Pastries in Paradise

Posts tagged ‘food’

Tiramisu Cupcakes

 

20140930_091256I love cupcakes. I love how they are the perfect portion, easy to transport, and the options for cake flavors and frostings are seemingly endless. I also enjoy how they open up one’s creativity. I like adapting flavors of other desserts I enjoy and transforming them into a cupcake. With that said, it is clearly obvious I love the Italian trifle Tiramisu and set out to make its cupcake counterpart.

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I began with the base, the cake itself. It was here that I wanted the coffee flavor to stand out so I didn’t want to over complicate the cake. I used a simple white cake recipe and laced it with a little bottle of Kahlua liquor. This not only gave it the kick of coffee flavor I was looking for but also fools my brain that I am indulging in a boozy cupcake… and who doesn’t like the thought of a boozy cupcake.

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Next up was the frosting. This is where I integrated the traditional mascarpone and things got a bit tricky. My first trial run, I used too much marscapone, which lent a very heavy and overly sweet frosting. The base cake layer is very light and airy and the frosting was just too much for it. In my second trial run, I wanted to make the frosting be more light and airy like the cake beneath it. I didn’t want the cake to be weighted down. So I used less marscapone and more heavy cream. The result…perfection. A light dusting of cocoa powder to bring out the swirls of the frosting was all I needed and there you have a delectable and easy Tiramisu Cupcake worth sharing.

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I made my own white cake batter from scratch but if you are in a pinch you can surely use a white cake mix. Also be sure to use a nonstick muffin tin and do not grease it. This will allow the white cake to brown nicely.

 

Tiramisu Cupcakes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe homemade white cake batter or white cake mix prepared according to box directions
  • 1 (50 ml) Kahlua Mini Bottle Liquor
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 4 oz. Mascarpone Cheese; room temperature
  • ½ cup Confectioners’ Sugar; sifted
  • Cocoa Powder; for dusting

 

Formula:

  1. Preheat oven according to white cake recipe instructions or box mix instructions. Use two nonstick muffin tins. Do not use paper liners or grease. Prepare a recipe for white cake either from scratch or from a box mix according to recipe instructions or box directions. Once batter is mixed, add in the mini bottle of Kahlua. Mix until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Fill each muffin cup halfway. Bake until toothpick in center comes out clean, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool in muffin tin for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove the cupcakes gently from the tin and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  2. After cupcakes have cooled completely prepare the frosting. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or by hand, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Be sure not to overbeat or the cream will become grainy. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream until completely incorporated and no streaks of white remain.
  3. Fill a piping bag fitted with a large star tip with the frosting. Using firm pressure and a clockwise motion, pipe large rosettes onto the cupcakes, passing the 12 o’clock position twice. Using a small sieve, sift a light amount of cocoa powder over the frosted cupcakes. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

 

Mississippi Mud Brownie Bites

20140701_174640-1With the days of summer vacation coming to an end in the coming weeks for most kids here in Florida, now is the time to head to the beach or make that last trip to the theme parks before school resumes. In Iowa, where I’m from, it is the last days to go out on the river… the Mississippi River. Now compared to the ocean, the Mississippi is surely not as graceful (the murky, muddy water is sure to turn off many not used to it), but it lends locals a place to cool off and enjoy the heat much like Floridians do in the ocean.

Despite the rather disgusting appearance of the Mississippi, it has caused several desserts to be named in its likeness. I’m sure some of you are now wondering how I can call the Mississippi River rather disgusting in appearance and then turn around and state there are desserts named after it. Surely those desserts must not be very appetizing. Well in fact they are extremely delicious and the name can be rather deceiving. The reason desserts, like this one, take on the name Mississippi Mud, is a result of the dense, gooey texture of the confection, which is similar to the texture the silt has that settles in the Mississippi River Delta. The silt is what gives the Mississippi its notorious muddy, murky water.

20140701_174603Now that you understand these brownie bites won’t taste like murky mud and are probably more interested in making them we can talk a bit more about them. These little brownies are moist, fudgy bites topped with melted marshmallows. They are extremely simple to prepare and the only thing you must be sure not to do is overbake them. They are supposed to be moist and fudgy so when you initially pull them out of the oven they may still appear to be under-baked but they will continue to cook in the pan and when you melt the marshmallows under the broiler.

