Category Archives: Cake

Fit for Royalty: King Cake – Louisiana

The parades! The parties! The food and drinks! Mardi Gras is in full swing down in New Orleans and will culminate on February 28, which is when Fat Tuesday falls this year. King Cake actually refers to the three kings who visited baby Jesus in his manger as the

King Cake - Louisiana

season extends from Epiphany until the day before Ash Wednesday when Lent begins. The French likely brought the King Cake tradition to New Orleans and it always includes inserting a plastic baby

Plastic babies for King Cake
Do you think we have eaten too many King Cakes through the years?

or dried bean in the cake after it is baked. The person who receives the piece with the trinket is said to be blessed with good luck and must host the next Mardi Gras party or buy the King Cake for the next party.

There are literally dozens of variations of fillings for this cake including cinnamon, praline and strawberry. We opted for a cream cheese and apricot filling which is a family favorite.  The cake is

Apricot and cream cheese filled King Cake

usually decorated with icing or sugar in the traditional Mardi Gras colors which signify justice (purple), power (yellow) and faith (green). We can’t lie, this cake is time consuming to make. To break up the steps, feel free to make the dough the day before. Let rise and then put into the refrigerator. So worth the effort and waaaaay cheaper than a plane ticket to NOLA.

If you are lucky enough to live near New Orleans or plan to visit in the next week, check out the Mardi Gras parade schedule so you don’t miss a moment of the action.

Apricot and Cream Cheese Filled King Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 3 1/2 hrs.
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

For Dough:

  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • 1/8 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups flour (approx.)

For Filling:

  • 1 16 ounce can apricot pie filling
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 whole egg (for egg wash)
  • 2 tablespoons water (for egg wash)

For Icing/Finishing:

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk or half-n-half
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Yellow, purple and green colored sugar
  • One plastic baby, or uncooked bean

Instructions

For Dough:

In a small bowl, mix yeast with warm water. Add 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon flour. Let sit until mixture begins to bubble. Meanwhile, heat milk in a medium saucepan until just boiling. Add butter and remaining sugar. Remove from heat and let stand until lukewarm. Add egg, egg yolk and yeast mixture. Beat with wire whisk until incorporated.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add liquid. Then add 1 cup flour. Beat using dough hook attachment until dough smooth. Add additional flour gradually and continue to beat until dough is elastic and glossy. Turn dough out into a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let sit in warm place until dough has doubled in size, approximately 1.5 hours. Punch dough down and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Dough can be made day ahead and left in fridge overnight).

For Filling:

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, flour, egg yolks and vanilla. If apricot filling is watery, drain in colander.

To Assemble:

Shape cold dough into a log. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough until it is a rectangle shape, approximately 30 X 9 inches. Spoon the cream cheese mixture down the middle of the dough, longways, about 3 inches from the long edges but almost to the ends. Add the fruit filling right next to the strip of cream cheese. Mix the egg with the water to create an egg wash. Brush the edges of the dough with the egg wash. Fold one long edge over the filling, do the same with the other long edge. Turn seam side down onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently form into a circle, joining the ends together. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for approximately 30 minutes.

Brush cake with remaining egg wash. Cut several slits to allow heat to escape. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.

Mix confectioners’ sugar with milk and vanilla. Spoon over cake. Sprinkle cake with colored sugars. Before serving, insert baby or bean into bottom of cake.

Dems and GOP Vote for Hartford Election Cake – Connecticut

We’re reprising our Hartford Election Cake because no matter if you vote Democrat or Republican, this cake is a huge electoral win. This very old recipe dates back to colonial times, when the cake was

Hartford Election Cake

made to feed hungry militia during training days. After the Revolutionary War, Election Day was almost like a holiday. Historians are not sure if this cake was baked in celebration of the right to vote, or just to feed weary travelers who traveled long distances to get to polling places.

For this election season, we were delighted to discover that Old World Levain Bakery in Asheville, NC created a Make American Cake Again! project with election cake as its centerpiece, to raise awareness about our culinary heritage. If you make this cake, be sure to use #electioncake and #MakeAmericaCakeAgain on social media.

Full of nuts, raisins and spices, including cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg (very appropriate for the Nutmeg State) this cake rises twice for a total of two and a half hours. We can’t think of a better dessert to serve as you watch the returns roll in.

Nathan Hale is Connecticut’s state hero. He was an American soldier and spy for the Continental Army. He was captured by the Brits and before he was hung he stated “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Check out the Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, built in 1776, with Hale-family furnishings and period antiques.

Hartford Election Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 3 hrs.
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Adapted from Rare Bits: Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes, by Patricia Bunning Stevens, www.ohioswallow.com, used with permission.

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1½ cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)
  • 3¼ cups all-purpose flour (divided in two parts: 1½ cups, then 1¾ cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup chopped raisins (soaked overnight in brandy or bourbon, optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Instructions

Dissolve yeast in water. Stir in milk. Add 1½ cups flour gradually, until mixture is smooth. Cover and let rise in warm place until very light and bubbly, 30 to 45 minutes.

