Foodbuzz

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Key Lime Cupcakes


This weekend was a key lime fest, mainly due to the upcoming expiry date on the bottle of key lime I had purchased. Which brings me to an issue concerning expiry dates.

The way I read expiry dates is based on unopened. If the package has not been opened, it will stay good up until that day. This is directly in conflict with another opinion. The other opinion is that it is good until that day, opened or not. Of course, this thought stems from someone that favors a lot of dairy type of sauces, but ironically, has to have their meat cooked very well done.

In comparison, we both could eat the same thing and I would be the only one getting sick. I have zero tolerance for warm mayonnaise and I will not eat a leftover sandwich from the day prior that has been prepared with mayo and vegetables. 

However, since this recipe was made with a bottle of key lime juice that was just opened-there is no issue with expiry dates. The issue is that I would rather have this than warm potato salad!

The cupcake has a dense but moist texture. The key lime zest and juice is very well balanced in the frosting as well as cake. As you devour one of these wonderful cakes, you will notice that the flavor ingredients provide an occasional pop of tangy lime. This recipe makes about 1 dozen cupcakes.

Key Lime Cupcakes
adapted from Sprinkles Cupcakes

Ingredients/Cake
2 egg whites
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs key lime zest
2 tbs of key lime juice
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
1/2 cup or 1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups flour (sifted)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar

 Ingredients/Frosting
2 sticks or 1 cup of butter
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbs key lime juice
1 tbs key lime zest
3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp of milk (if above mixture is too thick)
Key lime wedges (optional for topping)

Prepare a 12 cavity muffin tin by greasing the top edge and lining with cupcake papers. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the butter and beat until creamy, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue to beat and add 1/2 cup of sugar. Once blended, beat in the additional sugar. Set aside.

Take out a small bowl and whisk together only 1 tbs lime juice, milk, vanilla extract and key lime zest. Using a larger bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set both mixtures aside.

Return back to the butter/sugar mixture and beat in one egg on medium speed. Then add both egg whites and blend into the batter. Continue to beat, but use the low speed. Add 1/2 of the sifted ingredients and let the mixer run until blended into the butter batter. Then add the milk mixture and run the mixer until blended. Remove bowl from mixer stand and fold the remaining dry ingredients into the batter by using a wooden spoon.

Fill the 12 lined muffin cavities evenly with the batter. Put in oven and bake for 10 minutes and then rotate pan and bake an additional 12 minutes. Use a tester for doneness, surface of cupcakes will be dry to the touch. Remove from oven and let cupcakes cool for 15 minutes and then transfer to rack to cool completely.

Once completely cooled, use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes in the top of the cupcakes. Then brush the surfaces of the cupcakes with the remaining 1 tbs of lime juice. Let the tops dry prior to frosting cupcakes.

 For the frosting, beat the salt into the butter until smooth and creamy. With the mixer set on low speed add 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar and beat until all sugar is blended into the butter. Repeat this process with an additional 1/2 cup of confectioners' sugar. Add the key lime juice, zest and vanilla extract. Beat together until evenly distributed into the batter. Then mix in the remaining confectioners' sugar in increments until no dry sugar remains. Should it seem too thick, beat in 1/2 tsp milk. Be careful not to over blend, you do not want a whipped frosting but one that is very thick.

Frost cupcakes as desired and top with key lime wedge. Enjoy!

Tips and Notes:
1. The mixture of milk and lime juice will curdle, but the recipe states the mixture has to set after blended before adding it to the cupcake batter.

2. How much juice you want to brush on top is a matter of personal preference, but be sure to wait until completely dry before icing.

3. The batter, once blended rises quickly-so be prepared to fill the cavities immediately.

4. The cupcakes did not have a tower of icing on them, if you prefer a thicker topping increase the frosting recipe.  

                                       **LAST YEAR: Hawaiian Breakfast Rolls**

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Blackberry Ginger Kouign Amann


Easter Sunday is celebrated in many different ways across the world. However, here in the US, it is eggs and more eggs; egg hunts, deviled eggs, bunny eggs and the list goes on. The last Easter egg hunt I remember was very "old school"- it was with real dyed boiled eggs. The memory that is etched in my mind is finding an egg that was covered with ants because it had a broken shell. Needless to say, since then I am not really into egg hunts these days. Even though the tradition has changed to using plastic eggs filled with candy, it has not lured me back into egg hunting.

