Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘cake’

White Chocolate Mousse Cake

I don’t like using the term copy cat, I prefer to say that is an homage to my favorite cake, actually one of the best cakes I have ever had. I first got this cake many years ago at the Watergate Pastry Shop in Washington DC. I was smitten and it was love at first bite. The softest, lightest and most tender vanilla cake, a creamy white Chocolate mousse filling, frosted in whipped cream. At the time I didn’t know what the subtle flavor was that made it so distinct, after some research I found out it was Grand Marnier or Cointreau.

I have been thinking about this cake and wishing I could make a trip to DC for the express purpose of buying it, well that’s not practical and instead I decided to try my hand at making it. The recipe I always use for a yellow or vanilla cake Tender Yellow Cake,  I have posted many times, its super light, a cross between a chiffon and a yellow or vanilla cake, I knew this would work well. Years ago I posted a recipe for white chocolate mousse filling, when I made it then it was pretty seamless, this time not so much, but after some MacGyver like moves it actually came out pretty perfect. I recently received some vanilla beans and powdered vanilla seeds from a company called Native Vanilla and I have to say the beans are far superior to any vanilla beans I have ever used. They are so fresh, plump, loaded with vanilla seeds and so so fragrant. The vanilla seeds made this mousse incredible, additionally it is flavored with Cointreau. The cake is frosted with my go to stabilized whipped cream also flavored with Cointreau and vanilla.

It has been a few years since I had the Watergate cake but I think that this is pretty darn close to my recollection of the flavors and textures.

White Chocolate Mousse

1 1/2 C heavy cream divided

2 scant tsp unflavored gelatin

6 oz white chocolate (chips or bar cut into small pieces)

1 vanilla bean split and seeds scraped (highly recommend Native Vanilla)

1 tbs Cointreau or Grand Marnier

Bloom the gelatin by placing in a small bowl and add 2 tbs cold water, stir and let sit. Heat 1/2 cup heavy cream to scalding. Put the white chocolate into your food processor and pulse to break into very fine pieces, mix the gelatin in the hot cream scrape in the vanilla seeds pour over the chocolate and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl and let cool. While cooling whip the remaining 1 cup cream until stiff. Whisk into the white chocolate and liquor, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. The mixture was thick and a little lumpy so I spooned it into the food processor and pulsed until smooth.

NOTE:The mousse was really thick so before filling the cake I whipped 1/2 cup heavy cream and folded it in. Judge for yourself how it is. You could decrease the gelatin but I wanted it to have structure so it would hold up in between the cake layers. It was the perfect texture and consistency after folding in the additional whipped cream.

After frosting the cake I decorated the top with shaved white chocolate curls.

Royal Wedding Cake Redux

It has been a while, well quite a long while since I’ve posted anything. I needed a break, I thought it might be a month or so but it turned into a much longer hiatus. I really have missed everyone and cooking has taken a back burner, no pun intended. I am not putting any pressure on myself but hope to be posting more regularly and getting back to cooking and following your blogs again.

Last year for the 4th of July I made a cake that was an homage to the royal wedding cake, it was wonderful. The cake recipe was from Food and Wine. I followed the directions on their website and it turned out beautifully. I posted the recipe and must have written it down incorrectly because when I attempted to make it again it was a miserable failure. Oddly, the recipe was taken off of their website and after an exhaustive search I found that it has disappeared. I decided to delete my post, wish I hadn’t done that though because I had the recipe for the lemon curd, soaking syrup and buttercream. I found the buttercream recipe on Stella Park’s website (Bravetart) and a good recipe for the lemon curd, luckily  I remembered the amounts I used for the syrup. For the cake I used my recipe for tender yellow cake which is always a good choice, its one of my favorites. The lemon curd is from Epicurious and is simple to make and the results were great. The combination of flavors in this cake are so delicious, the elderflower cordial syrup with the bright, tart lemon curd are a heavenly combination. Thank you all for your understanding, not unfollowing me and sticking with me despite my absence.

Elderflower Cordial Syrup

3/4 cup water

1/4 cup elderflower cordial (liquor)

1 cup sugar

Add all ingredients to heavy bottom pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling reduce heat to medium and continue to boil stirring occasionally if needed. Once slightly reduced and sugar is completely melted transfer to a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.

