Birthday cake (almond cake!!)

I have many, many excuses for my lag in posting. And some of them are good and others are lame (too much work, I have been captivated by Game of Thrones and RuPaul’s Drag Race, we’ve been searching for a new apartment)… These are all true. So at some point in the near future, we need to pack up our crazy kitchen equipment and move into another apartment, a few blocks away. There is nothing I dislike more than moving. It sucks. But our landlord is trying to sell our apartment, and all the imposition is making me irritated. I take it back– I clearly hate dealing with real estate agents and cleaning my apartment incessantly for showings and open houses more than I hate moving.

In any case, I made this sweet little treasure of a cake a few weeks ago. I have many lovely friends who now have wee babies who need birthday cakes, so I decided to make the ultimate sacrifice and test out this recipe so that my friends, who will only get so many child birthdays in which they will be able to select the cake, can use their baby’s birthday as an excuse to make this. It also was my birthday, and there’s nothing I like more than cake and ice cream together. I paired this baby with some homemade chocolate ice cream– it was heavenly.

IMG_0411I also wanted a recipe that was quick and easy; I spent my birthday alone (don’t cry for me; Jess and I had a lovely dinner the weekend before when she was home), so I wasn’t about to sit around making a hugely complicated cake so I could sit around and eat it by myself. I turned to my go-to guy, David Lebovitz, and he had this lovely almond cake recipe on his website.

I love almonds and I was particularly drawn to the fact that most of the work was done in a food processor. It was so quick and easy to put everything together. It’s also endlessly adaptable– you could slice the cake in half horizontally and put something awesome in the middle, like dark chocolate frosting, and then frost the whole thing, or you could serve it as is, with a little powdered sugar on top and some fresh summer fruit and a dollop of fresh whipped cream. It is such a lovely cake– not too sweet, but moist and cakey. It also keeps well.

I did my duty, mom-friends. Go forth and bake.

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Apple cake!

Hello again, intrepid readers!

So J’s baked surprise was a French apple cake; the recipe is originally from Dorie Greenspan but taken from David Lebovitz’s blog. I have tried a number of recipes from Lebovitz’s blog, and they have all been spectacular. I once made the chocolate idiot cake for a dinner party with a couple whose husband is allergic to wheat. It went over smashingly: the cake was rich, dense, and smooth, like chocolate ganache. I highly recommend it, and if I get the chance, I’ll make it again soon.

In honor of all the apples out there, I decided to try this recipe for French apple cake. It also helped that (again) I didn’t need to buy any crazy ingredients. I grabbed some apples at the local farmer’s market, and then the rest were basic baking-pantry ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, etc.

What came out was more of an apple clafoutis than a cake. As it cooled, it got more cake-like, but it is pretty moist and more custard-y than a cake. It was really lovely even the next day, when we had a friend over for dinner— we reheated the cake in the oven and served it with vanilla ice cream, Yum!

So obviously, this sucker started out with some apples. I went with a variety- two pink ladies, one honeycrisp, and one Rome Beauty. The different tastes and textures of the apples really gave it some zip.

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and eventually…

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The batter was super easy to make. It didn’t even require a hand mixer, just a whisk and some biceps, so I got in my gym workout and baking in at the same time. Then the batter gets added to the apples…

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I know, doesn’t it look like potato salad? Ick. Anyway, then the batter goes in the springform…

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and then… an hour or so later, this monster comes out, all buttery and apple-y.

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Let’s look closer, shall we?

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Oh yeah. I could use some now, except it’s all gone. This was so simple and came out beautifully.  A definite keeper!

Peach cake

Peach season is far too short. Peaches stand on their own as one of the most delicious fruits in existence. As we discovered last year, they also make a wonderful dessert when halved, coated with butter and brown sugar, and grilled. Try it. You will not be disappointed. But I also look forward to July and August because of a wonderful upside down peach cake recipe we discovered last year, from the wonderful food blog, Five O’Clock Food. (Seriously, every recipe we have tried so far from this blog has been tremendous).

This year, we made two peach cakes. One which we devoured in 48 hours (I would like to say we had help, but we managed that all on our own), and one we made for a small dinner party:

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The cooked bottom (/presentation top) of this cake is a lovely combination of butter, brown sugar, and peaches.

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Peaches are placed on the cooled brown sugar mixture in a round cake pan (we found that our silicone “pan” worked much better than the metal pans we normally use).

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Next up: cake batter.

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A friend supervised our cake-making:

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Just out of the oven. Wait for it…

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OMG.

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Cakey, peachy, and carmelized. Like a dream.