So, today I present a recipe that is completely void of any egg, the Kouign Amann pastry-otherwise known as Breton cakes. Processing the dough is much like the croissant, a butter sheet is placed on top of the dough and the dough folded on top. Then there are several steps of rolling and folding.

While all these types of cakes are crunchy and buttery on the outside, this particular recipe has a few flavor twists that result in an addictive pairing. On the outside and folded into the dough layers is homemade ginger sugar. Then a blackberry sugar mixture is pursed inside the dough and baked. The end result is a crunchy ginger cake that compliments the blackberry filling in the center. This recipe makes 1 dozen pastries.

Blackberry Ginger Kouign Amann
adapted from Baked From Scratch

Ingredients/Ginger Sugar
2 tbs grated fresh ginger
2 cups granulated sugar

Ingredients/Cake
1 3/4 cup salted butter (softened)
2 tsp salt
4 cups flour
2 1/2 tbs yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (100-105 degrees)

Ingredients/Filling
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 tbs brown sugar
1 tbs and 1 1/2 tsp honey
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups blackberries (cut in half)

The first step is to make the ginger sugar. Fill a food processor bowl with grated ginger and sugar.
Pulse the mixture together until ginger is distributed throughout the sugar. Prepare a pan by lining with parchment and preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Pour the sugar mixture into the pan and spread out evenly. Bake for seven minutes and then stir. Place back in oven and let bake for an additional seven minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cooled fill a grinder with some of the mixture and grind for about 2 minutes. Continue with this process until all the sugar lumps are ground up. Pour into shallow bowl and set aside.

For the dough, start by whisking together the yeast and the warm water. Then add the salt. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with dough hook and add 1/2 cup of flour and beat at low speed until blended. Repeat the process until all the flour has been blended to form a dough. Form the dough into a ball and enclose in plastic wrap. Leave on counter and let sit to rise for about 20 minutes.

While the dough is rising, the butter block can be formed. Place butter between sheets of waxed paper and roll it out to form a 10x8 inch rectangle. Place in fridge for about 5 minutes.

After the dough has risen, prepare a flat surface by dusting with flour. Place dough on prepared area and roll out to form a 16x10 inch rectangle. Take butter block from the fridge and peel off one sheet of wax paper. Place butter square on top and in the center of the dough rectangle. Enclose the butter block by folding the dough over the top and pinching together any exposed edges. Roll the dough again, this time forming a 18x8 inch rectangle. Then fold dough into 3rds (much like a letter), which makes a 8x6 inch rectangle. Repeat the same rolling process again, starting with forming a 16x10 inch rectangle and ending with one 8x6 size. Wrap dough and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.

After the dough has chilled for at least 30 minutes, prepare a 12 cavity muffin pan by liberally greasing with butter, covering the interior and upper edge of the cavities. Then cover a flat work surface with the ginger sugar. When the dough has completed the chilling time, remove from refrigerator and let set uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover the dough with a sprinkling of ginger sugar and roll out, forming an 8x18 inch rectangle. Fold up the length of the dough into 3rds forming a letter size rectangle. Sprinkle on more sugar and roll out again, this time forming a 17x13 inch rectangle. Cut off about 1/2 inch from all 4 sides, making a straight edge.

Once this is complete, take out a medium size bowl and mix all the filling ingredients together. Then go back to the dough and cut out 12 squares, each 4x4 inches. Place the squares in the prepared muffin cavities and fill with 1 tablespoon of filling. Take each corner of the dough and fold and pinch together in the center. Cover lightly with a cloth and let rise for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Once dough has risen, place muffin pan on baking sheet and put in oven. Let pastries bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely in pan on rack. Then transfer to serving platter.

