“The time has come, the Walrus said, to evaluate your stock of home-canned goods from last year.”
(First drafts of Carroll’s poems always needed a bit of smoothing out.) But seriously, I recently checked over our stash of all I’d canned last year. 2010 was the first time I’d canned more than a few batches of things. Most were spontaneous recipes, spurred on by compelling blog posts or a surplus of fruits. It was interesting to keep track of what we ate and what languished on the shelf. Apparently we’re not big on pickled veggies. Other things, however, took me by surprise. Break out the rhubarb chutney and man! we’ll eat that stuff.
The jams have been popular as well. It doesn’t hurt that there’s still a few school-age children still hauling pb&j’s 5 days a week. There are still a few jars of jam gathering dust out there, so I made a few sour cream cakes recently to utilize these. This cake is incredibly versatile, keeps well for three or four days, and is great for breakfast, teatime, or dessert. My first iteration used applesauce, the second, jam. Either way the sauce is swirled through the batter. I also made a lovely vanilla bean cake with this. All variations follow.
Sour Cream Cake
adapted from The Joy of Cooking (Quick Sour Cream Coffee Cake)
1 1/2 cups flour (you may wish to substitute whole wheat pastry flour or oat flour, or a mix, for up to 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream, room temperature (heat in micro for 30 seconds, stirring halfway, to bring up temp quickly)
2 eggs, room temperature (put them in a bowl of warm water to bring the temp up quickly)
1 cup jam, applesauce, or other fruit sauce
Preheat the oven to 350˚/180˚. Grease a 8- to 10- cup tube pan or Bundt pan well. Do not be skimpy with the spray!
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a seperate bowl, beat the eggs and sour cream together on medium speed until thououghly mixed and glossy. Scrape down the bowl.
Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until combined, but do not over-beat. Pour approximately one-third the volume of batter into the prepared cake pan. Pour the chosen filling over the batter and spread it around as evenly as you can. Pour the rest of the cake batter over. Take a spoon, plunge it into the batter, and dance and swirl it around five or six times. You should have a nicely marbled cake now.
Pop the pan into the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. (The toothpick test is not infallible here: If it is gooey and a significant chunk of the cooking time has passed, you have likely hit a jam pocket. You be the judge.)
Let the pan cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Use a butter knife to loosen the sides of the cake away from the pan. Invert the cake onto a rack to cool completely.
Variation: Omit the jam or applesauce, but mix 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste into the batter. This cake is better the next day, as the vanilla has time to permeate every crumb.
Variation 2: For a cardamom-applesauce cake, add 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom to the dry ingredients. Of course you could use any spice you like, but something about cardamom is… the best. It’s the best.