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Cherries at Borough Market

It’s true: I’m in the midst of a torrid love affair.

I’m consumed with desire, can’t think of anything else.

Morning, noon and night.

24/7.

My mind and heart are racing.

And the cause of my affliction? Why, a deep red fruit with a tiny hole punched through it (if you’re as obsessed as I am, I can’t recommend this enough).

I’m hopelessly devoted to the sweet cherry (and there’s little doubt I would be equally devoted to the sour cherry if I could find it in London).

Stewed cherries in red wine on top of fresh Greek yoghurt, candied cherries over ice cream, cherry brown butter bars, cherry pies, and cherries stolen straight from the punnet. I have had and dreamed about them all over the past two months. And now I’ll document a few of my favourite concoctions, so that when the season draws to a close (no, no, no!), I can look back and remember our whirlwind romance in the summer of 2010.

Cherry Brown Butter Bars

Cherry Brown Butter Bars
From  Smitten Kitchen

For the crust:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Preheat over to 375°F. Cut two 12-inch lengths of parchment paper and trim each to fit the 8-inch width of an 8×8-inch square baking pan. Press it into the bottom and sides of your pan in one direction, then use the second sheet to line the rest of the pan, perpendicular to the first sheet.

Using rubber spatula or fork, mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl. Add flour and salt and stir until incorporated. Transfer dough to your prepared pan, and use your fingertips to press the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust until golden, about 18 minutes (it will puff slightly while baking). Transfer crust to rack and cool in pan. Maintain oven temperature.

For the filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1 pound sweet cherries, which will yield 12 ounces of pitted cherries, which yielded some leftovers, perfect for snacking (alternately, you can use 12 ounces of the berry of your choice)

Cook butter in heavy small saucepan (a lighter-colored one will make it easier to see the color changing, which happens quickly) over medium heat until deep nutty brown (do not burn), stirring often and watching carefully, about six minutes. Immediately pour browned butter into glass measuring cup to cool slightly.
Whisk sugar, eggs, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Add flour and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Gradually whisk browned butter into sugar-egg mixture; whisk until well blended.

Arrange pitted cherries, or the berries of your choice, in bottom of cooled crust. Carefully pour browned butter mixture evenly over the fruit. Bake bars until filling is puffed and golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes (though, of course, this took less time in my hyperactive oven so please watch your baking times carefully). Cool bars completely in pan on rack.

Use the parchment paper overhang to carefully remove cooled bars from pan and place them on a cutting board and cut them into squares with a very sharp knife.

Yield: I made 9 fairly large bars (for gluttons like me), but Deb was able to swing 16 2-inch square bars. The choice is yours!

Cherries in Red Wine Syrup

Cherries in Red Wine Syrup
From David Lebovitz

1 pound (450g) fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (130g) sugar
1 1/4 cups (310ml) red wine
2 teaspoons corn starch or potato starch
2 tablespoons red wine or 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 tablespoon kirsch

Put the cherries and sugar in a large, wide saucepan.

Mix one tablespoon of the red wine with the corn or potato starch in a small bowl until it’s dissolved and set aside.

Add the rest of the wine and the vinegar to the saucepan. Bring the heat up to a boil, then reduce the heat so it’s at a low boil and cook, stirring frequently, for about 12 minutes, until the cherries are completely wilted and softened through.

During the last moments of cooking, stir in the starch slurry and let the mixture boil the additional minute or so, to thicken the juices.

Turn off the heat and stir in the almond extract and kirsch.

Storage: The cherries will keep up to one week in the refrigerator. They can be frozen for up to six months.

Yield: Makes 2 cups (500g). I was able to spoon this over Greek yoghurt for breakfast for a week, and it might just be my favourite way to consume cherries. I will go back to this recipe again and again.


Quick Candied Cherries

From David Lebovitz

This recipe wasn’t quite as exciting as the one above (read: I so enjoyed downing cherries soaked in red wine for breakfast at work), but it’s so simple and so, so good. I promise. You can’t go wrong with a David Lebovitz recipe.

1 pound (450 g) fresh sweet or sour cherries, rinsed
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Remove the stems and pit the cherries.

In a large non-reactive saucepan (at least 4 quarts/liters) bring the cherries, water, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil.

Reduce the heat so the cherries are cooking at a low rolling boil. Cook for 25 minutes, stirring frequently during the last 10 minutes of cooking to make sure the cherries are cooking evenly and not sticking.

Once the syrup is mostly reduced and a brilliant ruby-color, similar to the consistency of maple syrup, remove the pan from the heat and cool the cherries to room temperature.

