Double Vanilla Cake

Vanilla is our ingredient of the season. We’re looking forward to a few months of both sweet and savory dishes using vanilla.

Right after Sarah and I picked vanilla as the ingredient of the season, this recipe for a double vanilla butter cake was published on A Cup of Jo, and I knew we had to try it! This cake is so delicious served plain, but we also enjoyed ours for breakfast with a side of berries and as an afternoon snack with a cup of coffee. Calder said that it reminded him of cakes he was served in Germany… and while I don’t have a specific example in mind, as soon as he said that, I couldn’t agree more, and was immediately transported back to my time there, having a snack on a train or stopping in to a little cafe for breakfast.

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The original recipe called for both vanilla extract and vanilla paste, thus the double in its name. I didn’t have paste, and at first I wanted to make some, but after looking up a few different recipe and seeing that each one used different techniques, I felt unprepared to waste my precious beans on something I wasn’t sure about. Maybe I’ll do a bit more research and discuss vanilla bean paste in another post. Instead, I took the author’s advice and substituted vanilla extract for the paste, but then I used vanilla sugar (details at the end of the post) to dust the pan, keeping with the call for two types of vanilla.

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Chocolate Cake with Buttercream and Rose Petals

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Hey Valentines!  We’re republishing an old favorite today: Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Icing and Rose Petals.  The Schu family loves this simple chocolate cake recipe. Spend a year of birthdays with us and you’re bound to have it at least a few times.  Fancy it up with some buttercream icing and the addition of dried rose petals and you have the prettiest Valentine’s Day (or any damn day) dessert.  If cupid shot you with an arrow and you’re in need of more Valentine’s Day DIYs – check out our side bar for more. Continue reading

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Blueberry Lemon Buckle

Lemons are our ingredient of the season. We’re exciting to fill our summer with all things lemony, and until then you can click through our archive of lemon posts, from body scrubs and shower cleaners to lemonade and vodka waters.

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This past weekend we pulled together a last minute brunch at our place, and one of the things we served was this blueberry lemon buckle. Now that we’re fully settled in the new house, we want to do a lot of entertaining, especially during the summer months when we can have everyone out on the deck and the kids playing in the kiddie pool. To make entertaining actually happen, and to keep it stress-free, it’s nice to have a few reliable recipes, like this buckle, that you can make ahead. Don’t know what a buckle is? Read on to find out!

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In my vocabulary, buckles are fruit-filled coffee cakes. You’ll commonly see buckles that call for blueberries as the fruit, but I was introduced to the buckle in Rustic Fruit Desserts, where my mind was blown by the variety of buckle options (rhubarb, apple, blueberry, and cranberry!). You really can have a buckle for each season. So far I’ve made the apple, cranberry, and blueberry varieties, but we recently discovered a rhubarb plant growing in our yard (no joke), so that will be next!

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Bulldozer Birthday Cake!

Alex turned two at the end of April, and the timing worked perfectly that we had a house full of family ready to celebrate! Since we weren’t inviting his super cute little friends, we didn’t bother to have a theme party. Plus, how could we pick just one theme for the guy who loves, in no particular order : kitty cats, anything with wheels (and wings!), dinos, tools, and speed? We could have gone with a bike-riding kitty cat holding a screw driver, but without including the dinosaur, why even bother, you know?

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Even without a theme, I wanted to make a cake that the little guy would love. I also wanted it to be relatively simple. There are so many awesome ideas out there, just scanning Pinterest can put you into option overload. Want to see my kids’ party board? This is where I’ve become good at putting my blinders on. I have sense of what will excite Alex the moment he sees it, and that’s my first criteria in picking a cake. The second criteria is that it be simple, especially since I had my hands full this year. Once I found “the” cake, I stopped looking. And that’s that.

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Orange & Almond Cake

Oranges are our ingredient of the season. We’re filling our archives with zesty drinks, candies,  crafts, and even cleaners!

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This recipe for orange and almond cake produces a deliciously dense cake with just the right amount sweet, citrusy zest to brighten any cold and grey afternoon. And that’s why it’s become a winter staple in our house (of course, yesterday I happened to make it on one of the warmest & sunniest winter days, but I couldn’t fight the urge to bring the sunshine in!). The cake is finished with a sweet syrup made from fresh orange juice, and as a result, it definitely doesn’t need any sort of frosting, rather it pairs perfectly with an afternoon cup of tea or coffee ~ just what you’ll need after a day out in the snow.

The recipe comes from one of our favorite cookbooks, Jerusalem, which we may have mentioned here and here. I’m sure this won’t be the last time we share a favorite dish from the book!

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A note about the ingredients ~

I love this cake’s short and sweet ingredient list. Of course the eggs, butter, sugar, flour, and salt are pantry staples; you just have to pick up fresh citrus and almonds or almond meal.

This recipe calls for the zest from four oranges and a lemon, as such, be sure to buy organic. There are two reasons to think about buying organic: 1. environmental and 2. health. From a health perspective, you’ll often see oranges and other citrus as being a “low pesticide residue” fruit as they are protected by their thick skin. Since those pesticides remain on the rind, anytime you’re using the zest in a recipe, you would be exposing yourself to a higher concentration of the pesticides if you don’t buy organic. And, I’m sure you know this, but an easy way to ensure that you’re buying organic in the produce section is to look for fruit and veg with a 5 digit code that starts with 9.

As for the almond meal, you can easily buy whole almonds and use a food processor to make the meal, but since this recipe calls for a whopping 2.5 cups, I find that it’s easier to just pick up a bag of pre-ground almonds. Not sure where to look? You can always find it for a good price in Trader Joe’s nut section.

When it comes to zesting the citrus, I find that it’s quicker and easier to use a zester that produces the nice long strips of zest. You can zest a whole orange (or four!) relatively quickly, and then use a chef’s knife to give the pile a few chops and create the smaller pieces that you need.

On with the recipe then. We’re trying out a new feature on our recipe posts, and we hope you like it! You can see the recipe below as in the past, but now, if you would like to print it, just hit the “print” button to the right of the title. That will open the recipe without photos in a new window as well as allowing you to print the PDF and/or save it as a file on your computer. yay! If you’re having any trouble or have any suggestions for further improvements to our recipe posts, we would love to hear them.

Orange & Almond Cake

Orange & Almond Cake

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cup + 3/4 cup sugar
  • zest & juice from 4 oranges & 1 lemon
  • 2 1/2 cups ground almonds
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Prep the oven and pan. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9.5 inch springform pan.
  2. Mix up the ingredients. Place the butter, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and all zest in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on low until combined, but do not add too much air to the mixture. Add half the ground almonds and mix until combined. With the mixer on, add the eggs one at a time. Add the remaining almonds, the flour, and the salt. Beat until all ingredients are combined, stopping to scrape down the bowl as necessary.
  3. Bake the cake! Pour the batter into the pan, smoothing with a spatula. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Use a skewer or toothpick to test for doneness, you'll want the cake to be baked through, but still be moist.
  4. Make the syrup. When the cake is near done, place 1/2 cup of the citrus juice and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan on medium-high. Bring the juice to a boil and then remove it from the heat.
  5. As soon as the cake is removed from the oven, brush it with the boiling juice, allowing the syrup to soak into the cake. Let the cake cool completely in the pan before removing it.
  6. Serve as is or add a dollop of whipped cream.
http://liveseasoned.com/orange-almond-cake/

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