I Really Like My New Quartet Bundt Pan

Nordicware is so good. It lets me make four cakes from a single recipe, which is perfect in this case because I’m keeping one, then freezing and shipping three to Interstellar tier Patreon recipients.

But generally, I think this is a nice option for when I feel like making a cake, but don’t want an entire cake sitting around for a while — I can wrap and freeze three of them, to pull out when we feel like cake. 🙂 Bake once a month, cake at every Sunday dinner?

(Remember to use something like Baker’s Joy to make prep easy!)

Redbud & Ginger Marble Cake, with Lemon Icing

The delicate flavor of redbud syrup lends moist deliciousness to this classic pound cake. A little hint of ginger adds complexity, and a tangy lemon icing perfectly complements the slight floral tang of the redbud blossoms.

3 c. flour
2 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 c. granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temp
1/2 c. finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 t. finely grated lemon zest
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 c. redbud syrup
pink food coloring, if using

redbud blossoms for decorating

Lemon icing:
2 T lemon juice (about one lemon)

3/4 c. confectioner’s sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan (or as in this case, four smaller bundt pans). (Baker’s Joy spray makes this easy.)

3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Set aside.

4. Beat butter in a separate bowl until light and creamy (about two minutes). Gradually add sugar until the mixture is light in color and texture (about three minutes), scraping down sides of the bowl if needed. Beat in one egg at a time.

5. At low speed, add flour mixture a cup or so at a time, alternating with the sour cream (or Greek yogurt).

6. Remove half of batter to prepared pan. Add a little pink food coloring to remaining batter and stir to combine. Spoon remaining batter into pan and swirl with a skewer or chopstick.

7. Bake the cake until a toothpick comes out clean (50-55 minutes for a regular bundt pan; reduce time for smaller cakes).

8. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto rack, with a baking sheet beneath to catch drippings. (A sheet of parchment paper under the rack makes clean-up easy.)

9. Poke holes in cake and slowly drizzle redbud syrup over the warm cake(s). Let soak in before re-applying.

10. While cake is cooling, make lemon icing — combine lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar.

11. When cake is completely cool, drizzle lemon icing over the top (or alternately, dust with confectioner’s sugar), and decorate with fresh redbud blossoms.

Sri Lankan Sesame Seed Balls Experiments

Well, that was a little frustrating. I tried making two different versions of Sri Lankan sesame seed balls, hoping to include one in Vegan Serendib, and I’m afraid I didn’t like either one. They’re both Jaffna recipes, Ella Urundai (sesame fudge) and Sesame Seed Pori Ma, and both made with roasted sesame seeds, rice floor, and jaggery.

They came out looking fine (though I did need to add a little sesame oil to help them bind together). But I just don’t like the taste — it has an edge of bitterness, and the roasted rice flour is kind of grainy even after binding with the flour and jaggery.

It might’ve worked better if I’d done a jaggery syrup, and combined in that? I’m not sure. But I think I’m going to try a different approach if I do this again — there are Sinhalese recipes for sesame balls made with jaggery and coconut — no rice flour, and that sounds better. I’ve also seen variations adding in Medjool dates, which sounds yum. (I’m not positive I actually like sesame candy, though, which might be the real problem.)

Alas. Sometimes, experiments don’t work out. We still learn things. Science!

Forsythia & Pandan Cake

This didn’t quite work — I wanted to try making a forsythia and pandan cake. Made forsythia tea, subbed in a cup of it for a cup of water in the cake mix. (I also added an extra egg and subbed in melted butter for the oil in the cake mix.) But I don’t think I can really taste any difference; I’m not sure forsythia is strong enough to overcome a yellow box cake.

AND I added pandan powder to make some of the batter green; I got a two-color cake effect when I cut into the baked cake, but I honestly couldn’t taste the pandan either. (Pandan has sort of a grassy-coconut flavor.) Pandan extract next time, I think — pandan powder has failed me.

But it’s still pretty, so that’s something, and the kids thought it was delicious. They’re not so picky about cake, though. 🙂

Birthday Danish Aebleskiver

It’s Jed’s birthday today, and he said he didn’t particularly need a cake, but I had to cook SOMETHING, so I made him birthday Danish aebleskiver. He had his with dark chocolate and raspberry jam. Happy birthday, sweetie!

The kids were very appreciative of the surprise pancake ball treat. They had theirs with butter and syrup, per usual.

Next time, Dutch poffertjes — I can use the same pan, right? And then I get to try making Sri Lankan kundu thosai, which is the real reason I bought this pan…

Anyone know whether the Danish or Dutch version came first?

Not My Neatest

Okay, this is not my neatest cake decorating ever, but I was trying to get into the spirit of Mardi Gras. It might have ended up sort of a cross between Mardi Gras and Holi, because I used colored edible dust for the purple and green instead of sprinkles? But a little exuberance for the coming of spring is a good thing.

Purple here represents justice, green represents faith, and gold represents power. Happy Mardi Gras!

Reason Enough

In the before times, I probably would’ve felt like I needed a REASON to start baking a cake at midnight.

Eleven months of pandemic + several weeks of cold & snow = REASON ENOUGH.

Mango & Passionfruit Ice Cream in the Dead of Winter

Why am I making ice cream in the dead of winter? Well, we’ve almost finished eating all the ice cream from the summer, and we wanted more ice cream. Also, I had a lot of mango-passionfruit curd (made because I had a lot of egg yolks left over after making chai meringue kisses), and I wanted to try something, hence: mango-passionfruit ice cream. It is VERY good.

This did push the capacity of my little ice cream maker, so you might want to reduce quantities a bit. But this is what I made.

*****

Mango & Passionfruit Ice Cream

2 c. heavy cream
2 c. whole milk
3/4 c. sugar
2 t. vanilla
pinch of salt

1 c. mango-passionfruit curd (plus more for topping)

1. Prepare ice cream bowl the night before (mine requires freezing overnight.)

2. Whisk all ingredients except the curd together until the sugar dissolves, pour into ice cream bowl and churn following manufacturer’s instructions.

3. After about 10-15 minutes, it should be starting to look ice cream-ish. Add in passionfruit curd. (Could you just add it in at the beginning? Probably, but I didn’t try that, so no guarantees!) Continue to churn until you reach soft-serve consistency — generally 25-40 minutes total.

(Alternately, you should be able to make the vanilla ice cream, transfer it to a container, add the mango-passionfruit curd, then use a knife to drag it through, creating a ribbon of curd through the vanilla ice cream. I haven’t tried that yet, though!)

4. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze. (When I pulled mine out the next day, it was a soft frozen consistency, easy to eat with a spoon, creamy and delectable.)

5. Serve with a little more mango-passionfruit curd dolloped on top. Whipped cream and/or hot fudge would also go very nicely.

NOTE: For a Sri Lankan-style ice cream sundae, consider this ice cream with plenty of fresh mango, banana, avocado, a little drizzle of lime-ginger syrup to tie it all together, and some salted roasted cashews on top!

NOTE 2: Curd recipe is here.