After the cherries are cool, they can be refrigerated for up to one week, or frozen in zip-top freezer bags for up to one year.

Cherry Brown Butter Bars

P.S. See that beautiful wooden cake stand above? It’s from Nikole, and it’s perfect. It has stood alongside the cherries as a staple in my life this summer. Thank you, Nikole!

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Lavender Cupcakes

When I was 19, my mother swept me and FDW off to Tuscany, to while away the summer in Villa a Sesta, a tiny town in the hills near Siena, unknown to most locals and visitors to the region, aside from wandering cyclists and a few dedicated gourmandes who set out to visit the small but exceptional cooking school and restaurant, La Bottega del 30, located on the edge of the village. On a clear day, we could stand outside the front door of the house and see Siena in the distance while breathing in the intoxicating smell of the infinite number of lavender bushes that lined our front walk. It was a time I still close my eyes and call upon when I’m feeling low, a dream filled with homemade tomato sauce and jugs of Nutella and vineyards and flourless chocolate cake and Il Palio and markets and weekend trips to the beach and newfound friends who spoke not a word of English, but who became like family despite any and all language barriers (and, shockingly, even despite the fact that I once asked one such friend, our lively gardener Girolamo, to “deflower me” instead of to “bring me flowers”). It was also the summer of a tremendous heat wave throughout Europe that at one time drove us to Venice for a respite in an air-conditioned hotel, but I pay that no mind in my cool, clear memories.

Our time in Tuscany was so special, and yet it was also so very typical of my mother, who has spent the majority of my life keeping us together in one way or another. We are a travelling circus, a family of gypsies, and we wander wherever we can together. I think the fact that I equate that summer in Italy to summers spent in the back of my father’s SUV, driving home from Vermont with the seats pushed back while we stared at the stars hanging over the highway, says something about my feelings towards travelling with my family, and I’d like to think it’s something like this: no matter where we go, it’s most memorable when we go together. Our trips together may not the easiest, nor the most relaxing, exotic or free from arguments, but assuredly these are the trips I remember the most fondly. And I think we all have my mother to thank for making us that way, for helping us realise, for example, that a month spent together in Florida with my grandfather every year was more worthwhile than spending the month in school (or at least helping our teachers realise that, as we never needed much convincing). So, on this Mother’s Day, and on the cusp of the arrivals of various members of my family over the course of the next few weeks, where we will presumably make more imperfectly perfect memories in London and Paris and Ireland, too, I’d like to thank her the way I’m sure she’d most prefer to be thanked. With food. With sweets! The sweets that my mother never made to go along with her Italian dinner menus (because Italians like her never fathom anything beyond carb after carb), thereby paving the way for me to find my niche in the kitchen in feeding my family dessert.

Fittingly, these cupcakes were made with the lavender my mom and I purchased last year (nearly to the day) in Provence and topped with candied lilies I brought back last week from Venice. They may not be as exciting as our Mother’s Day last year or our time in Tuscany, but the mere smell of them brought back so many of my sweetest memories. I hope they do the same for her. L’amore e bacia, mamma.

Lavender Cupcakes

Lavender Cupcakes
(from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)

For the cupcakes:
120ml whole milk
3 tablespoons dried lavender flowers
120g plain flour
140g caster sugar
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg
12 small sprigs of lavender (optional)

For the lavender frosting:
25ml whole milk
1 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
250g icing sugar, sifted
80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
a couple of drops of purple food colouring (optional)

Put the milk and dried lavender flowers in a jug, cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight if possible. Do the same with the milk and lavender flowers for the frosting, in a separate jug.

Preheat the oven to 170℃ (325℉) Gas 3.

Line a 12-hole cupcake tray with paper cases*.

Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat on a slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.

Strain the lavender-infused milk (for the cupcake) and slowly pour into the flour mixture, beating well until all the ingredients are well mixed. Add the egg and beat well (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula).

Spoon the mixture into the paper cases until two-thirds full and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sponge bounces back when touched. A skewer inserted in the centre should come out clean. Leave the cupcakes to cool slightly in the tray before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

For the lavender frosting: Beat together the icing sugar, butter and food colouring, if using, in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) on medium slow speed until the mixture comes together and is well mixed. Turn the mixer down to slow speed. Strain the lavender-infused milk and slowly pour into the butter mixture. Once all the milk is incorporated, tun the mixer up to high speed. Continue beating until the frosting is light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. The longer the frosting is beaten, the fluffier and lighter it becomes.

When the cupcakes are cool spoon the lavender frosting on top and decorate with a sprig of lavender, if using.

