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.
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!