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like a [phat] kid loves [cheese]cake

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Upside-Down Cranberry CoffeeCake

Yesterday I decided to try my hand at coffeecake for the first time. I found a good recipe from Cooking Light which yielded adequate results, with a few modifications:

1) I didn't have vanilla extract at home, so I substituted 1/2 tsp. maple extract instead. The cake had a nice undertone of maple and was a light golden colour as a result.
2) Whatever you do, make SURE that you have a pretty heavy layer of cranberries, dates, and nuts at the bottom. Otherwise, when you invert the cake, it will fall apart because the topping was not strong enough to create the upside-down effect. I know this because this is exactly what happened to me, and trust me, it was a mess. Luckily, this cake was only for my family, so I could afford to be lax on presentation as long as the product met taste standards (which it did). But if you plan on making this for a brunch or light dessert, then beware!
3) I also used fat-free milk instead of buttermilk, because I can never find fat-free buttermilk anywhere!

Cranberry Upside-Down Coffee Cake

Serve this buttery cake for a make-ahead brunch dish or at the end of a casual meal.

Cooking spray
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/2 cup butter, softened and divided
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. maple extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup fat-free milk

1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cake, coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon flour. Combine cranberries, dates, walnuts, and rind in a bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar, 2 tablespoons juice, and cinnamon; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour brown sugar mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle cranberry mixture evenly over brown sugar mixture.

Lightly spoon 1 1/2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Place granulated sugar and remaining 6 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add maple and egg; beat well. Add flour mixture and fat-free milk alternately to granulated sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon batter over cranberry mixture.

Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack; run a knife around outside edges. Invert cake onto a plate; cool.

To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over cake. Cut cake into squares.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 square)

CALORIES 312 (26% from fat); FAT 9.1g (sat 5.1g,mono 1g,poly 2.3g); IRON 1.2mg; CHOLESTEROL 39mg; CALCIUM 32mg; CARBOHYDRATE 55.7g; SODIUM 236mg; PROTEIN 3g; FIBER 1.4g

Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2006

Monday, January 12, 2009

Double Apple Cake

I adapted this from a cake I found in the Pillsbury Bake-Off grand prize winner cookbook. I don't really like citrus too much, so I swapped it for apple juice, which then inspired me to create an entirely apple-based cake. This recipe creates a huge cake, so make sure to 2/3 the recipe if you are using a smaller, 9x9 pan as opposed to a 12-cup bundt pan or a 13x9 pan as the original calls for.

The glaze was a rich caramel I created using shakkar, a cane sugar that is unrefined, so it is brown and has a nice, sweet aftertaste to it. I do not know if you can find shakkar, here, but I'm sure you can; I had gotten mine from India. If you find any place that sells it here, please let me know!

2 cups all-purpose flour
10 graham crackers, crushed to crumbs
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup apple juice
3 eggs
4 apples, peeled and finely chopped (I wouldn't suggest Granny Smith for they are too sour. Fuji works quite nicely or something similar)
1 cup chopped almonds

1 cup shakkar (or brown sugar)
1 cup heavy cream
3-4 Tbsp. butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and flour 12-cup bundt pan or 13x9 pan.

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl, combine all cake ingredients except nuts; beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Stir in apple and nuts. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool upright in pan 15 minutes; invert onto serving plate; cool completely.

In small saucepan, combine all glaze ingredients over medium heat and bring to a bowl. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until slightly thick, 6-7 minutes. Drizzle over cake.

** The sauce solidifies as it cools. If you have extra, you can simply reheat it and re-use it as normal.