I can smell the peach aroma as soon as I walk into the market. It is sweet, floral and distinctive. Instantly, the peach scent produces an urge in me to make a pie. I follow the scent to their location and examine the peaches, taking in the glory of a massive display. Once satisfied, I look and listen to any orange hued fuzzy globes that speak to me, then make a selection and breath in its’ perfume. I wonder how many days must pass before they are ripe enough to eat. The summer sunset colors are seductive, so I gather up a collection and bag them for home.
Once home, my peaches are carefully placed on my kitchen windowsill to soak in the western sun. With gratitude and anticipation, I watch over the sun-drenched peaches and wait for the fruit to ripen.
My favorite way to eat peaches is as nature intended ripe, fresh and unadorned. Typically, I eat them standing in front of the kitchen sink, and with each bite into the sweet and yielding flesh, I feel the squirt of peach juice dripping down my chin. The taste is sweet and refreshing at the same time, like the first morning sip of orange juice after a long nights’ sleep. Ah, how I love summer peaches in all their glory.
Originally, I planned to make a galette. I love galettes and often make them for dessert. However, I changed my mind because I wanted to make something different. Once I get that curiosity itch I can’t stop. An idea came to mind for making a dessert I have not made in a long time, sabayon. Sabayon layered with fresh fruit is a delightful dessert and one that deserves to be served on a regular basis.
Sabayon is the French name for Zabayon, which is an Italian egg foam dessert. It is a delicate dessert made with egg yolks and wine, or Marsala. Eggs and wine are gently warmed and whisked together, creating a luscious and foamy sauce. It is light and creamy with a sweetness that perfectly complements fresh fruit.
Sabayon is usually chilled and the egg foam is folded into whipped cream. The whipped cream gives it a similar texture to mousse, and is less foamy than Zabayon. Because it is also chilled, sabayon is prepared ahead of time. Thus, it makes a perfect dessert for entertaining. Unlike sabayon, zabayon does not have cream and is served immediately while still warm and frothy. Both options are elegant dessert sauces.
Peaches and Bourbon Sabayon
Peaches combined with berries and complimented by the sweet boozy sabayon is smooth, nutty and airy. I forgot how exquisite this dessert is. Every bite is a fruity explosion tempered with warm and subdued notes of bourbon, basil and sabayon. Bourbon sabayon is not as airy as my Lemon Mousse, but it satisfies just the same.
Sabayon is a great way to dress up a fresh fruit dessert. It does not take long to make, but it does take some practice, confidence and whisking power. It is important to control the heat and prevent the egg yolks from cooking and scrambling. The eggs require gentle heat and constant whisking. The process can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your set up and how many eggs you are using. The result is all about keeping the yolks at the right temperature and vigorously whisking them into a thickened foamy sauce.
Traditionally, Marsala or a sweet sparkling wine, is used for sabayon and zabayon. Bourbon and peaches pair well together so I decided to try it with sabayon. I also added a touch of orange juice and zest to cut some of the sharp boozy notes. However, I noticed a difference in texture between sabayon with bourbon vs. with Marsala. The bourbon sabayon does not get as frothy, but it still works and I like the caramelized flavor with the peaches.
Summer Loves Peaches
This post is part of a collaborative project between food enthusiasts and bloggers. On June 29th, 2017, we are all celebrating the summer by posting a recipe featuring peaches. You can follow along on social medial and see what everyone else made using the hashtag, #summerlovespeaches. Below are links to all the #summerlovespeaches participants websites.
Sabayon makes a luscious sauce to layer between, or mound over fresh fruit. It makes for an elegant dessert and perfect for an intimate dinner with friends or family. Sabayon with fruit tastes best when it is assembled right before serving. The sabayon and raspberry sauce can be made ahead and kept chilled in the refrigerator. Peeling and slicing the peaches will take some time, and should not be done too far in advance. Once that is complete, assembly is simple and quick.
For this recipe, I selected bourbon as my spirit of choice because it pairs nicely with peaches. You can substitute Marsala or a sweet sparkling wine if you prefer. Any alcohol beverage like rum, brandy, fruit brandy, whiskey or wine should work. When selecting your spirit keep in mind how it pairs with what your are serving the sabayon with.
Slivered basil leaves are also added for extra panache. Mint leaves are nice additions as well.
Included is a raspberry sauce recipe adapted from, Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison. She makes this sauce with blackcap raspberries, or black raspberries. If you can find them, their distinctive flavor is delicious. Fresh or frozen berries can be used to make the sauce.
My sabayon recipe is inspired by and adapted from Peaches and Raspberries Layered with Honey Sabayon in Seasonal Fruit Desserts by Deborah Madison.
4 egg yolks
2 TB (27 g) granulated sugar
3 TB (45 ml) Bourbon
1 TB (15 ml) fresh squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream
zest from half an orange
2 cups (500 ml) fresh or frozen raspberries
2 TB (27 g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (75 ml) water
Lemon juice to taste, around 1 teaspoon
6 ripe peaches
2 TB basil, thinly sliced - chiffonade (optional or substitute with fresh mint leaves)
1- 6 oz (175 g) basket raspberries
1- 6 oz (175 g) basket blackberries
1/4 cup (60 ml) raspberry sauce
Prepare a medium saucepan and fill with about an inch of water. Measure the bourbon and orange juice and keep in a measuring cup close to your work area. Add the egg yolks to a bowl that will easily fit over your saucepan, but will not touch the water. Add the sugar to the egg yolks placing the sugar to the side of the yolks.
