Category: Desserts

Grilled Peaches and Cream with Orange Blossom Syrup

Grilled Peaches and Cream with Orange Blossom Syrup

Guys! It’s summer time, which means lots of free time, friends, family, BBQs and tons of summer fruit. This month, I’m super excited to announce that I’m collaborating with some fabulous food bloggers and food-stagramers to bring you recipes inspired by our favorite summer fruit, Peaches!

If you haven’t tried grilled peaches, you’re in for a real treat! They’re perfectly warm and sweet. Add a touch of sweet eshta cream and top with orange blossom syrup for sweet Middle Eastern inspired goodness. You can swap out the sweet eshta cream for your favorite ice cream (I recommend vanilla) and top with cinnamon and walnuts. I’ve used eshta before in a strawberry eshta cream tart. The trick to the thicker consistency, is heating it up with some corn starch, whisking and then refrigerating to harden a bit. If you don’t follow these steps, you’ll be left with a thinner liquid … which isn’t necessarily bad, depending on what you’re using eshta for. 

So fire up the grill this summer, and add Grilled Peaches and Cream with Orange Blossom Syrup to your cookout menu. I promise this dessert will not disappoint. 

Grilled Peaches and Cream with Orange Blossom Syrup

Don’t forget to look at other peach recipes from these fabulous food bloggers, and check #summerlovespeaches on instagram.

Grilled Peaches and Cream with Orange Blossom Syrup

Grilled Peaches and Cream with Orange Blossom Syrup

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 peaches, sliced in half and pitted
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1 can Eshta cream
  • 1 teaspoon Corn Starch
  • 2 teaspoons Orange Blossom Water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

    For the Peaches
  1. Half the peaches, and remove the pit
  2. Brush the peaches with butter and place on the grill, cut side down
  3. Cook until charred and softened (about 4 to 5 minutes), flip the peaches over and grill on indirect heat for another 5 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and set aside
  5. For the Cream
  6. In a small saucepan, mix together the eshta, orange blossom water and cornstarch until combined.
  7. Heat over low-medium heat and stir constantly until the eshta thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
  9. For the Syrup
  10. In a small heavy saucepan, combine sugar, water and lemon juice
  11. Bring to a boil over medium high heat
  12. Reduce heat to low, add 1 teaspoons orange blossom water and simmer for 10 minutes (until the syrup thickens. You can test this by dipping the end of a spoon. If it coats the end of the spoon, it's ready)
  13. Assembly
  14. Scoop the chilled cream into each half of the peaches. Sprinkle with cinnamon, and chopped walnuts (optional), then drizzle with orange blossom syrup
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Strawberry Eshta Cream Tarts

Strawberry Eshta Cream Tart

I really love the idea of going to an orchard and picking your own fruits and vegetables. There’s an orchard out in Maryland that has pick your own fruits and veggies almost year-round.  A few weekends ago, I went with a couple of friends, and one friend’s three kids to pick strawberries. It’s the perfect activity for kids. It’s outdoors, they can play in the dirt, and they really feel a sense of accomplishment when they pick out the perfect strawberry. While the kiddos filled up little blue cartons, I went ahead and picked enough strawberries to last at least 6 months. I may have gone a little overboard. All I could think about were all the strawberry desserts I was going to make with all these strawberries. Needless to say, I ended up freezing most of them before they started to go bad… but not without making Strawberry Eshta Cream Tarts.

Strawberry Picking

Eshta is a sweet thick cream known to most middle eastern households. Lots of people use eshta in desserts such as qatayef, warbat, basboosa, and many others. While eshta is absolutely delicious in desserts, it’s a great compliment to honey. Sunday breakfasts at our house included lots of little dishes filled with labaneh, zaatar, foul (fava beans), and two mall dishes one with honey and one with eshta. I remember the excitement of dipping bread into the eshta first and then the honey. Honestly, I thought I could live off eshta and honey forever. That was … until dinnertime when I wanted nothing more than rice and stew.

So after spending the afternoon with my friends and the kiddos, I went straight home to wash and dry the strawberries, and test out my dessert of course!

