- 2 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 ounce bottle red food coloring
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 pound (2 -8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Set aside
- Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients together. Reserve.
- Combine the eggs, vinegar, vanilla and buttermilk in a glass measuring cup and whisk together until blended. Reserve.
- Place the oil in large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer on medium-speed slowly add the sugar and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the food coloring and beat until bright red. Alternate half of the dry and wet ingredients on medium speed. Repeat with remaining ingredients ending with the wet ingredients, until the batter is completely mixed together and there are no lumps.
- Transfer the batter evenly into the cake pans. Place on a baking sheet and bake about 35 to 38 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle of each cake. Remove and cool in the pans. When cool, carefully loosen the sides of the cake and invert onto cooling racks.
- Make the frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixer on medium speed. Slowly add the vanilla and powdered sugar until incorporated; the mixture should be a thick frosting-like consistency.
- Place one cake layer upside down on a cake platter and spread frosting over the top and sides. Place the remaining cake right side up and frost the top and the sides until all of the cake is covered. Try to evenly cover the cake. Clean off any residual frosting on the platter. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. This can be made up to one day completely ahead and kept refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving.
Makes a 2 layer 9 inch cake.
- 5 eggs
- 1 + 2/3 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into pieces
- 2 tablespoons Kirsch or other fruit liqueur
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries or blackberries
- Powdered sugar, for the garnish
- Grease and flour a 9″ bundt pan. Preheat oven to 325F.
- In large mixing bowl, blend eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add pieces of butter and Kirsch or fruit liqueur and blend with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the flour (reserving the 2 tablespoons to coat the berries), baking powder and salt and mix until well incorporated, with no lumps.
- In separate bowl, toss the berries with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour coating them evenly. Gently fold into cake mixture.
- Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool 30 minutes in the pan. Invert cake onto a cake rack and cool thoroughly. Dust with powdered sugar. Place on a platter and serve.
This can be made a day ahead, covered well and left at room temperature.
Check out Quick Bundt Cake Tips here.
Serves 8 to 10 people.
- 2 1/2 cups half and half
- 1 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 pint sliced strawberries or raspberries
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 F. For custard, if using vanilla bean: Slice the bean in half, and scrape out the seeds with the tip of the paring knife. Add the vanilla bean and seeds to the half and half in a small saucepan. NOTE: If using vanilla extract instead of the bean, DO NOT add it to the half and half. See Step 4 below. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and let vanilla infuse in half and half for 30 minutes. Remove vanilla bean, if using.
- For caramel: Combine sugar and water in small heavy saucepan. Do not use a dark-colored pan, as you will not be able to see the color of the caramel on the bottom of the pan. Dissolve sugar in water over low heat. Turn up heat and continually swirl the pan over the flame. Mixture will be bubbly. If sugar crystals form on sides of pan, cover for 1 minute and this will dissolve them. Boil until mixture reaches a dark-golden brown color. Watch carefully, as caramel can burn easily.
When mixture turns golden brown, remove from heat and pour about 1 tablespoon of caramel into the hot half and half (see Step 1 above). Pour remaining caramel into a 1 1/2-quart porcelain baking dish. Rotate dish rapidly to spread caramel evenly on bottom of dish. (Don’t worry if it is not even; it will distribute itself during the baking process.)
In a 3-quart mixer bowl, beat eggs and egg yolks until frothy. Slowly add sugar and beat until light, thick and lemon colored. Continue beating while pouring in half and half in a thin stream. Stir in vanilla extract if vanilla bean was not used. With a fine-mesh strainer, strain mixture into caramel-lined mold.
Lay a dishtowel on the bottom of a roasting pan, place the dish on top of the towel, and then fill the pan with boiling water about halfway up the sides of the custard dish. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F and put mold in bottom third of oven. Be sure to regulate the oven so water in pan never comes above a simmer. If custard boils, it will not be smooth. Bake for 40 minutes or until a tester inserted 1 inch from outside edge of custard comes out clean.
Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To unmold, run a knife between custard and edge of mold. Place a serving dish with a lip to catch the sauce upside down over mold, quickly invert and remove mold from custard.
For topping: In medium bowl combine berries and powdered sugar and mix well. After custard has been refrigerated and unmolded, spoon sliced strawberries over top and around sides. Slice and serve in bowls or dishes.
May be prepared up to 1 day in advance through Step 6 and kept in refrigerator.
If you can find fresh vanilla beans, I urge you to try them in this dessert. Splitting the bean and scraping out the vanilla paste into the half and half makes a remarkable difference in the final result. If not, spring for a good quality vanilla extract.
Swirl the sugar syrup in a light-bottomed pan as it darkens. This will make it easy to see the color change and avoid burning the caramel.
Baking the custard in a water bath is important because the water insulates the custard and keeps it from cooking too fast. Allowing the bath to over boil can cause cracks to develop in the finished custard and create an unpleasant rubbery texture. Lining the roasting pan with a dishtowel will keep the crème caramel from slipping as it bakes.
Be creative with the topping. Use sliced strawberries or do a mixture of mixed raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, if you desire. A topping of colorful berries adds a lovely springtime touch. Use a pie slicer or sharp knife to cut into slices for serving. Place each slice on a dessert plate and spoon over some caramel sauce and berries.
Serves 4 to 6 people.
- 1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts
- 1 Granny Smith or other green apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- 1 Fuji apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
- 3 tablespoons sweet Passover wine
- Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
- Heat a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add walnuts and toss gently over the heat until they begin to brown lightly and become fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Finely chop the walnuts.
- When the walnuts are cool, combine all the ingredients together in a medium bowl and mix well. Taste for seasoning. Can be made up to 4 hours ahead, covered and kept at room temperature. Just before serving toss to combine the ingredients and drain any excess liquid. Serve in a glass bowl garnished with fresh mint leaves.
If you want, use this recipe as a template for variation. Substitute for the apples with dried fruit such as figs, dates, apricots, cherries or cranberries. And instead of the walnuts, try a mixture of pistachios, cashews and almonds. Make sure to add the cinnamon, honey and wine. Don’t forget to toast the nuts to bring out their rich flavor and moisten the dried fruit with hot water or wine. With a food processor, puree or finely chop the nuts and then pulse in the fruit. Add the honey and spices and more wine, if needed. Watch how fast it disappears off the Seder plate.
- 12½-inch slices French Bread
- ¼ cup Mascarpone
- 1 pint favorite ripe berries like blackberries or raspberries
- ¼ cup fragrant honey like orange blossom, white truffle or lavender
- Toast the French bread slices. Arrange on a platter and smear about a teaspoon of Mascarpone on each bread slice. Arrange a few berries on top and then a light drizzle of honey. Serve immediately.
This recipe is very flexible. Place a soft creamy blue cheese, a strong cheddar and a Triple cream cheese on a basket. Have slices of a toasted raisin nut bread around the cheese. Place a pot of White Truffle Honey or any other unusual variety in the basket. Let your guests make their own selection and make sure to have them drizzle the cheese and bread with a bit of honey.