Sponge Cake

Preheat oven to 350F
Prepare 1 – 10″ cake pan (see slideshow)

6 eggs
6 oz. sugar
6 oz. cake flour, sifted twice (and will sift a third time, into the bowl)
1 T. vanilla extract

To make chocolate sponge cake, replace 1/2 ounce of the flour with unsweetened cocoa powder, and sift together with the flour.
Cake flour is the only flour to use here, and you can find it in most grocery stores.
Cake flour tends to be VERY clumpy, so it is important to sift it several times to remove the clumps.
Most recipes call for the flour to be “folded” into the foam with a rubber spatula. I show you a different technique in this slideshow, but whichever method you are comfortable with, the key point here is to combine the foam and the flour gently and quickly. You do NOT want to deflate the foam.

 

 

Carrot Cake

Preheat oven to 385F
Prepare a cake pan (see slideshow)
Use the lemon and orange you are using for the zest, for the juice.

8 oz. unsalted butter
8 oz. sugar
8 oz. light brown sugar
7 oz. eggs (3-4 each)
1 # carrots, grated
4 oz. crushed pineapple
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. orange juice
1 lemon, zested
1 orange, zested
15 oz. all purpose flour
1/3 oz. baking powder
1/4 oz. baking soda
1/4 oz. salt
1/4 oz. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground ginger
1/8 t. ground cloves
5 oz. walnuts, toasted and chopped
5 oz. raisins

Bake approximately 1 hour, every oven is different. Check after 45 minutes, by tapping gently in the middle, if it feels spongy, then you can do the toothpick test. Do NOT test the cake too early, or you can deflate it. To ensure the cake is cooked through you can also do the toothpick test : stick a toothpick in the center of the cake, if it comes out clean it is done. Another sign of a cake being done, is when it shrinks away from the side of the pan.

For cream cheese frosting:
8 oz. unsalted butter
1 1/2# cream cheese
1# powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
1 1/2 T. vanilla extract

The KEY here is ALL the ingredients need to be room temperature. If you try to combine cold butter with cold cream cheese, it will be lumpy.

If the butter is cold and harder than the cream cheese, cream the butter with the paddle attachment, scraping the bowl often, until completely softened. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and blend thoroughly, again scraping the bowl as you go. Add the sifted sugar and combine. Blend on second speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, until fluffy 3-4 minutes.

Use as needed.

Bread Pudding

Bread Pudding can be sweet or savory. This is a recipe for a sweet bread pudding, but for savory just omit the sugar and spices.
For savory you can add such items as sun dried tomatoes, fresh herbs such as parsley, basil, tarragon, etc. Sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, truffles or truffle oil, etc.. Use your imagination, just think about moisture content of the items you are adding. (see note below under fresh fruit)
The most important thing to keep in mind is that this is simply bread soaked in a custard mix and then baked.
You can make any flavor of custard: RULE OF THUMB: per quart of dairy (cream, milk, etc) you will need 8 eggs to bake and set properly…from there you can flavor and add any ingredients you like.

6 cups day old bread, cut in 1 1/2″ cubes
1 quart milk, cream, or half and half
8 eggs, beaten
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground nutmeg
2T. vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1-2 oz. liquor of choice – here I used Jack Daniels, but you can use brandy, rum, amaretto, Grand Marnier, etc (for savory you could use marsala, madeira, etc)

garnish ingredients:
chocolate chips
toasted nut of choice – walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, etc.
dried fruit – cherries, raisins, apricots, cranberries, etc
fresh fruit – I do not advise a lot of “fresh” fruit as they will leach out liquid which can prevent the custard from setting. Use dried fruits. I DO add fresh bananas, however.

In this recipe I used raisins, dried cherries, dark chocolate chips, toasted walnuts, and fresh sliced bananas.

Prep a 10″ cake pan (see slideshow)
Preheat oven to 325F
For service warm bread pudding, and serve with Bourbon sauce.

Serve with Bourbon Sauce:
4 oz. butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg, beaten
2t. vanilla extract
1-2 oz. liquor (bourbon, brandy, etc.)
Melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in sugar, egg, and vanilla, and heat slowly over low heat, stirring constantly,until sugar is completely dissolved. Add liquor. Can be served hot or room temperature.