BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked


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Moving Right Along

…Is it safe to come out now? Has the Thanksgiving madness come and gone for another year? Thank goodness, it passed without too much fuss or duress around here, and for that, I am truly thankful.

Now that we’re over that hurdle, there’s nothing standing between us and full-blown winter holiday immersion. Decorations and wrapping may have been pushed to a prominent place in stores since Halloween, but now we can finally stop ignoring them- There’s no longer any shame in diving head-first into that sea of iridescent tinsel. It’s my favorite time to cook and bake, when diets don’t even factor in and everyone eats with abandon, simply enjoying the festive foods on offer. Desserts can be desserts, not healthy desserts or breakfast-like desserts (although they may very well be on the menu first thing in the morning, too) and extravagant ingredients can be just par for the course.

If ever there was an easy show-stopper of a treat for the holidays, for me, it would have to be a rum cake. Doused with spirits and emboldened with light spices, I have fond memories of picking moist crumbs off of empty serving plates as I carried them back to the kitchen. Under the guise of being a helpful child, I was really after those leftover scraps.

This year, I gave the traditional bundt a cloak of chocolate, transforming it into a downright fudgy mountain of gently boozy cake. Dotted with sizable chunks of candied ginger, every bite is a little bit different.

Sorry to be a tease, but my Chocolate Rum Bundt recipe can be found in the new November/December issue of Joy of Kosher. Keep an eye on the website though, because they often generously share the recipes after a certain time of having the magazine on the news stands.

I’m certainly in the holiday spirit now! How about you?


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Last Call for Blueberries

I’m usually not one for either making or hosting guest posts, but when the Beantown Baker invited me over to her blog to share a bit of my work, I could hardly refuse. So, for today’s recipe, go check it out over in the Friday Favorites section.  You don’t want to miss this one- Marbled Blueberry Bundt Cake to finish off the berry season! Here’s just a small taste…

Slim pickings. Literally, that’s what we found after embarking on our much-anticipated annual blueberry picking adventure. We’re spoiled with riches of wild raspberries all across our county, but blueberries? Those round, sweet gems are a bit harder to come by, and even the farms were sorely lacking this year. After being turned away due to poor picking conditions once already, we were determined not to go home empty handed yet again.

Arriving near the tail-end of their growing season, it’s reasonable to expect a less than bountiful harvest, but this was downright pitiful. Shriveled, grey berries remained where they once blossomed and were forgotten, while others had over-ripened to the point of bursting, like weak balloons filled with shaving cream. Regardless, with a bit of careful, diligent plucking, there were still enough berries to fill a small bucket, and satisfy the peckish picker, of course.


The effort, though more demanding than usual, was rewarded by modest heap of fresh, juicy blueberries, far more flavorful than anything store bought. After hungrily wolfing down about half of our plunder whole and plain, I was itching to make more of this seasonal treasure. Colorful filling to sandwich cookies started the wheels in motion, but I wanted more; something seriously blueberry-filled, rich and ripe.

Cake, the universal party centerpiece, fit the bill with ease. More of a simple tea cake or even breakfast treat, white whole wheat flour contributes a more hearty texture, without any overbearing wheat flavor. Touches of lemon brighten up the soft and tender bundt, although orange could also be a delightful accent instead. Though it may sound unremarkable on paper, trust me, the cut slices are anything but ordinary.

Marbled in striking blue and golden tones, this easy yet stunning dessert is like summer condensed into cake form. Now that the days have begun to cool off considerably, a warm oven is a welcome thing again, and there’s never been a better time to bake with blueberries. Handpicked berries or not, this is one recipe that’s sure to make repeat appearances in kitchen, many times over.

Marbled Blueberry Bundt Cake

3 Cups White Whole Wheat Flour
2 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
2/3 Cup Olive Oil
1 Cup Plain, Unsweetened Vegan Yogurt
1 cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
2 Teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1 1/2 Cups Blueberries, Divided
1 Teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest

Lemon Syrup:

3 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice
1 Cup Granulated Sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease and flour a 10-cup capacity bundt pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and sugar. Separately, mix the olive oil, “yogurt,” non-dairy milk, vinegar, and vanilla to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry, and with a wide spatula, fold the two together just until you achieve a fairly smooth batter. A few lumps are just fine; be careful not to over-mix. Divide the batter equally into two parts, pouring half off into a separate bowl.

Turning your attention now to the blueberries, toss 1 cup of them into your blender or food processor, along with the lemon juice. Thoroughly puree, until smooth but still with their naturally rough, slightly seedy texture intact. Add the blended berries into one of the bowls of batter, along with the remaining 1/2 cup of whole blueberries, and stir well to fully incorporate.

With a clean spatula, mix the lemon zest into the other bowl of batter until distributed throughout.

Lay down a thin layer of the blueberry batter in small dollops along the bottom of your prepared bundt pan. Top that with a ribbon of the lemon batter; it’s fine if it doesn’t entirely cover, but do your best to keep them neat and even. Repeat as many times as possible, until you run out of batter. Take a spatula and swirl it through the whole assemblage ONLY ONCE to create a neat but discernible swirl throughout the cake.

Move the whole bundt into the center of your oven, and bake for 60 – 70 minutes, until a wooden dowel inserted into the center of the cake pulls out clean. Let cool completely in the pan, and then turn out on a wire rack.

To finish the cake off, a thin glaze of lemon syrup is a nice touch to keep everything moist. Simply place both the lemon juice and sugar in a small sauce pan, and stir to combine. Heat over medium heat until the sugar has fully dissolved. Brush the syrup evenly over the whole bundt- Chances are you won’t need it all. (Save the extra for sweetening tea!) Slice and serve right away, or store it covered, in the fridge, for 4 – 5 days.

Serves 12 – 14

Printable Recipe

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