SECRET RECIPE CLUB: BUCKLE UP FOR RASPBERRIES

First Monday of the month, it’s time to share with my readers one more post as part of The Secret Recipe Club. If you don’t know what it’s all about, the club joins two food bloggers in secret, one is the stalker, the other the stalkee… When Reveal Day comes, everyone blogs about a chosen recipe at the exact same time. A virtual thrill like no other, right?  The blog I was assigned to this month was Things I Make (for Dinner), hosted by Sarah from Ontario. I’ve only been to Canada once and fell in love with it and its people, although the snowstorm in the middle of the summer trip was a bit uncalled for. I am sure I told this story before, but for newcomers, here we go with the short and sweet of it: the late June snowstorm caught me wearing shorts and a tank top. My mood dropped to what in temperature would be approaching zero Kelvin. Anyway, I digress. Sarah has a great sense of humor, her posts are a delight to read. I found myself smiling and nodding my head all the way through the lengthy stalking process. Keep in mind she’s been blogging since 2007, so there’s a ton of stuff to choose from in her fun site. Obviously, I had a hard time settling on a recipe.  Take a look at my “short” list: Chicken Tikka Kebabs, Soft Pretzels (I cannot believe I still haven’t try to make those, they’ve been on my to make soon list for a decade!), Spicy Chicken Skewers, Thai-Style Steak Salad,  Lemon Bonbon Cookies (I actually bought all ingredients for it), Blueberry Cheesecake, Nutella Ice Cream (triple sigh of pure desire), Upside Down Black Forest Cake (yes, you read that right). So, what do I have for you? A Raspberry Buckle. Love the name.  Buckle is a dessert that has been around for centuries, very popular in New England. It refers to a coffee cake in which fresh fruit is mixed with a yellow cake batter. Very easy to make and I tell you it was a huge success in one of the several receptions we hosted last month. Believe it or not, I made it after arriving home from work, still had time to clean up the kitchen and serve it for the reception at 8pm. I felt like Super Woman after a successful mission. And, that – quoting Martha Stewart – is a good thing.

Raspberry Buckle1

RASPBERRY BUCKLE
(from Things I Make for Dinner)

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 pint fresh raspberries
Heat oven to 350F. Grease a 9″ square baking pan. Clean raspberries. Stir together flour, salt and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Gradually add flour mixture, being careful not to over mix. Spread in prepared pan, and scatter raspberries over the surface. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until golden brown and a tester comes out clean.

Cool 20 minutes, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream, if so desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

bucklecomposite

Comments: Life has been busier than ever for us. For those who do not know, when we moved from OU to KSU four years ago, Phil became the Head of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. With that, commitments and challenges intensified more than we anticipated. Not only he has our research lab to consider in his professional life, but all the other things associated with running a department, from budget problems to teaching issues, from hiring new faculty to personnel evaluations. The list is huge, and the deadlines and pressure just keep building up. It is challenging for both of us, but I must say we enjoy it all.  The underlying feeling that we are trying to accomplish something on several fronts pump us up, keeps us on our toes. Recently he went through an intense process to hire a director for a particular center at KSU. Every candidate’s visit involved a reception in our home. I wanted to prepare something special for each of the three candidates, and this Raspberry Buckle was my best choice ever. If you need something simple and delicious, look no further. Sweet, tart, melt-in-your-mouth good…

Sarah, thanks for a great recipe that pleased all the guests who had a chance to try it. Nothing was left next morning to take to the department, which is a huge compliment to your Raspberry Buckle!

baked2

As usual, I invite my readers to click on the smily blue frog at the end of this post. She will direct you to a list of blog posts published by my virtual friends at The Secret Recipe Club.  Enjoy the ride!

Raspberry Buckle

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Seafood Gratin for a Special Dinner

TWO YEARS AGO: Cooking Sous-Vide: Sweet and Spicy Asian Pork Loin

THREE YEARS AGO:  Farewell to a Bewitching Kitchen

FOUR YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen. June 2012

FIVE YEARS AGO: Goodbye L.A.

