Tag Archives: Cakes

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

It’s not a secret: I LOVE banana pudding and frankly, anything else that even halfway resembles it. It’s been this way since childhood. So when I receive a cooking magazine in the mail and one of its featured recipes is a banana pudding poke cake, it was imperative that I drop everything and bake it, immediately.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Oh. Wow. This is everything you think it’s going to be. A lovely cake moistened by vanilla pudding, sliced bananas, all underneath a light whipped cream frosting. And of course, those ‘Nilla wafers crumbled on top. It speaks for itself, really.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

A perfect Indian summer treat! Enjoy!

Source: Taste of the South Magazine, May/June 2016

Ingredients:

CAKE:
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 cup whole buttermilk
½ cup mashed banana
½ tsp vanilla extract

PUDDING:
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
3 ½ cups whole milk, divided
8 large egg yolks
1 tbs unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

TOPPING:
3 medium slightly underripe bananas, sliced
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2-4 tbs confectioners’ sugar
Whole and crushed vanilla wafers, for garnish

Directions:
First, make the CAKE: preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with baking spray.
In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Add mashed banana and vanilla, beating just until combined. Pour into prepared baking dish, smoothing the top.
Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes, then use a wooden spoon to poke holes in the warm cake.
While the cake is baking, make the PUDDING: in a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk in ½ cup milk and the egg yolks. In a large saucepan, place remaining 3 cups milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. Whisk 1 cup hot milk mixture into egg mixture, pouring slowly and whisking constantly. Now whisk the egg mixture into remaining hot milk in the saucepan, again pouring slowly and whisking constantly. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once it is boiling, cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla, stirring until butter melts and is completely combined. Let cool 10 minutes (if it cools more than this, it’s fine).
Once the cake is out of the oven, rested, and poked, pour the pudding over the cake. Cover and refrigerate until chilled about 4 hours.
Meanwhile, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and whip more until stronger peaks form.
Uncover the cake, top all over with the sliced banana, then spread the whipped cream smoothly all over the banana. Sprinkle with crushed vanilla wafers and wedge whole wafers around the border of the cake, if desired.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

For whatever reason, I got on something of a blueberry kick earlier this summer, and became determined to find a perfect, foolproof blueberry snacking cake to stow away in my arsenal of simple baking tricks. I’m usually decent at picking good recipes just by reading them, but my skills were lacking this time, alas.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

This was the third blueberry cake I made and the only one I feel even remotely comfortable sharing here. The first, I had such high anticipation as it had a crumble topping with peanuts, something I’d never seen before. The peanuts, and peanut butter glaze especially, overpowered everything and that was all you tasted.

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Next I tried a simple whole wheat blueberry cake with a glaze made from pureed blueberries, and the whole thing was very meh. It didn’t go uneaten or anything, but I wouldn’t bother making it again, which says a lot.

By the time I got around to baking this cake here, my expectations were pretty low; one bite in, however, and I knew the only mistake about this cake was the fact that I hadn’t photographed it. So, I had to make it again. Oh darn!

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

This is everything you want in a simple snacking cake perfect for summer. There is no leavening agent and that is NOT a typo. I don’t get it either, but it worked beautifully and earned rave reviews. Get on it while blueberries are still in season!

Blueberry Poppy Seed Snacking Cake

Source: Seven Spoons by Tara O’Brady

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbs poppy seeds
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs sour cream
Zest and juice from 1 lemon
1 cup fresh blueberries
Raw sugar, like turbinado, for sprinkling

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 300 F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, poppy seeds, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and granulated sugar with either a hand mixer or the paddle attachment of your stand mixer. Decrease your mixer speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each is incorporated into the batter before adding the next. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add half the flour mixture, then the sour cream, lemon juice and zest, then the last half of the flour. Do not overmix. Fold in the blueberries by hand. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the top with raw sugar.
Bake the cake 80 to 90 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a cake tester or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake completely, then cut out squares and eat!

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

Where did the phrase “as American as apple pie” come from? When you think about it, it makes zero sense, because Americans can hardly lay claim to a dessert of softened apples encased in a buttery pastry. The Germans have apfelstrudel, the French have tarte tatin, and that’s just the beginning. Apple pie is, quite frankly, not American!

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

German chocolate cake, on the other hand – surprisingly, that is 100% American. No lie, this wonderful dessert was created in central Texas long ago, and the German in its title refers to the type of chocolate originally used, not the country of origin. But, I guess the phrase “as American as German chocolate cake” just didn’t quite have the same ring to it…

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

Anyways, I adore German chocolate cake, but it’s usually a real production to pull off. Every time I’ve had it, and all the recipes I saw for it were very tall layer cakes that would’ve taken hours and made a huge mess to complete. I have really been craving this cake lately, but wanted a more simplified version of it, yet refused to dumb it down or compromise any of its winning characteristics.

