Making cakes does not come naturally to me .. they require such precision and I tend to *not be so precise in the kitchen .. typically because i’m entertaining and talking and cooking all at the same time.
But a cake made with sour cream is quite simple and fairly hard to screw up (famous last words!). While the cake is very moist, it’s plain and simple and it does well with a fresh fruit salad served with it. This one is soaked in pink champagne .. it’s an apertif and dessert in one dish!
I used Violette Liqueur because I had the tail-end of a bottle on the shelf. You likely won’t have that liqueur lying around and, certainly, there’s no need to make a special trip to find it. This will work just as well with Sherry.
Make sure you have a 9 inch spring-release cake tin before you get started on this.
This feeds 8 - 10 people.
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3/4 cup of sour cream
a knob of room temperature butter
1/2 cup of canola oil
1 1/2 cups of plain flour (you’ll use some of this for dusting the cake tin)
4 tablespoons Violette Liqueur or Sherry (or some other liqueur you’re a fan of!)
2 teaspoons of baking powder
a spring-release cake tin .. one that is 9 inches (standard).
Any kind of berries will really work well for this.
2 cups of sliced strawberries
1 cup of blueberries
1 cup of raspberries
2 cups of pineapple
2 cups of pink sparkling wine
1/2 cup of sugar
Turn on the oven to 350F.
Combine evenly the sugar and sour cream together, and then trickle in the canola oil. Add the eggs one-by-one stirring enthusiastically so the mix doesn’t get clumpy and remains evenly distributed.
Butter the cake tin lightly and then take a few teaspoons of the flour and dust the cake tin with it.
In another bowl mix the flour and the baking powder. Important to make sure the baking powder isn’t lumpy so mix well. (If your baking powder is lumpy, you can add it to the flour via a small sieve.)
Slowly mix in the flour mix into the batter, stirring well. Then add the liqueur.
Now pour the batter into the cake tin.
Bake for 50 - 55 mins. You should be able to poke a sharp knife into the center of the cake and have no wet batter on it as you pull out the knife.
While the cake bakes, make the fruit salad. Mix up all the fruit, sugar and sparkling wine and let the fruit sit.
Remove the cake from the oven, let cool for 15 mins (you can make this the day prior), slice into portions and put on plate. Put the fruit salad next to the cake on the plate, and spoon over some of the liquid from the fruit salad onto the cake.
All of these lemony recipes have been passed down in my family. Enjoy!
Kiki’s Lemon Squares
These are my favorite sweet I’ve made in ages. And they’re perfect for Easter. Yummy! Virginia suggested adding lavender salt on top - great idea. Tart, salty and sweet. The perfect combination in a perso… errr, I mean, in a lemon square.
1 3/4 cups flour
pinch of salt
1/2 cup of sugar (confectioners if you have it)
1 cup of melted butter
Mix the above ingredients and bake in a 9” x 13” pan for 25 mins at 350F til lightly browned.
4 tablespoons of flour
juice of 4 lemons
2 cups of sugar
the rind of 2 lemons
Mix these remaining ingredients and pour on the pastry. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Cool before cutting or you’ll be in a right gooey mess.
This recipe is in the recipe binder my mother gave me after college. Her notes say that my godmother Barbara gave her the recipe from the May 1967 issue of Sunset. I’ve changed it a wee bit eliminating the canned mandarin oranges. No need for canned fruit!
This could be done with limes or oranges too. Tasty.
You need a 9” cake spring pan.
Crush the shortbread cookies and mix in half of a stick of melted butter. Line the bottom of the spring pan with this mix so that it’ll be a solid base to the torte. Bake it for 8 minutes at 325F.
Beat the egg yolks until they are light, and then beat in the sugar until the mix is thick and lemony colored. Stir in the lemon juice and the grated peel. Place the mix over a pan of hot boiling water, stirring until thickened into custardy consistency. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Beat the egg whites until they are foamy and making peaks. Fold them into the cool custard you’ve set aside.
Whip the heavy cream and then fold that into the custard mix. Turn it all into the spring pan, over the shortbread mix. Cover and freeze.
Pull out of the freezer and put into the fridge about half an hour before serving so that it thaws a bit and is easier to slice. (Do this as you’re serving the main course).
You can serve as is or toss some fruit on top so it looks all pretty-like. I put on some slices of dried lemons.
Meyer Lemon Cream Fluff
Unearthed from my godmother’s desk, I found this handwritten recipe. I suspect she came up with this as a result of having a meyer lemon tree in her back yard in Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Meyers are smaller, juicier and sweeter than your typical sour-puss, waxy lemon.
This recipe is great served as is, or you can make it and freeze it .. and it’s a heavenly fluffy icy treat.
1/2 cup of meyer lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
1 tablespoon meyer lemon peel grated/zested (do this BEFORE you squeeze the lemons, much easier!)
1/2 c fine sugar
3 eggs, separated
1/2 cup of heavy cream
Mix the 1/4 cup of sugar, lemon juice and peel in a NON-reactive pan. Add egg yolks and heat. Don’t boil! Once heated all the way through and thickened slightly, put into the fridge to cool. You can do this a day in advance.
Whip the heavy cream.
I tend to do this part last —> Beat the egg whites slowly adding 1/4 cup of sugar until the eggs form glossy peaks. You can’t let beaten egg whites sit around as they’ll begin to separate.
Fold the egg whites into the lemon mixture, and then fold in the whipped cream. Place gently into decorative glasses or compotes. You can do this an hour or so in advance, chill and then serve. Any longer than an hour and the whites begin to separate a bit.
Crispy on the outside. Oozy cheese in the inside. Who doesn’t love a little crispy oozy bite?
There’s a few steps to putting this appetizer together but they’re well worth it, and you can rest assured that they’ll very quickly become history.
1/4 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese grated
1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 lb of mozzarella cut into 1/2 -1 inch cubes
canola oil or peanut oil for the frying
salt and pepper
Basil Crème Fraîche
1 cup of crème farce
Handful of fresh basil
2 chopped or finely grated garlic cloves
Turn on the oven to 350F.
Slice the eggplants lengthwise in half. Coat the sliced now- open part in oil and put down directly onto a baking sheet (skin-side up). Bake for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile make the crème fraîche mixture. Chop the basil and garlic and mix into the crème fraîche. Done. Set aside.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool and then scoop out the flesh of the eggplant into a bowl. Mash the flesh with a fork so that it’s not too chunky.
Add the cheese to the bowl, one egg and half of the panko breadcrumbs. Salt and pepper the mixture to your taste.
Crack the remainder egg and put it into a saucer.
Pour the rest of the breadcrumbs onto a plate.
Your next move is to shape the eggplant mixture into little balls about the size of a golf ball .. keeping them smaller ensures they’re not so unruly to deep fry.
Stuff the balls (gently!) with the mozzarella slice. Roll the stuffed balls (gently!) in the egg and then the panko breadcrumbs and reserve them on a plate.
Set aside another plate with a handful of paper towels. You’re going to put the cooked balls here as you remove them from the hot oil.
Now pour the oil into a frying pan and fill so it’s about 1 - 1/2 inches high. Heat it. I never use a thermometer but instead just test with what I’m going to fry. Test with a bit of the eggplant mixture .. it should sizzle enthusiastically when the oil is hot enough.
Using a slotted spoon, drop the eggplant balls a few at a time into the hot oil until they are golden brown all over. Don’t crowd them in the pan as they’ll fall apart and not cook very well.
Serve the balls warm with the crème fraîche.
I ate so much grilled fish in Senegal right on the beach (having been speared) this past month. Delicious! And really so easy to prepare.
Here some big, fat trout on the grill. I stuffed them with a mix of chopped parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and dill. And then grilled the fish for an indefinite period. Indefinite as it ranged from about 10 minutes to 20 mins. In Senegal they leave the fish on forever .. it gets dry there but they have so many sauces and side-dishes that one doesn’t notice.
Given how tasty this is, I always make spare. My garden has been exploding with fresh herbs and kale so I was particularly liberal with adding those to the dish today. If you want to make this vegan, just eliminate the feta and add more herbs for color.
3 cans of chickpeas, rinsed
1 bunch of Italian parsley chopped very finely
1/2 cup of crumbled feta (you can skip this if you’re going vegan)
1/3 cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, grated or chopped very finely
juice of one lemon
zest of half the lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Put the chickpeas in a big bowl and then add the parsley and feta.
Mix the vinaigrette up: the garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and olive oil.
Pour the vinaigrette over the chickpeas and toss.
Salt and pepper as you see fit.
Made a sea of ice cream for the busy week of shindigs ahead. Black Cherry & Walnut; Banana & Brown Sugar; Marmalade & Compass Box L’Orangerie Whiskey; Strawberry, Black Pepper, Balsamic and Sour Cream
Laksa in a Chinese Export bowl (c1780)
Popular popular. This Malaysian soup goes down very easily.
You’ll need to source some laksa paste for this recipe or you can try to patch together a mix of it yourself which is no small endeavor.
1 knob of butter
1 cup laksa paste
2 tablespoons of veggie oil
3 cups of chicken stock
3 tablespoons of fish sauce
2 cans of coconut milk (not sweet of course)
1 lb of diced butternut squash
1 lb of boneless chicken thighs
2 cups of chard sliced into thin ribbons (or you could throw in some kale instead of broccolini)
about 1lb of silken tofu .. give or take .. ie 1 package
1 bunch of sliced scallions
1 cup of fresh cilantro
Heat the butter til it is bubbling in a large pot, and then saute the chicken in it until it is cooked through. Set aside the chicken to cool.
Using the same pot, add the veggie oil and stir in the laksa paste and cook it for about 1 - 1/2 minutes releasing all the flavors. Now add the chicken stock, the coconut milk and the fish sauce and bring to a burbling boil.
Next up, throw in the butternut squash and continue to gently boil the soup until the squash is cooked through .. about 8 - 10 minutes given how small the diced pieces are.
Meanwhile, slice the chicken thighs that you’ve set aside into bite-size pieces. You’re going to add them in a moment to the soup.
Add the green veggies, the sliced chard or kale and continue to cook for another minute.
Then add the chicken to the pot and cook through for another minute.
Lastly, add the tofu, green onions and cilantro to the soup, gently stir for a minute and then remove from the heat.
Split the soup into bowls and you can top with a piece or two of cilantro for flourish.
Serves 6 - 8.