SIX YEARS AGO: 7-6-5 Pork Tenderloin

 

SECRET RECIPE CLUB: OVERNIGHT COFFEE CAKE

Here I am to share with you my second participation in Group A of The Secret Recipe Club, the monthly event in which two food bloggers are paired in secret, and pick a recipe to cook and blog about exactly at the same time of Reveal Day. I’d been a member for over 4 years with Group D, and loved every minute of it! This month’s assignment was the blog Bcmom’s Kitchen, hosted by  Anna. I love the quote she’s got on the front page to describe her kitchen:

Where towels are for drying, and the white spoons don’t go in the tomato sauce!

Clearly, we have a lot in common, as I can be very protective of my kitchen towels. Just ask Phil… Come to think of it, I don’t own any white spoons, but if I did, they would never be allowed near a tomato, a beet, or a raspberry.  Apart from keeping her kitchen pristine, Anna is a busy bee, and focuses on recipes that are easy to bring to the table and also delicious. Pretty much the way I cook most of the time.  I bookmarked A LOT of recipes from her site, including her Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese,  her Apple Bread with Pecans and Dried Cranberries (wow!), her Rum Raisin Ice Cream (I absolutely must make this when the weather is right), her Snickerdoodle Bars (because anything Snickerdoodle makes my heart miss a beat), and her Crockpot Beef Carnitas Tacos (if you did not guess yet, the Bewitching Kitchen recently welcomed a slow cooker).  But, in the end I could not stop thinking about her Overnight Coffee Cake, perfect for making departmental colleagues happy!

And now that the Reveal Day took place, can you believe that Anna got my blog? So we pretty much exchanged sites this month!  She picked a favorite recipe of mine, and composed a wonderful write up!  Check it out here… Thank YOU, Anna!

baked
OVERNIGHT COFFEE CAKE
(from Bcmom’s Kitchen)

for cake:
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt

for topping:
2 bananas, sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Stir in buttermilk. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into butter/sugar mixture and mix well.

Spread batter into greased 13×9″ pan. Mix all ingredients for topping and reserve. Spread the slices of bananas over the batter, and sprinkle the topping all over the surface. Refrigerate overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

compositecoffeecake

 

Here is what Anna had to say about the cake:

 I’ve been making this coffee cake for a long time.  It’s so convenient – mix it up the day or night before, refrigerate it overnight, and bake it in the morning.  Warm fresh-baked coffee cake for breakfast or brunch.  What could be better than that?

Well, I sign below. And of course, her improvement to the basic by adding bananas on top was a strike of genius… As usual, this type of goodie is not easy to take a picture, but trust me, the taste is out of this world delicious!  The bananas pretty much melt on top, forming a gooey entity with the sugar, but then the nuts add that pleasant crunch and next thing you know, the universe is smiling at you…  What better way to start the day?

pieces

 

This cake is a perfect complement to a cup of coffee or tea, either one will do. Our colleagues seemed to love it, as only crumbs were left over the platter when I went back to the mail room around 10am that morning. It always gives me a wonderful feeling when that happens… a sort of “sweet mission accomplished.”

Anna, I loved to “meet” you through SRC this month, and hope you had a lot of fun stalking your assigned blog too. For those interested in what my fellow secreters cooked up, please click on the blue frog at the end of this post, and have a blast!

closeup

The corner piece with the extra crunch on the sides… irresistible!

ONE YEAR AGO: Zucchisagna: A Twist on a Classic

TWO YEARS AGO: Night and Day

THREE YEARS AGO: Farro Salad with Roasted Leeks

FOUR YEARS AGO: Watercress Salad

FIVE YEARS AGO: Carrot and Sweet Potato Puree’

SIX YEARS AGO: Croissants: Paris at home on a special day

MAPLE PUMPKIN PECAN SNACKING CAKE

SOMEONE TURNS SEVENTEEN TODAY!

Happy Birthday, Chief! You’ll always be a puppy for us…

ChiefNewBed
Birthday requires cake. Obviously.