Mix together 1¾ cups flour, salt and spices and set aside. Chop raisins, mix with nuts and set aside. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. By hand, blend in yeast mixture. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating until smooth after each addition Add raisin-pecan mixture and mix well.

Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan or large Bundt pan. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough almost reaches the top, 1½ to 2 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cake until golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then loosen cake from edges with a knife. Turn out onto a cake rack and cool completely.

For glaze: In a mixing bowl, whisk confectioners sugar, vanilla and milk until desired spreading consistency. Glaze should cover top of cake and drizzle down the sides.

 

In Celebration of the Cranberry: Cranberry Nut Bread – Massachusetts

Didja know National Cranberry Day is coming up on November 23? We’ve talked before about how the cranberry is the Bay State’s

Cranberry Nut Bread- Mass.

official state berry, thanks to some lobbying school children. We happen to adore the tart flavor of this lovely little fruit so we bring to you this family recipe that is sure to be a hit in your household too. If you’ve got company coming for Thanksgiving, this is an easy quick bread that you can make ahead of time. Perfect for that crazy Thursday morning when your mother-in-law is dashing about the house looking for her misplaced phone and your brother is wrestling with the kids, causing the dog to bark. Just make some coffee, slice it up, and breakfast is served.

Check out America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration in Plymouth, November 20-22, 2015, with a parade, the New England Food Festival, music and more.

 

Cranberry Nut Bread

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Time: 90 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup frozen cranberries, chopped in food processor

Instructions

 In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until combined. Add orange juice, zest, and egg; mix until combined. Add pecans and cranberries and stir by hand until combined. Add flour mixture and stir by hand until just combined, taking care not to overmix. Pour into two loaf pans lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until golden brown.

Hoosier Dessert Delight: Persimmon Pudding – Indiana

The persimmon is one of nature’s most fragile fruits. It has a long ripening period and a thin skin, like a tomato, that easily splits. The trees grow wild over much of southeastern Indiana. While wide

Persimmon Pudding - Indiana

commercial cultivation has not been successful, family farms and homeowners grow the trees for Indiana residents who worship the fruit for its heavenly flavor, often described as a cross between an apricot, a guava, and an avocado. Nutritionally, persimmons are a great source of dietary fiber, as well as vitamin A and vitamin C.

Mitchell, Indiana, hosts a Persimmon Festival each year with a persimmon pudding contest. We tried our hand at this British-inspired dessert and loved the fall-like flavor of the cake, a little reminiscent of pumpkin.

Visit Fort Vallonia Days, October 17-18, 2015, in Vallonia, IN, with trail rides, a baby contest, music, and more.

Persimmon Pudding

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 90 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 2 cups persimmon pulp (about 5-7 persimmons)
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Salt, pinch
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Whipped cream

Instructions

Remove stems from the persimmons then slice into eighths. Remove any seeds. Working in 2 or 3 batches, place persimmon sections in the bowl of a Foley food mill. Process until 2 cups of pulp is extracted and only the skin remains.

To the pulp, add sugar, eggs, and milk. Mix well. In another bowl, add flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt until combined. Slowly add to persimmon mixture until combined. Add vanilla and melted butter and stir until just combined.

Add batter to a 9×13 pan sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool, then serve with whipped cream.

 

 

 

Garden State Fave: Blueberry Shortcake with Lemon Curd – New Jersey

Summer is our favorite time of year here in the StateEats kitchen and that’s because of all the fresh fruit that is in season. New Jersey

Blueberry Shortcake w/ Lemon Curd - New Jersey

is known for its delicious blueberries so much so that its legislature declared the Highbush blueberry the state fruit in 2003. And didja know that Hammonton, NJ, is the self-proclaimed blueberry capital of the world? In terms of nutrition, blueberries are a good source of fiber and vitamin C and are antioxidant powerhouses.

We decided that this family recipe for blueberry shortcake was worth sharing. You can make it with all kinds of fruit if you don’t have blueberries but strawberries, blackberries, and peaches work particularly well. The lemon curd amps up the deliciousness level.

Pack a picnic and head to the beach for the Wildwood Crest Sand Sculpting Festival, July 11, 2015.

Blueberry Shortcake with Lemon Curd

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 45 min.
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Ingredients

For the lemon curd:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1-2 lemons to yield 1/4 cup lemon juice

For the shortcake:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint blueberries
  • Whipped cream

Instructions

 For the lemon curd: Combine butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed 2-3 minutes or until mixture is combined. Add eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Beat until combined. Pour mixture into a saucepan and cook on low heat, stirring constantly, about ten minutes or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let cool. Lemon curd will keep about two weeks in the refrigerator if well sealed.

For the shortcake: In a small saucepan or in microwave, heat milk and butter until butter just begins to melt. Set aside. Combine flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl. Set aside. In a larger mixing bowl, beat eggs on medium speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add one cup sugar, beat until mixture is thick and lemon colored. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Add milk/butter mixture and vanilla and again mix until just combined. Batter will be runny. Pout into a greased 8×8 pan and bake 25 minutes at 350 degrees or until top just begins to brown. Let cool.