Strawberry Eshta Cream Tart

The trick to these tarts was figuring out how I was going to thicken the eshta enough to hold strawberries on a slab of puff pastry. I admit, I had a couple failures. At first, I tried beating the eshta in my stand mixer, hoping it would magically fluff up. It didn’t. Then I got to thinking about how I thicken up milk for Muhallabiyeh. Idea! Why not add corn starch?! The genius in me added corn starch to cold eshta. That didn’t quite work out the way I had imagined. Then it dawned on me (oh yea, and I read the instructions on the corn starch package) that I needed to heat the eshta with the corn starch and stir to get the consistency I wanted. Ladies and gentlemen, it worked and I couldn’t have been happier! Now my dreams of making Strawberry Eshta Cream Tarts was coming true.

It just goes to show you that, even as a food blogger, I have my fair share of almost and complete fails. No one’s perfect, but I can definitely whip up a near-perfect dessert.

Strawberry Eshta Cream Tart_2

Strawberry Eshta Cream Tart

Yield: 6 tarts

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet puff pastry
  • 2 lbs strawberries, stems cut off
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 4 cans Eshta
  • 2 tablespoons Corn Starch
  • 2 tablespoons Rose Water
  • 4 tablespoons crushes pistachios
  • Honey for drizzling

Instructions

  1. Thaw Puff Pastry
  2. Cut the puff pastry sheet into three smaller pieces
  3. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes at 400 F
  4. Once cooled, cut each puff pastry piece in half length wise, making 6 tart shells. Set aside
  5. Wash and dry the strawberries. If using small strawberries, you can use them whole, otherwise, slice your strawberries
  6. Glaze the strawberries by combining the sugar, corn syrup and water in a medium pan over medium-high heat
  7. Bring to a boil
  8. Once boiling, immerse the strawberries in the sugar and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes
  9. Use a slotted spoon to remove the strawberries and place on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet, sprayed with cooking spray
  10. In a small saucepan, mix together the eshta, rose water and cornstarch until combined. Heat over low-medium heat and stir constantly until the eshta thickens, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  11. Slice the puff pastry in half
  12. Spoon the eshta onto the puff pastry and use a spatula to make an even layer
  13. Then carefully arrange strawberries on top of the eshta, placing each piece as close as possible to the next without overcrowding
  14. Top with crushed pistachios and drizzle with honey.
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Candied Orange Semolina Cake

Candied Orange Semolina Cake

The last month has been an absolute whirlwind. I went from planning and celebrating my 30th birthday – which was amazing, by the way – to hoping on a plane straight to Dubai for a week then Amman for a second week. I was able to spend just enough time in my own kitchen to whip up a not-too-sweet Candied Orange Semolina Cake, before jetting off to Lyon for a work trip filled with meetings (and lots of chocolate croissants). Unfortunately for me, I came down with the flu for the entirety of the trip, so I wasn’t able to fully appreciate the food capitol for all it has to offer. For those who follow Measuring Cups Optional on Instagram, my stories offer a first look at all my food and travel adventures.

I successfully ate my weight in delicious food everywhere I went. In Dubai, there was barely time to sleep between site seeing, indulging in a lavish Turkish Bath, spending afternoons catching rays at the hotel pool. With little effort, I came back a few shades darker. Baking for a few hours in 102F temps has that effect on my pale skin. Mom and I spent an afternoon walking through the gold and spice souks… and the malls are–as imagined– bigger, better and 5 star. Of course, the tourist in us couldn’t resist the desert safari, where I rode an ATV and we went dune bashing in an air-conditioned SUV, stopping just in time to catch the sunset.

Candied Orange Semolina Cake

Amman was more laid back. I finally caught up on some sleep, discovered a handful of hipster restaurants/cafes and took in endless views of the city — and shopped, of course, for all the Arabic-inspired things I wanted to take home. Mom and I treated ourselves to a day at the Dead Sea, where we scheduled simultaneous salt scrubs, mud wraps and massages.  By the end of the trip, I needed a vacation to recover from my vacation. Especially since I knew I’d have hundreds of messages waiting for me in my work inbox. The inbox did not disappoint.

A week later … I was off to the food capitol of the world, Lyon. As much as I wanted to fit in restaurant hoping between work meetings, my body decided to give up on me. I came down with the flu and had to settle for chocolate croissants, baguette sandwiches and the occasional dinner out (when I could actually keep food down).

I’m finally back in my own bed, and in my own kitchen… for a while at least. And now that I’m the road to recovery (I’m still dealing with the remnants of a raspy voice), I’m so looking forward to sharing some new recipes over the next few weeks.

