No Chastisements in the Kitchen Tonight

Kavi, who’s been a little sick for a few days: Do we have any chocolate?
Me, dubiously: We have chocolate chips.
Kavi, pathetically: Anything more dessert-y?
Me, thinking: How does chocolate pudding sound?
Kavi, cheerfully: I haven’t had chocolate pudding in forever. That sounds great.
Me, a gleam in my eye: Give me a few minutes.

….ten minutes later, drumroll….

Presenting very dessert-y chocolate pudding!

(Instant vanilla pudding we happened to have on hand, cooked on the stovetop with chocolate chips melted in, chilled in our fanciest gold-flecked dessert bowl, with gold candies scattered over, graced with graham crackers…)

*****

I am happy to inform you that milady was pleased with the offering; there will be no chastisement in the kitchens tonight.

Vegan Love Cake Works Just Fine

So it turns out that this vegan version of love cake takes a little longer to bake to brown up, but otherwise, it seems to work just fine! I’m happy with the texture, which is the important thing that was worrying me.

I want to try another variation (using egg replacer instead of bananas & aquafaba) before I settle on something final for the cookbook, but this is totally acceptable. It’s a little bit like a cross between banana bread and love cake. Interesting!

Honey-Lemon Pull-Apart Cake

Honey-Lemon Pull-Apart Cake

This is just slightly modified from the recipe that comes with this charming pan (link in comments). It makes a light and fluffy cake; you can serve as is, sprinkle powdered sugar on top, or for extra flavor, top with a honey-lemon glaze.

3 c. flour

1 1/2 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

1 c. butter, softened

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. honey

4 large eggs

2 T finely grated lemon rind

1 c. sour cream

Glaze:

3 T honey

1/2 c. powdered sugar

2 T lemon juice

1. Pre-heat oven to 325F. Grease and flour pan (or use baking spray); set aside.

2. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

3. In large bowl, cream softened butter, sugar, and honey until light and fluffy, scraping bowl as needed. Add eggs one at a time, and beat until well-blended. Add flour mixture and sour cream in portions, alternately and blend on low; stir in grated lemon rind.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean; cool ten minutes in pan, then turn out to finish cooling on wire rack.

Glaze:In small saucepan, combine all glaze ingredients and heat until sugar dissolves. Brush warm glaze over cooling cake.

Jaggery & Treacle Gingersnaps

Jaggery & Treacle Gingersnaps

(30-45 minutes, makes 36 cookies)

Take a classic gingersnap, but use jaggery and kithul treacle for complex & subtle flavor. For an interesting variation, a little flake salt beautifully plays with the sweetness and spice.
3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. plus 2 tablespoons jaggery (or dark brown sugar), divided
1 large egg
1/4 c. kithul treacle (or molasses)
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. ground ginger
1 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. salt
1 T small-grain flake salt, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and 1 c. jaggery until light and fluffy; beat in egg and treacle.
2. In another bowl, combine next five ingredients; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well to combine.
3. Shape spoonfuls of dough into balls. (If desired, mix 1 T flake salt into remaining jaggery.) Dip one side into jaggery (or jaggery-salt); place 2 inches apart, sugar side up, on greased baking sheets.

4. Bake until medium brown and crinkly, 10-12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Pineapple marshmallows

Emptying my phone of photos from the cookbook launch party at Alex and Christa‘s place. This was pineapple marshmallows (use my standard recipe from Feast, but soak the gelatin in 1/2 c. pineapple juice instead of water), with a little passionfruit puree swirled in. Yum.

What a Good Wife I Am

Me, seeing that a box of peaches has arrived for Kevin, part of a gift subscription from his parents for his birthday last year: “I hope you’re not going to ignore the peaches I’ve spent FIVE YEARS growing for you, just to eat those.”

Kevin: “This could be the subject of an entire sitcom — do I eat your peaches, or my mother’s peaches?”

Dear reader, do not fret! I saved Kevin from this fraught decision, taking the ripest of his mother’s peaches and slicing it up to have with strawberry ice cream, yum.

What a good wife I am, looking out for him that way.

Sri Lankan Butter Cake with Passionfruit Frosting, Fresh Mango, and Lemon Curd

I’ve never tried to write up a complicated cake recipe like this, so please let me know if any of the steps are confusing!

(I feel like it was a good choice to put 25 stars on my 50th birthday cake, and just 1 candle. 🙂 I thought about 50 stars, but it was getting crowded…)

*****

Sri Lankan Butter Cake with Passionfruit Frosting, Fresh Mango, and Lemon Curd

I’m always a little disappointed by American birthday cakes, because I grew up with Sri Lankan butter cake, which I much prefer. It’s a slight variation on the classic British pound cake, and a legacy of colonization. Historically in Sri Lanka, margarine would often be used instead of butter, due to cost, but butter tastes better. This is a somewhat dry cake, which makes it work beautifully with tea if served plain, and pairs well with your choice of fruit filling and frosting for a celebration cake.

NOTE: This recipe is designed for either a square or round cake cooked in a single 8″ or 9″ pan. If you plan to use different sizes of pan, adjust cooking times accordingly. For a classic ribbon cake, you’ll want to cook in separate batches or in multiple pans at the same time, so you can color each layer of cake differently. For 3-4 thin layers cooked separately, bake for roughly 15-20 minutes.

Butter Cake:
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 1/4 c. butter, room temperature
1 1/4 c. sugar
4 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/3 c. milk, room temperature
1 T rosewater (or a few drops rose essence)
2 t. vanilla extract

zest of one lime (or lemon)

Passionfruit Frosting:
2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
5 c. powdered sugar
6 T passionfruit puree

food coloring (optional)

Mango & Lemon Curd Filling:
2 c. chopped fresh mango (thawed from frozen works fine)

1/4 c. lemon curd

*****

MAKE CAKE:
1. Preheat oven to 325. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside. Butter and flour the pan(s) (baking spray with a mixture makes this easy).
2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down sides a few times.
3. Beat in eggs and egg yolk one at a time, then add vanilla, rose, and lime or lemon zest.
4. Fold in milk and flour mixture alternately. (If adding food color, divide as desired and color at this stage.)

5. Add finished cake batter to a round 9″ pan and bake for 30-40 minutes (adjust as needed for your pans), until a toothpick comes out clean; turn out onto wire rack and let cool. Serve as is with a nice cup of tea, or add frosting for birthday cake.

NOTE: Cake may be made and refrigerated a day or two ahead (wrap tightly in plastic wrap once cooled), and then frosted, if desired.

MAKE FROSTING:
1. Beat butter until pale and fluffy, scraping down sides a few times (about 5 minutes).
2. Add half of the powdered sugar, beat on low until mostly incorporated, then scrape sides, turn up to high, and beat until light and airy. Add remaining sugar and repeat process.

3. Slowly add in passionfruit puree; add food coloring if desired. Your frosting is ready to spread on a cake (or eat straight from the bowl).

MAKE FILLING:

1. Combine mango and lemon curd.

ASSEMBLE 4-LAYER CAKE:

1. Layer cake, a thin layer of frosting, filling; repeat twice. (You may not use all the filling.)

2. Add the final layer and frost entire cake. Chill to set. Serve with any extra mango & lemon curd filling on the side, to add as desired.

NOTE: Americans often ask me where to find passionfruit puree. I’ve tried several, and so far, like Funkin Pro the best for strong passionfruit flavor, available online. It can also sometimes be found in the Mexican section of the grocery, in the frozen fruit section.