Here’s an up-and-coming chef worth keeping an eye on!
Kayla Swartout’s love of pastry didn’t begin in a kitchen or culinary school, but on the streets of Paris. While spending a year traveling abroad and studying in Tuscany, Kayla and her sister took a train to Paris as an early Christmas present. She had planned to see all the famous sites, but instead her sister spent most of their trip having to pull Kayla away from the bakery windows. She was in awe of the pastries at Laduree and became mesmerized by the complexity of Pierre Herme’s macarons – each window a work of art comparable to what she’d hope to see at the Louvre and nothing like what she had ever seen back home.
A few months after coming back she enrolled in The French Culinary Institute of New York City and began one of the most exciting journeys of her life. Kayla currently works as a pastry chef at Nashville’s famed Hermitage Hotel and plans to someday soon work in Europe and start her own delicious bakery.
Inspired by the crisp days of Autumn, Kayla shares a recipe with us for Apple Molasses Spice Cake served with homemade Cinnamon Ginger Ice Cream.
“To me, nothing welcomes in the cool, crisp weather of Fall like the smell of apples roasting in the oven and the scent of holiday spices in the air. Fall is the season to celebrate family and friends; and what better way to do that then giving those you love a bit of warmth from your kitchen to theirs.
Molasses Spice Cake
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup molasses
- 2 cups flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ½ cup whole milk
- 3 tablespoons brandy
- 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- roasted apples (recipes follows)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 7” x 11” or 9” x 9” cake pan. In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar with a handheld mixer or a stand mixer and paddle attachment. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Add molasses slowly scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Combine wet ingredients: orange juice, milk, brandy, and vinegar in one bowl. Combine dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in another bowl and sift. Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients in two or three additions until the mixture is homogeneous. Pour cake batter into the greased cake pan. Bake for 18-24 minutes until the cake springs back to the touch. Let the cake cool in the pan. While the cake is cooling prepare the roasted apples.
- 2 baking apples (golden delicious or something similar)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup cinnamon sugar
Preheat oven to 400°F. Core the apples and cut into ⅛” thick slices. Toss apple slices with melt butter and generously sprinkle with cinnamon sugar until well coated. Spread apple slices in a single layer over a sheet pan (cover sheet pan with aluminum foil to make clean up easier). Roast apples in oven until tender, approximately 20 minutes. Watch apples closely, the roasting time will vary depending on the thickness of the slices and the type of apple. Allow the apples to cool, and arrange neatly on top of the molasses cake.
Cinnamon Ginger Ice Cream
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ⅓ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅓ cup diced candied ginger
Whisk together half the sugar with the egg yolks and set aside. Boil the milk with the rest of the sugar and the cinnamon. Once the milk is boiling, pour a small amount (approximately ⅓ cup) into the egg and sugar mixture and whisk. This step prevents the eggs from scrambling. Return the egg mixture to the milk and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture evenly coats the back of a wooden spoon. This step should take only a minute or two, so watch it closely.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any curdle egg bits. Allow the mixture to cool in the fridge. Once the mixture is cool, add the heavy cream, and turn the ice cream following the instructions of your ice cream machine.
Once the ice cream is turned but still soft, fold in the diced candied ginger and allow the ice cream to finish setting up in the freezer.
This cake is delicious at room temperature, but can also be served warm. Just place in the oven at a low temperature for a few minutes until warm, serve with cold ice cream, and Enjoy!’