Persimmon Upside-down Cake

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I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. It’s probably one of my favorite holidays of the year because my family gets together and we have great food and there’s no pressure of getting presents like there is at Christmas. Instead of turkey, my parents ordered a roast duck and brined chicken from Sam Woo and cooked up a bunch of sides. It was extra veggie-friendly this year with the following vegetarian dishes: wild rice with butternut squash, spaghetti squash gratin, yamaimo and avocado salad, kale salad, veggie kidney and basil, roast potatoes, braised and baked tofu, vegetarian duck, and some pickled onions and home-pickled greens to whet the appetite.

This morning, I made a persimmon upside-down cake since we had a bag of persimmons from my parents and I had just watched Barefoot Contessa make some sort of upside down apple cake.

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I sliced up some persimmon and spread them out in a cake pan and poured over a lightly cooked caramel sauce. In hindsight, I should have added less water to the caramel and let it brown more. It was more watery than syrupy.

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For the cake part, I mostly used this vegan cupcake recipe but put in less sugar, left out the coconut extract, and put in some extra holiday spices (cinnamon and nutmeg). I also didn’t have cider vinegar, so I made do with the pomegranate drinking vinegar in the fridge.

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It was okay and not so bad as a first try and mostly winging it, but next time, I’ll put even less sugar and caramelize the sugar more.  The cake part was a little too moist for my taste, but tasted better after sitting for a few hours and drying out.

Chinese Style Birthday Cake

For my birthday last month, Will made me a Chinese style birthday cake. What’s so special about a Chinese cake? The key characteristic is that it’s steamed instead of baked. Steaming makes it lighter and keeps the cake more moist.

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It was delicious and dairy-free. The filling was a rich, creamy custard and the frosting was light and coco-nutty. I didn’t even realize it was possible to whip coconut cream into a whip-cream like consistency!

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Thanks Will, it was tasty!

Recipe after the jump [Read more…]

Sourdough Success

My First Sourdough Loaf
I finally had success with my sourdough starter. I used the pineapple method shown here and I guess the trick is to really just follow the instructions. After the fifth day, my starter was foamy and alive! I made a test loaf seen above and while the starter doesn’t seem to have a lot of leavening power, it sure tastes good.

Home Made Sourdough WafflesI used some of the starter that I would have thrown away during a feeding to make waffle batter. The waffles didn’t taste that tangy or tart, but they did have a good complex flavor, which wasn’t something we got with just a regular waffle batter. The waffles were also incredibly airy, which was good if we got it right off the iron, but bad because it got soggy very quickly.

Egg Salad Sandwich on Sourdough BreadI also made an egg salad sandwich using the bread. There’s just something so satisfying about taking a freshly baked loaf of bread out of the oven and cutting into it and seeing the steam rise up. Maybe I should let bread cool a little longer before cutting it, but it’s one of my favorite parts about baking bread.

I didn’t want the egg salad to taste too rich, so I whipped up a batch of mango salad to go along with it. Mango, although sweet, actually tastes really good with some salt, cayenne pepper, and olive oil mixed in with it.