Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Master Cake Recipe: Apple Cake and Pineapple Upside Down Cake

In scratch baking, there are shortcuts and there are loopholes. Many don't work, but this recipe is an exception.  With a single and simple cake batter, the home cook can create two different cakes in under an hour.  And therein lies the beauty of this "master" cake recipe.

Master Cake Recipe, handwritten in a 1920 cookbook owned by one Marie Bevenetto, is a true culinary building block. This simple and delicious white cake can be used as a base for many other desserts.  Marie suggests -- and provides recipes for --  Apple Cake, Upside Down Cake and Boston Cream Pie. I made the first two with great results. Marie labeled the apple cake as "very good" and the pineapple upside down cake as "excellent." My tasters (work colleagues) deemed them both excellent.

The ingredients are basic (with the exception of orange extract; I didn't have any so just left it out). Below is the mis en place for the cake batter.

After mixing the batter, which took all of ten minutes, I got started on the apple cake by slicing one medium apple very thin.

I poured half of the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan. The batter is thick, so use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to push it to the edges.

Place the apples on the batter.

And sprinkle on some cinnamon and  sugar. I used white sugar, though brown sugar would also be good.

I set the apple cake aside while I lined a 9-inch round pan (just greased, not floured) with pineapple slices, and filled the empty spaces with brown sugar and chopped walnuts.

I placed the batter atop the fruit, and again pushed the batter to the sides of the pan.

Below is the master recipe cake, along with the two variations I made. I've typed them out below, with the method I used.

Master Cake Recipe (for Apple Cake and Pineapple Upside Down Cake)

Preheat oven to 350F
Grease and flour 8 x 8 pan
Grease 8 or 9-inch round pan

2 eggs
1 C. sugar
2 C. flour
1/3 C. melted butter
1/2 C. water
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 t. orange extract (can sub extra vanilla instead)
1 t. baking powder

Beat eggs in a mixer.
Add sugar gradually, beating after each addition
Combine flour, salt and baking powder.
Add flour and water alternately to the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.
Add butter, vanilla and orange. Mix until combined.
Bake in two layers, or use for the cakes below.

Apple Cake

In a greased and floured 8 x 8 pan, place 1/2 of the master cake recipe batter.
Smooth batter so it reaches the edges.
Place thinly sliced apples on top of the cake.
Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon
Bake in 350F oven about 25 minutes.
When cool, slice in the pan and serve plain or with whipped cream.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

In a greased 8 or 9-inch round pan, place whole pineapple slices to cover the bottom.
Fill the center of each pineapple and any empty spaces with 1 teaspoon brown sugar and some chopped walnuts.
Place 1/2 of the master cake recipe batter atop the fruit and smooth it out so it reaches the edges of the pan.
Bake in a 350F oven for about 25 minutes.
Remove from oven and place a plate over the top. Flip to release the cake.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Super Bowl Caramel Corn

It's Super Bowl Sunday, practically a national holiday with its own genre of cuisine, and so in the spirit of bad-for-you snacks, I present Oven Caramel Corn, a homemade version of Cracker Jacks, most closely identified with that other American pastime, but perfect for football too.

It's easy to make, and much better than the store bought variety, trust me.

Begin by popping some corn.

Careful, for even though I make popcorn five nights a week, I still managed to burn this batch. I wasn't used to making it in the Le Crueset, with its amazing ability to retain heat.

Place the popped corn in a bowl while you prepare the caramel.

Place butter, brown sugar and Karo syrup in a sauce pan and heat.

Wait until it comes to a boil and cook for about five minutes.Add the salt, baking soda and vanilla.

Then pour over the popcorn, which you've placed on baking sheets or in a large roasting pan.

Mix together to spread the caramel. I used large tongs for this, but a large spoon would work as well.

My scanner appears to be broken, so I photographed the vintage recipes I used, and have written the recipe out below. Since each of the recipes is slightly different, I used some instructions from each.

Oven Caramel Popcorn

Preheat oven to 250 F

Two sticks of butter
1/2 C. Karo white corn syrup
Two C. packed light brown sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla

Pop the corn in a six-quart pan. (My method: Add canola oil to the pan to cover the bottom. Add one layer of popcorn. Cover and use medium heat. When the corn begins to pop, shift the cover so that a little air gets in. When the popping stops, remove the pan from the heat.)

Place popcorn on baking sheets or in a large roasting pan.

In a two-quart saucepan, combine butter, syrup and sugar. Cook over medium heat until combined and boil about five minutes. Add the salt, soda and vanilla.

Pour mixture over popcorn, and using tongs or a spoon spread it as best as possible.

Place into warm oven.

Every 15 minutes for one hour, stir the popcorn to distribute the caramel.

Remove from oven and enjoy.

Keep in an airtight container. You can add peanuts to the popcorn prior to putting it in the oven to make homemade Cracker Jacks.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Cherry Magic

Even though I work in marketing (or maybe because of it) I'm a sucker for intriguing and unusual names. And that's how I came to make this recipe with the enticing title of Cherry Magic.  Plus, who doesn't want to make a little magic in the kitchen?

And because I delayed posting it for so long (I made it a few weeks ago), it works perfectly as a Valentine's Day dessert if you're looking for something a bit more original than the traditional chocolate confection.

Cherry Magic is a white cake with fruit that is easy and delicious. It did disappear like magic when I shared it with my coworkers. The c. 1940 recipe is from the collection of a Suring, Wisconsin housewife.

Begin by beating the butter and sugar.

Add in the other ingredients (recipe below) and spoon into a well-buttered pan.  The batter is rather thick, so you'll need to push it to the corners of the pan.

After the batter is in the pan, begin the cherry mixture. I used frozen cherries because I didn't have canned or fresh.

Heat the cherries, sugar, water and almond extract until the sugar is dissolved. Perhaps because I used frozen cherries, there was A LOT of liquid in the pan.

I used my common sense and only added some of the liquid. (I reserved the rest, boiled it down until syrupy and used it as a sauce.) The colors in this photo are a bit odd because I accidentally had a filter on my iPhone camera. But you can see the amount of liquid I added, along with the cherries.

Remove from the oven when the sides pull away from the pan and it is a lovely golden brown. Enjoy!

Production notes: I used Dole brand frozen cherries and, other than that, followed the recipe exactly. The cherries, perhaps because they were frozen,  released a lot of liquid during cooking, so I didn't add it all to the batter. Instead, while the cake was in the oven, I reduced the cherry liquid on the stove (boiling the liquid to concentrate it) and used it as a dessert sauce.