Tips and Notes:
1. The rising time and the temperature of the water are crucial. My pastries were more cake like than flaky due to the variation from these 2 factors.

2. There is a lot of butter and quite a bit drips out, so the baking sheet is necessary to catch those drips.

3. I had a lot of sugar, so after cutting the squares, I placed each dough squared on top of the sugar in the shallow bowl and pressed lightly. I did the same for the other side, prior to placing it in the muffin cavity.

4. If the pastries stick after cooling, place pan in the warm oven a few minutes to melt the sugar edges and try to remove pastry again.

5. Filling is to be used immediately, so it cannot be prepared hours in advance of baking.
                                 **LAST YEAR: Banana French Toast Muffins**       
 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Walnut Mini Loaves


Today I have decided that I need to tackle one of my fears. Even though it is not a huge fear, I need to get past it. It is the fear of running out of an ingredient in the middle of creating something in the kitchen. The fear was built on having that irritation and inconvenience happen 3 times, back to back.

I am not alone, for there may be several bloggers out there that have this affliction. It is silly, I know. It is simply a matter of being organized. Instead of minimizing it to being organized, it would appear that I have over compensated by hoarding certain things. One of them that came to light recently is the amount of packaged nuts I have in my freezer.

Now it is time that I relieve some of the inventory, by baking up some nut bread. This particular recipe uses walnuts and whiskey. It yields 6 mini loaves that are really moist due to the texture from the oil in the ground nuts. Also, these little nutty loaves are even further enhanced by a sweet whiskey syrup ladled on top.

This does make a good base recipe that you can experiment with. Chocolate ganache can be drizzled on top after the syrup sets. Using hazelnut and a nut liqueur is another flavor choice.

Walnut Mini Loaves
adapted from Dr Oetker Recipes

Ingredients/Cake
1 cup ground walnuts
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs melted butter
1 cup whiskey
3 tbs milk

Ingredients/Syrup
remaining 3 tbs whisky reduction from above
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbs water

Start by making the whiskey reduction. Pour whisky in a saucepan and place over medium high heat and let cook down until only a little over 1/3 of a cup, or 6 tablespoons remains. Set aside to cool.

Grease the interior of 6 mini loaf pans, making sure all corners and sides are well covered. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the baking powder and flour. Whisk in the sugar and then the walnuts. In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs, milk and 3 tbs of the whiskey reduction. Fold the liquid into the dry mix until all is blended. The batter should be quite thick.

Spoon the batter evenly into each of the pans, evening out the surface by using a spatula. Place in oven and let bake until tester comes out clean and edges are golden, about 15-20 minutes.

As it bakes, prepare the whiskey syrup. Fill a saucepan with the 3 tbs of water and 1/3 cup of sugar. Stir and let cook until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining whiskey reduction.

Once the loaves are baked, remove from oven. Set pan(s) on cooling rack and poke holes in top of each, using a wooden skewer. Then drizzle a tablespoon of the syrup on top and continue to drizzle by tablespoon until all the syrup is gone. Let loaves cool completely in pan, then turn out onto rack.

Prior to serving, you can add an additional topping of whipped cream, chocolate or caramel.
                                   **LAST YEAR:Citrus Ginger Cookies** 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Spicy Date Filled Cookies


Sometimes baking in the kitchen can be like resolving a mystery. You see something that you have never made nor have you ever tasted. Then you review the recipe, noting that it has some challenges that take time. Like most bloggers, we step up to the plate, eager to create and push our skills further.

This particular recipe originates from the Middle East, so there are special ingredients as well as a special tool needed to create this traditional cookie called Ma'amoul. However, you can scale it back in a few ways. The mold is only for appearance, so the cookies can be formed by hand. Also, clarified butter can be made from real butter, if you have the time. The specialty spices can be found on line or at an Indian or Middle Eastern grocers. Also, the mold can be ordered on line.