20140701_174957If you are pressed for time you can always use a box brownie mix but I prefer to make them from scratch because they come out with a better texture. This recipe makes about 24 mini brownie bites. You can make a larger, brownie cup version by filling standard muffin cups instead of using a mini muffin pan, however, keep in mind the yield will be a lot less. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2 days.

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Mississippi Mud Brownie Bites

 

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
  • 16 tbsp. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 3 cups Sugar
  • 5 Eggs
  • ¾ cup Walnuts, chopped
  • 1 bag Mini Marshmallows
  • 1 container Dipping Chocolate (sold in baking aisle)

 

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat to 325°. Melt chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl placed over a medium saucepan filled with about ½ inch of barely simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water. Stir occasionally, until mixture is smooth, about 5 to 7 minutes; cool slightly.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk sugar and eggs together. Add the melted chocolate mixture, whisking until incorporated. Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until no streaks of flour remain. Fold in the walnuts.
  3. Fill each cup of the muffin tin evenly with batter, about halfway full. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few wet crumbs attached, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven.
  4. Preheat broiler. Arrange marshmallows on top of warm brownie bites, filling in all the space.  Broil, keeping a close eye to make sure marshmallow does not burn, about 1 minute. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. For the topping, melt dipping chocolate by following directions on package. Take a brownie bite and dip the top in the chocolate, making sure not to dip to far so that some of the marshmallow remains exposed. Repeat with all the bites. If the chocolate begins to get too stiff, microwave for 30 seconds to loosen.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Red, White, & Blue Mini Independence Day Cakes

20140703_192909Happy Birthday America. Today is the 4th of July, 2014 and the day America celebrates its Independence. Today across America we will be having barbecues serving traditional American fare and watching firework shows bursting with the colors of red, white, and blue. Here in America we usually like to spread the traditional themes into everything we do, including dessert. With that said, I present to you the red, white, and blue mini cakes.

IMG_20140703_200603I really must say this is the perfect Independence-themed dessert and I am not just referring to the colorful layers. The reason I adore these little cakes so much is a lot to do with their ease of transport to any festivity you may be attending. Also one single batch yields so many little cakes that you don’t have to worry about doubling or tripling a recipe just so that everyone in the family has a chance to try at least one. With this recipe you can let everyone have seconds or depending on the size of the party, possibly even thirds. Needless to say you will have plenty of little cakes for the abundance of fingers ready to snatch one after the other.

In case you are wondering what makes up each colorful layer, let’s break it down. To begin this holiday treat, I turned to Red Velvet cake to deliver a rich red color and sturdy foundation for the other layers. The white layer is a light & fluffy whipped cream to balance the rich density of the red velvet cake. To make sure the whipped cream held up to summer heat I made sure to stabilize it with some gelatin. This not only keeps it from melting as quickly but also creates a smoother and creamier topping. For the final touch, the quintessential blue is found with the garnish of a little blueberry. If you wanted to get creative and mix up the color scheme, you could make blue velvet cake, use the same white whipped cream and top with a fresh raspberry or cherry. Really any fruit that could give a pop of red. I prefer red velvet cake over blue and I also feel the blueberry does not add too much weight to the whipped cream making it simple for new bakers or rushed bakers needing a quick dessert to bake and take.

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These mini cakes serve about 60 people. You can use any recipe you have for red velvet cake or use a box mix.

 

Red, White, & Blue Mini Independence Day Cakes

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Red Velvet Cake Mix or your favorite Red Velvet Cake recipe
  • 1 tsp. Powdered Gelatin; unflavored
  • 2 tbsp. Water
  • 2 ¼ cups Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ cup Confectioners’ Sugar; sifted
  • Blueberries; for garnish

 

