Norwegian Gold Cake

On the heels of a very family-filled weekend, it seems only fitting to share with you a family recipe that has been passed down and sideways since before I was born. Called “Norwegian Gold Cake”, I am actually unsure of where it even got its name, but the recipe comes from the grandmother of my mom’s cousins (what that makes her to me, I couldn’t even begin to guess). The cake is luxuriously rich and golden in color thanks to the 5 eggs in the batter, but is also perfectly offset by the lemon-orange buttercream that tops it. Its got the zest and juice of both fruits and is the freshest, brightest tasting frosting you’ll ever have. When I was little, you knew dessert would be good if you showed up to my grandparents house and this cake was sitting on its cake plate on the dining room table. My grandma even put her own spin on it, preparing the cake with half citrus frosting and half coffee frosting. This may sound like a strange combo, but both frostings pair so well with a dense cake like this one separately, however the real best way to eat it is to have one slice with some coffee frosting and some citrus frosting. Traditionally in this family, this cake is baked in a tube pan, but it could also be done in a 9 x 13″ as a sheet cake instead, although a shorter baking time will probably be required.

A piece of advice, read this recipe through all the way before starting, since some of the process is different than most cake batters. This recipe uses the reverse creaming method, which involves beating together the flour and butter instead of the sugar and butter. This way, gluten doesn’t start forming until the flour comes into contact with a liquid, and when the flour is coated in butter, it slows down this production. As a result, the cake should be more tender and velvety, as well as bake with less of a domed top. That last bit doesn’t matter so much for this recipe since you aren’t stacking the cake, but when making layer cakes, reverse creaming is a good idea since each cake bakes up flatter and less trimming is required. There’s your baking education for the week!

This weekend we watched my only brother graduate from Notre Dame and it was so special. We spent Friday in Chicago, where we saw the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute, and had some crazy good food to warm us up on a particularly drizzly day (I’m talking chicken and waffles for brunch AND Russian food for dinner), then drove to Indiana for the remainder of the weekend. I am immensely proud of everything my brother has done, it’s been awesome to watch him grow over the past four years and he deserves every good thing coming to him. He’ll be starting a job at Google in August and ooooooh we’re so proud! Go Aidan!


Before we get started, here are 5 things to be happy about today:
ONE. Sun showers that produce rainbows.
TWO. Going out for tea.
THREE. Putting your hair up.
FOUR. Having your coffee in the park.
FIVE. Pinch bowls.
SERVES: 10-12 people
PREP TIME: 45 minutes
BAKE TIME: 35-40 minutes

CAKE INGREDIENTS

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
5 eggs
1½ cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)

CAKE STEPS

Pls note that I took this before reading the recipe again, flour + baking powder shouldn’t be combined!!

ONE. Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Grease a tube pan or 9×13″ cake pan with butter and flour, then set aside.

TWO. Cream together the flour and butter on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.

THREE. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and baking powder, then add this to the flour mixture. Mix in the vanilla.

FOUR. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and tap on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. If you’re using a 9×13″ pan, start checking earlier, between 25 and 30 minutes instead. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

 

FROSTING INSTRUCTIONS

1 lb. confectioners sugar, more if necessary
1 stick (½ cup) butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Zest + juice from 1 lemon
Zest + 1 Tbsp juice from 1 orange

FROSTING STEPS

ONE. Cream the butter and confectioners sugar on low speed in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the vanilla.

TWO. Add the lemon juice and zest, plus the orange juice and zest, and mix until incorporated. At this point you can adjust the proportions by adding more confectioners sugar for a thicker frosting, or more juice for a thinner one.

THREE. When the cake is completely cooled, frost the cake and decorate however you’d like! If you’re feelin ~fancy~, you could even try to candy some fruit peels, instructions here!

YUM! xoxoxoxoxoD

Fried Burrata in Romesco Sauce

Question: what do you make for dinner when you’re home alone and there’s no one to judge you for not eating a well-rounded meal?

Answer: THIS.

What is this, you ask? Oh, just your average giant ball of mozzarella filled with softer mozzarella, double-coated in panko bread crumbs and fried to crispy, golden perfection. But that’s not all, certainly not. This masterpiece sits atop an equally delicious bed of romesco sauce which, for those who don’t know, is sort of like a red pesto where instead of basil you use roasted red peppers, and instead of pine nuts you use almonds. Its slightly sweet, slightly smoky flavor is a perfect pairing for a rich ball of literal fried cheese.

And as if this couldn’t get any better, to eat it, it’s highly encouraged that you toast a bunch of slices of Italian bread and dip away. After coming across the recipe here on Spoon Fork Bacon I added it to my “to try” list immediately and jumped in the first chance I got. In retrospect, this is probably a better appetizer or like, ~group~ snack than a dinner for one person, but I’m an adult and no one can tell me what to do, so hell YEAH I ate one for dinner. I optimistically fried two burratas that day, but alas I am only one person and finishing two was not in the cards for me. This was, however, one of my most successful frying experiences and I think I owe it all to the panko breadcrumbs, which are larger and flakier than regular breadcrumbs, and they just fry so nicely and evenly. They also make the best, crispiest chicken cutlets, but that’s for another day. I’m not tryna stretch this out we all know why we’re really here, so let’s get to it! (Right after 5 things to be happy about today!)

