Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Cake

I couldn’t wait to make this cake.  As soon as I saw it on the coming up list my mouth started to water and I was so tempted to make it instead of one of the other cakes.  I just couldn’t stop thinking about it.  My favorite cake of all time is lemon pound cake.  I have a delicious one that also incorporates sour cream so when I saw this cake with lemon, sour cream and poppy seeds, you can imagine how my taste buds were screaming for me to make it right away.  It took every bit of self control to not make it weeks ago and devour it all.

Then I made a really big mistake and promised my neighbor that I would do a cake for her book club.  Imagine how crazed I was when I found out that her book club was this week.  I was in anguish but a promise is a promise.  I just kept telling myself that the cake is easy and I’ll just make another one.  Well, that worked until I pulled this cake out of the oven and that heavenly aroma hit me.  It was all I could do to keep from just ripping pieces off the cake and eating it by the handfull.  I thought who needs this syrup, I want this cake now.  I had to get myself in hand and finish the cake.  By the time I got the cake out of the pan I knew that there was no way I was going to be able to wait so I had to make another one for myself.  Unfortunately, I had used all my poppy seeds but just as Rose says at the beginning of the recipe, the cake IS fabulous without them.  Just let this be a warning, this cake is dangerous.  One whiff and there is no telling what you might do to get a slice.

The cake is an exercise in simplicity.  The liquid ingredients are mixed together, the dry ingredients mixed, then the liquid ingredients added and the batter is ready to go in the pan and into the oven.  45 minutes later you are ready for total cake heaven.  When the cake comes out of the oven it is poked with holes and half of the lemon syrup is brushed on.  The cake cools for about 10 minutes and is unmolded and the rest of the syrup is brushed on and the cake cools completely.  The syrup makes the cake super moist but to be honest, I think the cake would be fantastic without it.  I may have to try that next time because it will be a little less time I have to wait for my first slice.

I was preparing for some out of town company this week and was doing several things at once while I was baking this cake.  It wasn’t until I pulled the cake out of the oven that I realized that I had completely forgotten to take any pictures so all I have are pictures of the completed cake.  Hope you can forgive my oversight.

Just out of the oven. Really hard to resist


Dusted with confectioners sugar


Next Up:  Chocolate Apricot Roll with Lacquer Glaze

Hungarian Jancsi Torta

This is the recipe that made we want to buy Rose’s book and made me want to join the Heavenly Bakers.  Years ago when Food Network was actually about food instead of silly contests to see who the next giggling, simpering wanna be chef personality will be or which no talent hack was going to put their name on anything to make a buck there was a show called The Two Fat Ladies.  Now, I am not saying that these ladies were not about entertainment because they certainly were entertaining BUT they were also about the food.  They cooked honest food with butter and cream and sugar and bacon and they made no appologies for it.  An important thing to note here is that while they were entertaining you, they were also teaching you how to cook.  They were showing you techniques.  They weren’t trying to sell you pans and beakers and campstoves and worthless cookbooks.  They weren’t featuring their husbands, sons, daughters, neices or nephews on every show.  They just cooked and had fun doing it and we watched and learned and had fun learning.  Isn’t that what its all about?  At any rate, I am getting off onto one of my rants about things that none of you care about.  Back to this recipe. 

The Fat Ladies motored around the English countryside on a vintage Triumph motorcycle with a sidecar and they stopped off at various places and cooked for people and special events.  One of these special events was a village fete and they were asked to bake cakes for a bake sale.  One of the cakes they made was called Rigo Jancsi Chocolate Slices.  Rigo Jancsi, it turns out was a gypsy fiddler who was beloved in polite society in Budapest in the 1920’s.  It turns out the it was rather more than his music that was adored by the ladies of polite society and a huge scandal ensued.  None the less, we got these fabulous slices.  On one of my european trips, I happened to be in England and I just happened to have these delicious morsels.  I looked and looked for a recipe and low and behold here were the Fat Ladies giving me one.  I have made them often ever since.  Imagine how intrigued I was when I saw this version of one of my favorite recipes.  This torta is slightly different from the Fat Ladies chocolate slices.  Their recipe uses only 3 eggs and also has a bit of flour in it.  It is baked in a sheet pan and the sheet cake is sliced in half.  A chocolate filling is spread over one half, then apricot jam and then a bittersweet chocolate icing.  The second layer is put on and then they are cut into rectangular slices and dusted with cocoa.  They are marvelous.

This recipe is equally delicious and only half the work.  Toasted walnuts are chopped and added to grated chocolate and sugar.  Egg yolks and sugar are whipped until fluffy and then the chocolate/nut mixture is folded in.  Egg whites are whipped with sugar to for a stiff meringue.   The meringue is folded into the egg yolk mixture and spooned into the prepared springform pan.  The cake is baked.  Mine tested done after 30 minutes at 325 degrees in my convection oven.  The cake is cooled for 5 minutes, then the sides of the pan are removed and the cake cools to room temperature.  It is inverted, the pan bottom removed and then reinverted onto a serving plate.  I simply topped mine with some sweetened whipped cream and dusted the top with some cocoa nibs.  The cake is totally delicious served just as is or it is heavenly with some jam, chocolate ganache, or whipped cream.  No matter how you slice it, you have to try this simple and delicious cake.  It will become one of your favorites and you won’t even have to go to England.