Turn on the heat to medium and place your bowl over your saucepan. Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in the bowl. Continue to whisk the eggs until it gets light and frothy. Slowly add the bourbon and orange juice and continue to whisk. The eggs should double in volume, become lighter and creamy looking. You do not want to scramble the eggs, so keep the temperature low and constantly whisk. You can move the bowl on and off the heat while you are whisking to control the temperature and make sure your water is not boiling.
The eggs are done when they have doubled in size, and there is no liquid left in the bowl, and everything is frothy. About 10 - 15 minutes, depending on the shape and size of your bowl and temperature. A recommended temperature when the sabayon done, is around 150F (65C) on an instant read thermometer.
Remove the bowl with the eggs off the heat and continue to whisk for another five minutes to cool.
Cover the frothy eggs with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
Whip the heavy cream and zest from half an orange until soft peaks are formed. Fold the whipped cream into chilled sabayon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
Make the raspberry sauce
Add the raspberries, sugar and water to a small saucepan. Bring the fruit to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Cook the berries at a high simmer for 3 minutes. Pour the raspberry liquid over a fine mesh strainer, catching the sauce in a bowl underneath. Press the pulp through the strainer. This will take some time, as the pulp clings to the seeds, but keep at it and you will be rewarded with a delicious berry sauce. The back side of a flat spoon is a great tool to press the pulp through the mesh. Scrape off any pulp from the underside of the strainer and add to the bowl. Discard the seeds. Cover and chill the sauce until needed. Will last 3 days in the refrigerator.
Prepare the fruit
Fill a large stock pot with water and bring the water to a boil. Partially fill a large bowl with ice and water. Set aside near your stove.
Lightly score the peaches with a crisscross pattern across the pointed south pole of the fruit.
When the water is boiling, add the peaches and boil for 30 - 40 seconds. If your peaches are large and not as ripe, they will need the longer time. Quickly remove the peaches from the boiling water and put them in the ice bath to stop the cooking.
Once cooled, peel away the skin from the peach flesh starting at the crisscross center. The skin should easily peel away. Use a sharp paring knife to assist you at any stubborn parts.
Cut the peaches in half and slice into 1/2 inch wedges and place in a bowl. Add the basil and gently mix together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to serve the sabayon.
Assemble the Sabayon
You have at least two choices for how to present the sabayon. Use a tall wine glass or flute, and layer the sabayon between layers of fruit and raspberry sauce. Or, fill each glass with fruit and raspberry sauce, then top off the fruit with sabayon. Either way looks inviting and tastes delicious.
Assemble the sabayon right before you serve it for dessert.
Best eaten the day it is made.
The most time-consuming part is peeling and slicing all the peaches. Everything else is done within a 15-minute time frame.
The peaches will get soggy and discolor if you slice them too early, and it sits around for a while.
Deborah Madison recommends you can make the sabayon earlier in the day, then fold in the whipped cream one to two hours ahead of time. Peel and slice the peaches before you sit down for dinner. Assemble the dessert right before serving.
Every celebration deserves a fun dessert, and for Cinco de Mayo I discovered Coconut Pie. This pie is from the Yucatecan region of Mexico with a nutty crust and a creamy fresh coconut filling. This is not a custard pie, more like a giant nutty coconut macaroon. Coconut pie has a nice balance of sweet, nutty and light caramel flavors with crumbly and chewy textures.
This recipe originated from Rick Bayless, Yucatecan-Style Fresh Coconut Pie, in Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen. My intention was to make his coconut pie recipe as directed with fresh coconut, then adapt it. Unfortunately, my first pie did not work out as I planned, and left me with more unanswered questions than not.
The truth is, after cracking open my coconut, the shell had moldy looking spots on the inside. This unappetizing vision shattered my tropical dream and forced me to consider if the coconut was going bad. So, instead of reveling in fresh coconut perfume and fantasizing about sunny Mexican beaches, I scoured the world wide web. Google, “Do coconuts go bad?” The unanimous answer is, yes. Normally I am up for any culinary adventure, but this experience left me feeling there was too much work involved for something with a high chance of not working out.
Nowadays, coconut products are widely available in all stores. Purchased coconut water and dried shredded coconut may not be fresh, but they have their merits. The biggest merit being, I could confidently buy them seeing the expiration date in clear view. But more importantly, buying the coconut water, coconut flour, and shredded coconut made it easier to make this delicious pie.
About Double Coconut Pie
Traditionally, Pay de Coco, Estilo Yucateco has an almond and breadcrumb crust and filled with grated fresh coconut, slivered almonds and condensed milk. Rick Bayless altered the traditional coconut pie recipe by replacing the condensed milk with a reduction of fresh coconut water and heavy cream. He essentially made a condensed milk, but with extra coconut flavor.
I liked his idea of using coconut water, but because I planned to buy it, I needed to figure out how much to use. Based on the amount of coconut water that dribbled out of my expired coconut, I estimated a 1/2 cup of coconut water. You could add more, 3/4 cup, but keep in mind the time needed to reduce the cream will take longer.
