• Almond Bundt Cake with Candied Citrus Peels

    Since when is it April?? Literally where has the time gone? I’m all turned around and suddenly I’ll be 24 in a week? Yikes. But before I worry about that, I’m here to give you this life-changing recipe for an almond bundt cake so moist and so versatile that you may never need to make another cake again. Adapted from this recipe from Zoe Bakes, I tweaked a few little things and switched a blood orange glaze (I think they’re out of season now) with a lemon and orange one instead, similar to a frosting my grandma used to make when I was little. The combination of citrus and almond is heavenly and bright and springy and when I served this cake for dinner, there was not a single piece left over.

    Some notes about this cake- the recipe calls for cake flour, which is much finer than all-purpose, and as a result creates a cake with a smaller, denser crumb. For some reason I had a box of cake flour in my house that had baking powder and salt already mixed in, do not use this! You want to be able to control the amounts that you add in, so stick with the straight up stuff. Also, it’s important to use almond paste that’s relatively new/ fresh, because if it’s too old and dry, it won’t incorporate into the batter and you’ll end up with chunks of almond paste throughout. Finally, the base cake recipe is pretty customizable, you can add a touch of citrus zest to the cake itself, serve it with or without glaze, change up the fruits, it’s all up to you! But I myself am dramatic as hell so I decided to teach myself how to make candied citrus peels to go on top, and 10/10 would recommend you try that at least once yourself, it’s deceivingly easy and SO good. Everyone’s getting chocolate covered orange peels as gifts this year.

    Before we get started however, here are 5 things to be happy about today!
    ONE. Receiving food as presents.
    TWO. Phone calls that accidentally last over an hour.
    THREE. The first day of the year that you can go outside without a coat and realize it’s comfortably warm. (Thanks Taylor!)
    FOUR. Naps on a rainy Sunday.
    FIVE. Spring cleaning.

    Let’s bake!

    SERVES: 8-9 people
    PREP TIME: 30 minutes
    BAKE TIME: 45-50 minutes
    DECORATING TIME: Unlimited!!!

    ALMOND CAKE INGREDIENTS

    ¾ cup cake flour
    ½ tsp baking powder
    1/8 tsp kosher salt
    7 oz. almond paste, diced into squares
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 tsp vanilla bean paste
    5 eggs, room temperature

    CITRUS GLAZE INGREDIENTS

    3½ cups powdered sugar
    Zest of two lemons
    Zest of one orange
    4 Tbsp. lemon juice
    4 Tbsp. orange juice

    CANDIED CITRUS INGREDIENTS

    Peels from 1 lemon + ½ orange
    2½ cups sugar
    1 cup water (plus more for boiling)

    ALMOND CAKE STEPS

    ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Generously butter and flour a 10-cup bundt pan, tapping out the excess flour. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

    TWO. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cubed almond paste until it breaks into tiny pieces. Add the sugar a little bit at a time until combined and grainy. Add the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time, until half is in, scraping the bowl with a spatula every now and then. Beat the mixture on medium speed until smooth. When the mixture is uniform, add in the rest of the butter, and beat until fluffy and light.

    THREE. Add the vanilla bean paste, and then the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. At this point, take the bowl out of the stand mixer and fold in half of the flour with a spatula. Repeat with the rest until just combined, don’t overmix!

    FOUR. Fill the prepared pan with batter, smooth out the top, and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then flip onto a cooling rack to cool completely.


    CITRUS GLAZE STEPS

    ONE. In a bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and citrus zests, then add the lemon and orange juices, a few tablespoons at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. You may not use all of it if you want a thicker glaze, and that’s fine! Transfer the glaze to a measuring cup for easier pouring.

    CANDIED CITRUS PEEL STEPS

    ONE. Using a vegetable peeler, cut wide strips of peel from a lemon and an orange, avoiding the bitter white pith as much as possible. If you want smaller pieces, cut the peels into smaller strips, but you can also leave it as is.

    TWO. In a small saucepan, add the peels and enough water to generously cover them and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, strain the water out, add fresh water, and bring to a boil again, then drain again. Repeat this one more time. This process will take some of the bitterness out of the peels!

    THREE. In the same saucepan, whisk together 2 cups of the sugar and a cup of water, then bring to a boil. Add the peels and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the peels are tender and translucent, about 10 minutes, then drain.

    FOUR. In a small bowl, toss the peels with the remaining ½ cup sugar until they’re thoroughly coated, then remove one at a time, shaking off the excess. Allow the candied peels to dry before arranging or packaging.