The other day I saw a compilation of cakes by Food & Wine, a sort of  “bucket list of cakes.” You can check it out here. According to the article, if you bake one of those cakes each month, at the end of the year you will become a very accomplished baker, mastering all techniques that matter.  Danger attracts me, because I was immediately mesmerized by the list and next think I knew, the first one was in the oven. No idea what makes it a “snacking cake” but the name has a good vibe. Plus, it mixes two flavors I love, maple and pumpkin. I am not too wild about pecans, but it’s always good to have an excuse to crack open that bag hibernating in the freezer.  This cake is incredibly easy to make, smells amazing, and everyone raved about it.  Now, before  you get too excited: NO, I am not baking the other 11 cakes.  And YES, this is my final answer.

Snacking Cake

MAPLE PUMPKIN PECAN SNACKING CAKE
(adapted from Food and Wine magazine)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 ounces pecans (about 1 to 1 + 1/3 cups)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons demerara sugar for sprinkling

Heat the oven to 325° and grease an 8-inch square cake pan,

In a medium bowl, whisk together the two types of flour, cinnamon, and salt and set aside.

In a small frying pan over medium-high heat, toast the pecans until fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Transfer half of the nuts to a small food processor and pulse until a coarsely ground flour forms. Roughly chop the remaining pecans over a cutting board into small-sized pieces. Add both the pecan meal and loosely chopped pieces to the bowl of dry ingredients.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, eggs, brown sugar, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until very smooth. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until incorporated. Using a spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth out the surface of the cake batter with the spatula and sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly over the top. Bake for 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top of the cake should be crispy from the scattered sugar-coating.

Let the cake cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

compositesnack

 

Comments: The cake is baked in an 8-inch square pan, so it is reasonably small. Food and Wine lists 8 servings, but I cut it into 20 small squares so that more colleagues could be happy in a cold and foggy Monday morning.  Perfect antidote for that type of day, if you ask me.  What I loved the most about it was the crust that the demerara sugar formed while baking. Delicious contrast with the brownie-type cake underneath.  Notice the lack of leavening agents, the cake is pretty similar to a one-pan brownie, easy and straightforward. Pecans were perfect, but I bet walnuts would work equally well.

Cake number one was pretty painless, I must admit. I like to leave the game while I’m winning, so I’ll stop right here. Although a certain gentleman is lobbying quite heavily for a particular six-layer coconut nightmare. Yeah, when pigs fly over Kansas wearing pink tutus.

molly-in-tutu

Hi, my name is Molly Merlot, I am awfully cute, but I promise you, I don’t fly!

(photo published with permission from Wilson Creek Winery)

 

ONE YEAR AGO: Silky Gingered Zucchini Soup

TWO YEARS AGO: Sweet Fifteen!

THREE YEARS AGO: Sesame and Flaxseed Sourdough

FOUR YEARS AGO: Green Beans with Miso and Almonds

FIVE YEARS AGO: Saturday Morning Scones

SIX YEARS AGO: White Bread

 

RASPBERRY RICOTTA CAKE

This cake recipe was published in a recent issue of Bon Appetit magazine, and I wanted to make it right away.  I subscribe to several cooking magazines but they tend to accumulate by my bedside table, untouched. Then, a trip comes up and they go with me in the plane. I read and rip the pages that interest me, tossing the magazine before coming back home. I know that for some this might be a huge no-no, but ever since we moved from OK to KS and I donated my collection of Fine Cooking magazines, I stopped saving them. The cut out recipes are glued in a notebook, a system that works great for me.  Anyway, as I was reading that issue on a flight to Hawaii (yeah, you got that right…. we’ve been to paradise last month), this recipe screamed at me: MAKE ME! MAKE ME! MAKE ME! Glad I finally did, it’s a great cake, moist, tender, and not overly sweet, thanks to the natural tartness of raspberries.

RaspberryRicottaCake

RASPBERRY RICOTTA CAKE
(from Bon Appetit, March 2015)

Non-stick vegetable oil spray
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1½ cups ricotta
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup frozen raspberries, divided

Heat oven to 350°. Line a 9”-diameter cake pan with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk eggs, ricotta, and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth; fold into dry ingredients just until blended. Then fold in butter, followed by ¾ cup raspberries, taking care not to crush berries. Scrape batter into prepared pan and scatter remaining ¼ cup raspberries all over the surface of the batter.

Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 50–60 minutes. Let cool at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Composite
Comments: This cake was so easy to make that I got into hyperventilation from excessive confidence. Basically, there is no way out for me, cakes make me suffer, even when nothing goes wrong. I thought that the raspberries sitting on top of the batter looked awfully cute, but after a few minutes in the oven, I pushed some of them a little into the batter, just in case.  I bet it made no difference whatsoever, the cake experts might be shaking their heads at my naiveté.  Oh, well.

As you know, food blogging is a very social activity. We leave comments, we follow food bloggers we enjoy, sometimes for their cooking alone, sometimes for the “whole package”.  I love bloggers who are witty (hard to beat Maureen on that category) make me laugh, make me think, teach me something. I normally stay clear from sites that push endless surveys or advertisements. But, anyway, some bloggers seem to always cook stuff I want to make. One such example is Steve, from Oui, Chef.  He subscribes to the same magazines I do, so quite often I bookmark a recipe and, being the slow self I am, next thing I know, the recipe is on his site!  This is exactly what happened with this cake. Take a look at Steve’s post by clicking here.  Obviously, great minds read alike, bookmark alike, and bake alike.

This cake was absolutely delicious! I added a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top because I felt the raspberries would be happy. And everyone who tried this cake in our department seemed to be happy too.  Such a great simple treat to celebrate spring…  Make it, and tell me what you think.

sliceHow about a slice?
😉


ONE YEAR AGO:
In My Kitchen, April 2014

TWO YEARS AGO: Whole-wheat Pasta with Lemony Tomatoes and Spinach

THREE YEARS AGO: Blood Orange Duck: A work in progress

FOUR YEARS AGO: Grilled Mahi-mahi with citrus marinade

FIVE YEARS AGO: Memories of Pastéis (and my Dad)

SECRET RECIPE CLUB: BUTTERMILK-BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST CAKE

This semester is shaping up as one of the busiest for us. I even flirted with the idea of sitting out of the Secret Recipe Club for a month, but I would be miserable watching everyone else posting their tasty recipes and not joining the party. No, not skipping it. My approach then is to jump on the assignment pretty much the day I get the email, on a rapid-fire stalking mode.  The blog I got this month was “Making Miracles“, hosted by Rebekah. I urge you to read her About page, she has lived in many places in the US, including Alaska, but also spent a little over two  years in Senegal back in 1995. A fascinating experience, even if at times not easy. If the subject of surrogacy interests you, she has a lot of experience with it as a surrogate mom herself, and also from helping families reach their dream of having a baby. That’s what the title of her blog, “Making Miracles” is all about.

I decided to go back to sweets for this month’s assignment, and had blueberries on my mind.  Two recipes were begging to be featured, her Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins, and her Buttermilk-Blueberry Breakfast Cake.  The husband spoke. Breakfast cake won. So here it is!

BlueberryCoffeeCake

BUTTERMILK-BLUEBERRY BREAKFAST CAKE
(from Rebekah’s Making Miracles)

½ cup butter, room temperature
2 tsp lemon zest
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, separated
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour, separated
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries
½ cup buttermilk

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, lemon zest, and 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour. In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining 1 + 3/4 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Remove excess flour from the blueberries, then fold the blueberries gently into the batter. Batter will be thick.

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick to make sure is cooked through. If necessary, return pan to oven for as long as 10 more minutes.   Let cool at for 10-15 minutes before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

batter-side

Did I mention we’ve been overly busy these days?  At the risk of boring you to death with trivia about growing bacteria, I will share some of the sordid details. For some experiments, we need to start cultures growing around 11pm, and then take care of them again before 5:30am. Usually Phil goes late at night, and I play the early bird.  It’s not that bad, these late night and early morning visits to the lab are short, we prepare everything beforehand to make it easier. I can quickly drive back home, swallow a much-needed cappuccino, take a shower and we go back to work on our regular schedule. Soooo, back to food.  I decided to bake this breakfast cake in of those hectic mornings and take to the department still warm from the oven.

