Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Golden Honey Cake

In Uncategorized on June 13, 2011 at 12:16 pm

A couple months ago, I participated in my first Chicago Cooking Chicks event, which has now been written up by Time Out Chicago.

We read the book “The Recipe Club” by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel, then brought a dish from the book to the event. The book was terribly written (Melodramatic pre-teens making frosted layer cakes? I don’t think so). To me, it was more of an excuse to share my cooking with other food lovers. So, I made the Golden Honey Cake:

Made with brewed tea, brandy and honey.

Here came another problem with the book: The recipe’s proportions were wrong. I had too much batter for the one cake it supposedly made. The cake rose so much, the batter seeped over the sides of the pan. Then, the middle sunk and the inside was gooey. I tried to make it look acceptable with garnishes of orange segments and thyme leaves.

Despite the problems, it tasted pretty good; I might make the Golden Honey Cake again, cutting the recipe in half for one cake. Here’s the recipe as written:

Golden Honey Cake
1 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm, strong-brewed black tea
2 tablespoons brandy
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
Grated zest of 1 orange
Pinch salt
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup slivered almonds, tossed lightly in 1 tablespoon flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degreees F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan or a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan and line with parchment.

2. In a large bowl combine the honey, oil, tea and brandy. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking sode, allspice, orange zest and salt.

3. Using an electric mixer, cream the brown sugar and eggs until light and fluffy. Add the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients. Fold in the almonds by hand.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until light golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes for the large cake, and about 5 minutes [sic] for the loaf.

For the [sic], I’m pretty sure they mean “5 minutes longer.” As a copy editor and avid cookbook reader, I noticed lots of problems like that throughout the book. One, for example, left off an entire ingredient.

Which begs the question: The story was ridiculous and the recipes inaccurate, so why is this book so popular?

Thankfully, many of the other Cooking Chicks felt the same way. We still got to eat and talk about our favorite thing: Food! It was a good time.


Everything’s better with ice cream

In Uncategorized on June 2, 2011 at 9:54 am

Just a quick post to tell you about something you MUST try: strawberries and balsamic vinegar over vanilla ice cream. Don’t cook the strawberries; don’t reduce the vinegar; don’t add any sugar.

We all know strawberries and balsamic vinegar pair up nicely. For me, balsamic goes with just about anything — I love the stuff so much, I could drink it. And that is just what I did last weekend, when I saw a strawberry-balsamic mojito on Barrio Urban Taqueria’s menu (PS- they have great ceviche and fish tacos, too!).

Real strawberries ... LOTS of rum ... could've used more balsamic, though!

Anyway, last night, I was finishing off my homemade vanilla ice cream. Thinking about that mojito, I topped my bowl with strawberries and a drizzle of balsamic. If it works in a drink, why not over ice cream?

My stash left over from a visit to Italy. I've been hoarding the stuff in this bottle for nearly two years now.

OH MY GOODNESS. It was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Vinegar over ice cream? Yes, please! It was sweet, salty and tangy. Go try it. Now!