Category Archives: Recipes (Sweet)

Tartine’s Sweet Potato Tea Cake with Meringue

Not your average loaf cake.
Not your average loaf cake.

A tea cake is a tea cake is a tea cake — until Tartine gets its hands on it.

Like a basic little black dress that turns extraordinarily chic with the right broach or necklace, this sweet-potato loaf cake goes from fundamental to fancifully froufrou enough to be the life of the party, thanks to a halo of torched meringue.

“Sweet Potato Tea Cake with Meringue” is from the new “Tartine: A Classic Revisited: 68 All-New Recipes + 55 Updated Favorites” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. It’s by co-founders Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson of the famed Tartine bakery founded in San Francisco, with locations worldwide now.

It’s a revised edition to their original book that came out 13 years ago. Of the 122 recipes, 67 are new, including one for Tartine’s ever-popular “Morning Bun.” There are also more recipes that use less sugar and more global flavors, as well as more gluten-free ones.

A few of these recipes are indeed for ambitious bakers, including a sleek, contemporary “Buche de Noel.” The majority of them, however, shouldn’t intimidate most home-bakers. “Black Tea Blondies with Caramel Swirl,” “Cranberry Upside-Down Cake,” and “Brioche Jam Buns” just entice you into the kitchen.

Imagine your favorite pumpkin bread, but made with sweet potato instead. That’s what this moist, tender loaf cake is like. But it goes one better by getting a cloud of meringue on top that gets swirled with the cake batter to produce pretty streaks in it.

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Too Good To Wait: Marbled Red Wine and Chocolate Bundt Cake

A cake made for chocolate and wine lovers.
A cake made for chocolate and wine lovers.

Whenever my Mom started reading a new novel, the first thing she did was turn to the last chapter to see how it ends.

My Dad and I used to laugh and shake our heads in disbelief.

But I think I inherited a little of that gene because I don’t always adhere to strict order, either.

Take the new “365: A Year of Everyday Cooking and Baking” (Prestel) by Berlin-based food writer Meike Peters.

I couldn’t wait to tear into Peters new cookbook, especially because I loved her first one, “Eat in My Kitchen: To Cook, to Bake, to Eat, and to Treat” (Prestel), which won a James Beard Award.

As the name implies, this new cookbook, of which I received a review copy, offers up an entire year’s worth of recipes. Yes, one for each and every day.

The recipes are arranged from January to December, with everything from soups to salads to mains to desserts. The delights include “Saffron and Clementine Cake” in February, “Salmon with Juniper-Gin Butter” in April, “Squash Pasta with Orange, Maple, and Sage” in September, and “Spiced Chestnut and Apple Pie” in November.

I know it’s October, but when it came time to try my first recipe from the book, I leaped ahead unapologetically to January. Hey, you would, too, for a taste of “Marbled Red Wine and Chocolate Bundt Cake.”

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Who Can Resist A Sunny Slice of Tahitian Pineapple Pie?

A taste of Hawaii in a pie.
A taste of Hawaii in a pie.

What do two Centers for Disease Control scientists know about making pies?

Apparently, a whole heck of a lot.

Married couple, Chris Taylor, an epidemiologist specializing in Alzheimer’s and aging, and Paul Arguin, retired head of the CDC’s domestic malaria unit, are avid home bakers. After meeting, they began entering amateur baking contests together — and winning them like crazy. To date, they’ve won more than 600 awards, trophies, ribbons and certificates for their glorious pies.

Now, they’re showcasing their fanciful creations in their first cookbook,

“The New Pie: Modern Techniques for the Classic American Dessert: A Baking Book” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy.

There are pies for every occasion and for every baking level, from the “Mocha Mystery” and “Guavaberry Apple” to “Strawberry Margarita with Salted Rim” and the one that garnered them “Best of Show Winner” at the National Pie Championships, the jaw-dropping “Peanut Butter Checkerboard.”

As befitting two scientists, this is a very technical book, which means the recipes are quite long because they are extremely detailed. So, don’t freak out when you scroll down at the one below.

Their “Tahitian Pineapple” pie is the one I tackled. While I’ve made my share of pineapple upside-down cakes, I’d never made a pie with fresh pineapple at its heart.

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Sponsored Post: Cheesecake Pastries With Figs, Almonds and New Snofrisk Cheese

Flaky, golden pastries with a center of cheesecake, figs and almonds -- to enjoy for breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert.
Flaky, golden pastries with a center of cheesecake, figs and almonds — to enjoy for breakfast, afternoon snack, or dessert.

As much as I adore cheesecake, an entire slice is just too rich and too much of a gut-buster. At least, to indulge in with regularity.

But a cheesecake pastry? Now, that’s something I can get down with morning, noon or night.

With the same luscious creaminess, a cheesecake pastry satisfies beautifully but with just a fraction of the filling, guaranteeing no food-coma afterward.

So when I was asked by Snofrisk, a Norwegian cheese company, to create a recipe using its product, I knew cheesecake pastry was where it was at.

The Snofrisk three-pack are debuting at Bay Area Costco stores this month.
The Snofrisk three-pack are debuting at Bay Area Costco stores this month.

Snofrisk is made with 80 percent goat’s milk and 20 percent cream from cows — all from small herds on Norwegian farms.

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Caramelized White Chocolate and Toasted Milk Cookies with A Touch of Cardamom

The surprising sweet warmth of cardamom infuses these white chocolate cookies.
The surprising sweet warmth of cardamom infuses these white chocolate cookies.

My appetite always perks up whenever I spot a recipe with cardamom. Especially if it involves baked goods.

The fragrant spice with a warm, sweet, resiny character adds such a beguiling presence to anything it touches.

So when I received a review copy of the new cookbook, “Milk & Cardamom: Spectacular Cakes, Custards and More, Inspired by the Flavors of India” (Page Street), how could I resist?

The new cookbook is by San Franciscan Hetal Vasavada, creator of the namesake Milk & Cardamom blog. You may also recognize her from her stint as a contestant on “MasterChef” Season 6.

A first-generation Indian-American, Vasavada melds American-style desserts with cherished Indian flavors reminiscent of the childhood sweets she grew up loving.

The result is clever recipes such as “Ginger-Chai Chocolate Pot de Creme,” “Peanut Laddoo Buckeye Balls,” “Green Mango Marmalade,” and “Cinnamon and Jaggery Monkey Bread.”

Her “Caramelized White Chocolate and Toasted Milk Cookies” is a play on Jacques Torres’ fabled chocolate chip cookies — only with cardamom and the unusual mix of melted white chocolate and milk powder.

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