My plum trees are at it again. Thankfully this is the lighter crop year. They reliably produce a giant bumper crop every other years, well over 100 plus pounds per tree. As such, I have quite a few go to recipes to enjoy plums throughout the year. however, my favorite option is to use City Fruit, a non-profit based in Seattle, to pick the fresh fruit (super helpful, given my time is more limited now) and distribute it to food banks across the city. Everyone deserves access to fresh health food.
Cupcakes! What is not to love? For me it was storing a cupcake stand that took up a lot of space for infrequent use. Here is a simple way to make a tiered cupcake stand to hold just the right number of cupcakes, just when you need it and using just the plates you want to use that you can then disassemble when done. (this is my lean process improvement self talking). All you need are:
pretty plates, varying sizes if you want
small bud vases or jars or candlesticks or ??
QUAKEhold museum gel (just ofllow its instructions)
I used my favorite jadeite plates to stack and some small bud vases in between. I don’t have a larger platter in my current set (on the hunt now) but still like how it turned out despite not much size gradient. I created four tiers as I needed the stand to be pretty tall for little Bee’s birthday (save counter space) but you could also make a cake stand with just one plate and vase or jar or glass or candlestick (so many options!).
The stand was easy to assemble and after waiting 30 minutes for gel to set it was quite sturdy and ready to display the mini cupcakes. To UnDIY (aka take apart, just twist and remove the gel per instructions.
Have fun with museum gel! I will be mixing in different plates next time and might play around with some tea cups as well. Share pictures of how you use the gel or make tiered food stands!
Now that you own a jar of QUAKEhold gel, what else can you do with it? Here is a blog with 20 ideas and another with even more.
This recipe is all about the banana and is more ‘bread pudding’ than cake. Ideally eat this treat while still warm with maybe some whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream but it is still good once cooled. No matter what though: cut yourself some crusty edge pieces right out of the oven, tell everyone you are trimming off the ‘burnt bits for them because that is how much you care’ and then eat them all up!
banh chuối nướng / banana cake recipe
I have used frozen bananas (such an easy way to store them when overspending on counter), fresh and even dried (but not the chips). For frozen slice them while still mostly frozen to avoid mush. For the bread, I have used bagels that were going stale mixed with regular white bread. The amount of bread does not have to be exact but close with an err towards a little more.
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt (unless your butter was salted and then omit)
1 cup coconut milk ( you can freeze the remaining for the next time you make)
2 cups milk, skim to whole is fine
8 bananas, sliced lengthwise into strips 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick
10 slices of white bread, about 12 ounces total after removing crusts
4 large eggs
1 to 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup flour
Heat the oven to 375 F. Prep your loaf pans by greasing and lining with parchment paper. Recipe makes two large loafs but you can also bake in smaller loaf pans just shorten the baking time to 30-40 minutes. I prefer the smaller loafs for easier sharing and freezing.
Prepare the bread by removing the crusts if they are more touch or darker in color. chop into cubes about an inch around.
In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar well. I found the 1 1/2 cups of sugar to be almost too sweet. I think it depends on your taste and your bananas.
Melt the butter and stir it into the milk before pouring into the egg-sugar mixture.
Add the coconut milk and salt. Mix well. Add the flour. Mix
Add the bread and mix but no too much, you still want some chunks. If you have time and especially if some of the bread was more stale. Let the bread sit and soak up the batter.
Start layering in the banana slices and batter. Put a single layer of bananas the bottom of loaf pan. They do not have to cover every open bit of space.
Using a ladle or spoon, pour some batter over the banana slices. You don’t need to add a lot because there will be several layers of bananas. Keep repeating this until bananas and batter are gone. If you find that the last loaf was a little short on banana. No worries, just top off with batter. Each of the loaf pans should be filled up to within about 1 inch of the top. This does puff up when baking but sinks when cooling. Also the edges will get pretty dark brown and are really tasty.
Bake in the oven for about an hour for full size loafs, less time for smaller loafs.
When done, run a knife around the edges, let it cool for a minute or so and then remove it from loaf pan to a cooling rack.
Enjoy! Ideally eat this treat while still warm with maybe some whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream but it is good at room temp or can be reheated.
Optional add-ins to batter: brandy or rum, nuts, cinnamon, raisins.
