Irish Soda Bread

By Chef Megan Joy / March 13, 2012

There is something that must be said about making your own bread. All over the world, different forms of bread are a staple to everyday life, and perhaps this is why creating your own it is such a satisfying and rewarding experience.

The fact that soda breads do not contain yeast cannot take away this ‘experience’. The dough is still shaped by hand and the bread retains that sustaining quality. It is soft, with a sugar-kissed crunchy crust, and studded throughout with plump raisins. I like to enjoy a thick slice while sitting outside on the patio and listening to the melting snow drip, drip, drip off the roof.

I love my yeast breads, but sometimes I don’t have the time necessary to wait for them to rise. Soda breads are unique because this step is eluded, although in the past I have made recipes that resulted in a dry, coarse bread. For this adaptation, I added an extra egg to create a softer bread, and I think it worked really well.

And of course…a little soda bread is just so fitting for the upcoming holiday we know of as St. Patrick’s Day. When I lived in Chicago St. Patricks’ Day was a HUGE deal. Out in the mountains, it’s not as big. Sure, people like to go out and drink, but that’s about it. Come to think, this is probably one of the few holidays that the town or restaurant won’t be packed with tourists. I like it.

Later this week I’ll have recipes for some sweeter St. Patrick’s Day treats and details of my upcoming plans to visit the shooting range! Watch out.

Irish Soda Bread (adapted from Ina Garten)
3-4 cups all-purpose flour (depending on the dryness of your flour)
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced into small cubes
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
zest of 1 orange
1 cup raisins
Extra flour for dusting

2 tablespoons buttermilk
3 tablespoons raw sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add the cold cubes of butter and mix on low speed until the butter has blended into the dry ingredients and is the size of small peas.

Whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and orange zest. Add to the dry mixture and blend until the mixture just begins to come together. Toss the raisins in 1 tablespoon of flour (this will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the bread), and add to the dough. Mix a bit more until the raisins are evenly distributed. The dough will be fairly wet and sticky. If it is unmanageable, add a bit more flour.

Turn the dough out on a floured work surface and sprinkle the top with flour. Fold it over onto itself several times until you can form it into a tight ball. Slash an ‘x’ across the top and brush with buttermilk. Sprinkle with the raw sugar and bake for nearly an hour, until lightly golden brown and the inside sounds hollow with tapped.

Sweet Almond Orange Buns

By Chef Megan Joy / March 9, 2012

My junior year of college, I lived in a house with a bunch of my closest friends. On Sunday mornings, I used to make the original cinnamon version of these sweet buns. They come together quickly, especially since they don’t require any yeast. This skipped step is great because it frees up your time to shape homemade apple sausage patties or fry up some hash browns instead.

We’d all sit down to a huge breakfast, family-style, and it was the perfect way to begin a Sunday. An excuse to procrastinate that term paper a little longer, a chance to clarify gaps from the previous night, and a cure-all for a hangover.

My Sunday mornings aren’t quite like that anymore, but I still appreciate a chance to slow down and taste, in the calm before the business week starts all over again. Seated at my kitchen table with a cup of coffee, and gazing out the window at the mountainside, I can’t think of a better place for relishing these sweet buns.

In my adaptation, I made an almond orange filling using muscovado sugar instead of the standard brown. By all means, you can certainly use brown sugar. Muscovado sugar is simply a bolder, deeper tasting brown sugar. I felt it would be nice paired with the bright flavors of the orange, and the sweetness of the ground almonds.

The beauty of these buns is that they are nearly identical tasting to a yeast-raised sweet bun, but instead use chemical leaveners (baking powder and baking soda), which I adapted to my altitude. This means that once the dough is mixed, you can bake it right away, versus letting it rise.

Topped with an orange glaze, they are almost as bright and cheery as that soul-warming Colorado sunshine peeking in the window.