Gluten Free Double Coconut Pie
As much as I wanted to make a traditional Mexican dessert, the original crust seemed dry. Additionally, I wanted to make a gluten-free pie. Alice Medrich has a delicious gluten-free pie crust recipe in Flavor Flours, using coconut flour and shredded coconut. I believed if I adapted her recipe and substituted it for the traditional one, the integrity of the Yucatecan pie would still be intact. Also, this gluten-free coconut pie crust adds extra cookie-like texture and doubles the coconut flavor. I included ground almonds in the crust with the shredded coconut to keep the warm nutty flavor of the traditional coconut pie recipe.
With my recipe adjustments, I made coconut pie easier to make, yet maintain the appeal of the original recipe. By using store-bought products I cut down on the time commitment, and the risk of buying a bad coconut. If I ever live in a tropical environment, I will certainly make it with fresh coconut. Until then, my tropical daydreams will continue while enjoying coconut pie. Not only is this a great dessert to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, it will be well received any time of the year.
This is a luscious pie and a great combination of a coconut and almond crust with a creamy coconut filling. A double coconut treat. It is not too sweet and had wonderful coconut flavor. The original recipe is made with fresh coconut, but I adapted it to be easier to make. Feel free to make this with fresh coconut if you wish.
Best served warm and with a dollop of creme fraiche or ever so slightly sweetened whipped cream.
Also, delicious drizzled with melted dark chocolate.
You will need a 9 inch / 23 cm tart pan with a removable bottom.
The pie recipe is adapted from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen by Rick Bayless.
The pie crust recipe is adapted from Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich.
1 cup / 122 g almond slivers
1/2 cup / 112 g granulated sugar
1/2 cup / 40 g coconut flour
1/2 cup plus 1 Tb/ 50 g unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
6 Tbs / 85 g unsalted butter - very soft
1 large egg white
1/2 cup / 125 ml coconut water
1 cup / 250 ml heavy cream
2/3 cup / 147 g granulated sugar
2 1/2 cup grated dried coconut - flaky coconut 1 1/4 cup / 94 g, and shredded coconut 1 1/4 cup / 105 g - plus more flaky coconut for garnish
3 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven for 325F / 160C / Gas Mark 3. Place the almonds on a sheet pan and toast in the oven until lightly golden, about 7-10 minutes. Halfway through the toasting, stir the almonds and turn the sheet pan from front to back.
Once toasted, measure 1/2 cup / 61 grams of the almonds and set aside for the pie filling.
Put the remaining almonds and the sugar in a food processor and pulse until the almonds have a fine texture.
In a medium size bowl, mix the almond-sugar, coconut flour, shredded coconut, baking powder, salt, softened butter and egg white until well combined. Your clean hands will do the best job of getting everything all mixed through.
Press the coconut / almond mixture evenly across the bottom and up the sides of a tart pan. The sides should be thicker than the bottom of the pan.
Place the pan on a sheet pan and bake in the oven for 12 minutes, or just starting to turn golden at the edge. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside.
Raise the oven temperature to 350F / 175 C/ Gas Mark 4
While the crust is baking, simmer the coconut water, heavy cream and granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the liquid to 1 cup / 250 ml. It could take from 15-20 minutes from the time the cream reaches a good simmer. The cream will become thicker and lightly golden. And bubbles will be larger and less foamy. I measure it in a heat proof liquid measure just to make sure.
Add the reduced cream to a mixing bowl, then add the reserved slivered almonds, shredded and flaky coconut, egg yolks, and vanilla. Stir until well combined and spoon into the pie crust. Make sure the filling is up against the sides. Place the pie on a sheet pan then bake in the middle rack in the oven for 30 - 35 minutes until lightly golden. Check the pie half way through and make sure the crust is not browning too much. Cover the edge with foil if needed
While the pie is baking, scatter a couple of handfuls of flaky coconut on a sheet pan and toast in the oven with the pie, until it is just beginning to brown in the oven. Watch the coconut carefully so it does not get too dark and burn. About 4-5 minutes. Slide the toasted coconut on a plate to cool. Set aside.
Once finished, cool the pie on a wire rack for 10 minutes then slip off the rim of the tart pan by placing the tart on top of a secure glass, and easily slide the side rim down. This will help prevent the crust from sticking.
The pie slices easier when it is cool or cold, but tastes best warm. If you wish, completely cool the pie or chill it, then slice the pie into serving pieces and warm in the oven.
Garnish with toasted coconut flakes and creme fraiche.
It turns out for the past half century I missed out on a special dessert. I recently learned this dessert originated in Oregon in the 60’s, then variations developed all over California. I was there. How did I, or anyone in my family or friends, not know about this? If it was hot in Eureka, it was hot in San Francisco. Despite the gravitational pull of anything pink had on me then, this popular and pink dessert slipped by unnoticed. Pink Champagne Cake was a popular dessert in the 60’s but I believe a resurgence is in order. It is a beautiful tower of pale pink cake and buttercream, flavored with pink champagne.
I first discovered it in a cookbook,American Cakeby Anne Byrn. My thoughtful sister gave me this book because she knows how much I like to research the history and story behind the food I make. It is a great cookbook about the history of cakes in America with recipes from the 17th century to present time. Pictured right on the cover is a beautiful pink cake garnished with white chocolate and bright pink rose petals. It is a true sight of beauty and elegance. Apparently, as Anne Byrn explained, pink champagne was a popular drink in the 60’s among hip California women. It also became a popular color from jewelry to shag carpets. This cake was created to ride the Pink Champagne trend. I love seeing how food culture and popular culture connect and influence each other.