Formula:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly grease a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Prepare red velvet cake according to box mix directions or if using your own recipe follow directions to make batter. Once batter is prepared, pour evenly into the prepared mini muffin tin, filling each muffin cup just above halfway. Bake for approximately 16 minutes. Remove from oven and place cakes on a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat steps with remaining batter.
  2. Once cakes have cooled completely prepare the whipped cream topping. Combine the gelatin and water in a medium bowl. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes for the gelatin to soften. Meanwhile, bring ¼ cup of Heavy Whipping Cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once simmering, whisk in the gelatin mixture until no clumps remain. Remove from heat and allow to cool about 3 to 5 minutes. With an electric hand mixer set to medium-high speed, beat the cooled gelatin mixture, confectioners’ sugar, and remaining cream to stiff peaks, about 2 minutes.
  3. To assemble the mini cakes, place the whipped cream in a piping bag fitted with a small star tip. Pipe a rosette onto each each mini cake, making sure to build up enough cream on each cake to hold the weight of the blueberry. Once all cakes have been iced with the whipped cream topping, garnish each rosette center with a blueberry. Refrigerate mini cakes until set, about 2 hours. Cakes can be stored up to 24 hours ahead of time before serving.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

 

 

Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

20140524_101116I hope you all have not forgotten me for I have not forgotten you. I have been away for quite some time as a result of moving, starting college once again, and chasing a toddler. All of this silly adult stuff left me little to no time to bake and without anything baked I simply can’t write…or at least I can’t write anything interesting. So I suppose Memorial Day is a good time to return to all those who have not forgotten the work of this website despite my long absence.

20140524_101752Although Memorial Day weekend is a U.S. national holiday to remember our loved ones who have passed away it has also become a weekend full of family get-togethers, barbecue’s, camping, and traveling. One of America’s favorite classics usually makes its grand debut around this time each year and continues through the rest of the summer. You will find it featured on t.v. shows, local eateries, and in your newspaper circular hosting sales of the items that go into making the classic. What is it you ask??? Why the S’more. S’mores are a classic all-american summer favorite and although this post is not about s’mores it does have two of its main components.

20140524_101912As much as I love s’mores they are very messy and especially in 90 degree heat the chocolate part of the s’more deteriorates rapidly. I sought after a travel-friendly pastry that would be inspired by the s’more without the messy chocolate. Also I do so much with chocolate it is nice to take a break from it every now and again. Oh and don’t worry, I have no plans on boycotting chocolate. Chocolate and I have a long-standing relationship I would never dare break.

20140524_101713So without chocolate that leaves graham crackers and marshmallow. The graham crackers are always the base of a s’more so in this recipe they are also used as the base. By grinding the graham crackers in a food processor I created a graham-like flour that bound the cupcake batter together pretty well on its own, which made the addition of flour minimal. The amount of graham cracker “flour” not only held the batter together but also leant a subtle sweetness and hearty graham flavor. With the base so perfect the topping also had to be perfect. What better way to incorporate the marshmallow of the s’more into a rich and creamy marshmallow frosting.  The rich marshmallow frosting meshes so well with the graham cake it is no wonder the match has been loved by so many for so long. If only the chocolate was invited to the party…maybe next time.

Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

 

Graham Cake Ingredients:

  • 17 whole Graham Crackers; broken into smaller pieces
  • ¼ cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • ¾ cup Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 4 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 4 tbsp. Shortening
  • 3 Eggs; separated
  • 1 recipe Marshmallow Frosting; recipe follows

Marshmallow Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Unsalted Butter; room temperature
  • 1½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 (7 ounce) jar Marshmallow Creme
  • 2 cups Confectioners’ Sugar; sifted
  • 2 to 4 tbsp. Light Cream or Milk

 

Formula:

  1. For the cake: Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners. Grind the graham crackers, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a food processor until fine. Set aside. Whisk milk and vanilla in a measuring cup and set aside as well.
  2. With a stand mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the sugar, butter, and shortening together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add a portion of the graham cracker mixture, leaving enough for 2 more additions. Following the first addition of the graham mixture, add half of the milk mixture, followed by another addition of graham mixture. Add the remaining milk mixture followed by the final addition of the graham mixture. Mix until all is well incorporated.
  3. With a clean mixing bowl and electric hand mixer (you can alternatively whisk by hand or clean the stand mixer bowl if you do not own a hand mixer), beat the egg whites on medium-high until soft peaks form. Whisk 1/3 of the whites into the cake batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites. Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin tin, filling each liner ¾ full. Bake cupcakes 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in muffin tin 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Once the cake has cooled completely prepare the frosting. For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract and marshmallow creme until well combined. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the confectioners’ sugar. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed until all of the confectioners’ sugar has been added and the mixture is incorporated. Add 2 tbsp. cream or milk. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat the frosting until light and fluffy. Add more cream or milk if necessary until the proper piping consistency is achieved. If too much cream or milk is added, you can add more confectioners’ sugar by tablespoons until the proper consistency is reached.
  5. Pipe marshmallow frosting onto cooled cupcakes using a large star tip. Top each cupcake with a broken piece of graham cracker. Serve