Sweet Almond Orange Buns (adapted from At Home with Magnolia by Allysa Torey)

Almond Orange Filling:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 muscovado sugar (or brown sugar)
3/4 cup almond flour (finely ground almond meal)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange

Bun Dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
scant 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup buttermilk

Sweet Orange Glaze:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

Start with the almond orange filling. Cream the butter and muscovado sugar until light and creamy. Add the ground almonds, orange zest, and vanilla. Beat until blended. Set aside.

For the bun dough, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Add the oil and mix until incorporated. The mixture will be crumbly and dry in some spots. Add the buttermilk and stir until it comes into a ball. Knead the dough a few times until smooth. Roll out into a 15 x 8 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Spread the almond orange filling over the dough and roll up, starting from one of the long sides, into a cylinder. Make sure the seam is facing down. Cut the roll crosswise into eight 1-1/2 inch slices. Place the buns in the greased cake pan and bake about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sweet orange glaze. Combine the confectioner’s sugar, orange juice, milk, and orange zest until smooth. You may add more sugar or liquid to adjust it to your liking. When the buns are done, drizzle the glaze over them. Enjoy warm with a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains.

My Family Visits, And A Live Edge Table

By Chef Megan Joy / March 9, 2012

Earlier this week, my parents and little brother arrived. Cam was on his spring break from college. I was so flattered they decided to use his week off by coming out to visit me!

We had a really lovely time. The weather was typical March weather in the mountains- blue skies, sunshine, warm temps, and of course, a few flurries.

There was quite a bit of cooking and baking. The evening they arrived, I wanted to make dinner since they had been traveling all day. I ended up making elk flatbread pizzas- homemade dough, balsamic pomegranate syrup, fresh arugula, smoked fontina cheese, and grilled elk. I could go on and on about how much I love elk meat. It is so delicious! This was the first time Cam and dad tasted elk and they enjoyed it.

I baked a loaf of Vanilla-Scented Butternut Squash Bread to have on hand for snacking, as well as Chocolate Stout Cake. We actually filmed the whole production and baking process of the Chocolate Stout Cake and hope to have a little web video available soon. I want to give you all a glimpse into my high altitude lifestyle.

This winter has been relatively warm and mild, so there is not too much snow on the ground, especially on south-facing slopes. Cam and I were able to go hiking up a few trails. Some parts were muddy, but the views were well worth it.

On another day, we drove around getting the truck muddy as we tried to find some good places for capturing scenic video clips and photographs. It was blustery that day, but fun. My mom always gets a little nervous driving up the winding mountain roads.

In the down time at my house, my dad and Cam worked on my live edge slab table. It is a beauty! They pieced together two walnut slabs with cement and stones to create a unique, custom table. The rest of the table is bamboo so it’s rustic and eco-friendly. It fits in perfectly with the Colorado mountain vibe, and Reuben, my cowhide rug.

I was sad to see them go today but I am already looking forward to our next visit. With the lack of snow this winter, I am hoping for an early summer. Hands-down my favorite time of year in the Rockies.

Stay tuned because HAB has many exciting updates underway!

Stacked Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

There’s just something about chocolate and cheesecake. This recipe is the love child of two of my heaviest hitters. I combined fudgy chocolate truffle cake with smooth, creamy, and tangy cheesecake.

And the best part? You don’t have to live at altitude to make this recipe, and you also can enjoy it as part of a gluten-free diet!

The two layers could also be baked individually. Sometimes I will bake the chocolate truffle cake in a 9 x 13 pan and serve it as super decadent brownies. On other occasions I will bake it in a circular cake pan and cut it into thin wedges, accompanied with some blood orange or coffee gelato.

At the restaurant, I used to bake the cheesecake without a crust and served crunchy walnut tuiles on the side for some textural contrast.

It’s up to you, but this one is a keeper. Custards and cheesecakes can be baked successfully at altitude, as long as they are given a little extra time to bake low and slow. The chocolate truffle cake has no chemical leaveners and instead relies on the eggs to give it some lift.

