Tag Archives: Everyday Cakes

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

I firmly believe that you can never, ever have too many everyday cake recipes. Ever. And even if you can, you should add this Brown Butter Strawberry Torte to the list anyway.

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

This is one hell of a cake, y’all. Rich brown butter batter is topped with tons of quartered fresh strawberries, then baked until golden and studded with little jammy berry pockets. Jammy berry pockets!!!

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte comes together with minimal effort. That’s the appeal of everyday cakes, after all: you can make them without thinking too hard or dirtying too many dishes, and then you have cake on a Tuesday or a Saturday or a Thursday or whatever. They’re great for eating in your pajamas or serving to company—a utility dessert if you will.

The most taxing part of this recipe is browning the butter, which requires five whole minutes of staring at a pan and occasionally swirling it until the butter is dark and nutty and wonderful. After that, it’s just whisking up batter, pressing in sliced strawberries and throwing it in the oven for an hour. In that time, the fruit softens and buckles into the batter, resulting in a rustic craggy little cake. I know I’m biased, but I think it’s really beautiful.

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

I think this goes without saying, but you can use any fruit you like in this cake with excellent results. I chose strawberries because they’re right on the verge of being in season, but blueberries, blackberries, mango, pineapple or any other fruit that goes with brown butter would all be good variations.

Pro tip: pretty much everything goes with brown butter.

Brown Butter Strawberry Torte
Brown Butter Strawberry Torte
makes one 9-inch torte

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2/3 cup granulated sugar + 1 tablespoon, for sprinkling
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
12 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled & quartered (about 3/4 of a 16 oz box)

For serving (optional):
whipped cream
fresh strawberries, quartered

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl and let cool 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, In a small-medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Returning to the large mixing bowl, whisk granulated and brown sugars into the brown butter. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients and whisk until combined.

Transfer batter into the prepared pan, then use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to smooth it to the edges. Scatter strawberries over the top and lightly press them into the batter. Sprinkle the additional tablespoon of granulated sugar over the top. Bake 60-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs (not batter). Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edge and releasing the springform.

Serve warm or room temperature with whipped cream and/or fresh strawberries, if desired. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for a few days.
Brown Butter Strawberry Torte
Brown Butter Strawberry Torte
Brown Butter Strawberry Torte

Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}

Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Everyday Cakes are probably my favorite desserts to make and eat. I’m sure I’ve said that about at least one other category of dessert, but I promise it’s true.

Like their name implies, these are cakes that can be made any ol’ day with limited fuss. Theyre single layer, have short ingredient lists and can almost always be adapted to work with whatever you have on hand. They’re the sort of thing you can bake on the fly when you need to let out some stress after work, or want to make a cake on a Saturday afternoon but don’t want to deal with frosting and layering. Even better, they’re the kind of super-classy-but-still-low-maintenance dinner party dessert that will make you look like Ina Garten (hydrangeas optional, but recommended). Their versatility simply cannot be matched.

It will come as no surprise that I have tons of Everyday Cakes in my archives—too many for one post—so this is my spring Everyday Cake round-up. Five cakes that are far more than the sum of their parts. Try out one or two before summer’s here and it’s too hot to bake!Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Boterkoek {Dutch Butter Cake}

My friend, David, introduced me to this Dutch dessert a few years ago and it’s quickly become one of my favorite cakes of all time. With plenty of butter, bits of ginger strewn throughout and a signature golden lid, it might just become your favorite too!

Ginger not your thing? Feel free to leave it out, or make my almond variation.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Flourless Almond Cake

The nectarines in this picture won’t be in season for a few more months, but don’t let that stop you from making this dreamy Flourless Almond Cake! It’s perfect for eating with your fingers as a mid-afternoon snack, but it can also be dressed up with berries or chocolate or whatever for post-vaccine get-togethers.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Blueberry Torte

A torte is just a low maintenance cake by another name. This one is super easy to make, tender and buttery and chockablock with fresh blueberries.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Mango Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple is the reigning queen of upside-down cakes, but I’d like to make a petition for this mango number to be a princess or a duchess or something. The combination of brown sugar cake and fresh mango baked in caramel is absolutely divine.Friday Favorites: Everyday Cakes {Spring Edition}Winning Hearts & Minds Cake

Everyone needs a good flourless chocolate cake recipe in their back pocket. This one is the slightest take on Molly Wizenberg-Choi’s gem of a recipe. I’ve made it approximately a thousand times—I’ve got the recipe memorized—and am still not over the crackly top and dense chocolaty middle. Consider my heart and mind won.

