Classics are always in need of updating.This applies to almost everything, from main meals to sides to desserts, especially the last.Sometimes it takes a little tweak here and there as seen with snack cakes. Sometimes it takes a complete makeover like turning crepes into cakes.
These two updates were written in yesterday's New York Times Food section.Melissa Clark wrote about sprucing up the classic snack cake in her A Good Appetite column.. We've all eaten them, whether from Tastikake, Entemann's or home baked.. She creates a more lux one, thanks to the inclusion of pears and a brown butter glaze.It has a moist tender crumb, not unlike banana and pumpkin breads.Instead of baking it in a loaf pan , it's baked in a cake pan, easy for cutting squares. What is great about this recipe is that it can be baked in muffin tins and given extra spice with nutmeg and clove. The icing is optional if home bakers decide on this. Yet the cake is a perfect treat, even as a dessert. What gives it flavor and moisture are the pears.This is the season for them.Use the bigger Anjou kind. Don';t get the smaller Forell or Seckell pears, These are two small and more intense in flavor than the delicate Anjou. Not only is there flour but also three quarters of a cup of rolled oats,Toasted walnuts or pecans are also tossed in for crunch although these are optional. Four large eggs are used for body because there's no liquid in it, hence the dense texture. The glaze is equally mouth watering.It's a marriage of butter and brown sugar combined with heavy cream that creates a kind of caramel. The cake would be perfect at any Sunday dinner or holiday table.
Another classic that's been updated is the crepe.They are good on their own, whether as a savory, filled with chicken or ratatouille or sweet with a filling of ice cream or with butter and sugar. Another regular contributor to the Food section,Samantha Seneviratne creates a chocolate hazelnut crepe cake. She takes the basic crepe recipe and adds a cup of hazelnut meal. It is richer than a cake thanks to the inclusion of egg yolks, whole milk and heavy cream. It does have to have body, one to withstand the intense heat of the crepe pan and two able to stand up to the cream.As with any batter it does have to be refrigerated before using, usually between two and forty-eight hours (it's actually easier to make the batter the day before and spend the next day entirely on the cake's creation). Home bakers don't need a special crepe maker for this. A skillet will do just as well, however remember to use about three tablespoons of batter for each crepe. If there's too much , the result is thick, unwieldy layer. There should be twenty crepes. The chocolate cream is a mix of high quality chocolate (think Valrhona brand) along with good quality cocoa powder (Droste would be the best choice for this) along with milk. Brandy or coffee is added, the choice is up to what flavor is wanted.Stacking it is easy, Lay on the cream then a crepe and stack. The cake is decorated with whipped heavy cream and more hazelnuts.
Classics need to be updated every no and then. As with the snack cake and crepes, the update is a yummy new classic, full of flavor and moisture. They are so good, the original recipes will hardly be missed.