On another note, my parents and younger brother arrive in Vail tomorrow. Benny and I are eagerly anticipating this visit and there will certainly be some baking involved. We are going to experiment with web videos. Definitely stay tuned!

Chocolate Truffle Cake (adapted from The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather)
2 sticks unsalted butter, cubed
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300 F. In an oven-safe bowl, combine the cubed butter and chocolate pieces. Place in the oven and allow to melt until smooth, stirring every 2-3 minutes to prevent it from burning.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt, until homogenous. You don’t want any little globs of egg whites still visible. Stream the melted butter and chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.

Pour the batter into a greased and parchment-lined 10-inch springform pan. Bake at 300 F until the edges are firm and the center is almost set (you want it to be a little fudgy). At altitude, this takes about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and proceed with cheesecake.


16 oz. cream cheese
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 oz sugar
2 eggs
1 cup creme fraiche, sour cream, or Greek yogurt
*This recipe is also fantastic with the addition of lemon or orange zest. It will pair beautifully with the chocolate truffle cake too.

In a food processor, combine the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar. Pulse until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, pulsing well after each addition. Add the creme fraiche and blend until the cheesecake batter is even and smooth.

Pour the cheesecake batter over the chocolate truffle cake (it’s okay if the cake is still warm) and return to the oven. Bake until the cheesecake is nearly set, 45-60 minutes. It will still be a bit jiggly, but it will firm up as it cools. Make sure your oven is still set at 300 F.

Cool the cheesecake to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Garnish with fudge sauce, cocoa powder, or savor plain.

Belgian Waffles “Suzette”

My first winter job in Colorado was crazy. I refer to it as my indentured servitude, because that’s pretty much what it felt like. One of my duties was making crepes to order. I like crepes, I really do, but I probably made hundreds of crepes that winter season.

The crepe station was right by a window, so I know for a fact that I have made it into several home videos and photo albums. I remember standing there on multiple occasions, spreading a thin layer of crepe batter on the griddle, and being photographed or videotaped by awe-struck tourists. Those were curse-through-your-clenched-teeth moments.

Life has improved since then. I’ve even managed to eat crepes again, on rare occasions. But I have never made a single crepe since that job. I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Fortunately I have a stunning waffle iron, and I love to make fluffy Belgian waffles with it. You can enjoy a lot of the same things with waffles as you would with crepes. When I have friends and family come visit or over for breakfast, I usually make a “waffle station”. Typical perks include sweetened freshly whipped cream, confectioner’s sugar, pure maple syrup, and some variety of a cooked fruit topping.

In my opinion waffles are also an incredible snack or meal, and not just for breakfast. So it should come as no surprise that I made them for lunch today. Berries this time of year are just not the best, but I did have a few oranges chilling out in the fruit bowl.

Crepes “suzette” is when crepes are coated in a buttery orange sauce and served with orange supremes. It’s rather delicious. I decided to do that with waffles. Let me also mention that this is my favorite waffle recipe, and it’s great because the batter can be mixed in one bowl. No need to whip egg whites and fold them in separately. This isn’t one of those recipes.

High-Altitude Waffle Batter
(adapted from All-Clad)
4 eggs
1 cup milk or half-and-half
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt all at once. Whisk until it just comes together. A few lumps is fine. Follow the directions of your waffle maker for proper cooking. Use about 1/3 cup batter per waffle well.

Orange Sauce

2 oz sugar
pinch cream of tartar
2.5 oz butter
6 oz orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 oranges, supremed

In a skillet, melt the sugar and cream of tartar over medium-high heat. As the sugar caramelizes, tilt the pan to help it color evenly. Once it is a nice golden brown, carefully add the butter and orange zest. The caramel will bubble so take notice of exposed wrists. Once the butter has melted into the caramel, again, carefully add the orange juice and reduce the heat to medium-low. Let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Remove from heat and add the orange supremes. Serve immediately with the waffles and enjoy.

