I made this incredibly moist sponge cake for dessert after our Cinco de Mayo feast this year. It would be perfect served after any Mexican-inspired meal.
The recipe was adapted from my food blog friend Ronit Penso’s Tasty Eats blog, originally posted as a round cake on MySliceofMexico.ca. I modified the method and the baking time for a convection oven, used sea salt and a combination of vanilla bean paste and extract, and modified the amount of topping.
Although I reduced the amount of topping, we found that it was absolutely essential. I also thought that the fresh strawberry garnish made it even more beautiful and delicious. Festive and great.
For the Cake:
cooking oil spray, for pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/3 cup whole milk, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
7 large or extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
For the Syrup:
1 can (12 fl oz/354 ml) evaporated milk
1 can (14 oz/396grms) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
For the Topping:
1 cup heavy cream, cold
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
fresh strawberries, sliced
Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). (I used the convection setting.)
Coat the bottom and sides of a 9”x13” (23×33 cm) metal baking pan, and dust with a bit of flour. Turn the pan upside down and tap on it, to get rid of excess flour. Set aside.
Whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
In a liquid measuring cup, mix the milk with the vanilla bean paste. Set aside.
Place the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Start whipping on low speed and gradually add the sugar.
Once the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium-high, and whip until frothy and thick, about 3 minutes.
Lower the speed to medium. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the liquid ingredients (milk/vanilla), in three batches, and beat shortly, about 10 seconds, after each addition. You should have a smooth and frothy batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 25 minutes on convection, or up to 35 minutes in a standard oven, until the cake is deep golden in color and if you gently press on the top it springs right back. The sides should also begin to pull away from the edge of the pan. (I baked mine for 27 minutes on convection.)
Place on a wire rack to cool slightly while you prepare the syrup.
In a bowl with a spout, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk and heavy cream.
Prick the top of the cake with a toothpick or fork.
Pour the syrup over the top of the cake. Keep at room temperature until all of the syrup is absorbed.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. (I chilled mine overnight.)
Just before serving, make the topping. In a large cold bowl, combine the cold heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla.
Whip with a hand blender on medium-high to high speed, until firm peaks form, or as desired. (I stopped whipping the cream somewhere between soft and firm peaks.)
To Serve: Slice cake and top each slice with a dollop of topping and a sliced strawberry.
More weeknight comfort food! This dish uses rotisserie chicken meat and store-bought gnocchi as shortcuts to create a close match to traditional chicken and dumplings. It was quick to prepare and very tasty.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Alexa Weibel. I incorporated my CSA parsley, leeks, carrots, and collard greens. In addition, this soup could easily gobble up many other vegetables such as frozen peas, fennel, squash, parsnips, or mushrooms. We ate it with a green salad. Great.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
3tablespoons unsalted butter
4 to 5 cups 1/2-inch ribbons of collard greens or kale, ribs removed (optional)
2medium carrots or 8 ounces butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
1medium leek, trimmed, white and pale green portion halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (about 1 cup) (can substitute 1 large shallot, if desired)
1(16 to 18-ounce) package fresh or shelf-stable store-bought gnocchi (I used Trader Joe’s 17.6-ounce gnocchi)
1/2 store-bought rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded, meat torn into bite-size pieces (about 2 to 3 cups shredded meat)
fresh tarragon, parsley or dill, for garnish
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
Add the carrots, leek, celery, garlic, rosemary, thyme and poultry seasoning, if using. Incorporate any additional vegetables at this time as well; I added sliced collard greens. Season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are slightly softened, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with the flour, then cook, stirring, 2 minutes. (This cooks the flour to soften its raw flavor.)
Gradually stir in the stock and cream, and bring to a boil over medium-high to high heat.
Once the mixture boils, stir in the gnocchi, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until gnocchi and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the chicken in the last couple of minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide among bowls and top with fresh tarragon or parsley and more black pepper, if desired.
Caramel corn ice cream? Yes! Sweet summer corn is puréed, strained, and cooked down into a sweet pudding before it is incorporated into the ice cream base. The caramel drizzle was an essential finishing touch.
This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Jesse Houston. The original recipe was “no churn” but I did churn it to expedite the freezing process.
After using a Vitamix to purée the corn and significantly increasing the cooking time, I had double the volume of corn pudding required for the ice cream. I’m planning to use it for another batch. 🙂 I may layer it with caramel or dulce de leche prior to freezing next time so that it will have a caramel swirl.
Yield: about 8 cups (2 quarts)
10 cups fresh yellow corn kernels (from 10-12 large ears) (reduce to 5 ears if using a Vitamix)
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
waffle cones or waffle cups, optional
dulce de leche or caramel sauce, optional
caramel corn, for garnish, optional
Working in batches, process corn kernels in a food processor or Vitamix until very juicy, about 15 seconds. Press processed corn through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a bowl to yield about 2 cups corn juice; discard solids. (I had significantly more corn juice.)
Transfer corn juice to a large skillet; bring to a simmer over medium-low, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula. Simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened to a pudding-like consistency and reduced to about 1 cup, 8 to 12 minutes. (When the spatula is dragged through the corn mixture, it will hold a line for about 2 seconds before flowing to fill the gap.) (Because I had a greater volume, I cooked my corn juice for almost 40 minutes to achieve the pudding-like consistency.)