ONE. A chilly, rainy Sunday with nothing to do but get cozy and catch up on TV.
TWO. Kettle cooked potato chips.
THREE. Backyard string lights.
FOUR. A good spring deep cleaning.
FIVE. Rhubarb season finally arriving!! (unusual recipe coming soonish!!)

MAKES: 2 medium-sized fried burratas (or 1 large) + 2 cups sauce
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 10 minutes

ROMESCO SAUCE INGREDIENTS

24 ounces roasted red peppers, drained
½ cup slivered almonds
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves
Juice of ½ lemon
Handful of minced parsley
Kosher salt and pepper

ROMESCO SAUCE STEPS

ONE. Blend all the above ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until heated through. Set aside.

FRIED BURRATA INGREDIENTS

2 medium-sized burrata balls
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
Oil for frying
Parmesan and parsley, for serving
Italian Bread, for serving

FRIED BURRATA STEPS

ONE. Arrange the flour, beaten egg, and panko in 3 steps.  Dredge both balls of burrata in the flour, egg, and panko respectively, then repeat in the egg and panko once more to ensure it’s fully coated. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes to set.

TWO. In a large dutch oven, heat about 4 inches of vegetable or canola oil to 350ºF. Fry each burrata for 3 to 4 minutes, until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel, then sprinkle with salt.

THREE. To serve, spoon a generous amount of romesco sauce into a bowl, then top with a fried burrata. Sprinkle with parmesan and parsley, and serve with slices of toasted bread.

YUM!! xoxoxoxoD

2-Day Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t think I’m being dramatic here when I say I will never make another chocolate chip cookie recipe again. This all started when I was left to my own devices for two days straight, and I started thinking about projects that I had set aside and kept in my notes that fell by the wayside. And one of those ideas was, you guessed it, brown butter chocolate chip cookies. But I had some concerns, since brown butter is the melting and, duh, browning of unsalted butter, and melted butter is not good for cookie dough. The re-firming of the butter is necessary, but even so I was worried that the fact that the butter was softer than normal would cause the cookies to spread too far and thin.

Enter my next idea. I’ve been on a chocolate chip cookie recipe binge lately (see here as well), and I’ve been seeing more and more that require the dough to be refrigerated for at least 12 hours after being scooped, in order for the flavors to fully develop. The bonus benefit of this method in this case is that the butter would have ample time to re-harden, and therefore would not spread as much as cookies that were not refrigerated overnight. So, with these two methods under my belt, I got to work and created, in my opinion, the most delicious chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. The brown butter makes them taste slightly nutty and caramel-y, and the use of baking chocolate rather than chocolate chips that never fully melt means pockets that are fully melted and fudgey. A finishing touch of a sprinkle of kosher salt is the zippy balance to the sweetness, and overall an incredible cookie is made.

With all this talk about melty chocolate, I’m sure we’re all in the happiest of headspaces, but just in case you’re not, here are 5 other things to be happy about today!
ONE. Matching pajama sets.
TWO. Looking through old photo albums and having the memories flood right back.
THREE. Egg noodles with butter and parsley.
FOUR. Homemade strawberry jam.
FIVE. The first time of the year that you can drive around with the windows down blasting music.

Let’s bake!!!
MAKES: 24 – 26 cookies
PREP TIME: 45 minutes
INACTIVE TIME: 12 hours
BAKE TIME: 12 – 15 minutes

COOKIE INGREDIENTS

1 cup browned butter (from about 3 sticks unsalted butter)
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups roughly chopped semi-sweet baking chocolate
Kosher salt, for sprinkling

COOKIE STEPS

ONE. Brown the butter in a large saucepan by heating on medium, swirling and stirring occasionally, until the milk solids turn golden brown and the melted butter smells toasted and nutty. Pour the melted butter into a bowl and chill until set.

TWO. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and kosher salt, then set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the set but softened brown butter with both sugars until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla.

THREE. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Slowly add the flour, a little at a time, until all is added. Chop the chocolate into chunks and stir into the dough with a rubber spatula until uniform.

FOUR. Using a cookie scoop, scoop all the dough into rounds on a single baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Wrap the entire sheet tightly with plastic wrap, then refrigerate the cookies for at least 12 hours.

FIVE. The next day, preheat your oven to 375ºF. Split the cookies onto two parchment paper lined baking sheets about an inch apart. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden but still melted and gooey in the middle. Sprinkle some extra kosher salt on top of each cookie. Cool the cookies for 5 minutes on the sheets, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. OR eat every single one while they’re still warm, I literally won’t judge at all.

xoxoxoxoxoxoD