Vanilla-Scented Butternut Squash Quick Bread

By Chef Megan Joy / February 27, 2012

This bread reminds me of the Colorado sunshine that I adore so much- warm, bright, and comforting.

The original recipe calls for pumpkin puree, but I had some butternut squash puree on hand and decided to use that. I contemplated throwing some traditional spices in, but settled on letting the round notes of the butternut squash take the spotlight, accented with some vanilla.

You can make your own butternut squash puree by peeling one squash, cutting it into chunks, drizzling with a little butter, and roasting in a foil-covered pan until the squash is nearly falling apart. Puree in a blender.

I like this recipe because the bread is not too oily or greasy. It is moist, tender, and easy to slice away at all morning.

Enjoy with some peppermint tea and a spot by the window in the sun.

Vanilla-Scented Butternut Squash Quick Bread (adapted from Mastering the Art and Craft of Baking and Pastry by the Culinary Institute of America)

5.8 oz butternut squash puree
8 oz sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
scant 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 oz water

In a mixing bowl, beat the butternut squash puree, sugar, eggs, salt, and vanilla until combined. Add the grapeseed oil, mix well. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and baking soda together. Add to the squash mixture until just combined. Beat in the water and pour batter into a greased 9-inch loaf pan. Bake at 360 F for about 40 minutes, until the top is firm and the edges are golden brown.

Chocolate Stout Cake for a Blustery Day

By Chef Megan Joy / February 26, 2012

It’s almost March! Growing up in the midwest, March makes me think of blustery, grey days. It meant that Spring was coming, but first you had to endure this last Wintery tantrum.

In the Rockies, March is a little different. We still get snowstorms, but the snow melts quicker, and the temperatures rise into the 40’s. Paired with some Colorado sunshine, you can actually work up quite a sweat if you’re outside. Nearly a year ago my little brother was visiting and on our snowshoe expedition he stripped down to a T-shirt.

Yesterday it was very windy. Watching the aspens sway, and hearing the gusts against my house, I couldn’t help but think of March. March also reminds us of another upcoming holiday: St. Patrick’s Day.

That’s why this chocolate stout cake is nearly perfect for this time of year. Not only is it probably one of the best chocolate cakes you will ever taste, but it can be dressed up for the occasion. Perhaps top it with some Bailey’s buttercream, and serve it on a plate with a little Jameson caramel sauce?

This is my high altitude adjusted version of Nigella Lawson’s chocolate Guinness cake. It can be baked in a 10-inch cake pan and dressed like a torte, but it also works well in a 9 x 13 pan. I think it tastes best when it’s baked in a pan that allows it to retain some thickness. The cake is so moist and the epitome of what we all look for in a slice of luscious chocolate cake.

A stout beer or chocolate stout beer from your local brewery will also work nicely in place of the Guinness. Unless, of course, you wish to go all-out Irish.

Chocolate Stout Cake (adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson)
6 oz butter
12 oz stout beer
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream, creme fraiche, or Greek yogurt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a large sauce pot, melt the butter and beer together over medium-low heat. When melted, remove the pot from the heat and add the cocoa powder and sugar. Whisk until smooth. In another bowl, combine the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Add to the beer mixture and whisk well. Last, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; then add to the beer mixture. Stir until just mixed. Pour into a greased and parchment-lined pan. Bake for 25-40 minutes, depending on the size of your cake pan. The cake will still look slightly wet in the center. As long as the center springs back lightly when touched, the cake is done. Cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes, then invert to finish cooling completely. Enjoy the cake plain, topped with powdered sugar, or covered in a Bailey’s buttercream. Mocha and cream cheese frostings also go nicely with this cake.

White Coffee Pot de Creme

By Chef Megan Joy / February 25, 2012

Living in the Rockies means you go through massive quantities of windshield wiper fluid every year. I’m not kidding. Drive down the Vail Pass when the roads are wet and just try to see through your windows.

