Thursday, September 5, 2013

Weeknight Cook and a Cake

The fall issue of Cooking Club magazine, which features several recipes by yours truly in the "Weeknight Cook" column (on page 46), has arrived! It was a fantastic surprise to see that I share a by-line with cookbook author extraordinaire Marie Simmons. Marie has been a friend and mentor to me since my days as an intern at Copia, and I never dreamed I’d see my name next to hers in print. What an honor! My recipes are the Pork Cutlets with Black and Green Olive Sauce, Italian Sausage and White Bean Stew, Pasta with Smoky Angry Tomato Sauce, Veracruz Baked Fish Fillets, and Mini Chipotle Meat Loaves. They’re quick and easy yet tasty and satisfying, so I hope you'll give them a try. The pasta has especially become a favorite at my house, and we had it for dinner again last night.

And for dessert, here’s a summer recipe inspired by the stops on a recent trip to the Hood River Valley. Visit a lavender farm…

A u-pick peach orchard…

And this is what you get!

Peach-Lavender Cake
Printable Recipe

3 ounces (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pan
5 ounces all-purpose flour
2 ounces almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon dried lavender flowers, ground
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
4 ½ ounces sour cream, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces sugar
3 ounces light brown sugar
3 large peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Butter a 9×3-inch round cheesecake pan, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, lavender, and salt. Whisk together the egg, sour cream, and vanilla.

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on high for 3 to 4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg mixture until thoroughly combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Do not overmix. Transfer to the cake pan and spread evenly. Spread the peaches evenly over the batter, pressing them in slightly. Bake for about 1 hour and 25 minutes, or until the edges of the cake start to shrink away from the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and finish cooling completely. Cut into portions and serve.

Makes 1 9-inch cake, serving 8. Use a springform pan if you don't have a cheesecake pan. If the diced peaches exude any appreciable amount of juice, drain it off and whisk it into the egg mixture. Also try cinnamon, nutmeg, or tonka bean instead of lavender.
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