Mandarin Orange Cake

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Next Step: Mandarin Orange Cake! For all those gloomy days out there, a taste of sunshine comes to greet you in a naturally sweet cake. Did you realize mandarin oranges don’t only come in a can? Actually, you know them by other names in the produce department: “Halos” and “Cuties”. Sometimes people refer to mandarin oranges as clementines or tangerines. Small world, huh? Whatever you choose to call them, their pretty color and ease in peeling make them a popular choice. This cake recipe is versatile enough to be baked in a muffin tin, miniature bundt molds, or as a single-layer coffeecake. Something else to think about. The sugary glaze tops it all.

MANDARIN ORANGE CAKE

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon orange extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

zest of one orange

1/2 cup milk

Ingredients for Orange Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons orange juice

Orange peel zest, for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray miniature bundt molds with nonstick oil with added flour. Sift together flour and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside. Cream together sugar and butter in a medium bowl. Add egg; mixing well before adding orange extract, vanilla extract, and zest of one orange. Gently fold in flour mixture, alternating with milk. Stir until combined. Divide mixture into miniature bundt molds, filling 2/3 full. Bake 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Prepare orange glaze by combining powdered sugar and orange juice. Stir until smooth. When cakes are golden brown, remove from oven. Cool slightly before inverting molds onto a wire rack. Remove molds. Transfer cakes to a platter to finish cooling. Drizzle with orange glaze and garnish with orange zest. Serve warm.

Incredibly Delish Chocolate Bliss

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Equal Measures: Incredibly Delish Chocolate Bliss! Is it a cake? Is it a confection? Who cares? It’s smooth, creamy dreamy chocolate and it is incredible. The fact that it is flourless is a plus for those who avoid desserts for that particular reason. The dark chocolate and butter combination is divinely rich, which is why a little bit goes a long way. I find a nice cuppa joe or herbal tea creates a balance that works. As always, share a little bliss with those around you. They’ll thank you for it.

INCREDIBLY DELISH CHOCOLATE BLISS

Ingredients:

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons butter, cubed

2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon espresso powder

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

6 teaspoons chocolate hazelnut spread

Crushed pistachios for garnish

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375°. Use paper muffin cups or buttered ramekins. Set aside. Combine bittersweet chocolate and butter in a microwave-proof bowl. Melt in microwave on high setting at 30-second intervals until melted and smooth. Stir occasionally. In a mixer bowl, combine eggs, sugar, espresso powder, and almond extract. Beat on medium-high speed for 5 minutes or until mixture is lightened. Reduce speed to low setting. Add melted chocolate/butter mixture until combined. Spoon into muffin cups or buttered ramekins. Add one half teaspoon of hazelnut spread in the center of each muffin cup batter. Bake 10 minutes until edges are set, but center is still soft. Do not over bake. Garnish with crushed pistachios. Cool 5 minutes before serving.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter F

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Sunshine Eats: Financier Almond Cake! Not everyone lives around the corner from the best pastry shops in Paris. So we manage by baking at home. My son, Johnny, and his wife, Katie, treated me to their gluten-free version of a popular French sweet. Know what you get when you combine ground natural almonds, luscious brown butter, and airy egg whites? Clue: It’s a French pastry chef’s dream! By choosing a small cupcake mold or ramekin, this springy honey-sweet dessert becomes a star attraction at the end of a meal. Drizzle it with a lightly sweetened St~Germaine glaze, top it with a fresh raspberry crown, and you’re bound to feel a tiny bit Parisienne. Ooh-la-la!
FINANCIER ALMOND CAKE
Ingredients for Cake:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup sliced almonds 

1/4 cup coconut flour

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 egg whites

1 tablespoon natural honey

1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter 2 ramekins or coat a 6-count muffin tin with butter or nonstick oil. Set aside. Melt the butter over medium heat. Do not burn. Simmer until brown bits begin to form. Lower heat and simmer, stirring frequently to scrape the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until butter turns dark brown, not burnt, for about 6 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Meanwhile pulse the sliced almonds and coconut flour in a food processor until nuts are finely ground. Transfer flour mixture to a medium bowl. Whisk in the powdered sugar. Fold in the egg whites, mixing until smooth. Gently stir in the honey. Finally, fold in the cooled brown butter. Stir until batter is smooth. Spoon into the greased ramekins or muffin pan. Spread batter evenly. Bake 25-30 minutes until the edges are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. If using a muffin pan, invert after 5 minutes to remove mini-cakes from pan. 
Ingredients for Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons St~Germaine liqueur 

Fresh raspberries for Garnish

1 teaspoon ground almonds for Garnish
Instructions:

Sift powdered sugar into a small bowl. Whisk in St~Germaine liqueur until a smooth consistency is reached. Gently spoon the glaze over the top of the cakes. Garnish with fresh raspberries and a sprinkling of ground almonds. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet; Letter E

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Home Cooking: Elderflower Raspberry Muffins! If you are a citrus lover, you will think you have died and gone to Heaven. The elderflowers from the St. Germain region of France are harvested into a delectable liqueur every Spring. Their delicate flavor is a blend of lemon, peach, and pear with a slight floral nature. When added to the ripe taste of raspberries with lemon zest, this fruity muffin becomes delightfully pleasing to the palate. 
ELDERFLOWER RASPBERRY MUFFINS
Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup Greek yogurt

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1 lemon for zest strips

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries 
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray the muffin tin with a nonstick oil. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Using a food processor, combine lemon zest strips and sugar. Pulse to finely chop the zest into the sugar. Add yogurt, milk, butter, egg, and extracts. Pulse until blended. Mix the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture and fold until almost blended. Gently fold in raspberries. Divide the batter into the muffin cups. Bake the muffins 18 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for five minutes before covering with glaze. Serve warm. 
Elderflower Glaze

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup elderflower liqueur*

2 teaspoons unsalted butter 
Directions:

Combine sugar and elderflower liqueur in microwave-safe bowl. Add butter and microwave for 45 seconds. Whisk until smooth, eliminating lumps. Let sit for a minute or two before pouring over warm muffins. 
*Elderflower liqueur may be substituted by using lemon juice instead.