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Posts tagged ‘desserts’

Apple Cake With Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting

Continuing my homage to the apple, the quintessential harbinger of Autumn I made an apple cake. I have been making this cake for many years and it never fails, I found it years ago while watching an episode of Martha Stewarts show on Food Network.  The cake is moist and rustic in texture, loaded with apples and warm autumn spices. Sometimes I use a cream cheese frosting but this time I made the frosting that is featured in the recipe on Martha Stewarts site. The frosting is gently sweet, buttery and has a lovely caramel flavor that comes from using brown sugar instead of granulated.

I really love this cake, it couldn’t be easier to make, no mixer required. The recipe calls for grated and diced apples but I like to use homemade applesauce, I make it in the oven, peel and quarter 4 apples, add a splash of apple cider, cover and bake for about 30 minutes until the apples are soft. Let them cool and mash with a fork. I prefer using applesauce rather than grating apples, the cake has some small pieces of apples and a balanced apple flavor. I think the buttercream is good but I prefer the cream cheese frosting,  it’s a bit sweeter but the tangy creaminess from the cream cheese goes so well with this cake. Just saying!!

I am bringing the cake to Fiesta Friday #196. This weeks co hosts are and Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook.


Recipe from Martha Stewart

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter melted

2 large eggs

2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cup applesauce or 4 apples peeled- 2 grated and 2 diced)

Heat oven to 350 degree’s. Prepare 3 8 inch round baking pans by lining with parchment, butter or grease and dust with flour, set aside.

In medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and eggs. Fold in the applesauce or apples. Add the flour mixture and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon just until combined. Divide equally into prepared baking pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, run butter knife or offset spatula around the edges to loosen and turn out onto cooling racks. Let cool completely before frosting.

Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe from Martha Stewart

4 egg whites from large eggs

1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed

3 sticks or 12 oz of softened unsalted butter

Set pan with about 2 inches of water on low heat, place the egg whites and brown sugar in mixing bowl and set on top of the simmering water (bowl should not touch the water). Whisk until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar is completely melted. Place on stand mixer with whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until fluffy and completely cooled, approximately 15 minutes. Change to paddle attachment and add the soft butter 1 tbs at a time while the mixer is on med low speed. Once butter is incorporated continue to mix on medium speed for another 3-5 minutes. If it curdles it’s ok, keep mixing it will come together. Frost cake immediately.  I piled way too much frosting on top, don’t do like I do and make sure the frosting is evenly spread all over the cake. Thats what happens when you are in a hurry.

Pairing Desserts and Wine- Part 3 How And Why!

This is the final installment of the dessert and wine pairing series, If I had tried to put all of this in one post it would be as long as a novel, so I decided to break this up into a series of 3 posts. The first was an explanation of desserts wines and the science involved in pairing taken from Julians blog, Vino in love. Post #2 is the actual desserts and the wine recommendations,  and the third will tell you why the wines were chosen for each dish.

Below is an explanation as to why these particular wines were chosen for each dessert. Cheers!

When desserts meet wine

Only recently, I wrote about pairing wine with desserts. I have teamed up with Suzanne from apuginthekitchen to present to you awesome dessert and wine pairings. If you want to know more about the desserts that Suzanne and I picked to pair with wine then read this post on apuginthekitchen.

In the final part of this mutual collaboration, I want to talk about why I decided to pair these wines with Suzanne’s desserts.

Stuffed pears en papillote

Suzanne’s Stuffed pears en papillote pair very well with a Passito di Pantelleria. For example we could pair this dessert with the Ben Rye from Donnafugata. Why? The answers is quite simple. The pears are steamed in brown sugar and stuffed with walnuts. Sweet desserts like this one call for a wine that has a good amount of sweetness itself. It should not be overly sweet though. Furthermore, the Ben Rye has a bouquet that includes candid oranges, which pair with pears en papillote very well.

Trabucchi d’Illasi’s Recioto di Soave is a great match for a fig and goat cheese tart. The flavor of the figs and the aromas of the Recioto di Soave (elderflower, chamomile, white chocolate, aromatic herbs, etc.) pair well together. This Recioto is also not that sweet. We also need a wine with an ABV between around 10% and 13.5%. A Passito di Pantelleria would be too intense and also too strong. That would cause the wine to dominate the dessert, which we want to avoid. The Recioto di Soave however, is a very elegant wine. It has an ABV of 12.5% which is perfect for this dish.

Ceretto Asti SpumanteThe buttermilk panna cotta called immediately for a Moscato d’Asti Spumante. Moscato d’Asti Spumante are sweet, fruity and usually have a very low ABV (often around 7%). These wines have a little bit of acidity as welll. And with pannacotta we want exactly that. The Moscato d’Asti Spumante from Cerotto has a good quality-price ratio and is the perfect match for Suzanne’s buttermilk panna cotta.