Knowing I would be sleepy and prone to making mistakes, I lined up all ingredients the night before (the blueberries slept in the fridge, together with the buttermilk). Mis-en-place, mes amis. Mis-en-place.

ingredients

Before I left for the lab, I turned the oven on.  Arriving back, Phil had my cappuccino ready, all I had to do was drink the batter, mix the cappuccino… ooops, I guess it was the other way around… What matters is that our department got a freshly baked blueberry cake. Mission accomplished!

pieces

Lots of blueberries make this cake moist and quite crumbly. Make sure to bake it long enough so that pieces will be easy to cut.

Rebekah, I hope you are having a wonderful Reveal Day, I loved cooking from your site!

For all my readers, have fun checking out what the other members of my group prepared for today’s Reveal Day by clicking on the blue frog at the end of my post.

ONE YEAR AGO: Silky Cauliflower Puree with Almond Milk


FOUR YEARS AGO:
 Popeye-Pleasing Salad 

FIVE YEARS AGO: Summer’s Finale

 

STRAWBERRY COFFEE CAKE

This is a lovely cake, not too sweet, not too rich.  The strawberries more or less melt into the batter, the pecan topping makes the cake more complex, with a nice contrast of textures.

StrawberryCoffeeCake

 

STRAWBERRY COFFEE CAKE
(recipe from food.com)

for the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2-2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

for the topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans

In a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; stir to mix.

In a second bowl, add the egg, milk and butter; stir to mix; add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.

Pour mixture into a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Place strawberries evenly over the top of batter.

To make the topping: Combine the flour and sugar in a bowl. With a pastry blender, cut in the butter until consistency of coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans.

Sprinkle mixture evenly over the strawberries.

Bake at 375 F (190 C) for 30-35 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

This recipe comes from Meryl, a long time contributor of the cooking forum Eat.at, who recently passed away.  Several members of the forum are celebrating her life by cooking her favorite recipes. I chose this cake to do so.

A balanced diet is equal parts of milk and dark chocolate.” 
(Meryl’s signature line)

 

(comments are shutdown for this post)

A YUMMY BRAZILIAN CAKE: BOLO DE FUBA’

I often say that I don’t care  much for sweets, and visitors to the Bewitching likely realize that for me, savory stuff tops the sweets by a long, long margin.  But,  for many years I heard comments about my youngest niece’s cake skills (a gene that must have skipped my generation!), and now, finally, I had a chance to savor one of her specialties: a traditional Brazilian cornmeal cake, called “bolo de fuba’.”  Her recipe has two interesting additions:  a farmer’s type cheese and shredded coconut.  Together, they produce a cake that´s moist, with just the right sweetness.  If I had to describe it in a single word, that word would be irresistible.

RAQUEL’s BRAZILIAN CORNMEAL CAKE
(adapted from Na Cozinha com Carolina)

a little butter and flour to prepare the pan
4 eggs
3 cups of milk
1 + ½ cups sugar
2 Tbs butter
2 Tbs flour
1 cup cornmeal
100 g (4 oz) sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup farmers type fresh cheese, coarsely grated
1 Tbs baking powder

Heat the oven to 350F. Prepare a round, medium size, ring cake type pan by buttering the inside and adding a small amount of flour, tapping off the excess.

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix until they form a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes before unmolding. Serve it warm or cold.  

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments:  Bolo de fuba´ originates in Africa, in fact the name fubá  means flour in kimbundu (spoken in Angola),  but in Brazil it is used exclusively for what in the US is known as cornmeal.  The Portuguese, main colonizers of Brazil, expanded the use of cormeal into all kinds of sweet and savory concoctions, including breads, as their famous “broa.” 

Bolo de fuba´ is the type of cake one would expect to be served with a nice cup of coffee or tea in the middle of the afternoon, or at breakfast to start the day on a good vibe.  As you can see from the photo below, this cake bakes in three distinct layers, a cornmeal cakey component on top, a creamy center, and the coconut flakes in the base.

Raquel´s version is the best I´ve ever had, making me lose all my composure and restraint, going back for another tiny sliver, and another, and another, until she could not take it anymore and said “why don´t you just cut a real slice and get it over with?”   Wisdom comes in many forms.  Lesson learned. 😉

ONE YEAR AGO:  Hidden Treasure

TWO YEARS AGO: Avocado Three Ways

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