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Lemon-Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake

20140416_112632With winter officially over and the onset of Spring, everyone naturally turns to fresh, light, and airy trends. Clothing takes on hues of light pastels and airy designs, homes become lighter following dreaded bouts of extensive cleaning, and food menus turn to the flavors of seasonal fresh fruits like the recently harvested lemon. With spring also comes the rush to reach goal weights set back around new years before summer bikini season starts. What dessert could possibly fit the requirements of all these springtime cliches??? Enter now the Lemon-Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake.

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Unlike other cakes, angel food cake uses absolutely no butter or oil, not even to grease the pan. It is very light and airy with a bit of sponge at first bite. Perhaps the best cake to eat on a diet. This cake also does not use baking soda or baking powder…. but how does it get its statuesque height??? EGG WHITES… and a whole lot of them I must add. In fact this cake has a very short ingredient list. But do not be deceived by the apparent simplicity. With simplicity comes more stress to the smallest of details. That flour you didn’t think you needed to sift will lend you a dense, squat cake. Or that little microscopic speck of egg yolk that slipped into the whites while you were separating them will forever prevent you from reaching proper peaks. Without gentle care this majestically tall, snowy-white cake can turn dense, wet, and depressing. You don’t want to serve a depressing cake reminescent to the blah winter blues to a crowd of cheery guests at an Easter party.

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If you are careful to follow this recipe with care you are sure to produce consistent sky-high beauties flecked with bits of poppy seeds and bursts of lemon in each bite… absolutely perfect to serve for any springtime celebration. The key you must always remember while preparing this is the volume of the egg whites you whip up so be sure to watch for any hint of yolk when separating the eggs initially. You can use cold or room temperature eggs since both will ultimately whip up to the same volume, however cold eggs will take a little bit longer and are more likely to make you start questioning if you messed something up along the way when you really haven’t. To add some reassurance that you won’t end up with deflated whites I always use cream of tartar because the acidity it offers helps to stabilize the whipped whites.

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I know it may be tempting but do not use all-purpose flour in this recipe. You will end up with a cake more like overly soft bread that plasters to the roof of your mouth when you eat it. Not flattering. If your tube pan does not have a removable bottom, I recommend lining it with parchment paper. Just make sure you never grease any part of the pan or parchment. The eggs need to cling to the pans surface in order to rise high and if you grease the pan the eggs can not grip the pan and you will end up with a short stubby brick of a cake. Not cool. After being separated from Angel Food Cake since my grandmother last made it during the holidays, I can confidently say this cake is a keeper for generations to come.

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Serves: 10 generous portions or 12 smaller portions

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Lemon-Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake

 

Ingredients:

  • 4½ oz. Cake Flour (approximately 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. if you do not have a scale)
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1¾ cups Granulated Sugar
  • 12 Egg Whites
  • 1½ tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 1 tsp. Lemon Extract
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon Zest; grated
  • 2 tbsp. Lemon Juice; (approximately 2-3 lemons)
  • 1 tbsp. Poppy Seeds

Formula:

