Sunday, March 22, 2015

Make it your own

Remember playing "telephone" when you were a kid? Someone would whisper a phrase and it would be passed along from person to person. The last person would repeat what he/she heard and it would be quite different from the original phase -- sometimes outlandishly so.

Well, that is what happened to the cake I baked this weekend. It all started with this cake recipe developed by dessert genius Alice Medrich. It was a dark and spicy pumpkin loaf and it is featured in her new cookbook Flavor Flours.  The cake ingredients included buckwheat flour, pumpkin puree and raisins. 

Cookbook blogger David Lebowitz was inspired by the recipe, but changed it up a bit to include white flour (instead of buckwheat), a yam (instead of pumpkin puree) and apricots (instead of raisins).  He also added a cream cheese frosting. 

One of my favorite bloggers, Shauna James Ahern, took a crack at making it gluten free and chose to add dried cherries in place of the apricots, tossed in a cup of chopped hazelnuts and baked the cake in a bundt pan instead of a loaf one.  She chose not to frost it at all.

I took it from there and substituted a cup of black walnuts (which Ed had nicely harvested last fall, husked, cured in our garage all winter and then cracked and carefully dug out the kernels) for the hazelnuts. I also added a teaspoon of homemade vanilla and drizzled some dark chocolate on the cake's top.

So what started out as loaf cake with pumpkin and raisins, ended up as a gluten-free bundt cake with cherries and walnuts. Oh, and don't forget the chocolate frosting. 

I served my own version of the cake tonight and it was well received.
Ensor sisters, with Agathe (French exchange student – far left) and Jake (friend of Belle's)
came out to Farm Dover for a BBQ dinner, followed by Sweet Potato-Cherry Bundt Cake.
Here's the recipe that I used. 

How would you make it your own?

Sweet Potato-Cherry Bundt Cake, adapted from Shauna James Ahern, who adapted it from David Leibovitz, who adapted it from Alice Medrich. My changes are noted in italics. 

115 grams (about 2/3 cup) dried cherries
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup water
225 grams (about 1 3/4 cup) Gluten-free Girl all-purpose flour blend.
(I used Bob Red's Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour -- but I am planning to purchase the Gluten-free Girl's blend.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
200 grams (1 cup) organic cane sugar
90 grams (1/2 cup) coconut sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
75 grams coconut oil, melted
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup sweet potato puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125 grams (1 cup) toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
(I used black walnuts instead of the hazelnuts)
Prepare the cherries. Chop the cherries as finely as you can. Drizzle the cherries with the honey, then cover with warm water. Let the cherries sit for 30 minutes, then drain the cherries. Save the water. Set aside.
Prepare to bake. Heat the oven to 350°. Grease a bundt pan liberally with coconut oil.
Combine the dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
Make the batter. Whisk together the cane sugar and coconut sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. With the mixer running on low, add the egg. When they are light and fluffy together, drizzle in the melted coconut oil and mix until coherent. Mix in the lemon zest.
Finish the batter. With the mixer running on low, pour in 1/2 of the dry ingredients, then the sweet potato puree, then the rest of the dry ingredients. Add the cherries and hazelnuts, then drizzle in the leftover honeyed water until the cake batter is light and pourable.
Bake the cake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the top of the cake has started to brown, the edges are pulling ever-so-slightly away from the sides, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes.
Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before removing it from the bundt pan. Serve immediately.

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