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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Blog!

Today my little baking blog is 1 year old! Break out the party hats and noisemakers and start celebrating! I can't believe it's been a year already. What have I learned in my year of blogging? I've learned that in the world of blogging exist many kind, supportive and incredibly talented individuals. I've learned that my love of photographing food things is not going to fade away. I've learned that I do indeed love encouraging people to try scratch baking in all of it's wonderful forms. I am beginning to learn to be a little less shy (I am terribly shy, I have trouble leaving comments on blogs sometimes, because I'm just that shy). I've learned many other things (a little html, etc...) that I won't bore you with. Instead, as it's my blog's birthday, why don't you check out my first awkward day of posting here(you just need to scroll down to the bottom of the page for my first two posts from August 22). After you check that out, why don't you enjoy a nice piece of cake, put on your silly hat and help my blog blow out it's birthday candle (my blog doesn't have great lungs)! I have loads of apples so today I give you:

Apple Upside Down Chiffon Cake (adapted from Baking with Julia: Sift, Knead, Flute, Flour, And Savor... written by Dorie Greenspan):

The Topping:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
3-4 apples, peeled and cut into 8 pieces each (I'm actually not sure what kind of apple I have for these...they were given to us by G's friends who grow their own. This recipe originally calls for nectarines which would be awesome in this as well)
-Preheat oven to 350f.
-Wrap the bottom of a springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent any dripping.
-Cut the butter into chunks and put them into a 10" springform pan (3"high) and place over medium low heat to melt the butter. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter and pat it down. Arrange the apples over the sugar in a decorative way (however you like).
-Set aside.

The Streusel:

1/4 cup hazelnuts, peels removed (the recipe calls for almonds, but I have hazelnuts onhand, so that's what I'm using)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 stick cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup quick cooking (not instant) oats
-Toast your hazelnuts in the oven on a sheet pan for about 8 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and cool before proceeding.
-Line the sheet pan with parchment.
-Put all of the ingredients for the streusel into the bowl of a food processor and pulse just to mix the ingredients and chop the hazelnuts and butter. Should be rough and crumbly.
-Spread the streusel out onto the pan and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown. It will smell heavenly. Allow to cool while you prepare the cake.

The Chiffon Cake:

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt, kosher if you have it
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup vegetable or safflower oil (I'm using vegetable)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large egg whites
-Sift together 1 cup sugar, the flour, baking powder and baking soda onto a sheet of parchment or waxed paper, add the salt.
-In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks, oil and lemon juice until blended. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the yolk mixture, whisking. Set aside.
-Beat the 6 egg whites in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment(or do it by hand if you are feeling strong-of-wrist). Starting at low speed, beat the whites until they are foamy and form very soft peaks. Increase your speed to medium-high and slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until the whites are thick and shiny and hold peaks. Fold about 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it (this is called "sacrificing"), then turn the yolk mixture into the egg whites and fold gently until thoroughly blended.
-Scrape half of the batter into the fruit-lined pan, smooth the top with an offset spatula, and sprinkle the streusel over the top (reserve a little bit to decorate the baked cake). Top with the remaining batter and smooth. Place the pan on a sheet pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, mine actually took a good hour and 10 minutes to bake, the top(bottom) started to get to dark, so I had to tent some aluminum foil over to keep it from getting darker). Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool at least 25 minutes before inverting onto your serving platter.
-Enjoy warm and naked (the dessert, not you...well, if you want to be warm and naked, who am I to question it?), or dress it up with some ice cream or whipped cream.

This cake is good. I mean, wow, it's got a yum factor of 11 out of 10. The hazelnut streusel combined with the moist lucious brown sugar coated apples is out of this world. My blog could not have asked for a better birthday cake!

Happy Baking!

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Brilynn said...

Happy blog birthday!
Doesn't it seem strange to think you've been writing for an entire year?

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Thank you, Brilynn, and yes. It is very odd to have actually kept this up for a year! I hope to keep it up for many more. :D

Jennifer said...

Congratulations! My blog just recently celebrated its first year, also. Time flies, huh?

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Thank you, Jennifer, and happy belated birthday to your blog! :D. Time does fly indeed..wonder what will be happening next year this time...

Zarah Maria said...

De-lurking to say a "Congrats!" to you and the blog! I've been tagging along on your sour-dough adventures, now I only need to start one myself, too...

And if only every birthday child could have a cake that lovely!

DaviMack said...

It's the blog's birthday ... but YOU got to eat the cake? Hah!

Happy birthday. :)

Deborah said...

Happy blog birthday!!

Sam said...

Fantastic cake! The fruit is really great for a hot summer's day (or for what passes for one here).

Geoff just put out the cake and it's already nearly all gone.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Congratulations, Jen!
And that cake is just the perfect way of celebrating!

Hillary said...

Hey there - Happy blog birthday! I love seeing fellow young blogs blossom! Thanks for the apple upside down cake recipe!

Anh said...

Happy blog birthday Jen!

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Zara Maria: Thank you very much! Glad you de-lurked :). I hope your sourdough starter works out well for you! Good luck :)

Davimack: Heheh. Any excuse to eat cake is a good excuse, right?

Thank you, Deborah!

Sam: Thanks so much. I'm always very happy to hear when you all enjoy something I made :).

Patricia: Thank you so much. It really was a great cake for the occasion. One I'll make again in the future! :D

Hillary: Thank you, I'm very happy I've stuck with the blog :). And you are welcome for the recipe!

Anh: Thank you very much :D

kellypea said...

Mine wasn't upside down, but the day after I made the DB tart, I made a Donna Hay apple sour cream tart which looks very similar to this one...but yours is better. Way.

Jen the Bread Freak said...

Kellypea: Apple sour cream tart sounds tres yummy! I'm going to bop over there and check it out! I blame the goodness of this cake on "Baking with Julia" :D

Cinara said...

Congratulations, Jen! And what a great year it was... You've never ceased to amaze us with your wonderful recipes and pictures! Long live the Barmy Baker! ;o)

Stephanie said...


I stumbled across your blog through a bread website and I just wanted to say Congratulations! I really like your blog and I plan on trying out a few of your recipes, that chocolate caramel tart looks absolutely divine! :)


Nicole said...

Hey Jen,

Sorry I'm late for the party! I can't believe it's been over a year now! I remember when you first started this blog and it seems like it was just the other day! I'm so glad you've kept it up! My blog birthday is in June and I know there were several of us that started foodblogging around the same time. We should plan some kind of collaborative online birthday party next summer :-)