Buttermilk Pound Cake

Pound Cake 1

“And now for something completely different.” Unlike many of my previous recipes and probably many more to follow, this cake is not gluten-free nor is it Paleo or Primal. It’s a lovely treat we enjoyed on a holiday weekend. If your diet allows it, I hope you enjoy it as well.

Pound Cake 2

Why pound cake? Quite honestly, I’ve never been a real fan. “Pound cake” conjures up thoughts of some icky sweet cake-like substance you buy at the gas station. That pound cake comes in a crinkly plastic wrapper with an ingredient list you can’t pronounce.

Pound Cake 3

So, when I found myself with some leftover buttermilk from making Ranch dressing I decided to do some baking. I wanted something easy that wouldn’t require hours in the kitchen, and I wasn’t really in the mood for making biscuits.

Pound Cake 4

I came across this recipe and decided to give it a go. I’ve had really good luck with Alton Brown’s baking recipes. I never really cared for his show, Good Eats, but then I’m like that. I tend to like the material that comes in print, but then find it doesn’t translate to my taste in television. Okay, I guess I’m weird that way. Anyway, this recipe is from one of Alton’s first cookbooks, I’m Just Here for More Food. It was the book that I turned to for a refresher course in baking when I was hired as a baker for a catering company and needed to become a maestro baker overnight. A quick perusal of each chapter’s techniques was enough for me to get through my first day of baking what seemed like hundreds of wedding cakes and keep me employed.

Pound Cake 5

My husband absolutely loves this cake. The first slice disappeared in seconds. I think he had told me in the past that he loved pound cake, but I had no idea how much.

Pound Cake 6

I like this cake too. The buttermilk really gives it a nice depth of flavor that’s not too cloying. It has infinite possibilities. I’m imagining it as a base for any kind of summer fruit with piles of whipped cream on top, or maybe with a pile of blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup. We tried it toasted with jam this morning. It was nice, but I believe the best way to eat this cake is just plain, with a cup of tea.

Pound Cake 7

Happy Independence Day everyone!

Pound Cake 8

Buttermilk Pound Cake

Yield: One large cake

I greased the pan with shortening and floured it. That’s a little difficult to do with a tube pan, so I recommend using Baker’s Joy spray. I ended up baking this pound cake at 325 convection bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I started testing it at 1 hour, at which time it was still pretty jiggly. If you don’t use convection bake, it might only take an hour.

Baker’s Joy spray or shortening and flour for preparing pan

3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 325. Prepare a 12-cup tube or Bundt pan with Baker’s Joy spray or by greasing and flouring.

Mix flour, baking soda and salt by whisking in a bowl.

Place the eggs and the vanilla extract in a small bowl.

Place the butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat at medium speed with a paddle attachment for one minute to spread fat in bowl. Add the sugar and cream with the butter, scraping down with a spatula as necessary, until the mixture is lightened and fluffy.

Reduce the speed on the mixture and add the eggs one at a time, scraping down between each addition. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in three installments, beginning with dry ingredients and ending with buttermilk.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a tester comes out clean.

Allow the cake to stand in the pan for 15 minutes then carefully turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

This cake will keep tightly wrapped at room temperature for 1 week.

Adapted from I’m Just Here for More Food by Alton Brown

Pound Cake 9

 

  

Gluten-Free Green Chilie Corn Muffins

Chilie Muffins 1

My husband and I just returned from a short trip to Nassau, Bahamas.  Unlike most of our vacations that have purpose, usually visiting friends or family, this trip was just for us, with the primary goal of not doing much more than enjoying some delicious meals and staring at the ocean.

Beach_Bar

We accomplished that goal.  So much so, that it never occurred to us to check the Washington, D.C. weather until we were at the airport awaiting our return flight.  Imagine our shock when we discovered snow and negative-number wind chills were in the forecast.  Ugghh!  Don’t get me wrong, I love snow and winter weather, preferably when I am inside, in front of a fire.  But it was a bit too much when compared with the sun and sea, the bright blue sky, and the temperatures in the 70s that we had so quickly become accustomed to. 

Nassau_Beach

Reality check – it’s still winter, Jeannine.

For me, comfort foods come to mind when the snow flies, and that usually means some sort of soup.  I love them all – Thai chicken, chili, vegetable beef, broccoli and cheese, the varieties are endless.  Nothing is more comforting than a bowl of soup on a cold day, especially when accompanied by some fresh homemade bread, rolls or savory muffins.

I made these muffins to go with black-eyed peas on New Years Day, but they will go well with almost any type of soup.  Last New Years I attempted gluten-free baking for the first time by substituting gluten-free flour for regular flour in my normal cornbread recipe.  The results were anything but spectacular, but my wonderfully supportive husband choked that cornbread down until it was finished.  My gluten-free baking has improved considerably since that first effort, and I was really pleased with the way these muffins turned out.  I hope you like these muffins as well as I do.  If you make them, please send me a comment and let me know what you served with them.

Chilie Muffins 2

Gluten-Free Green Chilie Corn Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

 I have found that I get better results by mixing my own gluten-free flour blend than when using a commercial product off-the-shelf, but in a pinch I use the King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour.  If you want to make your own, I used 2 cups white rice flour, 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup tapioca flour or starch, and 1/2 cup potato starch.  This makes quite a bit, but stores well in the freezer.  This recipe worked well with palm sugar, but you can use granulated if that’s what you have on hand. 

Nonstick cooking spray for the pan

1 cup gluten-free flour

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup palm sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup butter (1 stick or 4 ounces), melted

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 4-ounce can (about 2 tablespoons) chopped green chilies

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or use paper cupcake liners. 

