Leith Hall Bed and Breakfast Chocolate Cherry Cake
I recently served this rich chocolate cherry cake at Leith Hall at teatime. Our guests asked for the recipe, so here it is. I bake it in a glass bundt pan, but it would work in any ring-shaped pan, or in two nine-inch round cake pans with a frosting or icing.
2 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ cup cocoa powder (I use Droste’s, Rademaker, or Van Houten)
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup hot coffee
1/2 cup milk
½ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla paste
½ cup dried cherries, dusted with flour
1 jar of cherry preserves
Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Beat the sugar, oil coffee, milk, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla together. Add the flour mixture and beat in. Fold in the dried cherries. Turn into a greased and floured bundt pan. Place a ring of cherry preserves on top of the batter by teaspoonsfull . As the cake bakes, it will sink toward the bottom. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes. Check the cake by prodding with a finger. It should spring back and seem fully baked and cakelike. Add time as needed.
This past week, our guests devoured this cake and a cherry devil’s food cake at afternoon tea. They asked for the recipe for both cakes. This is the orange one, which is flavored with sour cream and orange marmalade and tastes like a Creamsicle pop. The chocolate recipe will follow in a later post. I hope that you enjoy them at Syracuse!
I use a glass tube pan to bake this cake in, so that I can keep an eye on the color, (it has to get golden brown to be fully baked in the center) but you can use any pan that you have. If you use layer cake pans, it will take less time.
Leith Hall’s Orange and Cream Cake
2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup softened unsalted butter (one stick)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
1 tsp. orange extract
½ tsp. lemon extract
¾ cup milk
¼ cup bitter orange marmalade
1/3 cup sour cream
Tube pan, greased and floured
350 degrees 30—35 minutes. Check for doneness and add time if needed.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Beat the butter with the sugar, then the orange marmalade, then the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the flavorings, then the sour cream. Beat in the flour mixture and the milk, alternately to make a smooth batter. Turn into the pan, bake until the cake is golden (darkish brown) and springs back firmly when poked with a fingertip.
I serve this cake right-side up without an icing. You could drizzle an icing made of powdered sugar, orange juice and melted butter on top; or you could sprinkle it with powdered sugar for decoration.
A new festival in Cape May – The Craft Beer and Crab Festival will be this coming August 11 on the grounds of the Physick Estate. The café patio will be transformed into a food court with crabs (of course), pulled pork barbecue, corn on the cob, and lots of other food. There will be several local breweries represented and music on the outdoor stage, pony rides for the kids, a little Victorian “midway” with games of skill and chance. There will also be a crafts show on the front lawn of the Physick Estate. With all of the games, music, food, beer and crafts show on the grounds, the Physick Estate should be the fun place to be on Saturday August 11th. Make your Leith Hall bed and breakfast reservations now! The water is warmer than ever, the beach is beckoning, and the festivals are festing. Our guests are breakfasting on the porch and Elan is baking for tea
One of our guests recently gave us a huge quarter-of-a-circle sandwich that they had left over from a picnic on the beach. They’d bought a giant circular sandwich made of a flat disk filled with mushrooms and wonderful cheeses and Italian cured meats. They got the sandwich from Seaside Cheese in West Cape May and it was both very high quality and big enough to fed a family of eight.
When we moved to Cape May twenty-three years ago, if we
wanted good or interesting cheese, we had to go to Philadelphia. Acme and Shoprite didn’t have cheese departments and there was no real Parmigiano Reggiano in the entire county. Now we have a treasure right next door. Seaside Cheese on Park Boulevard in West Cape May has great cheese, interesting cheese, and yummy cheese. When we came back from a winter vacation in Italy, we went looking for Gorgonzola dolce for a dinner party. It’s sweet gorgonzola (as opposed to strong) and is great melted on top of pumpkin gnocchi or pumpkin ravioli. We had to go to the Italian market in Philadelphia to get it. Now we can go across the street. Seaside Cheese also has a number of cheeses that are basically aged Goudas. They are nutty, strong and delicious.