Lemon Curd

Recipe can be found on Epicurious

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

zest of 2 lemons

1/2 cup sugar

3 large eggs

3/4 stick (6 tbs) unsalted butter cut into tbs size pieces

Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, sugar and eggs in a 2 quart heavy saucepan. Stir in butter and cook over medium low heat whisking constantly until the curd is thick and holds a line on the back of a wooden spoon.

Transfer curd to a bowl, cover and chill completely before using.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe by Stella Parks

6 ounces egg whites (approx 2/3 cup from 5-6 large eggs)

11 ounces sugar ( approx 1/2/3 cup)

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

20 ounces (5 sticks)unsalted butter softened to room temperature and cut into tbs size pieces

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbs elderflower liquor

Fill a wide pot or saucepan with about 1 1/2 inches of water and bring to a boil, once boiling reduce heat so that the water is simmering. Put the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer. Place the bowl over the simmering water (makeshift double boiler) NOTE: The bottom of the bowl should not be touching the water, Stella’s hack to prevent this is to crumple some aluminum foil place in the middle of the pot so that your mixing bowl sits on that and not the water. Stir and scrape constantly with a flexible spatula or whisk, all of the granulated sugar should dissolve and mixture should register a constant 185 degree’s. It will take 10-15 minutes. Once sugar is dissolved transfer bowl to stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, whip on high speed for about 10 minutes (check bottom of bowl it should no longer be hot and the egg whites will be glossy and stiff.

With mixer running add the butter 1 or 2 tbs at a time. The volume of the meringue may decrease but that’s ok keep whipping and don’t be alarmed if it looks soupy. Keep whipping, as you add the butter it will start to thicken. The frosting will be soft and billowy, now add the vanilla and elderflower liquor, whip until mixed. Use immediately but also note the buttercream can be stored in a zip lock bag in the refrigerator for later use but you will need to bring to room temperature before you frost the cake.

Assembling the cake

Note: I made two 8 inch round layers.

Slice off (if needed) a thin layer of the top of the cake so that its flat. Place bottom layer on cake stand (cut side up) and brush with the soaking syrup, don’t be shy give it a good soak. Spread a thin layer of the lemon curd, now some of the buttercream. Brush cut side of the top layer with the syrup and place on bottom layer (cut side down).  Frost cake as desired.




Boston Cream Pie


It’s almost Valentines Day and in the days leading up to this day that celebrates love I am going to post a few recipes for desserts.  The first is Boston Cream Pie which is one of my all time favorite desserts, I love it, can’t resist it and I think that if I could pick only one dessert that I couldn’t live without this would be it. As a child this was the cake I always picked for my birthday, there was a bakery in my home town that made one of the best and my Mom after we moved from there developed a cake recipe just so she could make me this cake. I didn’t use the recipe for Tender Yellow Cake for this dessert however, I recently purchased a new cookbook “Bravetart” by Stella Parks and decided to try her recipe for the cake. Before putting the recipe on the blog I checked and it was published on the internet by Food and Wine. I have to say I love this cookbook, Stella has taken so many iconic American treats (it’s like a trip down memory lane) and developed them so that you can make them at home, the goodness of a Hostess Twinkie or cupcake or Little Debbie snack cake without all the additives, love it!

Boston Cream Pie is a cake not a pie and I am not sure why they call it pie not cake but whats in a name anyway, it’s wonderful. The original recipe uses sponge cake, a vanilla pudding or pastry cream filling and it is covered with a wonderful chocolate ganache although there seems to be debate as to whether or not the original actually had the chocolate glaze. Simple and unadorned, nothing intricate about it but the sum of all it’s parts makes an absolutely delicious dessert.

Instead of the pudding in the book I used my favorite pastry cream recipe which always holds up beautifully.  I sometimes have problems with corn starch based fillings, they often are not stiff enough and I didn’t want to take a chance having never used that recipe before. I have a lot of egg whites left over so an angel food cake will be in the works soon.

The cake is moist and a cross between a sponge and yellow cake. Next time I will mix some milk chocolate with the dark for the ganache because I like it just a little sweeter but it is still very good even with only dark.  I kept the cake in the refrigerator overnight so it was cold when I poured the ganache on and the chocolate kind of stopped in its tracks and I had to spread it, I recommend bringing the cake to room temperature before pouring the ganache so you get that smooth mirror like finish.

