Monday, May 31, 2010

A Treat for All Times

There are two things I love to do with leftover sweet potatoes.  One is the savory bread I wrote about last month.  The other is sweet potato cake.

I follow my carrot cake recipe, but substitute sweet potatoes for the carrots.  This one is always a crowd-pleaser.  Moist, dense, and full of flavor, what's not to like?  This time I topped it with a cinnamon cream cheese icing.  A perfect complement, together it is sweet but not too sweet, and cinnamony enough to be a brunch treat. 

The flavor combination is particularly well-suited for the fall. but if the leftovers are there, who can resist?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Old Reliable, with a Cherry

My go-to basic cake recipe is Magnolia Bakery's Traditional Birthday Cake.  (It is the same recipe they use for the renowned cupcakes.)  It has a great texture, moisture, and is always a crowd-pleaser.  The buttercream is similarly delicious.  It is pretty traditional, with the addition of some milk, which I've found ensures a smooth texture and tempers the sweetness.

This cake is old reliable, with my own addition.  It is four layers.  The middle filling is traditional buttercream.  The other two are filled with chocolate cherry ganache.  I made a standard chocolate ganache and added dried cherries at the cooking stage.  The cherries re-hydrated a bit, and added some of their sweet sourness.  The ganache dressed the cake up a bit and a sweet surprise.  Some said it's the best cake so far.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Santa Fe Blue Cornmeal Cake

This cake has been on my list for a long time.  It is Santa Fe Blue Cornmeal Cake.  The cake contains, among other things, blue cornmeal and ground chile arbol.  The cornmeal adds a sweet nuttiness both in taste and texture.  Combined with cinnamon and the chile, it is sweet with a little kick. 

I brushed each layer with cajeta, a Mexican caramel made from goats milk.  Then comes the caramel frosting, made of whipped cream, cajeta, and sugar.  The smooth airiness of the whipped cream is the perfect foil for the rough and tumble texture of the cake.  Not the mention the richness of the caramel, which balances the chile and adds intrigue.

This cake is a great diversion from the classic vanilla and chocolate cake flavors.  Perfect for the adventurous at heart.