Upside-Down Blood Orange Cake - NY Times

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Upside-Down Blood Orange Cake
Upside-Down Blood Orange Cake

On my last trip to San Francisco, I lounged in my friend Sumi's beautiful sun-filled apartment reading the New York Times and drinking tea. I love vacations that include lots of lounging and napping. I came across this recipe for Upside-Down Blood Orange Cake in the New York Times, clippped it out and brought it home to make!

Upside-Down Blood Orange Cake
I made half the recipe and filled a 5" round pan. I didn't have the fine cornmeal called for in the recipe, so I tried processing some regular cornmeal. I don't think that made much difference (perhaps it was my small food processor), so next time I'll take awesome cookbook author Alisa Huntsman's @janeofmanytrade recommendation and get corn flour instead. It's so cool when I ask something on Twitter and a super nice pastry chef writes back! Alisa, totally owe you a bundt cake :)

Upside-Down Blood Orange Cake
I think there is nothing prettier than blood oranges. They are the sassy ones in the citrus family.

Upside-Down Blood Orange Cake

Recipe: Upside-Down Blood Orange Cake
From the New York Times Dining Section, Jan 16, 2013, D2

270 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons - divided), at room temperature
130 grams light brown sugar (about 2/3 cup)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (I used a meyer lemon)
2 medium-sized blood oranges
122 grams fine cornmeal (about 1 cup) (I used regular cornmeal that I whizzed around in the food processor for a bit. I don't think that helped time, I'm going to get corn flour)
65 grams all-purpose flour (about 1/2 cup)
8 grams baking powder (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
2 grams fine sea salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
200 grams granulated sugar (about 1 cup)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream (I didn't have any sour cream so I used some Greek yogurt)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan. (I made HALF the recipe and used a 5" round cake pan)
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice; stir until sugar melts, about 3 minutes. Scrape mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
3. Grate zest from the oranges. Cut away the skin and white pith. Slice into 1/4" wheels, discarding seeds. Arrange oranges on top of brown sugar mixture in a single, tight layer. I cut some pieces to fit in the pan.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. In a bowl of a standing mixer, rub the sugar together with the orange zest. Then cream together 2 sticks (225 grams) butter with the granulated sugar. Beat in eggs, one a time, then beat in sour cream (or yogurt) and vanilla. Fold in the dry mixture by hand.
5. Scrape batter into pan over oranges. Transfer to oven and bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, 40 to 50 minutes. (I didn't note how long I baked the 5" round cake - but check early). Cool cake in pan 10 minutes, then run a knife along pan’s edges to loosen it; invert onto a platter and cool completely before serving.
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Cafe Surfas Breakfast

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cafe SurfasCafe Surfas, Culver City, California 

Friends Jenn of Justjenn Recipes and Jami of Night Baking met for breakfast at Cafe Surfas this morning...prior to some shopping at one of our favorite stores in Los Angeles! I've never had the breakfast at Cafe Surfas so this was a treat.

Pictured above: Delicious seasonal Blood Orange Blend fresh squeezed juice. Very refreshing.

Lavender Lemon Bar from Surfas Cafe, Culver City, CA
I didn't get one this time, but if you visit, be sure to get the Lavender Lemon Bar from the Cafe. Soooooo delicious!

Cafe Surfas - Breakfast Panini
Breakfast Sandwich with bacon, egg, bread, cheese, tomato and more bacon. Jamie and Jenn got this toasted panini.

Cafe Surfas - Veggie Breakfast Panini
I ordered the Veggie breakfast sandwich on challah bread with roasted veggies and fried egg. In the store, I bought some parchment mini cupcake liners, non-French rolling pin, and whole wheat pastry flour. Let's see what I make with those supplies! Also, I got a discount with my KCRW Fringe Benefits card - always awesome to be a member of public radio.