Boston Cream Pie

The Cake – Recipe by Stella Parks in “Bravetart”

Makes one 2 layer 8 inch cake

2 cups (8 oz) bleached cake flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 1/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp kosher salt (I used a heaping 1/4 tsp)

1 tbs vanilla extract

3/4 cup egg yolks (from approximately 12 large eggs) It was 11 eggs for me depends on size

4 tbs unsalted butter, melted (I used salted butter)

1 cup milk at room temperature

Oven rack should be in the middle of the oven. Heat to 350 degree’s. Line 2 8″x3″ round cake pans with parchment and grease with cooking spray (like Pam). Sift flour into a medium bowl and whisk in baking powder.

Combine sugar, vanilla and egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on low to moisten and then increase the speed to medium high and whip until thick, light and doubled in volume, approximately 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium low and drizzle in butter followed by the milk. Once added shut off the mixer, detach the bowl and gently incorporate the flour with a balloon whisk Fold the thin batter with a flexible spatula once or twice  from the bottom up. Divide between prepared cake pans.

Bake until cakes are lightly browned and firm approximately 20 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes and then gently loosen and invert onto cooling racks. Place the pans over the cakes to trap steam and cool to room temperature. NOTE: my cakes took almost 30 minutes to get a light (golden brown)

Once cakes have cooled slice a little off the tops of each layer (so the pudding will soak into the cake. Place one layer on cake stand and spread a generous amount of the pudding and place the other layer on top. Cover and let sit at least 2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.


1/3 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) dark chocolate roughly chopped

Bring cream to a simmer, remove from heat and add the chocolate. Let sit for 5 minutes and then whisk until thick and creamy. Refrigerate for about 25 minutes don’t let it cool completely the ganache must still be a bit warm. Pour over the cake, let set and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Happy Easter Cake


This is one of my favorite cakes ever. Nothing fancy, yellow cake with chocolate frosting. I don’t know what it is about the combination but I love it. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate cake with white frosting are both divine. This cake recipe is one my Mother developed for me when I was just a little girl. I have made a couple of very minor changes but really it is exactly as my Mom wrote it. I remember this cake in several variations growing up, my favorite and most requested was Boston Cream Pie.  The cake does not contain butter but vegetable oil and the eggs are separated and the whites beat until billowy and folded into the batter. The resululting cake is moist and flavorful and very very light. Because I was not using a fruit filling for this cake I gave it a little bit of soaking syrup before frosting, I made a tangerine simple syrup and dabbed it on each layer.

The frosting is a variation of a recipe for Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting by Chef Amy@Come Cook With Me a I hope everyone is having a great day, spending time with friends and family a very Happy Easter to all from Percy and me!!

Tender Yellow Cake

Makes two 9 inch layers or 24 cupcakes

3 large eggs separated and at room temperature
1 1/2 cup sugar divided
2 1/4 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup + 1 tbs vegetable oil (I use canola)
1 cup whole milk (1 or 2% work also)
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Line your pans with a parchment round, butter the bottom of the pan, lay the parchment then butter again on bottom and sides and then flour the pans.

Beat egg whites until frothy then add 1/2 cup of the sugar (reserving the rest) a tablespoon at a time until egg whites are stiff and glossy

Sift flour, remaining 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt into large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer. If using a stand mixer use the paddle attachment.I actually prefer to use my hand held mixer for this recipe. Add the oil, the milk, the egg yolk and the vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed, mixture will be quite thick. Fold in the beaten egg whites.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans dividing evenly, bake for 30-35 minutes. Cake will be golden brown. Be careful not to overbake start checking the cake at 30 minutes. Cake tester will come out clean.

Note: I made 3 8 inch layers baking time is approximately 25 minutes.

Let cool in pans for 10 minutes then turn out onto cooling rack remove parchment and cool completely before frosting.


Chocolate Buttercream

8 oz cream cheese softened at room temperature

8 oz mascarpone softened to room temperature

8 oz unsalted butter softened to room temperature

6 oz dark chocolate melted

3 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

3 -3 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

Cream butter, mascarpone and cream cheese until light and fluffy, add the confectioners sugar a cup at a time beating betweeen each addition. Add the melted chocolate and cocoa powder and vanilla and whip until completely incorporated. Frost the cake immediately.

Happy Easter from Percy and me!

Happy Easter from Percy and me!

