Saturday, December 17, 2016

Grinch Cake

Not having a single new recipe to extol about, yet expounding on past glory is like a movie you play on rewind. You know, those that kind of trap you in a loop. The DVR cant catch up, and you, like a fool, bingewatch Christmas romance on nefarious seasonal channels that appear just about this time of year, have you reeled in(yes, pun intended) for most of your two week break. I now work, so I realize the profundity of a "little free time".

I grew up reading "The Grinch Stole Christmas!". It was a sort of self imposed ritual for me, every year in school. Up through high school. I was wholesome. Like that. Even afterwards,  The Two I gave birth to, lived this in repeat; reading watching, reciting, often times with force and against free will. These days, 25 days of Christmas and Netflix combined ensures we embrace this miserly Dr. Suess antihero, one so endearing, that he has us believe, in second chances, restoration, hope, redemption. Cue the tissues, please.

Yes, people, this is my ode. To a gloriously green villain who makes an ultimate Hero's journey, and to me, is one of the best Christmas stories told.

"You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch." And I become Cindy Lou. 

Now before I lose all train of thought and existence of what the subject matter for this blog should be, I will introduce you to the day's theme. A loaf cake, pound-ish in nature, ridiculous fluffy like it could totally aspire to be any other tiered frosted pastry counterpart.

We've dealt with surprise embedded stories before. It's almost like a double feature. A piece within a piece. Here, themed green and red, plush with a teeny heart, revealed only upon slicing will have you facing a volley of questions...

How did you get that heart in there?
And...
How does the heart stay in?
And...
Can you make this without a heart?

I could answer these touching a hundred or so poignant thoughts, paralleling how any heart could impress/melt the socks off anyone, as I believe it should. But do we really have time to take on a vague-ish life lesson at this point or just get with our discussion? I knew you'd agree.

Moreover, I bet you've painted cake batters before. Also tried endless ways to make them differently decorative. Though, really when your citrus poundcake dreams come true in less than half the calories, don't you think the excitement exponentially rises and has you believe nothing in this world could ever trump it (no political ideology/insinuation intended ;-))?

So then how did I do it without the aid of magic or supernatural feat ( I'm good, but not that good. Yet).

Simple. I color, twice. The hearts are red cake, sliced and punched out with mini cutters, baked, prior to the green batter. Arranging these grinch hearts, and fully surrounding them with newly whipped green batter, ending with a final bake ensures what you see in the pictures flooding this page. 

It's actually a canvas on which you can paint or just about fulfill any flavored cake aspiration. And  set in motion several options on how to do the simple 9x5 loaf.

"Grinch's heart grew three sizes that day". Well mine just rose to the top.

I must also mention how cooking oil becomes your chief fat component, with not an ounce of The Superior Fat I so often wax glorious about. And you won't even miss the latter.

Herein, is where I may repudiate all my mandates of using that pound of butter. But maybe just leave it at this particular assignment,  for we have a reputation to keep.

The magnificently moist-tender crumb is an unbelievable result of the leavening, emulsion properties of many good ingredients being beaten, to an aerated form, almost, too unbelievable that it actually does give us an awesome mouthfeel. And mouthfeel matters. Because we should have more soft cakes. Because we haven't had many loaf cakes inexpressibly rank. Because green cakes just rule

When you have friends telling you to keep on doing what you're doing. Despite the fact that you have taken on a full part time job (word contradiction?), and come up with something where they may still be wowed, and  you possess a brighter, motivated culinary mojo. So be it when the acquaintance circles/hostesses /hard-to-please-dinner crowd and in most probability family suddenly realize, they also can very much achieve all that..and that..and that.

Further, I'd like to say I hate the overuse of phraseology such as"crowd pleaser". What does that mean even? You're in a way-eager crowd and too busy to notice what could be fantastically crummy food ? Or maybe  a bit too part of a drunk guestlist to decipher whether anything served is really good or bad? The label just isn't right. And much to my dismay, it's that season where it becomes common to dining vernacular.

This, however will not, should not, cannot be the pleaser of mere masses, my friends. It's the you-at-the-end-of-tiredday pleaser, the family -which -doubts your-skill pleaser. And most of all, the mouth-that-so-desperately-needsasmile pleaser.

Here goes, me to you. During the wee bit sanity that exists right before the busiest baking season alights... and by the time I hit publish, has commenced, in my earnestness, a hundred days ago.

This could be somewhat reminiscent of our cranberry orange bread which I see keeping up top views for the month, so that I don't sink Thank you.

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” ― Dr. SeussHow the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Inspiration from: Grinch cake for Christmas, The Bearfoot Baker
Cake recipe Adapted from Ina Garten's lemon yogurt cake, Barefoot Contessa
(Homophones in my inspirations. Cool, don't you think?:-)))

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup nonsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup lowfat plain yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
Directions/assembly:
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, coconut.
  • In another bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Evenly blend. Slowly whisk in vegetable oil, until batter is thoroughly mixed and no flour can be seen.
  • It is at this time you add in the food coloring. (For two cakes: red for first, green for second)
  • Pour the batter in prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Take out of oven. Leave in pan for ten minutes. Then flip loaf over, carefully onto wire rack to cook.
  • For red cake, slice into 1/2  inch pieces,  hearts should be intact. (sounds awry, but no broken hearts, please;)) Use small heart cookie cutter to cut out a hundred hearts (kidding, more like twenty). Stand them upright on bottom right of a clean, greased loaf pan stacked one beside another, leaving room on both ends for green batter to cover. 
  • For green cake, repeat with same ingredients and tint batter green. 
  • Pour over the hearts assembled in loaf pan. Red should not show through.
  • Bake this for 50-60 minutes until tester inserted comes out clean.
  • Once out of oven, leave in pan for ten minutes. Flip carefully onto wire rack.
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Decorate with fondant heart, buttercream.
  • Slice  and be surprised.

Notes~
I use Wilton's No Taste Red to color the red loaf which is baked first. For the green I used leaf green.
You could try another cake recipe for either cake, or separate ones for each.  Though I can't vouch for the efficacy of how the whole thing plays out.
I placed the hearts side by side, lengthwise of pan, from end to end towards the bottom right.
Since my batter was light, the hearts floated to the top..which I think is a perfect accident. Don't you? :-)

Cakes with similar attributes or maybe just as good~
lemon coconut battenburg cake ( stats show this has been a hit with lots of you :-)

Christmas is coming and I am getting endowed with much more of me than I need to see( sizing up  on wardrobe  may be in my near future;-)
Want in on some of the love? To make it all merry and bright~
plum cake (the 1st prize winner )
Craving savory?

******
"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be." James 3:9-10
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