A dessert that’s a dark beauty.
It was a dark and stormy cake.
OK, maybe not quite.
But “Molasses Bundt Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce” is definitley dark and deliriously delicious. And it’s so full of wintery warm spices, that you could definitely picture yourself cozying up to a big slice on a stormy night.
The recipe is from “Baker’s Royale” (Running Press), of which I received a review copy. The cookbook is by Californian Naomi Robinson, a self-taught baker behind the popular BakersRoyale blog.
The book features 75 recipes for fun sweet treats such as “Rocky Road Cookies,” “Brown Butter Chocolate Chess Pie,” “Lemon Marshmallow Pie Pops,” and “Bananas Foster Pudding Parfaits.”
Bundts are among the easiest cakes to make, which is what you want especially during these harried holidays, which always seem to come around quicker every year.
A cake that smells of Christmas.
For some people, their favorite kitchen scent is onions and garlic sauteing in a hot pan.
For others, it’s that yeasty smell of fresh bread baking in the oven.
For me? It’s that intoxicating fragrance of warm winter spices — cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. Loads of ginger.
That’s why this cake had me at first smell and at first bite.
“Ginger Molasses Cake” is from the new “The Violet Bakery Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It’s written by Claire Ptak, a former pastry chef at Chez Panisse, who moved to London to open her Violet Bakery in 2010. Jamie Oliver has called her “my favourite cake maker in the whole world.” So you know she has it going on.
The recipes in this lovely cookbook are arranged by time of day with treats such as “Yellow Peach Crumb Bun” for morning, “Olive Oil Sweet Wine Cake” for the afternoon, and “Chocolate, Prune, and Whiskey Cake” for the evening.
As you can tell, these are baked goods that don’t try too hard. They aren’t complicated with loads of unusual ingredients. They don’t take and arm and a leg, and a whole day to make. Instead, they tantalize with their homespun yet precise character.
Sweet potatoes make this cake really moist.
Imagine a holiday cake that’s rich in fiber, complex carbohydrates and beta-carotene.
OK, so it does have chocolate chips, too. Plus a wicked chocolate-coffee glaze.
“Spiced Sweet Potato Bundt Cake” has all that going for it and more. After all, it’s the creation of Chef Tanya Holland, who’s famed for her soulful comfort food at her Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland.
This cake is from her new cookbook, “Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes From Sweet West Oakland” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy. It was written with former San Francisco Magazine editor Jan Newberry.
You’ll find all your Brown Sugar Kitchen favorites here, including Holland’s legendary Cornmeal Waffles with Apple Cider Syrup and Buttermilk Fried Chicken. All in all, you’ll find more than 80 recipes from everything from Creole Gazpacho to Smoked Buttered Rum. What’s really special about this book, though, is its sense of place. Holland’s restaurant is an intrinsic part of this West Oakland neighborhood. The book celebrates the people that make this area what it is by including profiles of its entrepreneurs, musicians and community leaders.