Category Archives: dessert

Angel Food Cake

Contrary to the popular misconception, the angel cake does not contain any supernatural beings whatever. Nor is it eaten by angels. The reason it is called an angel food cake is because several million years ago, when the cake was first discovered by the ancient Celts, they believed the cake was sent to them by an angel for something to munch on.

The question of when exactly we got the recipe from the angels has been lost to history, but here it is in all its glory:

1 1/4 c egg whites (about 10 large eggs’ worth)
1 1/4 c granulates sugar
1 c cake flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350˚F

Sift the sugar. Twice.

Sift the flour. Put a quarter cup of sugar and the salt in with the flour. Sift three times.

Beat the eggs on a low speed until they start to get foamy. Add the cream of tartar (not tartar sauce, that would be bad). Gradually increase the speed on your electric mixer until the egg whites form stiff peaks. Add the vanilla and almond extract, and slowly add the rest of the sugar, one tbsp at a time. You may now set aside your mixer. Fold in the flour and sugar mixture a quarter cup at a time. The idea is to mix it in without popping all the little egg bubbles (if you don’t know how to do this ask your mother).

Pour the cake batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan (it’s the one with the straight sides and the hole in the middle). Put it in your oven on the middle rack and bake for 45 minutes. If you don’t have a timer, a chorus of angels will come down and tell you when to take it out of your oven.

To cool the cake, turn the pan upside down and suspend it on an upturned funnel or a soda bottle. After it cools completely, you can turn it back around and remove the cake from the pan.

Serve with fruit or chocolate or something.


Sourdough Cinnamon Buns

These cinnamon buns are way too tasty to even deal with rationally. The dough is incredibly soft and pillowy. The filling and icing have cinnamon and butter coming out of places we’re not even going to talk about. What’s the catch? It takes a whopping 36 hours to make. Yeeesh. If you want them ready for breakfast, start in the evening two days before you want to eat them.

150g 100% hydration sourdough starter, just after it has doubled
340g Water
340g AP flour

Mix that up real good, and let it sit in a warm place overnight. Twelve hours, or until doubled. While that’s going down, wash, peel, dice, and boil one medium-largeish potato. Any will do, but a good mashed potato variety like Yukon Gold is ideal.

1 stick butter
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
130g mashed potatoes
195g buttermilk
all the levain
700g AP flour
21g salt

In a bowl, cream the butter, then mix in the eggs, honey, and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add the potatoes, buttermilk, and all the levain. Stir until smooth. Add the flour and salt, then knead until gluten starts to develop. The dough will be quite moist, but should be workable because of all the butter. Set that in a cool place and ask it to rise until doubled for about 8-12 hours. If it doesn’t want to, threaten to take away its toys. That’ll teach it.

While that’s rising, make the filling. To do that, take

1 stick butter
85g cream
300g dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

and place them in a pot on the stove. See if you can get them to do their Great American Melting Pot impression.

Once the dough is done doing its thang, divide it into two pieces. Label them Piece One and Piece Two with edible marker. This step is very important, don’t skip it. Roll Piece One into a large square on a very well floured counter top. Paint on a generous amount of the filling, and roll it up into a log. Cut up the log into 6 pieces and put the pieces in a baking pan. Do the same thing with Piece Two (here is where the labeling is handy). Put the baking pan in the fridge to double overnight.

In the morning, preheat your oven to 400˚F. Pop the buns right into the oven from the refrigerator, and cook for 25-35 minutes, depending on how thick you made them. When they’re done, drizzle on the extra filling. Eat.

If you’re interested in making these and don’t have a sourdough starter, email me for help in converting this to packaged yeast.

Not So Humble Pie

I found a fantastic blog (courtesy of my sister Rosie) today. It contains the following comic about raising yeasty-beasties:

Lemon Poppyseed Cake

2 1/4 c flour
1 1/8 c sugar
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
4 tbsp poppyseeds
1 1/3 c melted butter (2 sticks plus 5 1/3 tbsp)
5 eggs

3/4 c white sugar
3/4 c lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Grease and flour a bundt pan Put all the dry ingredients together in bowl. Put all the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add bowl B to bowl A and mix up. Place in the greased pan. Place the greased pan in the oven. Bake for like an hour or so (toothpick-ready).

While the cake is baking, put the sugar and lemon juice in a sauce pan, and put over a low heat until dissolved, then let cool. Drizzle over the cake and let it soak up as much as possible. Let the cake rest for a few hours (overnight is good) in the fridge. Eat.

Chocolate Chocolate Cream Cheese Muffins

1 11.5 oz bag of bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter (melted)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Combine the cream cheese, 1/4 of the sugar, and one egg in a bowl and beat it until it’ll tell you anything you want to know. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Combine them. Melt half of the chocolate and fold in along with the unmelted half. Distribute among 12-18 greased muffin papers, then top with the cream cheese mixture. Bake for 25 minutes.

For the future: Next time I want to not mix the batter nearly as well after adding the chocolate and give it a marbled texture. That should complement the cream cheese nicely. And of course, it’s pizza night. I put some whole wheat in the dough this time, I can’t wait to see how it turns out, although I’m out of my element using my parents’ oven.

No post tomorrow since I have a train ride back to Mass. I’m thinking of doing cinnamon buns soon, although I might do a bread or something first since so far I only have sweets on here.