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

The idea of a sheet cake occurred to me, admittedly with some amount of skepticism. It seemed kind of wrong, and I wondered if the flavor would really translate. But, you never know till you try, so try I did, and I’m thrilled to report that this was extremely successful! It tasted exactly as it should, but was incredibly easy to pull off. Matt took the leftovers to work, as usual, and people there immediately recognized it as German chocolate cake and effusively proclaimed its deliciousness. I have to say, they are correct. I absolutely LOVED this cake and would happily eat my beloved German chocolate cake as sheet cake from now on. Enjoy!

German Chocolate Sheet Cake

Source: The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion

Ingredients:

CAKE:
12 tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups whole milk

FROSTING:
1 cup heavy cream
20 oz. caramel candies, unwrapped; or 2 cups store-bought caramel sauce
2 ½ cups chopped toasted pecans
7 oz. sweetened shredded coconut
Pinch of salt

Directions:
First, bake the CAKE: preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13” baking dish and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, and vanilla until fluffy and light, at least 5 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder.
Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly blend one-third of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, then half the milk, followed by a third of the flour, the remaining half of the milk, then the last of the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary during this process.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely before frosting it.
Make the FROSTING:
Heat the cream in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat until it simmers; add the caramel(s) and stir until melted. Bring the mixture to a boil then remove it from the heat. Stir in the pecans and coconut, plus a small pinch of salt. The cake should be completely cooled before frosting, and the frosting should be cooled to about room temperature. It should be thick but spreadable.
To assemble, carefully pour the cooled frosting onto the top of the cooled cake and use an offset spatula to evenly spread it across the cake. Let it set for at least a few minutes before cutting. Cut into squares and serve.

Italian Cream Cake

Italian Cream Cake

This cake got made for the most boring of reasons: I had most of a bag of sweetened shredded coconut left over from something else, and I didn’t want to throw it out. Fortunately, the cake itself is far, far more interesting. Before making this, I don’t think I’d ever had this classic.

Italian Cream Cake

At first I assumed that was natural, seeing as I’m not Italian. But then I learned that the origins of this cake are largely unknown, except that it seems to hail from America’s Deep South rather than Italy itself, and no one really knows how it got its name.

Italian Cream Cake

Then, it made much less sense that I’d never had it, given where I grew up and all, but the most important thing is that I’ve had it now. Better late than never! Suffice it to say, this is a wonderful cake that everyone should know how to make. The batter, studded with shredded coconut and chopped walnuts, turns out a very delicious cake! It’s light and fluffy, flavorful, and lightly tangy with that cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!

Italian Cream Cake

Source: Cooking From the Hip by Cat Cora

Ingredients:

CAKE:
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
12 tbs unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
8 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 tbs vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions:
First make the CAKE: place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350 F. Cut a circle to fit each of two 9-inch round cake pans. Grease the pans, fir the parchment into the pans, then grease the parchment.
Whisk together the cake flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, then set aside. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to cream together the butter and 1 ½ cups sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add one-third of the dry ingredients and mix well. Then add half the buttermilk, beating on medium speed and scraping the size of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Repeat, alternating the remaining dry ingredients and buttermilk. Add the vanilla, coconut, and toasted walnuts and stir until just combined.
In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining ½ cup sugar, then beat until the sugar is incorporated and stiff peaks form. By hand, fold in one-third of the egg whites into the cake batter until incorporated. Fold in the next third of egg whites until incorporated, then the final third. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake until the top is golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Set the cakes on racks and allow them to cool completely before removing them from the cake pans.
Meanwhile, make the FROSTING: in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla at medium speed until creamy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating on low speed until blended. When all the sugar is incorporated, beat at high speed until smooth. Stir in ½ cup walnuts.
Place 1 cake round on a serving plate or cake stand. Place a mound of frosting on top, then use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the entire cake. Place the second cake round on top, then mound the remaining frosting on top of the cake. Use the offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly across the top and down the sides. Press the remaining ½ cup chopped walnuts on the top of the cake. For best results, refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes to firm up the frosting.

