CAPE MAY RASPBERRY SOUR CREAM COFFEE CAKE for Donna B.

A recent Leith Hall b&b guest, Donna B.,  emailed me for two recipesbed and breakfast raspberry sour cream coffee cake 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 flouregg for Raspberry sour cream coffee cake

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 preservesraspberry preserves

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooledbrown sugar for Leith Hall raspberry sour cream coffee cake

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.Cape May bed and breakfast raspberry sour cream coffee cake

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.

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Cape May bed and breakfast Gingerbread for Donna B.

Recently one of our guests at Leith Hall b&b contacted me to requestLeith Hall Cape May bed and breakfast gingerbread 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 egg

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 slicescrystallized ginger for Leith Hall Cape May bed and breakfast gingerbread

 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.

Cape May bed and breakfastDid 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

 

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Roger and Judy’s Pumpkin Apricot Cake

Brave Leith Hall Guests Follow Elan’s Recipes

This past weekend, Roger and Judy, who visit us every year and are so much fun to talk to, Leith Hall guestsasked 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 pumpkin apricot bundt cake at teatime at Leith Hall bed and breakfastwell.

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.

pumpkin apricot cake at teatime at Leith Hall Cape MayBake 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.

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Leith Hall ROMANTIC GETAWAY TRUFFLES

Chocolate championship at Leith Hall
photo by Edward Lea AC Press

We just had our third annual Spring Chocolate Championship yesterday and, once again, I didn’t win. You may remember that Chocolate Championship was my suggestion several years ago for MAC to start a new tour during Spring Festival. Any tour is improved by adding chocolate. Last year I made Julia Childs’ chocolate mousse, which is the best chocolate mousse ever, and yet I didn’t win. I consider it an insult to Julia Childs’ memory . (Maybe we can get Meryl Streep to protest.) This year, Anna Marie McMain won with with her Chocolate Delight. It must have been spectacular, ’cause my truffles were pretty darn good. Richard Degner wrote a very nice article in the Atlantic City Press about the contest and Leith Hall. You can have chocolate treats every day at teatime, if you make a reservation.

LEITH HALL

ROMANTIC GETAWAY TRUFFLES

I started making these chocolate truffles to include in our Romantic Getaway package. The basic recipe is incredibly easy, and depends on really good ingredients. The different flavors are created with extracts.

32 oz. (1 quart) heavy whipping cream

32 oz. by weight of bittersweet chocolate

1 Tbs. organic extract.

Melt the chocolate in the cream.  Use 60% to 72% chocolate. Use a very good brand Romantic Getaway chocolate trufflesbecause the quality of the truffles is entirely dependent upon the quality of the chocolate. I use Valrhona, Valor, Green and Black, Guittard or Ghirardelli. Don’t use Hershey’s or Nestlé’s.  You can microwave it for one minute at a time, stirring with a rubber spatula between minutes. Or you can melt the chocolate in an uncovered metal bowl over simmering water. Or you can melt it in a 200 degree Fahrenheit   oven.  It doesn’t matter. The important thing is not to overheat the mixture and to stir often.

Stir in the extract. I always use organic extract from the health food store. It really does taste better. You can use orange extract, peppermint extract, coconut extract, almond extract, or any other that you like. You can also double or triple the amount of extract.

Cool the melted chocolate mixture (ganache) in the refrigerator until it thickens. Whip it in a stand mixer. It will double in size and fluff in a few minutes. Scoop  the ganache into little balls with a little scoop. Put the balls onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate. Decorate the truffles by tossing in toasted coconut for coconut flavor, or toasted almond slivers for almond. You can toss any flavor in a mixture of cocoa and powdered sugar.

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CAPE MAY BEACH SHORTBREAD COOKIES DOWN THE SHORE

Cape May Beach Shortbread Cookies

These will remind you of vacations in Cape May
Cape May Beach Shortbread Cookies

These cookies look like the sand on the beach in Cape May. The sprinkle of sugar on top even gives them the texture of the sand on the beach in Cape May. The best things about them are that they are stunningly easy to make and the richest cookies you’ll ever eat. I usually make this recipe in a parchment lined 9”x13” pan and cut them into bars for serving at afternoon tea. You could halve the recipe and make them in an 8”x8” or 9”x9” teatime at Leith Hall bed and breakfastparchment lined pan. Or you can roll he dough out (thick) and make cookie cutter cookies.

chocolate teatime treats at Leith Hall b&bIf you prefer, you can substitute lemon extract for the orange, or use vanilla extract for plain shortbread or even coconut extract. I use organic extracts from the health food store because they really do taste better.

