Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Tale of Three Cakes

It was a cake baking marathon this weekend at Linderhof -- not one cake, not two cakes, but three cakes!

And baking -- cakes or anything else in 105 degree heat is a cause to examine my sanity!

But there were reasons . . . 

The first cake -- a zucchini apricot olive oil cake

with a lemon glaze.     Baked not because I had zucchini to use up -- I had to buy some at the Farmer's Market but because we were going out to dinner Saturday night and dessert after is always nice.

It's an easy cake -- can be baked in a 9 inch round pan or in a loaf.     Because it was dessert -- I decided that a cake tin would be much nicer than the loaf.

The second cake -- a chocolate walnut cake

Made because one of my PEO sisters lost her husband and our chapter is providing desserts and appetizers for the reception after the funeral.     It's a recipe from Laura Calder that I've wanted to try and I had just the right amount of bittersweet chocolate left over to flavor the cake -- serendipity, don't you think?

It's a smaller cake, unfrosted and unglazed but with a shower of powdered sugar and walnuts for decoration.

The third cake -- a cake of cherries

An almonds cake full of bing cherries.   Made because a dear friend gifted me with the cherries and to "return the plate full" so to speak, I gifted her with the cake.

Another recipe of Laura Calder's, it's a great tea cake and my dear friend insisted I join her in a cup of tea and a slice of cake.   I couldn't refuse could I?

The leftover zucchini apricot cake is in the freezer for future tea time treats.    The chocolate walnut cake has been delivered to the person in charge of organizing the reception.

And of course, the cake of cherries has been delivered and partly devoured!  

The recipes:

Zucchini Apricot Olive Oil Cake

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans
1 cup flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. kosher salt (sounds like a lot, but you want it all)
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. freshly ground nutmeg
1 egg
3/4 c. + 2 T. sugar
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 t. vanilla
1 fresh apricot diced (I used 4 of my boozy dried apricots)
1/8 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T. sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.    Grease and flour one 9 inch round cake pan (or a loaf pan)

Place the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast them until they are golden brown and aromatic, 12 to 14 minutes.    Cool completely and then finely chop them.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices into a medium bowl and set aside.   In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, water, sugar and olive oil together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then beat in the vanilla extract.   Beat in the dry ingredients all at once on low speed until they are thoroughly combined, then switch to medium speed and mix for 30 seconds.    Mix in the zucchini, apricot and walnuts on low speed until they are completely incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.    Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes (40 to 45 if you are using a loaf pan) or until a tester inserted in the cakes comes out clean and the cakes have begun to pull away from the sides of the pans.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze.   In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and sugar, then whisk in the powdered sugar until the glaze is completely smooth.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a wire rack.   Immediately spoon the glaze over the entire surface of the warm cake using all of the glaze; it will adhere to the cake and set as the cake cools.    Allow the cake to cool completely and the glaze to dry.


4 ounces shelled walnuts
2 to 4 T. fine breadcrumbs
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 c. sugar
1 ounce grated bittersweet chocolate
1/4 c. butter melted until soft enough to pour but no  oily
1 T. Cognac

Preheat the oven to 350.    Grease an 8 inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper.

Grind the walnuts together with the breadcrumbs in a food processor.   Put the egg whites in a large bowl or whisking.    Whisk the yolks and granulated sugar in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water until they have tripled in volume and become thick, pale and ribbony.    Take the yolk mixture off the heat.    Scatter the nut mixture over the yolk mixture, along with the chocolate, if using, then drizzle over the butter and Cognac.    Fold very gently to blend.    Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks.    Stir a spoonful of whirs into the batter to loosen it, and then gently fold in the remainder.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.    Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.   Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack before flipping the cake out onto a serving plan.

Decorate with a sifting of powdered sugar and a few walnut halves.


4 eggs, separated
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. sugar
zest of 1 lemon
pinch of salt
3/4 c. ground almonds
1 T. Kirschwasser (cherry brandy)
3/4 pound Bing cherries, halved and pitted

Heat oven to 350.    Grease and flour a 9 inch springform pan.

In a large bowl, beat the yolks with 1/2 the sugar, the vanilla and the lemon zest.    In another bowl, beat the whites with the salt to soft peaks, then beat in the remaining sugar a tablespoon at a time until thick and glossy.    

Stir the almonds into the yokes, then the cherry brandy, then loosen the mixture by adding a spoonful of the whites to the mixture.    Fold in the remaining whites and pour into the prepared pan.     Scatter the cherries over the top and bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.   

Let cool 10 minutes before removing sides of the pan.    Serve warm or at room temperature.

It's Monday and I'm joining Yvonne at Stone Gable for What's On the Menu Monday.  

At Linderhof -- it seems to be cake!


Shabby Brocante, Karen said...

Those look delicious. They are beautiful. I never thought of doing Zucchini bread in cake plate. So smart. It's pretty.

Deb said...

I was going to pick my favorite but to be honest, I can't. I would love all three. I've been baking too in this hot, humid weather. Some people would raise their eyebrows.


These cakes all look delish and beautiful too! I guess I'll try them all one day. Thank you for the recipes and hope you have a great week.

The French Hutch said...

Oh my, these cakes look so good! I'm going to print the recipes out so I'll be ready when the baking mood strikes. Yikes, that must have been some job baking in such heat. Now I feel the need for a glass of mild and a piece of cake………

The French Hutch

Pondside said...

What riches! Three recipes for cakes that we know will be delicious, because we know the provenance!

Rose H (UK) said...

I;m salivating here!
Rose H

On Crooked Creek said...

First, I'm sorry to hear of yur friends husbands passing and her sorrow at this time. Your cakes look delicious. Which do you like the best??? I'm partial to the zucchinni...but need a review first! Thanks!

Rosemary said...

Wow! You have been busy! Hope you got a chance to sit down and cool off! Love your variety of cakes... and the purpose for each one. Wish I could have shared some zucchini with you... I have too many right now and made a chocolate zucchini cake yesterday to use some up!

Canadian Chickadee said...

When the weather is that hot, you could almost bake the cakes without the oven! But I must say, they look and sound delicious.

Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Love seeing home canned goodies all lined up in a row.