Browsing Category

Cake Walk

Cake Walk

Fresh Fig Layer Cake with Caramel Icing

July 13, 2020

My Mom grew up eating fresh figs from a large, spreading fig tree that grew by her house in Southern Texas. She spoke wistfully of that tree, the cool of its shade, the scent and flavor of its fruit, and passed that fondness right down to me. I love fresh figs, the green ones, and the black ones, eaten right out of hand, or, sliced and served with prosciutto. But when I have a lot of figs, I make them into preserves, so good on toast, or, baked into this very moist cake. I’ve shared the recipe for the preserves (which make the perfect filling for my Not-Newton homemade fig bars) as well as a lovely single-layer version of the fig cake. But I also make it into this sweetie of a two-layer cake, glazed with caramel icing. Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

Dreamsicle Birthday Cake

March 21, 2019

In the hazy realm of childhood memory live two related events: The first time I plopped a scoop of my dad’s orange sherbet into a bowl of vanilla ice cream, and the first time I had an Orange Julius—that icy, OJ + dairy, beverage-stand joy. What a sensation! Bright shock of citrus swathed in cream: cold and shimmery, sharp and smooth, all at once.   To me, orange and cream is the stuff of dreams. In fact, the Dominican Republic’s classic orange&dairy drink is called morir sonando “To die dreaming.”  March being my birthday month, I decided to put those favorite tart, sweet, and dreamy flavors into a cake. And I am very happy with the result. Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

Red Velvet Cake (Monica’s All-Natural)

February 15, 2018

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Beeville, TX. Not far from Normanna, Orangedale and Skidmore, it’s the Bee County seat, built around a typical Texas town square with an enormous Renaissance Revival courthouse at the center. It’s not like there’s a plaque or anything, but ask around, and you may find old timers who know the town’s connection to America’s long-lingering flavor obsession: Red Velvet. Yep. When chemist John A. Adams pulled up stakes in Michigan to move his family in 1905, this was where he landed, launching the eponymous food-coloring and additives firm in Austin that truly put the “Red” in Red Velvet. Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

New York “Dry” Crustless Cheesecake

June 7, 2017

The checkout lady at the grocery store thought I was on a real fat bender. “What are you going to do with all of that?” she asked, eyeing my quarts of sour cream, cream cheese and whipping cream. “Recipe testing,” I say. She nods, with this little lift to her eyebrow, like, “Sure you are.” But it’s true. I’m testing with vats of cream because Lost Recipe Found readers lo-o-o-ve cheesecake. I’ve had requests for no-bake cheesecakes, cheesecakes made with farmers cheese, cottage cheese, or ricotta cheese, cheesecake with meringue crusts, rusk crusts, zwieback crust and no crust….the list is a long one. From that list, this cake is a winner. Reader Linda M. wrote us in search of a cake that would match her memories of going to New York for the 1965 World’s Fair where she fell in love with the “very thick, very dry, crustless cheesecake” baked in that region. We found this one of that ilk and era, credited to Mrs. Charles B. Goldman, of Auburn N.Y. And for more cheesecake recipes, try these! Cheescake Like Little Jack’s , Apple Almond Cheese Tart, Very Airy No-Bake Cheesecake, Creamy Nectarine-y Cheesecake,  Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

Persimmon Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting

November 10, 2016

For anybody unfamiliar, persimmons are native to America, highly-nutritious and once prized by American Indians and early settlers. They also make a fabulous cake. Last year, to really experience these, I went on an October jaunt to persimmon-expert Jerry Lehman’s 85-acre orchard near Terre Haute in southwestern Vigo County, Indiana. Right out of the car, I learned that what looks really pretty still on the tree, may not be ready to eat: Pluck an unripe persimmon as I did and it will turn your mouth inside out with pucker As the writers of put it: “Tannins in [unripe] persimmons make your tongue, cheeks, and gums feel as though you’re chewing on a cross between aspirin, alum, and chalk.” With a little tutelage from an amused Jerry, I learned that the fruits are best when they ripen on the tree and drop to the ground, to be carefully plucked up by harvesters making their way along the tree rows. (Labor-intensive, yes, but the fruit is truly luscious that way.)  Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

German Chocolate Cake (Marshall Field’s)

November 2, 2016

It’s tall. It’s magnificent. It’s the quintessential German Chocolate Cake: Four layers with classic coconut pecan filling. This cake’s tender crumb results from the combination of low-protein flour (cake flour) and a little acid (buttermilk.) And the filling is made from scratch with butter, evaporated milk, lots of egg yolks,  sugar and plenty of coconut and toasted pecans.  (None of the sweetened condensed milk shortcuts here!) While the recipe is for one, 4-layer cake, you can share the love (give one away?) by making this recipe into two, two-layer cakes. It is rich, so pace yourselves: one recipe of the filling includes 8 egg yolks, 2 cups butter and 3 cups coconut…. Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

Apple Cake (Gina’s Hubba Hubba Apple Cake)

October 19, 2016

Gina DePalma thinks her mom got the recipe for this gorgeous, not-too-sweet apple cake from a ’50s women’s magazine. When Gina was little, her mom made it Saturdays, for Sunday supper. These days, Gina makes it year round and affectionately calls it her Hubba Hubba Apple Cake. It’s basically a dump cake–just whisk and stir liquid ingredients into the dry ones, layer the batter with cinnamon-sugared apples, bake it off and there! You’ve got an impressively tall and tasty cake.  Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

Melting Apple Cake

October 18, 2016

Baking recipes usually frown on softer apples, specifying instead that you use granny smith. That means you end up making loads of homemade applesauce out of the Jonathan and  McIntosh hanging around that didn’t get eaten…and too much applesauce is….too much applesauce.  Reader Rita Jessel wrote in telling us she knew she’d once seen a recipe from the ’40s that called for soft apples. Much testing later, I think I’ve created a version Rita will like:  My Melting Apple Cake makes mushier apples a thing of beauty–the soft apples partially “melt’ into the cake as it bakes. 

Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

Brooklyn Blackout Cake

October 12, 2016

From the time it opened in its first unit in 1898 until the last Ebinger’s Bakery turned out its lights in 1972, the Brooklyn bakery chain was known for this dark chocolate cake.  This recipe is answer to multiple requests for it and comes to us compliments of Chicago-based chef and baker, Gale Gand.  As Gale puts it, “Ebingers was renowned for the purity of its ingredients, the sparkling cleanliness of its stores, and the deep chocolatey-ness of this cake.”  Long after the last Ebinger’s finally closed Gand says devotees kept Blackout Cakes in their freezers. “I mean, for years!” she laughs.

Recreating the cake, Gand didn’t have access to one of these freezer fossils. Instead, she relied on the taste-memories of Ebinger’s fans who grew up in Brooklyn. Gand included this group as her taste-panel.  Says Gand, “They were a tough crowd, but they told us we finally got it right. The custard filling is finally the perfect deep, velvety, very, very, dark brown.” Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

Cheesecake Like Little Jack’s

September 30, 2016

From the time it opened in 1905, until it closed in 1962, Little Jack’s restaurant was a force in the Chicago restaurant dining scene. At its peak in the ’50s, the sprawling three-dining room restaurant reportedly served between 600,000 and 1 million meals annually. Named for John H. “Little Jack” Levin (1887-1971), Continue Reading…