Tag Archives: easy cake recipe

Louisa’s Cake

A sunny ricotta cake that is so moist, buttery, and rich.
A sunny ricotta cake that is so moist, buttery, and rich.

We all grew up seeing our parents and grand-parents, who lived through the Great Depression, wars, and/or famines, take care — to the extreme — to not let any drop of sauce from a can, any heel of bread or any minute shred of fish off the bone ever go to waste.

Not on their watch.

And now, not on ours, either.

With the pandemic creating food shortages — both real and exaggerated ones — we find ourselves looking at food much differently now, treating everything with the reverence it deserved all along.

The very bottom stems of parsley that I once tossed? No more. Now, they get finely diced and tossed into salads and soups. Those radish tops I once never looked twice at? Now, I savor them sauteed in an egg scramble.

The leftover ricotta I had from making lamb meatballs? Not that I would deign to ever throw something like that out, but these days, it takes on an outsize importance. Yes, that leftover ricotta that I once just nonchalantly enjoyed with berries for breakfast the next day, now seemed too good for that. Clearly, it should be destined for something far more special, I thought.

I found exactly that in “Louisa’s Cake.”

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The Comforting Taste of Mascarpone Gingerbread Bars

Gingerbread in May? Yes, please!
Gingerbread in May? Yes, please!

There are some who think gingerbread’s season ends after the holidays.

But why should something so fragrantly intoxicating and so nostalgically soothing have a yearly expiration date?

It shouldn’t, especially when the warmth of its spices enfolds us like a big hug. And who couldn’t use the comfort of an embrace like that right about now?

That’s why “Mascarpone Gingerbread Bars” hit the spot now — and anytime.

This easy, square-pan snack cake is from “The Joys of Baking: Recipes and Stories for a Sweet Life” (Running Press, 2019), of which I received a review copy. It’s by food writer and food editor Samantha Seneviratne, who has worked in the test kitchens of Good Housekeeping, Fine Cooking, and Martha Stewart Everyday Food. She’s also the creator of the blog, Love,Cake.

Given its title, it’s not surprising that the book was inspired, of course, by the iconic “The Joys of Cooking” by Irma Rombauer. Seneviratne’s is destined to be a classic, too. She invites you into her life, bravely opening up with personal stories, inspirations, and insights, and even about her brother’s death and her divorce from her husband.

“Baking is a choice,” she writes. “Baking is never a necessity. No one needs a chocolate cake to survive. Except, sometimes, a chocolate cake is exactly what you need to survive. Sometimes, a chocolate cake is the only thing you need in this world. This is a book about and for those times.”

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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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Swirled Sesame Tea Cake Made With A New Artisan Tahini

The taste of sesame galore in this tea cake made with a new artisan tahini.

The taste of sesame galore in this tea cake made with a new artisan tahini.

 

Just as all peanut butters aren’t created equally, neither are all sesame seed pastes.

Otherwise known as tahini, the vital ingredient in hummus, now’s there’s one that not only makes you sit up and take notice with its robust flavor, but also its mission to cross cultural divides.

New York-based Goni Light and husband Yonatan Sela created SoCo Tahini a year ago. The two are no stranger to business endeavors — or to tahini. They both grew up in Israel. Sela received an MBA from the Wharton School of Business, and worked for a venture capital firm before becoming chief business officer of YouNow, a live broadcasting-based social network. Light earned a master’s of science at New York University before working for years as a finance manager at Proctor & Gamble.

SoCo Tahini.

SoCo Tahini.

When they came to the United States, Light and Sela were dismayed that they couldn’t find any decent tahini. So, they sourced their own, first selling it at a stand at Burning Man, before establishing a bona fide company last year, Seeds of Collaboration or SoCo for short.

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Wake Up and Smell The Coffee (And Chocolate) On Valentine’s Day

Coffee and chocolate -- a perfect match.

Coffee and chocolate — a perfect match.

 

Not quite tall, but definitely dark and handsome, this cake is the perfect companion for Valentine’s Day.

“Double Chocolate Espresso Wake-Up Bread” is from the new “The Everyday Baker” (Taunton Press), of which I received a review copy.

It’s by Abigail Johnson Dodge, a baking expert and contributing editor to Fine Cooking magazine. It’s filled with 176 recipes for sweet and savory treats, as well as plenty of technique tips, including how to judge the best ripe banana for making banana bread, assembling and filling pastry bags, shaping baguettes like a pro, and fastest way to pick leaves off thyme stems.

EverydayBaker

The recipes are perfect for the home-cook who wants to make something pleasing but doesn’t want to spend three days doing so. Enjoy everything from “Make-Ahead Chocolate French Toast” and “Salted Caramel-Toffee Icebox Cake” to “Goat Cheese Olive Spirals” and “Black Pepper Cream Crackers.” Each recipe also includes “Twists” — recommendations for changing-out the flavor of each or re-sizing it.

This particular recipe may be called a bread, but it’s really full-on cake.

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