These may be called cookies, but they are definitely more of a pastry type of item. The outer part contains yeast and the dough is used in a manner much like a crust rather than a cookie. The crust houses a blend of sweet dates, spices and walnuts. All in all, this recipe mystery unraveled into round pastries housing exotic flavor that were both pleasing in appearance and taste. The recipe is definitely a keeper, especially when you want to impress for special occasions. 

Now, without further delay, below is the recipe, which makes about 2 dozen cookies. Note that the spice mix yields more than required in this recipe, but the mix can be stored for later use.

Spicy Date Filled Cookies
adapted from an Edible Mosaic

Ingredients/Spice Blend
1 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground anise
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground fennel seeds
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground mahlab (ground cherry pits)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Ingredients/Filling
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
2 tbs canola oil
3/4 lb of date paste
1 1/2 tsp of spice blend (above)

Ingredients/Dough
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup clarified butter (ghee)
4 cups flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar (for dusting on top/optional)

Start by whisking all the spice ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

To create the filling, a food processor or stand mixer will need to be used. Prepare the blade and the interior of the bowl by coating with oil. Place the date paste in the bowl and then pour in the oil. Pulse the food processor or beat on medium speed with mixer until the oil is blended with the date paste. During this process you may need to stop occasionally and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Oil the surface of a cutting board and empty the date mixture onto the board. Separate out 1 1/2 tsp of the spice blend and store the remaining in a small jar or time for later use. Oil your hands and sprinkle some of the spice mix on the date mixture. Knead the spice into the date filling and then add some more spice and knead again. Repeat the process until all the spice is blended into the filling. Then do the same with the chopped walnuts. Set the bowl aside.

For the dough, get out two saucepans. Fill one with sugar and water. Fill the other with the butter and oil. Place the saucepan with the sugar/water over medium high heat. Let the mixture heat up to boiling and swirl a few times to get the sugar swirled into the water. It should boil for 1 minute and then remove from heat and set aside. Put the saucepan filled with the butter and oil over the medium high heat and let cook until the butter is completely melted. This saucepan is also to be removed from heat and set aside.

Sift together the flour and yeast in a large bowl. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter/oil mixture. Using a wooden spoon, fold the liquid into the flour mixture. Once this comes together, blend in the sugar syrup in three increments until a dough is formed (it will be oily). Dust a flat surface with flour and knead the dough on the surface for 2 minutes. Form into a flat disc and cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for about 7 minutes. Remove and knead again for 2 minutes.

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

To form the cookies by using the mold: Take one tablespoon of dough and fill the mold and shape it much the same way as you do a tart pan, flattening and bringing up the sides. Once this is formed, take a knife to remove the excess dough, running the knife from the center top edge outward to the left then the right. Separate out a teaspoon of filling and flatten it into the center of the dough in the mold, being careful that it does not touch the sides. Then separate out a teaspoon of dough and flatten it into a disc, big enough to cover the filling. Place it on top of the filling and press down, so the edge is compressed with the edge of the first layer of dough. Make sure there are no cracks and the filling is completely covered. Lastly, tap the side rim of the mold on a flat surface and the cookie will fall out.

To form the cookies by hand: use the same measurements above, but use your palm as a mold and create the same coverage of the filling and make a slightly flattened circle. Use the tines of a fork to make a cross hatch on top.

After making 6 cookies and placing them on a cookie sheet one inch apart, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make 6 more, spacing the same on the cookie sheet. Place pan in oven and let cookies bake for about 10-12 minutes, then rotate and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Cookies are done when the bottom is toasty and golden.  Remove and transfer to rack to completely cool.

Once cooled and prior to serving, you can dust with powdered sugar.

Tips and Notes:
1. Do not worry about the filling bubbling up and bursting the cookie, it does not hold that much liquid, so fill these cookies with as much as they can hold. In the beginning, I was too sparing on the filling resulting in more cookie than filling. The cookie is only to be a crust.

2. The dough is oily, so if you find it becoming too slick while forming the cookies, put it the fridge for 3-5 minutes to firm up. I did spend a lot of time forming these, so I needed the re-chill in the process.

