This is another recipe for Millie and her family. We served this pumpkin apricot cake for teatime while she was here last week, and she asked for the recipe. I always like desserts that include two ingredients that are similar colors but different flavors, like honeydew and green grapes, chocolate and coffee, and this pumpkin and apricot cake.
Cape May B&B Pumpkin Apricot Cake
3 1/2 c. all-purpose 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. each granulated sugar and packed brown sugar 1 c. oil 2 c. canned pumpkin 4 eggs 2 cups dried apricots, cut up
Sift 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. Stir in apricots. Pour into 2 greased and floured bundt pans. (I use small-ish silicone pans)
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until cake springs back when prodded with your finger.. (I start testing after 35 minutes) Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Place on wire rack to cool.
This recipe is for Millie, She and her family had these cookies at teatime this past week. I make these chocolate chunk cookies or cookie bars all the time. Sometimes, I vary them by using just white chocolate, lemon extract, and perhaps some pignoli, or some pistachio nuts. The dough is endlessly versatile. If you add a few tablespoons of water to the dough, it will rise and be cakier. If you add butter and bake it a little darker, it will be crisper.
Ingredients: 2 1/’2 cups of all purpose flour 1 ¾ cups of sugar 1 Tablespoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup 72% chocolate, chopped ½ cup 60% chocolate, chopped ½ cup white chocolate, chopped (I don’t really measure the chocolate. I use Trader Joe’s Pound Plus 72% bars, Ghirardelli 60% cholcolate chips, and Ghirardelli white melting wafers
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix the molasses and orange extract into the melted butter. Add the melted butter mixture and the egg to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until you form an even dough. If the mixture is too crumbly, add a pat or two of soft butter.
Fold in chopped chocolates until just mixed. If you fold too much the chocolate will melt. (Not a tragedy)
Scoop (with a small scoop) onto parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake at 4oo F. for 9 minutes. Cool on sheets for 10 minutes then on cookie racks. You can also bake these by pressing the dough into a parchment-lined jelly roll pan (mine is the insulated kind), then sprinkling the chopped chocolate on top and baking the same way. Then cut into cookie bars after it has cooled for 10 minutes.
You can decorate these cookies with random squiggles of chocolate by melting some 74% chocolate, and a little butter. Squeeze this out of a ziplock bag with the corner snipped.
Oh No, not again! Another murder in Victorian Cape May! Don’t worry – Sherlock Holmes is on the case.
This November 7th through 9th , there will be another adventure, another murder, another mystery. Friday night, there will be a dessert reception at The Inn of Cape May. Someone will die. Sherlock and Dr. Watson will begin their work. On Saturday, you can tour Cape May bed and breakfasts and search for clues to the mystery. Saturday afternoon, 3:30 to 4:30 , the mystery will unfold further at the Rose Room in the Inn of Cape May.
Sunday lunch at the Inn of Cape May will precede the solution of the mystery. The best, the worst, the best dressed, etc. will all get prizes. Come stay with us at Leith Hall and buy the entire package through MAC (the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts) or just the parts that interest you most.
We recently had two sisters as guests, Phoebe and Joann, who were a delight to talk to. Phoebe told me about a cake that she makes that is incredibly simple to make, very rich, and pleases all of her guests. She was right. She knows her stuff. It’s called Mexican Wedding Cake, though I suspect that it has nothing to do with Mexican weddings. It is made with an entire large can of crushed pineapple, and it looks like the batter will produce a light-colored cake. But it doesn’t. It produces a very dark, caramelized cake that is delicious when served with cream cheese icing.
Our recent guests, Erik and Lisa, had some and Lisa asked for the recipe – so here it is. Thank you Phoebe and enjoy it Lisa.
Mexican Wedding Cake
2 c. all [purpose flour 2 c. sugar 2 eggs 2Tbs. Baking soda 1 tsp. Vanilla extract (I use vanilla paste) 1 can (20 oz.) crushed pineapple DO NOT DRAIN 1 cup. Roughly chopped pecans 9′ x13” metal baking pan, lined with parchment 350 F. 35 minutes
Cream Cheese frosting 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter 8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese 1 Tbs. Vanilla extract (I use vanilla paste) 3 cups powdered confectioner’s sugar
To make cake, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl by hand. Turn into the baking dish and bake.
To make icing – Beat all of the ingredients in an electric mixer in order, starting with the butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Spread onto completely cooled cake.
Just when you thought the Cape May season was winding down, the middle of September brings the Cape May Food and Wine Celebration. There will be spectacular dinners like the Farm to Table dinner presented by the Red Store in Cape May Point and a Bourbon Tasting Dinner at Alethea’s Restaurant in the Inn of Cape May on the beach in Cape May. The Chocolate Lovers Feast will be at The Blue Rose, one of Cape May’s newest and best restaurants. There will also be special dinners, tours, and grape picking at three of Cape Mays vineyards – Hawk Haven, Natali, and Cape May Winery.
Just imagine your stay in Cape May. The ocean will still be warm, the weather will still be ideal. There will be lectures and demonstrations, tastings from many Cape May restaurants at Convention Hall; winery, brewery, and bourbon events, samples and tastings, and feasting galore. You can go to the website of the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts for a more complete list; and you can call or email us to make reservations.
I’ve had a recipe for peppermint cookies on this blog before, but these are different from the earlier ones. Our guest, Dale, wrote and asked me to post the recipe for last week’s peppermint sandwich cookies. They look like Oreo’s on steroids, but taste much better.
I make them medium size, then make sandwich cookies with the quick peppermint butter-cream.
Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
1 ¼ cup (2 1/2 sticks) butter 2 cups sugar 2 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or vanilla paste 2 cups flour ¾ cup Dutch cocoa 1 teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt
Beat the butter and sugar together until they are fluffy. Beat in eggs and extracts. Mix the flour, cocoa, soda and salt together and beat the mixture into the butter mixture. Drop by tablespoons full onto parchment lined cookie sheets. I use a scoop to get exactly even size domes. Bake for 9 minutes at 350F. Cool on cookie sheets, then again on cookie racks.
For the peppermint cream.
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, creamed in an electric mixer
4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon peppermint extract
a few tablespoons of water
Cream the butter ’till light and fluffy. Beat in the extract and powdered sugar, one cup at a time. If the mixture doesn’t make frosting, beat in water, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is creamy and frosting consistency. You could add a tiny drop of red food coloring if you want the frosting to be pink. I seldom do.
When the cookies are thoroughly cold, put a dollop of frosting on one, then top with another and twist the sandwich to distribute the filling evenly. Keep cool ’till serving.
I often serve these for teatime. They started out as regular lemon bars. Then I thought, why not add cream cheese. Cream cheese is good in everything! So now they are lemon cheesecake bars. Our guest Joanne liked them and asked for the recipe. So here it is –
Leith Lemon Cheesecake Bars
Start with a 13″x 9″ pan. I line all baking pans with parchment paper and spray them with Pam to make turning them out easier. Melt 2 sticks of butter. Mix 2 cups of flour together with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Pour the melted butter on top of the flour mixture. Mix and cut the mixture with a rubber spatula and toss the crumbs into the baking pan. Press the dough into an even layer and bake for 10 minutes. Take out and let cool.
In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl several times. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, making sure that the mixture is smooth before adding the next egg. Add the lemon juice and grated zest. Beat. Add the 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Beat ’till smooth. Pour onto the crust and bake for about 23 minutes until the edges have a tiny bit of golden color and the filling is close to set. It will stiffen more as it cools.
Cool, then refrigerate for a few hours. I sprinkle it with powdered sugar when cold, then flip it onto a plastic cutting board, then flip back onto a serving dish. To cut into squares, keep a glass of water nearby and dip your knife into water between each cut. This will make the cuts clean and smooth. Or, even better, come stay at Leith Hall and let me make them for you.
Usually I wait ‘till a guests asks for a recipe before making it a blog post, but this afternoon I’m making chocolate salami for tea, and I can’t resist telling you how to make it. The idea is Italian, so it looks like a Genoa salami, though people make it all over Eastern Europe too, with slight variations. I use a combination of Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips and some 70% Belgian chocolate from Trader Joe’s.
8 oz. unsalted butter 16 oz. chocolate 1 cup nuts, lightly crushed (Italians would use almonds and hazelnuts. I used pecans) About 1 cup cookies, lightly chunked (Italians would use biscotti (cantucci) or amaretti. You could use any simple cookie like shortbread or digestives) ¼ cup rum, or coffee, or orange juice (I use rum) Zest of 1 orange or ¼ tsp. orange extract. 1 cup raisins (Italians don’t often use raisins, but I like them) ½ cup powdered sugar for coating.
In Italy, the recipe includes raw eggs as they don’t have the salmonella problem that we do. This recipe has a little more butter to make up for leaving out the eggs.
Melt the butter, rum and chocolate together and mix. Mix all of the other ingredients together, then mix with the chocolate. Refrigerate the mixture for 1 ½ hours. Lay out a sheet of aluminum foil on your counter. Then lay out a sheet of plastic wrap on the aluminum foil. Turn the cold mixture out onto the plastic wrap. Wrap with plastic wrap and shape it into a roll. Wrap the aluminum foil and shape again into a roll. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, unwrap the roll and dust with powdered sugar. Cut some slices and arrange them like an antipasto plate with the remainder of the roll.
Next, I’ll have to figure out some other trompe l’oeil sweets that look like savories.
The West Cape May Strawberry Festival will be June 7 (rain date of June 8). Come out and enjoy strawberry smoothies, strawberry tacos, strawberry ice cream, chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry barbecue sauce on ribs and chicken and of course, strawberry shortcake You can buy strawberry t- shirts, hats, jewelry, art work and stained glass – not to mention antiques, crab cakes, and birdhouses
There’ll be live entertainment all day with Robin Hippell (who used to be our assistant innkeeper at Leith Hall, and is a pretty mean jazz singer) and Amy Hufana from 10-12, Bill Bitman on the steel drum from 9 to 11 A.M. and the crowning of the Strawberry King and Queen at 3 P.M..
Also stop by the Coastline Realty table and say hello to Elan’s co-workers when he has his reatlor hat on.
One of the joys of the West Cape May Strawberry Festival is absorbing the atmosphere of West Cape May, with neighborliness, good feeling, and cooperation in a traditional small town setting.
More and more, guests often tell us that they are “gluten free”. Some of the best gluten free recipes are naturally gluten free because they didn’t include flour in the first place. This flourless chocolate cake is a good example. Another is a New York cheesecake – which will appear in a future post.
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange liqueur like Cointreau
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
18 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
6 eggs, separated, whites beaten to medium peaks.
10″ springform pan, lined with parchment and wrapped in foil
larger pan half filled with boiling water for bain-marie
pre-heat oven to 300F.
Heat the water, liqueur, sugar and salt together. Melt the chocolate into the water mixture, Beat the butter into the chocolate mixture, one pat at a time. Mix the egg yolks into the chocolate mixture, one at a time. Fold the beaten egg whites into the chocolate mixture.
Turn batter into pan. Smooth top. Bake in bain marie for 45 minutes. Cool completely (overnight in fridge is good). Unmold onto cake plate. Can be served with raspberries, or strawberries, or raspberry sauce, or lingonberries (from Ikea)