Seaside Cheese is also an outlet for Hawk Haven Winery, so you can get cheese and cured
meats to go with your wine. They are also an outlet for The Ravioli House in Wildwood, so you can get their ravioli, tortellini, and gnocchi to go with your cheese and sauce. When you think of a picnic at the beach, consider Seaside Cheese. It’s a short trip from Leith Hall bed and breakfast and we’ll even lent you plates if you want to eat on the porch.
Those of you old enough will remember the 1973 movie Sleeper, in which Woody Allen wakes up far, far, into the future and discovers that the really healthy activities are smoking cigarettes and eating ice cream. It’s come true! A recent story reported by WebMD described a large Australian study that found that eating three to six ounces of high-percentage chocolate every day greatly lowered your risk of heart disease. That was one to two chocolate bars of 60 to 70 percent chocolate every day!
Chocolate – Miracle Food!
Having had two heart attacks, four angioplasties a quintuple bypass, and a partridge in a pear tree, this is news I want to hear! Suzie has prophetically been implementing the recommendations of this study for years. One of the conclusions of the story was that money spent teaching people to eat chocolate would save so much in medical costs later that it would be cheaper for Medicare to pay to encourage chocolate eating. The next thing we’ll hear is that World Peace has broken out and lions are napping with lambs.
This cheesecake is trying to reproduce one made by an old college friend, Kenny
Kleinrock’s mother. She approached the task as a scientific experiment, trying many variations ’till she found the perfect, the archetypal, the uber-cheesecake. She found that the definitive cheesecake had to have both lemon and orange flavor in it, to cut the extreme richness.
New York Cheesecakes
To make the crust
1 cup. (4 oz) graham cracker crumbs (or 4 whole crackers and food-processed)
1 Tbs. sugar
5 Tbs. unsalted butter melted, plus 1 Tbs. for buttering pan
Combine above and press into bottom of 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 325 f. to 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling
To make the filling
2 ½ lbs. cream cheese at room temperature
1/8 tsp. salt
1 ½ cups (10 ½ oz) sugar
1/3 cup (2 ½ oz) sour cream
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 egg yolks plus 6 eggs
1 tsp. lemon zest and 1 tsp. orange zest, grated.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, scrape, beat in salt and sugar, scrape. Add sour cream lemon juice, vanilla, and zest. Beat and scrape.
Add eggs one at a time. Beat and scrape.
Bake on rimmed cookie sheet. Bake at 500 F. for 10 minutes. Turn down oven to 200 F. and bake approx 1 ½ hours (instant read thermometer 150 F) Run paring knife around cake. Cool 2 ½ to 3 hours. Wrap in pan and cool at least 3 hours, or overnight
New York and Palermo
When I was a child in New York, you could get Sicilian cheesecake is every Italian bakery. A few years ago, Suzie and I spent a month traveling around Sicily and I was on a mission to find this old-fashioned dessert. Everywhere, I ordered Cassata alla Siciliana, and all’antica. Usually I got a ricotta dessert held together with lime-green jello. Sometimes I got spongecake layered with cannolli cream. Never did I get the old fashioned cheesecake of my childhood. The closest was a Cassata di Ricotta in Palermo, which was a pie with the ricotta and candied fruit filling
Sicilian Ricotta Cheesecake
3 lbs whole milk ricotta cheese, drained
2 cups sugar
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 egg whites, beaten till soft peaks form
1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped
1/2-1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon zest
3/4 cup candied and dried fruit, chopped. (candied citron,
dried pineapple, golden raisins, candied orange rind, etc.)
1 double recipe pie crust
Line a 12″ springform pan with the pie crust. In an electric mixer, beat the ricotta, sugar, flour, egg yolks, lemon zest, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix in the candied fruits. Remove from mixer and fold in whipped egg whites and cream. Pour into crust-lined springform pan. Bake at 425 F. for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 F. and bake for one hour. Turn off oven and don’t open it. Allow to cool in oven for three hours. Then refrigerate.