Recipe is adapted from Diana My Tran’s book The Vietnamese Cookbook.
This is a tale of two baked goods whipped up on different days but from the same awesome vintage cookbook, courtesy of Trinity Treasures (from Trinity Episcopal in Everett, WA a la 1965). I love love love cooking out of vintage recipe books, it is a something of a challenge, in part that recipes are written assuming a lot more kitchen knowledge than you find today and the ingredient ratios are different and often they are more simple but still flavorful. There are also some that are just not that tasty. Both the Barney Google Cake and the Applesauce Cake (I made it more like a quick bread) were selected to help use up some of my canned jams and sauces in the pantry. This makes them quite versatile.
Barney Google Cake or Bars
Bottom Crust Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs (I used 1)
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon sugar, optional
at least 3/4 cup jam, not precise per se. I used fig jam!
1/4 cup softened or melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (white is fine too)
3/4 cup coconut flakes
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Lightly grease or line with parchment paper a 9×9 square pan or if doubling a 13×9
Mix together the bottom crust ingredients. Sugar is optional.
Press into the bottom of the pan. It is a bit like shortbread.
Spread the jam on the crust. or dollop allover.
Mix together the topping ingredients, except coconut until smooth. Then add and mix in the coconut.
Spread topping over the jam filling.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Need to let cool a little bit before diving in.
Note: easily doubled to fill a 9×13 pan. Use any jam you want. Also simple to use gluten-free flours, such as GF oat bran flour. I also added 1 tablespoon to the shortbread like bottom crust and use unsweetened coconut flakes.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups applesauce or ‘purees’
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup flour
Optional: nuts, raisins, cranberries, 1/2 cup oatmeal, fresh or frozen berries
Preheat oven to 375 F. Prepare either a cake pan or loaf pan/pans with parchment paper. I doubled the recipe and made a full size loaf and three mini loaves.
Mix together all the wet ingredients. Adding the flour and then finally hand mixing in the add-ins like nuts etc.
Pour or spoon batter into pans. I had a little of this left over unsweetened plum and pear puree that I was canning, which was used instead of applesauce, and I also drizzled some on top of the dough before baking.
This version has some random frozen raspberries, dried cranberries and plum/pear ‘sauce’. Feel free to change up your spices too.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until a tooth pick comes out clean.
Notes: Thank you Marilyn T. for submitting this simple and flexible recipe. It easily doubles and can use a variety of ‘sauces’ and add-ins. I halved the sugar from her recipe given the fruit’s natural sweetness and my desire to make this more of a ‘breakfast’ bread vs. dessert.
So Google was a word before Google was the web? Yes! Some sleuthing revealed Barney Google was a likable but fallible rumpled top hat horse jockey type cartoon character with goggle eyes (google is a play on goggle), who eventually was usurped by his sidekick Snuffy Smith, a bodacious hillbilly (by Billy DeBeck). Barney was married briefly to the formidable Mrs. Lizzie Google. His cartoon theme song also inspired the memorable rice-a-toni jingle apparently. I guess he liked cake or found himself in ‘jams’ (one of the ingredients? ) Does anyone have other information, I wish I could ask my Grandma.
So many options and ideas out there for diaper cakes. They make an adorable centerpiece for a shower, customizable with ribbons and flare, and certainly are a needed gift commodity for new parents. (..would fit well with a Bee is for Baby themed shower I hosted.) For an added creative, yet not too complicated, twist, why not turn your diaper center piece into something more unique. For this tutorial, I am sharing how I crafted a bee skep (or hive) from diapers. A skep is an old hive design made often of twisted straw. While, no longer a legal hive style in most places, it is still found frequently in bee designs and themes. Read more about the beauty of bees here.
The skep can use less diapers than a tiered cake which is good for cost-conscious but also if prospective parents use an alternative to disposables. In crafting this, I already came up with other modification options that I will note but would love to hear your ideas as well. I love bees!
Diapers in primarily newborn sizes (approx.. 20-25) and some size 1s (approx. 10)
String or twine to form circles (or wire)
Decorative twine or yarn to tie rolled up diapers
Double sided tape
Ribbon, several yards
Bee stickers, cutouts (print and cut clip art), stamps, buttons, whatever you want to decorate
Foam or straw wreath for base (optional), 12 to 16 inch diameter
Fabric strips (#3 of 2.5 x 40 in/ WOF) to wrap around wreath base (optional)
Tissue paper to fill in the skep to support.