3. If you find the cookie release from the mold requires too much effort, use a light dusting of flour in the mold before forming another cookie.

4. As stated before, specialty items can be ordered on line or can be found at a Middle Eastern or Indian grocery store. Also, you can always grind whole spices (Anise, Fennel) if the "ground" version is not available.
                               **LAST YEAR: Sawdust Pie** 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Frozen Maraschino Cream


Spring has finally arrived. This means longer days and more time enjoying the outdoors. The flip side to this is making sure outside is a nice and comfortable place to be. Time to clean the back patio and get the leaves off the lawn chairs. Also, mowing that back yard. Well, with all of that said, I decided to make some very "adult" ice cream as a motivator.

After all, that bright big bottle of pink Creme de Noyaux was not going to go away by itself. There never has been a time when the cabinet was opened without that item being noticed. However when it comes to creating desserts, that vibrant color is an asset to have. Another almond liqueur, Amaretto, has the same flavor but will always guarantee a golden ivory hue to any dessert.

Now that I decided on Creme de Noyaux as the primary flavor element to the ice cream, there needed to be some add-ins. Since I had some chores to do, this ice cream needed to be more than just typical to get me motivated. Then the light bulb went off...maraschino cherries (I chose Luxardo brand) and chunks of dark chocolate!

There I had it. The perfect motivator..now I could clean off the patio. After the freezing of the ice cream and the chores, it was time to indulge. I sat down on the lawn chair and ate a scoop of ice cream. As I gazed across the yard with the warm sun on my face, I thought to myself that simple things are sometimes the perfect elements for generating the best moments.

Frozen Maraschino Cream
by flourtrader

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean
1 cup and 1 tbs heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup almond liqueur
1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup maraschino cherries (rinsed and drained)

Fill a saucepan with 1/4 cup of sugar, milk and vanilla bean paste or bean. If using a vanilla bean, split and scrape the interior and place scrapings and whole bean in saucepan. Place over medium high heat and let come to a simmer. Right before the boiling point, remove from heat and set aside.

Next, place a whisk attachment on a stand mixer and fill the bowl with the remaining sugar and egg yolks. Beat the mixture on high for about 3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The mixture has reached the right consistency when it is a pale yellow color.

Go back to the saucepan and heat the milk mixture up again until simmering. Remove vanilla bean, if used. Turn mixer on medium low and stream in the hot milk into the egg mixture while continuing to whisk. Be careful that you do not create a lot of bubbles in the mixture by beating on too high of a speed. Once all the milk has been incorporated into the mixture, set up a double boiler and let water come to a simmer. Strain milk/egg blend into top pot of double boiler.

Let mixture cook while stirring constantly. As it cooks, it will thicken into a pudding or custard consistency. A few ways to test this is by temperature (it must reach 85 degrees) and it must coat the back of a spoon and hold its shape if you run your finger through it. Once it reaches the correct consistency, transfer to heat proof bowl. Cover and place in freezer for about 15 minutes. Then remove and stir. Test the temperature, room temperature or slightly cooler is acceptable.

Whisk the liqueur and milk together in a large bowl. Then add the cooled custard and blend together. Pour in ice cream maker and follow the instructions. Add the cherries and chocolate chunks when the ice cream has thickened. Once the churn process is complete per the instructions, transfer ice cream to a bowl and cover with a tight lid and place in freezer. How long it has to freeze before serving is your preference, either soft serve type or hard frozen type.

Tips and Notes:
1. Remember that the liqueur is not cooked down at all, so the taste is prominent.
2. This makes about 3-4 servings of ice cream
3. This recipe is a good base for any ice cream using alcohol, so feel free to experiment.
                                    **LAST YEAR: Meyer Lemonade Cake**



Sunday, March 19, 2017

Amaretto Latte Bars


One of the pitfalls of baking at home is that those family members that do not bake turn you into their baking volunteer.  If you like to bake that really isn't a big deal, however, the non-baker has no concept of recipe time requirements. This equates to 6 dozen cookies needed for Tonya's party which starts in only a few hours.

