THE NIBBLE BLOG: Products, Recipes & Trends In Specialty Foods
Also visit our main website, TheNibble.com.

Archive for Cookies/Cake/Pastry

TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Party Cake (Actually, A Torte)

You probably have favorite easy-to-make party recipes that save you time and energy while treating your guests.

Today, we suggest one for dessert, from King Arthur Flour. It’s actually a torte, shorter than a layer cake. Here’s the difference between a cake and a torte.

A tart is something different entirely, with a shortbread crust made in a fluted pan with a removable bottom. Unlike a pie, the shortbread crust enables the tart to stand on its own, without a pan, for a beautiful presentation.

This fancy-looking recipe is from Becky Sue, the baker, photographer and recipe developer of Baking The Goods. Two layers of dense yellow cake are topped with meringue, cinnamon, and nuts; and filled with rich, pastry cream studded with fresh berries.

It really is easy to make; even a novice baker will have no problems. There’s no frosting involved.

Thanks to King Arthur Flour for sending us the recipe.

It makes a nice impression at parties and dinner parties. Add candles for a birthday cake.
 
RECIPE: BERRY BLITZ TORTE

Prep time is 30 minutes, bake time is 30 minutes, plus assembly (total 90 minutes). The cake makes 8 to 10 servings.

Shortcuts: Use preserves instead of fresh fruit; substitute instant vanilla pudding for the pastry cream.

Here are step by step photos from Baking The Goods.
 
Ingredients

For The Cake

  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks (save the whites for the topping)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon fiori di sicilia
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  •  
    For The Topping

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar* or granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sliced, blanched almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Garnish: mixed berries, other fruit of choice, chocolate curls
  •  
    ________________
    *Also called caster sugar and baker’s special sugar, superfine sugar is screened to the finest granulation. Popular in our home because it dissolves easily in cold drinks (iced tea, cocktails, etc.), it also dissolves easily into butter. This creates a fine crumb and a more elegant cake. YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN: Superfine sugar is simply table sugar that is ground into smaller grains. Pulse table sugar in a food processor until it’s very fine. Keep the superfine sugar in a separate sugar bowl to bring out when you’re serving iced coffee and tea or making lemonade.
    ________________
     
    For The Filling

  • Pastry cream/crème pâtissière recipe
  •  

    Making The Torte

    Berry Blitz Torte

    Berry Torte Recipe

    fiori-di-sicilia-therosetable-230jpg

    [1] Making the torte. [2] Close-up (photos #1 and #2 courtesy King Arthur Flour). [3] Garnished and ready for prime time (photo courtesy BakingTheGoods.com. [4] Fiori (or fior) di Sicilia—flower of Sicily—is used by bakers to provide an elegant floral-citrus flavor to cake and other foods. Here’s more about it (photo courtesy The Rose Table).

  • Fresh fruit of choice: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or sliced strawberries
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8″ or 9″ round cake pans. If using parchment, lightly grease the pans, line with parchment rounds, and lightly grease the parchment as well.

    2. BEAT the butter, sugar, salt, and egg yolks in a medium-sized mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in the vanilla/fiori, milk, baking powder and flour. Spread the mixture in the prepared pans (the batter will barely cover the bottom of the pans).

    3. BEAT the egg whites until light. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the meringue is smooth, glossy, and somewhat stiff (but not stiff enough to form stand-up peaks).

    4. SPREAD the meringue atop the cake batter, and sprinkle with the almonds, cinnamon and sugar. (Note: If you’re using fiori di sicilia, omit the cinnamon.) Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, until lightly browned.

    5. REMOVE the cakes from the oven, allow them to cool for 15 minutes, then loosen the edges and gently turn them out onto a rack to cool completely. If some of the almonds fall off during this process, just sprinkle them back on top.

    6. ASSEMBLE: Place one of the cake layers, meringue side up, on a serving plate. Spread with the pastry cream. Add a layer of fresh berries. Top with the second cake layer, meringue-side up. Serve immediately, or refrigerate until serving time.

     
    THE DIFFERENT CAKE TYPES

    Check out our beautiful Cake Glossary, featuring all types of cake.