    CAKE ASSEMBLY STEPS

    ONE. Set a cooking rack in a rimmed baking dish, then place the cake on the cooling rack. Pour the glaze over the cake*, coating as little or as much as you’d like. Let the excess glaze fully drip off into the sheet pan below, then transfer the cake to a stand or plate. Arrange the candied citrus peels on top, and serve!!

    *Tip: save the glaze that drips off onto the sheet tray, and use it to drizzle over the cake when serving!!

    XoxoxoxoxD

  • Swedish Almond Tarts

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! Greetings from Connecticut, I hope that you have all enjoyed last nights festivities and are now tucking into a beautiful New Years Brunch. Maybe the thought of rising from your bed right now is too much to bear, but I hope these cutie little tarts change your mind. This week’s recipe is brought to you by one of my faves, Molly Yeh, and they are without a doubt the most photogenic and versatile little tarts I have ever seen. Called Mazariners, they are of Swedish origin, and feature a richly buttery tart shell cup, filled with what I can only describe as pure heaven, aka a dense, moist almond-y cross between a cake and a chunk of marzipan. Traditionally, it’s topped with a white glaze and a cherry (which btw, would be so cute), but following Molly’s recipe, I used a cranberry juice glaze for a hint of tart and a dose of natural rosy color.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about my New Year’s resolutions this year, because most years I don’t make any, and then when I do, I ignore/ forget them approximately a week later. But now that I’m an adult, and have pretty much settled into life after college, I figured it was about time I held myself accountable for these things. I won’t bore you with the details, but here’s what I’ve got so far:
    Resolution #1: Get better with money. Seriously, STOP spending money I promise you don’t need that 12th sweater (me @ myself all the time).
    Resolution #2: Drink more water. For some reason I can’t get this one to stick, and even after countless reusable water bottles, I find myself reaching for my iced coffee instead, but it’s ENOUGH.
    Resolution #3: Cut down on waste. Ever since a particularly scarring episode of Blue Planet II I haven been trying to limit the amount of plastic that I use, but I know that I could be doing more to protect our futures and the safety of other inhabitants of this Earth.

    Okay that’s maybe good for now, I’m hoping that by putting these out there, I’ll actually have to do them because now everyone knows, so bring on 2019!! Anyway, let’s get this year off on the right foot and start with 5 things to be happy about today:
    ONE. When you fall asleep almost immediately after climbing into bed.
    TWO. The clean plate club.
    THREE. Tree branches coated in snow or frost and sparkling in the light of a streetlamp.
    FOUR. Having the song end right as you pull up to your destination.
    FIVE. Things you don’t have to work at to enjoy.

    Okay now let’s bake!!

    Makes: 12 tarts
    Prep Time: 45 minutes- 1 hour
    Inactive Time: 1 hour
    Bake Time: 30 minutes

    Butter Tart Shell Ingredients

    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1¾ cups flour
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    ¾ cup (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
    2 egg yolks (save both whites for the filling!)

    Almond Filling Ingredients

    1 cup almond meal (aka almond flour)
    ¾ cup sugar
    ½ tsp kosher salt
    6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
    1 tsp almond extract
    1 egg
    2 egg whites (left over from tart shells above)

    Glaze/ Decorations

    1 cup powdered sugar
    1-2 Tbsp cranberry juice
    1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
    Assorted sprinkles, herbs, or sugared cranberries!

    Steps

    ONE. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the butter and pulse until totally incorporated (you’re not looking for butter pieces in this dough). Add the egg yolks and mix until the dough comes together- it will take a minute, it will look like the dough is too dry at first but I promise it won’t be. Remove the dough from the food processor and form a rough disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least one hour or overnight.

    Processed with VSCO with al1 preset

    TWO. In the same bowl of the food processor- it doesn’t even need to be cleaned out!- combine the almond flour, sugar, salt, and butter until smooth. Add the almond extract, leftover egg whites, and whole egg, and continue to blend until the mixture is thick and smooth. Set aside while you form the shells.

    THREE. Grease a muffin tin generously. On a floured baking mat or surface, roll your shell dough to about a ¼ inch thickness, making sure that it isn’t sticking to any surface as you go. Using a 4-inch circular cookie cutter, cut out 12 circles (dough can be re-rolled once if you run out of room for all 12 at once.