Have you made these or any of my other everyday cakes? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Funfetti Bundt Cake

Funfetti Bundt CakeFunfetti, confetti, whatever you want to call it, white cake dotted with rainbow sprinkles is one of my favorite things on earth. Like, I logically know that sprinkles don’t qualify as a flavor, but that won’t keep me from saying that sprinkles are my favorite flavor. Seriously, add sprinkles to pretty much anything and I’ll love it. Those little pops of color are just so…happy. Is happiness a flavor?Funfetti Bundt CakeI haven’t made many layer cakes in the last year—it’s hard to believe I used to make 10-20 a month!—but that doesn’t mean I haven’t fed my craving for rainbow sprinkles. Last summer’s Funfetti Cookie Cupcakes are one of my favorite recipes in a long time, as is this Funfetti Bundt Cake.Funfetti Bundt CakeLike the traditional layer cake, this is a moist sour cream white cake positively loaded with rainbow sprinkles. Unlike the traditional cake, this batter takes exactly four minutes to mix; just dump everything in a bowl and let your electric mixer have at it until it’s impossibly smooth, thick and voluminous, then stir in 3/4 cup of rainbow sprinkles before baking.

Like most bundt cakes, this one takes its sweet time to bake and cool, but I promise your patience will be rewarded. Once your cake hits room temperature, pour on a glaze, scatter on some more sprinkles and slice it up! Funfetti Bundt Cake would be great for birthdays, picnics, holidays or any old time.Funfetti Bundt CakeI know that restrictions are starting to loosen as vaccines becomes more available, but if you’re not attending gatherings that require a cake of this size, don’t worry, I’m not either. What that means is that I happen to know that this recipe halves well and can be baked in a loaf pan for your immediate pod or just yourself. I don’t know about you, but dipping into my own personal Funfetti cake over the course of a week sounds a lot like happiness to me.Funfetti Bundt Cake

Funfetti Bundt Cake
makes one 10-cup capacity bundt*

Cake:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
4 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract or imitation butter extract (optional)
3/4 cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
3/4 cup rainbow sprinkles (jimmies, not nonpareils)

Icing & Garnish:
1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
rainbow sprinkles (jimmies or nonpareils)

Place an oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 325F. Heavily grease a bundt pan with softened butter (or shortening) and dust well with flour. Set aside.

Make the cake. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, egg whites, vanilla, almond extract, sour cream and milk in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes. Batter will be thick. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold rainbow sprinkles into batter.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth the top with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in several places comes out clean.

Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a thin, flexible knife around all exposed edges. Invert cake onto a cooling rack and let cake cool completely. Cake may be made up to a day in advance; it will keep double-wrapped in plastic wrap.

Make the icing. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar, milk, vanilla and salt. Mixture should be very thick, but pourable. If it’s too thick, add more milk by the teaspoon up to 3 teaspoons (1 tablespoon); if it’s too thin, add more confectioners sugar in 2 tablespoon increments. Pour over cake. Scatter rainbow sprinkles on immediately. Let sit for 20 minutes to set. Move cake to a serving plate before slicing and serving.

Leftover cake will keep covered at room temperature for up to two days or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Note:

This recipe may be halved and baked in a parchment-lined 9×5-inch loaf pan. Start checking the cake for doneness at the 55 minute mark.

