Plum Kuchen

20170710_152921Summer is typically a slow time of year for me. School is out. The back-to-back flow of major holidays is absent. I no longer have to be someplace all the time and there are a less incentives given to require constant recipe creation. I rely on this time to relax, plan out the craziness of the fall and winter months ahead, and sneak a few trips to the park for my oldest to exert some of her excess energy.

This year, however, has not been typical. It seems like I have been going nonstop since last August when I am usually settled down around early June. The reason for the change? Well, in June I was approached by a local magazine, Edible Orlando, to have a recipe of mine featured in their Summer issue. Almost immediately after that exposure, I was approached by two different authors who are assembling cookbooks and would like to feature some of my recipes in their books. I gladly obliged but it also means a bit more involvement than I’m used to regarding this website. Meanwhile, I celebrated my fiance’s 33rd birthday, the Baptism of our second daughter, followed by Independence Day festivities, and in a little over two weeks it will be our second daughter’s 1st birthday. If I am lucky I will get a week or two off before the crazy school year starts all over again with registration for my daughter in school and a bunch of extracurricular activities along with the constant recipe development needed for the fall/winter holidays.

20170710_153132Since I have been busy I haven’t planned much in advance regarding future posts and I haven’t involved myself in other incentive-based projects. This post came about after I was out doing regular shopping and got a deal on some organic plums for $1.99/pound. I figured I could find something to make with them. Sure enough, after having a brief conversation with my mom about how my great-grandmother used to make plum jelly I decided to do a bit of research on traditional German recipes using plums. I quickly discovered that plum cake (Pflaumenkuchen) is a staple in many German homes, especially when having guests for coffee or tea. It’s so popular that every year between the months of July & September, in the southwestern city of Buhl, Germany there is a festival (Zwetschgenfest) to celebrate the annual plum harvest. During my brief studies on the subject I have found that there are two ways to prepare a plum kuchen, one being with a yeast base and the other with a cake batter. Due to my time constraints I chose the quicker cake batter option.

20170710_152959After preparing this simple coffee cake I know why it is so beloved in Germany. What is not to love about a dense yet tender spice cake adorned with tart plums and finished with a crispy cinnamon sugar topping! I prefer using a mixture of black, red, and yellow plums for contrasting flavor and color but any plum variety will work in this scrumptious cake. Serve it as a quick breakfast with coffee, as an afternoon snack with tea, or a satisfying dessert following dinner!

 

Plum Kuchen

 

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 ounces (1 ½ cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup plus 2 tbsp. Granulated Sugar; divided
  • 2 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 3/8 tsp. Salt; divided
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Cardamom
  • 7 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; divided
  • ½ cup Milk
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 pound Plums; quartered & pitted
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Cinnamon

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°. Grease a 9 inch round springform or metal cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Combine flour, 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, ¼ tsp. salt, allspice, and cardamom in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in 4 tbsp. butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  3. Combine milk, vanilla, and egg in a bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Arrange plums in a circular pattern over the batter.
  4. Combine remaining 2/3 cup granulated sugar, remaining 1/8 tsp. salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl, stirring well. Place remaining 3 tbsp. butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or until butter is melted. Stir melted butter into sugar mixture. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over top of cake. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until browned and bubbling. Cool in pan for 1 hour on a wire rack. Cut into wedges and serve.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: PAUL GRIMES
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

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Skinny Tuscan Lemon Muffins

20170521_161331Summer is just around the corner and that means longer, hotter days and kids running around the house 24/7 (if you are a parent). Although summer is supposed to be a more relaxed time of year it can actually be more hectic, especially if you are an adult with school age children. With the summer schedule already (or about to be) in full gear, it is good to have versatile recipes that are quick and easy to prepare and light on the palate.

20170521_161513Muffins are my preferred versatile recipe item, mainly because they were the first thing I learned to bake on my own as a kid. They are quick and easy to prepare, leave minimal clean-up, and have a seemingly infinite amount of flavor combinations so you never get bored. Today, I elected to work with the flavors of Italy, hence the name Skinny Tuscan Lemon Muffins. A combination of classic Italian ingredients (lemon, ricotta, and olive oil) creates a tart and satisfying muffin. The combination of ricotta cheese and olive oil make this muffin insanely moist, like a mini lemon pound cake. For striking lemon flavor, lemon zest and juice was not enough. To get lemon flavor that shines through everything else, I added lemon extract with the zest and juice. If you don’t like a heavy lemon flavor you can always omit the extract. Lastly, each muffin is finished with a heavy sprinkle of turbinado sugar to lend a crunchy textural contrast.

20170521_161429I highly recommend giving these muffins a try, especially this summer. They are great fresh out of the oven, at room temperature, or reheated. If you want to keep some on hand for quick snacks they can be frozen for longer storage and reheated in the microwave or simply left out to thaw on the counter to room temperature. If you elect to keep them at room temperature right after baking, make sure you store them in an airtight container and do not hold for more than 3 days (although they will likely never last that long). Enjoy these muffins at breakfast with coffee, grab one out the door before work/school, enjoy one as a sweet afternoon snack with tea, or fulfill a late night sweet craving. The possibilities are seemingly endless!

 

Skinny Tuscan Lemon Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 7.9 ounces All-Purpose Flour (about 1 ¾ cups)
  • ¾ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ¾ cup part-skim Ricotta Cheese
  • ½ cup Water
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp. Grated Lemon Zest
  • 2 tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ tsp. Pure Lemon Extract
  • 1 large Egg; lightly beaten
  • Turbinado Sugar (Sugar in the Raw); for topping

 

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or fill tray with muffin-cup liners and coat liners with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ricotta, water, oil, zest, juice, lemon extract, and egg. Add ricotta mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
  4. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over batter in each muffin cup. Bake 15-16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tin then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool completely or serve warm.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Muffin)

NutritionLabel

 

Weight Watchers: 7 Smart Points, 4 Points Plus, or 4 Traditional Points

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: MAUREEN CALLAHAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

Easy Banana Snack Cake

20170329_192032Recently I had a few blackened bananas on the verge of needing disposal before they rotted completely. I usually turn to making banana bread when this happens but I felt like trying something new. I hadn’t made a cake in awhile so I thought this would be a good fit for some bananas that would otherwise go to waste. Although technically cake, it is more specifically a loaf cake. Loaf cakes hold up well when sliced compared to regular cake, which makes this banana snack cake perfect for packing in lunches or eating a slice on the go for breakfast.

20170329_191744Whether you enjoy this cake for dessert, a snack, or a stand in for breakfast it is a light and healthier option that even kids can enjoy. Packed with potassium-rich bananas, olive oil, low-fat Greek yogurt, and only 1/3 cup of added sugar, you can rest assured this cake will taste indulgent without breaking your healthy lifestyle. As an added bonus this cake is really easy to prepare…even if you have some little kitchen helpers like myself! Enjoy!

Easy Banana Snack Cake

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 oz. (1 ½ cups) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Plain Low-fat Greek Yogurt
  • ¾ cup Mashed Ripe Banana (about 2 whole)
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg; lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup Chopped Walnuts

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease a 9-inch square metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk mixture until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
  3. Combine yogurt, banana, oil, vanilla, and egg in a small bowl; stir until well blended. Add yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Add the walnuts and stir until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan 10 minutes on a wire rack then remove from the pan. Cool completely on wire rack. Serve (approximately 8 servings).

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: JUDITH MCINTIRE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017