      

    Comments

    RECIPE: Pumpkin Cinnamon Streusel Cake

    For Thanksgiving, everyone focuses on the dessert pies: pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie.

    But what about the rest of the week—or the entire months of October and November—when you want something a bit lighter than pie?

    King Arthur Flour solved our dilemma with their delicious Pumpkin Streusel Cake Mix. We stocked up last year after Thanksgiving, when it was half price; but it’s $9.95 full price at KingArthurFlour.com is still worth it.

    Why pay triple the price of a supermarket cake mix? It’s all in the quality of the ingredients.

    The King Arthur mix is made with real pumpkin and Vietnamese cinnamon. Even the flour in the mix—the highest grade milled—is better, as fans of King Arthur Flour can tell you.

    The mix includes a packet of cinnamon-streusel filling to make the swirl in the cake. You add butter, eggs, sour cream and water.
     
    TO MAKE A COFFEE CAKE

  • In addition to the instructions on the box, which can be used to make layer cakes or cupcakes, mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda into the dry cake mix.
  • Beat for just 30-60 seconds once all the ingredients are incorporated into the bowl.
  •  
    TO MAKE A COFFEE CAKE

    As an alternative, you can turn the mix into a pumpkin streusel coffee cake (photo #3).

  • Instead of using a bundt pan, spread the batter in a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Sprinkle the streusel on top of the batter
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 350°F for 34 to 38 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool and keep it in the pan. To serve, cut into rectangles. Only cut as many rectangles as you need; the air that seeps into the cut surfaces will take away some freshness.
  •  
    To Make The Cake From Scratch

    Here’s a recipe.

       

    Pumpkin Streusel Bundt Cake

    /home/content/p3pnexwpnas01 data02/07/2891007/html/wp content/uploads/pumpkin streusel in heritage bundt kingarthur 230

    [1] A pumpkin cinnamon streusel bundt cake, glazed (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [2] The cake made in a Heritage bundt pan, also called a swirl bundt pan from Nordicware.

     
    WHAT IS STREUSEL?

    Streusel is a crumb topping made from butter, flour and sugar. It can also contain chopped nuts or rolled oats.

    It’s used on cakes and pies alike.

    Pronounced SHTROY-zul, the word derives from the German “streuen,” meaning to sprinkle or scatter. The American mis-pronunciation “STROO sul?” Fuggedaboudit.

    Streusel is used as a topping for a variety of pies, fruit crisps, cakes and pastries, most notably coffee cakes. A pie with a streusel topping is sometimes referred to as a “crumble pie.”

    Some people like big streusel crumbs, others prefer fine crumbs. The choice is yours as you pinch the crumbs together.

     

    Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

    Pumpkin Streusel Cake Mix

    [3] Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake made from this [4] Pumpkin Streusel Cake Mix (photos courtesy King Arthur Flour).

     

    RECIPE: EASY STREUSEL TOPPING

    Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. With a pastry blender or fork, cut in the butter until fine crumbs form.

    2. USE your fingers to squeeze the fine crumbs into large clumps (or smaller as desired—we like large crumbs). Sprinkle over the top of the pie and bake per the recipe instructions. That’s it!
     
    THE HISTORY OF BUNDT CAKES

    First, there was the Austrian kugelhopf, a sweet yeast bread similar to brioche and panettone, made in a pan shaped like a chef’s hat or a turban.

    A Viennese specialty, it was a favorite of the Austrian Archduchess Marie Antoinette, who became the wife of King Louis XVI of France in 1770.

    Fast forward 180 years: Some Jewish ladies in Minneapolis couldn’t find any kugelhopf pans in the U.S., pans with pleated folds that their families had in the Old Country. They turned to a local manufacturer and convinced him to create a version of it. The bundt cake was born.

    The name bundt is a derivation of the German word for a gathering of people—exactly what you’ll have when there’s a bundt cake to be enjoyed.

    Here’s the history of the bundt cake.

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Brownie Eyeballs For Halloween

    In prior Halloweens we’ve suggested Eyeball Jell-O, Eyeball Ice Cream, radish eyeballs for crudites and garnish, deviled egg eyeballs.

    If your specialty produce purveyor has imported them from Australia, where they’re now in season, fresh lychees (photo #2) make the best eyeball food: nothing to do but peel and eat them.