Candied Orange Semolina Cake

Saint Augustine said it best “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

Until the next adventure …

Candied Orange Semolina Cake

Candied Orange Semolina Cake

Yield: Makes two 9" cakes

Ingredients

    For the Cake
  • 3 cups fine Semolina
  • 3/4 cup Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 cups Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
  • For the candied Oranges
  • 2 navel oranges cut to 1/8 inch slices
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Extra sugar for sprinkling
  • For the Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom water
  • 1 cup syrup from candied oranges
  • 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice

Instructions

    For the Cake
  1. Mix the semolina, the sugar and the butter in a large bowl. Use your hands to corporate the butter with the other ingredients until mixed well.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the yogurt and the baking soda
  3. Wait a few minutes until the yogurt doubles in size, about 5 minutes
  4. When the yogurt has doubled, pour the yogurt on top of the semolina mix
  5. Use your hands to work the yogurt in the with semolina
  6. Press the batter into 2 greased 9" cake pans
  7. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes until it's a light brown color, but not burnt
  8. Remove the cakes from the oven onto a cooling rack
  9. Pour the syrup over the cake while its hot so it can absorb all the way though.
  10. Cool for 1-2 hours before serving
  11. Top with candied oranges
  12. For the candied Oranges
  13. Wash and dry oranges, then slice into 1/8 inch slices
  14. In a medium skillet, stir together the water and sugar. Continue to stir until the sugar is no longer stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  15. bring to a boil over high heat.
  16. Once the water is boiling, carefully place the orange slices in an even layer and boil for 20 minutes over medium-high heat, making sure to flip the slices throughout the boiling process. You'll notice that the water will turn into a thick syrup.
  17. Remove from the syrup, and place on a cooling rack. Sprinkle both sides with granulated sugar to prevent sticking
  18. Cool the candied oranges for at least 1 hour before using or storing in an airtight container
  19. Repeat until you've candied all the orange slices.
  20. Reserve the syrup for the cake
  21. For the Syrup
  22. In a volume measuring cup (or medium pitcher), mix together 1 cup of the reserved syrup from the candied oranges with 2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice and 1 tablespoon orange blossom water. Combine well.
  23. Once you take the cake out of the oven, pour the syrup over the cake, making sure to cover the entire surface. The semolina cake will absorb the syrup.
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Triple Berry No Added Sugar Sorbet

Triple Berry No Added Sugar Sorbet

Happy Warm days of summer …. almost. Alright, Happy Warm days of Spring!

Let’s celebrate with Triple Berry No Added Sugar Sorbet. As much as I wanted to call the sorbet sugar-free, the truth is it isn’t. Fruit contains natural sugars, sugars I don’t have the capability or desire to process out. According to US Food and Drug Administration guidelines (FDA for short) , food has to have less than 0.5 grams of sugar per serving to be labeled “sugar free.” Fresh and frozen fruit have well over 10g sugar per serving. But it’s all natural sugars. With that said, I did not use any additional processed sugars.

Triple Berry No Added Sugar Sorbet

I learned some valuable lessons making sorbet.

  1. Apparently when you use a blender, you generally need to use soft foods, or a substantive amount of liquid to be able to blend contents properly. I learned that real quick when I dumped frozen berries directly into the blender and expected it to work its magic. Pro Tip: if you’re working with frozen berries, defrost them or soften them up before putting them directly into the blender.
  2. You don’t need an ice cream machine to make sorbet. It just takes a little extra work. If you’re only making ice cream or sorbets a handful of times a year, and you don’t want to invest in in an ice cream maker, I have a solution for you. Actually, Taste of Home has a solution for you. It worked really well for me, even though I was making sorbet vs. ice cream. You’ll see in the instructions, you’ll need to stir up your sorbet vigorously every 30 or so minutes for a couple hours, just to keep it from icing over. If it does ice over, put the sorbet into the fridge and it’ll soften up.
  3. Red foods get EVERYWHERE. I should have already known this. I’m talking dishes, counters, hands, clothes, everywhere.
  4. Taking photos of sorbet takes an immense amount of patience. Sorbet melts, scoops don’t come out perfectly every time, and red gets everywhere (see #3), among other things. I was so lucky to have an audience when I took my photos. My brother had rushed through the house with a friend, and instructed his friend to hangout with me while I worked on my sorbet photo shoot. I instantly put the kid to work, and distinctly remember him making the comment, “I’ve never been to an ice cream photo shoot before.” Well, that made two of us. Having him around to help out got me to thinking that I need assistants more often during food photo shoots. His hard work did not go unnoticed. I rewarded him, and my brother with a couple scoops of my Triple Berry No Added Sugar Sorbet.

