EASY ONE BOWL WONDER CAKE . . . WALNUT BUTTER CAKE WITH MAPLE BUTTER FROSTING

Simple and extremely quick to make!

This gloriously simple cake can be made with the usual pantry items,  a good sized bowl and a whisk – if that is your desire.    Or you can whip it up with  hand held electric beaters or a stand mixer.  The results are a tender, butter-rich, nutty cake.  Top it with a generous swipe of frosting and you’ve just swanned your way to creating a delectable, delicious, no stress cake.

I volunteer at our hospital thrift shop in the village of Ladner, British Columbia. It’s a busy operation and our morning tea break is appreciated.    I call it The Fellowship of cookies , cake bakers and avid readers of books.  The table is always graced with volunteers home baked goodies.  The  discussions are frequently about food in general and baking in great detail.  Recipes are shared and stored in a three ring binder.   This very personal cook book is kept in the tea room for anyone looking for baking inspiration.

The women I work with are mostly retired.  They donate a great deal of time and energy to their volunteer work.  They love to bake but appreciate recipes that that don’t require a lot of prep time.  Some prefer recipes that are not too complicated or require too many ingredients.  And, they don’t want to spend a lot of time shopping for ingredients that are difficult to find. 

An easy one bowl cake recipe means less time is spent mixing the ingredients and less time in clean up.   Make this recipe once and it will be yours forever.  The chopped walnuts are toasted in the butter then added to the eggs, sugar and sour cream and vanilla and whisked  until well combined. You add the flour, baking powder and soda and whisk to combine and pour into your cake pan.  You can add optional flavours such as instant espresso powder or cardamon. I also bakes beautifully in a loaf pan or double the recipe and bake in a  Bundt pan.

 MRS.BUTTERFINGERS has the printable recipes for these cakes.  Bon Appetit dear friends.

CHERRY STREUSEL . . . THE DESSERT THAT SINGS OF SUMMER

This is a sublime riff on a fruit crumble.  An almond flavoured rich cookie base.  Juicy, dark cherries.  Then a streusel topping whispering the same cookie taste.  A cake that is not a cake but a crumble.  A decadent dessert that sings of summer.

Once you’ve pitted the cherries the cake goes together in just ten minutes.   If you don’t have a cherry pitter it is easy to remove pits with a chop-stick or the pointed end of a decorating pastry tip.  Hold the cherry between two fingers and position it on a cutting board.    Push the chop stick or pastry tip through the centre of the stem.

The crumble is a combination of ground almonds, flour and butter.  A quick whirl in your food processor.  Press half the mixture into a cake base with a removable base.  Sprinkle with cherries.  Then top with the remaining streusel and pop in the oven.   This is the perfect summer cake for a picnic.   Just transport the cake in its tin.

Dust this sweetheart of a cherry crumble with a little icing sugar. Or indulge with a spoon of clotted cream or a generous drift of whipped cream. The cherry season is a brief so do indulge in this delicious fresh cherry dessert.

The recipe is to be found awaiting you on MRS.BUTTERFINGERS.

T

BESOTTED WITH BLUEBERRY CRUMB CAKE

My love affair with blueberries began with wild blueberries. They are a tiny berry with an intense, deep flavour. They grow wild in Northern Saskatchewan where I grew up. Wild blueberries are a low bush and one uses a large tooth comb designed to harvest them. It is a slow process and I am sure I ate more than I picked. But the rewards were shelves of glistening jewel like preserving jars of blueberries.

Across our road there is a blueberry farm. Acres and acres of blueberries growing in precise, military style rows. Harvest time and an enormous “science fiction style” machine marches up and down tenderly harvesting the fruit. The eagerly anticipated first berries of the season we traditionally eat with a little creme fraiche.

I am quite taken with this particular BLUEBERRY CRUMB CAKE. It has a fine crumb. It is a jumble of berries and has a struesel type crumb that is divine. Don’t be tempted to add more walnuts in the topping – scarcity makes them even more delightful. You can replace this recipe with almost any kind of berry (except strawberry). Slices or cubes of soft fruits such as peeled peaches or nectarines, apricots or plums can also be used in place of blueberries.

The recipe awaits you in the kitchen of MRS.BUTTERFINGERS

RHUBARB UP-SIDE DOWN BROWN SUGAR CAKE . . . an easy to make spring dessert

 

This unprepossessing plant.    This new darling of avant-garde young chefs.  This wonderful rhubarb is the spectacular  upside-down topping on the most delicious of brown sugar cakes.