To serve, cut cake into squares, then cut each piece horizontally. Place a dollop of lemon curd on the bottom piece, sprinkle with blueberries, top with whipped cream. Place top half of cake on top, add a small dollop of whipped cream and more berries.

Vote for Cake: Hartford Election Cake – Connecticut

While driving through Connecticut, with its scenic towns and quaint villages, you can almost squint and go back in time to 1788 when this colony became a state. It may be one of the smallest states in the nation, but it’s rich in history, and Hartford Election Cake is part of

Hartford Election Cake

its lore. Back in colonial times, Election Day was almost like a holiday. Historians are not sure if this cake was baked in celebration of the right to vote, or just to feed weary travelers who traveled long distances to get to polling places. No matter, Democrats and Republicans alike can stand behind this very old recipe, based on a traditional fruitcake but lighter since it contains yeast. This cake is full of nuts, raisins and spices, including cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg — appropriate for the Nutmeg State. It rises twice for a total of two and a half hours, so allow a bit of time when you are preparing it. Great with a cuppa joe in the morning or with tea in the afternoon as a pick-me-up.

If you want to get your history fix, check out the Connecticut Historical Society Museum and Library in Hartford. And if you need voter info for the November 4th election, check out the handy voter information tool below the recipe.

Hartford Election Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Adapted from Rare Bits: Unusual Origins of Popular Recipes, by Patricia Bunning Stevens, www.ohioswallow.com, used with permission.

Ingredients

For cake:

  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (divided in two parts: 1 1/2 cups, then 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup chopped raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs

For glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Instructions

Dissolve yeast in water. Stir in milk. Add 1 1/2 cups flour gradually, until mixture is smooth. Cover and let rise in warm place until very light and bubbly, 30 to 45 minutes.

Mix together 1 3/4 cups flour, salt and spices and set aside. Chop raisins, mix with nuts and set aside. Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. By hand, blend in yeast mixture. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating until smooth after each addition Add raisin-pecan mixture and mix well.

Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan or large Bundt pan. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until dough almost reaches the top, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cake until golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then loosen cake from edges with a knife. Turn out onto a cake rack and cool completely.

For glaze: In a mixing bowl, whisk confectioners sugar, vanilla and milk until desired spreading consistency. Glaze should cover top of cake and drizzle down the sides.

Ooey, Gooey, From St. Louie: Gooey Butter Cake – Missouri

Definitely a mistake. A mistake turned delicious anyway. Gooey Butter Cake is to St. Louis as deep dish pizza is to Chicago. According to the New York Times, fork-lore has it that in the 1930s,

Gooey Butter Cake - Missouri

a St. Louis baker added too much shortening, butter or sugar while making a cake. Not wanting to waste the ingredients this being the middle of the Depression, the baker tried to sell the cake anyhow. Customers loved it and Gooey Butter Cake was born.

Continue reading Ooey, Gooey, From St. Louie: Gooey Butter Cake – Missouri

Huckleberry Hounds – Montana

Northwest Montana is home to the edible purple orb known as the huckleberry. A close cousin to the blueberry, this delectable fruit grows best between elevations of 3,500 and 7,000 feet, in forests with about 50 percent tree cover. Wild huckleberries are so treasured in the state that in 2007, Montana passed legislation that made it a misdemeanor to label a product “huckleberry” if it contains any other fruit.

Huckleberry Tea Cake

The huckleberry has never been successfully grown commercially so if you want a taste of these sweet jewels, you’ll have to get thee out to Montana and get to picking. The North Fork and Big Mountain Continue reading Huckleberry Hounds – Montana

Kookoo For Kuchen – South Dakota

South Dakota’s official state dessert is kuchen. Sprichst du auch Deutsch? If you do speak German, you know that “kuchen” means cake. Germans make up the largest ancestry group in the state and they brought their formidable Teutonic culinary skill with them from the old country. You can find literally dozens of variations of this

Peach and Blueberry Kuchen - South Dakota

recipe. Some use yeast for the crust, but we’ve gone with more of a pastry crust. Folks also like to disagree about which fruit is best for kuchen — plum, apple, strawberry, cherry and rhubarb are all good bets. We went with peach as they are in season right now, and added a bit of blueberry preserves for color contrast. We finished our kuchen off with a cream filling topped with streusel. Have a slice for dessert (or even breakfast!) with a cup of coffee or tea.

Continue reading Kookoo For Kuchen – South Dakota

We Were Told There Would be Cake: Smith Island Cake – Maryland

When we think of Maryland, we think of water. From the stunning Eastern Shore beaches, to Baltimore Harbor, to capital of Annapolis (hello, Navy), the ocean plays a major role in the culture and pleasure of residents. With good reason too; the Chesapeake Bay nearly bisects the state and most of the waterways in the state are part of the bay watershed.

DSC_0029_sign

Smack in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay sits Smith Island, accessible only by ferry. This small community of only a few villages boasts big about its most famous export, Smith Island Cake. This scrumptious confection consists of eight to 10 ultra-thin layers of yellow cake with chocolate fudge frosting between each and was declared the state dessert of Maryland in 2008.

Continue reading We Were Told There Would be Cake: Smith Island Cake – Maryland