Rosemary-Infused Lime Cakes

October 16, 2013

Lime Polenta Cupcake with Rosemary Syrup

Lime Polenta Cupcake with Rosemary Syrup

Lime Polenta Cakes with Rosemary Syrup

Lime Polenta Cakes with Rosemary Syrup

Hedgebrook Cookbook

Hedgebrook Cookbook

I have a special affinity for recipes that use rosemary, so I was delighted to find a recipe for Lemon Polenta Cake with Rosemary Syrup in the Hedgebrook Cookbook by Denise Barr and Julie Rosten.  Hedgebrook is a Whidbey Island writing retreat for women.  It is my dream to one day become a Writer-in-Residence there, but I will have to work very hard to deserve a place in such exalted company.  After reading Hedgebrook’s new cookbook, I want to go there just for the food!

I didn’t have any lemons on hand, but I did have a lime, so I made a substitution in my recipe.  I made just half a recipe, so I decided to bake my cake in cupcake tins, and I shortened the baking time accordingly.  Here’s the original recipe:

Lemon Polenta Cake with Rosemary Syrup
from the Hedgebrook Cookbook by Denise Barr and Julie Rosten

Makes 1 loaf

1-1/2 c polenta (corn grits)
1/2 c flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp plain yogurt  (I substituted sour cream)
5 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 lemons, zested
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 c sugar, divided
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 c water
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk polenta, flour, baking powder and salt in a medium size bowl and set aside.  In a small bowl, combine yogurt, oil, lemon zest and juice and stir well.  In a large bowl, beat eggs and egg whites with 1 cup of the sugar until well incorporated.  Add yogurt mixture and continue to beat until smooth.  Fold in dry ingredients and mix until just blended.  Do not overmix.

Oil and line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.  Pour batter into pan.  Bake 40 to 45 minutes.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.

Meanwhile in a small saucepan, combine remaining cup of sugar with 1 cup of water and rosemary.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.  Cool the syrup completely and strain.

When cake is done, cool on rack for 15 minutes then invert.  Remove cake from pan.  With a toothpick, prick the cake on all sides and drizzle with half the syrup.  Let the cake cool completely.  Cut cake into slices and serve with more syrup drizzled over each slice if desired.

IMG_4825

Lime Polenta Cakes with Rosemary Syrup

Red Berries

June 28, 2010

Red raspberries, some ripe for the picking

Succulent red strawberry

“Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup.”
     — Wendell Berry (whose name is very apt for this quote!) 

I wanted to serve fresh strawberries for dessert accompanied by some kind of lemon cake.  So I looked through my stash of yet-to-be-tried recipes and found this one from Cupcakes:  Luscious Bakeshop Favorites from Your Home Kitchen by Shelly Kaldunski: 

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes 

1 c all-purpose flour
1-1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp lemon extract
1/4 c sour cream 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. (I used cupcake liners instead.) 

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt.  In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, 2 – 3 minutes.  Add the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon extract, and beat until combined.  Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.  Add the sour cream and beat until just combined; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. 

Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full.  Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 18 – 20 minutes.  Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes.  Transfer the cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. 

If desired, spoon a lemon glaze over the cupcakes.  The glazed cupcakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcake

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Cupcakes ready for glaze

First Anniversary

April 14, 2010

Celebratory lemon cupcake

One year ago today I launched this blog.  I made a commitment to myself to post every day for at least one year in order to create  a visual record of my world through four seasons.  Blogging provided a way to grow as an artist and individual by working with a new medium that could combine my love of words with sharing photographs.

I am pleased with the year’s work.  I took 6,500 photographs over the past year, created 385 posts, and recorded 8,600 visits to my blog.  

I do plan to keep posting to this blog.   There will be one noticeable change, however.  I will post only when I have something to share, not necessarily every day. 

I don’t want to become stale.  As I continue to evolve in my creative pursuits, I expect that my blog will change over time as well.  At this point, I don’t know what these new directions will look like.  I would like to spend some time exploring how to market my photographs.  I would like to explore painting and drawing rather than just making photographs.  These are challenging projects for me, and it’s all a bit scary because I don’t know if I’ll be any good at them.  You are welcome to read about my journey and struggles in this blog as I forge ahead in the coming year.

I appreciate all of my readers, and I hope you keep checking in.

Berries and Cupcakes

July 6, 2009

Fresh raspberries with cupcake and ice cream

Fresh raspberries with cupcake and ice cream

This is berry season.  It’s a good idea to have some fresh ideas for serving up these berries.  This year I’ve been enjoying Vanilla Cupcakes made from a recipe in The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf.  They are simply delicious with fresh raspberries and ice cream.  Here is the recipe:

Vanilla Cupcakes
Makes 12 (I made 8 instead, and they weren’t too big.)

1 c all-purpose flour
a scant 3/4 c sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c whole milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Frosting of your choice

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.  Gradually pour in half the milk and beat until the milk is just incorporated.

Whisk the egg, vanilla, and remaining milk together in a separate bowl for a few seconds, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until just incorporated (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).  Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the batter is smooth.  Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into the paper cupcake cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until light golden and the cake bounces back when touched.  A skewer inserted in the center shsould come out clean.  Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the frosting on top and decorate with nonpareils, if desired.

Lavender and Cupcakes

June 28, 2009

It is lavender season in the Pacific Northwest.  I haven’t yet made a trip this year to visit one of the lavender farms in the area, but my single lavender bush is thriving in my garden right now.

Lavender in the morning light

Lavender in the morning light

I haven’t done much cooking with lavender, but I was intrigued when I came across this recipe for Lavender Cupcakes in The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook by Tarek Malouf.  I have to admit that I wasn’t paying proper attention, so instead of straining out the lavender flowers from the milk infusion, I just poured the whole mixture, buds and all, into the batter.  The cupcakes tasted wonderful in spite of the added fiber.  I also made just 8 cupcakes instead of the 12 suggested in the recipe, but I didn’t think they were too big.

Lavender Cupcakes
(Makes 12)

1/2 c whole milk
3 Tbsp dried lavender flowers
1 c all-purpose flour
a scant 3/4 c sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg
12 small sprigs of lavender (optional)

Put the milk and dried lavender flowers in a measuring cup, cover, and  refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight if possible.  Do the same with the milk and lavender flowers for the frosting in a separate cup.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Strain the lavender-infused milk (for the cupcakes) and slowly pour into the flour mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are well mixed.  Add the egg and beat well (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).

Spoon the batter into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when touched.  A skewer inserted in the center should come out clean.  Let the cupcakes cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Lavender Frosting

2 Tbsp whole milk
1 Tbsp dried lavender flowers
2 c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
5 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
a couple of drops of purple food coloring (optional)

Beat together the confectioners’ sugar, butter, and food coloring, if using, in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium-slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed.  Turn the mixer down to slow speed.  Strain the lavender-infused milk and slowly pour into the butter mixture.  Once all the milk is incorporated, turn the mixer up to high speed.  Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes.  The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

When the cupcakes are cold, spoon the lavender frosting on top and decorate with a sprig of lavender, if using.

Lavender-infused milk

Lavender-infused milk

Lavender-studded batter

Lavender-studded batter

Batch of lavender cupcakes

Batch of lavender cupcakes