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Cake Walk

Cake Walk

New York Crustless Cheesecake with Candied Lemon Wheels

September 3, 2022

I’ve made many cheesecakes over the years, but this one is Dad’s favorite—perfect for his 96th birthday! Smooth and creamy, with a little lemon in the batter and glistening wheels of candied lemon on top, it is both pretty to look at and delicious to eat at special gatherings. Made the day ahead of your event and chilled overnight, you’ll add the garnishes right before you serve.

When ready to begin, set all of your ingredients out for ½ hour or so to bring them to room temperature. To speed prep, I use two mixing bowls for my stand mixer, one to beat the sour cream and eggs, the other to whip the cream cheese and butter to a perfectly smooth consistency. You’ll combine the two mixtures with a bit of cornstarch, lemon and vanilla and pour into a 9 x 3-inch springform pan. Set in a pan of boiling water, the cake takes 2 and a quarter hours to bake, and another 12 hours to restfully chill.  Note: An added bonus with this recipe? Save the lemon-simple syrup after making the candied lemons! It is delicious in a cocktail, or with your iced tea. Continue Reading…

Cake Walk

Carrot Layer Cake with Cheesecake Topper

March 10, 2022

I’m a carrot top who loves carrot cake! I’ve made many over the years, never quite as unusual as this one which has a cheesecake top baked right with the batter. I got the idea from the NYTimes, although they did theirs as a sheet cake. My version uses a favorite batter recipe–not too sweet, with pineapple and carrot in the mix, and has toasted pecans on the sides of the cake. Continue Reading…

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 with the pretty orange fruits, American persimmons are native, highly-nutritious and were prized by American Indians and early settlers. They also make a fabulous cake! A few years back, I went on a Fall jaunt to persimmon-expert Jerry Lehman’s 85-acre orchard in southwestern Vigo County, Indiana, to experience these fruits first hand.

Right out of the car, I learned that what looks ripe on the tree, may not be ready to eat: Bite into an unripe American persimmon and the tannins make your mouth feel as if you’re chewing on a cross between aspirin, alum, and chalk. But ripened till they’re very, very soft–a process called “bletting,” persimmons have a beautiful, caramel sweetness all their own. (Tip: you may find piles of what look like “gone bad” persimmons on the “reduced for quick sale” racks at the grocery, but they’re probably not bad at all! The deeper the orange and the softer the fruit the better.)

At Jerry’s orchard, I learned that the fruits are allowed to fully ripen on the tree until they drop to the ground, to be carefully plucked up by harvesters making their way along the tree rows  Research from Slow Food USA (which includes the American persimmon in its Ark of Taste) shows that American Indians mixed the fruit with corn meal and acorns to make breads and soups. African Americans used the pulp to make sweet puddings, candy, and cakes. Early settlers roasted the seeds to make something like coffee.  And Appalachians brewed dried persimmon seeds into a kind of beer.

While you can find wild American persimmon trees from Connecticut to Florida and as far west as Texas, the bulk of persimmon production in the United States has centered in Indiana. There a woman named Dymple Green commercially canned American persimmon marketed as a product called “Dymple’s Delight.” We adapted this recipe from a little booklet Dymple put together in the ’70s featuring persimmon puddings, breads, candies and cakes. I think the caramel icing perfectly highlights the already-caramel-ly overtones of the ripe fruit. If you can’t find local persimmons, the larger Fuyu or Hachiya varieties will also work. Note: While Fuyu’s are non-astringent, and can be eaten when firm, for this recipe, you will want them to be well-ripened and soft.

Persimmon Spice Cake with Caramel Icing
Serves 10
Cinnamon & nutmeg spiced cake with caramel-ly persimmon and caramel icing. Perfect fall dessert
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  1. Persimmon Pulp
  2. 2 cups, store bought, or 2 cups made from 10 to 12 very ripe American persimmons, or 2 cups made from 6 to 8 of the larger, Asian, persimmon
  3. Persimmon Spice Cake Ingredients
  4. 2 cups sugar
  5. 1 cup vegetable oil (grapeseed, canola or corn work well)
  6. 4 eggs, beaten well
  7. 2 cups persimmon pulp
  8. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  9. 2 tsp each baking powder and baking soda
  10. 1 tsp each salt, cinnamon and freshly-grated nutmeg
  11. Caramel Icing Ingredients
  12. 1 stick butter
  13. 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  14. 1/4 tsp salt
  15. 1/4 cup milk
  16. 2 cups powdered sugar
  17. 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Make persimmon pulp: Place persimmons in a colander or large strainer. Wash with plenty of cold, clear water. Repeat. Remove stems and leaves. Place persimmons in a food mill, or large fine-mesh strainer. Process through the mill, or, using a pestle, press the persimmons until all of the pulp is extracted through the sides of the strainer, leaving the seeds and skin behind. OR Peel the persimmons and use an immersion blender or food processor to blend the fruit until smooth. You should have at least two cups of persimmon pulp.
  2. Make cake: Cream sugar, oil, eggs and persimmon together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Sift together dry ingredients and add in two batches to the wet ingredients, stirring until no flour streaks remain. Spray non-stick spray on two nine-inch cake pans and line with parchment paper. Pour batter into pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool cakes in pans on racks for 15 minutes. Remove cakes to racks.
  3. Make caramel frosting: Melt butter in large saucepan. Blend in brown sugar and salt. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring continually. Add milk and continue stirring until mixture heats to boiling. Remove from heat. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar, adding vanilla at the end and whisking one more time. Ice cake immediately as caramel frosting will “set up” and begin to harden.
  1. Patience! let store-bought persimmons ripen a good, long while– a process called “bletting”–until they are completely soft and almost appear over-ripe. At this stage, they’ll have an unctuous velvety sweetness with caramel overtones.
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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. But this fragrantly spiced, fabulously flavored and pleasingly textured cake makes beautiful use of varieties such as Roma, Cortland or MacIntosh which have tender flesh. This is also good with apples that you’ve had in a bowl on the counter for a while– that last bit of the bushel you picked!

The apples partially “melt” right into the cake as it bakes. Putting it over the top? The caramel flavor of the maple-brown-sugar frosting goes supremely well with the apples and spice in the cake. Stacked, the layers make a towering apple amazement—homey indulgence of the best sort. Note: For best release, I line the cake-pans with well-greased parchment—sides AND bottoms.

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