In a large bowl thoroughly whisk the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, baking soda, and salt.  Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a separate medium bowl whisk the eggs until frothy.  Whisk in the butter and buttermilk and mix then stir in the green chilies.

Pour the liquid mixture into the well in the dry mixture and stir until just combined.  Do not over mix.  Spoon the batter into the muffin cups.  The cups should be almost full with a mound in the center. 

Bake the muffins 16-18 minutes, until golden brown. Immediately transfer the muffins to a wire rack, cooling them on their sides. 

Slightly adapted from Gluten-Free Breakfast, Brunch, and Beyond by Linda J. Amendt

Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Muffins

Cran Muffins 1

When I started this blog a couple of months ago I decided to call it Jeannine’s Cuisine, because that is exactly what I wanted my posts to be about – the food I love and the way I eat.  Rather than concentrating on any of my many interests: pastry, baking, healthy food from real ingredients, the myriad of cuisines I have experienced in my travels, I wanted it to encompass all of that.  And, so far, I believe it has.

Now, it’s time for Jeannine’s Cuisine to move in a slightly different direction for a while.  I was recently tested for celiac disease, and although the test came back negative, it seems I have some sort of gluten intolerance.  I am definitely discovering through experimentation that I do much better when I don’t consume gluten.  So, the blog will still contain scrumptious recipes, but, from now on, at least for the time being, they will be primarily gluten free.

This couldn’t have happened at a worse time than right before the holidays.  I checked out some of the gluten free offerings at the local supermarket and was not thrilled.  It seems the gluten-free stuff is more processed than the other packaged food, but that’s not what Jeannine’s Cuisine is all about anyway.  Once again I discovered this was the perfect excuse to buy more cookbooks.  Do you see a pattern here?  Help!  I have a cookbook addiction.

Cran Muffins 2

I decided to try muffins as my first foray into the gluten free baking world.  Muffins are pretty much the easiest of all quick breads, and suitable for breakfast or with a cup of tea in the afternoon.  The holidays are upon us and cranberry and orange seemed like a good combination.  The recipe I chose is from Crave, a gluten free bakery in the San Francisco Bay area.

Cran Muffins 3

Gluten Free Cranberry Orange Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

You could use any fat in this recipe.  I just happen to have a lifetime supply of palm shortening on hand.  Regular shortening would work, as would butter if you tolerate dairy.  The original recipe also called for rice milk, which would make the recipe dairy free.

3 tablespoons tapioca flour

3/4 cup sweet rice flour

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon potato starch

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup palm shortening

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange extract

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup dried cranberries

zest from 1 orange

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick spray or use cupcake papers.

Whisk the tapioca flour, rice flour, potato starch, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt together. 

Place shortening and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream on high speed with a paddle for 3 minutes.  Add eggs and extracts and continue beating on high speed for an additional 2 minutes.

Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk, adding half of each at a time.  Add cranberries and orange zest and beat for another 2 minutes.

Fill muffin tins almost to the top.

Bake muffins for 10 minutes then turn pan and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from oven when a tester comes out clean. 

When cool enough to handle gently remove muffins from pan and cool on a rack.

Slightly adapted from Crave Bakery Gluten Free Cookbook by Cameo Edwards

Whole Wheat Soda Bread

soda bread loaf

Now that it’s fall, it’s time for soups and stews, and a nice savory bread to go with them.  I love bread, and I love making bread, but I don’t always have the time for the kneading, rising, punching down, and forming process that is generally required for a yeast bread.  Okay, it’s a whole lot easier these days with a sturdy mixer with a dough hook, but it still takes time. This soda bread is quick and easy to prepare, and it goes just as well with a hearty chowder as it does with butter and jam with afternoon tea.

soda bread pieces2

As a child, my only experience with soda bread was when my mom made it on Saint Patrick’s Day.  We thought it was pretty cool, probably because we only had it once a year and it had raisins in it.  I’ve made several versions of that bread over the years including my mom’s recipe. This bread is considerably more rustic than those other versions.  It’s the bread that Irish and Scottish mothers and grandmothers have been making everyday for hundreds of years.

Last night we went to the Maryland Renaissance festival, specifically to attend a concert by this band.  It was dusk, the wind was whispering through the trees, a light drizzle was falling, and the haunting bagpipe music filled the air.  For just a short time I was transported to a world far away where work and daily life were far simpler than today. I think this bread would be part of that imaginary life.

Whole Wheat Soda Bread

1 Loaf

Soda bread is best eaten the day it is baked.  If that’s not possible, you can freeze the remainder, thawing it out the same day you intend to serve it.

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5-2 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Whisk the flours, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.

2. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in 1.5 cups buttermilk.  Stir the buttermilk into the flour working from the center to the outside of the bowl.  Add more buttermilk if needed.

3.  Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, flour your hands and shape the dough into a neat ball, tucking the edges underneath the dough ball to smooth it.  Do not knead the dough as this will develop gluten and toughen the dough.  Use your hands to flatten the dough ball into a disc about 1.5 inches thick.  Transfer the dough to a baking sheet.

4.  Cut a cross or “X” into the top of the dough, then use a knife to prick the center of each of the four sections.  Cutting the dough in this way allows more heat to enter the center of the bread, resulting in more even baking.

5.  Bake the bread for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 400 degrees F. and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes.  The bread should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.  Remove from the pan and cool the bread on a wire rack.  Allow to cool before cutting into wedges to serve.

Adapted from Forgotten Skills of Cooking by Darina Allen