Tag Archives: Cake

Blackberry, Apple & Bourbon Cake

Even though it’s the cold season in Guatemala, we are lucky that we get plenty of fruit year round. The last couple of weekends, I’ve been able got get tons of blackberries, and as much as I love them in my morning yogurt with granola, I decided it was time for me to bake something. I was between this recipe and a batch of blackberry muffins that will have to wait ’till I get blueberries again.

I found this recipe for the Blackberry, Apple & Bourbon Cake browsing through Foodily, and after looking at so many recipes, this one caught my eye. Not because it paired blueberries and apples, but because the cake has liqueur in it. More specifically, the apples are soaked in it and then added to the batter. Since I didn’t have apple brandy available, I used  Jack Daniel’s Honey Tennessee since it’s one of my favorites and it so happened I still have some little left. It’s delicious and I absolutely love it. If you can’t find the Honey Tennessee kind, you can use any sweet bourbon you can find, like Jim Beam White, Jack Daniels’, Maker’s Mark, Early Times, Gentleman Jack. As it turns out (now more often than before) I didn’t exactly follow the recipe to the dot. The original by Saveur asks you to make a coulis (or in other words, a blackberry mash), then strain it and then pour it over the cake when serving. As I didn’t have 6 cups of blackberries but just barely 3, I just added the sugary blackberries to the top of the cake, without the juices. And I increased the apples amount to 4 instead of 3 to balance out the lack of blackberries. And it paid off.

This cake has been a success. Dad just mentioned that after hanging out in the dinning/living room area (were I left the cake earlier that day), he just had to get a slice of it before dinner. Then had a second slice after dinner. All is good. He liked the cake. With every bite, you can taste the goodness of the bourbon and the apples, all surrounded with the cake… and the blackberries on top, are just the perfect way seal this cake with goodness.

Kitty

Blackberry, Apple & Bourbon Cake
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Fall Fruit Crumble Cake

I made this Fruit Crumble Cake a few months ago for my mom’s birthday. She wanted a cake that wouldn’t be our usual Borracho (Rum Cake), so I took on a hunt to make a fresh fruit cake. She was happy with her cake, and she had a great time in our little gathering as you can see in the picture bellow. For mom’s cake I stayed true to Zoë François’ original recipe by using plums.

Fast forward a few weeks, and I made it once again, but this time for a friend’s birthday… And since I didn’t have any plums around, I used my last (tiny) batch of rhubarb and 2 diced apples. The best part of this recipe is that this is so versatile, you can use plums, peaches, apples, pears, berries… pretty much any fruit you might want to pair it with. If you want, you could even replace the lemon zest with orange zest for an orangey flavor.

Kitty

Fruit Crumble Cake

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Zesty Almond Poppy Seed Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

I can’t believe my Tita (Grandma) is 91! She is a pie master and cook extraordinaire. And, she also helped me create my first cookie business when I was about 9 years old. Tita Flory had this adorable little store called Rainbow, which sold smock dresses, baptism baby gowns, first communion dresses and even hand sewn wedding gowns. I had the pleasure of being awesomely dressed with her creations since I was a baby. Here is a picture of a very excited Kitty with her Hello Kitty Piñata. Rocking a smock dress made by grandma.

Kitty

Back in 1989, she opened this little store in zone 10, and since I was enjoying my end of year vacations, I offered to help her out. Mostly sorting hangers, greeting customers and rearranging dresses. Since there was nothing near by to snack on, I thought that would be a great business idea to sell cookies door to door to the sale clerks around my grandma’s store. She said she would help me if I could get the ingredients for her. Called my dad and  I presented my business idea: selling cookies at $1.25 for a bag of 10. I had no idea how the priced worked out with the costs, but dad agreed. Ingredients, check. Kitchen and assistance with the oven, check. Plastic bags (provided by grandma), check.

The next day I went out around the store offering cookie bags. It was a success. We sold out on the first day, and for the next few days I was a busy 9-year-old: I would work (more like hang out) at the store, went to sell the cookies at around 10AM,  and in the afternoons I’d bake. Later on, I’d pay back my dad (in cookies, of course) and ended up having some little money saved up for the holidays. Grandma Flory gave me my first entrepreneur adventure. Not that I did it perfectly (never paid the investors), but in my 9 year old mind, it was the most profitable business ever.

So, about a month ago, when I asked her what cake did she want for her birthday she said “A cake with orange and poppy seeds”. That was all I needed to know, so I went on a search for the best cake I could find. A week before her birthday, I already had it narrowed down to 3 recipes. Then, that Monday, an email came from Corinne Regalos. My KitchenAid was here!

I ordered my KitchenAid mixer a few months back for my birthday in April, but since it was a special order (a beautiful Aqua Sky KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer), they had to bring it in for me, meaning I’d have to be very patient and wait 3 months for it to get here. The wait was all worth it, and what better way to break it in than with Tita’s birthday cake. I went to get the mixer, but as I had a couple of meetings lined up, it wasn’t until her birthday that I was able to use it.

I decided on using Martha Stewart’s Orange Almond Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream – on her video, she says that this cake can easily be doubled for a wedding cake, so it gave me a very good idea on the flavor it would be. Since I didn’t have orange zest, I replaced it with lime zest, made my own cake flour (see the note at the end of the recipe), and added poppy seeds after the birthday girl’s request. Don’t let the numerous steps scare you. It is an easy cake to make, and I was able to bake it at 10AM, decorated by 4PM and served at 6PM that same day (with a 45 minute drive in between).  I specially love the Swiss Meringue Buttercream as it doesn’t crystalize, making it so much easier and faster to whip the recipe.  The cake was perfect. it was not overly sweet nor heavy, but still had the almond taste you get from wedding cakes. The cake was a success after seeing it fly off the dinning room table… and the most important thing: grandma loved it.

¡Felíz Cumpleaños Tita!

Kitty

Zesty Almond Poppy Seed Cake with Swiss Meringue Buttercream

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Mixed Berries Upside-Down Cake

My little sister just became a Doctor!  Talk about a milestone!

Mixed Berry Upside Down Cake

To celebrate, most of the family got together for a grilling afternoon, which was a lot of fun. I wanted to make a dessert for her, but knowing we were going to be having grilled steaks,I didn’t want a heavy dessert. I didn’t want anything too sweet, either. When I think about grilling, berries or ice cream come to mind as good alternatives and upside-down cakes always look pretty.

I had no problems with this recipe, and I was able to carry it to my brother’s house without a hassle.

Don’t forget the whipped cream! The tartness of the berries with the sweetness of the whipped cream make this a real treat, especially if you drink a good cup of coffee with it.

Congratulations on your achievement, Petra. We’re proud of you!

XOXO

Helga

Mixed Berry Upside Down Cake

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