TWD: Fresh Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

When I made Sunday dinner for Tom and his parents, I completely overlooked taking any photos of the meal. Beeping timers and a barking dog kind of got in the way, along with the last touches of the meal. Our dinner and dessert was beautiful, if I do say so myself, but you’ll have to

But here’s what we enjoyed:

-Savory brioche pockets – the next TWD recipe! Stay tuned!

-Green salad, with a springtime herb vinaigrette

-Fruit salad (no bananas–you’re welcome, Tom)

And finally, fresh rhubarb upside down cake, from Baking with Julia, with a small scoop of the vanilla ice cream I made last week specifically to accompany our fresh picked strawberries. 

Find the recipe here. 

Instead of purchasing four baby cake pans, I split the thick butter cake batter and the caramel-pecan-bourbon-rhubarb topping between two pans: a regular 8-inch pan, and a 7-inch (I think?) cast-iron skillet. Both cooked evenly and beautifully, but also took longer in the oven than what the recipe indicated for the little cakes. After turning them over onto two plates, I let the cakes cool slightly as we ate dinner.

Tom played fetch with the annoying pup (who has been eating EVERYTHING she can off the counters lately, more to come on that) as we cleaned up. Then time for slices of the cake — moist but dense, and not overwhelmingly sweet. I believe I’d make the recipe again, varying the topping seasonally.

A lovely Sunday meal, indeed. Even if there’s no photographic proof.


Grandma Betty’s Hot Milk Cake

Betty Schaefer and Dale Marston were students at University of Illinois  as World War II was brewing on the other side of the world. She was a freshman studying home economics, he was in his second year of chemical engineering. They lived in neighboring boarding houses, and the meals for the dozen or so students were served at Betty’s. That’s where the couple met, in the old version of college dining halls, almost a sign of the many, many meals they were to share in their future.

My grandparents’ wedding portrait, August 1941

In August 1941, Dale was called to report to the Army in Washington. He had already “pinned” Betty with his fraternity pin, essentially a sign of their engagement, but the time for a no-frills wedding came much sooner than they expected. Betty left school and the pair traveled to St. Louis, where there was no waiting period to get married. They moved east, and started their lives together on $125 month, renting a $40 apartment.

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TWD: French Strawberry Cake

The other day turned into a three-piece-of-cake type of day. That’s right: Three. (Two were on the small side, and I had an extra sliver that I didn’t count, so maybe it was four?)

The first weekend I had Rachel, the new pup, we would walk and walk and walk and still, she wouldn’t be tired. On that Sunday, it wasn’t until the fourth mile that she looked even slightly worn out. I don’t know about her, but I certainly burned some calories. And that meant I was starving all weekend. After that long walk, my friend came over for a piece of cake. Later that evening, I went to my boyfriend’s family’s home, taking along my cake. They had a delicious carrot and pineapple upside down cake too, so we all had a piece of each.

This French Strawberry Cake was from “Baking with Julia,” for Tuesdays with Dorie. My mom and agreed: It was awesome. The classic but dry genoise cake soaked up the sweet berry juice while the whipped cream frosting offered a creamy finish. It also wasn’t too difficult to make, and I would love to make it again for friends, with all sorts of different fruits.

My mom’s gorgeous finished cake.

Here’s how we made our cakes. First, we whipped up whole eggs, with sugar. You had to beat them for quite awhile to get the right, light consistency.

Then, the recipe calls to add the flour, sifted. Since my mom’s cake ended up kind of doughy (little lumps of flour won’t bake out, she discovered), I sifted the flour directly on top of the batter and made sure to fold it together several times. I also had a helper in the kitchen. She didn’t know what to think of the mixer at first!

Once in the pan, the batter was very airy, with little bubbles at the top.

My mom used an 8″ pan, and was able to cut the cake into three layers. I made do with two layers, since I used a 9″ pan.

Each layer was topped with a sugar-soaked crushed strawberry mixture. I kept the extra juice, and let it soak into the cake.

Then, the layers come together with a whipped cream topping, stabilized with a bit of sour cream. I didn’t beat mine quite long enough for it to stand up when piped, but my mom’s looked like it turned out well.

To see the recipe, check out Sophia’s Sweets and Sleep Love Think Dine.

Rum pound cake with bananas foster sauce

Bananas and pound cake and rum and fire: What’s not to like?

Emma came up to the ‘Burg tonight for some sisterly bonding, aka cake-making extravaganza. We had to be prepared and we each did our research ahead of time. While there were several epic desserts — such as ones involving twelve layers — the winner was this Buttered Rum Pound Cake with Bananas Foster Sauce (because we had almost all the ingredients and the right pans… who knew a college kid could accumulate so many different types of pans! No more new ones for awhile.)

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