Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Breakfast Cake

So right there is a breakfast cake. Actually about half of a breakfast cake (it has been tempting me with wafts of fresh lemon zest). It came about as a need to satisfy my morning hunger for the week, and to satisfy my need to create a few evenings ago.

The ingredients were all present in various places stashed in my kitchen; hence the slightly strange conglomeration of components familiar to a cake, but somewhat different than usual. I had egg whites set aside from ice cream making this weekend, a cube of cream cheese left-over from a batch of frosting, buttermilk patiently waiting to be finished, and a stash of forgotten canned peaches from the summer begging to have their tasty golden flesh released from an oh-so simple syrup.

This breakfast cake has helped me begin my mornings this week with a mug of toasty coffee, and it will now be the substance to fuel the first post of my blog, Dirty Apron. I hope this space will allow all of the various disconnected thoughts, ideas, and tastes present in my life to come together into something as enticing as this cake.

Here now is the recipe for my breakfast cake, it is easily adapted to fit what you might have hiding in your kitchen at the moment.

Breakfast Cake
If you don't have spare egg whites, just separate whole eggs and use the yolks in place of the cream cheese. Also, if you don't have buttermilk you can add a spoon full of lemon juice to milk and let it sit for 10 min. I used fresh thyme, but you could add another herb you like or omit it.

1 c. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
1 1/2 c. Unbleached All-purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Kosher Salt
1 c. Sugar
1 c. Pureed Canned Peaches (or pears, or applesauce)
1 c. Buttermilk
4 Tbsp Cream Cheese - softened
1 tsp Vanilla
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
3-4 Egg Whites + 1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme
Zest of one small lemon

Sliced Almonds
Turbindo Sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a bundt pan evenly. Sprinkle the pan lightly with turbindo sugar on all sides, sprinkle the bottom of the pan with slivered almonds. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl an set aside. In a small pan, melt the butter on low medium heat. Carefully watch the butter melting and keep it on heat until it develops a nutty brown color and smell. As soon as you see the color turn a nut brown and begin to turn darker (there might be solids visible) take the butter off of the heat and add thyme or any other herb of your choice. Let the butter cool. In a stand-up mixer with a whisk, mix egg whites on medium speed. As they become foamy, add the 1 Tbsp sugar. Continue to whisk egg whites until they form stiff peaks, set aside. In a large bowl combine the peach puree, buttermilk, vanilla, lemon zest, sugar, and softened cream cheese. Whisk together well until the cream cheese and all ingredients are well combined. Whisk in butter and olive oil. Fold in dry ingredients in batches just until everything is combined. Begin to fold in egg whites in batches until just combined. Pour batter into the bundt pan and put into oven on center rack. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Loosen cake around the edges with a knife and turn out onto a cooling rack.

If I were to make this again, I would coat the pan with a bit more turbindo sugar. That combined with the slivered almonds creates a fantastic caramelized crunch that contrasts in a most delicious way with the fluffy, soft interior of the cake.