Banana Nut Pineapple Cake

  • c flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • t salt
  • t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t cardamom
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 2 1/4 c raw sugar
    • OR 1 c each white and brown sugar
  • 3/4 c yoghurt
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • large eggs
  • t vanilla extract
  • c crushed pineapple, drained
  • 4-5 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 c shredded coconut
  • 3/4 c chopped raw pecans

Icing:

  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 – 3 c icing sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1-2 T lemon juice

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices in a bowl and sift to combine. In another bowl combine the eggs, sugar, yoghurt, oil and vanilla until well mixed. Stir in the mashed banana, pineapple, and coconut. Mix in the dry ingredients in 3 batches until just barely incorporated, being careful not to overmix. Mix in the pecans.

Divide into 2 prepared 8″ round pans that have been greased and floured. Bake at 325F for 30-40 minutes.

Icing: Combine butter, sugar, and vanilla in a mixer until light and fluffy, about 7 min.

Once the sugar is mixed in add the cream cheese in pieces and combine. Don’t over-mix after adding the cream cheese else the icing may turn runny.

Cherry Chocolate Cake

  • 1 C white sugar
  • 1 C dark brown sugar
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 C butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 3/4 t almond extract
  • 1/2 C ground almonds
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 C very strong black coffee, freshly boiled
  • 1 24-28 oz jar sour cherries in juice
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1 C heavy cream
  • 1 T icing sugar
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t almond extract
  • shaved dark chocolate, for garnish

In the large bowl of a stand mixer add the sugar and half of the butter. Mix until combined. Meanwhile chop the baking chocolate into rough chunks. Melt the remaining butter in a small bowl and then add in the baking chocolate, mixing with a rubber spatula until the chocolate has fully melted. Add to the sugar/butter mixture. Beat until the chocolate is fully incorporated and it has cooled down some. Next beat the eggs in one at a time. Add in the buttermilk and extracts, mixing slowly so it doesn’t slosh over the rim.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, salt, and soda together. Slowly add to the batter, alternating with the almonds, mixing slowly after each addition until the dry ingredients are just barely incorporated.

Add in the boiling hot coffee and mix until a uniform consistency, making sure to use a rubber spatula to get any thick bits of batter up from the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Pour into 2 prepared (greased and floured) 8″ or 9″ round cake pans. Bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes or until just done in the centre.

Whilst the cake is baking, drain the juice from the cherries and pour into a small saucepan. Add water or another unsweetened fruit juice (cherry, cranberry, apple) to make about 1 C. Add in the sugar and bring to a boil, and reduce until a medium syrup is formed – it is noticeably viscous, but pours easily. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl to cool.

Beat the cream in a very cold bowl until soft peaks form, add the sugar and extracts, and beat until stiff.

Once the cake is out of the oven, allow to fully cool. Once cool, trim the cakes so they are flat on top and then invert one onto a cake stand. Prick all over with a skewer and brush about half the cooled cherry syrup all over the cake. Add half the whipped cream spread evenly. Top with half the cherries. Place the next layer on top and do the same as with the bottom layer, prick with skewer, brush with syrup, add whipped cream and then add the cherries. You can either place them all in the middle for a more rustic looking cake, or arrange them in a pattern. Top with shaved dark chocolate.

Orange Cranberry Pound Cake

  • 1 1/3 c white sugar
  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/4 c fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • zest of one orange
  • 2 1/3 c all-purpose flour, double sifted
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • 1 t orange extract
  • 1/2 t almond extract
  • 12 oz whole, fresh cranberries (frozen is fine)

Cream the butter and sugar together until fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one to add in as much air as possible. Add in the extracts, orange juice, and zest and mix until just combined.

Sift about 2 cups of flour into a bowl and then measure from that your 2 1/3 c of flour back into your sifter, Or you can whisk up your flour container to lighten up your flour and then gently measure from that your 2 1/3 c into your sifter. You want your flour to be as light and airy as possible or else you will add in too much flour and weigh down your cake.
Mix in your salt with your flour with a whisk.

In 3 batches, add your flour into your wet ingredients and mix until just barely combined, 15-20 seconds. Add in your cranberries. If they’re frozen you’ll probably want to mix them in with a wooden spoon because they will chill your batter and make it hard to mix in. If mixing in fresh berries, use a spatula so you don’t rupture too many of them.

Bake at 325°F for 60-75 minutes in a well greased loaf pan or small tube pan, or until a cake tester comes out clean (though you’ll get juiciness from the cranberries).