Happy First Day Of Spring An Angel Food Cake To Celebrate

Angel Food Cake

Angel Food Cake

It’s the first day of Spring and guess what, in NYC we are waiting for a snow storm, kind of dismal so to cheer myself up I made an Angel Food Cake, which is one of my all time favorites, I love how light it is, that it’s fat free and so moist. I usually serve it simply with berries and whipped cream or if I make cupcakes I will sometimes frost with a chocolate swiss meringue buttercream. This cake is perfect for spring and summer when berries are in season and plentiful. It’s a little early for berries at the farmers market but the berries I got in the supermarket weren’t bad. I have been making this cake recipe for years, It’s from James McNair’s “Cakes”. I love his cookbook the angel food and chiffon cakes are the best and always consistently good. I made a raspberry whipped cream frosting and decorated with fresh berries.

I am bringing this cake to Fiesta Friday #111 this week. A super light cake with loads of assorted berries and gently sweetened whipped cream makes a lovely dessert. This week Angies wonderful co hosts are Naina @ Spice in the City and Julianna @ Foodie On Board.



Angel Food Cake

Recipe by James McNair from his book “Cakes”

1 cup cake flour

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar divided

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups egg whites at room temperature (approximately 16 large eggs)

2 tsp cream of tartar

zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre heat oven to 325 degrees. No need to prep your pan all you need is a 10 inch tube pan with removable bottom and feet (so you can invert while cake cools). Sift flour, salt, and 3/4 cup sugar and set aside. In stand mixer with whisk attachment start whipping the egg whites, when they are frothy add the cream of tartar increase speed to medium high and whip until the egg whites are billowy and form soft peaks. Add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar a little at a time (about a tbs) whip until the egg whites form stiff peaks being careful not to overwhip. It takes about 5-6 minutes, now add the lemon zest and vanilla. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the dry ingredients with either a spatula or balloon whisk in 3 increments making sure that all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Spoon into tube pan, smooth the top and bake for approximately 50 minutes. Cake will be golden brown and springy when touched.

Invert cake pan so it is standing on the feet, if your tube pan does not have feet you can invert onto a wine bottle. Let cool completely approximately 1 1/2 -2 hours. To remove cake run flexible offset spatula around the edge of the pan and around the tube. Gently remove the cake by pushing the tube part. When the cake is out of the pan you can free it from the tub by running  a spatula or butter knife along the bottom of the tube, the cake will come off and you can place on serving dish.

Frosted Cake

Frosted Cake

Raspberry Whipped Cream Frosting

2 cups heavy cream very cold and divided

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tsp corn starch

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 pint fresh raspberries mashed.

Place 1/2 cup of the heavy cream in a small saucepan, add the cornstarch and powdered sugar and whisk so there are no lumps. On medium heat stirring constantly stir or whisk the cream mixture until it thickens, it is like pudding, spoon into a bowl and let cool to room temperature stirring occasionally.

While the stabilizer is cooling place whisk attachment and bowl of mixer in the freezer to get cold. When it’s sufficiently cold add the cold cream, stabilizer, and the vanilla. Whip until thick and spreading consistency. Gently fold in the raspberries and frost the cake immediately.

IMG_1980 IMG_2004





Guest Post- Three Little Halves Meyer Lemon, Cornmeal And Olive Oil Cake With Rosemary Glaze

I am honored to know and call Aleksandra a friend, she is the author of the gorgeous blog Three Little Halves. I met her several years ago on Food52 and was immediately mesmerized by her delicious recipes and then I saw her blog and was literally blown away with the beauty and artistry of her photographs and illustrations, her writing is lyrical and engaging and speaks of family and history and travel and her recipes are delicious and creative and literally make you want to make them immediately. Read a little about her accomplishments, she is a James Beard Foundation nominee, her blog was a finalist for Savueur Magazines Blog awards, her blog is named as one of the top 100 for 2015  by Inspired. She has also won many contests on Food52 and has numerous Wildcard Wins and Community Picks. Oh, yes, I also should add that she is a brilliant Scientist by avocation. This uber talented and accomplished woman is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and before I introduce Aleksandra, Queen Sashy, I  want to thank her for being so kind and I am humbled and grateful for her friendship and support. I also want to thank her for making this cake, a nod to my recipe, which she made her own and took to another level with her wonderful additions and photographs.