Supply Notes: I used a mixed of newborn and size one for the first two layers but found the newborn to be easier to shape. Wowsers, I also forgot how small they are compared to our current toddler dipe. Also, Pampers newborn diapers had the most white space while the Huggies newborns had some green and cartoon accents. Not a big deal, just be aware that it might add accent colors or is an option for you to decide if you want. I used the diapers I was gifted so you see a little green and Winnie the Pooh every now and then.But hey, he liked honey.
Not necessary but I did roll up the rest of the diapers I had and stuffed them inside the bottom too layers. It added stability, more diapers to the gift but you could skip this step. I used some tissue to stuff and support the top layers. Again, you could use a mix of tissues and maybe a balloon etc. I was gifted the diapers for free on our local Buy Nothing group. You should definitely check out this organization if you haven’t already – a great way to meet and make community through random acts and asks of kindness.
The wreath base is also not necessary but can be an additional gift if decorated for nursery décor. It added stability as this particular skep was off to be mailed. The bigger the base the taller the skep. I used one that was 15 inches.
Ideally the diapers will be actually used on an adorable baby bottom, so no glue was used and maybe the few diapers with pins in them can be used with reckless abandon.
Create base if doing this step. Wrap with fabric strips secured with flat pins. Using a straw wreath would add another design element (homage to old English skeps) and you might want to wrap just with ribbon or twine to let it show through. Your creative call. Note, I started with yellow strips but didn’t have enough cut so switched to grey. They are out of a jelly roll.
Start building the rings of the skep. Roll up the diaper over the string/twine or wire. I cut off a length about 36 inches for the first one, which is more than enough. Roll from the ruffley edge down. You might also want to decide which side is the ‘outside’ or right side if designs.
Tie the rolled up diapers either with one in the middle or two, on either end. I used colored twine (brown and yellow) to add a color accent. Colored twine is easy to find now in just about any shade. I put the tied twine on the part of the rolled up diaper that will face inside. Note in this photo how they are rolled around the white twine and tied. When you have added all the diapers for the ring, tie the loose ends tight enough to form a circle. Repeat this making each ring or layer smaller each time to create the taper. The last ring was three newborn diapers and the very top, which you add at a later step is a newborn diaper rolled the long way and folded in half.
Create each layer and do not worry a ton about length, its diapers, they are forgiving. I tied each ring in knot that I could undo if I needed to add or substract or substitute a size 1 diaper for newborn if that made it fit the skep better. Stack your rings as you go to get a sense for how it is shaping up.
Here is the diaper count I used.
In the first ring I used: 2 Newborn and 6 size 1
Second ring: 2 Newborn and four size 1
Third ring: 7 Newborn and no size 1
Fourth ring: 4 Newborn and 1 size 1
Fifth ring: 5 Newborn
Sixth ring: 3 Newborn
Top: 1 Newborn
I had a lot of other diapers and wanted to stabilize the diaper skep. So using twine and a few rubber bands, rolled up more size one diapers (these are more useful to new parents anyways) and stood them end on end inside the first diaper ring, then put a layer around perimeter of open/flat diapers. In the picture you can see that I put the ring more in the middle. This way some of the rolled up standing diapers would be wedged in the wreath and also the second ring. Again, this is optional. I stuffed the rest of the skep inside with tissue paper.
Once you have your rings created and stacked, you can tape them on the inside or in between useing double-sided tape. I tried to alternate the spaces between diapers versus lining up. Now is the time to put in tissue or other filling to support shape.
Add the ribbon. This adds color, theme and also helps hold it together. I used flat pins to affix the ribbon (grosgrain) to the wreath and then pulled it up and into the top of the skep. You could also weave it in and out, or use twine etc. With the top I used a small section of ribbon to hold the diaper folded but not too tight.
Add some bees and maybe an entrance. I used my favorite bee stamp, espresso colored ink and some scrap kraft paper to create the bees in hexagons. There was much internal debate about circles versus hexagon. Yes, time I will never get back but well spent. You could also use stickers, scrapbooking cutouts, large buttons or print out some images.