 

1 ½ lbs. unsalted butter (3 sticks) melted

2 cups sugar

1 tbs. orange extract

7 cups white unbleached flour

½ tsp. salt

Turbinado or white sugar for sprinkling

Mix flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Mix melted butter and orange extract. Mix flour mixture and butter together with a pastry blender, a rubber spatula, or a whisk. The idea is to cut the butter and flour together into crumbles, not to press them together into a dough. Dump the mixed crumbles into the lined baking dish. Press into an even layer with your finger-tips. Dock the dough by piercing it all over with the tines of a fork. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 350F/degrees for about 20 minutes. The cookies are done when they are very light gold around the edges. Remove from oven and cut into bars or squares with a sharp knife immediately. Allow to cool in the pan completely before turning out.

I often serve these for tea at Leith Hall b&b. The other treat will always be something chocolate. If my other cake isn’t chocolate, I’ll dip the end of each shortbread bar in melted bittersweet chocolate. During the Summer when we’re sitting on the porch under the awnings, I know that Suzie will stage a insurrection if there’s no chocolate at teatime.

 

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THE BEST FLOUR-LESS CHOCOLATE CAKE EVER

Today is Suzie‘s birthday, so I’m posting recipe for the densest, richest chocolate cake ever.

Suzie in Benalmedina Spain

I often make it for birthdays and other special events. It is very short, like a French chocolate cake. It can be topped with some powdered sugar sifted through a paper doily and accompanied by whipped cream.

This cake resembles chocolate fudge when it’s done. You can make it more cake-like by adding 1/4 cup flour to the egg mixture. Of course, they it won’t be flour-less.

Flour-less Chocolate Cake

8 eggs

1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

½ pound butter (2 Sticks ) cubed

¼ cup strong coffee or liqueur (Grand Marnier is good)

325 F

 8” springform pan for 22-25 minutes or

9” springform pan for 18- 20 minutes

Line pan with parchment. Wrap the outside in foil.

Beat eggs with wire whisk attachment for 5 minutes. Melt chocolate and butter. Adding coffee or liqueur. Fold chocolate and egg foam mixtures together. Scrape into prepared pan and smooth surface. Bake in pan with boiling water half way up (this is a bain marie). Cool in pan then refrigerate overnight.

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GELATO IN ROME AND CAPE MAY

 

Gelato in Rome and Cape May

Susan eating gelatoDuring the winter of 2011, Suzie and I spent six weeks in Rome, writing a self-guided walking tour book to be called The Secret Streets of Rome. It will be out next Fall, published by Andover Press in New York. I’ll be posting lots of information about art and architecture, but first things first – Gelato. I don’t know how they do it, but Italians make ice cream so much better than we do. It’s actually much lower in fat than ours, but has much more flavor. The chocolate is very, very dark and extremely strong, the raspberry is dark purple and aromatic with raspberries. My favorite is stracciatella – which is Italian for fudge ripple (it means streaky) and is creamy vanilla with dark rivers of fudge. There are several great Rome ice cream  travel ItalyGelaterie in Rome (of course) though aficionados insist that the best in Italy is in San Gimignano. Our favorite in Rome is the Gelateria del Teatro, located under a stairway to a tiny theater just west of the Piazza Navona.

Happily, for those of you who visit or live in Cape May, we need not despair. There’s a gelateria in Washington Commons (across Ocean Street from the Washington Street Mall) called Cione. For more ice cream, this one American, but organic, handmade, and really, really good, visit Bliss in the Carpenter’s Square Mall (that’s the little building behind Gecko’s in Carpenter’s Street).

 

 

 

 

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Banana Bread with Chocolate

 

Leith Hall Banana Bread

Suzie loves Banana Bread and, of course, chocolate. So I like to serve Banana Bread for tea at the inn.  Whenever we have some over-ripe Leith Hall banana bread with chocolatebananas, I stick them in the freezer. To make Banana Bread, I move them to the refrigerator the night before and then just peel them directly into the mixer-bowl. All that slimy banana pulp just makes the Banana Bread better. If the bread seems too dry when it comes out of the oven – it has to be fully baked – just soak in some simple syrup ( ½ cup sugar dissolved in ½ cup hot water).

2 cups (10 oz) unbleached flour

¾  cup (5 ¼ oz) sugar

¾ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp salt

3 bananas, mashed (about 1 ½ cups)

¼ cup plain yoghurt

2 eggs, beaten

6  Tbs. melted butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ¼ cups walnuts or other nuts, toasted and chopped (Suzie hates nuts, so I leave them out)

(You can reduce sugar to 10 Tbs. and add 2 ½ oz grated bittersweet chocolate (heaping ½ cup)).

350F., 9” loaf pan, lined with cooking parchment

Mix dry, Mix wet. Mix together. Bake about 55 minutes. Cool in pan then on wire rack.

 

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