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

So apparently it was National Chocolate Cake Day this past week?? Is that right? I cannot and don’t even try to keep up with all these arbitrary food holidays. And, I personally don’t think chocolate cake needs any reason whatsoever, actually…

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

I picked up one of America’s Test Kitchen compilation magazines last summer and was delighted to find this gem in there. I’d actually been hunting down such a recipe for purely nostalgic reasons. One of the BEST things my mom made while we were kids was this amazing chocolate bundt cake. It had sour cream in it, plus chocolate chips, and it was always made from a boxed cake mix and a boxed pudding mix. I’ve always wanted to make it from scratch, but could never find a recipe that exactly matched its intense chocolate flavor and fudgy texture.

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Until now, that is! I mean, I should’ve looked to ATK first. Lesson learned…

This was everything I fondly remember about that childhood cake, made from scratch. I grinned stupidly with every bite. This will forever be my go-to chocolate bundt cake. I’m officially done looking. And whether chocolate bundt cake is nostalgic to you or not, I highly, highly recommend that you start baking this one and make it a nostalgic part of your life. It’s SO good.

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Special Collector’s Edition Best Ingredients Recipes, 2015

Ingredients:
1 tbs plus ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
1 tbs unsalted butter, melted
12 tbs unsalted butter, softened
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tsp instant espresso powder
¾ cup boiling water
1 cup sour cream
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
5 large eggs
12 oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Mix 1 tbs cocoa powder and the melted butter into paste. Using a pastry brush, thoroughly coat the interior of a standard Bundt pan. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat your oven to 350 F.
Combine the chocolate, espresso powder, and remaining ¾ cup cocoa powder in a medium heatproof bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate mixture and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Whisk mixture gently until smooth. Let cool completely, then whisk in the sour cream. Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a separate bowl.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the softened butter, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.
Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating the chocolate-sour cream mixture in 2 additions, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add in the chocolate chips, and give the batter a final quick stir by hand to incorporate the chips.
Transfer the batter to the prepared Bundt pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 45 to 50 minutes. Rotate the pan once halfway through baking. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto a wire rack. Let cool completely, about 3 hours.

Classic Gingerbread

Classic Gingerbread

Yesterday I shared a once-a-year show-stopper of a holiday cake, and no lie – it takes some time and effort. Also, it kind of makes a mess. All worth it for an appropriate occasion, yes, but a mess nonetheless. Today’s cake is the complete opposite. This cake gets made in no time, uses a minimal amount of utensils and dishes, doesn’t need any frosting, and yet may be one of my favorite cakes I’ve eaten in a long time.

Classic Gingerbread

This is real gingerbread, yo. Old-school, classic, old-fashioned, straight-up gingerbread that offers no apologies for being what it is. Gingerbread is a very assertive cake with strong, in-your-face flavors and not a ton of sweetness. A lot of times, it gets watered down and all but changed in favor of a sweeter, lightly spiced cake calling itself gingerbread.

Classic Gingerbread

Not this version here. The spices are rightly heavy-handed, the molasses flavor is thick and musky as it should be, and the sweetness merely waves from the back row. I found it completely delicious and utterly satisfying. Perfect for a last-minute Christmas dessert. Enjoy!

Classic Gingerbread

Source: The Homesick Texan’s Family Table by Lisa Fain

Ingredients:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup molasses
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup warm water
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting the cake
Orange zest, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking dish.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and molasses and beat until smooth and well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and beat until just combined. Stir in the warm water until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Be sure not to overcook it, as it will harden a bit as it cools.
While the cake is still warm, sift confectioners’ sugar over the top, as much or as little as you desire, then sprinkle evenly with the orange zest. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pecan Pie Cake

Pecan Pie Cake

While I’m all about pies for Thanksgiving, the Christmas season always screams “CAKE!!!” to me. Not sure why, probably some unexplored childhood thing lying deep in my subconscious; whatever it is, it bothers no one, myself included, so I’ll likely keep baking cakes every December.

Much of the time the month of December is harried and I want simple cakes that can be thrown together quickly and still taste amazing (such a cake coming to you tomorrow!). But the holiday season does deserve at least one real show-stopper of a cake, doesn’t it? Obviously I think so.

Pecan Pie Cake

Here we have pecan pie being transformed into a very tall, generously frosted layer cake here. Let me warn/tell you, this baby is RICH! Like, I only ate three bites at a time, rich. Like, make sure there are at least twenty teeth brushings between your last bite of this cake and your next dentist’s appointment. This is most definitely a once-a-year-only cake, but for that one time a year, it is so worth it.

Pecan Pie Cake

It tastes just as advertised – all the flavors and textures of pecan pie, but it’s clearly cake! Extremely delicious and festive, and totally worth the effort. Your family and guests will think so anyways. Enjoy!