Triple Berry No Added Sugar Sorbet

Triple Berry No Added Sugar Sorbet

 

Triple Berry No Added Sugar Sorbet

Ingredients

  • 4 cups mixed berries (I used frozen and de-frosted them slightly. You can also use fresh, washed berries)
  • 2-3 tablespoon Lemon juice, from concentrate
  • 1 ripe banana

Instructions

  1. Place the mixed berries and ripe banana into a blender with lemon juice.
  2. Blend until very smooth
  3. Pour the mixture into a freezer-safe container
  4. Chill in the freezer for 30 minutes, then stir by hand with a spatula or whisk and return to the freezer
  5. Continue to stir the sorbet every 30 minutes for about 4 hours.
  6. Store in a closed freezer-safe container until ready to serve.
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White Chocolate Rosewater Buttercream Cupcakes

White Chocolate Rosewater Cupcakes Happy Birthday to me! I feel like I’m thr …. Thirty. I’m 30! And I’m celebrating with White Chocolate Rosewater Buttercream Cupcakes.

But before I share this fabulous recipe, I have some wisdom to impart on my readers ….

Once upon a time, when I was about 15 years old, I started a “Before I’m 30 List.” What is this magical list you may ask? It’s all the things I wanted to do or experience or accomplish before I turned 30. Some things were clearly written by 15 year old me. Others, I just didn’t get around to doing. Maybe it was timing, maybe it was my life path, who knows. I did get through about 50% of my line items – not bad for someone who’s really good at starting projects and not so good at follow-through.

At the time, 30 seemed forever and a half away. I thought I’d have my life together by now. I thought 30 was when I got “old” and was no longer allowed to be irresponsible or lazy or selfish for that matter. But as the years crept closer and closer to 30, I realized that at 30 I did not accomplish everything I thought I would; that 30 is just a number and has no bearing on my maturity or my selflessness or level of accountability or responsibility. Thirty is just that… a number closer to 100 (to which age I hope I will live) and it doesn’t mean anything more. Being an adult is arbitrary. There’s no manual, there’s no guidebook, there are no directions. There’s just trial by fire and learning from life experiences. I don’t have all the answers, but I have learned some pretty important lessons during my 30 years.