Both breakfast sandwiches were under $10. Cafe Surfas has indoor and outdoor seating, WiFi, and water bowls for your doggie. It's a great place to start the day...before spending all your money in Surfas. :)

Cafe Surfas & Surfas Restaurant Supply
8777 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
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Brown Sugar Buttermilk Muffins

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Muffins
Brown Sugar Buttermilk Muffins

Do you bake much? Sometimes you have some leftover buttermilk...and although you can keep buttermilk for ages, you need another recipe to use it up. This is that recipe! 1 cup of buttermilk, some flour, cinnamon, brown sugar and you a great breakfast treat.

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Muffins
My friend JustJenn tweeted about these muffins the other day. She made them in 2010, but sometimes you need to be reminded of little gems. That night, our friend Nosh with Me tweeted that she was going to make them...and I joined in too!

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Muffins
They are easy to make and assemble. The night before, I mixed the dry ingredients together in a bowl and made the simple crumb topping in another bowl (and refrigerated the topping). In the morning, I just mixed the liquids together and folded it all together. Easy peasy.

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Muffins
These are so yummy! Everyone at the library liked them - make them for your office or family today!

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Muffins
Find the full recipe on JustJenn's blog here!

My changes:  Added 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Baked for 18-20 minutes. I got 16 muffins, and Nosh With Me got 20 muffins.
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Biscoff Swirl Brownies

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Biscoff Brownies
Biscoff Swirl Brownies

One morning, I woke up and this happened.
Brownies and Biscoff.

Biscoff Brownies
I've made Martha Stewart's Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies in the past and wanted to make them with Biscoff cookie spread. I googled a bunch of recipes for biscoff brownies and many of them included a biscoff-cream cheese dollop. That sounded good, but I didn't have any cream cheese in the frig. I saw Oh Lady Cakes' Speculoos Swirl Brownies and saw that she just melted some Biscoff spread and swirled it. Score.

Biscoff Brownies
The layer of Biscoff isn't very deep. I only used 1/2 cup. Next time, I might use a cup or try a cream cheese-Biscoff recipe.

Biscoff Brownies
Biscoff Swirl Brownies
Based on Martha Stewart's Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies and Oh Lady Cakes' Speculoos Swirl Brownies

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup Biscoff spread or Trader Joe's Cookie Spread, melted

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter or spray an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment.
2.  Put butter and chocolates in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly.
3.  Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
4.  Whisk granulated sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, and whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture; fold until incorporated.
5.  Pour batter into pan. Pour melted Biscoff spread (microwave in 15 second increments) onto batter, and swirl with a butter knife.
6.  Bake until a cake tester inserted comes out with a few crumbs, between 25-35 minutes depending on your oven. Let cool.
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Cara Cara Orange & Ginger Scones - Mark Bittman Recipe

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Cara Cara & Ginger Scone - Mark Bittman recipe
Cara Cara Orange & Ginger Scone

The Cara Cara Oranges from the last post? I used one to make these scones - adapted from the Mark Bittman's Scone recipe.

Cara Cara & Ginger Scone - Mark Bittman recipe
Mark Bittman's basic scone recipe allows for a lot of add-ins and combinations. I had some delicious Cara Cara Oranges, and I think crystallized ginger should be included in Every Single Baked Good on the planet.

Cara Cara & Ginger Scone - Mark Bittman recipe
These scones aren't very sweet and more like biscuits. In fact, everyone thought they were biscuits when I brought them into the library. I brought strawberry jam - they are good with or without. Mark Bittman calls these Classic Scones and suggests cream and/or jam. These are not Starbuck's-like scones.

Cara Cara & Ginger Scone - Mark Bittman recipe
My cousin got a bonsai tree for the holiday. It came in the mail and it was from Costco! Who knew Costco sold hot dogs, pizza, crazy amounts of toilet paper...and ships bonsai trees.