Yield: 12 cupcakes.

*I used a combination of parchment paper and, in her honour, silly paper cases that my mom bought me for Easter.

Lavender Cupcakes

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Strawberry Rhubarb Double Crisp

Over the course of the past few days, the magnolia tree in my front yard has transformed from bright pink and white to leafy green. The daffodils are now in full bloom and our tulips from Amsterdam are rivalling the ones in the Kuekenhof. My mother’s Easter bunny cake has come and gone. The park is teeming with sunbathers and barbecues on the weekend. There’s an endless loop of The Invisible Band on in my head. I have begun to consume excessive quantities of Frae. There’s a volcano erupting in Iceland. And when I close my eyes I dream of rhubarb. It’s Spring.

When I hosted a few friends for a Spring dinner last Sunday, I was shocked to discover not one of them had ever tasted rhubarb, let alone the classic sweet-meets-tart combination of strawberries and rhubarb that exemplifies, to me, all the goodness that’s to be had this time of year. I quickly abandoned my ideas for new combinations of fruit and rhubarb (a cherry and rhubarb jalousie is high on my to-bake list) and introduced them to the tried and true standard, albeit with a few delightful twists.  Not surprisingly, Dorie has done it again: the ground and crystallized ginger and the addition of a second layer of crisp at the bottom of the dish lofted this dessert high above the same-old same-old strawberry rhubarb concoctions I had made in the past. I’m a lover of toppings and crusts, through and through, and having that extra layer of crisp, well, to paraphrase the great Liz Lemon, it’s a dealbreaker. My guests left with a newfound love of rhubarb and I went to bed envisioning the whole new world of double crisps, crumbles and cobblers that awaits me this season.

Strawberry Rhubarb Double Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Double Crisp
From Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the crisp mix:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt
Tiny pinch of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup very finely chopped crystallized ginger (see above)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the filling:
1 pound (4 to 5 medium stalks) rhubarb, trimmed and peeled
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
3 cups (about 12 ounces) strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Put a nonreactive 9-inch square baking pan (I used porcelain) on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, ground ginger, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl and sift the ingredients through your fingers to blend them — be on the lookout for lumps in the brown sugar. Mix in the nuts and crystallized ginger, then pour over the melted butter. Using a fork, stir the ingredients until they are thoroughly moistened.

Spoon half the mixture into the pan and pat it down lightly to form a thick crust; set aside the remainder for the topping.
Slice the rhubarb into 1/2-inch-wide pieces and scatter them over the pressed-in base. Dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water; set aside.

Put the strawberries, sugar and ginger in a medium saucepan and, with a fork, pastry blender or potato masher, crush the berries. Place the pan over medium heat and, stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a full boil. Pour the dissolved cornstarch into the pan and, stirring with a whisk, bring everything back to a boil. Keep cooking and stirring until the strawberry filling is thick and no longer cloudy, about 3 minutes. Pull the pan from the heat, stir in the vanilla and pour the filling over the rhubarb. Scatter the remaining crisp mix over the filling, breaking it up with your fingers so you can scatter it evenly.

Slide the crisp into the oven and bake for 60 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the strawberry jam is bubbling up all around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool until only just warm or at room temperature.

Dorie wisely suggests that you can try to be neat about cutting the crisp into squares, but it’s pretty hopeless; better to cut pieces in the baking pan and lift them out with a spatula or big spoon into shallow bowls. I wholeheartedly agree. Also, it just wouldn’t be right to have this or any crisp without ice cream (just ask King H, who had to make an emergency run to the bodega mere minutes before dessert).

Note: This is best the day it is made, but if you keep it covered at room temperature overnight, you’ll make a bunch of breakfasters happy the next day. Alternatively, you can cover it and place in the fridge and re-heat in the oven for dessert the next day.

Yield: 9 servings.

Strawberry Rhubarb Double Crisp

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All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake

Even as I get older and wiser (?), life continues to be full of firsts. This recipe, for instance, was the first TWD entry in my brief TWD career baked entirely by King H, my first love (discounting the likes of Taylor Hanson and Jordan Catalano, who may have come earlier, but certainly weren’t as…real), during his first foray into baking in our first kitchen. As you might imagine, I am usually the one doing the baking in our relationship. King H, on the other hand, makes a fitting sous chef (he’s often found cleaning up the wake of baking products I leave behind), a mean Chicago deep-dish pizza, and the perfect choice of music to muck around in the kitchen to. He’s also very often left to eat half a batch of muffins or 25 cookies, all in the name of feeding my baking habit. And for that I’m grateful.