The final product was about 12 inches tall. For future skeps I might roll the diapers even tighter to make more rings, or use a more narrow ribbon to hold together and ideally all the diapers would be white but knowing the green is there because of gift from Buy Nothing, makes me smile. The expectant mama used to be in the same group before moving away too. Enjoy!
Stack cakes – yum. Oft made with fresh crepes or grandma’s secret pancake recipe. Today I present my quick version featuring pannkakor (swedish pancakes) from IKEA with home-canned organic free range blueberry filing and cointreau whipped cream. Fruit and cream stack cakes are great for a special brunch or dessert at anytime of day (remember life is short). You can amp up the sweetness by using a more jammy or compote-y filling or by whipping up the cream, folding in mascarpone or yogurt/creme fraiche and additional sugar. I didn’t really measure and you shouldn’t either, just have fun.
Ikea Pannkakaor (swedish pancakes) or make your own crepes
Whipping cream, about a pint (little less)
1/8 cup sugar
3 tablespoons plus or minus or not at all Cointreau, rum etc.
Fruit filling (jam, fruit packed in syrup, mash up fresh berries, syrup, nutella etc)
Extras: lemon or orange zest for the top, powder sugar, mint leaves for garnish etc
Defrost the pannkakor. The IKEA ones are folded into quarters. This makes them fragile and likely to tear along the seams but that is not a problem in this recipe.
Prep the fruit filling. As you can tell by the noncommittal ingredient list, there isn’t a wrong answer. You could use pie filling, mashed berries, make a compote quickly by heating mashed berries with a little water and sugar (here is a nice tutorial), use jam, syrup etc. Any combination and you can chose how sweet. I am trying to use up some items in the pantry in prep for this seasons canning so it was blueberries in simple syrup for me.
In a large mixing bowl add the liquor and sugar to the whipping cream. Stir and taste, add more sugar at this point if you want. Using your mixer (because doing by hand defeats the WHOLE point of using frozen crepes) on high speed whip up the whipping/heavy cream until steep peaks form.
Start stacking! place the first pancake down on a plate, spread with whipped cream add fruit and layer on the next pancake. Now, I tried to rotate so that the seams didn’t line up, especially the broken ones.
Just keep on spreading and repeating. A few layers just had cream in them.
Be sure to leave enough whipped cream and fruit for the top show layer. Here is where you can add citrus zest, dusting of powder sugar or cocoa, mint or basil leaves (strawberry basil?) etc.
It is best to serve relatively soon after you make it but if you need to make ahead, do all the layers except the top. Save that for right before serving. Slice with a big knife and soak up the oohs and aahs.
Filtered Final Foto for Effect
Next time I will be making a strawberry version with my favorite strawberry balsamic jam! And then maybe a pear, cinnamon, rum and orange version (fall brunch anyone?)
I would love to hear your Ikea food hacks – please share.
Rescued from the depths of a past blog post and recreated today in my kitchen with a TWIST – cardamom and pistachio… Inspiration – a dear friends 20th Anniversary Party!
[insert ethnicity] Wedding Cakes – a favorite of my theater buddy ASB, from the tried and true Joy of Cooking, among many classic cookbooks.
About forty – sixty 1 ¼ inch cookies, easy to halve or double or any other fraction you can manage. I am always closer to forty….
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup confectioner’s sugar (aka powdered)
¼ teaspoon salt (unless your nuts are salted, then omit)
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts – I love pistachios, walnuts and/or pecans (recommend toasting, below)
2 cups all-purpose flour (gluten free flour works fine too)
¾ cup confectioner’s sugar, for rolling
Spice like cardamon, cinnamon or nutmeg if you like, about 1-2 tsp, mixed in with powder sugar for coating
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease or line cookies sheets if you like although not necessary
Beat first 4 ingredients (butter, sugar, salt, vanilla) in a large bowl until well blended
Stir in chopped nuts
Stir in flour until blended
Once mixed, shape in 1 inch balls and arrange about 1 ¼ inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake, one sheet at a time, until cookies are lightly browned, about 12-15 minutes. Let stand to cool briefly. Then remove to a rack and cool more. Roll the cookies in powder sugar and spice.