It is perfection on its own as a snacking cake or one could lavish it with whipped cream or crème fraíche.   Add a few very ripe strawberries and it would be a spectacular finish to a meal.

This is an easy recipe to put together.  You don’t use a stand mixer – just your favourite balloon whisk.    The cake stays moist and delectable for up to three days.  Simply keep it covered at room temperature.

This recipe calls for fresh rhubarb but you can also use frozen rhubarb.  Just be sure to allow time for your frozen rhubarb to defrost and drain (gently pressing on the stalks to help remove the moisture.

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April can be the cruellest of months but it gives us this tart-sweet vegetable that morphs into the most addictive of desserts.    It has been a wet spring this year and the rhubarb in my garden has responded with juicy red stalks and enormous umbrella sized leaves.    RHUBARB UPSIDE-DOWN BROWN SUGAR CAKE – bake it today.   The recipe awaits you in MRS.BUTTERFINGERS kitchen.    Bon Appetit dear friends.

(This recipe is from  Dorie Greenspan’s inspiring cookbook Baking Chez Moi.)

 

IN MRS.BUTTERFINGER’S KITCHEN …. BUTTERMILK BISCUITS AND SOUL

I warm my soul  in my kitchen.     Cooking replenishes my soul  when the events of the world leave me feeling sad,  exhausted and drained.    It is pleasure to  cook for my family and friends.    My kitchen is the heart and soul of our  home.    We prepare food because we must eat.   True.   When we bake  we  bring more to the table.   More of ourselves,  more soul.   We fill our home with the fragrance of baking.   Making luscious cakes, rich brownies, flaky pies we indulge our selves, and we indulge  those we love.

Our  grandchildren, Kate and Andrew,  indulge their family and friends  when they bake biscuits served with honey to accompany a roast chicken.  A lovely idea I have taken to heart.  Golden, crisp roast chicken served with mounds of delicate, flaky biscuits and sweet honey.  A delicious alternative to the ubiquitous bakery baguette.

I recommend you make these frequently.   Repetition will make you a better cook, and it is so very, very good for the soul.    It should take just twenty minutes or so from start to finish to make biscuits.

BUTTERMILK BISCUITS

3 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour,     1 tsp salt,     4 tsp baking powder,     1 tsp baking soda,      3/4 cup cold unsalted,     1 1/4 cups buttermilk.

Preheat oven to 450degrees F  Makes about 16 biscuits

Mix your dry ingredients then cut in the butter.  Use two knives, a pastry cutter or your food processor.   Don’t over process you want some tiny lumps of butter to remain.  This makes your biscuits flaky.

Dump the flour mixture into a large mixing bowl, and make a hole in the middle of the flour

.  Add the buttermilk and mix using the handle end of a wooden spoon.  This little trick stops you from over mixing your dough.  Mix just until  the flour mixture starts to come together.

Now( still in the bowl)  knead it lightly six or seven times gathering it into a large rough ball as you do this.   Do this quickly.    Have a light touch.

Put this rough mixture onto a lightly floured board and pat the dough to the thickness of about 1/2 inch.  Cut with a biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet about one inch apart.   Gather the left over scraps together to form rough biscuits.  Don’t press or kneads these pieces, it will toughen them.   Bake 15 minutes.

Serve immediately!   Slather on butter and honey and indulge with your lovely roast chicken.

Chefs notes:  You can do some prep ahead of time.  Mix the flour mixture and butter and store  in the fridge until needed.  Then all you have to do is just add the buttermilk and bake.

 

THE TOP BANANA CAKE . . . a delicious doodle to make!

Cakes lavished with icing appear to be attending a party.    They sashay onto your plate with a come-hither look, and you swoon with delight.  There’s banana muffins. There’s banana loaf.  But the top banana is this old-fashioned banana cake by my favorite cook-book writer, The Barefoot Contessa.

This is a no nonsense, never fail type of cake.  A doodle to whip up even if you don’t have a mixer.  It has a fine, moist crumb flavoured with orange zest and studded with walnuts.    And the icing is definitely “the icing on the cake”.   Cream cheese frosting  and banana cake is a marriage made in kitchen heaven.

This is the cake I make when bringing a dessert to a pot-luck supper.  It travels well.  It keeps well.  You can whip it up a day or so before serving.  And it slices beautifully.  Pop over to MRS.BUTTERFINGERS kitchen for the recipe.   Bon Appetit, dear friends.

