A NEW KIND OF HEALTHY AND OVERSEES INSPIRATION
I have been subscribed to Bon Appétit Magazine for a couple of months now and I am totally hooked. I get home every day anxiously looking at the contents of my mailbox, hoping to see that flat plastic envelope with the new number. You may wonder why, if I've got a subscription to a monthly magazine I live in such a state of uncertainty and anxiety. The truth is, oversees shippings are proving not to be too reliable, so I might get my monthly magazine on the 10th or on the 25th of every month.
I have to say that even though I sometimes try to tell myself that the interval between one magazine and the next is more or less (more often more than less) a month, I get frustrated when I see all that advertising on instagram or on the page, the new topic for the new month, people with their hands on the new magazine while I'm still waiting for the old one to arrive.
I have seen holidays come and go with no bon appétit inspiration to guide me on my way. This year a couple of friends and I decided to do our version of Thanksgiving and, as you might imagine, I got the best recipes for the holiday a week after we actually celebrated it. This month I didn't mind missing all the Valentine's day propaganda, so when I got the magazine (2 days ago), I wasn't as frustrated as I could have been.
These delays, however, do nothing to abate my enthusiasm when, at last, I open a new magazine and start going through the pages. Quickly at first, without reading all the tiny writing, just to go over it once and see what is in store for me. Then, I take my time and go over every single detail. Even the drinks part though I'm not much of a drinker. I love how they make everything so cool and yet doable. In a way it reminds me of the week we spent in NY and the amazing food scene we found.
I was like a kid in candy store. Whatever I wanted or I didn't think I wanted, I could find, both in terms of ingredients and tools. We passed shop after shop, market after market, bursting with amazing produce, beautiful equipment and people dedicated to their craft. That last thing was what really stuck with me. Over here in Spain you very often go to a bar or a restaurant and you can tell that the waiter doesn't really want to do his or her job. After asking for the flavour of a cake one day, I even got told that the cake was a "normal" cake. Come on! What is a normal cake? Just because it wasn't a chocolate cake doesn't mean it doesn't have a flavour! Is it a lemon cake? and almond cake? what type of flour does it have? That kind of behaviour makes me so angry that even though the owner of the place might have hired the best designer in town to make it look pretty, I don't want to come back.
That is exactly the opposite to what we found in the restaurants or the coffee shops we went to in NY. Over there first of all you have an idea, you think about what you want your place to be about, then you start to research or to prepare yourself for giving customers the best possible product you can create. The designer will also make his mark to make the whole experience even better, but the waiters know what is in the menu, can counsel you and they actually act like they care about the place. And this is the same for a sandwich shop or a fine dining restaurant. Some people tell me it's because of the tipping system, but I am not all that sure. I think it's a question of mindset. If you believe in what you do and you care about the product you are selling, that shows. And the fact that a sandwich is treated with as much respect as a five course meal is another proof of just that.
Going back to the recipe I wanted to show you today, this is a cake from the January issue of Bon Appétit (remember I just got the February issue less than a week ago). It is a part of their healthy spread. I am not all that sure that it's healthy because every time I go into the internet there is another theory about what is healthy and what isn´t. The latest version I have read is that butter is not that bad for you, that refined sugar is and that you should try to use more whole flours in your cooking and experiment with different varieties. This cake fits the bill perfectly. There is butter, but not that much sugar - plus it's brown, rye flour and if you are lucky enough to live in a place like NY where you can find whatever your heart desires, you will be able to add cacao nibs to the crumble, which I guess will make the whole thing even better. I will keep on waiting, hoping that a freak like me opens a shop here in Madrid where they sell these kinds of things. Meanwhile I will make the crumble sans the nibs because it also tastes pretty great.
I might enjoy it so much because I see this magazine as an extension or a reminder of the week Elena and I spent in NY last September. We came back amazed by the local food scene. I was completely spoiled. I could find anything, both in terms of ingredients and tools. I know this is obvious and we all know that NY is a meca for so many things, but I loved how dedicated people are to what they do, how they take pride in working where they work.
• 66gr brown sugar
• 30gr wholewheat flour
• 25gr rye flour
• 3 tablespoons cacao nibs
• 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 55gr butter
Cake and assembly:
• Nonstick vegetable oil spray
• 90gr wholewheat flour
• 75gr cup rye flour
• 60gr cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• ¾ teaspoon baking soda
• ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
• 165gr unsalted butter, room temperature
• 165gr brown sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ¾ cup buttermilk
• ¼ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
Don't skip the crumble. It is really easy and it is in part what makes this cake special. It is sweet, crunchy and salty.
1. Whisk granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, rye flour, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl until blended. Work in butter with your fingers to form large clumps—there should be no dry spots. Cover and chill.
2. Do ahead: Crumble can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
Cake and assembly:
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Coat a 9”-diameter cake pan with nonstick spray and line with a parchment round. Whisk all-purpose flour, rye flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and add eggs and vanilla; mix until blended, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add half of dry ingredients followed by buttermilk, mixing well after each addition. Repeat with remaining dry ingredients and yogurt (this is a stiffer batter). Scrape into prepared pan. Scatter crumble over.
3. Bake, rotating once, until cake starts to pull away from sides of pan and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 60–70 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack before turning out.
4. Do ahead: Cake can be made 3 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.
Adapted from Bonappétit Magazine