Remove from heat. Press corn mixture through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large heatproof bowl; discard any solids. Let corn mixture cool to room temperature, stirring often, about 15 minutes.
Beat cream, condensed milk, vanilla, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.
Fold into corn mixture in 2 additions. (I used 1 1/4 cups of corn pudding.)
If desired, churn in an ice cream machine for about 25 minutes. (not necessary but will reduce the freezing time.)
Pour into a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan; press a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface of corn mixture.
Freeze until firm, at least 12 hours if not churned, or at least 4 hours if the mixture has been churned.
Serve scoops of sweet corn ice cream in bowls or waffle bowls/cones, drizzled with dulce de leche or caramel sauce, and garnished with caramel corn, as desired.
Note: Ice cream can be made and frozen up 2 weeks ahead.
I have made many tried and true dinners and desserts during this quarantine period- more than usual. I was surprised to realize that I’ve never posted our gold standard and absolute favorite ice cream. This is it. 🙂
The recipe is from Food and Wine, contributed by Jeni Britton. I have made it for years! According to the recipe, the ice cream is exceptionally creamy from the inclusion of cornstarch to help thicken the base and cream cheese to make it more scoop-able. I confirm the results. Fabulous.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Andy Baraghani. I added garlic and white wine. Yummy comfort food.
Yield: Serves 4
4 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb mixed mushrooms (such as maitake, oyster, crimini, and/or shiitake), torn into bite-size pieces (I used 10oz quartered cremini and 8oz torn shiitake)
2 medium shallots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb spaghetti or 12 oz bucatini
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup finely chopped parsley
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 T unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 oz Parmesan, finely grated (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
freshly ground black pepper
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium-high. Cook half of mushrooms in a single layer, undisturbed, until edges are brown and starting to crisp, about 3 minutes. Give mushrooms a toss and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until all sides are brown and crisp, about 5 minutes more.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to a plate; season with salt.
Repeat with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and mushrooms and more salt.
Finely chop the shallots and garlic in a mini-food processor, if desired.
Reduce heat to medium-low and return all of the mushrooms to the pot. Add shallots and garlic; cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and softened, about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with mushrooms and add cream, white wine, and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid.
Increase heat to medium, bring to a simmer, and cook, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Remove pot from heat. Add lemon zest and juice, parsley, butter, 1/2 oz Parmesan, and lots of pepper and toss to combine.
Taste and season with more salt if needed. Adjust consistency with additional pasta water, if needed.
Divide pasta among bowls and top with more Parmesan and parsley, as desired.
Chicken Pot Pie is one of my ultimate favorite comfort food dishes. This version was fabulous! The use of rotisserie chicken meat in the filling and puff pastry as the crust were wonderful (and delicious) shortcuts.
This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Molly Baz. I modified the proportions and used rainbow carrots instead of turnips in the filling to add a little color. GREAT.
Yield: Serves 8
5 cups coarsely shredded rotisserie chicken meat
2 large yellow onions
1 lb rainbow carrots or turnips, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 garlic cloves
1 T thyme leaves
3 T unsalted butter
2½ tsp Kosher salt, divided
1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 T all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups heavy cream, divided
10 oz bag frozen peas
1 sheet of puff pastry (1/2 box/8.6 oz), thawed overnight
Place a rack in center of oven; preheat to 400°, preferably on convection.
Remove and discard skin from a rotisserie chicken. Using your hands, shred the meat into 1″ pieces until you have 5 cups; set aside. Reserve any leftover meat for another use.
Cut the onions in half through root, trim root ends, then peel. Finely chop onion and transfer to a medium bowl.
Peel the carrots (or turnips), then trim off the ends. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Transfer to another medium bowl.
Lightly smash the garlic cloves with the flat side of a chef’s knife. Peel, then coarsely chop. Transfer to bowl with the carrots/turnips.
Add thyme leaves to bowl with carrots/turnips and garlic.
Melt butter in a 12″ oven-proof skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft but not browned, 5–6 minutes.
Add carrot/turnip mixture, season with 1 tsp salt and 1½ tsp pepper, and cook, stirring often, until just beginning to soften, 3 minutes.
Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, until flour begins to stick to bottom of pan, about 30 seconds. The flour is going to help thicken the gravy you’re trying to create.
Add wine and cook, stirring constantly, to burn off some of the alcohol, about 1 minute.
Set aside 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. Add remaining cream, reserved chicken, peas, and 1½ tsp salt and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Cook, tossing occasionally, until warmed through, 3–4 minutes.
Transfer skillet to a rimmed baking sheet, which will prevent any juices that bubble out of the pan from spilling onto your oven floor.
Roll out the thawed puff pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 13″ square (large enough to cover skillet with a bit of overhang). Roll pastry up onto rolling pin. (You could use an empty wine bottle if you don’t have a rolling pin.) Unfurl pastry from rolling pin, draping it over skillet.
Trim pastry so that there is a 1″ border all around. Fold edge of puff pastry under itself. Crimp edges with a fork (just like you would do when making the top crust of a pie).
Using a pastry brush, brush top of pastry with reserved cream. Cut 5–6 small slits in the center so steam can escape.
Bake pot pie until crust is light golden brown, 22 to 24 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350°, preferably on convection, and continue to bake until filling is bubbling around the edges and crust is well browned, 22 to 35 minutes longer.