These just melt in your mouth! I am not sure why they are called Mexican, since nothing in the original recipe screams Ye Old Mexico, other than maybe vanilla. These cookies are sometimes called Russian Tea cakes but this name seems less common (based on unscientific survey of all my cookbooks, none referred to Russians. Sign of political times?). The main difference is traditionally the Russian version is made with walnuts. This cookie is also found in reference to many other countries under the names Swedish Tea Cakes, Italian Butter Nut, Southern Pecan Butterball, Snowdrop, Viennese Sugar Ball, Sand Tarts, and Snowballs. Basically, pick your favorite country or match to a party theme, use the nuts you have (don’t fret, even mixed party nuts) and enjoy. A last word of caution, neither inhale deeply or nor sneeze directly when eating these cookies due to the generous dusting of sugar.
Toasted Nuts – easy and really brings out flavor and adds some new dimensions too
Heat oven to 325 F.
Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil
Add nuts in a single layer
Toast for 5-7 minutes. Don’t burn!
original post – http://oddsandhens.com/2013/05/19/eat-the-cake-you-have/
Definitely the favorite of my two rhubarb desserts this year, next I might try something savory, but for now I present to you my recipe for Rhubarb Apple Fig Cake with Sour Cream White Chocolate Frosting. Based off of the general recipe I devised for carrot cake. This recipe is pretty forgiving in terms of volume of rhubarb, apples and figs that you add, so do not stress out. It will turn out oh so moist and delicious. The cake was cut up and served pretty quickly with the remaining delivered to neighbors. The recipe works great as cupcakes (makes ~ 24), layer cake, sheet or Bundt cake – pick your pan!
Rhubarb Apple Fig Cake with White Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ¼ cup canola oil
4 large eggs (room temp is best)
2 cups thin sliced rhubarb
2 cups grated apples (I did 1 cup grated and cup more “chunky”)
1 cup diced dried figs or golden raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Decide which kind of pan you are going to use. If making a layer cake, prepare two 9 inch round cake pans by greasing (use shortening) and flouring the bottom and sides. Then trace the bottom of the pan and cut out two circles a touch smaller than the pan. Grease and flour one side of the paper and place floured side up in the pan. Be sure to tap out any extra flour in the pans. For a sheet cake, generously grease and flour bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 pan.
Make the batter: In a medium bowl, prepare the dry ingredients by whisking the flour, baking soda, cinnamon/nutmeg/clove and salt. No need to sift. In a larger bowl, mix the sugar and oil until well blended. Using a whisk, add the eggs one at time, mixing well each time. Add the chopped figs, and vanilla extract. Mix well and let them sit. This step is helpful if your figs or raisins are more dry, it will macerate them a bit. I bet you could soak them in rum or Cointreau too… hmmmm.
Grate the apple, no need to peel, and slice up rhubarb. I have done by hand and with food processor, pick your poison: arm work out or dishes.
If adding walnuts or pecans, you can optionally toast them whole in the oven for just a 5-10 minutes at 350 to really enhance flavor, then roughly chop. Roasting is in no way necessary, in fact you don’t even need nuts.
Starting mixing the dry ingredients into the batter bowl. Mixing well. Add in the rhubarb, apple and nuts (optional) and mix until combined and there is no more dry flour.
Pour into the prepared pans or lined cupcake pans.
Bake at 350 F for 40 minutes. Use the toothpick test to be sure it done. Toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle of the pan.
For layer cakes: Let the cake(s) cool in the pan for 10 minutes then run a knife around the edge and invert onto drying rack, allowing the cakes to cool completely before even thinking about frosting. Otherwise let cake cool in 13 x 9 before frosting.
Frost in your favorite way. Because cake is quite most I still did a crumb coat on the sheet cake. To do a crumb coat, scoop out about a cup of frosting into a separate bowl and then thinly frost the cake. This helps you keep the crumbs out of the final frosting. Wipe off you spatula or knife and then frost the rest of the cake. You will have frosting left over. Store any extra in the fridge and just try to not devour it.
Store the cake or cupcakes in the fridge or cool place before serving as the frosting might melt.
Cream together with electric mixer, the butter and sour cream. It will be lumpy but don’t worry. It will smooth out. Add in the melted (so still warm but not hot) white chocolate chips, mix again on high. Should be getting smoother. Add the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time until the frosting is sweet enough for you. Mix until it is whipped up nice and smooth. I usually use about 1 ½ cups of powdered sugar.
For a simple sheet cake, I think you could easily be fine making a half batch of this frosting….