    FOUR. This part takes some patience, so carefully take a pastry circle and place it in each cupcake tin, gently pressing so that it molds to the bottom and sides. I had some rips here and there, but don’t get frustrated!! Use leftover scraps and patch up any thin, ripped, or uneven places and no one will be the wiser! Repeat will all 12 circles, and place the tray in the freezer for 15 minutes.

    FIVE. While the shells are setting in the freezer, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Fill the frozen shells evenly- I started with a tablespoon in each cup, and then added evenly from there. For me, it ended up being about 1½ tablespoons of filling per cup, You want it to be about ¾ of the way full, because the filling does puff up while it bakes. Bake the filled cups on the lower rack of your oven for 30 minutes, or until the filling is puffed and the tops and shells are lightly golden. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in their pan, and then gently lift each cup from the tin using an offset spatula and cool completely on a wire rack before glazing.

    SIX. To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, cranberry juice, and vanilla, adding more powdered sugar or juice until the consistency is pourable but quite thick. You want it to sit mostly on top of each tart without going thin or completely dripping down the sides. While the glaze is still wet, top with your desired decorations, and enjoy!!

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    HAPPY NEW YEAR!! xoxoxoxD

     

  • Tart Cherry Clafoutis

    Alright folks, I’m here to talk to you about clafoutis. If you’re not familiar with what that is, it’s a type of baked French dessert with a thin, eggy batter that bakes into a custard-y cake studded with the fruit of your choice. This was my first attempt at clafoutis and let me tell you, I am a changed woman. The recipe I followed, which you can find here, used pitted sweet cherries, but because I had 2 jars of tart cherries I decided to try those out instead and let me tell you I was not disappointed. A generous sprinkling of sugar caramelizes into a crisp, top layer, while the vanilla-almond scented batter is perfectly offset by the slight sourness of the cherries.


    It reminds me slightly of a more substantial Dutch Baby, and I am not joking when I say this was the easiest baking project I have ever undertaken. You have 50 minutes total? You can make this, and 45 of those minutes are spent baking anyway. It’s crucial that the batter is completely mixed without lumps, so the entire thing should be blended before baking, preferably with an immersion blender, but it can also be done in a regular blender as well, never fear!

    I know this picture doesn’t do it justice, but i needed everyone to see how thin it baked up and the LAYER of custard it produces.

    I think I’m finally off my rhubarb kick, so thank you all for sticking with me! I also realized that it’s been ages since I’ve posted a savory recipe and for that I apologize, I find myself cooking the same meals lately (I’ve been in a bit of a dinner rut), and branching out more into baked goods. The good news is that with the warm months comes fresh produce, so some new dishes will be coming soon, never fear! But until then, I really suggest that you bake this dish up at your earliest convenience, most fruits can be substituted for the tart cherries, and it becomes the easiest (but also still impressive) dessert.
    Let’s get baking!

    Makes: 10-12 servings
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Bake Time: 45 minutes
    Total Time: 50-60 minutes

    Ingredients
    Adapted from “David Lebovit’s Cherry Clafoutis” on Food52
    2¼ cups (1¼ lbs) pitted cherries, I used tart, but sweet will also do! (Can also be done with berries, pears, peaches, etc.)
    3 eggs, room temperature
    ½ cup all-purpose flour
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    ¼ tsp almond extract
    ½ cup + 3 tbsp white sugar, divided- ½ cup is in the batter, remaining tablespoons go on top for baking
    1 1/3 cups milk
    Softened salted butter, for greasing the dish

    Steps

    1. Preheat your oven to 375ºF and generously grease a 2 quart baking dish (mine was roughly 9″x13″). When I say generously I really do mean it, I thought I had done enough and there was still some sticking in the corners.

    2. If your cherries are fresh, wash and pit them, or if they are jarred in juice, drain. Spread the pitted cherries on the bottom of the dish evenly, but don’t obsess over it because they will shift when the batter is poured in.

    As a side-note, look at this fun summer tablecloth!!!!

    3. In a large mixing bowl, add eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extracts, white sugar, and milk. Using the aforementioned immersion blender (or regular blender), blend this batter thoroughly until smooth, so that all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

    4. Pour the batter over the cherries and sprinkle the top with the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar.

    5. Bake for 45 minutes until the top is brown and crisp, and a knife comes out ~mostly~ clean.

    This can be served warm, room temperature, or cold, with ice cream, whipped cream, but it’s also perfect on its own!
    xoxoxoxoD