 

 

 

DECADENT DATE SQUARES . . . aka MATRIMONIAL SQUARES

I will never forget the first time I tasted date squares.  I was still in public school.    My best friend’s Mom was an excellent cook and baker.   One day after-school she served us a treat that  had me over the moon.  A sweet square that looked a little crumbly around the edges .  One bite and I was swooning over a rich, buttery, caramel enhanced oat crumb with an intensely exotic filling of dark, sweet dates.  She called these magical morsels matrimonial squares.   Even the name was wonderful.  Matrimonial squares.  Were these a special creation for weddings?  Or did they bring about marriage?

Date squares (matrimonial squares) were my first introduction to baking squares.  None of my cookbooks had a section for “squares”.    My cookbooks were published in the thirties and early forties and were all that was available.    I had started baking around l945.  I asked for the recipe and these many years later I  am still baking Mrs. Rybka’s Matrimonial Squares.

This old fashion square is a treat any time of day.  Date Squares are perfect with morning coffee (think of all those healthy rolled oats).  A sublime dessert lavished with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  They are calling you name from MRS.BUTTERFINGERS kitchen.

THIS ORANGE CHOCOLATE BUNDT CAKE IS A SNAP TO MAKE

In  my favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz, the Cowardly Lion says “I’ll fight you with one paw tied behind my back.”   This cake is such a no-fail snap to make I swear one could make it with one hand tied behind their back.  The combination of sweet, fresh orange and decadent ganache glaze turns this simple cake into a special occasion treat.

Bundt cakes generally have a dense crumb the better to hold the exotic turban shape of the bundt pan.  This is also the reason that bundt cake pans have a centre hole.  It allows the cake to bake more evenly.  If you haven’t a bundt cake pan an angel food cake pan will do the job.

To show off the bundt cakes beguiling curves we serve the cake up-side-down.  If the cake cooks too quickly or the oven is too hot the cake will develop a decided hump on the top crust.   You’ll have to slice this off but it does make nice nibbling for the cook.  Baking this cake ( or practically any other cake) at a 325F temperature instead of the suggested 350F generally eliminates this problem.  Start checking your cake after 35 minutes to see if your tester comes out dry.  Be prepared to bake your cake (depending on the size) for up to an hour or more.    When you start smelling the delicious aroma of  cake you know yours  is just about ready to  come out of the oven.  The cake should have shrunk ever so slightly away from the edges of the pan and be a little darker in colour.

The ganache glaze is a doodle to make.  Dark, seductive chocolate and a little cream takes this bundt cake to delicious heights.  Just be sure to pour on your chocolate glaze as soon as it is ready.

I use my double bundt pan often.  I like to share my joy of baking and surprise friends with their very own  smaller version of CHOCOLATE ORANGE BUNDT CAKE.

Start zesting oranges and join me in MRS.BUTTERFINGERS kitchen.  I love your company.

 

BODACIOUS BLUEBERRY BRAN MUFFINS . . . a snap to make!

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There is several reasons to call this a bodacious bran muffin.   Most bran muffins taste like crushed cardboard .  Then along comes these bodacious bran muffins filled with yogurt and so  bursting with beguiling blueberries  one can’t believe they are good for you too.    That’s the first reason these are bodacious muffins.  The addition of flaxseed meal gives you a good shot of  omega-3.    There is the antioxidant loaded, vitamin rich blueberries.  Then all the wonderful health benefits of bran and Greek yogurt.  Secondly this muffin recipe tastes “let’s have a second one”  delicious.  And lastly – the muffins are a whizz to whip up.  You can even make them the night before, tuck them in the refrigerator and bake them for breakfast.

There is always something baking in MRS.BUTTERFINGERS kitchen.  The recipe for bodacious blueberry bran muffins await you.

FOUR APPLE CAKE . . . It’s a “doodle” to whip up.

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Don’t you just love a cake you can whip up at a moments notice.  A cake that comes out of the oven and is ready to serve almost immediately.   One that is  a doodle to make.  And a cake that everyone immediately  asks for second servings.

The ingredients are simple.  Eggs, sugar, flour and melted butter.  Some flavouring.  Then at least four kinds of apples.  Any kind of apple works although it is a bonus if one of the apples is the “mushy” kind like Spartan or Macintosh, and use some apples that are crisp, some sweet and some tart.

I time this cake so it comes out of the oven  shortly before I plan to serve it.  It is perfection itself savoring this apple cake while it is still warm.  The generous amount of various types of  apples are suspended in a barely there rich, cinnamon flavoured  batter.

The recipe for Four Apple cake  awaits you on MRS.BUTTERFINGERS.