January 29, 2009

Caffeine, Sugar, and Butter - Yessiree!

Is this a coffee cake? Why, yes it is.

I won a California Almond contest with this recipe and with the gift certificate I won, I got a new burr coffee grinder I have been coveting AND a new drip coffee maker. Because I just have to face the facts. I am sick to death of cleaning a French press. I love the taste, but the damn grounds….so annoying to clean every day! They get on my last nerve! Oh…hell, no….! And I have a pathetic little Braun grinder that whirls coffee beans round and round without any kind of specific grinding goal, screaming the whole time like Amy Winehouse running down the street naked. I open it up and a big coffee cloud of caffeine dust wafts up in the air, way up into my nose, and there we are…back in the 80’s, damn it.

I researched burr grinders very extensively….and given the amount I could spend, this
Kitchen Aid Model came out on top. It works beautifully, and looks gratifyingly studly too. And it’s not too loud! More like Eric Ripert sharpening his knife while melodiously asking me what I want for dinner. In French.

The pricier models are very cool, but for a less expensive grinder, this is greatly made. Die cast heavy metal body and a glass hopper, which is supposed to cut down on the static…which it appears to do. It doesn’t take a ton of room on a counter, and looks very industrial and capable. And while I was ordering that, I saw the
Professional Line Kitchen Aid 12 cup Coffeemaker was on sale, so after briefly researching that (ok…I read just one review, from a guy who said he was a “professional barista” and this was the model he used at home), decided to pull the trigger on a new coffeemaker, thereby sending the French Press to “Catherine’s Ass Hat Appliance Abyss”. It’s not the “professional barista” European model I would have loved, but I just haven’t won any multi-thousand dollar contests lately. Ok…I’ve never won one, but J.H.C. on a half-shell, I’m working on it! When I do, I’m SURE that Eric Ripert will THEN return my calls.

My little coffee robots look very Germanic, shiny, and sensible, sitting side by side, ready to do my caffeine bidding!

Ok…about the cake. You need to have a 10” X 3” cake pan. It’s a dense, rich (1/2 pound butter!) cake…a little goes a long way. It’s sometimes hard to find (for me….in the culinary wasteland that I call the local grocery store) unsweetened ginger, so I’ve used the crystallized type and it works just fine, just cut the amount a bit.

It’s a pretty cake, all bakery looking, and it’s awesome for dessert when you have a spicy Asian dish for dinner. Switch out the cranberries for something else, if you prefer….I have done this with blueberries, cherries, and once, incorporating the ginger in the cake too.

It’s great with coffee.

Cranberry-Almond Butter Cake with Almond-Ginger Glaze

(KitchenAid Style)

Serves 8-10

For Cake:
A little butter and flour for preparing cake pan

1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 large egg yolks
2 cups PLUS 1 tablespoon (divided) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup slivered almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup buttermilk

For Glaze:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoon milk (or more to reach desired consistency)
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons finely chopped dried, unsweetened ginger
4 tablespoons slivered almonds (not chopped)

To Make Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 10” X 3” round cake pan. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl and using an electric beater, beat together the softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of bowl. Mix in the vanilla extract. Add the egg yolk, one at a time, beating for 15 seconds after each egg. Scrape down sides of bowl.
3. In a small mixing bowl, place the 2 cups of flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir with fork until well incorporated.
4. Alternating with the buttermilk, add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, blending well after each addition. Fold in the almonds and cranberries.
5. Turn batter into prepared cake pan and level with spatula. Place in preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out clean.
6. Cool the cake for 10-15 minutes, and then run a knife along the edge to loosen. Flip pan over onto rack, and then flip back over (and place on serving plate) so rounded surface is ready to glaze.

To Make Glaze:

1. Pour the melted butter into a medium sized mixing bowl.
2. Add the sugar, milk, almond extract and mix well. Add more milk to reach desired consistency if needed. Blend in the slivered almonds and chopped ginger.

To Glaze Cake:
1. Prick warm cake with fork all over.
2. Drizzle glaze over top of cake, letting glaze run down sides of cake.


Peter M said...

That's one of my favourite lines, I'll sleep when I die.

Congrats on winning the army's supply of almonds and quasi-sharing your cake as I can't jump into the screen!

Mary said...

Nice Cake! Now I want you to sit down.....this will be my last comment for awhile. Bob and I are heading to Southeast Asia. We'll be back the first week in March. I'll be posting but not commenting while we are gone.

Lisa said...

Beautiful cake! I love your spousal unit slide show.

Dhanggit said...

oh my goodness, love love this cake. i dont drink coffee a lot but in cake i find them fantastic! REading your article made me miss my dad, you don't imagine how much liters of coffee he drinks in a day (when he was still alive) :-( i'll save this recipe of yours for my sister's birthday who's certified coffee addict too :-)

ps, miss you dear, i have been out for a while

giz said...

The cake is just gorgeous. I hear you on the coffee grind pain. The other thing that drives me nuts is buttermilk - do I really need a whole litre of it? So, now I use the powdered stuff - always there, always ready....voila.

Donna-FFW said...

Congrats on your win. This cake looks to die for. I do want to try it, especially since it pairs so well with coffee.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Coffee addicts UNITE! :)

Heather said...

You won! Of course you did. You're a powerhouse.

I love coffee cake. Oh, man, do I love that stuff. I'll bring the coffee, when I come visit you off the grid.

maggie said...

Looks yummy. Perfect for a big brunch. I am still debating the french press vs. drip maker decision. Love the coffee from a french press and have zero storage space in tiny nyc apartment...

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"The Dish" by Catherine Wilkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.