Funfetti Bundt CakeFunfetti Bundt Cake

Sunny Lemon Upside-Down Cake

Sunny Lemon Upside-Down CakeIf you love a real mouth-puckering punch of lemon, this Sunny Lemon Upside-Down Cake is for you. We’re talking buttery lemon cake topped with a sticky mosaic of sliced lemons—all the lemon flavor you could ever want. It’s sunny and happy-looking enough to drive any late-winter blues away, at least for the two minutes it takes to eat a slice!Sunny Lemon Upside-Down CakeUpside-down cakes are very simple to make and this one is no different, although it does take some time. The lemons have to be sliced, seeded and trimmed of excess rind, lest your cake become incredibly bitter. If you happen to find thin-skinned lemons (Meyer lemons!), you can skip trimming off that outer layer, but I wouldn’t chance it otherwise. Heads up that while I find this process enjoyable, it almost always takes a half hour from beginning to end. Plan ahead.Sunny Lemon Upside-Down CakeAll my previous upside-down cakes have been made by tiling the fruit over a pool of butter and brown sugar that have been melted together, but that combination doesn’t work terribly well here if you’re hoping for your lemon slices to be tender and defined. I tried all sorts of adjustments to my usual topping before following the advice of Broma Bakery—arguably the queen of citrus upside-down cakes—and adding some water to form a syrup. This makes all the difference, keeping the lemon slices pretty, plump and tender, even after baking.

This syrup is made of sugar, honey, butter, salt and water that have been microwaved together. It’s divided so that there is a layer both under and over the lemons. The lemons themselves are tiled in whole at first, before being cut into tiny wedges to fill in gaps. The lemons will shrink while baking, so the only way to guarantee a beautiful upside-down cake is to leave as little space between pieces as possible.Sunny Lemon Upside-Down CakeOnce your lemon mosaic is assembled, bury it in thick lemon cake batter; this recipe is my go-to vanilla cake with some lemony flair. The cake will need nearly an hour to bake. Don’t be alarmed when when you pull it from the oven and it looks like a nightmare—there’s a reason this cake is served upside down!Sunny Lemon Upside-Down CakeAnother way this cake is different from my other upside-down cakes? It needs to cool for a long time in the pan. Between the juicy lemons and the syrupy topping, this cake needs to fully settle or it will look like a hot mess. For the best results, wait until the cake has cooled completely before inverting onto a plate. Your patience will be rewarded with a beautiful golden lemon top. All the peculiarities of assembly will have been worth it, I promise.Sunny Lemon Upside-Down CakeOnce your cake is on a plate, all that’s left to do is slice through the top with a serrated knife, grab a fork and enjoy this dessert which, like it’s name suggests, both looks and tastes like a ray of sunshine. I, for one, can’t see or taste it without smiling.Sunny Lemon Upside-Down Cake

Sunny Lemon Upside-Down Cake
makes 1 9-inch round cake

Topping:
5-6 small/medium lemons
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon mild honey or maple syrup
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup water

Cake:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from ~1/2 lemon)
~1 cup milk (not skim or fat free), room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For serving (optional):
vanilla ice cream
whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350F. Heavily grease a 9-inch round cake pan. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Make the topping. Wash and dry lemons. Zest 1 lemon, then set zest aside.

Slice lemons (including zested one) in 1/4-inch slices. Use a sharp knife to trim rind to no more than 1/4-inch. Remove seeds (they will become more pronounced during baking).

Combine sugar, honey, salt, butter and water in a microwave-safe bowl or liquid measuring cup. Stir together, then microwave 45 seconds. Stir again, just until sugar granules are dissolved. Pop back in the microwave for 15 seconds if necessary. This step may also be done in a small pot on the stove.

Pour half the liquid (~1/3 cup) in the prepared pan and swirl to coat. Arrange whole lemon slices tightly over the top. Cut some whole lemon slices into small wedges, then use them to fill in any gaps. There shouldn’t be much, if any, open space. Pour over the remainder of the liquid. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. Combine the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and use your fingertips to rub them together.

Pour lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup, then add milk up to the 1 cup mark. Stir together and set aside for at least 5 minutes, or until curdled.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in lemony sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. Add vanilla. With the mixer on low, alternate adding dry ingredients and the milk mixture in two installments. Mix just until combined.

