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Cranberry Cream Scones and Cream Cake
Happening upon a delicious discovery is part of the fun of baking. I recently spent the whole day in the kitchen and emerged with two simple and easy-to-make recipes, a scone and a layer cake. They are both exceptionally rich in flavor with a tender feather-light crumb because they contain a surprise ingredient: heavy cream.
Most of us are accustomed to whipping heavy cream to decorate a cake or accompany a dessert. However, in these two recipes, you add softly whipped heavy cream to the ingredients. The heavy cream takes the place of the usual butter, adding the richness of cream without the heaviness of fat. (I use pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized, heavy whipping cream that contains at least 36 percent milkfat.)
Whipping the cream just until slightly thick aerates the cream, increasing its volume, and making it easier to incorporate the other ingredients.
The Cranberry Cream Scones and the Cream Cake, always welcome companions to coffee, tea -- or even a glass of cold milk, are excellent for baking at the last minute.
Cranberry Cream Scones
serves 8 to 10
TIP: While whipping cream, the peak that forms when the beater or whisk is lifted (from saucelike to stiff) indicates how thick the consistency.
2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon each melted butter and powdered sugar
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Mix the cranberries into the flour mixture. Whip the cream until undefined soft peaks form. Fold into the dry mixture just until it forms into a rough semi-cohesive mass. (It's okay that some parts are moister than others.) Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead only a few times until the dough holds together. With a lightly floured hand, pat into an 8-inch circle on a baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment paper. Brush surface with butter, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut the circle into 10 wedges without detaching them. Bake in the lower third of a preheated 375 oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cut into premarked wedges.
Cream Cake with Citrus Glaze
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
Citrus Glaze (recipe follows)
Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt on a sheet of waxed paper; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, whip the eggs with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute; set nearby. Without washing the beaters, whip the cream in a large mixing bowl just until the cream starts to thicken but does not form soft peaks. Fold in eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture, stirring briskly just until the batter is smooth. Spread batter evenly into pan.
Bake in the lower third of a preheated 350 oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool on wire rack 15 minutes before removing the springform's hinged band that clasps to the bottom of the cake pan. Cool completely before glazing.
Citrus Glaze: Combine 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice and 1 1/3 cups sifted powdered sugar until smooth. Spread evenly over cooled cake; sprinkle finely grated lemon and orange zests over glaze. For variations, substitute fresh tangerine or blood orange juice.
Flo Braker has been teaching baking techniques and her sweet miniatures across the country for twenty years and is the author of several cookbooks.