Pasticciotti filled with vanilla cream are a traditional dessert from Apulia, Italy. These delicious pastries also call for a sparkling wine and why not pair Apulian food with Apulian wine? Sometimes it is best to go with food and wine from the same region. Therefore, I decided to pair Suzanne’s Pasticciotti (you have to try them! They are so tasty!) with a Moscato di Trani Spumante. Pasticciotti are dry and pretty sweet. One of my favorite Moscato di Trani Spumante is produced by Azienda Agricola Franco di Filippo. Both of their Moscato di Trani Spumante will work excellent with Pasticciotti. These “Champagne-like” sparkling wines (“Champagne-like” because they are manufactured after the Classic-Method process) have a long-lasting perlage, an intense nose and a great palate. They tend to have less acidity then Moscato d’Asti Spumante. However, Moscato d’Asti Spumante are usually produced after with Martinotti-Method and not with the Classic-Method.

Recioto della Valpolicella - Trabucchi d'Illasi

Trabucchi d’Illasi does not only make a stunning Recioto di Soave but also an even better Recioto della Valpolicella. Recioto della Valpolicella is produced similar to Amarone. Grapes get sun-dried for around 40 days on straw-mats where they lose around 80% of their weight. This gives Trabucchi’s Recioto della Valpolicella a rich nose and an intense palate. The nose is incredible with a lots of different aromas. The finish is persistently long. I have baked Suzanne’s semolina olive oil myself and served it with Trabucchi’s Recioto della Valpolicella. A good match which I highly recommend.

Last but not least I paired the spicy chocolate panna cotta with aCognac. I am of the opinion that chocolate desserts like chocolate panna cotta or chocolate cake do not pair well with wine. A Portuguese Port wine would have worked as well but with these type of desserts your best bet are spirits like Brandy and Cognac – in fact Cognac is a type of Brandy from France. If matching chocolate desserts with alcohol then you have to go with strong spirits. Of course, we could also serve this delicious dessert with an espresso which would be the “Italian way”.

Photo Credits: Stuffed pears en papillote by Suzanne. All rights reserved
Ceretto Asti Spumante by Ceretto 
Recioto della Valpolicella – Trabucchi d’Illasi 
by Julian Rossello. All rights reserved.

This brings our dessert and wine pairing series to an end. I hope you have enjoyed it. Let me know what you think about these pairings. With what do you pair your favorite dessert usually with?


Pairing Wines With Dessert Part 2

When Julian from Vino In Love  and I first started talking about dessert wines and pairing wines with desserts I was so excited and thrilled that he agreed to collaborate with me on this. I sent him a list of desserts that I posted here on my blog and asked him to pair wines or spirits with the desserts. Here is the list and I can’t wait to try each of these. I am learning a lot from the wine experts that I am now following and I look forward to each of their posts. All of the desserts below are featured on my blog, to get the recipes just click on desserts on the category cloud. I didn’t include the recipes on this post because this is about the wine that you would eat with the dessert. You can pair the wine below the photo with a similar dessert without using the exact recipe. To locate these wines you can use this handy dandy tool or do like I do, contact your local wine merchant and see if they have them, if not, hopefully your favorite wine shoppe is as wonderful as mine and they can locate these wines for you. Below is the photo of the dessert and Julian’s excellent recommendations. Thank you so much Julian for helping me with this it was so much fun and a real learning experience for me and I hope for all those that follow my blog. Thank you!

Baked Pears

Baked Pears

Stuffed pears en papillote + Donna Fugata – Passito di Pantelleria (intense white sweet wine from Sicily) More info on Donna Fugata:

Mosto Cotto Fig And Goat Cheese Tart

Mosto Cotto Fig And Goat Cheese Tart

Fig and goat cheese tart + Trabucchi d’Illasi – Recioto della Valpolicella (red sweet wine from Veneto. Produced like Amarone but tastes even better.) More information:

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

Buttermilk Panna Cotta

Buttermilk panna cotta with mosto cotto Champagne grape syrup  + Ceretto – Moscato d’Asti (light, sweet sparkling wine from Piedmont. More information on Ceretto:

Pasto Ciotti

Pasti Ciotti

Pasticciotti filled with vanilla cream + Moscato di Trani or with a Passito di Trani (Sweet (sparkling) wine from Apulia; the same region where Pasticciotti are from). Here is a link for information on the wine:

Semolina Olive Oil Cake

Semolina Olive Oil Cake

Semolina olive oil cake +  Trabucchi d’Illasi – Recioto di Soave (white sweet wine from the Veneto) Here is more information on this wine from Julians site:

Fire On Ice Light and Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta

Fire On Ice Light and Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta

Spicy chocolate panna cotta + Cognac (Brandy from France) NOTE from Suzanne: I am so glad that Julian paired this with cognac, I have been doing something right. I like to serve cognac with this type of dessert, I have Pierre Ferrand Cognac (It’s wonderful with this).