Orange Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Icing

Cake Batter

  • 3/4 c softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 c white sugar
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c all purpose flour or cake flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp mace or nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c orange juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1 tsp orange extract

Icing

  • 1/4 c unsalted butter
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 c icing sugar

Cream the butter and sugar together, beating in an electric mixer for a few minutes until light and fluff, scraping down occasionally. Add in the eggs one at a time and beat on medium speed until well incorporated. Add the orange zest and extracts. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the butter-sugar-egg mixture alternately with the orange juice, beating sparingly until just combined.  Bake at 325°F for 35-45 minutes in an 8″ square baking dish, or double the recipe and bake in a tube or bundt pan for 65-75 minutes.

For the icing, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the brown sugar and heavy cream. Take off the heat and stir together until smooth. Return to the heat and boil for one minute. Let cool, then whisk in 1 cup of icing sugar and 1 t of vanilla extract and beat until smooth and glossy. While still slightly warm and malleable, spread on the cooled cake with an icing spatula. If icing a bundt cake, double the recipe.

Zucchini Spice Bread

Adapted from this recipe on SmittenKitchen.com

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 t orange extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 t crushed anise seed
  • 1/2 t cardamom
  • 1/4 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cup whole fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Whisk together the eggs, oil and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and orange extracts and the zucchini. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, spices, soda and baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients in batches until just barely mixed in. Add in the nuts and fruit/chocolate chips.

Grease and flour two loaf pans and pour the batter into them and bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes until golden on top and done in the centre. Cool on wire racks and turn out when cool.

*I use freshly ground whole spices whenever possible, so for this I simply approximated the amount of spices I would need and ground them all together in my spice grinder. I crushed the anise seeds with a small mortar and pestle until they were mostly all cracked open. You could also grind the anise seeds in with the other spices if you wanted, I just thought the little bits of anise flavour would be nice in this.

Citrus & Spice Soda Bread

  • 1 1/2 C AP flour
  • 1/2 C whole wheat or rye flour
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 6 T unsalted butter
  • 5 T demerara or turbinado sugar, divided
  • 1/2 t cardamom
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t mace
  • 1 egg
  • zest of 1 medium lemon
  • zest of 1 small orange
  • 1/3 C lemon & orange juice
  • 1/4 C buttermilk

Sift together all dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or your fingers until it resembles small peas. After zesting your lemon and orange, juice them into a small bowl and measure out 1/3 C of the juice, reserving the remainder for another use or recipe. In a small bowl mix together the egg, lemon and orange zests, 3 T of the sugar, citrus juice and buttermilk.

Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gather into a ball and place in a buttered 8″ cake pan. Press lightly into a disc and sprinkle with 1-2 T of the remaining sugar. Bake at 375°F for 35 minutes or until lightly browned and firm to the touch.  Let rest for 10 minutes, and then slice into wedges with a bread knife and serve with butter and jam and/or honey.

Spiced Pear Cake with Bourbon Caramel Icing

This recipe is based on this recipe at Food52.com.

Cake:
1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
5 eggs
1 cup white, unbleached all purpose flour or cake flour
2 cups soft white winter whole wheat flour or whole wheat cake flour, sifted and bran discarded
2 teaspoons cinnamon/cassia
1/2 teaspoon mace: if not available, increase nutmeg to 1/2 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon star anise (1 star anise pod)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 pears (or apples), peeled, cored, and diced
crushed walnuts to garnish top of cake

Icing:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
3 T good bourbon, i.e. Maker’s Mark. Also great would be brandy or Calvados
1 1/2 – 2 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt

If using whole spices, as I do, use a well-heaping measure of each and then grind fresh in a spice grinder. The only spice I keep pre-ground on-hand is cinnamon which I grind fresh every couple weeks a stick or two at a time.

Cream the butter, shortening and sugars together until very well incorporated and have lightened in colour and become quite fluffy. Add in the vanilla, salt, and eggs one at a time beating after each egg just until it is incorporated.

Sift the dry ingredients together twice, discarding any bran that is left behind. Alternating with the milk, add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix just until incorporated, being certain not to over-mix. Carefully fold in the diced fruit with a rubber spatula.

Pour into a greased and floured tube pan and bake at 325F for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Start checking at 1 hour and 5 minutes being careful not to over bake or it will dry out.

To make the icing: in a small pot, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and whisk in the brown sugar, cream, and bourbon, mixing until smooth. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, boiling for 1 minute. Allow to cool, and then beat in the vanilla and the icing sugar until a smooth, thick paste is formed. You want it to be thick enough to not run off the cake, but not so thick that you can’t spread it without tearing the cake. I find that icing the cake whilst the icing is still a bit warm helps avoid any tearing and allows it to adhere better.