Sugar glazed morning goodness
Editor’s note: Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn’t. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful. “Please help,” pleaded the email I recently received. “It will soon be my turn to bring morning treats to work and I want to surprise everyone by taking something homemade. What can I make? I’m not a very experienced baker.”After reviewing a number of possible recipes to recommend, I selected this sugar-glazed snack cake. It has a lovely texture, a rich, butter-vanilla taste, and is easy to make. It needs no frosting, so it requires less preparation time than many baked goods. You could definitely put it together after a day at work and have it ready to share with your colleagues the next morning. It can even be made ahead, wrapped airtight, and frozen. If you serve squares of the cake in cupcake paper liners, folks can eat them without a plate or fork. Re-heat the slices in the microwave or a 325 degree oven for the very best taste, though the cake is good at room temperature as well. The little cake need not be limited to the workplace. It is delightful served at breakfast, brunch, or with coffee and tea anywhere and at any time of day.Sugar-glazed snack cakeAdjusted for altitudes between 8,000 and 10,000 feetBake in a 9X9 inch square panIngredients
Cake1 3/4 cups plus 1 (one) tablespoon of all-purpose flour3/4 teaspoons of baking powder1/2 teaspoon salt2/3 cup of unsalted butter (one and one-third sticks), at room temperature1 cup minus 2 (two) tablespoons of sugar, preferably superfine sugar2 large eggs1 large egg yolk (save the white)1 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla2/3 cup of milk1 large egg white
Glaze1/4 cup of sugar1 tablespoon of flour1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon of vanillaPreheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the lower third of the oven.Line the 9×9 baking pan with non-stick Reynold’s Release aluminum foil or regular aluminum foil. Let the foil extend beyond two sides of the pan so you can use it as handles to remove the baked cake from the pan. If using regular foil, grease and flour it or spray it with a vegetable oil-flour spray and spread the spray evenly with a paper towel.Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine and aerate them. Set them aside.Cut the room-temperature butter into one-inch pieces and place them in a large bowl. Beat them with an electric mixer at medium-high speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until they are light and fluffy. This will take several minutes to accomplish.Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, blending well after each addition. This should take about 5-6 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.In a small bowl or measuring cup, blend the eggs, the egg yolk, and the vanilla. Gradually add them to the batter, making sure they are thoroughly incorporated after each addition.
Add the dry ingredients and the milk alternately, starting and ending with one-third of the flour. Using a low speed of your electric mixer, blend only until each addition is incorporated into the batter.After the last addition of flour, scrape the sides of the bowl and mix, at low speed about 60 more seconds.Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Beat the egg white with a fork or whisk until it is frothy. Spread or brush about half to two-thirds of it on top of the batter. Throw the rest away.Make the glaze: In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour and vanilla. Work them together, using your fingertips, until they are well combined and then sprinkle the mixture evenly over the cake.Bake the cake in the preheated oven for about 30 to 35 minutes, until most of the glaze turns golden and shiny and the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.Cool the cake completely on a wire rack. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil if you aren’t going to serve it right away.Lift the cake out of its pan with the extended sides of the aluminum foil pan liner. Cut it into squares and serve them in cupcake/muffin paper liners. Just before eating, heat each slice in an oven or microwave until it is warm to the touch.This recipe is a variation of one in Great Cakes by Carole WalkerVera Dawson lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact Vera Dawson with your comments about this column and/or your baking questions at email@example.com.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO