Chocolate Cake with Caramel, Ganache + Toasted Almonds

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Happy 2019 everyone! I made this cake for New Year’s Eve last week. We went with a light dinner of Moroccan Tuna and Couscous with vegetables in hopes of having room for this cake. And we did! Wow, it’s the best cake I’ve ever made. I love making these layer cakes but it is a crazy amount of cake for us, and it’s rich too, so I froze about three-quarters of it. The original recipe had a different type of caramel filling, which I ended up not making because I didn’t have enough time that day, but I think I would try it the next time around. I took a short cut and bought a jar of salted caramel sauce, which was ok but not as good as the caramel sauce I’ve made in the past, so below I’m linking the homemade caramel recipe. Or you can buy a jar as I did if you’re short on time. I don’t know if I messed up the Ganache or not, but even at room temp, after it had been refrigerated, it was not spreadable at all, I had to microwave it to the point where it was almost liquid again, the recipe really insists on refrigerating it overnight, so I’m not sure why that didn’t work. I don’t have enough experience working with chocolate ganache to know how that could have worked out better. But it all came together in the end. This is a cake worth fussing over, actually it’s not really that fussy it just takes a bit of time. Since I was in the cutting-corners-mode that day, I almost didn’t bother to cut it into 4 layers, it would have been much quicker to just frost the middle and top layers for a 2-layer cake, and not have to worry about the possibility of the cakes falling apart while cutting them into layers. But I knew that the layers were going to matter, so that each bite has a bit of cake, ganache, caramel, salt and toasted almonds. And it did matter. It was worth it. The cake didn’t fall apart. Happy ending. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Cake with Caramel, Ganache + Toasted Almonds

Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 cup hot water

  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee

  • 1 1/4 cups almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped

Ganache Filling and Frosting

  • 1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped

  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream

Caramel Sauce 

Recipe here

Fleur de sel or any flaked sea salt

Ganache Filling and Frosting

Place chocolate in large bowl. Bring cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Pour cream over chocolate; let soften 1 minute. Whisk until chocolate is smooth. Cool, then cover and chill overnight. Ganache can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled. Bring to room temperature before using. (Note: even at room temp my frosting wasn’t spreadable and I needed to warm it up a bit)

Cake

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of each with parchment paper; butter paper and dust pan with flour.

Sift sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. Add milk, eggs, and melted butter. Using electric mixer, beat at low speed until blended. Increase speed and beat 2 minutes. Stir 1 cup hot water and espresso powder in small bowl to dissolve. Add to batter; beat until blended (batter will be thin). Divide batter between pans (about 3 cups each).

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 10 minutes. Refrigerate cakes for an hour or two, it will make it much easier to cut them into layers. Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake around the perimeter in half so that you have 4 layers. (if you don’t have fancy baking tools to do this, like me, you can put the cake on a round metal sheet, like the bottom of a tart pan, place on top of an upside-down bowl that’s large enough to support it, hold your knife in the middle where you want to cut and spin the cake around slowly, keep doing this until it has cut all the way through, keeping your knife in a steady position)

Place 1 layer on platter; spread with 1/2 cup room-temperature ganache. Drizzle 1/4 cup room-temperature caramel sauce. Sprinkle caramel with large pinch of fleur de sel, then 1 tablespoon almonds. Top with second cake layer, ganache, caramel sauce, fleur de sel, and almonds. Repeat with third cake layer. Top with fourth cake layer, cut side down. Spread remaining ganache over top and sides of cake. Press remaining almonds onto the top, or sides (or both!). Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and chill. Let cake stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Cheers! A Cocktail Roundup

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Happy New Year! Well almost. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite cocktails from the blog so if you’re looking for anything special to make drink-wise you might want to try one of these. Surprisingly I don’t have any cocktails that are made with sparkling wine, but really that’s good on its own anyways. 

Man this year has flown by, full of highs and lows and some career questioning “Where the fuck am I going with all of this?” moments. Just like most people I suppose we always need to adapt to the changes around us and the changes within ourselves. Animals migrate for a reason. Not that I plan on migrating anywhere but it’s more about adaptability and knowing where you need to focus. Have I found that? Yes, no and sort of. I’m just terrible at marketing myself. It makes me feel so yucky. It’s like a job interview on steroids. But the reality is people have absolutely nothing to lose by trying. I read an article recently in the NYTimes by a comedian Emily Winter, “I Got Rejected 101 Times”, and it was comforting to know how hard it can be to get that lucky break, a gig, a job, a performance. Anyways it inspired me to get out of my comfort zone a bit and see what might happen. I mailed out some postcards last spring to market my food photography and nothing happened and I got so discouraged, lol, but that is life and I just have to try more and do more. That is all. It’s not really complicated. I did get a couple food photography gigs near the end of the year, unrelated to the postcard mailers, so this year has left me on somewhat of a high note. 

