Every Thursday my team takes a 30 minute break to go to the rooftop and enjoy the fresh air and homemade goodies that each team member, in turn, brings. Sometimes we have the break in the morning, and have breakfast goodies, and sometimes we have the break in the afternoon. We change it around for variety and the last couple of months we decided the theme would be cakes and ice cream. When we had the breakfast round, one of my colleagues brought a gas burner and made omelets. They were delicious.
This week was my turn and since my birthday is at the beginning of next week, I decided to celebrate my birthday and make homemade ice creams and cakes. I prefer cakes without icing and really like cakes or tarts with lots of fruit. So, I decided to make a plum cake, cherry coffee cake, dulce de leche ice cream, and for the adventurous I made pomegranate gelato. Everything was delicious except for the pomegranate gelato. It was terrible. The recipe calls for cornstarch as a thickener, which I have never been able to find in Israel, and so I decided to use an egg yolk instead. It was not enough to form a custard, and I should have added more eggs, but I decided to process it anyway. The gelato didn’t solidify completely, and it had a very funny chalky aftertaste. I am going to try and make a pomegranate sorbet instead.
(Hungarian Cherry Coffee Cake) This cake is moist, chock-full of cherries, easy to make and is delicious. You can make this a day ahead.
Softened butter and dried bread crumbs, for the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sliced natural almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
300g (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 pound sweet cherries, pitted (preferably fresh, or use 380g (12 ounces) frozen cherries, unthawed, and bake for a few more minutes)
Confectioner's sugar, for garnish
Preheat to 375°F. Butter a 13- X 9-inch baking pan, coat with the bread crumbs, and tap out the excess.
Process the flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until the almonds are very finely chopped, almost a powder; set aside.
Beat the butter on high speed in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light in color and texture, about 2 minutes. Add the yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract.
Using clean beaters and a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed just until they form stiff, shiny peaks. Fold half of the whites into the butter mixture, then half of the almond-flour mixture; repeat with the remaining whites and almond-flour mixture to make a thick batter.
Spread evenly in the pan and arrange the cherries in rows in the batter.
Bake until golden brown and until the top springs back when lightly pressed in the center, approximately 30 to 35 minutes. Sift confectioner's sugar over the top. Serve warm or cool completely.
Adapted from a recipe from Food & Wine magazine
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups granulated sugar
250g (9 ounces) almond paste
85g (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
3 large plums (12 ounces)—halved, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 22cm (9-inch) spring-form pan. In a small bowl, mix the cake flour with the baking powder and salt.
Beat the sugar with the almond paste until crumbly. Add the butter and beat at high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated between additions. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently fold in the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Put the mixture into the prepared pan.
Arrange the plums over the top of the batter. Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes, or until the cake is deeply golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and remove the outside ring of the pan. Let the cake cool for at least 30 minutes longer.
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup dulce de leche
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the cream, milk and the dulce de leche, stirring constantly, until the mixture is blended and steam begins to rise from the surface, 4 to 5 minutes.
In a heatproof mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until blended. Gradually add the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly until fully incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a clean saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring slowly and continuously with a wooden spoon or spatula, until the custard thickens and a finger drawn across the back of the spoon leaves a path, 8 to 10 minutes; do not allow the custard to boil.
Pour the custard through a fine-mesh sieve set over a clean bowl. Cool the custard to room temperature and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.
Transfer the custard to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.