Half-Baklavaked

I’m not one for baking, but I’m all about baked goods and I think they’re all about me.

One lazy morning, I was thumbing through the latest issue of Lucky Peach & stumbled upon this simple, easy, and skillet-raised cake recipe from Naomi Duguid. The cake itself is so simple, spicey, and dare I say it, moist. As Naomi recommends, leftovers are great for breakfast with a cup of coffee.

My dearest friend Sarah and her husband Jeb¬†occassionally invite Dustin and I over for dinner, frequently we just invite ourselves over… Sarah is an incredible cook, Jeb will talk “fitness shop” with us for hours, and both their dogs Hayden & Bigsby give us so much love because “they’re nice GUYS!”.

Not too long ago we had a delicious Mediteranian feast, lamb, pita, hummus, grilled veggies, tzatziki, the works! SaSa told me to bring something sweet & my first idea (going with the theme) was BAKLAVA! Then I foreshadowed myself fighting with phyllo dough and quickly put that idea away. The skillet cake popped into my head & I got a bit creative along the way…

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Ingredients:

1/4lb unsalted butter, room temperature

1 C. light brown sugar

1 C. whole-wheat pastry flour, the original recipe calls for 2 C. of red fife flour or 2 C. of freshly milled whole wheat flour, I opted for 1 C. of whole wheat pastry flour and 1 C. all purpose flour

1 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1 C. full-fat plain yogurt, part-fat is also an option but doesn’t sound fun

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond extract

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-Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, position a rack in the middle of the oven.

-Grease a cast iron skillet with butter, olive oil also works here. I used a shallow 11″ skillet, could use two 7″ smaller skillets as well.

-In one bowl, cream together the butter and sugar then set aside.

-Put the flour in another bowl. Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Stir to mix & set aside.

-Add the yogurt to the  butter-sugar-mixture and mix, then add 4 eggs and beat until combined. The batter will be thick and foamy. Add the vanilla and almond extract and continue to mix.

-Pour the egg mixture into the spiced flour and turn and stir just enough to wet everything. Pour it into the buttered skillet(s), spreading so that it’s one even layer, and put into the oven. Lower heat to 380 degrees after 10 minutes.

-Cake takes 25-30 minutes to cook through. Insert a skewer into the center to test for doneness. Let cool.

Yield: 1 large 12″ cake, or 2 smaller 8″ cakes

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At this point your cake is done, but below is how I jazzed it up…

Ingredients:

-1/4 cup honey

-1/4 cup water

-1 cup raw pistachios, shelled

-For the simple syrup, combine honey and water in a small saucepan, let the mixture come to a simmer over medium heat. Stir and remove from heat once mixture has thinned out, 4-5 minutes.

-For the pistachios, toast in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, 5-6 minutes. Let cool.

-Place toasted pistachios in a food processor and proccess till very fine, should almost look like dust.

-Drizzle half the honey syrup over the cooled cake, graciously sprinkle the ground pastachios all over, drizzle the remaining syrup over the pistachio dusted cake to seal the deal.

-Being that my baking equipment is lack-luster, I don’t own cupcake pans, and in order to keep my treats to a “conservative serving size” (Note: I don’t make any mention of number of servings consummed…) I almost always cut my cakes into small squares, or as I refer to them “squarecakes!”. Before I drizzled my cake with honey and topped with pistachios, I sliced the cake into squares first. This step isn’t necessary, but if you’re like me and don’t have cool cake suitcase gadgets to transport an entire cake in, squarecakes are much easier to pack up.

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Currently in San Francisco for GRRRLCATION 2015 as I type, more to come on that!

-ttfn

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