I wish you all a great new year, the joy of discovering new food and experiences, and the persistence to make things happen! 

Cheers!

Cherry Bourbon Cocktail

Mulled Wine

Autumn Smash Cocktail

Manhattan Cocktail

Cucumber Infused Vodka

Scofflaw

Tamarind Whiskey Sour

Watermelon Cocktail

Bloody Mary

Potato Gratin

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I might be going out on a limb here but this is really the best Potato Gratin I’ve ever had. I made this for Thanksgiving a couple weeks ago. It’s worth making for the aroma alone, the kitchen will smell like heaven. But you won’t be just sniffing this stuff, you will be devouring it. I found the recipe on NYTimes Cooking right before the holidays. I can’t link to it now because they’ve put up a paywall for their Cooking site. I’m kinda bummed because I have a New York Times subscription, but it doesn’t include the Cooking section, it’s only $5 a month but I feel like I’m being squeezed financially from all corners of the earth. I had copied the recipe and put it in my notes app, so it’s there and here, not to be forgotten or paywalled. 

The first time I made this I used a mandolin to slice the potatoes, it was very time consuming but I had thinner slices than I got from the food processor, both of which should have produced 3mm (1/8”) slices. So I’m not sure why there was such a difference in thickness. I liked the thinner slices better, so next time, and believe me there will be a next time, I’ll use a thinner setting on the food processor. I’ve been using the food processor more these days and I’m kinda falling in love with it. We didn’t have one for so long, like forever, so it’s been a real treat to use it. One of the reasons I hadn’t used it much was evaluating whether it was worth dragging out onto my limited counter space and then cleaning up all the parts (I hate cleaning the kitchen so I obsessively think about these things), for this recipe it’s so worth it, because I also used it to grate the cheese, which takes all of 1 or 2 seconds in the processor. 

If all the potatoes and cream mixture don’t fit in your casserole dish, you can make a one or two mini ones as I did, see below.

Well now I can open the recipe page if I click from Facebook. You might be able to access the page, or not, anyways it’s here! Enjoy :)

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Potato Gratin

  • 3 ounces finely grated Gruyère or comté cheese

  • 2 ounces finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

  • Kosher salt and black pepper

  • 4 to 4 1/2 pounds russet potatoes (about 6-8 potatoes), peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick on a mandolin slicer or food processor <——much easier

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine cheeses in a large bowl. Transfer 1/3 of cheese mixture to a separate bowl and set aside. Add cream, garlic and thyme to cheese mixture. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add potato slices and toss with your hands until every slice is coated with cream mixture, making sure to separate any slices that are sticking together to get the cream mixture in between them.

Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with butter. Pick up a handful of potatoes, organizing them into a neat stack, and lay them in the casserole dish with their edges aligned vertically. Continue placing potatoes in the dish, working around the perimeter and into the center until all the potatoes have been added. The potatoes should be very tightly packed. If necessary, slice an additional potato, coat with cream mixture, and add to casserole. Pour the excess cream/cheese mixture evenly over the potatoes until the mixture comes halfway up the sides of the casserole. You may not need all the excess liquid.

Cover dish tightly with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the top is pale golden brown, about 30 minutes longer. Carefully remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese, and return to oven. Bake until deep golden brown and crisp on top, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven, let rest for a few minutes, and serve.

Adapted from NYTimes Cooking

Pear Cardamom Tart

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Last month we went to Portland Nursery’s annual apple tasting festival. Everything is $1 per pound, with 60 different varieties of apples and pears. So we bought a lot. A real lot. Exactly 28 pounds. Maybe too many but they do store well in the refrigerator. I made this Pear Cardamom Tart which is a variation on the Pear Almond Tart I made a while back. I was inspired by this pear tart on Instagram which is absolutely gorgeous, Lauren Ko’s pie designs are amazing. So mine didn’t turn out like that, but I’m still happy with it, and it tastes really good which is sort of the bottom line when it comes to food. I used a few different types of pears: Bosc, Seckel, Red Anjou, Forelle. After it’s baked it loses the variety of bright colors, but you end up with some nice rich browns. I think it would make a handsome dessert for Thanksgiving. Enjoy :)

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Pear Cardamom Tart

  • 6 ounces almond paste

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 2 teaspoons flour

  • 3 ounces unsalted butter (about 6 tablespoons) room temp 

  • 1 large egg, plus one egg white, at room temp

  • 1/4 teaspoon Almond extract

  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dark rum

  • 4 pears (in a variety of color and size)

  • Pre-baked 9-inch Tart Shell, at room temperature (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. 

