Dugan-ish Coffee Cake

[image: slice of coffee cake]

Happy birthday to my mom! She requested I make a coffee cake that she remembered from her childhood. She said the Dugan’s Man used to come around the house selling breads and cakes, and her father’s favorite was a coffee cake with cinnamon, almond paste, and raisins. She rarely got to eat it because it was her dad’s and You Do Not Touch Carl’s Stuff.

She found this recipe on Simply Recipes, thought it looked right, and asked me to make it. I did, and it turned out really, really well. So well, in fact, that I’m considering making it again this weekend. (It’s really good.)

My mom says it’s almost exactly like the coffee cake she remembers from the Dugan Man. So: Dugan-ish Coffee Cake.

For more information about the Dugan Brothers’ Bakery:
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1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 package yeast (2 1/4 tsp) dissolved in 2 Tbsp warm water
2 cups AP flour, plus extra
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp kosher salt
vegetable oil

1 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
1/2 Tbsp granulated white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
dash of table salt
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 Tbsp almond paste (like 30 grams by weight. ish)50 grams of almond paste (it tastes better with more)

Egg wash:
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbsp whole milk

Sugar glaze:
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 Tbsp water
dash of table salt

Scald the milk (heat in a pot over medium heat until steaming but not boiling) and take off the heat, then stir in the butter, sugar, and cardamom. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a mixing bowl if kneading by hand). Stir in the yeast mixture and egg by hand, then add in the salt.

Add one cup of flour to the bowl. Attach the dough hook and turn the mixer on low. Once incorporated, gradually add the second cup. Turn the mixer up to medium speed. Add more flour if necessary. You want the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixer, but keep the dough soft. (I added another 1/4 cup flour to mine.) Run the mixer for 5 minutes, or knead by hand for 5-7 minutes.

Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place for an hour or until doubled in size.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface dusted with flour. Press dough out into an 8-inch by 16-inch rectangle. (If it fights you, let it relax for 5 minutes and give it another go.)

Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving a half-inch border around the edges. Mix together the sugars and cinnamon with a dash of table salt, then spread evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the raisins and almonds evenly over the dough. Either tear the almond paste into little bits and distribute them evenly or roll the paste out into a very, very thin sheet and drape over the dough.

Starting at the back, slowly and carefully roll the long end up towards you. Flatten the seam on the bottom as well as you can, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Shape the tube into a ring and work the ends together.

Using kitchen shears, cut the dough most of the way through at about 1-inch increments on a slant. Pull each piece out or into the circle, alternating. It will look (vaguely) like a wreath.

Cover with plastic wrap and place back in your proofing spot for a half hour.

Heat the oven to 350. Whisk the egg and milk together, then brush over the dough. Bake for 30 minutes.

Carefully remove to a rack and let cool completely. Whisk together powdered sugar, water, and a dash of table salt to make a glaze. (Add more water or powdered sugar if the glaze is too thick or thin.) Drizzle over cooled pastry in zig-zags.

Serve in sliced with a smear of softened butter (and maybe an extra sprinkle of salt if you’re me).

Made a cinnamon/raisin/almond coffee cake for my mom's birthday. Gotta let it cool before I can glaze it.

A photo posted by sarah (@braisinhussy) on

Cranberry Upside-Down Cake

Brain hemorrhage of a cranberry upside-down cake.

A photo posted by sarah (@braisinhussy) on

So I set out to make a nice autumnal cake for our family gathering today that would use up the cranberries we bought for the dessert I made the last time we had a family gathering. What I made was kind of a horror show. A deliciously tasty horror show, but jesus, look at that photo. It is not pretty.

The buildup to the unmolding was also not pretty. This cake is supposed to bake in a 9-inch cake tin. We had 2 8-inch cake tins that were pretty shallow and that I feared would not hold all the batter. So I opted for a 9 1/2-inch springform pan. DO NOT USE A SPRINGFORM PAN. I wrapped the bottom of the tin in foil to fend off leaking, and…

Springform pan leakage. Crud.

A photo posted by sarah (@braisinhussy) on

Well, that clearly worked. Ugh. So maybe half of the caramel made it into/onto the final cake. Plus, my brother and his family were greeted by the smell of burning sugar! How joyous.