Imagine my surprise, then, when he came home from work one night and mentioned he was involved in a bake-off at work. Another first: our roles had suddenly been reversed. We got into the spirit last week, when our friend B stopped over to use the kitchen and prepare her entry, these stunning Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (incidentally, this will now be my go-to Autumn carrot cake recipe, and is a perfectly fall-spiced compliment to my more spring-y version previously posted here), but this week it was finally King H’s turn to shine. Initially inspired to bring in sweet potatoes with marshmallows, a Thanksgiving staple which is all but lost on anyone outside of the US (believe me, I’ve begged more than one English chef to make this for the holiday, only to be met with complete and utter shock and disgust, which is a big part of the reason I’ll be finally be hosting Thanksgiving at home this year), his excitement was tempered by the fact that he’d be assisting in making six pounds worth of candied yams (yams? Sweet potatoes? I’m going rogue and calling them both*) a mere four days later. And so King H had a momentary lapse in bright ideas on Sunday afternoon, as he was dragging a 14 pound frozen turkey and 12 pounds of potatoes home from Waitrose. Suddenly, all he saw before him was days of mashing, basting and mixing. It was enough to put him off baking entirely and he was suitably forlorn.

Enter me and my desire to get back on track in my quest to complete Tuesdays with Dorie and…problem quickly solved (at least the pot-luck part – he’s still got lots of mashing to do in the days ahead). I gave King H a choice of all four recipes this month (the folks at TWD have graciously done away with the one set recipe per week rule during November) and this one jumped right out at both of us, courtesy of The Nitty Britty. If he couldn’t make his candied yams, this Bundt cake, it appeared, would be a fitting substitute, as Dorie herself noted you could “name your favorite it-tastes-like-Thanksgiving flavor, and you’ll find it here”. And, as usual, right she was. I left King H to his own devices (one of the rules strictly enforced by his co-workers was that I would not produce this for him) and, aside from chopping a few unruly cranberries (why, oh why must cranberries pop all over the place?!) and answering a few questions about the KitchenAid stand mixer creaming/mixing process, I didn’t reappear again until he was pouring the batter in the well-buttered Bundt pan. And was I ever glad I had the foresight to appear at such a crucial moment, because this was the first time I was the one who got to lick the batter bowl clean, an honour I usually bestow on whoever pops down to the kitchen while I’m baking and tasting in my own time.  If the batter was any indication, this cake was going to be a hit at work. King H drizzled it with a maple syrup glaze and I watched it head out the door with him on his way to work this morning, feeling more than a bit despondent at the fact that I wouldn’t be tasting the cake that filled my whole house with the smells of Thanksgiving a mere twelve hours earlier. I may have to wait until Thursday to smell anything quite as good again, but I have it on good authority that King H’s compatriots were thrilled with this cake. And I’m thrilled with it, too, even though I never had a bite, because he baked something! And it was beautiful! And it smelled like heaven! And he’s so precise! And he told me I keep him, even when he wins the contest and becomes an international Bundt superstar! And, perhaps most importantly, now…now that he’s given these foreigners a taste of the cranberries, pumpkin, apples and pecans that help make this time of year so special, thanks to King H perhaps we just may have another first to look forward to: winning them over with those marshmallow-topped yams on Thursday…

All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake

All-in-One Holiday Bundt Cake
(from Baking: From My Home To Yours)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger (or 1 tsp ground ginger)
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 large apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 cup cranberries, halved or coarsely chopped
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting or maple syrup icing (see note)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- to 10- inch (12 cup) Bundt pan. Don’t place the pan on a baking sheet-you want the oven’s heat to circulate freely through the Bundt’s inner tube.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and ground ginger, if you’re using it (not the grated ginger).

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the pumpkin, chopped apple and grated ginger, if you’re using it-don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Still on low speed, add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they are incorporated. With a rubber spatula, stir in the cranberries and pecans. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with the rubber spatula.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding, then cool to room temperature on the rack.

Note: just before bringing the cake to the table, dust it with confectioners’ sugar or drizzle it with maple syrup icing, which Dorie introduces in her “playing around” section and which King H used to much praise in his version. Simply sift 6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar into a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Add more maple syrup little by little, until you have an icing that runs nicely off the tip of the spoon — you might need another 1/2 tablespoon syrup to get the right consistency. Put the cooled cake on a sheet of wax paper and drizzle the icing from the tip of the spoon over it. Let the icing set for a few minutes before serving.

*Edited to add this link, aptly found by King H a mere day after my great yam/sweet potato debate.