In a stand mixer beat the almond paste with the sugar and flour, until smooth. 

Gradually beat in the butter, until smooth, then beat in the egg and the egg white, the almond extract, cardamom and rum. Spread the almond filling evenly over the tart shell with a rubber spatula. 

Slice the pear quarters into 1/4” slices, then fan the slices in clusters over the almond filling, alternating colors and sizes. Press them slightly into the filling. Bake the tart for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the almond filling between the pears has browned. Remove from oven onto rack and cool slightly before serving. Can be served at room temperature. 

Tart Shell

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface

  • 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

  • 1 large egg, whisked

Whisk sugar, salt, and 1 cup flour in a medium bowl. Add butter and rub in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces remaining. Drizzle egg over butter mixture and mix gently with a fork until dough just comes together.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Form dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 2 hours. (Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled, or freeze up to 1 month.) Place dough on floured surface. Roll to 11-12” circle, place dough in pan and press to fit, overlap edges inside. With a fork make holes in the crust to prevent bubbling. Cover the crust with parchment or foil and fill with rice or weights. Bake 10 minutes at 350° then remove foil and bake another 5 minutes until just firm but not browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before adding almond mixture. 

Pumpkin Bread

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It’s that time of year again. All things Pumpkin! And dark. Well actually this October has been unusually sunny for Portland, but this past week the rain finally kicked in, raining every. single. day. oh no! But this time of year is also an opportunity for walks on misty mornings. I like this Pumpkin Bread recipe, it’s good but maybe not as good as the Pumpkin Loaf Cake with Walnut Glaze from four years ago. But I wouldn’t not eat it! It tastes great with a Double Spice Chai tea by Stash. This isn’t an endorsed or sponsored post, I just happen to love their tea. They do everything right.

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Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 Teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Spice

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 2/3 cup brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 3 egg whites

  • 1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz can)

  • Sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350º F.

In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and Pumpkin Spice.

In a large bowl whisk together sugar, brown sugar, milk and egg whites. Add the canned pumpkin and mix together well.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, stirring until well combined.

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan, then sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Allow the bread to cool in the pan before removing.

Honey Chocolate Fudge

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Healthy fudge!? For real? A few weeks ago Sprouted Kitchen started a Cooking Club. I like Sarah’s recipes and thought it would be fun to join, so I did. Each week she provides a shopping list and recipes for three meals and a snack. This is one of the snacks. As with most of her recipes it’s pretty healthy and made with natural ingredients. This is the second time I’ve made it. The first time I made it I used whole raw almonds, here I made it with toasted almond slivers. I definitely prefer toasted almonds.

It’s not exactly like fudge but similar and I like it better in a lot of ways. She said the recipe was created and inspired by Honey Mamas fudge which is made right here in Portland! You can check our their site to get some ideas on variations, adding coconut, peppermint or spices. Enjoy :)

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Honey Chocolate Fudge

  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, well chopped

  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds 

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder (natural or dutch) or raw cacao, plus more for dusting

  • pinch of sea salt

  • 1/3 cup honey 

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup crisp rice cereal

Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate along the bottom of the pan. 

In a food processor or a strong blender, combine the almonds, cocoa powder and sea salt. Pulse the mixture until it resembles coarse sand, about 10 times. You want some crunchy bits of almonds. 

In a saucepan, combine the honey and coconut oil and bring it to a gentle boil. Stir to mix. Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

Add the almond mixture and the rice cereal into the wet mixture and stir to combine. Any extra add-ins would go in here (coconut, seeds or more nuts). Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, smooth the top and put it in the fridge to cool for at least an hour. Store refrigerated or a very cool place.

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Grilled Asparagus

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Last month for my birthday Jeff gave me the Toro Bravo cookbook. It’s an awesome book with lots of background stories told by John Gorham, creator of Toro Bravo, Tasty N Sons, and so much more here. He’s had a pretty interesting life and I read it cover to cover, which I normally don’t do with a cookbook. But he’s funny and talks about all the challenges of starting and running a restaurant. Within the first year, the Toro Bravo restaurant had a flood, a fire, and a burglary! So much drama. Anyways, I came across this recipe and it sounded good, plus I was able to use some of my Preserved Lemons. I always get excited when I can use them, and this is a staple in the Toro Bravo kitchen. If you are ever in Portland, this restaurant is a must. The food is spectacular, so much flavor and depth. It’s Spanish tapas style servings shared for the table, it’s fun to get dish after dish after dish, and just when you think you’ve had enough, one more.

