Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cakes on Realgoodwords this week!

This week I had the chance to talk with NPR producer and cake guru Melissa Gray. Her new book is called "All Cakes Considered". Not only did I enjoy it, but my coworkers did - because I decided in order to be fully "prepared" for this interview, I needed to make a cake at work and see what the response was.

The response was "mmm" and "buttery" and "so moist" and "pass the whipped cream" and "who ate all the cake?"*

The recipe I chose was "The Barefoot Contessa's Sour Cream Coffee Cake". Here's the recipe:

YOU'LL NEED: A 10-inch tube pan

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsps ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 Tbsp real maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

2. Cream the butter and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment for 4-5 minutes until light.

3. Add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream.

4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With teh mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Melissa's note: Don't worry about sifting - dry whisking will work fine

5. For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms crumbs. Mix in the walnuts if desired.
Melissa's note: You can also use a wooden spoon if you don't want to use your fingers.

6. Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

7. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, to a serving plate.

8. For the glaze, whisk the confectioner's sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.

Heidi's notes: KAXE staffers couldn't wait the 30 minutes for cooling - and we didn't even take it out of the pan, we just spooned our warm pieces out. Also some (scott) didn't think the frosting was necessary while others (jennifer) did.

Do you bring cakes/cookies/treats to your workplace? What goes over the best?

If you missed the interview, you can hear it here!

*apologies to John Latimer and Mark Tarner who missed out. I'll try another cake on a Tuesday John, I promise.

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