This cake is unfortunately not my idea, nor is it one uniform recipe because I have tried and tested it in different ways over the past few months. Parts of this recipe are gleaned from some amazing bits I have found online and the remaining are from my own experience of trial and error. It is originally known as the Kievsky Cake and is eaten all over Eastern Europe.Read More
Our little family of four (including Orion the Cat) has come around full circle and just as expected, we find ourselves in the same predicament followed by all the right emotions. Back at it again, on round two of the nesting syndrome only this time with a toddler in tow, a little busier than three years ago, and with just as much excitement as the first time...So without further ado since there's much to be done, here I leave you with a cake inspired by one of my utmost favorite bakeries in the world! 85 Degree Bakery & Café which also happened to birth my fondness of sweet & savory coffee. They are renowned for their Taiwanese and Japanese baking influence and thus, their pastries and cakes boast an unbelievably moist and flavorful quality—full of character and timeless originality.Read More
People are always in for a treat when they visit our house. One can put the word 'treat' into perspective as he pleases, but the truth is, I see our neighborhood as an opportunity of sorts. A place that reminds me not to let the appetites of the world consume me too much too quickly, if at all. It isn't a place where neighbors casually greet each other as in the days of old. It isn't even the ideal venue to walk out as one pleases just to make a trip to the store. A place far, much too far from the way Valentina describes the untouched region of Gradara where she and Betty will be hosting a workshop (I hope you go for me, if you can!).Read More
My black sesame roll cake with chocolate whipped cream seemed to strike a chord or two with some of my friends, both those whom I know in real life and those whom I've only had the privilege of exchanging emails with. That was then and it was delicious, I admit. But this version using the sponge cake method is probably a bit better in every way. Granted, it is a sin not to make this a combination of black sesame and chocolate, but the texture in this recipe is what makes it stand out so. Add some creme fraiche whipped cream to the mix and you've got yourself a simple, yet luxurious dessert for your loved ones, or even as a thank-you-for-putting-up with our loud child rearing family gesture to your neighbors.Read More
For me, baking has always been an activity of excitement and finding solitude all at once. It’s managed to build a steady, baking-sized hole in my heart that can’t be satisfied unless I’m in the kitchen whisking away and taste testing for hours—something I can’t comfortably do with a toddler but, I can certainly aspire to achieve in years to come—so for now an hour at a time will do. There is just something strangely rewarding about handling sticky dough and raw batter on most days, but especially amid the Christmas festivities. Our family may not yet have many traditions dictating our holidays, but we do see an endless supply of homemade desserts sweetening the atmosphere of our house. I’ve managed to bake about four times since last week and I’m tickled that my nephew finally joined in the messy process, and, well, so did Selah, but it eventually ended up in a feud over who gets to whisk. Dark chocolate chip cookies for me, white for my sister and brother, and sprinkles for the kids. It’s experiences like these that slow down the angst for many folks, I believe, leading us to a beautiful solitude for remembrance of the birth of Christ.
Now, is baking something I excel in due to years of schooling (which is not true) or just because I’m notoriously skilled like Betty or Michelle? Far from it really, but I do appreciate the fact that I’m never not learning when aiming for the perfect combination of a chewy and crispy chocolate chip cookie or, in this case, the perfect pound cake. A slightly lighter, more delicately flavored pound cake, mind you.
This version of pound cake is, as with all pound cakes, incredibly simple to make and even easier to eat. What’s even better is that most of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry. And if you happen to have black tea or jasmine tea in lieu of earl grey, feel free to use those instead. Thanks to the most talented Stef, I’ve finally found the best method for infusing tea in my baked goods. Most of us have tried incorporating ground tea leaves in our cakes and cookies (guilty as charged) but wound up slightly disappointed by the gritty texture. Like Stef, I, too, have simmered tea bags in milk which fell short in achieving deep flavors. She suggests simmering loose tea in unsalted butter which seems to yield great results. I decided to follow a similar route by heating up several earl grey tea bags in olive oil. Partly because I enjoy the earthiness of olive oil, and partly because I didn’t want melted butter in my pound cake. Most pound cake recipes require no leavening other than the creaming process of butter and sugar, followed by the beating of air into whole eggs. With that in mind, I wanted to use room temperature butter and let the olive oil do the rest.
I enjoy pound cake with fruit on the side and a pairing of yerba mate or coffee. Recipes of this sort are extremely economical and great for putting together last minute for a gathering. May this day bring joy and unity to your home and surroundings, friends. Have a Merry Christmas!
Earl Grey Olive Oil Pound Cake
Makes one bundt cake || With help from Stef
Time: Approximately 1.5 hours including baking
Equipment: Stand mixer or electric beater, bundt pan or pan of your choice, small saucepan for infusing tea
3/4 cup virgin olive oil
4 earl grey tea bags (good quality preferred)
12 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
2 ½ cups granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
6 large eggs
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, packed
1 cup milk
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
Flour+butter for the pan
Preheat oven to 350F ( Celsius). Heat the tea bags with olive oil in a small saucepan for about 2 minutes on medium heat. Turn off heat, let it sit with the tea bags inside and cool almost all the way.