Pecan Pie Cake

Source: Taste of the South Special Collector’s Issue: Southern Christmas, December 2015

Ingredients:

CAKE:
1 ½ cups toasted pecans, finely chopped
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk
1 tbs vanilla extract
Coarsely chopped pecans for garnish

PECAN PIE FILLING:
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup dark corn syrup (you can substitute 1/3 cup light corn syrup and 1/3 cup sorghum syrup)
5 tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups chopped pecans
1 tsp vanilla extract

BROWN SUGAR FROSTING:
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup water
½ tsp salt
2 cups unsalted butter, softened and divided
7 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 to 3 tbs whole milk, as needed

Directions:
First make the CAKE: preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, then spray the parchment with cooking spray. Sprinkle ½ cup chopped pecans in each prepared pan.
In a large bowl, beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Scrape the side of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture in thirds, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating until just combined after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Divided batter evenly among the prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops.
Bake until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pans completely.
Meanwhile, make the PECAN PIE FILLING: in a medium saucepan, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, eggs, pecans, and vanilla. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before using.
Now make the BROWN SUGAR FROSTING: in a small saucepan, bring brown sugar, 1/3 cup water, and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, approximately 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in ½ cup butter until it melts. Let cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat cooled brown sugar mixture and remaining 1 ½ cups softened butter at medium speed with a mixer until creamy. With mixer on low speed, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until combined. If needed, add milk, 1 tbs at a time, until the frosting is spreadable consistency. I didn’t need any milk.
Assemble the cake: place one cake on a cake plate and spread half the Pecan Pie Filling on top. Top with a second layer of cake, then spread the remaining half of the Pecan Pie Filling on top. Place the third cake on top, and then frost the entire top and sides of the cake with the Brown Sugar Frosting. Sprinkle the top of the frosted cake with the chopped pecans for garnish, if desired.

Cocoa Streusel Topped Cranberry Coffee Cake

Cocoa Streusel Topped Cranberry Coffee Cake

Today is a simple, quick Saturday post, seeing as it’s the Saturday before Christmas and hopefully you aren’t having to brave the shopping malls. But if you are out there braving the holiday madness, you have my condolences and when you get back, there is coffee cake to cheer you up. As there should be.

cocoa streusel topped cranberry coffee cake

This particular cake is easy to prepare, features the lovely, beautiful cranberry – perfect for December – and the streusel topping is very special because it utilizes cocoa powder to give the cake a chocolate-y crunch. A welcome change-up from usual coffee cake streusel!

Cocoa-Streusel Topped Cranberry Coffee Cake

This cake batter is very thick, which yields such a moist end result. This would be perfect to make the day before or morning your guests are to arrive and keep it around all week for general grazing purposes. It’s such a festive and delicious coffee cake, everyone will love it. Enjoy!

Cocoa Streusel Topped Cranberry Coffee Cake

{One Year Ago: Cincinnati Chili}
{Two Years Ago: Pumpkin French Toast}

Source: adapted from Homemade with Love by Jennifer Perillo

Ingredients:
COCOA STREUSEL TOPPING:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp ground allspice
1 stick (8 tbs) unsalted butter, melted

CAKE:
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup plain Greek yogurt, either 2% or full fat, not fat-free
Zest of 1 orange
3 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (I used my food processor for this)

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×13” baking pan. Set aside.
First make the streusel topping. Add the flour, sugars, cocoa powder, and allspice in a medium bowl. Use a fork or whisk to stir in the melted butter until well combined. Set aside.
Now make the cake. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and cream together with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Now add one third of the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until fully incorporated. Add one third of the yogurt and mix on low until fully incorporated. Repeat, alternating between the dry and wet ingredients until all have been added. Add the orange zest and beat quickly to combine.
Use a rubber spatula to fold in the cranberries until evenly incorporated. Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing it out to an even layer. Evenly sprinkle the cocoa streusel on top, making sure to get the outer edges too. Bake for 60 minutes, until a metal skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature.

Pear Amaretto Loaf Cake

Pear Amaretto Loaf Cake 5405

The past several years in a row, Matt and I have done the apple picking thing. We’ve driven upstate, admired the changing leaves on our peaceful drive, then stopped for lunch in the area of the orchard. Then we’d descend on the orchard and fill up two giant bags with apples, various different kinds (Fuji, honeycrisp, gala…). And then, we would get home and of course make the inevitable discovery that we’d picked too many apples. Adding insult to injury is the fact that neither of us like applesauce.