That being said, if you use the correct pan, you won’t have any of these issues. I cannot guarantee that the cake won’t still end up looking like surgery gone bad! The cranberries are deliciously tart, and the cake is moist and has a nice little kick of brandy. Feel free to sprinkle a little extra (1-2 Tbsp) over the cake after you unmold it. (We were serving it to kids, so I didn’t.)

nonstick spray
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 Tbsp honey
10 Tbsp butter, divided (4 and 6)
1 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp brandy
1/2 cup apple juice (this is just what we had, probably some kind of cran-juice would be nice too)
2 cups (8 oz) fresh or frozen cranberries

Heat oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray (DO NOT USE A SPRINGFORM PAN) and cover the bottom with parchment paper

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 Tbsp butter. Add the brown sugar, honey, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring. Once you’re sure all the brown sugar has melted into the mixture, pour into prepared cake pan. Set pan aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Beat 6 Tbsp butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, then beat in vanilla and brandy. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed until just blended. Beat in juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating until just blended.

Add the cranberries to the prepared baking pan and press the fruit into an even layer. Pour the batter on top and use a spatula to gently nudge it into place without disturbing the cranberries underneath. Bake on the center rack (with a sheet pan underneath in case of any overflow, which shouldn’t be a problem because you were smart and did not use a springform pan).

Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Let cake stand in pan 5 minutes. Invert a serving plate over the cake pan and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and pan firmly pressed together). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Honey Cake

honey cake!
honey cake!

I’ve had a cold for the past few days (probably picked up some gunk on the plane ride back), so we pushed our Rosh Hashanah celebratory meal to tonight. A little Braisin’ History—I made honey cake for the first time in 2012, from a recipe on smitten kitchen. It tuned out well that year, but I had moved by the time Rosh Hashanah rolled around in 2013, and I was not yet familiar with how my new oven worked—or rather, how it didn’t. That apartment had a terrible oven. It was at least 75 degrees off, and it would shut off whenever it felt it was approaching a workable temperature. So I baked the cake for the specified amount of time, and then it was raw. As I attempted to get it to a less-gooey state, I managed to burn the edges. I took the failure into work the next day in the hopes that someone would eat it. I ended up throwing most of it away at lunch.

This is not that honey cake, however! This turned out lovely! This is a new recipe I got from the New York Times. It calls for a lot of red wine, olive oil, and (of course) honey. The plum and thyme garnish is really something. I altered a couple things slightly from Melissa Clark’s recipe.

2 1/2 cups AP flour (300 grams)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp ground ginger
3 large eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 1/4 cups olive oil
1 cup honey
3/4 cup red wine
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
Baker’s Joy or nonstick spray+flour, to prep the bundt pan

3 plums
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
pinch lemon zest

Heat oven to 350, and prep the bundt pan with Baker’s Joy or grease+flour combo.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In another large bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Whisk in sugar, oil, honey, wine, and the fresh ginger until well combined. Stir in dry ingredients and mix until just combined (no pockets of flour remaining, but don’t overwork the batter).

Pour batter into pan and bake until springy to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes, then unmold the cake (be brave!) and let cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, make the garnish. Chop up the plums and mix with the honey, thyme, and lemon zest. Macerate for at least 30 minutes.

Slice cake, top with garnish.

Plum Cake

(adapted/simplified from the smitten kitchen, which was adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours)

1.5 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
5 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup (packed) brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
8 small plums, halved and pitted

Heat oven to 350. Butter and flour an 8×8 baking dish. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until homogenized, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Continue beating, adding the oil, zest, and vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Arrange the plum halves cut side up on top of the batter in a 4×4 grid. Press the plums into the batter.

Bake, and start checking for doneness at the 30 minute mark. Cake is done when the top has browned and puffed up around the plums, and when a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool on rack for 15 minutes, then de-pan. Cake may be stored for up to 2 days at room temperature.

Chai-Buttermilk Spice Cake

Refatted from Cooking Light

1/2 cup boiling water
6 chai tea bags
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/3 cup (3 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 large egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
cooking spray

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour boiling water over tea bags in a bowl; steep 5 minutes. Remove and discard tea bags; cool to room temperature.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, stirring with a whisk. Place cream cheese and butter in a large bowl, beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until well combined. Beat in brewed tea and vegetable oil. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.

Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-third of egg white mixture into batter; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture.

Spoon batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean (it took me closer to 50 minutes). Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Banana Bread

1 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup banana pulp (~2 bananas)
1 1/2 cup minus 2 tbsp AP flour (so 1 3/8 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and beat until light. Add baking soda and sour cream. Beat well. Add bananas, flour, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Mix well with mixer on low power. Bake in buttered bread pan at 350. Start checking on it at 45 minutes, although it may end up taking closer to an hour. It’s finished when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.