Everyone meet Aleksandra..

meyer lemon cake

It gives me a great pleasure to contribute this post to Suzanne’s blog…

Four years ago, I stumbled upon a gorgeous photo of plum and mozzarella salad on Pinterest, or maybe it was on Facebook, I do not quite remember anymore. It took me to a place called Food52 – an awesome little corner of the Internet where home cooks got together to exchange recipes, chit-chat, ask questions, debate and learn. And compete — that’s the part they all liked a lot! I joined and Food52 became my virtual playground, a kitchen family so to speak. As it happens most of the time in the world of the World Wide Web, one does not get to see one’s cyberspace buddies, just their avatars — oftentimes their pets or plants they like to grow — and one gets to know them by their semi-real names (meet emilyC and drbabs), the causes they champion (hello healthierkitchen and Greenstuff), their favorite foods (nice to meet you Brussels Sprouts for Breakfast, sexyLAMBCHOPx and gingeroot), or what they excel at (yup, that’s boulangere). I often catch myself trying to imagine how my kitchen comrades look, wondering who they are in real life, what they do, or what kind of person they might be. Sometimes, their comments and answers on the hotline add a trickle of information. Some folks are chatty, some are serious and to the point. There are the funny ones, the polite ones and the fact checkers. Those who like to brag a little, and those who know what they are talking about. The opinionated, the passionate, the informed… And the ones with a big heart. That’s about the first thing that comes to mind when you meet sdebrango on Food52. The ones with a really, really, really BIG heart. That’s about the first thing that comes to mind when you meet Suzanne in real life.

Suzanne does not brag and it might take a thing or two — a glimpse at her profile, a walk through her recipes, a tour of her blog — to realize what an extraordinary cook she is. She is the kind of cook you trust, the kind of cook you would like to have cooking for you every single day. Suzanne’s recipes are about honoring good food and good ingredients, and about feeling good. I had the privilege to cook for Suzanne when she organized Food52 potlucks in her Brooklyn home — it’s a privilege and responsibility, because you know you are cooking for a mighty good cook. Writing a guest post for Suzanne’s blog kind of makes you feel the same, and when she asked me to contribute, I caught myself wondering. What to cook? Which recipe to share? One of my favorite Food52 recipes is Suzanne’s citrus and semolina olive oil cake; it’s a poor man’s dessert one might find somewhere on the Mediterranean coast, a simple thing, yet a slice of it feels like a piece of sunshine on the plate. I made the cake many times, citruses and olive oil are a combination I love, so perhaps, I thought, a tiny tribute to it, an homage so to say, would be a way to give back and honor a great recipe, a magnificent cook, and most of all, a wonderful person.

meyer lemon cornmeal and rosemary cake-3-2

meyer lemon cornmeal and rosemary cake-3-4

Meyer Lemon, Cornmeal and Olive Oil Cake with Rosemary Glaze

This cake will really benefit from a good olive oil and Meyer lemons. Needles to say, when Meyers are not in season, you can always use plain good old lemons. I also like to play with different combinations of citruses and herbs, such as grapefruit and mint, lime and lemon thyme, and orange and lemon verbena.

for the cake

* 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
* 1/2 cup stone ground cornmeal flour (I used Bob Red Mills)
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1/2 tsp baking soda
* 1 tsp kosher salt

* 3 large eggs
* 1 cup full fat Greek yogurt
* 3/4 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* zest of two Meyer lemons
* 3/4 cup lemon juice (juice of two Meyer lemons)

* a little bit of butter and extra flour for greasing and flouring the pan

for the glaze

* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 cup water
* 3-4 sprigs of rosemary


* 9 x 5 inch loaf pan

Heat the oven to 325F convection (350F regular).

In a bowl mix together all purpose flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs gently.

In a large bowl mix yogurt, olive oil, sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the eggs to the yogurt mixture and stir until combined. Add the dry ingredients into the mixture, and stir gently, until fully combined. Be careful not to overwork the batter.

Grease and flour the pan. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 50 minutes, until cake is golden and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave the cake in the pan for about 15 minutes, and then take it out and place on a serving plate.

While the cake is in the oven, make the glaze. Combine water, sugar and rosemary in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and boil until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let it stand, covered, for about 30 minutes to an hour.