This is restaurant week in Cape May. Many of our best eateries have prix fixe, three course dinners for $35. This is a great time to sample the offerings at some of the best restaurants in New Jersey – 410 Bank Street and Fresco’s, the Ebbitt Room at the Virginia Hotel, the Sea Salt in the new Ocean Club Hotel and Union Park at the Macomber Hotel, as well as the Washington Inn. Four restaurants even have $25 dinners; Harry’s Ocean
Bar and Grille, Cucina Rosa, The Pilot House, and Carney’s, Restaurant week will run through June 10th, so there’s still time to reserve and feast.
A recent Leith Hall b&b guest, Donna B., emailed me for two recipes for treats that we serve at afternoon tea. The first was Cape May bed and breakfast Gingerbread which was in an earlier post, and this is the second – Raspberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Of course, you could substitute any other preserves, but then it would be apricot or orange coffee cake.
Raspberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake
2 tablespoons canola oil or melted butter
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1/3 cup sour cream
1 small jar of raspberry preserves
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Line a 9”x11” baking pan with cooking parchment and spray with cooking spray.
Mix 1 1 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together egg, milk, canola oil or butter, 1/3 cup sour cream, and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients into egg mixture.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Drop raspberry preserves over batter by random teaspoons full. Combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form. Sprinkle crumbs over batter.
Transfer pan to oven, and bake for about 23 minutes. . Continue baking until a cake tester comes out clean or cake springs back when prodded with a finger.
Recently one of our guests at Leith Hall b&b contacted me to request two recipes we serve at afternoon tea. This one, Leith Hall’s Cape May bed and breakfast Gingerbread, is for Donna. It has bits of crystallized ginger in it for an extra sharp bite. Sometimes I ice it with a bittersweet chocolate and butter icing (which I’ll put on almost anything) and sometimes I’ll sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar through a paper doily laid on top of the gingerbread. We always have one chocolate and one non-chocolate treat at teatime. Suzie would never forgive me if I left out the chocolate, and we sometimes have guests who (sadly) don’t like chocolate.
Leith Hall Cape May bed and breakfast Gingerbread
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup crystallized ginger, cut into tiny slices
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F Line a 9 “square pan with cooking parchment and spray with cooking spray
In an electric mixer, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Beat into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until the gingerbread springs back when prodded with a fingertip. Allow to cool in pan before serving.
Did you know that wooden house trim is called gingerbread because gingerbread was once very heavily decorated? During the Middle Ages, ginger was fabulously expensive and gingerbread was a desert at Royal and Noble courts. Sometimes, it was ornamented with real gold leaf in elaborate swirls. When sawn wooden ornament was introduced in the nineteenth century, people started calling it gingerbread because it reminded them of Christmas gingerbread houses – which are the last vestige of great medieval gingerbread constructions.Architecture and dessert all in one, my favorite combination
This past weekend, Roger and Judy, who visit us every year and are so much fun to talk to, asked for the recipe for the pumpkin and apricot cake that I served for tea. The last time they followed one of my recipes (for banana chocolate cake) the chocolate exploded as it was poured into a bowl. Undeterred, they are willing to follow another recipe, no matter what the danger.
PUMPKIN APRICOT CAKE
3 1/2 c. unbleached flour 1/4 tsp. baking powder 2 tsp. baking soda 1 1/2 tsp. salt 1 tsp. each nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon 1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
½ c. white sugar 1 c. oil 2 c. canned pumpkin 4 eggs 1 c. dried apricots, cut into small slices
1 c. simple syrup made of 1 c. water boiled with 1 c. sugar
Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Add the sugars, mixing well.
Mix dry ingredients with the oil and pumpkin, stirring until well combined.
Add eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly. Pour into 2 greased and floured decorative bundt pans. I use a silicone fluted bundt ban and a variety of Teflon coated bundt pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until cake springs back when prodded with a finger. Cool in pans. Dribble ½ c. simple syrup over each cake. Remove from pans. Place on wire rack to cool.