Pink champagne cake is the first recipe I have made from this book and it is an unexpected winner. I was not sure how it would taste, but the subtle flavors balance with the light texture. The cake is moist and made with egg whites, like a chiffon cake, but is slightly denser because of the butter. The frosting is very sweet, and even though it is a buttercream Confectioners sugar is the dominant ingredient. There are several types of buttercreams and this recipe I consider is an American buttercream. They usually are not as smooth as European buttercreams and have a lot more sugar.
I made pink champagne cake twice, first as written, and the second time with a different buttercream. American buttercream is not my favorite frosting. They tend to be too sweet and slightly gritty from all the powdered sugar. Instead, I used a recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaumcookbook, The Cake Bible. Her buttercream recipe is light, silky smooth, not as sweet, and very buttery. I thought the texture of this mousseline buttercream matched the light texture of the cake. I also added some strawberry purée because strawberry adds a little more depth to the pink champagne buttercream. This is an American cake, but the European buttercream is a lot nicer and more elegant than the American one. Anne Byrn shared her recipe on Food 52 if you want to see her original.
One downside, the mousseline buttercream is not an easy frosting for a beginner to make. It helps to have a confident eye and hand that experience develops. There is always a first time. Be patient and give yourself plenty of time to make this. You will also need a candy thermometer, or a good instant read thermometer that goes up to 255˚F (124˚C). My version is somewhat of a production between the strawberry purée, buttercream, the cake, and all the layers. The original frosting is a lot easier to make.
If you want to bake this cake, but are unsure about making a European buttercream, make the original frosting from the recipe provided in the Food 52 link. However, taste as you add the sugar. The frosting is very sweet. When I made it, I cut back on the amount of sugar by two cups and I still thought it was too sweet. I added lemon juice and lemon zest to cut the sweetness.
The original recipe is a three layer cake. It is a beauty to look at, but I thought making six layers with strawberry mousseline buttercream would be a nice way to add more strawberry flavor throughout the cake. I am a little embarrassed by how uneven my layers came out. I have not had this issue before. In the past my measure and marking technique has been successful in creating even layers. I believe the cakes were more domed shaped than I realized. I do work hard to be consistent. However, wouldn’t you know the one time I am documenting my work for reference and prosperity, it does not turn out the way I want it to. As I always say, “This is how you know it is homemade. It is perfect in its’ imperfections.”
Springtime is the beginning of a lot of special occasions, and Spring is one of them. After a long winter who doesn’t want to come out and celebrate the new season’s emerging life. No more dormancy and short days. Life is blooming all around and that alone is worth celebrating. It is also the beginning of Easter, Passover, more birthdays, graduations, bridal showers, baby showers, bachelorette parties, weddings, and anniversaries. Pink Champagne Cake is the perfect cake to make for these momentous occasions.
A special cake for any celebration. Pink champagne adds a light flavor to the cake and the buttercream for a very delicate party cake. Strawberries and white chocolate complement the delicate champagne flavor to make the cake shine. Pink champagne cake was popular in California during the 1960’s.
Best eaten the day the day it is made and assembled, but will last for a couple of days unrefrigerated.
This cake recipe is from American Cake by Anne Byrn. The buttercream and strawberry puree recipes are slightly adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. The amount of buttercream in my recipe will cover an 8 inch 6-layer cake, which is one and a half of the original recipe. Listed in the notes section, are the ingredient amounts if you want to make a 3-layer cake.
Three recipes make up this cake and the prep and cook times are listed in the instructions for each recipe. Give yourself plenty of time. All three recipes can be made in advance.
Butter and flour for preparing three 8-inch cake pans
3 cups / 348g cake flour*
1 Tbs / 16g baking powder
½ tsp Kosher salt
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1 cup / 250ml pink champagne, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 cups / 447g granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) / 226g unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pink food coloring*
20 oz / 567g frozen strawberries with no added sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
2-3 tsp granulated sugar (optional)
Pink Champagne Mousseline Buttercream
3 cups (6 sticks) 1 ½ lb / 680g unsalted butter, soften but still cool
1 ½ cups / 332g granulated sugar, divided
⅓ cup / 75 ml water
7 large egg whites, room temperature
¾ tsp + ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
3 fl oz / 90 ml / 5-7 Tbs pink champagne, room temperature
Finely grated zest from one lemon
Pink food coloring*
½ cup / 125 ml strawberry purée
Decorate with shaved white chocolate, or sliced strawberries, or grated coconut, or edible rose petals, or other candy garnishes
Strawberry Purée -Takes about 20 - 30 minutes to make, not including the defrosting time.
Start defrosting the strawberries the day before or first thing in the morning. They will take several hours for the strawberries to defrost and release their juice. Suspend a colander over a large mixing bowl. Add the frozen strawberries to the colander and let the strawberries thaw out and release their own juices. Occasionally press down on the strawberries to encourage the juices to release. You should get close to 1 1/4 cup juice.
In a small saucepan, pour in the strawberry juice and turn the heat to medium high. Reduce the juice to about 1/4 cup.
Purée the strawberry pulp in a food processor until smooth. There will be some texture because of the seeds, but you want it as smooth as you can.