    RECIPE: BROWNIE EYEBALLS

    You can eat these as a snack, or use them as cupcake or ice cream toppers.

    Prep time is 45 minutes, chill time is 30 minutes.

    Ingredients For 16 Eyeballs

  • 1 10.25-ounce pouch fudge brownie mix
  • 1 cup Ocean Spray Craisins Original Dried Cranberries
  • 2 cups white chocolate chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate bar, melted
  • Tubes of decorative writing gel; green, red, black
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREPARE the brownies according to package directions. Bake just until just done

    2. TRIM the crisp edges from the brownie while warm; eat them as you wish. Crumble the remaining warm brownie into a medium mixing bowl.

    3. ADD the Craisins to the warm crumbled brownies and combine until a thick dough-like mixture forms. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, pressing firmly.

    4. DIP the balls into the melted chocolate, letting the excess drip off. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until the chocolate is firm.

     

    Brownie Eyeballs

    Fresh Lychees

    [1] Brownie eyeballs for Halloween (photo courtesy Ocean Spray). [2] Fresh lychees, nature’s “eyeballs” (photo courtesy Livestrong).

     
    5. CREATE the eyeballs, first using red gel to make veins, green for center of the eye and black for the pupil.

    CHOCOLATE MELTING TIPS

  • Microwave 1 cup (6 ounces) of chips or chopped chocolate at a time. Use a small, microwave-safe bowl and melt on high (100% power) for 1 minute. Stir.
  • Microwave at additional 10- to 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth.
  • If your chocolate seizes or needs additional thinning for dipping, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and blend well. If more oil is needed, add up to 1 teaspoon more to achieve desired results.
  •   

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Ginger Pumpkin Pie With Pumpkin Seed Crust

    Pumpkin Seed Crust Recipe

    Pumpkin Mousse Cheesecake

    Caramel Cheesecake

    Caramel Apple Cheesecake

    [1] Pumpkin pie with a pumpkin seed-graham cracker crust (photo courtesy Whole Food Matters). [2] Pumpkin mousse cheesecake with pumpkin seed-flour crust (photo courtesy Kenwood World). [3] Cheesecake with walnut-pumpkin seed crust and a caramel sauce ribbon (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour). [4] Caramel Apple Cheesecake with gingersnap-pumpkinseed crust (photo courtesy iGourmet).

     

    Go seasonal with pie and cheese cake crusts: Add some pumpkin seeds and add a touch of fall, flavor, crunch and nutrition.

    You can add whole or chopped pumpkin seeds to your regular crusts, be they cookie (chocolate, gingersnap, graham cracker, shortbread), flour (wheat, nut, gluten free), or other recipe.

    Use raw, hulled pumpkin seeds, available in natural food stores and health food stores.

    First up is a graham cracker crust with pumpkin seeds, from Executive Chef Matt Greco of The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards in Livermore, California.

    Chef Greco initially made this delicious crust for a Black Out Pie, peanut butter and chocolate. So don’t limit your vista!

    RECIPE #1: GRAHAM CRACKER & PUMPKIN SEED PIE CRUST

    Ingredients

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 3/4 cup crushed pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8-12 ounces unsalted butter, melted
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F.

    2. COMBINE all ingredients except the butter in a bowl. Slowly add enough butter so that the mixture holds its shape when squeezed in your hand.

    3. PRESS 3/4 of a cup of the mixture into a pie pan and bake at 350° for 10 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden.

     
     
    RECIPE #2: GINGER PUMPKIN PIE WITH PUMPKIN SEED CRUST

    This recipe is adapted from one by Florence Fabricant in The New York Times. Prep and cook time is 2 hours.
     
    Ingredients For 10 Servings

    For The Crust

  • ¾ cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 10 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  •  
    For The Filling

  • 2 cups canned pumpkin purée
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and toast for 5 to 8 minutes, until you hear them start to pop. Remove from the oven.

    2. PLUSE 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seeds in a food processor. Mix with the graham cracker crumbs, ground ginger and granulated sugar. Stir in the melted butter. Pat the mixture firmly into the bottom and sides of a 10-inch pie pan and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

     
    3. BAKE the crust for 15 minutes and remove from the oven. Reduce the oven heat to 350°F.

    4. MIX the pumpkin purée, eggs, egg yolks, cream, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg in a large bowl. Stir in the crystallized ginger and mix until smooth. Pour into the pre-baked crust and bake about an hour, until the filling is set.

