BECOME A MEMBER

Thousands of wines at your fingertips

Search database of wine reviews
Read about wines BEFORE they hit the stores
Match wines with foods

FREE MEMBERSHIP



GET TONY'S NEW EBOOK


TONY'S NOVELS
A gift for the literate wine-lover in your life – who may be you. Tony's murder mystery novels, set in the world of wine, are now available at a discount – autographed.

Find out more...

TUNE IN TO TONY
Listen to Tony

Listen to Tony talk about wine on 680 NEWS radio on Fridays at 10:48 am, on Saturdays at 2:48 am and 9:48 am, and on Sundays at 12:48 am and 1:48 pm.
Tony Aspler
Wine Reviews
Food & Wine Match
Personal Wine Cellar
Pocket Wine Cellar
Articles
Gourmet Recipes
Cocktails
Wine Primer
Links
More Tony Aspler
Tony's Books Tony's Books
Ontario Wine Awards
About Us About Us
Contact
Advertise

MEMBER LOGIN
E-mail Address or
Username
Password
 
Forget Password?
 

FREE MEMBERSHIP

POPULAR ARTICLES
All about sparkling wine Port wine 101 Pairing food and wine Pairing wine and cheese What wine to serve with chocolate Why we like to visit wine country A wine tour of Italy Germany and German wines Wine touring France: Cognac and Bordeaux Wine touring France: Burgundy A tour of California wine country

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 GOURMET RECIPES

More Gourmet Recipes  

Small Batch Baking (April 4, 2005)

You really love baking... but with just two of you at home, and no large dinner parties on the calendar, making dessert gets dangerous, what with four or more luscious days of leftover calorie-laden sweets! Just in time for spring and the latest diet is a wonderful new book, Small-Batch Baking, by our old friend Debby Maugans Nakos.

We've known Debby since her days in her days in the Southern Living Magazine test kitchen, and watched her career blossom ever since. She's been the food editor of Creative Ideas for Living magazine, and created all the recipes for Fannie Flagg's Whistle Stop Café Cookbook plus her own cookbook, Beyond the Bowl: The Cereal Lover's Ultimate Cookbook.

You've seen her recipes and cooking advice in Bon Appetit and Food & Wine, Cooking Light, On the Grill and Health. Debby Maugans Nakos is a very talented woman!

Small-Batch Baking is a wonderful collection of tiny little fabulous quick-and-easy cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, crisps, crumbles and, hey... even breakfast sweet breads for any day of the week. Want more? Cruise the section featuring special sweets for romantic occasions.

How can anything be sinful if you've only got two servings? Right. We think so, too, and are happily cooking our way through Small-Batch Baking while still pretending to be on South Beach...

Never mind...

On today's menu:

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (67 KB)


 

Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cakes

We love sweet potatoes, and always seem to have a leftover batch in the freezer. With this recipe you'll use up the rest in this rich, moist dessert topped off with a brown-sugar icing. Oh, yes – don't forget that sweet potatoes are most definitely a yellow vegetable! Oh, thank you, Debby!

Makes 2 cakes, serves 2

Pan required: 1 mini Bundt pan with six 1-cup molds

    For the cakes:
  • 1 small sweet potato (about 8 ounces)
  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the molds
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the molds
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Yolk of 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
    For the Icing:
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Make the cakes: Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Rinse the sweet potato well and pat it dry with paper towels, then prick it several times with a fork. Place the sweet potato in a baking dish and bake until it is very tender, about 1 hour. Transfer the sweet potato to a wire rack to cool completely. Leave the oven on.
  3. Peel the sweet potato and mash the flesh until it is free of lumps. Measure 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp of mashed sweet potato and place it in a medium-size mixing bowl. If there is any remaining nibble on it while you prepare the cakes.
  4. Thoroughly grease 2 miniature Bundt molds (see note) and dust them with flour, tapping out the excess. Set the Bundt pan aside.
  5. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt together into a small bowl. Set aside.
  6. Add the sugar, oil, egg yolk, and vanilla to the mashed sweet potato and whish until the mixture is smooth. Add the flour mixture to the sweet potato mixture, and whisk just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared Bundt molds, dividing it evenly between them. Fill the empty Bundt molds halfway with water to prevent them from scotching. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into one of them between the center and the outside of the mold, comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Remove the Bundt pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Then carefully pour the water out of the extra Bundt molds. Place a large plate over the Bundt pan, and using potholders to hold the plate securely, invert the Bundt cakes onto the plate. Transfer the cakes to the rack to cool completely.
  9. Make the Icing: Sift the confectioners' sugar into a medium-size mixing bowl. Place the brown sugar, cream, and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over the medium heat, stirring constantly until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Let the mixture boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the mixture over the confectioners' sugar. Whisk in the vanilla and continue whisking until the icing is light in color and smooth. Let the icing cool, whisking it often, until it is lukewarm and thick enough to fall from a spoon in ribbons, about 20 minutes.
  10. Spoon the icing thickly over the cakes, allowing it to drip down the sides. Let the cakes rest until the icing is firm, about 1 hour.

NOTE: miniature Bundt molds come in pans of 6, like a jumbo muffin pan. They are available at kitchenware stores.


 

Chocolate Birthday Cake

Debby told us, "My quest for a chocolate layer cake recipe that would yield moist, soft cake with a lingering buttery, chocolate flavor ended when I found this one. It isn't fancy – it's just the best in its class. The frosting is made from a blend of milk and bittersweet chocolates; the better quality the chocolate, the richer the frosting will taste. These are just right for an intimate celebration of a loved one's birthday.

