sunday morning is for baking

Well, even out here where there is plenty of green and trees between houses, the misplaced sound of a buzz saw way before 8 a.m. will jar you awake.  Such was the case with me, so I decided to get some baking out-of-the-way for later.

It’s Lemon Pound Cake day.  I found this recipe in Real Simple that I tweak:

Serves 12   Glazed Lemon Pound Cake

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 325° F. Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and  baking powder.                             
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.   Beat in 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, then the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.                             
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add half the flour mixture, then the yogurt, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix just until  combined (do not overmix).                             
  4. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 65 to 75 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.                             
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 1 of the remaining tablespoons of lemon juice until smooth, adding  the remaining lemon juice as necessary to create a thick, but pourable glaze.  

Ok so above is the recipe straight.  I fiddle with everything, and what I do here is I add the zest of TWO lemons to the batter, I add grated fresh ginger, and I do a lemon soak before the glaze;

My lemon soak is juice of 2 lemons, grated zest, 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar and a couple of tablespoons of a liqueur called Framboise (right now I have an US Framboise out of Bonny Doon Vineyards.)

What I do is I line my pan (or pans as the case may be) with parchment baking paper after I do the grease and flour, so I can hike the cake or cakes out the pan or pans.

Anyway, I cool the cake or cakes post baking for 10 minutes, maybe a few longer.  Then I pull them out of the pan gently, peel down the parchment paper and allow to cool for 30 minutes all in all on a baking rack on clean parchment paper.

I then poke little fork holes up and down the cake (no need to make hamburger out of the top, so be neat!) and gently pour the lemon soak goodness over the top of the cake.  You will see today where I have propped up the new clean parchment paper with a single toothpick on each end of my cakes so the lemony-sugary goodness doesn’t run all over.

After that has all soaked in and everything is set I will either make a glaze or light lemony flavored royal icing and drizzle it over the top, or I also sometimes just dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving and adorn my platter with fresh mint sprigs and nasturtium blossoms. Today I soaked, I adorned with lemon royal icing, dotted with Nasturtium blossoms and mint sprigs.

In other fun of the day, my arugula is growing unmolested, apparently the blasted squirrels only liked the lettuce.

Remember you can still nominate this blog for a Country Living Magazine Blue Ribbon Blogger Award until July 29th, 2012.  I hope you can do that for me, and you can also read about the contest more HERE.

And in the nesting of it all, thanks to Food Network I have discovered The Pioneer Woman.  I am still not sure if her rancher hubby likes the cameras all over, but she has some terrific recipes. She has a website called (of course) The Pioneer Woman.  I am also digging Trisha’s Southern Kitchen with Trisha Yearwood.  Her website is here.  I also love Barefoot Contessa, but she has been all re-runs lately.  I used to watch Nigella Lawson a lot, but I got tired of the odd Euro pop music in the background and the fact they seemed to have an obsession with seeing her on camera raiding her fridge late at night.  But she has some great recipes.

I love to cook, and do collect old cook books.  And the bibles Mastering The Art of French Cooking are worth it to have in your collection.  Julia Child taught me to do roast chicken and many other basics.  There are also books by a woman named Kitty Maynard – American Country Inn and Bed & Breakfast Cookbooks that never disappoint (mine are so tattered, I really should replace them.)

Cooking is also somewhat instinctual.  Almost everyone in my family cooks.  My late father was a fabulous cook.  I had one grandmother who was Italian and one who was Pennsylvania German.  I also learned a lot from an Italian Great Aunt, Millie, whom I still miss to this day.  Millie was a trip and if she was worried about her figure, she used to cut out the coca cola that she used to have in the afternoon for a while.  And my maternal grandmother? No one, not any diner on earth could make meringues on pies go as high or be as perfect as my mumma’s were.

As a kid, I soaked this all up.  I did not realize at the time I was soaking it all up, but I did.  My cooking style blends my heritage of Italian, Irish, and Pennsylvania German.  I can go haute or keep it simple.  I actually have a handful of  recipes uniquely my own  on Scribd, including my epicurious.com award winning Sunday Pasta Sauce – yes I actually won a contest on this!

I should probably  write down more of my recipes, like my chocolate chip cookies or various incarnations of gnocchi, traditional bolognese, sweet potato soup, crab mac and cheese, cranberry sauces and chutneys, apple and fruit butters, and pies, salads, and such, but most of my cooking is out of my head – a little this, a little that, judging flavors and textures.  And when I use recipes, I am bad, I will often have several recipes open and cook from multiple recipes at one time for one meal.  I am also the cookie fiend at Christmas, so I am happy to adopt any old cookie tins as I find them, especially vintage ones.  (Speaking of which, I need to start hunting for those tines soon – I gave too many away last year during cookie craze!)

Enjoy your day people. I am going outside.