This recipe has a lot of bold flavors, with preserved lemon, olives, pepper and Jamón. What the heck is Jamón? It’s a cured Spanish ham, it has intense flavor and it’s used sparingly in this dish. It’s also very expensive and I had to really dig to find this in the store, it was about $10 for 2 ounces. If you can’t find it you could substitute with bacon or even pepperoni, Jamón has that same intense flavor. Oh, here it is on Amazon if you want to splurge but I don’t think it’s necessary for the dish.

The asparagus is blanched before grilling which I recommend doing. I’ve grilled asparagus without blanching and get mixed results. The tips burn while the stalk is barely cooked. By blanching you only need to grill for a few minutes to get them charred and your done. 

Below is a half version of the recipe (a lot of the recipes are for huge portions!). This is a good side dish, or tapas dish for about 3-4 people. If you have a 6-8 just double up the recipe.

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Grilled Asparagus

  • 1 lb Asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 slices Jamón, very finely julienned
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 Preserved lemon, pulp removed, skin julienned
  • 1 1/2 Calabrian chilis (or a few Mama Lil’s peppers)
  • 1/4 cup Marinated Olives

Start you grill. 

Snap each asparagus spear at the spot where it stops being woody and gets soft. Discard the woody parts. Peel the skin away from the lower part of the remaining asparagus. You want to peel about 1 1/2” of the bottom of your asparagus. 

Bring a gallon of water to a boil with 1/3 cup salt (this was for the original recipe which I’ve halved so you might not need this much water for 1 pound of asparagus). Once the water is boiling add the asparagus and boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the size. Remove the asparagus to a plate and let it cool.

In a medium saute pan over med-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and Jamón and cook, stirring constantly until nicely crisped, about 1 minute. Strain and discard the oil and set the Jamón aside. (as the Jamón sits it gets crisper)

Dry the asparagus, season with olive oil, salt and pepper, toss to coat.

Grill the asparagus until nicely charred, 3-4 minutes, and remove to a plate and set aside.

Put the butter in a medium saute pan and let it just get to browning, then add the preserved lemon skin and give the pan a good couple shakes. One the lemon turns a little white, and is starting to get crispy, after about 1-2 minutes, add the chilies, then the olives and give the pan another good shake. Stir and allow the mix to bloom for about 20 seconds.

Add the Jamón, shake and top the asparagus with the mix. Serve immediately.

Quick Pickled Green Beans + Bloody Mary

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Hi Folks. Hope everyone is having a great summer. I’m getting back to some quick pickling again. Not too long ago we bought a big bag of green beans, for potato salad and whatever else. But we couldn’t eat that many that fast so I decided to pickle what we had left. And I’m glad I did, they’re really good, makes a great garnish for a Bloody Mary so I posted that recipe as well. 

The ratio of green beans to liquid from the original recipe didn’t work out well, so I’ve made some notes in the recipe below that might be helpful. But don’t feel that you have to get everything super exact. After my second and third attempt I just started tossing a few things in here and there, adding the hot water and vinegar, it all works out, mostly, ha ha. I’m looking forward to trying this with other vegetables. One vegetable I’ve had pickled that I didn’t like was celery. The texture was too weird and it was hard to eat because it was so rubbery. I’ve had some excellent pickled mushrooms which I never thought I would like, but I do very much and plan on trying out some recipes. 

Initially I just photographed a plate of the pickled green beans, but it didn’t look very impressive, lol, then I remembered how good they were in a Bloody Mary so I whisked that together and I think the cocktail gives the green beans more visual appeal and context for photo styling purposes. 

Anything can look good!

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Quick Pickled Green Beans

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 2 cups white vinegar 
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds 
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (1 for each jar)
  • A handful of fresh dill weed (and flowering dill seed if available)

Place the beans in canning jars (about 3 or 4 jars). Distribute the mustard seeds, crushed red pepper and dill among the jars evenly. Add a garlic clove to each jar. (I do it this way because when I worked from the original recipe, which was adding all these things to the pot, it was more difficult to distribute evenly in several containers)

In a pot, heat the vinegar and water to a simmer. Remove from heat and add the salt and sugar. Whisk until the salt and sugar dissolve.

Pour the liquid over the green beans. Add water to top off if needed (I ended up heating more vinegar and water because the ratios were way off, 1 lb of green beans is a lot!). Let cool, and then cover and place in the refrigerator. Allow the beans to pickle 24 hours before using. Pickled green beans will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.