Cara Cara & Ginger Scone - Mark Bittman recipe
When I want items to get golden brown, here is what I usually do: I bake the cookie or scone at the recommended temperature. I set the time for one or two minutes less than the recommended time. Then, I switch the oven from regular heat to convection oven for the last one to two minutes. Convection oven is awesome at blowing air in the oven and browning the scone. I haven't gotten a handle on adjusting recipes to convection only baking...if I do it 100% convection, sometimes they bake to quickly even if I lower the temp by 25 degrees.

The meeting will have six people in it. Think I made a little too much?
I brought the scones to a meeting last week. Along with some New York Times Chocolate Chip cookies (2 dozen...minus one I HAD to eat for quality control purposes). There were six people at the meeting. We ate most of it. :)

Cara Cara Orange & Ginger Scones
Adapted from: Scones, How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman (page 845-846)

2 cups all-purpose or cake flour, more as needed
1 scant teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons (1 T + 1 t) baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
2 eggs
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, cut into small pieces
Zest of one orange
Egg wash or cream: 1 egg or heavy cream

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar together in a bowl. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter or your fingertips to cut butter into flour until it has a sandy or cornmeal texture. You can also pulse in a food processor. Then add the ginger and zest to the dry mixture.
2. Beat 2 eggs together with the cream.
3. Quickly mix the liquid and dry mixture. Don't overmix. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead just a couple times to pull the dough together.
4. Press dough about 3/4 inch thick and then cut out circles or cut into squares. I made about 18 smaller circles.
5. Brush the top of each scone with cream or an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar (I used sanding sugar but you can also use granulated sugar).
6.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until the scones are golden brown.
7. Serve with jam, clotted cream, or other delights.

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Winter Citrus: Kishu, Satsuma, Cara Cara Oranges

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Kishu Mandarin - Farmer's Market
Oh, California Citrus. Love You.

Just a quick, random post about the bounty of citrus available at Farmer's Markets in Southern California right now.

I have great sympathy for places that don't have year-round farmer's markets nor citrus in their backyard. Being conceived, born and raised in Southern California, this just blows my mind. That...and snow. And how to layer clothing for cold weather. And how to drive in snowy weather. And all things related to the cold.

I just finished listening to Frank Bruni's book - Born Round: A Story of Family, Food and a Ferocious Appetite. It was a very interesting read/listen (he reads it himself) about his relationship with food, his weight, fad diets, bulimia, exercise, his family and being the NY Times Restaurant Critic. Anyway, at one point, his parent's move from the East Coast to La Jolla (San Diego) for a time. He wrote that they were amazed they could go into the backyard and pick citrus off their own tree at Christmas. Cracked me up...and reminded me how lucky I am to live in a place where you can have all types of citrus grow in your backyard.

Cutie mandarins or clementines are available nationwide now in those Cutie boxes. They are okay to me and I eat a handful at a meeting...but these oranges from the Farmer's Market are so much better. If you are in So Cal, please head out to your farmer's market this "winter" (Los Angeles Winter, that is)

Seriously love these little kishu mandarins! Next to some satsumas. #farmersmarket
Right now, my favorite is the kishu mandarin. The season for this small packages of deliciousness is I usually get 3 pounds a week. When they are gone, I move onto the Golden Nugget mandarin and Sumo Citrus - my own season of citrus.

Kishu Mandarins
The Los Angeles Time's David Karp wrote about the seedless kishu in 2010. They are so sweet and delicious!

Satsuma Mandarin
The Satsuma Mandarin or Mikan is the old standby for me. The skin is loose so it's a breeze to peel. Sweet and lovely. Sometimes they are small, and some a little larger. Seedless delights.

Cara Cara Orange
Oh, the Cara Cara Orange! It's got a great pink color and very tasty. To me, it's a cross of an orange and sweet ruby red grapefruit (but the official cross is between two navel oranges). I've seen them at Costco (Sunkist producer) and, through the years, at more stores. Seedless.

I hope you get a chance to try these yummy citrus fruit. You know, scurvy is bad. Let's all avoid it.
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