While the cake is still warm, pour the glaze all over it. Wait for a while until the cake absorbs the syrup and repeat once more. (You will have some extra syrup left.) Serve the cake warm, at room temperature or cold, with the remaining syrup on the side.


meyer lemon cornmeal and rosemary cake-3

Triple Layer Black Forest Cake For Fiesta Friday #100


This is really a simple cake to both make and assemble. My favorite chocolate cake recipe from Hershey’s is so easy to make and quick to prepare, whipped cream frosting and cherry preserves. It’s the Holidays so go festive with the garnish, I shaved some chocolate on top and coated some fruit (apricots, cherries,kumquats,grapes and cranberries) with sugar by simply brushing with lightly beaten egg white and dusting with granulated sugar except the sugared cranberries which get a good soak in a sugar syrup then a roll in granulated sugar.

As I mentioned in my last post this is the 100th Fiesta Friday Party, it’s a milestone and I am honored to be a co host for this 2 week, (YES, the party lasts 2 weeks) bash. Our host as always is the effervescent and steadfast Angie, thank you for making this possible Angie, and my wonderful and lovely co-hosts are Judi, Mollie, Steffi, we are waiting to welcome you all to the party. EVERYONE is welcome to join in the festivities, the link to join is at the end of this post. Merry Christmas to all have a joyous day with friends and family and enjoy copious amounts of delicious food!!

Chocolate Cake

From Hershey’s

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup milk at room temperature

2 eggs at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degree’s. Prepare three 8 inch round cake pans, grease or butter or spray, line with parchment round, grease again and dust with flour.

In large mixing bowl whisk or sift together the dry ingredients, flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the wet ingredients, milk, egg, oil, vanilla but NOT the boiling water. Beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add the boiling water and mix only until combined. Distribute evenly in baking pans and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes depending on your oven or until cake tester comes out clean.

Whipped Cream Frosting:

From James Mcnair’s Cakes

1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups Heavy whipping cream Divided
1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
Place metal bowl and wire whisk beater or beaters in freezer to chill.
In a small saucepan combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch whisk until mixed. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup heavy cream whisk until smooth. Place on medium heat and stir constantly to prevent scorching at the bottom stir constantly until mixture thickens and almost comes to a boil. Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and set aside stirring occasionally until it reaches room temperature.
In the chilled bowl combine the remaining 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream and the vanilla beat with the chilled whisk of your stand mixer or your hand held mixer until the cream begins to hold shape. While still beating add the powdered sugar mixture a little at a time. Beat just until the mixture forms stiff peaks when the beater is raised and is spreadable, be careful not to over beat. Use immediately.

Assembling the Cake

Place bottom layer on cake stand, spread some cherry preserves on and top with some whipped cream frosting, place the second layer on and do the same finishing with the top layer flat side on the top. Top with more whipped cream frosting and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving arrange the sugared fruit on top or whatever garnish you choose.


To make sugared fruit click here and see a video tutorial from Martha Stewart. It’s so simple.


I hope you all will want to come to the party and all are welcome!! To link your recipe simply click the button. See you at the party!!


Fruitcake For Fiesta Friday #99



I have had these fruit cake photo bombing just about every post lately. I felt they deserve a solo spot. I wanted to publish the recipe because basically I changed much of it after finding a few flaws. I have to say though, it is probably the best fruit cake I have ever made or eaten. The recipe makes one 9 inch loaf or 3 mini loaves, since I give as gifts I make mini’s.  I got the recipe last year from Pure Wow, they call it “The Best Damn Fruitcake” and with a few changes they are right about that. I made 3 more today and am bringing with me to Fiesta Friday, I hope they let me in with fruit cake, it gets a really bad rap and mostly for good reason because some of the commercially prepared fruitcakes are vile.

Next week will be the 100th party post and it happens to fall on Christmas Day, a celebration is in order. This week Angie’s co hosts are Caroline @ Caroline’s Cooking and Linda @ La Petite Paniere. Thank you ladies for hosting this week and Angie for all of her hard work.

Best Damn Fruitcake Redux

Makes one 9 inch loaf or 3 mini loaves

1 1/2 cups dried fruit of your choice- I used cherries, cranberries, apricots, pears and golden raisins. Use however much you like of each so that you have a total of 1 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups nuts chopped- I used pecans, hazelnuts, pistachio’s and almonds. Use whatever you like, however much of each so that it equals 1 1/2 cups

1 cup booze or fruit juice like apple cider- (I have used cognac, bourbon, port, also have thrown in some Poire William), heated on stove top or in microwave until hot not boiling . (This time I used Port and it’s great)

12 tbs unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

2 eggs at room temperature

2 tsp vanilla

1 tbs orange zest

1 1/2 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

pinch of cinnamon

1 tbs retained liquid from fruit

Demerara or turbinado sugar for sprinkling


Pre heat oven to 325 and prepare your loaf pan or pans. Butter or spray with cooking spray.

