I've got a new fun cookbook I've been reading this past week, and I'm quite excited at the prospect of it. It's called Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, and it provides the bare-bones of the essential recipes: crepes, bread, pie dough, biscuits, pancakes, etc. using ratios. For example, biscuits are 3 parts flour, 2 parts liquid, and 1 part fat. This books provides these simple ratios and techniques of how to make the fundamentals of food so that you can turn into the chef and create your own recipe! I mean, how cool is that?!
By giving you the ratios, you can learn how to play around with them, adding your own flavors and variations on what the chefs consider the classic form.
I love this part of the book where he says, "[Cookbooks] may actually hurt you as a cook by keeping you chained to recipes. Getting your hands on a ratio is like being given a key to unlock those chains. Ratios free you." Fascinating. I am by no means abandoning all recipes and recipe books, but I so desperately want to try to become a more impromptu cook like my Great-Grandmother Gonzalez who, as my mom says, could take a fridge filled with nothing and turn it into something incredible and delicious. That's my dream, friends.
In an effort to be a more adventurous cook, I've been trying to turn a not-so-fun situation into a positive thing. With the start of the new year, our church meeting time has moved from a blissful 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM. It's not ideal for me, let's say that. I prefer getting up in the morning, getting ready, going to church, and then coming home to cook, relax, and perhaps have friends over for a nice Sunday dinner. However, with this new start time, dinner will probably turn into more of an afterthought rather than a main event. But never fear, brunch and lunch dates are here!
I mean, when else would I have the time to make a sweet and delectable coffee cake in the morning? The answer is never. We're lucky if we get cereal in the morning during the work week, really.
Anyway, back to coffee cake. I've been dying to try out my new bundt cake pan from Christmas (thanks Mom!), and this just looked too pretty to pass up! I was pretty nervous about getting the cake out safely (bundt cake pans are treacherous at times), but we only had a little mishap in a patch. You can barely notice, right? Feel free to lie.
It sure is fun to have a pretty cake in my cake stand!
This coffee cake was a winner. Cinnamony, soft, with just the right texture on the outside. I'll probably cook it a bit longer next time so the bottom is cooked more completely, but I was so gun shy about overbaking it, I took it out a wee bit early. Thank goodness Aaron likes soft baked goods! Happy weekend!
Yield: 12–16 servings
1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons each vanilla & water
Maple Frosting Glaze:
1/2+1/8 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare bundt pan with cooking spray and flour. Flour it a lot so your cake stays intact!
- Beat butter and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, then beat in the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Stir in the sour cream. Sift flour, baking powder, soda, and salt together and blend into mixture.
- Combine cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl. Spoon 1/3 of the batter into the greased and floured bundt pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cinnamon brown sugar mixture. Continue layering to make three layers of each, ending with the cinnamon mixture. Blend vanilla and water in a bowl and drizzle it over the top.
- Bake cake for about 80 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes on a wire rack, say a quick prayer, and then remove from the pan.
- In a small bowl, mix the confectioner's sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla together to make the glaze. With a spoon, drizzle glaze on top of the cooled cake and serve.