“Happy Anniversary!” – or is it “Happy Birthday?” We’re 9 years old today. For a girl who can’t stay committed to much of anything, I’m astonished to find TwoBitTart is still going – and growing! I starting this blog in 2008 with a different name (Phorenications) and a different mission – and nine years later, what began as a silly little hobby has grown into a big part of my life. This anniversary deserves some cake – like Bananas Foster Cake with Caramel Latte Buttercream Frosting.
Caramel and coffee flavor this not-too-sweet frosting
2 Tablespoons water
6.5 ounces sugar
3 Tablespoons strong coffee
3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
3 egg yolks
7 ounces softened butter
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar melts and turns coppery brown. Remove caramel from heat, cool slightly, and add coffee and whipping cream (caramel may bubble).
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat yolks. Add caramel to yolks in a steady stream. Continue whipping until mixture has cooled to body temperature. Add 1/3 of butter and whip. Add remaining butter and whip until frosting is pale tan, fluffy and a spreadable consistency. In addition to banana cake, this bittersweet frosting would pair nicely with rich chocolate cake.
I’m traveling to an enchanted place for my birthday – the spot where I breathe and dream and bury my electronic devices for a week. I recall my last visit a few years back. One afternoon, I was resting at the foot of a rock formation called Kachina Woman pondering life when, from a ledge above me, a hippy sprite wearing Tevas sprung down and alighted beside me. He was neither hallucination nor a result of ingesting peyote. He spoke to me as if it were the most natural thing– scrambling down a rock face to chat with a complete stranger. I’m neither a fan of Tevas nor hippies, yet his company wasn’t unwelcome. We conversed for an hour or so on my perch, though I hardly remember what we spoke about. He invited me to a drumming circle that night, or coffee, or a poetry reading – I can’t recall exactly; I didn’t go. As I pack and consider my upcoming trip, I doubt I’ll see my sprite again. But if I do, and if I’m asked to go somewhere, I may just say yes.
4 Meyer lemons, cut into paper-thin slices, ends discarded
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
Place lemon slices in a medium saucepan of water, bring to boil, drain, repeat. Cool and chop fine. While lemon slices cook, make the streusel: Mix together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Using your fingers, work butter into the flour mixture until small to medium clumps form. Cover and chill.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Beat butter, granulated sugar, with a mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add eggs, 1 at a time, then the vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream. Fold in lemon.
Spoon 1/2 of the batter evenly into cake pan. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer over the batter. Spread remaining batter evenly over the top. Sprinkle the chilled streusel evenly over the batter.
Bake until cake is golden brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. 4. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove sides of springform, using a knife if necessary. Let cool completely on rack.
Make the glaze: Just before serving, stir together confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Drizzle over cooled cake, letting excess drip down the sides. Let glaze set before slicing, about 5 minutes.
I’m currently reading Jane Eyre for what must be the fourth time. I do love a bit of classic English Lit. I’m at the part where the compassionate headmistress, Miss Temple, shares a seed cake with the forlorn Jane and her ill-fated best friend, Helen Burns. Seed cake – I remember when I first heard the term. It was 1989 and Kate Bush had just released “The Sensual World.”
Mmm, yes, Then I’d taken the kiss of seed cake back from his mouth, going deep South, go down, mmm, yes…
Victorian Seed cake conjures images of a dense cake chocked full of assorted seeds and sticky with honeyed syrup. How disheartening to discover the “seeds” in the classic British cake are a meager smattering of caraway. Tasty, I’m sure, but falling short of my imaginings.
So, from my culinary fantasies to your mouth, my modern interpretation of seed cake – mmm, yes.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter and flour bundt pan. Whisk together pepitas, sunflower, poppy and flax seeds; set aside. Whisk together flour, almond flour, salt, cream of tartar, and allspice; set aside.
Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in half & half. Add lemon zest and brandy and beat until blended. Fold in flour mixture until combined. Fold in seed mixture until mixed and scrape into pan.
Bake cake 40-50 minutes until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack. Meanwhile, in small saucepan, heat together honey, brown sugar, butter and brandy until bubbly. Poke cake all over with skewer and pour honey glaze over cake. Let cake cool completely and remove from pan.
She mutely ate her cupcake as the others chattered around her. They would never understand what she was contemplating. To speak would be an open invitation for them to pass judgment, to hand her their opinion. She could envision what each would be. She could hear them justify their harshness, “We just want what’s best for you.” No, they wanted what was best for them, what they could comprehend; what fit within their world. She thought of that old adage about opinions and assholes. She smiled and kept eating.
This is my go-to moist chocolate cake recipe with a bit of extra espresso flavoring.
1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
Espresso plus cold water
1/3 cup canola oil
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. dulce de leche
8 oz. cream cheese, cold
3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together. Set aside. Combine espresso with cold water to equal one cup. Mix espresso, oil, vanilla and vinegar together. Slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The mixture will be wet.
Pour the batter into paper mini-cupcake cups and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
While cupcakes cool, make frosting by beating ingredients together until light and fluffy. Frost cupcakes.
I’d make an appalling bed mate. In addition to my ridiculous fondness for ambient bedroom temperatures in the 50’s – and my certainty that both sides of the bed are “my” side, I have this awful habit of changing positions as if performing a sleeping triple Salchow, leaving pillows and covers strewn about the bedroom floor. I’ve been sleeping as a singlet for too long.
Perhaps my bed mate will overlook my sleeping habits if distracted by a sweet or two…
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9″ round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment, oil again and dust with flour.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, soda, spices, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together molasses, sugar, egg, oil, ginger and water. Add molasses mixture to flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Fold in apples.
Pour batter into pan and bake until toothpick comes out clean, 40-45 minutes. Cool in pan 30 minutes, turn out onto rack to cool completely. Before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with lightly whipped cream, if desired.