Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend Baking Adventures

Okay. Adventures is too strong a word. I baked some pretty easy (but very tasty) recipes this weekend. I had quite a lot going down.

It started on Friday. A few people were celebrating birthdays in my office this weekend, so I thought it would be nice to bake a cake for the office.

I reviwed Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires last week. The one thing I didn't mention about the book is that it includes many of Reichl's recipes. I found myself very drawn to one of the most basic recipes in the book: Nicky's Vanilla Cake (Nicky being her son). It was a basic pound cake type recipe that looked simple and satisfying. I decided to try it (even though it was one of those dreaded Bundt cakes).

I never took a photo as the edge broke off when I was taking it out of the pan. I cut that piece off and told Kevin it was the piece I was saving for him. Then I took the rest of the cake to work where it received rave reviews.

Nicky's Vanilla Cake (From Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl)

2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream
2 Tbl vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour Bundt pan.

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.

Mix together the dry ingredients. Add this to the butter mixture and mix well. Add the sour cream and mix well. Then mix in the vanilla.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes and remove from pan and leave on rack to cool completely.

Sunday night Oxbow Stables was holding its annual awards dinner. Most of the awards are related to the children's activities like the 4-H and the Pony Club stff. They also have the year-end horse show point accumulation awards. Some extremely important awards are handed out there, although none as important as last year's.

It's a potluck and everyone is assigned to bring something. I had to make a dessert. I opted for Bunny's delicious looking Cherry Cheese Crumb Bars.

These were really delicious. The crumb crust tastes like crumbled shortbread and the cherry-cheesecake-like filling was incredible. I'd say quite a bit of it was eaten by the end of the night and I received many compliments on it. I will, of course, pass those compliments on to Bunny for her recipe.

As for the rest of the food that evening...

The salads.

The hot foods.
It was standard potluck fare: Lasagne, chicken parmigiana, eggplant parmigiana, roast chicken pieces, sausage and peppers, ziti. There were a couple of surprises though like spicy fried polenta squares and sweet potatoes in curry sauce.

My dessert plate, including my share of the cherry bars.

A few people at my table had these and I received compliments.


Sara said...

What a great looking dinner! The cake sounds deliciuos too, I really like vanilla cake (sometimes even better than chocolate!)

Lucy said...

That's some feast!

I must try your vanilla sour cream cake recipe, thanks for posting it.

noble pig said...

That is a giant office fun! But that cake is like wow! Unreal.

jesse said...

Omg, so much foooooodz. *drool drool drool*

Not Another Omnivore said...

those cherry bars look great!


The Duo Dishes said...

Baking up a storm! The cherry bars look really luscious.

The Blonde Duck said...

Hooray for compliments! And what a tasty looking dessert plate!

Can I have one? :)

Donna-FFW said...

Oh my, those cherry bars!! Vanilla cake is one of my favorite types. I have got to give this one a shot.

Stacey Snacks said...

It looks like a Reynolds aluminum pan conference!!!!

Sue said...

That sounds like a great cake and I LOVE cherry anything. What a great picture of Kevin!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Sara - Blaspheme! (But I know what you mean)

Lucy - Hope you enjoy the recipe.

Cathy - This thing seems to grow bigger every year. More kids in the 4-H club I guess, pluss all of their parents...

Jesse - Just wipe off the keyboard.

NAOmni and Dish folks- Thanks.

Duckie - YOu can have one, but don't let the Cookie Stealing Bunny get any.

Donna - Please do. It's great everyone is trying these recipes.

Stacey - That is easily one of the funniest comments posted to this site.

Sue - Thanks. My instructor's husband has a photography business on the side and has a great talent for photographing Jenna not looking pissy.

Lo said...

Holy feasting!
I've got to admit to a FEAR of potluck events... (long story), but the laundry list of good stuff at this one sounds fabulous!

Actually, that vanilla cake sounds even better. You should have taken a pic of that poor, broken cake. I would have been happy to stare at it!! LOL

Emily said...

Yum! What a feast. The cake sounds great, but I'm really eyeing those cherry cheese bars. Mmmm.