Sunday, August 23, 2009

TWD: Applesauce Spice Bars, a little late

This week's assignment for the "Tuesdays with Dorie" group was to make Applesauce Spice Bars, from pages 117-118 of Baking: From My Home to Yours. I made them a little late and took them in to work on Friday for a co-worker's 65th birthday potluck. This is the only picture I have -- of the few that were left!

Many thanks to Karen of Something Sweet by Karen for choosing this recipe! It's a perfect recipe for a potluck. Moist (they won't dry out while sitting out on the potluck table), flavorful, delightful and easy to make!

I made a few changes to the recipe. I used about 1/3 cup of whole wheat pastry flour, and ended up using 1 cup of bleached all-purpose flour. (The batter seemed a little thin and I was afraid the fruit would sink, so I sprinkled in a bit of extra flour when I added the fruit and nuts.) I reduced the sugar in the cake to 3/4 cup -- next time I would reduce it to 2/3 cup.

And for the glaze, I had to improvise a bit because I was out of cream. So, I heated the sugar, butter and corn syrup together, then stirred in about 1/4 to 1/3 cup (2-3 ounces) of cream cheese. A hint -- it's better to soften and whip the cream cheese a bit before adding it. I didn't do this, and I had to beat the **** out of the glaze before it smoothed out. It needed a bit more sugar to balance the tang of the cream cheese, but the final result was very tasty! I may do this again.

The bars were moist and spicy and very tasty. The apple flavor was more in the background, but that was OK. These may be showing up at more potlucks!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

TWD Late Report: Classic Banana Bundt Cake

The "Tuesdays with Dorie" recipe for August 4, 2009, was the Classic Banana Bundt Cake, chosen by Mary of The Food Librarian. For the recipe, visit this page on her blog, or this link on Serious Eats.

Well, I actually made this recipe on time, but it's taken me this long to write up my blog post. July is a busy time! Busy at work (everyone is ordering school uniforms and we sell them), busy in garden. It was a big success!

I've been coveting a full sized Bundt pan for a long time. I could have halved the recipe and made it in my lovely mini-rose pan, but this was the perfect excuse to buy this instead. To make my husband a little happier with the purchase, I also ordered Angel: After the Fall, volume 4. Ah, the wonders of ordering on Amazon! Bundt pans and comic books all in the same box!

I made only a few changes to the recipe. I swapped out 1/3 of the flour for whole wheat pastry flour, used yogurt (because the sour cream had turned into a science experiment), and added some walnut pieces. For some reason it just isn't banana cake to me unless it has nuts, preferably walnuts.

I also inadvertently decreased the baking soda to 1 1/2 teaspoons. I think that is why my cake had such a rounded top. Did you know that if your cake "domes" it can be a sign of too little leavening? Or too much gluten development? In this case, I'm sure it was the leavening. It always seems counter-intuitive to me. Doesn't it seem like a big rise in the center should come from too MUCH leavening? But no, all the cake experts agree it's the other way around.

Well, despite this minor flaw, the cake was wonderful. I didn't bother with glaze as I'm not a fan. One large slice was set aside for my husband and the rest went in to work. It was much appreciated!

Banana cake success! And a new Bundt pan! What could be better?