So sometime in history a person was facing this particular problem and came up with the bar cookie. They are the perfect solution to providing all the great taste of a cookie without all the time devotion.

This recipe is a spin off of sugar cookies with an adult twist of almond liqueur. There are two cookie layers with an espresso filling. The cookie part has a chewy texture with the crunch of almonds. The filling, when baked evolves into a coffee dulce de leche. Lastly, the crowning touch of sweetened whipped cream ties everything together in one tasty bite.

Amaretto Latte Bars
by flourtrader

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 plus 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup chopped or slivered almonds
1/4 cup almond liqueur
2 tbs espresso powder
1 cup whipping cream
3 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8 inch square cake pan by greasing the interior, either with oil or shortening.

In a medium size bowl, sift together the cream of tartar, salt, baking soda and flour. Set aside. In another bowl, cream together the butter and sugar by beating on medium speed for about 2 or 3 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and the almond extract together. Add this mixture to the butter/sugar blend and beat until blended. Fold in the sifted ingredients and then mix in the almonds.

Divide dough in half. Then prepare a flat surface by dusting with flour. Take each half of the dough and roll out into a 8 inch square. Cover 1 square of dough with plastic wrap and set aside.

Using a spatula, transfer one dough square to the prepared pan. Press the dough lightly so it is even and covers all the bottom surface and meets the edges and corners of the pan. Place pan in oven and let bake until edges turn a golden hue. This should take about 15-18 minutes.

While the dough is baking, prepare the filling. Place 2 tbs of almond liqueur in a small bowl and add the espresso powder. Place in microwave and heat for 15 seconds. Remove bowl and stir. Pour espresso mixture into a larger bowl and add the sweetened condensed milk.

Once the first layer is baked, remove from oven and place pan on rack. Pour the espresso/condensed milk mixture over the baked cookie layer. Then remove the plastic from the second square of dough and cut into 4 smaller squares. Place each square over the espresso filling, covering most of the filling. Do not worry about gaps, the layer will expand while baking.

Place pan in oven and let bake for 25-30 minutes. It will be toasty on the edges. Rest pan on rack and after 5 minutes, brush the remaining 2 tbs of almond liqueur over the surface.

Once the dessert has cooled for a total of 30 minutes, place in oven for 1 hour to cool completely.

When you are ready to serve, remove the bars from the fridge and let set for 10 minutes. Then prepare the whipped cream topping by placing the whipping cream and sugar in a small bowl. Then add both extracts and beat until it reaches the thickness you need in order to decoratively pipe on top.
Feel free to sprinkle ground almonds or place a chocolate covered coffee bean on top of the whipped cream.
                                 **LAST YEAR: Chocoberry Cupcakes**

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Palm Harvest Cake


The inspiration for this recipe came about when listening to Cake by the Ocean by DNCE. My take on this song is that we should not take things too seriously. Also, being spontaneous and unpredictable may turn out to be the best time ever.

Now, if I was to choose a cake to eat while watching the ocean waves rolling in from the sand, it would have to be something with tropical flavors. My pick for this cake was coconut, banana and pineapple. The recipe does make use of a few forms of coconut  (cream and oil). Also, the sweet coconut layers are slathered with fruity as well as creamy fillings. The banana pastry cream and pineapple filling have different textures but create a nice balance. I topped it with the standard cream cheese frosting, which is a basic recipe you can find on the net.

However, please note that this cake does take some time and the layers are baked in 10 inch springform pans. If you do not have 3 pans, plan on dividing the recipe for each. The springform pans were chosen due to the nature of the batter and the need for toasty edges. Since cake pans were not used, so I am unable to advise if they yield the same results.

So if you find yourself by the ocean, be sure to have fun and be spontaneous, but don't forget the cake!