When the strawberry juice is reduced add the strawberry puree and stir. Add the lemon juice and taste the strawberries. Depending on how tart or sweet the strawberries taste, add about 2 -3 teaspoons of granulated sugar. You will not want it very sweet because the buttercream will be sweet. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the strawberry purée into a heat proof glass measuring cup. You should have about 1 ¼ cup. The purée can be stored in an airtight container for 10 days in the refrigerator, or frozen for up to one year.
Cake - Takes about 20 minutes to mix, about 25 minutes to bake, 40 minutes - 1 hour to cool
Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350˚F/ 175˚C / Gas Mark 4
Prepare 3, 8-inch cake pans. Cut a circle of parchment paper for each pan, large enough to fit inside your cake tins. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of each pan, then coat with a light dusting of cake flour around the sides and bottom. Tap the pan against the counter to release any excess flour. Discard the excess flour. Place the parchment paper circles inside each cake tin. Set aside.
Place the flour, baking powder, and Kosher salt inside a medium size bowl. Mix the flour mixture with a wire whisk to get all the ingredients thoroughly mixed together. Set aside.
Place the egg whites, champagne, vanilla and oil in a medium mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly mixed through. Set aside.
Put granulated sugar and butter in a bowl of a stand mixer, or large bowl if using a handheld mixer. Mix on medium speed until lighter and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula.
Turn the speed on low and add a portion of the flour to the butter, and mix. Then add a portion of the egg whites to the bowl and mix. With the beater on, alternate adding the flour and the egg whites to the butter, ending with the flour.
Turn off the mixer and stir in one tiny drop of pink food coloring. Stir by hand until all mixed through.
Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans.
Place all three pans in the oven on the center rack and bake until the cake is lightly golden brown, the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pans, and a cake tester comes out clean when poked in the center of each cake. About 23-27 minutes. Be careful not to overbake the cakes. The cakes will taste dry if they are overbaked.
Place the cakes in the pan on cooling racks and cool for 10 minutes. After the cakes have cooled for 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of each cake pan to loosen the cakes. Turn the cake upside down resting the top of the cake in one hand, and pull the pan away. Carefully peel off the parchment paper and place the cake right side up on the cooling rack. Repeat for the remaining cakes. Cool completely before frosting. Can be made in advance. Wrap each cake tightly with plastic wrap and store on the counter for 1 day.
Pink Champagne Buttercream- Takes about 20 to 30 minutes to make.
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter with a hand-held mixer until smooth. Set aside away from any heat source.
Place a heatproof glass measuring cup to the side next to the stove where you will be working. In a small heavy saucepan heat 1 cup plus 3 Tbs sugar and 3/8 of a cup (90 ml) of water over medium high heat. Stir the sugar in the water until it is completely dissolved and the liquid is bubbly. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting. (If using an electric range turn off the heat and set the saucepan aside).
In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until the egg whites form soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar, one tablespoon at a time to the egg whites, and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Turn off the mixer and return your attention back to the sugar syrup.
Turn the heat up to high and boil the sugar syrup until it reaches the temperature of 248˚F - 250˚F (120˚C) using a candy thermometer or an instant read thermometer. Pour the syrup into the heatproof glass measuring cup to stop the cooking.
Return to the egg whites and turn the speed up to high speed. If using a handheld mixer, slowly drizzle the syrup into the egg whites without the syrup touching the beaters. If you are using a stand mixer, turn the speed off, add a little of the syrup, then turn the speed up to high and beat for 5 seconds and stop. Repeat the process until the syrup is added into the egg whites, scraping the clinging syrup with a rubber spatula to get every drop. If you get the syrup on the whisk or beaters, the syrup will just spray over the sides of the bowl and not mix into the egg whites. Once all the syrup is added, turn the speed down to medium and beat for a couple of minutes to cool the whipped egg whites.
On low speed, beat in the whipped butter into the cool egg whites, one tablespoon at a time. The buttercream will look thin at first, but it will eventually thicken up. If at any time the buttercream starts to look curdled, stop adding butter and turn the speed up a little. Beat until smooth. Once smooth, continue to add the butter one tablespoon at a time until done.
Lower the speed and add in the pink champagne and lemon zest, and beat in. Add one tiny drop of pink food coloring and mix until thoroughly mixed through. (Can be made in advance up to this point, keep in the refrigerator for 2 days or freeze).
Measure in a dry measuring cup, 2 ¾ cup (685 ml) buttercream and place in a medium mixing bowl. Set the remaining buttercream aside. Add ½ cup (125ml) cooled strawberry purée to the buttercream and beat by hand until mixed together. Cover both bowls of buttercream and keep on the counter away from any heat until you are ready to assemble the cake.
Putting it all together- About 30 minutes to assemble.
For a 6-layer cake, measure with a ruler the height of each cake and mark the center with a toothpick. Measure and mark the center point around the circumference of each cake. The toothpicks are your guide to cut each cake in half through the middle. With a long serrated knife, rest the serrated edge up against the side of a cake and on top of the toothpicks. With a gently sawing motion cut through the cake, paying attention to your markers and turning the cake as you work your way around the circumference, and then through the middle of the cake. Repeat for each cake. Keep the pairs together. Select which cake layer is going to be your top layer and set aside.
Take apart one divided cake and place the bottom portion of the cake on your cake plate.
