Category Archives: baking

Client Profile: The Bride & Groom

Here’s another post about a catering client- this time, a bride and groom.  A few months ago, the bride asked me to come up with some ideas involving baked goods as party favors for her wedding rehearsal dinner. After sending over photos and packaging ideas for several different sweets, she went with Austrian shortbread bars filled with fruit jam tucked into a pink Chinese takeout box. Continue reading

Red Velvet Cake with Fresh Berries

This one is a classic, folks.  I’ve been making this particular red velvet cake for years, although it’d been awhile so I whipped one up this weekend. As I was mixing it together I remembered how easy it is to make, and as the scent of cocoa wafted through the air while it was baking I kicked myself for not making it more often, especially NOW when there is an array of gorgeous berries at the markets.  Continue reading

Healthier, 134-Calorie Cheesecake

Ed note: Hey, welcome to the new, improved, Doppler 12,000 version of Tuna Toast! It’s nice to finally be here, and I’m so glad you’ve joined me. Read more about this blog and other new, exciting (well, to me!) happenings by clicking on the “About Me,” “Catering/Baking” or other tabs.

I know what you’re thinking.  How can healthy cheesecake be any good?  After all, the best thing about a cheesecake is how dense, rich and utterly sinful it tastes. Which is exactly why I tried to create a slightly lighter version- so I could experience the goodness that is cheesecake much more often.  And guess what?  It worked!

Continue reading

Blood Orange Galette

The very instant I saw this blood orange tart on Smitten Kitchen earlier this year, it was love at first sight. The vivid colors of the oranges peered over a buttery crust and I knew immediately that I had to make this. You see, my parents have a blood orange tree in their front yard, and they’ve already got the jam and sorbet thing down pat, which leaves me little to do with the fruit. Or so I thought until I baked up one of these gorgeous galettes.

I guess it never occurred to me to actually bake something with oranges in it. Sure, the zest is great in pie crust or cookies. The juice could be cooked into a simple syrup and poured over a loaf cake. But to actually bake something that featured actual oranges in it? Oddly enough, about two weeks after I’d spied Smitten Kitchen’s beautiful Blood Orange Tart, J came home with a small sliver of an orange tart he’d tried at the Little Flower Candy Company and loved so much that he saved a piece for me to taste and try to recreate. It looked very similar to the Smitten Kitchen version, and when my parents brought over a large bag of oranges a few weeks later, I knew I had to try it.

Since I’d had such fabulous luck with Smitten Kitchen’s (no, I’m not her stalker, I just like the site ok?!?!) galette dough, I decided to ditch the all butter pastry and make a sweet version of that. I basically added about ½ cup of powdered sugar to the savory dough recipe. As with the previous ten or so times I’ve made this dough, it was a dream to handle and rolled out easily with no tearing or fuss. It’s truly the easiest and most successful dough recipe I’ve ever used and I’ll probably continue to use it for anything that calls for a pie dough in the future.

After rolling the dough out into a circle, I just put the segmented oranges in the middle, sprinkled that with some sugar and then dotted it with a tablespoon of butter. After crimping in the sides, brushing them with egg wash and sprinkling that with some turbinado sugar for texture, I layered the top of the galette with sliced blood oranges. I loved how each orange differed in color which makes each galette unique.

As you can see, it’s a real stunner and is great for dessert or breakfast. I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but J and I managed to polish off an entire one over the course of a weekend, sneaking slices here and there and eating it like pizza. I made another one that same weekend but gave it to my parents to thank them for the blood oranges, and also so J and I wouldn’t go bonkers and eat a second one (we’re not total gluttons, after all!).

J exclaimed this to be “the best dessert you’ve ever made!” I guess the mix of oranges, butter, sugar and flaky dough is pretty addictive. If you have a bag of blood oranges (or any oranges, really!) laying around, I highly recommend you give this a try.

Glazed Apple Lattice Coffee Cake

I just realized that I’ve just posted about two sweet, baked breakfast goodies in a row. If I had some sort of serious sweet tooth, it wouldn’t be surprising, but I much prefer savory food, so for me, this is a surprise! I guess I don’t really bake for myself- I bake to learn a technique or to have something nice to bring to coworkers or J’s friends. Although my cinnamon rolls from the last entry were less-than-perfect, when I saw the photo of this Glazed Apple Lattice Coffee Cake in last month’s Bon Appetite, I instantly moved the recipe to the front of my “to do” list….not so much to consume it but to try and make the beautiful latticed top that made the cake so attractive.

Laying the filling onto the dough

Sunday was the perfect day for this project, as J had planned to spend all day in front of the TV, watching football. Although I’m a fan of the game, I’d rather pop in to see highlights here and there in between puttering around the kitchen (wow, I sound like an old lady!!). Anyway, I made a double batch of the dough, which came together very easily, put the two balls in oiled bowls, covered them with plastic and set them outside in the sun to rise.

Step one

The apple mixture was easy as well, although peeling, coring and slicing isn’t exactly my favorite pastime. I melted some brown sugar and butter in a skillet, added the apples and spices and let them cook down until the juices formed a thick glaze. I set the mixture to cool and ran into the living room to catch some of the game.

More folding…..

After about 2 hours, I checked my dough balls which had risen nicely, then started the part I was most looking forward to. I got out my handy tape measure, rolled one into a rectangle and made indentations of where the apple mix would go. First, you lay down 1/3 cup of crushed vanilla wafers onto a 4 inch strip down the middle of the rectangle, then top that with the apple mixture. After this step, I again used my tape measure to cut one inch strips into each side of the rectangle, then folded the strips over the apple mixture. I did this all on my slipmat so that I could easily transfer the finished cake onto a cooking sheet for a second rise. Making the latticed top was quite easy, and created such a dramatic result. I couldn’t wait to see the finished cakes!

All folded and ready to rise

Although the recipe didn’t call for it, I brushed puffed cakes with an egg wash, then baked them in the oven. The recipe also said to bake for 30-35 minutes, but I found they were done in about 22- good thing I checked since the top and bottom would have gotten way to dark had I left it in for that long. I let them cook slightly before drizzling them with an icing made from powdered sugar and freshly squeezed orange juice.

Baked cakes, cooling slightly…

And the taste? Let’s just say that this cake will definitely go into my regular rotation of recipes for the season. The apples were sweet and perfectly spiced, and the dough resulted in a tender cake studded with orange peel, cardamom, nutmeg and cinnamon. I’m not a huge fan of too much cardamom, but it gave just the right touch of warmth to the cake and smelled absolutely gorgeous. Combined with the orange peel and apples, it was perfect!

Iced and ready to be eaten…..

Inside reveals the apple filling…..

A slice of this and a big mug of coffee and you’ll be on your way to a pretty great day.

Recipe here.