The beaten egg yolks

The beaten eggwhites

The baked cake

Cooling the cake


Next Up: Lemon Poppyseed Sour Cream Cake

Double Chocolate Valentine

I knew I was going to love this cake just from reading the recipe.  What’s not to love, chocolate, more chocolate and raspberries, plus an easy to put together recipe and there you have it, dessert heaven.  I had another hectic week so I was really happy when I read this recipe and saw that not only was it easy to put together but I had everything I needed to make it right on the shelf, with the exception of the raspberries which I figured I would wait until I got to the market and saw how much of my house I was going to have to mortgage to buy them before I decided if I would use them or not.  I am not all that fussy when it comes to spending high prices for out of season fruit, if said fruit actually tastes like fruit instead of some dried out shoe leather.  When I got to the market raspberries were on sale this week.  2 pints for $7.00.  Such a bargain.  Well, the produce manager just happens to know me and he knows that I would make a fuss if I got them home and they were tasteless so he gave me a sample to assure me that my $7.00 would not go to waste.  Actually there was another lady there who was thinking the same thing so I felt better.  As much as I complain on here you would think I was the only one who cared about such things.  At any rate I got my raspberries and was back at home to make this yummy concoction in no time.

It really was very easy to put together.I mixed the cocoa and water together and allowed them to cool while I measured and assembled the other ingredients.  The egg yolks, water and vanilla were mixed and set aside. Then the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt were mixed quickly with the beater attachment on the stand mixer, then the butter and cocoa mixture were added and mixed to moisten the dry ingredients.  The egg mixture was added in two additions and then the batter was spooned into the prepared pan and into the oven.  My cake tested done after 30 minutes at 325 degrees in my convection oven. 

While the cake was baking I chopped the bittersweet chocolate and heated the cream.  I skipped the food processor and just did it the old fashioned way.  I poured the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and allowed it to sit for a few minutes.  Then I stirred it until all the chocolate was melted and the mixture was smooth.  I set the ganache aside until the cake was finished.

Once out of the oven I poked holes all over the cake and used a pastry brush to put half the ganache onto the cake.  Then I inverted the cake onto a plate lined with plastic wrap and repeated the procedure.  Then I allowed the ganache to set.  I then inverted it two more times to finally end up with my cake top side up on my final serving plate.  It sounds like alot of fuss but it isn’t and we do it all the time for other cakes without even thinking. 

Adding ganache

Finally I carefully placed those $7.00 raspberries all over the tip in circles and applied the red currant glaze and then stood back and admired this thing of beauty while telling myself that I had to wait 24 hours before I could actually serve it and get a taste for myself. 

 I carefully slid the cake into the refrigerator for safe keeping and spent the rest of the day and a good part of that night sneaking peeks into the fridge to make sure it was still there and no one had stolen it.  When I finally got to taste it, I knew it was definitely worth the wait.  I think next time I might make two layers and stack them.  Whoever said more isn’t better?

Next Up:  Personal Choice, Guess you all have to wait and see

True Orange Genoise

I looked at this cake as more of a construction job than anything else.  This week was very very hectic and I wasn’t feeling all that well so I wasn’t even sure that I was going to get this cake made.  I worked on it a bit each night and was stockpiling the components just in case I managed to get it all done by the weekend and could actually put the cake together.  As a consequence, I totally forgot about pictures so I don’t have any pictures of the process.  I do have a few of the construction which I will share.  It just hasn’t been a great week for my blogging or baking so I hope you enjoy what I present here.

I have to admit that the title of this post is a mis-nomer.  While I followed the recipe and the steps and techniques I did take artistic license with ingredients.  For weeks I have been scouring the farmers markets, hitting speciality produce markets, pestering grocery store produce managers, I called a few of my local chef friends and to no avail.  I simply could not find Seville Oranges.  I called a local citrus grower and was told that they didn’t grow them and didn’t know anyone who did.  Alas, I thought I would try to substitute Seville Orange Marmalade which I did have.  Then I thought, I already bought the blood oranges that Rose calls for for the zest so I decided that I would just use them.

One night I made the Golden Genoise, which I have to admit that I totally love and it has become one of my go to standards when I need to compose a dessert cake like this.  It is so light and delicious and so easy I can have it together in 30 minutes from start to in the oven.  As I stated earlier, I followed the recipe but substituted blood orange juice for the elusive Seville Oranges.  Once the curd was finished and I tasted it I thought it was good but a bit sweet but when I added the zest, oh my goodness, the aroma that wafed up to my nostrils was heavenly.  It was truly delicious and I wasn’t the least bit sorry I couldn’t find the Seville Oranges.  The only drawback was the odd pink color of the curd but one taste and that is no longer an issue.  I made the ganache and orange syrup on Saturday and composed the cake on Saturday afternoon for a get together on Sunday.

I just cut the genoise layer in half, brushed both halves with the orange syrup, put the curd in the center and sandwiched the layers together and then frosted them with the ganache.  I didn’t bother with the dried orange slices since it was a busy week and I really didn’t care for the way they looked in the book.  I opted for fresh blood orange slices.

The odd colored Blood Orange curd

The chocolate ganache

The completed cake was delicious and everyone enjoyed it.   If I ever manage to find some Seville Oranges I will try this with them but for now I am enjoying it with the blood oranges.  I am also thinking about trying it with Pink Grapefruit curd.  At any rate everyone loved it and so did I.

Next Up: Double Chocolate Valentine