Posts tagged ‘Nuts’

August 4, 2012

Suzzzz’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I grew up in a house where coffee cake was king.  Normally it came in that glorious blue Entemmenn’s box and I would find it picked over in the cupboard by other phantom family members, missing giant chunks of its crumbly crust.

But there was another family favorite for “special occasions” and it even won my sister Stephanie a (plastic) trophy (the highest of all honors!) in a “baking contest award” in elementary school.  This is one serious cake.  I think its deliciousness stems from the fact that it has a somewhat original ingredient as its main source of moisture.  The infamous sour cream.  What IS sour cream?  How to differentiate between creams in this country, I’ll never know.  I’ve tried my hardest to find a similar product in France, but all I’ve come up with is “la faisselle.” That will have to do.

Proust is to madeline as I am to this coffee cake.  For me this cake smells like Christmas (‘tis really the season to eat sour cream) but it also smells like Sunday brunch.  What better sort of cake to dip into your big bowl of coffee on a lazy Sunday?

Suzzzz’s (aka Mom) Sour Cream Coffee Cake

What you’ll need:

  • 2 sticks sweet butter
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dairy sour cream (la faisselle if you are in France!)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shelled pecans, chopped (I used walnuts which worked just fine!)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 10-inch bundt pan and lightly dust the inside with flour.

2.  Cream together the butter and 2 cups of the sugar.  Add eggs, blending well, then the sour cream and vanilla.

3.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

4.  Fold the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture, and beat until just blended.  Do not over beat.

5.  In a separate bowl, mix remaining ½ cup sugar with pecans and cinnamon.

6.  Pour half of the batter into the bundt pan.  Sprinkle with half of the pecan and sugar mixture.  Add remaining batter and top with the rest of the pecan mixture.

7.  Set on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.


July 26, 2012

Vegan Iced Apple Cake Squares

In France, it is normal to eat a lot of cheese and a lot of dairy.  A LOT of dairy.  The only difference between French dairy (le laitage) and American dairy is that in France, it is ACTUALLY dairy.  Sounds redundant. Let me explain.  The first time I poured myself a glass of milk in the US after my first year in Strasbourg, I gasped at the lack of opaqueness.  It looked like milk-water.  It tasted like milk-water.  I was shocked.  I was unfazed however and then proceeded to make a cake with American butter.  But why was it white? In France, the butter is yellow, creamy, and potent.  It all boils down to differences in pasteurization I imagine but the quality and breakdown of these ingredients are fundamentally different here.  In any case, being born and raised with an American belly (but with French taste buds), I have a hard time adjusting to the strength of French cream, milk, butter and cheese.  I eat it, love it, enjoy it, and then regret it almost systematically.   Hence, on a coup de tête (or a whim, as I do most things) I decided to implement some entirely vegan days into my week in order to neither terrorize my stomach nor deprive myself of the delicious wonders that France has to offer.  I was a touch skeptical about the quality of a vegan apple cake, but I must admit that it was very addictive, delicious and absolutely passable as a normal dairy filled cake substitute!  Best to eat it piping hot….

Vegan Iced Apple Cake Squares

(adapted from Chloe’s Kitchen)

Makes 1 8-inch cake

What you’ll need:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 gala apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp almond milk (or soy/rice/milk)

Now what?

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 f / 180 c.  Grease pan and line it with wax paper.
  2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  In a separate bowl, mix together oil, vanilla and vinegar.  Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ones and mix well until combined.  Add apples and walnuts and mix well.
  3. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until cake is set and slightly brown on top.  A knife or toothpick should come out clean.
  4. While the cake is baking, combine powdered sugar and almond milk until smooth.
  5. Once cooled, cut the cake into squares and ice as you please!
  6. Try to wait until it is cooled before eating so that you do not burn your tongue (I speak from experience.)

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