Pour the hot booze over the fruit and let sit for at least 30 minutes. (You can do this the night before and let the fruit sit all night in the booze)

Drain the fruit but retain the liquid, you will need it later so don’t discard.

Place the drained fruit and chopped nuts in a bowl and set aside.

In your mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar for about 4-5 minutes. It should be light and fluffy, scrape sides as needed. Add the eggs one at a time beating well between additions and scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla, orange zest and cinnamon.

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture and beat only until combined adding the 1 tbs of retained liquid from the fruit. Remove the bowl from your mixer and add the fruit and nuts and fold in until combined. Add the batter to the pan or pans, smooth the top and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake with the rack in the middle of the oven. If you are making one loaf for about 90 minutes or until tester comes out clean. If mini loaves approximately 45 minutes. They will be golden brown.  Remove from the oven and spoon some of the liquid on the loaf or loaves and let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and finish cooling on rack. To finish them spoon some more liquid on them and wrap in plastic or cheese cloth and store in air tight tin, These are best served 48 hours after baking. You can feed them again with the liquid the next day, re wrap and keep in the tin until ready to serve.

There are no photo’s of it sliced but here is one from last year.






Happy 4th Of July!! Retro Recipe-Fruit Cocktail Cake A Review

Fruit Cocktail Cake

Fruit Cocktail Cake

I am not sure exactly of the origins of this cake it appeared in the 1950’s, some say it hails from the South. I found this cake while researching some recipes,I saw a cake in James McNair’s “Cakes” it’s called plantation cake and in the headnote he describes a fruit cocktail cake that is so wonderful he reworked the recipe keeping the basics of the cake very similar. So I decided I wanted to find out what a fruit cocktail cake was, I surmised that it contains fruit cocktail (duh) so I looked up some recipes and found some that were handed down from Moms and Grandma’s all basically the same, a yellow sheet cake containing fruit cocktail and a sweetened condensed milk icing poured over the cake while it’s hot. All contain shredded coconut, some pecans some macadamia nuts. This cake is moist, sweet (even though I reduced the sugar) and fruity. This would make a great cake to take to a potluck, it’s baked in a 9×13 pan and it’s so rich one small square is enough so it feeds a lot of people. I combined recipes I found on the several different sites and the plantation cake from James McNair, so this is my version of a fruit cocktail cake. I probably could have made my own fruit cocktail but why do that, nothing wrong with canned fruit every now and then, as a matter of fact I have really fond memories of eating fruit cocktail, I loved it as a kid. I even remember ambrosia, at almost any function someone brought it, I used to love picking the fruit cocktail out of the creamy stuff. This bad boy is on it’s way to an annual 4th of July BBQ. An all American dessert to celebrate Independence Day! NOTE: The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups sugar for the cake, because I used fruit cocktail which is sweet I reduced the sugar to 1 1/4 cup, I used fruit cocktail in its own juices. Next time I make this cake I think I will use pineapple as Mr. McNair suggests. It’s good, but pineapple has more flavor in my opinion than fruit cocktail. Another option would be making your own fruit cocktail in a flavorful simple syrup. This cake is easy to make, no mixer required, it comes together in a flash.

Verdict: I cut the cake into pieces to bring with me to the BBQ, tasted it and I am not in love with it. The texture bothers me and in my opinion it’s not flavorful enough, maybe it was the canned fruit which I rarely if ever use, who knows, but I think Mr. McNair was most likely on the right track when he added pineapple instead of fruit cocktail. The cake has no fat added, I guess the fruit cocktail with the juice is supposed to add moisture, well it did but the cake itself is a bit chewy and not light like a cake should be in my opinion. Question, has anyone ever tried the fruit cocktail cake before? If you did what did you think about it. I would also think about adding yogurt or sour cream to the cake.

Makes a 9×13 cake


1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter at room temperature


20 oz fruit cocktail with juice

3 cups flour

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tbs baking powder

1 tsp salt

3 eggs at room temperature lightly beaten

2 tsp vanilla extract


1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

2 tbs butter

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 rectangular baking pan and set aside.