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pretty pears 5374

pear amaretto loaf cake, before glazing 5383

This year, we decided to skip this venture. Something in me just wasn’t up for it this year; maybe it’s a sign we need to find a new orchard – the one we’ve visited has a cover band playing every year, and it’s the only time I’ve ever heard a Maroon 5 song in the same set as “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” And then there’s the whole apple cider doughnut situation-thing.

Pear Amaretto loaf cake 5415

Pear amaretto loaf cake 5429

And of course, it’s entirely possible that my readers may remember the plethora abundance of apple recipes I posted with my stash last year, and were perhaps hoping there would not be a repeat. There won’t. Throughout this whole apple explosion of the last two years, I realized I’ve neglected the lovely pear, apple’s oft-forgotten cousin, and thought I’d take a small step to remedy that. With cake. Because, what else? I mean, really. I do feel I should offer a small and sheepish apology for how many bowls you’ll use to make this cake, but I promise you, it’s well worth it. So moist and delicious. Enjoy!

Pear Amaretto Loaf cake 5434

Pear Amaretto loaf cake 5448

{One Year Ago: Apple Cheddar Quiche, French Apple Tart}

Source: adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

Ingredients:

CAKE:
2 large Bosc or Anjou pears, peeled, cored and chopped
5 tbs toasted walnuts, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbs Amaretto liqueur
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp kosher salt
6 ½ tsp slivered almonds
3 large eggs
¾ cup sunflower or canola oil
1 cup plus 2 ½ tbs granulated sugar

GLAZE:
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
2-3 tbs Amaretto liqueur

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Grease a standard loaf pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the pears, walnuts, lemon zest, and Amaretto. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Add the almonds to a mini food processor and pulse until finely ground; but be careful not to turn it into almond butter. Add the ground almonds to the flour mixture and whisk to combine.
Separate 2 of the eggs, reserving the whites in one bowl and transferring the yolks to another small to medium bowl. Add the third whole egg to the yolks and whisk to combine.
In yet another bowl, briskly whisk together the oil and sugar, then whisk in the egg yolk mixture. Make a well in the flour mixture and add the oil and sugar mixture. Whisk to combine, then gently fold in the pear mixture.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form, then gently fold them into the cake batter. It’s okay if a few white streaks remain, you want to avoid overmixing as that will make the cake dry.
Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan. Bake 45-60 minutes, until a cake tester or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool, then remove the cake from the pan.
Now make the glaze. Simply add the confectioners’ sugar and Amaretto to a bowl and whisk until smooth. Pour the glaze liberally over the cake. Slice and serve.

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

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It’s official: rhubarb is here! Judging by the fact that my Whole Foods was nearly out today, and that the most popular page on my blog the past couple weeks (by far!) is Rhubarb Scones, I’d have to surmise that everyone is scrambling to get themselves some of the beautiful tart produce.

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Rhubarb Upside Down Cake 055

Fortunately I got my hands on some gorgeous rhubarb during last week and made this wonderful, humble little cake with my stash. I have a thing for upside down cakes. Their texture is thick and moist, and I always love baking with fruit.

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But I also have a little theory that anyone who seeks out to make an upside-down cake is really at heart an adrenaline junkie. Because they are always a risk, right? There’s always that chance the cake won’t flip properly. You always hold your breath a little and your heart rate speeds up just a bit as you make that flip. And then there’s the rush of reward when it works.

Rhubarb Upside Down cake 077

Well, anyone who knows me well can attest to my lack of risk-averseness and love of thrilling stuff like roller coasters. So maybe there’s a connection, who knows. No matter your feelings about sky diving and the like, you should give this cake a go while rhubarb is still in season. Enjoy!

rhubarb upside down cake 080

{One Year Ago: Linguine with White Clam Sauce, Lettuce, Bacon and Cherry Tomato Salad with Aioli Dressing}

Source: The Providence and Rhode Island Cookbook by Linda Beaulieu

Ingredients:
3 cups sliced rhubarb (about 1 lb.)
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9” round cake pan. Set aside.
In a medium to large stockpot, combine the rhubarb and 2/3 cup of the sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar melts, but not until it caramelizes. Pour this mixture into your prepared cake pan and use a spatula to spread the rhubarb out into an even layer.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and remaining 1/3 cup of sugar and baking powder until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add the milk, alternating with the flour, beating in between each addition. Spoon the batter evenly over the rhubarb layer.
Bake about 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, and it is lightly browned at the edges.
Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then run a knife around the edges. Place a plate upside down on the cake pan. Carefully and quickly flip it over 180 degrees and wait for a second. You should feel the weight shift. Then carefully remove the cake pan and the cake should be sitting pretty on the plate. Let cool, then slice into wedges and serve.