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Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Spearmint-Lime Glaze

I have a confession to make: I purchased a Bundt pan nearly a year ago and, up until this weekend, I had yet to use it. It feels good to get that out in the open. I’ve discovered that’s the beauty of the Bundt pan, though: when one has made enough brownies and cupcakes and tarts and crumbles to last a lifetime (or at least a summer), there it is, the promise of a dense and delicious slice of pound cake, staring back at you from/falling out of your ridiculously overstuffed cupboard like some sort of divine culinary sign (or perhaps just a sign that you need to do some cleaning).

I will be the first to admit what a mistake it was to wait this long to put that Bundt pan to use, particularly if everything I make in it from now on is even half as good as this gem from Flo Braker’s Baking for All Occassions (one of my favourite go-to dessert books). I stumbled upon this recipe on Saturday afternoon when I found myself in an unusual mood for dessert simplicity. Normally what I love most about baking on the weekends is the lack of time contraints, albeit such a lack often leads to marathon sessions in the kitchen at all hours and a trail of flour in my wake come Monday morning (have I mentioned how badly I need to clean?!). But, this weekend, I wanted none of it. Perhaps it was my eventful tart-making escapade the previous weekend, or the fact that I had batches of Polperro chips to dunk in hot oil, or that we’d spent the past two weeks knee-deep in the most decadent peanut butter brownies EVER. Whatever it was, I set out to peruse a few cookbooks with the express desire to find something simple, not too sweet, but a bit summery, befitting of one of our final barbecues of the season. I was sold on this recipe the minute I read Flo’s preface to it – this cake, she assured me, is simple and perfect for a leisurely picnic beneath a shady tree. And, it is. It’s dense, citrus-y, incredibly easy to prepare and the speariment-lime glaze gives it a moist inside that almost makes you forget you’re inhaling a solid pound of cream cheese and sugar. But, my favourite part by far is the very bottom, where the cream cheese batter bakes to form a sweet crust that is simply heavenly and which has to be tried to be believed. This is the kind of recipe that will draw your co-workers into your office on a Monday morning to tell you you’re in the wrong line of business (oh, how I love those recipes!). It works for dessert, it works for breakfast, it works for a snack…it works for everything. I’m pretty sure it could cure anyone’s easing into Autumn blues and I, for one, plan on making it again and again. King H is already begging for more, for one, and that Bundt pan refuses to work its way back into the overstuffed cupboard. A divine culinary sign, if you ask me.

Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Spearmint-Lime Glaze

Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Spearmint-Lime Glaze
(from Baking for All Occassions)

For the cake:

3 1/4 cups (13 ounces/370 grams) cake flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 ounces (2 1/4 sticks/255 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
One 8-ounce (225-gram) package cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups (1 pound, 5 1/4 ounces/600 grams) granulated sugar
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 325 degrees Fahrenheit if the pan has a dark finish). Butter a 10 by 3-inch Bundt pan, light coat it with nonstick spray, then flour it, tapping out the excess flour. Have all of the ingredients at room temperature.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until creamy and smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. On medium speed, add the sugar in a steady stream and continue to beat until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

With the mixer still on medium speed, add the eggs, 2 to 4 tablespoons at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated. The entire process of adding and beating the eggs should take 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and lime juice during the final moments of mixing. On the lowest speed, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing after each addition only until incorporated and stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The entire process of adding the flour mixture should take about 2 minutes. Detach the paddle and bowl from the mixer, and tap the paddle against the side of the bowl to free the excess batter. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the lime zest. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly with the spatula.

Bake the cake until golden and a round wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes while you prepare the glaze.

For the spearmint-lime glaze:

6 tablespoons (3 fl ounces/90 ml) water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup lightly packed spearmint leaves
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (5 ounces/140 grams) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest

In a small saucepan, combine the water, lime juice, butter and mint leaves over low heat just until the mixture bubbles around the edges. Remove from the heat and let steep for 1 minute.

Without delay, tilt and rotate the cake pan while gently tapping it on a counter to release the cake sides. Invert a wire rack on top of the cake, invert the cake onto it, and lift off the pan. Slide a sheet of waxed paper under the rack to catch any drips from the glaze.

Press the mint leaves against the side of the saucepan to release most of the moisture, and then discard the mint leaves. Stir the sugar and lime zest into the liquid until smooth. Using a pastry brush, coat the top and sides of the warm cake with all of the glaze. Let the cake cool completely before serving. As the cake cools, the glaze sets up to form a shiny coating.

To serve, slide the bottom of a tart pan, a small rimless baking sheet, or a large offset spatula under the cake and carefully transfer it to a serving platter. Cut into thin slices with a serrated knife.

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