Spread ½ cup (125ml) of the strawberry buttercream over the top of the cake. Make a smooth and level layer of buttercream. Place the top portion of the cake on top of your frosted layer and spread ½ cup (125 ml) of strawberry buttercream evenly and smoothly across the top.
Continue to stack and frost the tops of each layer with ½ cup (125ml) strawberry buttercream until you get to the top layer. The strawberry buttercream is to be used only for the middle layers of frosting. While you are stacking your cake layers, try to get them as level as possible. Trim off the top of each layer if they are uneven, before you frost the layers.
For a three layer cake frost each layer with 3/4 cup pink champagne buttercream or strawberry pink champagne buttercream.
Once the layers are assembled, spread a thin "crumb" layer of pink champagne buttercream around the top and sides of the cake. This is to get the cake frosted with a thin protective layer so the crumbs won't show through the frosting. Once done, spread more buttercream all over the top and working down the sides of the cake for a nice finishing layer of buttercream. Frost as much as wanted or needed.
Decorate the cake with shaved white chocolate over the top of the cake and extra strawberries for decoration.
Keep the cake in a cool spot loosely covered with aluminum foil up to 2 days unrefrigerated. Best if eaten the day it is assembled.
Cake flour has less gluten and produces a more delicate cake than with all-purpose flour. If you like to bake cakes, cake flour is nice to have around. Swans Down and Softasilk are two brands that sell cake flour. Do not buy self-rising cake flour. If you do not want to buy cake flour, or cannot get some, substitute 1 cup of all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour, plus 2 Tbs cornstarch for every cup of cake flour. Recipe from The Kitchn
Ingredient amounts for buttercream if you want to make a 3-layer cake:
Unsalted butter - 1 lb / 454g (4 sticks),
Sugar - 1 cup / 200 g,
Water - ¼ cup / 2oz 60 ml,
5 large egg whites,
Cream of tartar - ½ + ⅛ teaspoon,
Pink Champagne - up to 3 fl oz or 90 ml, Tiny drop of pink food coloring.
Use 3/4 cup of buttercream between the three layers, instead of 1/2 cup.
I used Wilton Liquid food coloring - Base Pink. Wilton also makes a gel food coloring in pink.
There is no occasion too ordinary that does not deserve recognition and celebration. For any reason, be it a birthday, anniversary, honor your national heritage, a promotion, or simply because the whole family is together, a celebratory acknowledgement is welcome and cake is the perfect finale.
If you are partial to chocolate cake, then chocolate stout cake is a terrific stand in. This is a very moist cake with deep dark chocolate flavor. Guinness Stout enriches the chocolate without any boozy aftertaste. Adding the Guinness to the cake makes a moist cake with deep malty and dark chocolate flavor. The extra bonuses are, it is simple to make, baked in one pan, and does not require fancy cake decorating skills. Chocolate Stout Cake is perfect in its simplicity as well as flavor.
I believe chocolate stout cake would taste delicious by itself without frosting, or just simply topped with whipped cream. Yet, it is nice to give cake more pizzazz and a creamy rich frosting will compliment the dark chocolate. Also, adding white frosting creates a cake that resembles a pint of stout. Many recipes frost chocolate stout cake with dark chocolate ganache, or cream cheese frosting. Fortunately, I discovered one made with white chocolate and cream cheese frosting and that sealed the deal for me. Normally, cream cheese frosting does not excite me, but add some white chocolate to it, I just knew it would be spectacular.
Baking with stout is not a novel idea. According to Anne Byrn in her book American Cake, people across the globe have baked with ale, porters and cider for ages. Centuries ago people used to make their own ale or cider. This common ingredient was often included in baked goods to keep cakes moist and add extra flavor. During that time, cakes were cooked inside a cast iron pot with a lid and placed directly on top the hot embers of the home fire. These were not like the delicate cakes that we now know and love, but hearty ones with preserved and fermented ingredients.
Traditional Irish Stout Cake is more like a spice cake with raisins and citrus. The origin of this type of cake could date back several hundred years. I am not sure when chocolate stout cake became popular in Ireland, or the US, yet I believe it was an inevitable pairing. Chocolate and stout are perfect mates.
My recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake is a combination of three recipes. From my research, I discovered Chocolate Stout Cake is not for the faint at heart. One recipe I found uses a pound of butter for one cake. That is more like a pound cake with all that butter. I was hoping for something not so heavy, and kept searching for a “lighter” version. Nigella Lawson’s recipe from the New York Times came through. Her recipe for Chocolate Guinness Cake uses only 10 tablespoons of butter, and another bonus includes 1 cup of Guinness. The other recipes I found used a half cup of stout. This was an easy decision to make, less butter… more stout. I believe that is a fair trade.
I was thrilled when I discovered Donal Skehan’s recipe for White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. His Chocolate Guinness Cake recipe is like the other ones I researched, but his idea of adding white chocolate to the cream cheese frosting is brilliant. The past few times I made frosting with white chocolate has been nothing but extraordinary.
Additionally, I discovered a recipe for stout simple syrup from Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith. I added chili powder to the syrup then drizzled it over the frosting. I thought the stout syrup would resemble the amber stout making its way up through the white foam in a pint. Honestly, I could drizzle this stuff on anything. Right now, I am wondering how it would work in whipped cream, ice cream, or espresso martinis.