    5. REMOVE the pie from the oven and the scatter remaining pumpkin seeds on top. Cool to room temperature before serving.
     
    RECIPE #3: CANDIED PUMPKIN SEEDS

    How about a garnish of candied pumpkin seeds?

    You can sprinkle them on any dessert, or on whipped cream-topped drinks.

    Ingredients

  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup hulled raw pumpkin seeds
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 325°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment, or spray it with cooking spray.

    2. WHISK the egg white until frothy. Place the pumpkin seeds in a small bowl and add just enough egg white to coat the seeds. Add the salt, sugar and cinnamon and toss well to coat.

    3. SPREAD the seeds on the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, until they begin to dry and turn golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. Garnish just before serving to keep the seeds crisp. If not using that day, store in an airtight jar.

     
      

    Comments

    TIP OF THE DAY: Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake

    In just 15 minutes, you can whip up the batter for Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake.

    Then, stick it in the fridge, and when you’re preparing for breakfast or brunch this weekend, preheat the oven and take the cake out of the fridge. It will bake in 35 minutes, capping off your repast with warm, fragrant coffee cake.

    This recipe, from Go Bold With Butter, is one of those recipes that takes little time to mix.

    The quintessential coffee cake is a crumb cake: a yeast cake with a streusel (crumb) topping. This recipe is quicker to make: hold the yeast and the rising time, add the pumpkin and pecans.

     
    RECIPE: PUMPKIN PECAN COFFEE CAKE

    Ingredients For A 9-Inch Cake
     
    For The Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  •  
    For The Crumb Topping (Streusel)

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch spring form pan with butter and dust with flour.

    2. COMBINE the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl. In separate bowl whisk together milk, egg, pumpkin purée and vanilla extract.

    3. BEAT the butter and brown sugar on high speed in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment until light and creamy. Alternatively, use a hand mixer and a large bowl; beat about 3 minutes. Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the milk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until just combined. Stir in the pecans.

     

    Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake Recipe

    Streusel Top Muffin

    Coffee Cake Streusel

    [1] Pumpkin Pecan Coffee Cake with a crumb (streusel) topping (photo courtesy Go Bold With Butter). [2] Streusel can be light and airy, as on this crumb-top muffin (photo courtesy Folger’s). [3] By adding more butter, the streusel becomes denser. It’s a personal choice (photo courtesy Bella Baker).

     

    4. USING a fork, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in small bowl. Use your hands to press the mixture into large crumbs (streusel). Spread the cake batter into theprepared pan and cover with crumb topping.

    5. BAKE until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove the pan sides and cool completely. Store the cake at room temperature for up to 3 days; or freeze leftovers.
     
    THE HISTORY OF CRUMB CAKE

    Long popular as the topping on Streuselkuchen (streusel cake), Germany’s crumb-topped yeast cake, streusel (pronounced SHTROY-zul) is a topping made from butter, flour and sugar. It can also contain chopped nuts or rolled oats.

    The word derives from the German “streuen” (SHTROY-en), meaning to sprinkle or scatter.

    The crumb cake is believed to have originated in Silesia, once part of Germany but today in western Poland (if you’ve read James Michener’s historical novel, Poland, you know the borders changed regularly).

    The original Streuselkuchen was very flat, with crumbs equal to the height of the cake (think one inch of cake topped with one inch of crumbs). To some streusel lovers, that’s perfection!

    The original recipe engendered variations with layers or ribbons of tart fruits (apples, gooseberries, sour cherries, rhubarb) and poppy seeds. Some versions even included pastry cream.

    Another popular coffee cake, also a yeast cake (but without crumbs), is glazed with sugar syrup, can be strewn with raisins and nuts and drizzled with royal icing. In our youth, when German emigré bakers plied their craft in New York City and elsewhere, it was as popular as crumb cake (and neater to eat, too).

      

    Comments



    © Copyright 2005-2016 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. All images are copyrighted to their respective owners.