Makes 2 cakes, serves 2

Pans required: Two 14- or 14.5-ounce cans (information follows), 1 baking sheet

  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the cans
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the cans
  • 3 Tbsp buttermilk
  • Yolk of 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Double Chocolate Sour Cream (recipe follows)
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Grease the insides of the cans and lightly dust them with flour, tapping out the excess. Place the cans on a baking sheet for easier handling, and set aside.
  3. Combine the buttermilk, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl, and whisk to mix. Gradually pour the melted butter into the buttermilk mixture, whisking constantly.
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl, and then whisk to blend well. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk mixture and whisk just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared cans, dividing it evenly between them. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
  6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the cans to a wire rack to cook for 15 minutes. Then run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of each can and invert them to release the cakes. Turn the cakes upright and let them cool completely on the rack.
  7. To frost the cakes, cut each cake in half horizontally. Spread a layer of Double Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting about 1/2 inch thick on the cut side of one cake, half, then stack the other half on top of it. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Repeat with the remaining cake and frosting. (The cakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Let them stand at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.)

Double Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting

Oh, sigh... this frosting is like a slather of soft fudge. The balance of milk and bittersweet chocolates is perfect, but you can play around with the proportions to find your favorite! The surprising addition of sour cream provides a tangy flavor balance and makes the chocolate creamy as it sets. Happy birthday!

Makes 1 cup

  • 6 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Place both chocolates in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally until they melt. (Or place the chocolates in a medium-sized microwave safe bowl and microwave on high power until glossy, 2 to 2½ minutes, rotating the bowl after 1½ minutes.)
  2. Let the chocolate mixture cook for 5 minutes. Then add the sour cream, vanilla, and whisk to blend well. Let the frosting cool to room temperature, stirring it occasionally. When it is cool, it should be thick enough to spread. (If not, refrigerate for a few minutes to thicken.) Use immediately.

 

White Chocolate Layer Cake

White chocolate add a subtle richness and body to the tender crumb of this cake. The frosting enhances the cake's understated flavor, but the cake goes well with any of the chocolate or cream cheese frostings around. It's a little gem of a dessert.

Makes 2 cakes, serves 3

Pans Required: Two 14- or 14.5-ounce cans (information follows), 1 baking sheet

  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces at room temperature, plus more for greasing the cans
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted, plus more for flouring the cans
  • 1 ounce good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 Tbsp sour cream, at room temperature
  • Yolk of 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • White Chocolate Cream Frosting (recipe follows)
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease the insides of the cans and lightly dust them with flour, tapping out the excess. Place the cans on a baking sheet for easier handling, and set aside.
  3. Place the white chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium power until melted, about 1 minute. Let the white chocolate cool to lukewarm.
  4. Place the butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on medium power until it melts, about 30 seconds. Let the boiling water cool slightly. Add it to bowl and whisk to blend. Add the sour cream, egg yolk, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  5. Place the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl and whisk to blend well. Add the sour cream mixture and the melted white chocolate, and whisk until blended and smooth.
  6. Spoon the batter into the prepared cans, dividing it evenly between them. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the cans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Then run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of each can and invert them to release the cakes. Place the cakes upright on the rack and let them cool completely.
  8. To frost the cakes, cut each in half horizontally. Spread a layer of the White Chocolate Cream Frosting about 1/4 inch thick on the cut side of one cake half, then stack the other half on top of it. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Repeat with the remaining cake and frosting. (The cakes can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days before serving.)

White Chocolate Cream Frosting

Makes 1 cup

  • 2/3 cup whipping (heavy) cream
  • 2 ounces good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Place the cream in a 2 cup microwave safe bowl and microwave on high power until just boiling, about 1½ minutes. Add the white chocolate and whisk until it melts and the mixture is smooth. Let cool; then cover and refrigerate until well chilled, 3 to 4 hours. (The frosting can be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead.)
  2. Add the vanilla to the cream mixture and beat with a hand-held mixer on high speed until firm peaks form, about 2 minutes. Use immediately.

How to Bake in Cans

Here are Debby's tips on getting the batter into – and out of – the cans:

  • After you have removed the label, and greased and floured the can, drop small amounts of batter off the tip of a narrow rubber spatula into the center of the can. If you have dropped more batter into one can than the other, even them up by removing some of the batter with a long-handled teaspoon and dropping it into the other can. Smooth the top of the batter as best you can with the spatula tip. You can also use the spatula to scrape the drips of batter off the edge of the can and into the center.
  • The batter in these recipes will only fill the can one-quarter to one-third full. After they bake, the cakes will appear short, rising only about halfway up the side of the cans. After you remove the cakes form the can and fill and frost them, they will be the perfect size for individual servings.
  • To test the cakes for doneness, insert the tip of a long thin skewer halfway into the center of the cake, then withdraw it. The cake is done if there are no crumbs attached (one or two crumbs are acceptable.)
  • Cool the cakes for 10 minutes in the cans, then run the tip of a narrow, sharp knife around the edges of the cakes. The cakes will slip out of the cans easily. Cool them right side up on a wire rack.
  • Remember to discard the cans after two or three uses if you see any discoloration on the cans. After all, they're a cinch to replace!

We wish to thank Workman Publishing Company, New York, and Thomas Allen and Son Limited, Toronto, for permission to publish material and photographs from Small-Batch Baking, by Debby Maugans Nakos. Text © 2004 by Debby Maugans Nakos. Cover design by Paul Gamarello. Photographs by Anthony Loew.

 

Happily tested by Helen Hatton and Ron Morris.

Download these recipes in printable form as an Adobe Acrobat PDF (67 KB)

 

 

 

More Gourmet Recipes  
 
ALL MATERIAL © TONY ASPLER   WEBSITE BY MEDIRESOURCE INC.
PRIVACY POLICY