I am sure there are many potential adaptations for my pieced together cake. Most recipes for Stout cake select Guinness as the stout of choice. Fortunately, there are so many stouts to choose from, why not have some fun with it? I may try a stout from a local microbrewery the next time I make Chocolate Stout Cake.
Chocolate Stout Cake is a perfect cake to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. Yet, it is too delicious to serve only once a year. I know I will want to make it for any time good cheer is on the menu.
Chocolate Stout Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Next time you are in the mood for chocolate cake, Chocolate Stout Cake will give you that chocolate flavor you crave. The addition of Guinness stout makes this delicious chocolate stout cake very moist with some extra lift. The stout makes the chocolate richer without a boozy taste. The white chocolate cream cheese frosting is a delicious compliment to the dark chocolate cake. A luscious double chocolate treat.
This recipe is from three recipes: Cake from Nigella Lawson's, Chocolate Guinness Cake via the New York Times. The white chocolate cream cheese frosting is from Chocolate Guinness Cake by Donal Skehan. The Stout Syrup is from Stout Float by Steve McDonagh and Dan Smith from the Food Network.
Chocolate Stout Cake
1 cup / 8oz / 250ml Guinness Stout, or your favorite stout
10 Tbs / 5oz / 132g of unsalted butter plus more for greasing the pan
3/4 cup / 2 ½ oz / 70g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups / 1 lb / 450g sugar
2 cups / 10oz / 291g all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup / 6oz / 200ml sour cream
2 large eggs
1 Tb vanilla extract
White Chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
7 oz / 200g good quality white chocolate, 30% cocoa butter
4 oz / 125g unsalted butter at room temperature
1- 225g package cream cheese
1½ cups / 225g confectioners sugar
Stout Syrup (optional)
1 cup / 225g granulated sugar
1-12 oz / 355 ml bottle Guinness Stout
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 inch / 23cm springform pan. Add a parchment paper liner to the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pan add the butter and stout. Turn the heat to medium low and stir occasionally until the butter has melted. Once the butter is melted, remove from the heat and add the sugar and cocoa powder. Whisk together until well combined. Let cool for 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl add the flour and baking soda and whisk together to get the baking soda evenly mixed through. Make a well in the flour and add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture, the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Mix together until thoroughly combined.
Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 45 min - 1 hr, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Place on a wire rack and cool the cake in the pan.
Stout Syrup (optional)
If using make the stout syrup while the cake is baking.
Pour the stout and sugar in a medium saucepan and turn the heat up to medium high. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat then simmer the liquid until it becomes thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes or more. Let the syrup cool before using.
White chocolate and Cream Cheese Frosting
Melt the white chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler. As soon as it is melted remove from the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
In a bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or large mixing bowl with a hand held mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth and light. This will take awhile. Periodically stop beating and scrape down the sides of the bowl so it mixes evenly.
Add the cooled white chocolate to the cream cheese and butter, and mix together at medium speed.
Sift the confectioners sugar, then gradually add it into the white chocolate and cream cheese. Mix on low speed between each addition of confectioners sugar. Once all the confectioners sugar is added, beat the frosting until smooth.
Putting it all together
Run a knife around the edge of the cake pan to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Release the latch from the springform pan and lift the rim away from the cake. Loosen the bottom of the cake from the pan with an icing spatula or knife, then remove the bottom of the pan. Holding the cake upside down, carefully peel off the parchment paper. Place the cake on a serving plate.
Spread the frosting across the top of the cake. The cake will look like a pint of stout with the dark bottom and the white cloudy top.
(optional) Drizzle the stout syrup randomly across the top of the frosting on the cake. Swirl a knife through the stout syrup drizzle to create a random pattern.
Serve and enjoy. The cake tastes best at room temperature and eaten the day it is made.
There is no denying it, the heat is turned on and the leaves are turning and dropping. Summer is over. Fall has established itself and cast a deciduous mosaic of red, orange, yellow, brown, and green leaves gleaming across the hillsides. Along with the change of season, the tempo has picked up. The quiet and relaxed pace of summer is replaced with back to business with intense purpose. No more half days on Fridays.
Despite the hurried tempo, cooler temperatures, and reminder that winter is not too far away, I love fall. It is a great time to play outside, hiking, gardening, sightseeing and foraging the last of the season’s bounty. Even though the growing season is ending, there continues to be an ample selection of vegetables and fruits to buy at the market before everything dies down for the winter. Fall belongs to apples, winter squash, pears, persimmons, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and so much more.
I visited a local apple orchard, Stuart’s Fruit Farm, on Columbus Day. It was heartwarming to see many couples, families, or just friends walking around the orchard picking apples, enjoying a crisp and sunny fall day. Children’s laughter and the excited child pitch, “I got one!” echoed across the orchard. Glee, family love, activity, and the sweet aroma of fermenting apples with trampled grass enveloped me as I walked about. I saw in the faces of the playing children the reflection of my own children as preschoolers, running and climbing around the same trees. When you are surrounded by your history, it is easy to see how simultaneously time stands still and moves forward.
I am grateful that Stuarts Fruit Farm is still here. A lot of apple orchards sold off their land to developers in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. The land is very valuable and farming work is difficult to make profitable. Stuart’s Fruit Farm recently received grants and secured a conservation easement from The Westchester Land Trust. These combined efforts will protect the farm land from development and allow the Stuart Family to own the land and continue to farm there. Stuarts has been an operating family farm since 1828, and is the “oldest working family farm in Westchester County,” (LoHud July 11, 2016).