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 325°. Whisk the flour and salt together in a bowl. Set aside. Process the sugar in a food processor until fine and powdery, approximately 1 minute. Set aside about half of the processed sugar in a small bowl. Add the flour mixture to the remaining sugar left in the food processor and process until well aerated as if sifted, about another minute.
  2. With a stand mixer set to medium-low speed, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy. Increase the speed to medium-high and with the motor running, slowly add the sugar set aside earlier. Make sure to evenly distribute the sugar around the bowl and do not add it all in one spot or you run the risk of deflating the egg whites. Continue to beat until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon extract, zest, and juice. Mix until just incorporated.
  3. Sift the flour mixture over the whipped egg whites in 3 separate additions. Fold the mixture gently with a rubber spatula after each addition until incorporated. Gently stir in the poppy seeds until evenly distributed. Scrape cake batter into a 12-cup UNGREASED tube pan.
  4. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean and the cracks in the top of the cake appear dry not wet, about 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and invert the cake on a bottle if your tube pan does not have a stand and allow to cool to room temperature upside down, about 3 hours. This keeps the cake from deflating. Once cool, turn the cake right side up and run a knife around the edges of the pan. Invert the pan on a platter & serve.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

 

 

Alfajores

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This past week my family celebrated Greek Independence Day and the amount of national pride and love for culture set me off to find a cultural piece to post on. You may wonder why I didn’t choose a Greek dish and I admit I did contemplate doing so but then again that would be exposing family heirloom recipes and I thought the better of it out of respect. So I ended up stumbling on a little gem out of Argentina. Like the popularity of the Oreo in America, Alfajores are practically Argentina’s national cookie. They have been a part of Argentinian culture since the 19th century and to this day Argentina remains the world’s largest consumer of Alfajores as they are a common snack for kids and adults alike.

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In doing my research I was quick to find the millions of variations to this cookie. Variations span all across the Latin American countries as well as overseas in Spain (although the Spanish version is of little resemblance to this recipe to the point you want to question they are at all related). The most common type of Alfajores start with two soft cookies and are sandwiched with a decadent dollop of dulce de leche (a Latin American style caramel). Just the dulce de leche alone is enough reason why this is probably the chosen common variation. I chose to prepare this version and also a version where the cookie is finished off by rolling in toasted coconut. Other common alternatives include dusting the cookie sandwich with confectioners’ sugar, coating in dark or white chocolate, or going as far as to ditch the dulce de leche for jam or mousse. I personally prefer the dulce de leche and that is why you will find it here.

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Like the Oreo has its milk, the Alfajor is often paired with morning coffee or tea but why limit them to mornings when they make a great afternoon snack or dessert after dinner. One bite and you will quickly understand why they are so popular. Don’t be alarmed by the high amount of cornstarch in this recipe. It is necessary for the cookie to have its signature, slightly cakey texture. In fact, the traditional dulce de leche recipe for Alfajores has been on the back of cornstarch boxes in Argentina for years. If you decide to try the Alfajores with coconut, make sure to toast the coconut until it starts to turn golden brown. This brings out its nutty flavor. You can certainly fill the cookies in this recipe with anything you have on hand but if you want the traditional Argentinian style make sure you use dulce de leche. You won’t regret it I swear. You can find dulce de leche in the baking aisle or Ethnic aisle of most supermarkets. This recipe will yield you approximately 1 ½ dozen cookies. The cookies can be stored at room temperature for 3 days. Enjoy :)

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Alfajores

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 14 tbsp. (1 ¾ sticks) Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups Dulce de Leche
  • 1 cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut; toasted

Formula:

  1. Adjust the oven racks to the upper-middle and lower-middle positions before pre-heating the oven to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or grease pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until just combined. Add the eggs and mix until well incorporated. Add the flour mixture and continue to beat until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate until slightly firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. Roll tablespoon amounts of dough into round balls. Place the dough balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies until the edges begin to turn golden, about 12 minutes. Be sure to rotate sheets halfway through the baking time so they cook evenly. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
  4. Spread 1 tablespoon of dulce de leche on the bottom half of each cookie. Top with the remaining cookies to form a sandwich and press down gently to push some of the dulce de leche to the cookie edges. Roll the sides of the cookie in the toasted coconut, pressing gently to adhere. Serve.

 

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM ADRIANA MILNER

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

Apple Upside-Down Cake

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Before the pineapple took center stage, every upside-down cake featured the apple. Nowadays you can’t research upside-down cake recipes without finding a slew of pineapple results. Without any hint of dying love for the pineapple variation, it is no wonder the traditional apple upside-down cake has become a lost recipe. This intrigued me as all lost recipes do and I set out to reignite the spark in the modern generation that the traditional had generations ago.