Palm Harvest Cake
by flourtrader

Ingredients/Cake
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbs whole milk yogurt
1 1/2 cups of cream of coconut
3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks of butter
3/4 cup of coconut oil
3 egg yolks
5 eggs
4 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 cups sugar
1 tsp salt

Ingredients/Banana Filling
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 vanilla bean
1 tbs butter
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar

1 banana
2 tbs brown sugar
1/4 cup whipped cream

Ingredients/Pineapple Filling
10 oz crushed pineapple
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbs cornstarch


For the cake, start by greasing the interior of 3 springform pans generously with coconut oil. Use 2 tablespoons for each pan. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Place the sugar, remaining coconut oil and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Stop occasionally to scrape down the side of the bowl. Then add each egg and each yolk, one at a time and beat for 30 seconds to blend. Once all is blended, beat at medium speed for another 3 minutes. Pour in the yogurt, cream of coconut and vanilla. Beat again for about 2 minutes. Set aside.

Take out a small bowl and sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, fold 1/3 of the sifted ingredients into the egg batter. Then fold in half of the remaining dry ingredients and fold in the last of it.

Measure the batter and divide it evenly into 3 batches. Pour each batch into a springform pan and smooth out evenly. Place in oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Once baked, remove and let set in pan for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the interior edge and remove springform ring. Let sit another 20 minutes and use a thin knife or spatula to unstick from springform bottom plate and transfer to rack to finish cooling.

The next step is to make the banana pastry cream. Start by cutting up the banana. Then place the pieces in a small pan and add the brown sugar. Stir together and let set for about 10 minutes. The sugar on the banana slices will dissolve and turn glossy. Then place the pan over medium heat and let the bananas cook while stirring constantly. The cook time should take about 15 minutes. As it cooks, the gloss will disappear and the mixture will start to lump together and become pasty. Once it reaches that point, remove pan from heat and transfer filling to a small, heatproof bowl. Cover and place in refrigerator.

For the cream, fill a saucepan with milk and the scrapings from 1/2 of the vanilla bean and the outside half of the split bean. Take out another bowl and whisk together the egg and yolk with the cornstarch and sugar, set aside.

Place the filled saucepan over medium heat and let the milk heat up until you see small bubbles form on the edge of the surface. This is the point right before boil. Remove pan from heat and then stream in a little of the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk together. Do this in small increments until a total of 2 tablespoons have been incorporated into the eggs.

Pour the egg mixture into the milk and whisk together. Place the pan over the heat again, this time on medium high heat, and stir constantly using a heat proof spatula. Once the mixture starts to boil, it is time to remove from the heat. Filling should be the consistency of pudding at this point. Cut the tablespoon of butter into 4 pieces and mix into filling. Take a sieve and place it over a bowl and pour the mixture into the sieve. Stir with a spoon, pressing the sides to make the mixture go through. Once the mixture has been pressed through, scrape off the bottom of the sieve into the bowl. Discard the vanilla bean.

Take the banana mixture out of the fridge and put in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth. Then beat in the pastry cream. Empty contents onto a plate and smooth out. Place plastic wrap over the cream and put in refrigerator to cool.

For the pineapple filling, place all ingredients in a saucepan and let cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let cook until it becomes the consistency of applesauce. Transfer to a heat proof bowl and place in fridge to cool.

Once both fillings have cooled, place one layer of the cake on a round cake board. Mix 1 tbs of cream of coconut with 1/4 cup of water and brush over top of layer. Let sit for 5 minutes. As this sits, you will finish the banana cream filling. Beat the whipped cream until soft peaks form. Then take out the cooled banana mixture and fold it into the whipped cream. Smooth this on top of the layer on the cake board. Place another layer of cake on top and brush on the cream of coconut/water mixture. Smooth the chilled pineapple filling over the layer. Then top with the third cake layer and frost as desired with cream cheese frosting.

Tips and Notes:
1. Feel free to add some lime zest or rum to the frosting.
2. The cake is more dense than most.
3. I found that Coco Lopez brand cream of coconut is the best to use, it is easier to blend than others and less watery.
4. Be careful not to overcook the cake, because it will lose moisture.
5. The best part of this cake was the banana pastry cream, I will use this component again.
6. Do not use pineapple in heavy syrup for the filling.
                                    **LAST YEAR:Bajan Sweet Bread**