Meyer Lemon Chiffon Cake

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The fragrance of Meyer lemons makes this chiffon cake really special.  You can substitute regular lemons, but I recommend finding Meyer ones.

Original recipe

 

Meyer Lemon Chiffon Cake
Adapted from Just One Cookbook

Yield: 10″ tube pan

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 170 grams granulated sugar, divided
  • 6 Tablespoons flavorless oil (such as vegetable or canola)
  • 3-4 Meyer lemons
  • 1 1/3 cup (150 g) cake flour (all-purpose also works)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, for dusting

 

  1. Preheat oven to 340°F and set aside a 10″ tube pan.  Do NOT grease it.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together yolks and about a third of the sugar.
  3. Whisk in oil and  lemon zest until thoroughly combined.
  4. Juice all the lemons and, if necessary, add enough water to get 1/2 cup liquid.
  5. Whisk in baking powder and flour, making sure there are no lumps.
  6. In a separate large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy.  Add the remaining sugar in 3 additions and beat until stiff and glossy.
  7. Add a large scoop of the whipped egg whites to the cake batter and mix gently but thoroughly to lighten the batter.
  8. Add the remaining egg whites in 3 additions.  Gently fold into the batter using a large wire whisk, making sure to scrape down the bottom of the bowl frequently.
  9. Pour batter into pan and gently smooth top with a rubber spatula.
  10. Bake at 340°F for 45 minutes without opening the oven door.  The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or when the surface springs back immediately after pressing on it with a finger.
  11. As soon as you remove cake from oven, cool cake completely upside down.  This step is important, because otherwise the cake will sink.
  12. When completely cool, run a thin knife around the side of the cake and around the tube in the middle to loosen it from the pan.
  13. Rapping pan, turn cake out onto a serving plate and dust with powdered sugar.

 

 

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Peach Pie

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Since summer is peach season, it seemed like the perfect time to make a peach pie.  I paired my trusty Betty Crocker pie crust recipe from an old cookbook with a peach pie filling from the Betty Crocker website.  If you feel decadent, serve slices with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Original recipe (which uses a storebought crust)

 

Peach Pie
Adapted from Betty Crocker

Yield: 9-inch pie

For the crust:

  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons shortening (you can add a couple extra tablespoons to make the crust even crispier)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons cold water

For the filling:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 – 5 1/2 cups sliced peeled fresh, ripe peaches (5-6 medium, 4 large)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

 

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Mix flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut shortening into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
  3. Sprinkle in water 1 tablespoon at a time while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
  4. When the pastry almost cleans the side of the bowl, divide it in half.  Gather each half into a ball.
  5. On a well-floured surface, flatten the first ball, flour a rolling pin, and roll out the pastry until it is 2 inches larger than the inverted pie plate.
  6. Fold pastry into quarters and move into the plate.  Unfold it and press it firmly against the sides and bottom.
  7. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1/2 inch from rim of plate.

To make the filling and assemble the pie:

  1. In large bowl, mix sugar, flour, and cinnamon.
  2. Stir in peaches and lemon juice.
  3. Turn filling into the pastry-lined pie plate.
  4. Roll out the other ball of pastry.  Fold into quarters and unfold again over the filling, cutting slits so steam can escape. (Alternatively, if you’re in a fancy mood, you can cut the pastry into thin strips and make a lattice pattern.)
  5. Trim overhanging edges of the top crust 1 inch from the rim of plate.
  6. Fold and roll top edge under lower edge, pressing on rim to seal it.  For a pretty pattern, press the tines of a fork into the edge of the pastry all around the rim.
  7. Put pie plate on a foil-lined baking sheet to catch any juice overflow.
  8. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through the slits in the crust.

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cake

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This is a soft, tender, sweet cake studded with chocolate chips that smells wonderfully of coffee.  One of my friends told me that of all the desserts I’ve made, this one is among his favorites.

Baking Notes:

  • The chocolate chips sank to bottom of the pan, but luckily it was not obvious in a layer cake.
  • The cake and frosting are both on the sweet side, so make sure your target audience has a serious sweet tooth!

Original recipe

 

Mocha Chocolate Chip Cake
From New York Times

Yield: Two-layer 8″ cake

For the cake:

  • 113 grams (1/2 cup or 1 stick) salted butter, softened, more for pans
  • 250 grams (2 1/4 cups) sifted unbleached all-purpose flour, more for pans
  • 300 grams (1 1/3 cups) turbinado sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk (2 percent or whole)
  • ¾ 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, roughly chopped; or mini chocolate chips

For the frosting:

  • 360 grams (3 cups) confectioners’ sugar
  • 226 grams (1 cup) salted butter, softened
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • ¾ – 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, for decorating

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans, and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper cut to fit.
  2. Using an electric mixer or by hand, in a bowl, mix the butter and turbinado sugar until evenly blended.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla, and mix again until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk or sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
  5. Add half the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, mix well, then add half the milk and mix again.
  6. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and milk.
  7. Add the chocolate chips and mix well. The batter may look curdled.
  8. Pour the batter into the pans and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
  9. Let cool for 15 minutes before removing cakes from pans to a rack to cool completely. If the cakes are domed, use a long, serrated knife to level the tops.
  10. While cakes are cooling, make the frosting: Using an electric mixer or by hand, mix the confectioners’ sugar with the butter, salt and vanilla, until well blended.
  11. In a small bowl, mix the espresso powder with the boiling water to dissolve; add it to the frosting, blending well.
  12. Assemble the cake: Place one cake layer on a serving platter and spread about one-third of the frosting over the top in an even layer.
  13. Top with the second cake layer and use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread frosting over top and, optionally, sides of the cake.
  14. Decorate with the chocolate chips, if desired.