Chocolate Pound Cake

This recipe is one of those cakes that gets better with age; meaning, it tastes even better the day after it is baked. You may not have access to Sag Harbor Rum for the simple syrup, so if you find yourself in a strange port use a good quality rum. 

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George Hirsch Chocolate Pound Cake, Sag Harbor Rum Syrup

Chocolate Pound Cake

Makes one loaf

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 1 1/2 cups cake flour  

1 teaspoon baking powder  

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sweet butter, room temperature

1 cup pure cane granulated sugar  

3 eggs, beaten 

1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon fine grated orange zest 

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder such as Droste

1/4 cupboiling hot water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  

Grease a loaf pan with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a small bowl mix cocoa powder into boiling water until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

In a separate bowl, mix cake flour with baking powder and salt.

On medium high speed, mix butter until softened, about 1 - 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. With the mixer on low add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after adding each egg. Add vanilla, orange zest, cocoa mixture. add the flour mixture and mix only until combined.  

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake on a center rack in oven for about 50 - 55 minutes or until done. To test doneness, cake will spring back when touched lightly with index finger.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Slice pound cake, serve soaked with rum simple syrup and with fresh whipped cream.

To make simple syrup:

1 cup water, 2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup of Rum, 1 orange, cut into quarters

Place all ingredients into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes. Remove and cool.

Hush Puppies

Depending on where you are in the world I believe there is some variation of hush puppies or cornballs cooked in every culture, either savory or sweet - such as the falafel, sorullitos and festivals. Typically you may think of hush puppies as a BBQ or seafood side dish; originating in the southern region of the USA - tasty comfort food. Yes, I included my own version of it in my Know Your Fire Cookbook. Perfect to serve along with fish and shellfish, such as my ultimate Seafood Chowder from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series. 

Where the name HushPuppies came from:

The name "hushpuppies" is often attributed to southern cooks who would fry some basic cornmeal mixture (possibly that they had been bread-coating or battering their own food with) and feed it to their dogs to "hush the puppies" during cook-outs or fish-fries.

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Hush Puppies 

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1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 Tablespoons melted butter

1 Tablespoon fine chopped parsley

Vegetable oil for frying

* optional suggestions: onions, hot pepper, crisp cooked bacon, finely chopped ham or crab meat

Combine cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the milk, add egg and beat with a whisk or fork until the batter is smooth and no lumps remain. Stir in the butter, parsley and set the batter aside for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Fill a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer with 2 to 3 inches of vegetable oil and heat to 360 degree F. Scoop up a scant tablespoon of batter off the spoon into the hot fat and when the hush puppies rise to the top in about 1 minute, turn them over and cook until evenly brown, about 2 minutes total. Remove and drain on paper towels. Hush Puppies should always be served piping hot.

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Would you like a slice of old-fashioned-style cake that is equally as good for a morning coffee break, mid-day snack and even dessert? Then this is it. 

What I really like about this cake is it isn't overly sweet. I created this recipe using all purpose flour, not cake flour which makes a denser crumb with nice texture. The dairy mix of sour cream, yogurt, and milk is a harmonious trifecta in achieving a light and flavorful addition to every slice. Use good fresh eggs + butter and you'll have a hit. 

I do warn you with caution - when you catch the first aromas of this cake baking in the oven, you will be tempted to stand by with knife at the ready. But, please wait for the cake to cool completely for a couple hours. Slicing this coffee cake prematurely will allow steam (or moisture) to escape, thereby making for a dryer cake when it cools. So please resist until it cools. This recipe also doubles for a test in patience. Enjoy!

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Makes a 9" Bundt Pan, about 10-12 slices

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For the Crumb Topping:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

6 Tablespoons sweet butter, softened

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Place the butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and vanilla in a bowl and crumble together with your fingers until it forms a crumb mixture. Add in the nuts. Reserve and mix cake batter.

For the Cake:

1/2 cup sweet butter, one stick softened

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup low fat plain yogurt

1/4 cup 2% milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon fresh grated orange rind

Grease and flour a tube, Bundt-style, or a regular-sized 9 1/2-inch baking pan.

Cream together the butter, sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Mix in eggs, vanilla and orange zest, one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, yogurt and milk together. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately in three stages with the sour cream, yogurt, and milk mixture; stirring and scraping the bowl with spatula after each addition. Mix until just blended. Do not over mix.

Place half the batter in the pan, and sprinkle with half the topping mixture. With the back of butter knife swirl the batter slightly to mix the crumb mixture slightly into the bottom of cake batter. Add remaining batter, then the crumb topping.

Bake coffee cake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake tests done. Cool for 15-20 minutes, and then remove from pan by placing a large plate over top of cake and invert pan. Tap the sides of cake pan to free cake from pan. Plate serving platter over the bottom and invert again. The crumb topping should be on the side up to serve. Allow to cool at least 2 hours (if you can) before slicing!

Cover cake once fully cooled.

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Mother's Day Wish

To all Moms, have a very happy Mother's Day weekend. May someone in your family treat you to breakfast in bed. 

Best to you, George

as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

A frittata is like a quiche, but it doesn't have a crust. Mix in some chopped prosciutto, shredded cheese, or precooked seafood or chicken, and it becomes a tasty brunch dish, appetizer or starter. or, add fresh herbs for a veggie morning start.

Fresh Herb Frittata

Makes six servings

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1 Tablespoon olive oil

10 eggs, well beaten

2 Tablespoons water, optional  

1/4 cup pancetta 

4-6 each baby Yukon potatoes 

1 shallot or 1 Tablespoon sweet onion 

1 green onion 

1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, sliced into small pieces  

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

fresh ground black pepper

Pre heat a large oven proof sauté pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Beat eggs with water, basil, parmesan cheese, hot sauce, nutmeg, and pepper. 

Add olive oil to sauté pan, cook pancetta until slightly tender. Add shallot and potatoes cook until potatoes are tender. 

Add pepper and hot sauce to eggs. Pour eggs over the filling and place the pan over medium heat. Stir egg mixture 2-3 times or just enough to mix eggs and potatoes. When the eggs begin to set, lower the heat and cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, top with fresh mozzarella and green onion. 

Cover or place pan in oven for additional 1-2 minutes or until firm yet moist. 

Top with fresh basil. Serve warm or room temperature.

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