ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

Back to Wisconsin, my cheesehead friends


I’m on a roll… 2 weeks. 2 cakes.

2014-09-14 16.12.44Much to the dismay of my waistline, I seem to be on a roll with baking cakes. This week? Chocolate and vanilla marbled bundt cake. I based my cake on this recipe at I thought the marbling would be difficult, but it just involved making the batter, splitting in half, then mixing cocoa powder into half. I spooned big dollops of alternating flavors of batter into the pan, then ran the back of my wooden spoon through the batter to create the marble texture. The batter texture was very thick, I think to allow the chocolate and vanilla to stay separate. To top the cake, I dusted the whole cake with powdered sugar, then cut a slit in a piece of parchment and used that template to coat the narrow strips with cocoa powder.

Pro tip: Before filling your wire mesh strainer with powdered sugar or cocoa powder, run it through the flame of your gas burner for 5-10 seconds to make sure it’s very dry.

This cake baking binge is starting to eat away at our store of butter. With the price of butter expecting to spike, I may have to stock up if this cake binge is going to continue.

What’s next week? I was thinking apfel kuchen. Other ideas?

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Bookmark this! King Arthur Flour Baking Conversion Chart

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 9.56.14 AMBookmark this!

King Arthur Flour has this super-useful chart on their website to convert volume to weight. Importantly, their flours have different weights for a 1 cup volume, and you can find that specific info at this page.

I can’t say enough about baking by weight. It’s always difficult for me to bake by volume anymore – I hate sifting dry ingredients and, when it matters, I don’t want to skip the step and have overly dry baked goods. I still turn to the tablespoons and teaspoons for things like vanilla, salt, or baking powder/soda but everything else – give me weight to give me cake!


Carmel cake

20140908-182119-66079981.jpg This week on The Splendid Table, Jane and Michael Stern visited Poe Boy Kitchen in Nashville, TN and raved about the carmel cake. I haven’t had caramel cake in probably 20 years. My Aunt Nollie Mae used to make one for Easter. I could remember the taste of the super sweet frosting.

Hearing about good caramel cake on the radio, I became determined that I was going to bake a caramel cake. I realize now why no one other than my Aunt Nollie May made caramel cake. It’s giant pain in the butt.

I worked off of two separate recipes. This one for the cake, and this one for the frosting.

The frosting has this unique characteristic of letting the sugar crystallize and the crystals add a touch of “crunch” to the frosting, in strong contrast to the moist but simple cake.

Eat your hearts out.


Abundant Zucchini Recipes: Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Zucchini Chocolate Cake

Do you really have any zucchini left after all of these recipes? This is the BEST way to hide zucchini. You’ll never know it’s there… And POOF! Two zucchini will disappear without a trace.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
3 large eggs
2 cups unpeeled grated zucchini, from about 1 1/2 medium zucchini
5 2/3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Heat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9″ round or square cake pan.
Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, soda, powder, salt.
In the stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then add Vanilla and coffee.
Combine the zucchini, chopped chocolate, and a third of the dry ingredients, making sure the zucchini strands are coated with flour.
Add the remaining dry ingredients into the wet. Keep the stand mixer on low to avoid a big mess.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. By hand, fold together the zucchini into the batter until just combined.
Pour into the cake pan and spread out flat.
Bake 45 mins, or until a probe comes out clean. Let cool.

Now, if you really need to get rid of some zucchini make two cakes, then make zucchini lemon curd, and chocolate frosting. Now ou you’ve used up about 5 zucchini!

After all of this, do you really still have zucchini left???


Blackberry Financiers

(Hand-foraged) Blackberry Financiers. They're "rich." Get it?

(Hand-foraged) Blackberry Financiers. They’re “rich.” Get it?

Yesterday, I went on a hike with Pidi and was fortunate to come upon ripe blackberries. Usually, if I encounter ripe berries on a hike, they go straight from the bush to my lips. But I exercised a bit of self-control (only after I ate a whole bunch of them, standing in the woods…) and brought back home a heaping cupful of ripe, sweet fruits. I was going to freeze them and eventually make some wild-foraged berry jam, but Sam had the fantastic idea of making Financiers.

I got this recipe from Ripe for Dessert by David Lebowitz. For the longest time I couldn’t understand WHY they were called Financiers…

Blackberry Financiers

  • 7 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 3⁄4 cup sliced blanched almonds
  • 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 tablespoon flour
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 6 ounce blackberries (or raspberries or blueberries)
  1. Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 12 cup muffin tin.
  2. In a skillet, heat the butter until it begins to sizzle. Continue to cook over low heat until the edges begin to darken and the butter gives off a nutty aroma. Remove from heat.
  3. In a food processor, grind the almonds with the granulated and powdered sugars, the flour, and salt. While the processor is running, gradually pour in the egg whites and add the almond extract. Stop the machine, and add the warm butter, pulsing as you pour, until the batter is just mixed.
  4. Divide the batter evenly among the buttered muffin cups and poke 3 or 4 berries into each cake. Bake for 18 minutes, until puffy and deep golden brown. Let stand a few minutes them remove them from the pan to cool on a rack.