Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I am perpetually staring at huge piles of computer printouts. Poor recipes that I find online and insist I will make "tonight" and then toss on my kitchen table and proceed to bake a perennial favorite instead.
I am not sure why this is. Perhaps I have a fear of baking failure and there is always that risk with a new recipe. Also, I tend to have the ingredients on hand for my tried and true's in case I am called upon to bring dessert to a party or cheer up a sick friend. No one wants to unleash a stranger on a poor starving soul.
Sometimes I do attempt to make friends with the strangers, and I have posted the results on this blog. But, for the most part, I go with my friends - they won't let me down. Strangers on the other hand ... they can be mean!
So without further ado... a dear, dear friend.

Sour Cream Orange Coffee Cake with Chocolate-Pecan Streusel
Bon Appetit Magazine February 2002
1 1/2 cups (packed) golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled salted butter, diced
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/4 cup orange juice
For streusel:
Whisk brown sugar and cinnamon in medium bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture holds together in small, moist clumps. Mix in pecans and chocolate chips. (Can be made up to 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan. Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended and smooth. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then orange peel and vanilla extract. Mix in flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with sour cream in 3 additions. Mix in orange juice. Spread half of batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of streusel. Drop remaining batter over by heaping tablespoonfuls; carefully spread batter to make even layer. Sprinkle with remaining streusel.
Bake cake 30 minutes. Lay sheet of foil loosely over pan to keep topping from browning too quickly. Continue baking until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes longer. Remove foil. Cool cake in pan on rack 20 minutes.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Luscious Lemon Cake

I know, I know... when was the last time I posted? With a job change etc. my life has been too hectic to blog but not hectic enough that I would neglect the baking hobby I love so well. As usual, Josh's office has proven to be the best of guinea pigs and they eat all my creations dutifully. Sometimes it is nice to receive alocolades that are not work related. And who am I kidding, no one is ever praised in the workplace.

My latest triumph was found while searching for the perfect lemon cake to use up the poor neglected poppyseeds in my spice rack. I love poppyseeds but, apart from Mohn Kuchen - which I think only my German grandma has ever attempted, there is very little need for them. So it occurred to me that I would find a lemon cake and generously heap in the lovely little black darlings.

This cake is from the "Top Secret Recipes" website that I found while Google-ing away. The claim is that it tastes as good as Starbuck's version (apparently it is their version but I find that hard to believe. At any rate, I added some poppyseeds, and some lemon zest and axed the yellowish powedered sugar frosting - replacing it with a lemon syrup which soaked into the cake and made it the moist wonder that I knew it could be.

"Starbucks" Lemon Loaf
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, room temp
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2teaspoon lemon extract
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup oil
4T. poppyseeds
zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 x 5 loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a medium bowl, combine eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla extract, lemon extract and lemon juice with a mixer until blended.
Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and blend until smooth. Add oil, poppyseeds and zest and mix well.
Pour into loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. (It took an hour in my oven). Remove from oven and pour glaze over it, then cool in pan on a rack.

1/4c. water
1/3c. sugar
1/4c. lemon juice
Simmer until reduced in half.