Dutch Baby Pancake.

If you’ve ever been to the Walker Brothers Pancake House in Wilmette, you’ve seen one of these huge pancakes being delivered to a table near you. Maybe you’ve even tried this light and fluffy mass of puffed-up flour, butter, and eggs yourself. It’s the perfect thing to cook for company because it looks so impressive and unusual. But as you serve it to a chorus of compliments, smile silently to yourself, you big show-off, because it’s actually a ridiculously easy recipe.

INGREDIENTS

for pancake:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat flour
cinnamon to taste (we used about 1/8 tsp)
4 eggs
4 tbsp (half a stick) butter

for topping:
1 – 1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 cup yogurt
your favorite berries
powdered sugar
lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Remove your oven’s top rack and preheat oven to 425 F–the pancake cooks on the middle rack and needs space to rise.

With the stove on medium heat, melt butter in a large cast-iron pan or oven-proof saute pan. While the butter melts, combine all other pancake ingredients in a mixing bowl.

When the oven is fully preheated, pour batter into pan over melted butter, but don’t stir the butter into the batter! They should remain separate.

Immediately place pan into the oven and bake for 22-25 minutes, so that the whole pancake cooks through. The middle and sides will start to brown a bit by the time the pancake is done. Remove from oven and cool about 1 minute.

While the pancake cools, mix together yogurt and honey, and wash and cut up berries.

Transfer pancake to a large plate. Top with yogurt, sprinkle with berries and lemon juice, and add a generous finishing touch of powdered sugar. Serves 2-3 (or a very hungry 1…).

Sicilian Orange Cake.

This was one of those recipes that I kept seeing all over the food blog world, and I was just dying to try it. I’m so glad I did! To the original recipe, I added a splash of vanilla extract (why not?), and to make it gluten-free at the request of a friend, I used brown rice flour instead of all-purpose flour. Either works just fine, but I found that the brown rice flour makes the cake surprisingly soft and moist, so I definitely recommend it if you can get some. A note about the final steps of this recipe: I made a rookie mistake and didn’t grease my pan enough, so I was left with a stubbornly adherent cake that refused to come out in one piece. I pieced it together as best I could and made the most of the broken bits–but your cake SHOULD look about 1000 times prettier than mine does! Good grief.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp orange zest
1 cup brown rice flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
juice of 1 orange
splash of vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease cake pan.

Using the whisk attachment on your mixer (or, whisking by hand), cream together butter and sugar for 4 minutes. Mixing well between each addition, add the first 3 eggs, one at a time. Add a tablespoon of the flour before you add the last egg, and mix well. I find that using a whisk (rather than a spoon or spatula) throughout the whole mixing process works best.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and orange zest, and mix. Then slowly mix in the vanilla and half of the orange juice, setting the other half of the OJ aside for the glaze.

Spread the batter into your pan and bake on the middle rack for about 40 minutes.

If you, like I did, find that the sides of the cake start to brown a bit faster than the middle can keep up with, just loosely cover the pan with foil. Remove the baked cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Or, if you mess up like I did, cool the fragments of your cake on a cooling rack and go cry in the corner until they’re cool enough to glaze…

Pour the remaining orange juice into a bowl and add the powdered sugar. Stir until smooth, adding more sugar as needed until you reach desired consistency. With the cake on your serving plate, spoon or spread the glaze, allowing it to drip over the sides. Let the cake sit and soak up the glaze for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and garnish with more orange zest.

Since I ended up with my cake stuck to the bottom of the pan, here’s how I made the best of it: I scraped the bottom of the pan to get all the little browned bits, and I sprinkled them over the iced cake like a crumb topping. Maybe I should call it “Sicilian Orange Inadvertently-Crumb Cake.”