  We can enjoy so many yummy hunnys in Central Texas!
  • 2/3 cup cane syrup.  Fain’s or Steen’s.  Or you can use molasses.
  • 1 local egg
  • 242 grams Richardson Farms whole wheat flour, most of the bran sifted out
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda, sieved
  • ¾ cup local milk.  I like goat milk from Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm.

Cream the butter, salt, fresh ginger, ground spices and zest, if using .  Beat in the egg.  Beat in the honey and syrup.  Combine the flour and baking soda and mix into the batter in two additions alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Pour the batter into a greased and floured 11″ X 7″ pan (old-fashioned brownie pan size) and bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes, until the cake tests done.

I like to serve gingerbread warm with whoop cream, but the spices get to know each other, given some time, and the cake tastes even better the next day.

 

Little Cake February 11, 2010

Filed under: cake,cookies/brownies,dessert,easy,fast — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 12:49 pm

"Here Fluffy!"

sweet stack!

Here’s a little fancy cake that pulls together quickly, once you have all the components.  These constituents can vary, depending on what you have on hand and need to use up, or your whimsy.  And most components can be made well ahead of time.  A three-layered dainty, sized just right for the family and maybe a guest or two (yeah right, like I’ve been having company to dinner in the last two years.  Or has it been six?  Do cookouts count?), this petite gâteau (not to be confused with le petit gâteau) plays your palate big time, with light layers of whole grain sponge cake moistened by a refreshing syrup, and contrasting/complementary filling and frosting.  Your funny valentine might appreciate a sweet slice!

For using up odds and ends of leftover fillings, glazes, etc. (the “leftover layers” version below was filled with the last of some buttercream whipped with the three tablespoons or so of leftover chocolate èclair glaze), or for simply spreading and stacking with preserves from the pantry—and maybe frosting with whoop cream, this is your go-to gateau.

WHOLE GRAIN SPONGE CAKE makes one 4″ X 7″ loaf-shaped assemblage,  about 2″ to 3″ high

  • 3 local eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon salt.  I like Real Salt.
  • 100 grams (½ cup) organic sugar.  Central Market’s brand sells for $2.99 for a two-pound bag.
  • ¼ teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons local or organic butter, melted and cooled a bit.  I love Organic Valley Click for a coupon.
  • 48 grams organic whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder, sieved.  I prefer Rumsford, non-GMO and aluminum-free.

Preheat the oven to 350º and line an 11″ X 7″ baking pan (the old-fashioned brownie pan size) with a thin nonstick liner (I don’t recommend a Silpat style liner here) or a piece of parchment paper.

Combine the eggs, salt, sugar and extract and whip at high speed for about five minutes.  A stand mixer is very handy here.  While the eggs foam and lighten, whisk together the flour and baking powder.  When the eggs have maximized in volume and form ribbons that disappear after a couple seconds or so when the whip attachment is lifted, be ready to fold.  Lightly sprinkle a third of the flour mixture onto the eggs and quickly and gently fold it in with a large whisk.  Repeat twice.  Whisk a cup or so (just eyeball it) of the batter into the butter before folding the butter mixture into the rest of the batter.

Fill the baking pan right away, smoothing and leveling it with a small offset spatula or just a spoon.  Bake for about 12 minutes, until lightly browned and the center barely springs back when gently pressed with your finger.

Place the pan on a rack and let it cool completely.  This cake is small and light so that won’t take too long.

