Celebrations!

Hello there! Happy fall! Sorry I’ve been gone for so long. Things have been busy! What a fall it has been! Here are the highlights:

1.) My husband and I bought a house! It’s an adorable A-frame in a quiet neighborhood a ways from town, nestled in some forest land. The previous owners also happened to be a student of mine from last year and her family, so it was a very friendly feeling situation overall. We are exceptionally happy organizing closets, going to bed at 9PM, and wandering around going, “This is our house!”.

2.) The fall Cross-country season is now over. We have had a wonderful season with some truly nice, good-hearted kids. They’re fun and funny, positive and cheerful, and I’ve had a blast running around Flagstaff with them. Our school got 6th in the state for our 7th/8th grade boys team, we had one 8th grade boy earn the 11th spot in the state overall, and our other teams did a great showing and worked super hard. They put in many hours of fun and hard, hard work, and we are having a celebration! There will be Quick and Dirty BrowniesLemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake, and a Chai Cake with Honey-Ginger Icing, the last being also for a celebration of the birthday of our main cross-country coach. He coaches the high school team single-handedly, coaches middle school too, and takes care of all the paperwork end of the job. I am eternally grateful and baking this fella a cake is the least I can do.

3.) I have great 8th graders. And while that certainly is a cause for celebration, I mostly wanted to include this because we’re learning about trade routes (Silk Roads, Indian Ocean, Trans-Saharan, etc.) and I’m making spice cookies to showcase the different spices that would have been traded along those routes! The recipe for which you can find here: Trade Route Spice Cookies and will also include critiques from my students at a later date.

Thanks for saying hi and hope you get some enjoyment out of these celebratory recipes!

 

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Chai Cake with Honey-Ginger Icing

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 1 and 1/3 cups milk
  • 6 chai tea bags without added sweetener (I used Tazo)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 and 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4.5 tsps baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature

Ingredients for the Honey-Ginger Icing:

  • 2.5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 tbsps butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/4 tsp ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour three cake pans, and line with rounds of buttered wax paper. If you want your cake to come out at all, DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
  2. In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the tea bags, being careful not to let the paper tags dip into the milk. Remove from heat and allow the tea to steep for about 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags, carefully squeezing the milk from them back into the pan. Let the chai milk cool completely.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the whole eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and 1/3 cup of the chai milk. Whisk to blend.
  4. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt in a large mixer bowl. Beat on low speed for about thirty seconds to blend the dry ingredients. Add the butter and the remaining chai milk and, with the mixer on medium-low, beat to blend well. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg mixture in three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans (I use a scale to help me with this).
  5. Bake the cakes for 26 to 28 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for about ten minutes, then turn out onto wire racks. Peel off the paper and let cool completely.
  6. To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with 2/3 cup of the honey-ginger cream. Spread to the edge. Repeat with the next layer. Finally, top with the third cake layer and the remaining honey-ginger cream. Spread this all the way to the edge, allowing small portions to drizzle down the sides like icicles (theoretically).

 

**Recipe courtesy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes, by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne, photographs by Tina Rupp.

 

Lemon Poppyseed Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ unsalted butter
  • 3 cups AP flour
  • ¼ cup poppy seeds
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsps freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup crème fraiche
  • lemon-sugar glaze (whisk ¼ cup lemon juice with ½ cup sugar in a small bowl until combined)

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Butter and flour the Bundt pan.
  2. Whisk the flour, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter with the sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  4. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three increments) alternatively with the crème fraiche (in two increments), beginning and ending with the flour and beating after each addition until just combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for about 1 hour, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool. Brush the warm cake with the glaze and let it cool for thirty more minutes.