Tuesday, January 25, 2011

TWD - Cake, Muffins and Madeleines


One month after the winter solstice, daylight gains a foothold and my spirits lift. The blog is alive!  Even in the sad dark of winter, I have been baking.  I'm always baking.  So let's call this a roundup of the month.

This week's recipe was chosen by Jennifer of the wonderfully named blog Cooking For Comfort.  Jennifer is a steady contributor to the TWD community.  She's always daring and encouraging and I try to check out her blog weekly.  She chose Nutty, Chocolaty, Swirly Sour Cream Cake.  I made this on a day that mimicked my childhood winters - blustery snow, waist-high drifts, the sun smothered by laden clouds.  No way would I go out for nuts, oranges or sour cream.  This became my make-do cake.

You may be wondering about those strange nuts surrounding my cake.  They are cacao beans.  If you're in Toronto, I picked them up from ChocoSol Traders at a farmers' market.  Cacao is chocolate in its purest form.  I ground them slightly, spread the grounds onto a plate and blew the papery shells away over the sink.  Then I used the cocao nibs in the swirl of the cake.  The dark chocolate taste was lovely.

Still in making-do mode, I had grated Meyer lemon peel left over from muffins, so I used that in the cake.  Meyer lemons are a sweet orangey flavoured lemon and they were a good balance to the rich cacao.  I also substituted Greek yogurt for sour cream. 

There was a huge amount of sugar in this recipe.  One and three-quarters cup of sugar!  I'd like to know whether anyone found a way to cut down the sugar.  Here's another photo of the cacao beans.
Last week's recipe, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, was chosen by Betsy and it can be found on her blog A Cup of Sweetness

Remember that blustery day I talked about earlier?  Well, it was three weeks of snowbound hell, with only the quickest of trips to the grocery store.  Poppy seeds never made it to the list.  Luckily, I have black sesame seeds in the freezer.  They provided a great visual element, if not the nutty flavour of poppy seeds.  I made these as mini-muffins.  That's why you are looking at a plateful of them.
I wanted them to be something special, so I made a lemon curd using Meyer lemons.  Then I mixed the lemon curd with a cup of stiffly whipped cream and piped the result into and on top of the mini-muffins.  Delicious!

Two weeks ago Margo of Effort to Deliciousness chose Fluff-Filled Chocolate Madeleines.  Margo is a dedicated baking adventurer.  If it's challenging, she's always the first one there.  Every week I learn something new from reading her blog.  No surprise that she chose a madeleine.  I had already made and photographed these because they were my own second choice.  I loved the richness of the cake batter.  Truly a cream-filled bite of pastry heaven.  I wish I knew where those photographs went.  They may have disappeared with some unwanted bathroom reno shots.

So I did a quick and dirty remake, with only the cake and ganache.  Still a lovely treat!

17 comments:

  1. Everything looks fabulous! Love the swirl you got in the bundt - perfect! :)

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  2. Wow - you have been busy this winter! Everything looks amazing. I loooove meyer lemons and just picked up a bunch at the market - I might have to give the muffins a rewind.

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  3. the combination in your cake sounds amazing!

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  4. Everything looks wonderful.

    I too, begin to perk up after winter solstice.

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  5. What a great roundup! :) Your cake up there kind of makes me think of Sonic the Hedgehog..in a good way! :) Your subs sound great in it!

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  6. Yum everything looks so good! love the cake and the muffins make me want one now! Im glad your surving winter..we just got a new batch of snow here in the west!

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  7. looks statuesque and delish!

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  8. Now that is quite a post. All of it looks so yummy. Wish I could just hop the fence and share a slice with you! Winter is the pits to me - I'm so ready for spring.

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  9. Ooh, those cocao nibs look so good!

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  10. I can totally relate to the harshness of winter with its short days and cold weather. I am SO ready for spring! You've been busy - everything looks terrific :)

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  11. Nice round up of your baking! We have had bee averaging about one snow/ice storm a week around here. Tough being stuck inside, but it is good for baking.

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  12. Mmmm, they all look wonderful and you get bonus points for doing the madeleines twice. Coincidentally, I posted the month's worth of recipes today too.

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  13. Everything looks delicious. I have never used cacao beans, interesting. The lemon curd looks so yummy on your minis. Have a great day!

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  14. I love your January round-up, your twists on both the Bundt cake and muffins look fantastic. It's funny, I hadn't really thought of how much sugar was in the Bundt till you mentioned it. Thanks for baking along my week - your madeleines look lovely.

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  15. Nice round up. Love the look of your cake and with real nibs. Love the dollop of icing on the muffins. Everything looks yum!

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  16. Oh wow, what a great roundup Clivia. The winter solstice eh - it passed me by without me noticing.

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  17. Seriously, when can I come over? Delicious! I thought about using cacao nibs in the swirl and decided against it. I may have to re-think that decision.

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Thank you to everyone who leaves a comment! I love reading them all.