In a large bowl with a beater, or in a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter on high speed for 30 seconds, slowly add sugar, salt, eggs, and continue to mix until well incorporated—about 1 minute. Scrape sides as needed. Then add 2 cups of the flour and mix with the beater just enough to get most of the flour wet on the lowest speed. Add 1 cup milk, the tea infused oil tossing out the tea bags, then add the remaining flour, vanilla, lemon zest, and once again mix on the lowest speed until roughly incorporated.
Lightly butter the sides of the pan including the middle tube, sprinkle with flour, pour in the batter, and bake for approximately 1 hour. You may need to bake longer depending on your oven. Let it cool, slice, and serve with berries or ice cream.
For someone who feels so much aversion towards the taste of pure alcohol, I sure do love my desserts bathed in rum--evaporated rum, that is. I can't tell if it's my love for the ambiguity of bitter-sweet that is to blame for, or recurring memories of childhood weaving through my mind--memories that are so perfectly delightful and fresh that re-living them is quite literally just a blink away. You know, the kind of recollection in which you sense the smell and setup of your surroundings? And without exaggerating matters too much, I can hardly decipher whether it didn't all, indeed, happen yesterday. Those were some great times I had with my best friends Maximiliano and Denis back in Argentina (yes, I was the biggest tomboy), and when Los Tres Mosqueteros, as we nobly called ourselves, were around, good times were bound to be had.
Coming home from school often meant doing anything to scheme my way out of homework until it was probably a bit too late. Admittedly, I wasn't the most responsible six year old, but I also wasn't completely at fault. Because who could resist the smell of cake in the oven drifting from their house right to my doorstep? Through concrete walls and all. Though crammed we were in their cozy little kitchen like a can of sardines, their mom never failed to make us feel useful and appreciated. I imagine she needed to get things done in a rush and didn't always want our unsolicited "help", but the fact that she allowed us to pour the batter and then lick the bowl and spoon, made all the difference for me. She had a knack for preparing cake batter from scratch--a form of art that I wasn't familiar with due to my non-baking Korean upbringing. Oftentimes she would douse the baked product in evaporated rum and I never thought twice about it, since I knew it was the best darn cake to ever grace my six years of life. From that day forward I recall pledging to myself that I, too, would someday be a master baker like she was (from which I'm obviously decades away). I, too, aspire to create these kinds of memories for children starting with Selah, or more immediately, for those of you who take the time to read my weekly ramblings (thank you!).
So I hope you find these cute, childhood inspired upside down cakes worth the try. The slices of pear soaked in rum are to die for when combined with a sweet and fluffy cake batter. I credit their amazing texture to a generous helping of greek yogurt and the extra step of usingsifted flour. It may seem burdensome at first, but I promise that sifting quickly becomes therapeutic, and it will make all the difference when you see those pillowy pockets thanks to the combination of fine, dry ingredients. When the directions state to use 2 cups of sifted flour, I mean that the already-sifted-flour should equal up to 2 cups. In other words, do not sift 2 cups and call it a day because you will end up with too little flour and too much liquid. This may seem like basic advice, but we'd be surprised how many of us make this mistake if we're not paying close attention.
I suggest soaking the pear slices for 1.5-2 hours for mild taste. I'm strongly partial to a distinctive pairing of bitter-sweet though, so I aimed for 3 hours. Greg veers away from all kinds of alcohol when the taste is dominating due to personal reasons, namely his past habits from which he found utmost freedom, so I omitted the rum altogether for him and it turned out perfect as well. I hope you give this a try, friends! Now, I'm curious to know who inspired you to bake and cook!
Rum Drenched Pear and Yogurt Coffee Cake
Makes 5 six inch cakes, or 2 eight inch cakes
Time: 40-50 minutes including baking time, 1.5-2 hours for soaking in rum
Equipment: five 6 inch cake pans (I just used two pans and one large pan)
Ingredients for drenching
2 pears, sliced fairly thin
1 1/2 cups rum
1 stick of cinnamon (optional)
Ingredients for cake
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted room temperature butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp of the remaining rum from drenched pears
Soak the pears about 1.5-2 hours ahead of time. Place pear slices in a bowl, pour the rum, place a cinnamon stick, seal, and soak for 1.5-2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375F (191 celsius). For the cake, sift enough flour to make 2 cups. If you need to, sift it first into a large bowl to ensure you get 2 cups worth. Then gingerly transfer exactly 2 cups (since you might need more or less flour) to a mixing bowl. Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and stir gently a few times. In a separate bowl, add cubed room temp butter, sugar, eggs, greek yogurt, vanilla, rum, and whisk until well incorporated. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and gently fold with a rubber spatula to incorporate. Don't mix too much or it will result in a dense cake.
Place the soaked pear slices through the bottom of your cake pans. Pour cake batter until it's about three-fourths of the way up to the top. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or a little longer until it's golden on top and the middle isn't jiggly. Sprinkle with confectioner sugar or serve with mascarpone cheese, so good!
What fond memories do you have of spending time in the kitchen as a child?