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To do this would require a direct focus on the apples. They would not only have to stand out from the cake enough to make a statement against the modern pineapple, but blend in with the cake just enough to create a cohesive bite that would delight any taste bud. This seems like an easy task until attempting it. Apples are a lot more complicated to work with than the pineapple, which is probably why the hustle and bustle of our modern society has chosen to favor the pineapple version. Apples have an extensive amount of preparation (peeling, coring, slicing), they brown quickly when exposed to oxygen, they are extremely firm and take longer to cook, AND let us not forget…they carry A LOT of hidden liquid (a true ninja fruit). Makes you want to reach for that can of pineapple now doesn’t it. Have no fear there are solutions to all of apple’s issues, well maybe not the prep part. Apple prep is always tedious and downright unpleasant no matter how many tricks you try or gadgets you buy. Oh look I rhymed. That was easy enough :)

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So I can’t solve the apple prep issues but the discoloration is easy to fix with a few drops of lemon juice. To kill two birds with one stone, precooking some of the apples in a skillet before placing them in the bottom of the pan helps speed up the cooking time so that the apples and cake cook evenly but also solves the hidden liquid issue by allowing the excess to excrete during heating. Besides solving problems, cooking the apples in the skillet presents some perks. While cooking, the apples become caramelized in their own juices with the help of a little bit of sugar. This not only infuses the apples with delicious flavor, but also makes the top of the cake a showstopper.

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With the apples in check, the cake must also be up to par. This means creating a cake that is able to stand up to the pressure of such beautiful apples weighing heavily down on it. The easiest way to make sure the cake wouldn’t buckle under such immense pressure (stupid diva apples) is to use the quick bread method which introduces less oxygen into the cake batter, allowing for a sturdier crumb. With all the science figured out, and a little additional touches of flavor, the apple upside-down cake was ready for its debut. Although I will always have a special place in my heart for pineapple upside-down cake (the first recipe my grandfather ever showed me how to bake) I can’t deny how awesome this cake is. My boyfriend is not a sweets person and needless to say he needed no help in finishing this cake off.

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Note: This cake serves 8… unless you have an individual who adores apples…in that case it may be 2 servings!!!

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Apple Upside-Down Cake

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp. (½ stick) Unsalted Butter; cut into 4 pieces; plus extra for greasing the cake pan
  • 4 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith Apples (approximately 2 pounds); peeled & cored
  • 2/3 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 tsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Apple Pie Spice; divided
  • 1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tbsp. Cornmeal
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 2 Eggs
  • 6 tbsp. (¾ stick) Unsalted Butter; melted & slightly cooled
  • ½ cup Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Formula:

  1. For the topping: Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch round, 2 inch deep nonstick cake pan. Adjust oven rack to the lowest position and preheat oven to 350°. Slice two of the apples into ¼ inch thick slices; set aside. Cut the remaining 2 apples into ½ inch thick slices. Heat 4 tbsp. butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted completely and the foaming has subsided, add the ½ inch thick slices of apple and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Be sure you do not fully cook the apples!!! Add the ¼ inch thick apple slices, 2/3 cup brown sugar, lemon juice, and ½ tsp. Apple Pie Spice. Continue to cook apples, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves and the apples are coated, about 1 minute more. Transfer the apple mixture to the prepared cake pan. If desired, arrange apples into a design and press gently into an even layer. Set aside to prepare the cake.
  2. For the cake: Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, & remaining ½ tsp. of Apple Pie Spice in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk the granulated sugar, ¼ brown sugar, and eggs together in a large bowl until thick and thoroughly mixed. Slowly whisk in the 6 tbsp. of butter until combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla; whisk until combined. Add the flour mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into the pan and spread evenly over the apples. Bake the cake until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes.
  3. Cool the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the cake to loosen it. Place a wire rack over the cake pan. Hold the rack firmly and invert the cake and wire rack together; lift off the cake pan gently. Place the wire rack over a baking sheet to catch any drips. Allow the cake to cool another 20 minutes and then transfer to a serving platter, cut into pieces and serve.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM YVONNE RUPERTI

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2014

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