(Adapted from The Food Network)

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Bloody Mary

  • 6 ounces tomato juice
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish 
  • A few drops worcestershire sauce
  • A few drops hot sauce
  • Fresh lemon and juice
  • 1.5 ounce vodka

In a glass whisk together tomato juice, horseradish, worcestershire sauce and hot sauce, squeeze in juice of about a 1/4 lemon, stir and taste. (adjust as needed, I like 1 teaspoon horseradish but Jeff likes 1/2 teaspoon) It’s all about preferred taste, but this is what I like.  Add ice, garnish with lemon wedge and pickled green beans! Makes 1 drink.

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Preserved Lemon + Herb Focaccia

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And I’m back with a Preserved Lemon recipe! You might remember I preserved lemons in April and wanted to follow up with some ideas on how to use them. I’ve since added them to dishes like rice salad and they really add some great flavor. The lemons are super salty (even after rinsing) which makes me think I might have used too much salt, so something to keep in mind for next time. I got the idea for this Focaccia bread not too long ago. The bakery at my local grocery store makes this and wow, it’s incredible. It’s very flavorful, you can eat it on its own or with pasta or salad. For this recipe I used dried oregano, I wished I had used more so that it would look a little more “herby” for the photos.

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Preserved Lemon + Herb Focaccia

  • 2 cups warm water (105°-110°F)
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • olive oil
  • Oregano (fresh or dried)
  • 2 preserved lemons, rinsed, rinds chopped
  • kosher or sea salt for sprinkling over the top

 

Preheat oven to 425°F

Put the yeast in a stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. Pour in the warm water. Add the salt and 2 cups of the flour, mix into a soft and sticky dough. Add the remaining 2 cups of flour and mix well. (The dough will be sticky)

In a large bowl add olive oil, enough to cover interior of bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and cover the dough with some olive oil. Cover and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

Press out the dough on a well oiled baking sheet. Using your fingers, shape into a rectangle approximately 9”x13”.

Add olive oil to the top of the dough, poking the bread surface and leaving little pools of oil. Do this all over the bread. Don't skimp; this will result in great flavor after the bread is baked.

Top with the preserved lemon and oregano and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.

 

Adapted from The View from Great Island

Coconut Cake

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Wouldn’t you know. On Jeff’s Birthday I’m ready to make this cake and… the oven is broken. It won’t heat and it’s only three years old! Luckily I had only prepared the cake pans while attempting to preheat the oven, so it wasn’t a total loss. We had an extended warranty on the stove but even with that it took a couple weeks to be resolved. Like it didn’t work when the repairman showed up, then it did and he left unsure of what was wrong, and then it didn’t again so he came back the next week after ordering parts. Turns out the ignitor needed replacing. Anyway, back to cake! I changed a few things but mostly stuck to this recipe. The original recipe says to buy a coconut and drill holes in it, bake it, crack it and all sorts of crazy stuff I didn’t want to do, so I just bought coconut cream and milk in cans at the market. It came out great. Really great. The texture of the cake is perfect, it has a nice density to it. The flavor is exactly what you would want. I read the reviews on the cake and one of the biggest complaints was the frosting, that it tasted too much like marshmallow, and I knew I didn’t want that super sweet stuff, so I made a version of the frosting I made last year for Jeff’s Birthday Cake with Mascarpone and whipped cream. Last time I ran short on frosting, so for this recipe I doubled it, then I went lightly frosting the layers (as you can see), but I ended up with so much leftover! I was concerned about running out, but believe me you can pile on the frosting between layers and have plenty for the top and sides. This is a delicious cake and well worth making.

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Coconut Cake

  • Butter, for cake pan
  • 14 1/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pans, approximately 3 cups
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh coconut cream
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 16 ounces sugar, approximately 2 1/4 cups
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 4 egg whites
  • Coconut flakes 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper and then flour the pans. Set aside.

Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

Combine the coconut milk and coconut cream in small bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and gradually add the sugar slowly over 1 to 2 minutes. Once all of the sugar has been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer back on to medium speed and continue creaming until the mixture noticeably lightens in texture and increases slightly in volume, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut extract.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture to the butter and sugar in 3 batches, ending with the milk mixture. Do not over mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter, just until combined. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bang the pans on the counter top several times to remove any air and to distribute the batter evenly in the pan. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is light golden in color and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes then remove and transfer to a cooling rack. Wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and refrigerate, they will be easier to slice. While the cakes are chilling prepare the frosting (recipe below) Assemble: Cut across the equator of each to form 4 layers.  Frost each layer with a generous amount, then top with coconut flakes.

Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 2 cup mascarpone
  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Beat together all ingredients in a stand mixer for a couple minutes until fluffy. 

Adapted from Alton Brown