White Chocolate Rosewater Cupcakes

White Chocolate Rosewater Cupcakes

  1. Life will never go according to your perfect little plan. Even if you wrote it up, checked all the boxes, revised and re-wrote some elements, life throws some major curveballs and you have to believe that even if things don’t play out according to your plan, there’s a bigger, better plan waiting ahead.
  2. There’s a difference between being nice and being a doormat. Don’t be a doormat.
  3. Be nice – because the world needs it. Humanity needs it. And if not for any other reason than to be able to live with the adult you’ve become.
  4. Give to give, not to receive. There is an inexplicable joy that comes with giving and not expecting anything in return.
  5. Be a good hostess. Now, I’m not saying you have to have the dinner party thing down (because those are hard). You should, however, be able to host a group of people at your home and have them walk away feeling like you were an exceptional hostess, and that they had a good time. That’s a skill you will use for life.
  6. Always send a thank you note. Handwritten notes may have gone out of style, but saying thank you hasn’t. A quick text expressing your gratitude is the very least you can do. It makes you a more genuine person. If you so wish, you can hand write a note and mail it, or hand deliver. 
  7. Work really hard … and reward yourself. With sweets, or shopping, or bread…
  8. You can’t measure happiness based on the number on your scale. Dieting sucks. And exercise sucks, for that matter. I will never be a skinny girl and I have accepted the fact that my life will be a constant battle to fight for or against eating the bread. So find happiness elsewhere and EAT THE BREAD.
  9. Family comes first. No one in the world will ever be there for you unconditionally like your family. They are tied to you through bonds that are stronger than any other relationship. They are the first to celebrate your successes, and the only ones you want to know about your failures, because they will stand by you.
  10. Solicit advice. From the people you trust, whose opinions you care about the most. They usually have a perspective you hadn’t thought about before.
  11. Never sacrifice who you are, just to be accepted. The people you want in your life are the ones who love you for who you are, not the person you try to be for them. You were raised with standards and morals. Don’t sacrifice those for anyone.
  12. When you go to a restaurant, order something you can’t make at home. Try something new off the menu. You’ll become much more cultured. The same can’t be said as a food blogger, because I can make everything, right? Just kidding. Trying new things at restaurants from a young age helped me understand and love food. 
  13. Save Money! Save Money! Save Money! I know it’s so hard, especially when after taxes your paycheck has practically diminished. Start with your 401k (if your company offers you a match on your contribution, you have no excuse). Set up a savings account in your name. This is money you never touch, except when you’re ready to buy a house or a car, or need it for a real emergency. The only money movement is IN to the account, never out. It’s impossible to “save” in your checking account. Trust me. Save Money!!
  14. Keep up with current world events. Whether you spend the first hour of your day scanning the headlines, get news alerts during the day via the AP and CNN apps, watch the news at the gym, or wind down with a tablet copy of the newspaper, you have to know what’s going on in the world. Things are happening locally, domestically and internationally that you need to know about. You don’t live in a vacuum. Be aware of the political climate, trending videos, the latest happenings … you’ll have a lot more to talk about than the weather.
  15. Try new things. Even if it’s out of your comfort zone. Whether it’s food or new experiences, you won’t know whether you like or dislike something until you’ve given it a try.
  16. Travel as often as you can. There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored.
  17. Without good health nothing else matters. It’s 2017, we’re in an era of prevention. You have no excuse. Get your regular checkups in.
  18. Life is not fair. We’ve heard it a million times. But it is the truth. Life is unfair, it’s unequal and just because something should be a certain way, doesn’t mean it is. At 30, I have definitely felt the impact of this statement.
  19. Adversity builds character. That’s a direct quote from my mother. If everything was easy, you wouldn’t be the strong independent person you are today. You might think that a bad hour/day/week/month is the end of the world. That there’s no way out. But you’re wrong. Because the time will pass, and you’ll find that when you have no other choice but to be strong in the face of adversity … you are way, way stronger than you ever thought you were. Trust me on this one.
  20. It’s okay to cry. Sometimes, the only logical response to a very stressful situation is to cry, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Just don’t do it in front of everyone at work. If you have to cry at work, take it to the bathroom, your car, or down the block, and then pull yourself back together. 
  21. Every office is dysfunctional in its own way. I’ve held a number of positions with various organizations. I’ve found that each of those offices was dysfunctional in its own way. At each site, everyone thought they worked at the most dysfunctional place of work … but I’ve come to learn that no office is perfect, and you need to find work that you love to do to overlook some of the “dysfunctional-ness.”
  22. Do not underestimate the power of positive thinking. Positive thoughts, bring about positive outcomes… for the most part. Stay strong and Stay positive! 
  23. Distance yourself from negative people. You’re going to have people in your life who are negative about everything. They always have something mean to say, and never seem to be genuinely happy for you. You don’t need those kind of people in your life. They will bring you down.  
  24. Just because you’re a functioning adult, does not mean you actually know what you’re doing. How many times have you looked at adults throughout your lifetime and thought, “shouldn’t they know what they’re doing?” The answer is they don’t. At best, we fake it ’til we make it. Especially that first month at a new job. I know you know what I’m talking about …
  25. Make your bed every morning. Making my bed makes me feel like I have my life together. It only takes a couple extra minutes to fold your covers back up, but it will make you way more productive. There are studies that prove this.
  26. Buy formal dresses when they’re on sale. You may not need it for a few months, but when that last minute event comes up, you’ll have a dress (at a fraction of the price). You’ll have also significantly reduced the chances that someone else will be wearing your dress too.
  27. Moisturize every day. Your skin will thank you later. My beauty regimen consists of a cleanser and moisturizer, with a scrub once a week and a mild face peel 1-2 times a month.
  28. Do Adult Things. Get your oil changed regularly, wash your car and keep it clean, pay your bills on time (auto-pay!), get your taxes filed, go for regular health checks (SEE #NUMBER 17). By 30, you should be able to do these basic adult things.
  29. You can’t judge a fish by its ability to fly. More accurately, Albert Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” You are a unique individual with unique qualities. You may excel at something that others don’t or vice versa. Do not, under any circumstance, allow someone to make you believe you are not good enough. 
  30. Love is inescapable. Love is beautiful. Love is hard. Love comes in so many forms. It’s intense, it’s heartbreaking, it’s passionate, it’s hard to define, and yet so easy to feel. You can’t escape falling in love, no matter how hard you try. Fall in love and live in the moment. I truly believe that you fall in love multiple times in a lifetime. It’s worth savoring it every time.