Pour batter over the arranged lemon slices, and spread with a silicone spatula to even out the top. Tap pan on the counter two or three times to release any large air bubbles. Bake 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let cake cool completely in the pan on a rack. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan a couple of times before inverting onto a cake stand or large serving plate. Peel off and discard parchment.

Serve cake with ice cream of whipped cream, if desired. Cake is best the day it’s baked, but wrapped leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.Sunny Lemon Upside-Down CakeSunny Lemon Upside-Down Cake

Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}My friend, VJ, loves gingerbread. Loves it. She speaks often about how before she had to stop eating gluten and went vegan, her grandma used to serve hers with canned peaches and whipped cream. While I am not much for canned peaches, the gingerbread part and the badass baking grandma part? Those I get.Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Over the years, VJ has asked me to make gingerbread cakes for various milestones and occasions, but I have mostly failed. I even failed this past Thanksgiving! Too greasy, too dry, vaguely tarry, completely flavorless—I’ve made all the gingerbread cake failures under the sun. Let’s not discuss the occasion on which she had to serve store-bought ice cream cakes (that she couldn’t even eat!) at her own party because my attempt at this cake was so vile.

But then—but! then!—I tweaked my go-to gluten-free vegan cake recipe and made this Gingerbread Cake, and it’s exactly right: soft, tender, slightly sticky and spicy. And easy. And vegan and gluten-free. And out of this world delicious. This recipe right here? This one’s for VJ.Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}It’s not just because I like to have a gluten-free vegan item on my holiday line-up every year (which I do). It’s that VJ’s 40th birthday is next week—you know I can’t let my favorite gluten-free vegan’s milestone birthday pass without cake. No way. Not rain, nor sleet, nor masked and distanced delivery will stop me from getting this cake to her on December 23rd.Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Holy crap, y’all, this is good. Super moist with nothing to distract from its deep dark flavor, it’s better than most traditional flour, egg and dairy-based gingerbreads I’ve had. It’s definitely not better than VJ’s grandma’s though, because nothing is ever better than grandma’s. Believe me, I’ve tried to out-do grandmas and it never goes well. But anyway… Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}This Gingerbread Cake tows the line somewhere between holiday dessert and wintry everyday cake. It doesn’t need a blanket of frosting (although I think a little vegan maple buttercream might be good) or any adornment beyond a dusting of confectioner’s sugar, really. It can be baked square or round. You could even double the recipe and layer it or make a sheet cake. It can be served at the end of a holiday meal, snacked on mid-afternoon, left for Santa, frozen for you to find in the middle of February, wrapped up and given as a gift, or delivered to a birthday lady in the middle of a pandemic. No matter the occasion and regardless of whether you’re vegan and gluten-free, this might just be the only Gingerbread Cake recipe you’ll ever need.Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}

Gingerbread Cake {Vegan, Gluten-Free}
makes one 8- or 9-inch square or round cake

1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2/3 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
3 tbsp pure pumpkin purée or unsweetened applesauce
1 1/3 cups blanched almond flour (not almond meal)
6 tbsp cup potato starch
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For finishing:
confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square or round pan. Line with parchment and grease again. Set aside.

Pour apple cider vinegar into a liquid measuring cup. Add almond milk until liquid reaches the 1 1/4 cup mark. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until curdled. Stir in pumpkin purée (or applesauce). Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together blanched almond flour, potato starch, cornstarch, light brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add liquid ingredients in two installments, whisking until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth to the edges with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to release any large air bubbles. Transfer to the oven and bake 32-34 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with only a few crumbs (no batter).

Let cake cool completely in its pan on a cooling rack. Run a thin knife along the edges of the pan before inverting to release onto a platter (alternatively, you may keep it in the pan and serve from there). Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top before serving, if desired.

Slice and serve. Flavors will intensify the day (or several hours) after baking.

Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days and refrigerated for up to 4. Plain cake may be triple-wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}Gingerbread Cake {Vegan & Gluten-Free}