I went to Stuarts with two purposes, take photographs of the apple orchard and buy apples. I feel so fortunate to be able to drive 6 minutes and step out on farm land. It is so close to home, I could ride my bike, or walk to the farm if I was so inspired. I love being able to go out in my neighborhood buy fruit and vegetables grown on the very same land. It is amazing to me that I live in a suburban NYC metropolitan area and have an apple orchard in my neighborhood. The additional bonus is it is not the only family farm in the Somers/Yorktown area.
I returned home with a memory card full of images, a bag full of apples, and a desire to make apple pie. Being that it was late in the afternoon, I did not have enough time to prepare a pie crust, so I decided on one of my best and easiest dessert recipes I have, Swedish Apple Pie. It is the perfect recipe for any last-minute impulse bake or invitation to dine. Swedish Apple Pie is more like a cake in texture, but because apples are the main ingredient, it satisfies like a pie.
I first discovered this dessert staying at the home of a college friend. Her mom gave me the recipe and I have made Swedish Apple Pie for over 30 years. All you have to do is peel and slice apples, mix together flour, sugar, egg, and butter, then pour the batter over the apples and bake. It is that easy. People who say they cannot bake, can make this dessert. You mix it by hand, and you do not need special equipment, just a pie pan. If you don’t own a pie pan, just buy the aluminum pans available at the grocery store. The pie will taste just as delicious. You can make this recipe with confidence knowing it is a delicious and easy dessert that all will love.
Swedish Apple Pie is a family favorite dessert that I can practically make in my sleep. It is so well-loved in my family, one of my sons asked to have it as his “Birthday Cake.” Making Swedish Apple Pie will not interrupt your play time during this gorgeous fall season. You can spend the day outside and have time leftover to bake Swedish Apple Pie. Fill your home with the aromas of baking apples and cinnamon and a reminder of a beautiful fall day well spent.
Swedish Apple Pie is an easy dessert recipe that anyone can make. It is more cake like in structure, and assembles without a lot of fuss. All you need to remember is "1": 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 stick of butter, 1 egg. It is that easy. Swedish Apple Pie is a delicious dessert and a family favorite. Great for any occasion.
It is easy to add additions to the apples or batter. Chopped nuts like walnuts or pecans can be added to the batter. Dried cranberries or other dried fruits are nice with the apples. I like to add lemon zest or lemon juice to the crust batter, it really brightens it up. You just do not want to add anything that will bring in more moisture.
5-6 apples, Granny Smith, or other crisp and not too sweet apple *see notes
1-2 Tb granulated sugar
1-2 tea ground cinnamon
1 cup (4 oz/ 117 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (7 5/8 oz/ 218 g) granulated sugar
1 stick, (1/2 cup/ 4 oz/ 113 g) butter
Zest of one lemon, or juice of half a lemon (optional)
Heaping 1/4 tea of freshly grated nutmeg. If you own ground nutmeg, just use a level 1/4 tea (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Use a 9-inch pie pan (Pyrex or metal pans are preferred)
Melt the butter set aside to cool.
Peel, core and slice each apple and put into pie pan. Slice the apples no bigger than 1/2 inch across the bottom of each slice. The size of your pan and the size of your apples will depend on how many apples you will need. If you have a regular 9-inch pie pan start with 5 apples. You want the apples to fill the inside of the pie pan and have a slightly rounded top. Add more apples if it looks flat and you see bare spots. Optional - squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Toss to mix.
In a small bowl mix the 1-2 Tb of sugar with the cinnamon. The amount of sugar depends on the type of apple you are using. If you are using Granny Smith Apples you should use the full amount of sugar because they are not that sweet. All other apples are sweeter and might require using less sugar.
Sprinkle the sugar cinnamon mixture over the top of the apples in a nice even layer.
In medium size bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, ground nutmeg, and lemon zest until just combined. Add the cooled melted butter and egg, then stir until the batter is thoroughly mixed. Make sure you scrape down the sides and across the bottom of the bowl to mix in all the flour.
Spoon the batter over the apples starting at the center and working your way around the pan. The batter will be thick but still fluid, and will slightly ease over the apples and into holes. Try to evenly spread the batter in an even layer all around the apples, then spread it into any holes. The batter should read as one smooth top.
Put the pie pan on a sheet pan and place in the oven. Bake, checking to see if it is done beginning at the 45-minute mark. The cooking time will vary depending on the number of apples you have. For me, it has consistently baked at least an hour and often a little longer. The pie is done when the crust is golden brown all across the top, and none of the crust looks uncooked. You will get some crispy crust along the edges and a cake-like middle, not mushy, or too moist.
When it is done baking, take the pie out of the oven and let it completely cool to room temperature before serving.
Serve with vanilla ice cream or creme anglais. Caramel sauce is a delicious addition with the ice cream.
When testing this recipe I used Cortland Apples. Over the years I have used many different types of apples, but the best ones are apples that are well suited to baking. Some good examples are, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Cortland apples. You want very crisp apples that are not too sweet. You can even use more than one type of apple. McIntosh apples and Red Delicious apples do not work well because they are a softer apple and your pie will become apple sauce.