Unmold the cooled cake onto plate or cutting mat.  Using a sharp knife, actually I like to use a finely serrated steak knife, cut the layer crosswise into three slabs, each about 3½” wide (by about 6½” long).  The top crust of the cake will be sticky, which is great fun for your fingers, so lay the bottom layer onto your serving dish top side down.  Brush with a little soaking syrup (see below) and spread with about ½ cup of filling.  For the middle layer, brush one side (either side) of the cake piece with syrup and stack that piece on top of the filling, syrup side down.  Now brush the top of that layer with more syrup.  I use about 2 Tablespoons of syrup per side.  Some folks like a juicier cake and some folks like a drier cake, so go with your gut.  Top with another ½ cup of filling, and the last cake layer, brushed with syrup on the sticky side first and set syrup side down.  Brush the top of the cake with syrup and frost the whole thing—you can use a different component .  Or just frost the top—in which case I’d keep it the same as the rest of the filling.  (Or maybe not.)

leftover layers

Here’s a simple formula for a

SIMPLE SYRUP:

  • ¼ cup organic agave nectar.  Madhava brand’s on special at Central Market right now.
  • 6 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons water

Stir together til well mixed.  You can flavor your syrup with liqueurs or liquor—Amaretto, Frangelico and dark rum are my favorites, or a small amount of compatibly flavored extract.  This recipe should moisten your little cake sufficiently.

The “Fluffy” cake pictured above was filled with crème patissière (already on hand) and frosted with a maple Italian meringue—the Bonus!

Beware of hygroscopic high jinks.  Make meringue on a clear (low humidity) day.  The bluer the sky, the better.

Excess frosting can be formed into “kisses” (with or without chopped toasted Texas pecans folded in) and baked in a low oven (250º) until set.  Use a pastry bag, a spring-loaded scoop or two spoons to dollop your meringue onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet (I like If You Care brand unbleached parchment paper.)

MAPLE ITALIAN MERINGUE FROSTING: enough to generously frost your small cake, plus extra for kisses

  • 2 local egg whites
  • 1 Tablespoon organic sugar
  • ½ cup organic  maple syrup, preferably grade B.  Whole Foods 365 brand is often the best buy.

Pour the maple syrup into a small saucepan, ideally nonstick or enameled.  Bring to a boil on medium heat and clip on a candy thermometer to start measuring the temperature of the syrup.  When the bubbling brew reaches 230º (we’re talkin’ Fahrenheit here), begin to whip your egg whites on low-medium speed.  Once again your stand mixer will perform honorably .

When the egg whites look foamy, add the sugar and raise the mixer speed to medium.  Check on the syrup temperature.  When the boiling syrup reaches 238º it’ll be ready to add to your egg whites and you’ll want your egg whites to have reached the firm peak stage by then.  You can adjust the mixer speed to help synchronize the processes.  Be careful not to overwhip the whites to the “dry” curdled stage.  Slow ’em down if you need to.  When syrup and whites are ready to unite, slowly pour the syrup into the mixer bowl in a steady stream, whipping on medium as you do so.  Avoid pouring the syrup directly onto the beater.

The meringue will expand as you add the hot syrup.  Continue to whip the mixture for at least 5 minutes after you’ve added all the syrup, allowing the meringue to cool to room temperature.  Use right away to frost your cake.

 

Glittereati–Amoebic! January 24, 2010

Filed under: cake,glittereati — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 10:14 am

take me to your cake

gateau geode

 

Cosmic Cowgirl Confers Confiture–Cake it! January 19, 2010

Filed under: cake,dessert,easy — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 5:49 pm

winter's sweet rewards

At a recent yummy gathering of food and folks, local food blogger cosmic cowgirl bestowed gem-like jars of jewel-toned Texas red grapefruit marmalade on lucky lingerers.  That’s right, my favorite fruit, finely preserved.  You know where my booty went—right into a cake!

Check out cosmic cowgirl’s step-by-step illustrated instructions and stretch the local bounty with cannin’ in your canon.

Bake a cake as for the Bonus recipe in my  “Quick Coffee Cake and Bonus” post.  Split the cooled cake into two layers and spread a great local or homemade jam in between.  For this grapefruit version, I glazed my gateau with a simple blend of Texas red grapefruit juice and organic powdered sugar (look for Central Market’s brand for the best value) with a touch of vanilla extract.

Local sweet’s the sweetest!