The Kid wants me to knit the Aran Cap in Knitter's Almanac for his trip to UNC's Homecoming Weekend. I have the yarn (Rowan Cork in an almost-Carolina blue -- so I guess it won't be a true Aran; I'll call it Aaron), and I cast on today, but I don't know if I can finish in time (Thursday). We'll see. I do know that I can't continue calling him The Kid. It was his jokey way of referring to himself when we met; but he'll be one of the Old Guys going back for Homecoming, so The Kid must go. Maybe he can be Teacake, like the character in one of my favourite Zora Neale Hurston books. And because today while we were waiting around to not get flu shots, I thought a lot about hot tea and cake. Mostly cake. But my mind was working furiously, like "Tea. Cake. Tea. Cake. Teacake. I wonder where that book is? Tea. Cake. Cake. Cake. Teacake." Fascinating, I know. So anyway, here are a few Autumny cake recipes. I should call these "Designer Impostors". They're based on recipes that I've seen, and then altered a bit. The red velvet cake is pretty much my own recipe, and I'm still working on it. I thought that I got it just right, Goldilocks-style, once last year, but I forgot to write down what I did, so... They're all pretty easy; experimentation is strongly encouraged. Let me know how things turn out. Read on for the recipes.
BANANA CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
(original recipe found in The Silver Palate)
1/4 pound (1 stick) of sweet unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (i sometimes use plain yogurt instead of buttermilk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (a really good one makes a difference)
some freshly grated nutmeg
somewhere between a capful and 1/4 cup of Jamaican rum (I don't always add this)
1/1/2-2 sliced bananas
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Grease and flour two 9 inch pans
3. Cream butter and sugar together (I skip the creaming and just melt the butter first then mix it with the sugar, it works out fine)
4. Add eggs and beat well
5. Add mashed bananas, mixing thoroughly
6. Sift dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Stir until just combined in. 7. Add buttermilk and vanilla.
8. Pour batter into pans, bake 25-30 minutes or until knife comes out clean
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temp.
6 tablespoons sweet butter, at room temp.
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
juice of 1/2 lemon (i've also used orange)
Cream butter and cream cheese together in bowl. Slowly sift in confectioner's sugar and continue beating until fully mixed Stir in vanilla and juice from lemon. Enjoy! You can also use the bourbon cream cheese frosting on this cake, it works as well.
I think this was a recipe in TV Guide!
2 cups sugar (i use a combination of dark brown and white sugar, sometimes more than 2 cups)
3 cups flour
1 tsp each of baking soda, salt, and cinnamon
1 1/2 cups veg. oil
1 tsp vanilla
3-4 cups chopped red apples (i usually mix gala, red delicious, empire, jonagolds, and I want to try it with honeycrisps)
I also add small amounts of a few of these: ginger, Jamaican allspice, freshly ground nutmeg, and whatever else is around, like cloves, apple liqueur, molasses…
Preheat oven to 350. Sift dry ingredients together in mixing bowl add remaining ingredients. Pour batter into greased bundt pan. Bake for about an hour, usually a bit more.
For the glaze:
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Stir the maple syrup, ginger, and sugar together in a bowl. Glaze the cooled cakes by spooning the glaze around the tops of the cakes and letting it drip down the sides. Instead of ginger you can add a tablespoon of dark Jamaican rum and top with raisins. Quite good.
RASPBERRY RED VELVET WITH BOURBON CREAM FROSTING
(this recipe is not perfected yet, but it's pretty good)
1 tsp salt
1 TBS white vinegar
2 TBS red food colouring
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
1/3 cup rasberry flavoured cocoa or Jacques Torres Wicked Hot Chocolate
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
about 1/4 cup raspberry syrup
Preheat oven to 350. Beat butter and sugar together in large bowl, add eggs and vanilla. Beat. Stir in buttermilk and food colouring.
Stir together flour, cocoa, salt, and add to butter/sugar mix, alternating with the buttermilk stuff. Add baking soda and vinegar. Bake 30-35 minutes.
1 stick butter, room temp
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp
1 box confectioner's sugar
5 TBS bourbon
Mix as lemon cream cheese frosting.
SWEET POTATO LAYER CAKE WITH ORANGE CREAM FROSTING
I think the original of this one was in Bon Appetit
2 pounds (about 3) skinned sweet potatoes (roast until soft with oven at about 400. Mash and collect 2 cups. Cool.)
3 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cup veg oil
1 cup sugar
1+ cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
Oven at 350. Butter and flour 2 9-inch pans. Sift flour and the next six ingredients in bowl. Combine oil, 1 cup sugar, and brown sugar in bowl, whisk until smooth. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time, then mashed sweet potatoes. Whisk in flour mixture in three segments. Divide batter between pans. Bake about 30 minutes.
8 ounces of room temp cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1 box confectioners sugar (3 3/4 cups)
2 TBS frozen orange juice concentrate (sometimes i add fresh orange juice, zest, etc.)
1/2 tsp vanilla
One can also use the bourbon frosting here. Mix as frostings above.
Orange Pumpkin Coffee Cake
I think this was originally in Redbook.
1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup vegetable oil; beat in 2 eggs, 1 cup canned pumpkin, and 1+ TBS orange zest. Beat in 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour, 1 TBS pumpkin pie spice, large dashes of Jamaican allspice and cinnamon. Spoon into a greased 11 by inch pan. Stir together 1/4 cup each flour, light brown sugar, softened butter. Sprinkle over batter and bake at 350 for 40 minutes.