Make your topping, combine nuts, brown sugar and butter and crumble with your hands. Set aside.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl. add the rest of the ingredients for the cake  and whisk to mix well.

Pour batter into prepared pan and crumble the topping evenly on the cake. Bake until tester comes out clean approximately 45 minutes.

Make the icing, heat a skillet over medium heat add the coconut and toast until it starts to turn a golden brown.  Set aside to cool. Alternately you can put the coconut on a sheet of foil and place in the 350 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes stirring occasionally.

Either in a heat proof measuring cup or small saucepan heat the condensed milk and butter until its pourable and butter is melted. Pour over the cake while it’s hot, sprinkle with the coconut. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

Piece of Cake

Piece of Cake

Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake

Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake

Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake

I entered this cake in a recipe contest at Food52, we had to create a frozen dessert. I am a real lover of chocolate so I satisfied my craving with this cake. I am honored that my recipe was tested and photographed by the editors at Food52 and the beautiful photograph below was taken by James Ransom. I received a Community Pick!!

Who doesn’t love a Brooklyn Blackout Cake, the iconic cake that became the official cake of Brooklyn, made famous by it’s creators at Ebingers Bakery. Three layers of chocolate cake filled with chocolate pudding, frosted with the pudding and cake crumbs pressed on the side of the cake. This is a frozen version of this famous cake, 3 layers of chocolate sponge cake, chocolate semifreddo,chocolate ganache and cake crumbs. I made a chocolate sponge but you can use whatever type of cake you want or even cookie crumbs, this particular cake recipe freezes really well. I used my new favorite brand of chocolate for this cake, Divine (fair trade) chocolate, both the cocoa powder and the bar chocolate. It’s wonderful and I can’t say enough about the quality. Love it!

Makes 1 large loaf cake

Cake and Semifreddo:

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Semifreddo
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy cream (Optional)
  • 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Place milk and butter in glass measuring cup and microwave for 45 seconds or until butter is melted. Using stand mixer with wire whisk or electric mixer whip the eggs and sugar on med/high for approximately 8 minutes or until the mixture is pale yellow, tripled in volume and thick, with the machine running slowly add the heated milk and butter. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Fold into the egg mixture, there should be no lumps. Fold in the vanilla. Grease a 1/2 sheet pan, lay parchment sheet and grease the parchment, and sprinkle with sugar. Pour batter into the pan, spread so that it is evenly distributed and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes in the pan run a knife around the edges to loosen then invert onto wire rack, remove parchment and let cool completely.
  2. In a bowl over a pot of simmering water (or in the microwave at high heat stirring every 30 seconds), melt chocolate and espresso powder and set aside. Keep pot of water simmering on the stove – you’ll use it again.  Whip cream and cream cheese to soft peaks and store in fridge until ready to use. Whisk together eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a metal or glass bowl. Place bowl over simmering water and whisk until it thickens and sugar is melted, remove from simmering water and whisk constantly until doubled in volume, and whisk leaves a ribbon when lifted from bowl. Whisk in melted chocolate and allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes, you don’t want to melt the whipped cream. Meanwhile, line a loaf pan with plastic wrap. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture, in two additions, until evenly incorporated.

Ganache and assembling:

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup +2 tbs heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup (optional)
  1. Heat milk until scalding, add chocolate and corn syrup to hot cream, let sit for approximately 5 minutes, stir until smooth. Let cool at room temperature.
  2. Line loaf pan with plastic wrap (I like to spray the bottom and sides with cooking spray before I lay the sheet of plastic. Take your cooled cake and cut 3 pieces that will fit in your loaf pan, lay one layer on the bottom pour half of the semifreddo on top, add another layer of cake, pour on the rest of the semifreddo, top with another layer of cake. Save the leftover cake you will need it for the crumb layer. Wrap well with plastic wrap and let freeze overnight.
  3. Crumble the leftover cake and set aside, I pulsed a couple of time in the processor. Remove cake from loaf pan, all you have to do is lift out the plastic if it won’t come out just quickly dip pan in some warm water. place on serving dish and remove plastic. Spread a thin layer of ganache on the sides of cake, press crumbs on sides, spread ganache on top of cake and freeze until ready to serve.

Here is the photo taken by James Ransom at food52. Looks so much better than mine.

Photo by James Ransom,Food52

Photo by James Ransom,Food52