Friday, April 30, 2010

A Spring-y Cake

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Are you tired of me going on about the spring yet? It was a really long winter! And spring flowers are the best! Isn't this tulip gorgeous? Tulips are one of my favorite flowers. More on flowers later, now, on to the food!

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This is the Orange Sunshine Coffeecake from the latest issue of the Baking Sheet. Actually I don't know if this cake is springy exactly, since it's orange flavored, and citrus is a winter thing. But, nevermind, it's got a light, bright flavor that *I* think goes perfectly with this season! And, it's pretty (although, my drizzling skills leave something to be desired).

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This coffeecake is made with a yeast dough, which is rolled out into a big rectangle and then covered in the filling--sugar, instant clearjel, cinnamon, orange juice, and a big pile of orange zest. The clearjel is a modified food starch which thickens without needing to be cooked. It's great for this filling, because it thickens it up and stops it from running all over the place (like it did the first time I made it, with regular cornstarch). You then roll it into a long sausage, form it into a ring, and then make cuts, about an inch apart and about 3/4 of the way through the roll (so you are not cutting the ring apart).

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Okay, here's where the shaping gets fun--you turn the slices on their sides (still attached in a ring!), and every other slice gets folded towards the center. You can see now, why the clearjel is really important.

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After baking, the cake gets a quick glaze made of confectioner's sugar and orange juice (and a bit of orange extract). I made this one a bit thinner than it should be, so it doesn't look as nice. Oh well, try, try again!

In the meantime, here are some of my favorite flowers from my trip to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden last weekend; the full set can be seen here.

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Cherry blossoms--oh, so many cherry blossoms. I think they peaked a bit earlier this year; the Sakura Matsuri takes place this weekend I think most of the trees are past peak already. (Plus, really? No 2/3 train service this weekend? Gah. What the hell, MTA.)

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And some more intensely red tulips.

Lavender Lilacs

Lilacs (you bet I spent ages standing there with my nose buried in them)!

Pink lilacs

More lilacs! Man, I love the garden. I think this weekend, I will try to make my way to the Bronx Botanical Garden. For a change, the weather is supposed to be nice on a weekend, woohoo!

Hey, we made it to Friday! :D

12 comments:

Carly said...

I really love this bun, i haven't heard of the gel before, handy to know! At least if you do something not quite right everytime, you can keep making them LOL! Hehe, nothing wrong with that!! =)

bentobird said...

Awesome post, full of sensory pleasure! Beautiful bun/cake, combined with bright spring flowers (that red tulip is a wonder!)perfect way to celebrate spring. Will you be going to the Sakura festival? And yes, it was indeed a loooong winter!

tofugirl said...

Carly, indeed! Even the things that don't come out quite right are usually at least fairly tasty. I'm trying to get as much baking in as possible now before it gets hot...I try not to turn the oven on all summer because it gets sooooo hot in my apartment. I bought the clearjel from the King Arthur catalog, but I'm sure it's available elsewhere!

Bentobird, you are too kind! I love that red tulip, it's so full and layered that it almost looks like a peony. I think I'm going to skip the Sakura festival this year--I don't think there are any cherry blossoms left in the garden! But hopefully I will have time to visit the other botanical garden in the Bronx instead :D

Have a great weekend, both of you!

babykins said...

Amazing photos!! Were these photographed by a professional? hehe. Thank you for sharing the pleasure.

The bread cake looks SO yummy! You did a great work. I didn't know clearjel but I use a similar thing for making cosmetics as thickener.

tofugirl said...

Babykins, professional???? Me?? How flattering! Hehe!

It's almost getting too warm to bake...think I will just eat fruit and cold noodles all summer, hehe. What kind of cosmetics do you make? Now I am curious about it :D

Deborah said...

Your photos are so beautiful! and I NEVER get tired of Spring.

Trisha said...

That is a great "cake" - more like cinnamon flower scroll to me with that gorgeous way you designed it! :)

ufew42 said...

Even though citrus is a winter thing, the flavors always remind me of spring!! Great post!! Just found your blog through Flickr and I love it!

tofugirl said...

Deborah, thanks! Yes, I am really enjoying all the flowers everywhere right now! Even the tulips in the planters outside of my office building :D

Trisha, thanks :D I really like this shaping, thinking of adapting it to make individual buns!

Hey there ufew42 *wave*! Thanks for visiting from flickr :D

Anna said...

I love the shape of the cake, it must be delicious!

tofugirl said...

Anna, it is really yummy if you like orange! I love the shaping on it too, although I need to learn to drizzle icing more neatly, hehe.

babykins said...

I envy your place is getting warm.

I make various kinds of cosme but use a thickener for face lotion gel :D