It’s ironic to think that this light and powdery snow could create such a big mess when it melts.

I’ve been eyeing my truck each day for a week now, debating a trip to the car wash. After work today I finally settled on an express wash since more snow is in the forecast.

These white coffee pot de cremes remind me of that white, pristine snow. Their appearance is misleading, because within they harbor deep, delicious notes of coffee.

The cream is steeped with coffee beans, so the custard is infused with flavor yet still maintains its off-white hue. It’s a great trick!

Baking custards at altitude is simple, they just require a little more time. Reduce your oven to 275-300 F, and bake in a water bath on the lowest rack. Since the custards take longer to bake, a lower oven temperature is necessary to keep the tops from cooking before the centers have nearly set.

A set custard will be slightly spongy and springy when you lightly touch it with your finger. It’s okay if they are still a bit jiggly. They will firm up as they cool.

High Altitude How To Recipe:

White Coffee Pot de Creme
8.5 oz heavy cream
1/2 cup coffee beans
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks

Bring the cream to a simmer and add the coffee beans. Remove from heat and cover with foil for 10-15 minutes, to steep the cream and infuse it with the coffee flavor. Strain out the coffee beans and pour the cream back into the same pot. Add the salt, vanilla paste, and sugar. Bring the mixture back to a simmer. Temper the hot cream into the egg yolks.

Strain again to remove any remaining bits of egg yolk. Distribute among your custard cups of choosing. Place the custard-filled cups in a larger pan (I use a 9 x 13 glass dish) and place in the oven. Gently pour hot water into the pan until it’s 2/3 full. Bake until the custards are spongy feeling when lightly touched and barely jiggle. For shallow dishes, this may only take 20-25 minutes. For deeper custard cups, this could take 35-40 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and let the custards sit for 5 minutes. Remove the dishes from water bath and cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator. Makes 4-6 servings.

A Locally-Inspired Composition: Artisan cheese, Panforte Nero, and Seeded Flatbread

On one of my days off this week I found myself wandering into a local cheese shop, Eat! Drink! in Edwards, Colorado.

Working in pastry, the food I crave most after work is salty, savory items. Cheese fits this bill quite nicely. I wanted to have some on hand for eating in the upcoming week.

One perk to being a chef is that people always want you to taste their products, so every time I go into Eat! Drink! the friendly folks there busy themselves cutting away little wedges of new artisan cheeses for me to taste. I can’t complain, its fun.

So on this particular trip, I was rather delighted to learn of Avalanche Cheese Company, based nearby in Basalt, Colorado. Their website is fantastic, and I hope to visit the farm at some point in the future. Cheese-making is a fascinating art. I took home some of their Midnight Blue goat cheese, and was inspired to create some accompaniments for my beautiful purchase.

Recognized as a Christmas recipe, panforte nero is a spicy, dried fruit and nut-studded confection that is stunning on any cheese plate. Its deep brown color contrasts nicely with the soft toned colors of cheese. In addition, panforte nero is more unique than serving simply dried fruit and some toasted nuts. When I put it on the cheese plates at the restaurant, it’s the one item that our customers always comment on.

Traditionally, panforte nero is made using dried figs. I had dried strawberries and apricots on hand, so I opted to use those instead, for a more Spring-inspired flavor. Dried strawberries can be a bit chewy, so I brought some red wine to a simmer and steeped the fruit for about 10 minutes to soften it.

I also made a seeded flatbread to serve with the panforte nero and cheese. Making your own flatbread is quite simple and a rewarding task because you can flavor it to your individual tastes. I like mine with lots of healthy seeds and crunch. It takes about 10 minutes to make, including the rolling time. Living at altitude will ensure that it stays crisp and crunchy for several weeks!

