Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Apple Persimmon Butter Cake

The other day I was given the opportunity by the wonderful Jorell to come help him out with a Thanksgiving dinner being held for the Red Cross Youth Center.  Well ya know I had to do it, I mean I can't let people go eating a can of corn and calling it Thanksgiving.  I also refused to show up empty handed because that's just how I roll.  The only problem...what the hell should I bring?

I scoured my cabinets, wracked my brain and trolled around the interwebs desperately searching for something that would feed a crowd, be somewhat seasonal and simple to throw together.  After finding a nice basic recipe and consulting my fruit bowl this pretty little cake was brought upon us.

Covered in apples, cinnamon, almonds and spicy persimmons this cake is a winner for me.  It is dense but moist,  slightly sweet and the flavor from the fruit was able to shine through.  It was exactly what I was going for and I am glad it turned out as it did.  It was a good ending to our little Thanksgiving that turned out better than I could have expected. 

A big thank you again goes out to Jorell and all the wonderful girls that helped in the kitchen to give everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving! It was fantastic for Bellamy and I to be a part of it and make some great new friends.  I'm looking forward to the next one!

Apple Persimmon Butter Cake
recipe adapted from Gourmet

*The recipe stated here is doubled and for an 11 inch springform*

2 Cups/250g Flour
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon, divided
1 Cup/226g Butter, softened
1 1/2 Cup Sugar
4 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 handfuls Sliced Almonds
1 Persimmon, quartered and sliced
1 Apple, quartered and sliced
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon and 1 Tablespoon Sugar, combined

Preheat oven to 350F/175C.  Lightly butter an 11in/28cm Springform pan.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each egg.  Mix in extracts, then add the flour mixture and fold to combine.

Spread the batter in the pan, pushing the batter slightly higher around the sides.  This will ensure the cake bakes evenly given it's so large.  

Mix together the sliced apples and persimmons, almonds and cinnamon sugar mixture.

Scatter all over the top of the batter and bake for 40 - 50 minutes until it tests clean.

Cool in the pan or serve warm.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hazelnut Almond Brittle

Brittle..who doesn't love it?  It's nuts covered in sugar and left to dry into a crunchy block of toffee goodness.  You know what else it is?  Super easy!  All you need is a bowl, a microwave and 10 minutes. 

You can make this with any nut or combination.  You can add dried fruit or even toffee nuts if you want to get real crazy.  I think dried mango and cashew brittle sounds awesome.  Or maybe even dried strawberry and macadamia nuts.  You can get very creative with this.  I used hazelnuts and almonds because that's what I had and it is fantastic.  You could skip the nuts all together and make a brittle full of seeds.

This is a great make a head recipe as it stays good for weeks, if not longer, and is relatively cheap and definitely simple.  Older kids can make this themselves and pack it in pretty cellophane bags for great homemade gifts to teachers or friends.  Little kids can still help too, they would be great for doing all the smashing!  

Hazelnut Almond Brittle

1 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
1 teaspoon Butter
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Cup Nuts, chopped
You can add anything you want, as long as it's something that won't melt

*Be very careful when handling the bowl from the microwave, the sugar/bowl will be hot!*

Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with aluminum foil and lightly greasing it with non stick spray.

Combine sugar and corn syrup in a large microwave safe bowl until well blended.  Heat on high for FOUR minutes.  Remove from the microwave and stir in nuts and/or other additions. Mix well.  Return to microwave for FOUR minutes.

Remove from the microwave and stir in butter and vanilla.  Return to microwave for two minutes.

Stir in baking soda until it is nice and foamy, then immediately pour onto prepared baking sheet and quickly spread out with a greased spatula.  Try to get it thin, but make sure there are no holes. 

Let cool and set for 30 - 45 minutes, depending on thickness.  Smash it apart into desired size pieces and store in an airtight container.

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