Charlotte Cake

Strawberry Charlotte Cake

Summer is here and so is strawberry season.  I have been saving this recipe for strawberry time and I’m so excited that I finally get to share it with you!  Charlotte cakes are beautiful and light, but can be a challenge to make.  I learned some tricks from America’s Test Kitchen that makes the cake easy to make, without losing the beauty and elegance.

strawberries

A traditional Charlotte Cake is made with ladyfingers.  The problem with using lady fingers is that they can be dry, difficult to line up neatly, and the filling likes to ooze out between the ladyfingers and spoil the look.  America’s Test Kitchen came up with the brilliant idea of using a sponge cake instead of ladyfingers!  The sponge cake is light and flexible, making it easy to work with, but tough enough to hold the cake together.  The directions look long, but it comes together quickly.

Charlotte Cake

Charlotte Cake

Filling

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 large eggs, separated (save the whites for the cake)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup Quark
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  1. Sprinkle gelatin over water in a large bowl and set aside.  Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch together in a medium bowl until combined.
  2. Combine strawberries, sugar, and butter in a medium saucepan.  Mash lightly and stir until no dry sugar remains.  Cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until mixture is simmering and strawberries are almost completely broken down, 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Remove strawberry mixture from heat and, whisking constantly, slowly add 1/2 cup strawberry mixture to yolk mixture to temper.  Continue whisking constantly, add the tempered yolk mixture to the strawberry mixture in the saucepan.   Return the saucepan to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and bubbles, about one minute.
  4. Remove from heat, stir strawberry mixture into the gelatin until the gelatin is dissolved.  Fold in Quark.  Set aside, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and reaches room temperature.  While the mixture cools, make the jelly mixture and cake.

Strawberries with sugar and butter

Jelly Mixture

  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jelly (or seedless jam)

Sprinkle gelatin over lemon juice in a small bowl and let sit until the gelatin softens.  Heat jelly in the microwave, stirring occasionally, until hot and runny, about 1 minute.  Add gelatin to jelly and whisk to dissolve.  Set aside.

charlottecake--6

Cake

  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 egg whites (reserved from the filling)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8 inch round cake pan and an 8 inch square cake pan, line with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.  Whisk oil, whole egg, water and vanilla into the flour mixture until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed in a stand mixer until foamy, about one minute.  Increase speed to medium high and whip until soft peaks form.  Transfer 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter, whisk gently until the mixture is lightened.  Gently fold the remaining egg whites into batter.
  4. Pour 1 cup batter into prepared round pan and spread evenly.  Pour the remaining batter into the prepared square pan and spread evenly.  Place pans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the upper middle position of the oven until cakes spring back when pressed lightly in the center, about 8-10 minutes.  Cakes should not brown.
  5. Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes.  Invert cakes onto wire rack.  Remove parchment and invert again.  allow to cool completely.

lining the springform pan with cake

Putting it all together!

  1. Place round cake in the center of a serving platter.  Spread with 2 tablespoons jelly mixture.  Place ring from a 9 inch springform pan around cake, leaving equal space on all sides.  Leave clasp of ring loose.
  2. Using a sharp knife, trim 1/8 inch off all edges of square cake.  Spread square cake with 2 tablespoons of jelly mixture.  Cut cake in half.  Cut each half lengthwise into two pieces to make four equal size long strips.  Place cake strips around the round cake, jelly side in, taking care to nestle ends together neatly (see above). Fasten clasp of springform ring.
  3. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip cream until soft peaks form.  Gently fold cream into chilled filling until evenly mixed but still light and fluffy.
  4. Pour filling into the cake ring and spread evenly to the edge.  Drizzle the remaining jelly mixture on the filling.  Using a skewer or knife, swirl the jelly through the surface of the filling, making a marbled pattern.  Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or up to 24 hours.

Swirling the filling

To unmold, run a thin knife around the edge of the ring (just 1/2 inch down).  Release ring and lift to remove.  Let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

charlottecake--7

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

 

Gouda Pineapple Cake

Cheese and fruit go so nicely together.  There are endless possibilities of combinations that are superb and that will thrill your guests at the holiday table.  This cake was a particular favorite with some of our employees.  It is dense and super moist!

The employees tend to benefit from my love of baking.  My kids are grown so if we were to eat all of the things I bake, we would be in serious trouble.  I like that I can take things to the employee lunch room, drop them on the table and walk away.  Temptation removed.

pineapplecake

Gouda Pineapple Cake

  • 1 can (8 ounces) pineapple slices
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) Gouda, finely shredded
  • Heavy cream, whipped (optional)

Heat oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a round cake pan with parchment.  I used a 10 inch pan.  You can use an 8 inch pan for a taller cake.