High Altitude How To Recipe:

Panforte Nero (adapted from Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich)
3 oz dried strawberries
1 cup red wine
2 oz dried apricots
1/2 cup toasted whole almonds
1/2 cup toasted whole hazelnuts
1/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar

Bring the red wine to a simmer, then pour over the dried strawberries and let steep for about 10 minutes, until plumped and softened. Slice the strawberries and dried apricots into 1/4 inch slivers.

In a bowl, combine the nuts, flour, cocoa powder, spices, and sliced fruit. Put the honey and sugar in a small pot and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately pour over the flour mixture. Combine everything while the honey syrup is still warm. It will be thick. Press the mixture into a greased and parchment-lined 6-inch cake pan.

Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes, until the panforte feels slightly firm. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then invert from pan and let cool completely. You can rub some confectioner’s sugar on the top, or leave it plain. To serve, cut into thin wedges.

Seeded Flatbread
4 oz all-purpose flour
4 oz whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (for altitudes below or above 8,500 ft, refer to the guidelines section of this site)
3 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 tablespoon flax seed
1/2 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon Turkish seasoning (if you don’t have this on hand, make your own blend with a little cayenne, salt, pepper, dried oregano, paprika, and cumin)
4 oz of water, maybe slightly more if necessary
1.5 oz olive oil
Additional olive oil and sea salt, optional

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, seeds, and seasoning. Add the water and oil and mix together with your hand. The dough should come together and be moist, but not sticky. If it still on the dry side, add a little more water. Conversely, if you feel it’s too wet, add some more flour.

Break off small portions and roll them as thinly as you can without crushing the seeds. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush a light coating of olive oil on top. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Bake at 350 F until lightly golden and crisp all the way through. Cool and break into smaller pieces.

Grapefruit Mini Cakes with Hibiscus Frosting

By Chef Megan Joy / February 17, 2012


I have a grand baking idea for this mini cake recipe in the future. But we’ll touch on that later.

Right now, the focus is on how adorable and fresh these grapefruit mini cakes are, adorned in a pastel hibiscus frosting. After working at a seasonal cuisine restaurant for almost two years, I am quite keen to what’s in season and what’s good right now.

As we approach March, there are several varieties of magnificent citrus fruits available in their peak. Grapefruit is one of them. I don’t make cupcakes very often, but I had a little party yesterday and I wanted to make something bright and fun.

The cake batter is flecked with shreds of grapefruit zest, infused with some vanilla bean seeds, and moistened with some freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice and cream.

Portioned into little bouchon (“corks”) molds, they bake up pale and springy, the perfect base for a bright and creamy frosting. Hibiscus flowers are used most commonly to make teas and other beverages. When infused into a liquid, they have a tart, puckery flavor similar to a cranberry.

The freshly brewed hibiscus tea was drizzled into a basic cream cheese frosting, creating a beautiful compliment to the delicate citrus cake.

High Altitude How To Recipe:

Grapefruit Mini Cakes (adapted from Taste of Home)

  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 extra-large egg
  • zest of one grapefruit
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1 cup half and half

How to make the cake: Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Follow with the grapefruit zest and vanilla bean seeds. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the dry mixture to the batter and stir in until just incorporated. Drizzle in the grapefruit juice and follow with the remaining flour. Beat until just mixed. Add the half and half on low speed and stop when the batter is smooth. Do not overmix.

Portion the batter into greased bouchon molds, or mini cupcake pans and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 7 or 8 minutes, or until the mini cake spring back lightly when touched and are beginning to turn golden brown along the edge. Let cool for a few minutes before removing them from their pans. Cool completely before frosting.


Hibiscus Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 tablespoons dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz. butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt

How to make the frosting: In a small pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the dried hibiscus flowers and steep for 10 minutes, then strain out the hibiscus. Take care not to get the hibiscus-infused water on your clothes, because it will stain! Whip the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in 3 cups of the powdered sugar and the pinch of salt. Drizzle in the hibiscus tea. Add more powdered sugar if necessary, to achieve a consistency for spreading or piping.




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