Monday, February 4, 2013

Three coffee-style cakes to warm up your winter

With winter still in full swing, there is still lots of time to hunker down and enjoy the coziness of home with a cup of coffee or tea and a slice of delicious coffee-style cake.
   Although I’m personally not a tea or coffee drinker, I know that there are many of you that are, and that you’ll probably love a piece of one of the three cakes I’m going to tell you about with your favorite hot beverage.

Apple-Walnut Cake (click for the recipe) is a bit of a miracle. It’s exceptionally easy to make, with just one bowl and no mixers required to prepare it, but it yields fantastically-delicious results. It is very family-friendly, and pieces can easily be packed with school and work lunches as much as they can be enjoyed with coffee.
    On, where this recipe is found, the recipe received several rave reviews and no wonder – this simple cake is simply a winner.

Brown Butter-Sour Cream Crumb Cake (click for the recipe) contains the flavor secret of brown butter. This is a technique in which unsalted butter is melted over low to moderate heat and allowed to separate into butterfat and milk solids. The milk solids naturally sink to the bottom of the pan. When the milk solids reach a toasty hazelnut color, the pan is removed from the heat.
    If this sounds a little scary to do, let me assure you it is not, especially if you follow the direct and confident instructions of this recipe. The butter is browned when the tiny solids that sink to the bottom turn brown, which I found to be about five minutes after the butter had melted completely.
    Making brown butter is worth doing, as the resulting flavor and texture of the cake is made deeper and more exceptional than if regular melted butter is used.
    The recipe directs to put the brown butter into a shallow bowl and freeze it until its firm but not hard, about 15 minutes. The shallow bowl is the key here –  the shallower it is, the more quickly and properly the butter will harden. I used a shallow plastic container.
    The crumb topping of this cake is also an exceptional treat – I want to make cookies made just of the crumb topping!

Orange- and Vanilla-Scented Bundt Cake (click for the recipe) is a moist, flavorful dessert that uses essential oils from orange peel to flavor it. It’s an ideal time to make this cake, as citrus season is in full swing.
    The orange peel’s oils are added simply by beating finely-grated orange peel with sugar using an electric mixer.
    My husband took all but two small pieces of this cake to his workplace, and all of it was eaten by the end of the day! I’m sure yours will disappear in similar fashion.

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