Here’s to another 30 years … I might have some more wisdom to impart, that is, if I’m still doing this blogging thing at 60. For now, let’s celebrate with these White Chocolate Rosewater Buttercream Cupcakes! 

White Chocolate Rosewater Cupcakes

White Chocolate Rosewater Buttercream Cupcakes

White Chocolate Rosewater Buttercream Cupcakes

Yield: About 18 cupcakes

Ingredients

    For the Cake
  • 1 package White Cake Mix
  • 1 White chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 cups White Chocolate Chips
  • For the Frosting
  • 2 sticks Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Crisco
  • 4 cups Confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Rose Water
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Milk
  • Food coloring, for the pink color

Instructions

    For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water.
  4. Stir in the white chocolate chips
  5. Pour the batter into the cupcake liner, making sure to inly fill 3/4 way up
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes
  7. remove from oven and cool all the way before frosting
  8. For the Frosting
  9. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and Crisco until fluffy (you can also use a hand mixer)
  10. Add the rosewater and beat until mixed
  11. Add the confectioners sugar one cup at a time and beat until light and fluffy
  12. Using the instruction on your food dye, add the food coloring to the frosting, then beat for 30 seconds.
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Turkish Coffee Cake

Turkish Coffee Cake

I remember the first time I ever tried Turkish coffee. I don’t remember how old I was, but I remember being in the living room of our old townhouse. Both my parents were drinking Turkish coffee on a sunny afternoon and I wanted to get in on the action. After much begging, my mom let me have a sip. I’m pretty sure she regretted it instantly because it was so awful to my immature taste buds that I spit it out all over her and the couch. Many, many years later, I gave Turkish coffee another chance.  My tastes must have matured because now I enjoy medium Turkish coffee with a side of something sweet.

My favorite afternoons are Saturday and Sunday afternoons sipping sweet Turkish coffee while watching the latest Turkish soap operas with my Tayta. As she gets older, I realize that time is fleeting and I have to savor these moments with her. It’s a weekly tradition to stop by and spend some time with her. I’m so lucky that I live close enough to make it a weekly visit.

Turkish Coffee Cake

 

The beauty of Turkish coffee is in its bitter flavor, the way it’s boiled, and its ability to tell you about your future.

Tayta taught me a no-fail recipe for Turkish coffee which includes spoonfuls of sugar and ground coffee in silverware-sized tablespoons, boiling the coffee, stirring, then boiling again to create a thick film on top. She warned me never to walk away from a pot of Turkish coffee on the stove because it will boil over the second you take your eyes off it– side note, it’s also a nightmare to wipe up off the stovetop. When serving, each coffee cup gets a little bit of film. Once done with your cup, it’s customary to swirl around the remaining coffee grounds, cover with the saucer then flip upside down.

This is where the fortune-telling comes in. It’s my favorite part. While there really are fortune tellers who are gifted with being able to read the coffee grounds plastered to the inside of your cup, I think for the most part my Tayta used to humor me by reading mine. There was always a long road, a bird with news from someone far away, a long stretch of white space (that’s a good thing) and a “celebration” (read as: wedding) in the near future. It didn’t matter to me whether or not she really could see the future in my cup, the important thing was that I got to spend that time with her, listening, laughing, and asking about her life.

That’s the beauty of Turkish coffee.

Turkish Coffee Cake

 

Turkish Coffee Cake

Turkish Coffee Cake

Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, cut into pieces
  • Additional Butter to grease pan
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate (or chocolate chips)
  • 2 Tablespoons Turkish coffee powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9” cast iron skillet, or baking pan.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together sugar and butter until creamed
  4. Add in eggs one at a time
  5. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl 30 seconds at a time (for a total of 1 minute), stir until smooth
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, Turkish coffee, cardamom, flour, and salt
  7. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients
  8. Continue beating until combined
  9. Add the melted chocolate
  10. Beat until combined
  11. Pour into a greased cast iron skillet or baking pan
  12. The batter will be sticky and may not pour evenly, use a rubber spatula to smooth out into an even layer
  13. Bake for 25-30 minutes
  14. Flip upside down onto a serving plate and top with powdered sugar
  15. Serve warm

Notes

Pro Tip: For day-old cake, heat in the microwave for 15 seconds and serve warm.

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