Happy New Year, to all our readers! I wanted to share a great recipe that I just discovered in a cookbook that I have had for years. The Silver Palate Cookbook, ©1982, written by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins with Michael McLaughlin; was given to me by my dear friend, Julianne. It was my birthday, and I was expecting my first child in less than four weeks, so I was feeling like I was as big as a house. My friend knew of my love of cooking and baking and I think she wanted to make me feel special. I love this cookbook, and I have made many of its wonderful dishes. However, I can never seem to leave a recipe alone, I just have to tweak it to fit the ingredients I have or want to use, and by doing this I suppose I make it my own. The original recipe, Applesauce Raisin Cake with Lemon-Orange icing, can be found on pages 270 and 271 and it might be the perfect cake to make to celebrate the season of Autumn. I did not have any applesauce, lemons, or oranges but I did have 2 packages of fresh strawberries, powdered sugar, and chocolate. The result was a mouth watering, light, intense strawberry Bundt cake with vanilla and dark chocolate icing. It is a perfect light dessert for the New Year. Enjoy!
Strawberry Bundt Cake with Vanilla and Chocolate Icing
2 -16oz packages fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
2 sticks butter (1/2 lb), at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, (you know how I feel about this…)
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder (aluminum free baking powder keeps that bitter, tinny taste out of your baked goods and it may just be a more health conscience choice as although there is no definitive proof, consuming aluminum may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease)
3 to 3 ½ cups of all purpose unbleached flour
Ice with Vanilla and Dark Chocolate Icing, recipe follows
The day before, in a medium mixing bowl, sprinkle the strawberries with the ¾ cup sugar, set aside in the refrigerator. Doing this step the day before will improve the amount of sugar encouraged delicious juice your strawberries will produce. If your strawberries are not ripe, and during the winter months the berries in the supermarket might not be, it will take longer for them to produce their own juice.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add the 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch, to the strawberries in juice. Cook the strawberry mixture over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. When the juice begins to boil, stir continuously, until it has thickened and cleared. This should make approximately 2 cups of strawberry deliciousness. Butter and flour a standard sized Bundt cake pan, and set aside.
In a stand mixer bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the strawberry mixture and the vanilla extract and beat well. Add the salt and the baking powder, mix well to completely combine. Add the flour one cup at a time, after adding the 3rd cup of flour check the consistency; it should be much thicker than a normal cake batter. In fact, I had to spoonula* my batter into my Bundt pan and then smooth the top. If your batter is too thin add the remaining ½ cup or more flour** if necessary to make it spoonula thick. Place the filled pan on a sheet pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes, run a sharp knife gently around the edges of your pan to loosen the edges of the cake, and to remove any cooked batter that may be stuck on the pan. Invert a cake plate on to the cake pan and flip them over, tap gently on the top of the pan and if necessary, tap the plate on a folded kitchen towel to help the cake slide out on to the plate, remove the pan. Cool the cake completely before icing. Makes 12 servings.
*A spoonula is a silicone, bowl scraping spatula that is somewhat shaped like a spoon. I believe the phrase was first coined by Rachael Ray.
**This is a high altitude adjustment and the extra flour may not be necessary at sea level. ©2012
Vanilla and Dark Chocolate Icing
2 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 squares dark chocolate, chopped
Combine the first 3 ingredients, microwave for 30 seconds, stir well, microwave for an additional 30 seconds, stir, cool slightly, and drizzle over the cooled cake covering most of the cake surface. I used a wire whisk for this task. Add the cocoa powder to the remaining icing and stir well. Microwave the chocolate a few seconds at a time, stirring in between, to melt the chocolate. Add to the icing and stir well. If the icing becomes too thick, add a few drops of milk and microwave if necessary to loosen. Lightly drizzle over vanilla icing on the cake.
Tip: Although, it was very tasty, my icing turned out a bit too thick. To make a lighter version, please feel free to add more milk to thin your icing to your preferred consistency. Whole milk makes a richer icing, however, you can use 1% or 2% low fat milk in its place. ©2012