Drain the pineapple slices, reserving 1/2 cup juice. (Add water to make 1/2 cup if necessary.) Combine melted butter, brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice. Spread mixture in prepared cake pan. Arrange pineapple slices over mixture. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.  Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture and beat on low speed until well-combined. Stir in remaining pineapple juice and cheese. Spread batter over pineapple slices in cake pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Carefully invert onto serving platter. Remove pan and paper. Serve warm with whipped cream, if desired.

adapted from Wisconsin Cheese

pineapplecake3

Cranberry Bundt Cake

Christmas time at the Cheese Shop is a magical time.  One of my favorite things is having all the kids coming Christmas shopping with their parents.  Kids get so excited about the season and the joy is contagious.

Child looking at the cheese
Checking out the variety of cheeses in the case
Daisy at the cow
Every child should learn where milk comes from

Christmas is the laughter of the children, smells of baking, frosty mornings, and warm fires.  Christmas is home, family, faith, and tradition.

Cranberry Bundt Cake

Christmas is also cranberries!  Cranberry Bundt Cake has been a family favorite for several years now.  Quark makes the cake moist and rich, without being heavy.  This is my son’s all time favorite holiday dessert, he has been known to bring home a can of cranberry sauce from the grocery store and hand it to me along with my bundt pan.

bundtcake

Cranberry Bundt Cake

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Quark
  • 1 can (14 ounces) whole-berry cranberry sauce

Icing (optional)

  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 teaspoons milk (approximately)
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350  Grease and flour a 10 inch bundt pan.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in extract.
  4. Add the flour to the creamed mixture alternately with Quark, beating well after each addition.
  5. Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the bundt pan. Top with the cranberry sauce. Spoon the remaining batter over the cranberry sauce and smooth to the edges.
  6. Bake for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
  7. Sprinkle cooled cake with sifted powdered sugar or drizzle warm cake with icing.
  8. For Icing: combine icing ingredients until smooth, add more milk if necessary to get the right consistency.

bundtcake2

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Today is National “Ditch Zucchini on your Neighbor’s Porch Day” and I was a victim this morning.  I am truly grateful for this because we love zucchini but I don’t love gardening.

What’s the first thing I did with this random act of vegetable kindness?  I made Chocolate Zucchini cake, of course!  I originally shared this super moist, delicious cake recipe on August 25, 2010 and it’s still a favorite at our house.

Zucchini Love
Here is the zucchini, along with the note that came with it. It makes me very happy!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Appel Farms Quark
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 (1 ounce) squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a Bundt pan and set aside.  In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, vegetable oil and Quark, beat well.  Gently stir in the zucchini, vanilla and melted chocolate.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and chocolate chips.  Stir the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture and pour into the Bundt pan.  Bake for 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Cool for ten to fifteen minutes on a wire rack, then invert onto a serving plate and cool completely.  Top it with powdered sugar or a glaze.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
This is the photo from 2010

Lemon Pound Cake with Yogurt Cardamom Sauce

Pound Cake with Yogurt Sauce

I wanted to make a special cake for John for his birthday yesterday.  John is not a fan of birthday cake, especially the cloying sweetness the frosting.  When I make cupcakes, I always set a few aside without frosting, just for him.  This time I wanted something special, but easy.  Half of our Cheese Shop crew is gone on vacation so I am putting in a few extra hours this week.

Grilled Pound Cake is fast and easy to make and it has just the right amount of sweetness.  John wasn’t too sure when I put the cake on the barbecue grill, but he is now convinced that it’s what you need to do to a cake.  Grilling gives the pound cake a nice crunch on the outside while keeping it warm and moist in the center, plus the touch of smoky flavor elevates the tang of the lemon.  The Yogurt Cardamom Sauce was our daughter’s idea and recipe.  The sauce is perfect with the crunchy cake and the floral note of the cardamom adds a lovely compliment in flavor.  Based on those last few sentences, I think that I have been watching too much “Food Network” again.

Lemon Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 8 ounces Appel Farms Quark
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour 2 loaf pans.
  2. Cream together the butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the quark, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla and lemon. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  With mixer on low, gradually add flour, beating just until combined (do not overmix).
  3. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours (tent with aluminum foil if browning too quickly). Let cool in pan 15 minutes before removing from the pan to a wire rack.  Cool completely then chill for a minimum of 30 minutes before grilling.
  4. Cut in 1/2 to 1 inch slices.  Grill over medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side or until lightly brown.   Serve warm with Yogurt Cardamom Sauce (below).

Grilling pound cake

Yogurt Cardamom Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Appel Farms Yogurt (or Greek Yogurt)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon Appel Farms Quark
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • Pinch of salt

Whisk all the ingredients together, chill 1-2 hours.  Both the cake and yogurt sauce can be made the day before.