Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bizcocho blanco for Christmas

I'd been craving a simple cake for sometime and found a wonderful recipe in the classic Puerto Rican recipe book Comida Criolla (sold in English as "Puerto Rican Cookery"). This book is simply amazing both as a cookbook and as a historic document. It was first published in 1954 and copyrighted several times since (in 1957, 1962, 1977, and 1983). It has been through 58 editions as of June 1999 a remarkable feat for any book and shows how important this book is to Puerto Rican cuisine! 
My mother loves to bake the "Bizcocho de Chinas Frescas" (fresh oranges cake) recipe from this book (my brother Richard's favorite cake!). I grew up perusing this book in my mother's kitchen and remember her trying out recipes like "Cazuela" and "Nisperos de Batata." To my delight my husband brought this book into our marriage. It was given to him 12 years ago on Christmas by his stepmother Rina whose sweet dedication reads:

para Carli:
con un libro así de mi abuela aprendí
a concinar criollo. ¡Que lo disfrutes! 
Te quiero, Rina

The other day at the market with our son Khalil, we picked up some plump and healthy looking raspberries and decided that we would bake a cake together and use the beautiful raspberries in it (Khalil says he plans to become a "cheft" and a "skeleton scientist" when he grows up!) I found the recipe for "bizcocho blanco" and we went to work!
The best part about this cake is that it is simple and doesn't need lots of different ingredients. It tastes really wonderful in a sort of classic way! I used 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract--the latter really "lifts" the flavors in the cake. 
You must sift the flower and the baking powder together before adding it to the sugar, butter.  The eggs must be "creamed" and then folded into the mixture gently--the creamed eggs makes the cake light and airy.
Buttered the pan well and dust it with flour then add the batter.
I made a simple whipped cream frosting -- 1 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla - beat on high until stiff.
Let cake cool completely before applying the whipped cream and raspberries. It can be refrigerated for a few days, though I doubt it if it last. I think it is a perfect cake to celebrate Christmas!


1 comment:

  1. How wonderful! I just impressed my friends on Christmas by making flan and sangria from this beloved cookbook.