TWD: Milk Chocolate mini-cakes

 I took a stand this week, and it did me no good.  I ended up with really dry mini-cakes.  Though they were exceptionally cute.

Milk Chocolate MiniBundt

On principle, I refused to go out in cold and snow just to buy whole milk for the fraction of a cup this recipe called for. I used the skim I had in my fridge. And that was a mistake.

The cake was delicious, but it totally needed a big glass of (skim) milk to wash it down, as well as a plate to catch all the crumbs that came off in big chunks.  I had pieces breaking off around the delicious walnut-cocoa-sugar swirl. I hoped that piping the melted-chocolate-and-corn-syrup glaze over the top would help – and it was delicious – but the cake remains drier than I would like. I think the fat from whole milk would have made a world of difference.

The Other Eater and I split the valentine treat above for breakfast on Sunday, and the rest went to a baby shower I co-hosted Sunday afternoon. I few made it home from that, but they remain uneaten in my beautiful cake dome four days later. That can’t be a good sign.

Thanks to Kristin from I’m Right About Everything for choosing it.

TWD: Banana Bundt Cake

As I’ve come to expect, Dorie’s creation is moist, delicious, sweet, perfect even without icing, blah blah, blah. It’s also easy to make, and produces few dishes to wash. The Other Eater in my Household likes that part, especially.

Banana Bundt

My challenge will be to find reasons why it is ok to eat this for breakfast the rest of the week. I am proud to say that I made it with fat free yogurt rather than sour cream, which is always nice. Also, the cake does have 4 bananas. These offer potassium, fiber, Vitamin C and Vitamin B, (Thanks, Tao of Good Health).  Practically good for me!

What never fails to amaze me is how other TWD bakers move past the excitement of simply having fresh baked good in the house and think creatively.  Confectiona’s Realm added almond extract and apple butter (and considered other stuff) before putting hers in the oven. Prudence Pennywise added maple extract, wheat flour and nuts. And Ezra Poundcake is thinking about peanut butter cream. A hat tip to you all!

You’ll find the recipe for Dorie’s masterpiece at The Food Librarian, where Mary touts all things Bundt.  I kind of agree that I love my bundt pan and the beauty it brings to the table without icing or frosting or in-some-other-way polishing a less-than-perfect dessert. I’m going to have to check out some of the other 10 bundts she’s blogged about this year…

Side Note: While looking for reasons to eat more of this cake, I found that:

  • An average American eats 26 pounds of bananas every year – that’s about 150 bananas.
  • Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island in the early years (1892-1920s) were given bananas to eat. Many had never seen them and didn’t know how to eat them – some ate the whole thing, peel and all.
  • Bananas were introduced to the American public at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, the same expo that introduced Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone.

TWD: Tiramisu cake parfaits

Like many of my TWD colleagues, the idea of having a whole cake in my house is not appealing. I’m not really the kind of person who makes a whole cake just for fun, and so rather than gobble the whole thing down it tends to dry out and tie up valuable real estate in my refrigerator. This is especially gross when the cake has a lot of dairy it in that gets crusty and makes the whole fridge smell.

Tiramisu cake

A parfait, on the other hand, lasts mere hours before my will power caves in an I am licking the glass clean (no wonder the dessert’s name translates to “perfect”). Many thanks to Megan of My Baking Adventures for picking this week’s Tiramisu Cake recipe recipe, and posting it on her blog. Tiramisu literally means “pick-me-up” and even though I left out all of the espresso powder the pure pleasure of indulging in this treat on a sunny Sunday evening lifted my spirits.

I spread Dorie’s fabulous vanilla cake batter into a 13×9 baking pan and made a really shallow sheet cake that I cubed and tossed into parfait glasses (which I had previously purchased at the local church-run consignment store for 25 cents each). I scrapped the espresso syrup and extract in favor of Starbucks liqueur I had in the house, and layered the cake with the filling and the mini chocolate chips, as Dorie recommended.  It was a hit at Sunday dinner with The Other Eater in my household and his mom! Light and fluffy, just the right portions and not too rich to stomach after a nice dinner and a walk through the neighborhood on one of the first really great spring days of the year.

(Earlier in the meal we tore into the [frozen] fresh mango bread that my TWD colleagues will be making later this month – what a treat! More about that later….)

TWD Fast Forward: All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake

The pending move is making things a little tense around my house – and when the going gets tough, the tough crave sugar.  Thus, I scraped the last of the flour out of my pantry, comparing my current inventory with the list of ingredients in several of Dorie’s recipes and decided on a seasonally inappropriate All-In-One Holiday Bundt Cake.  The cake is DARN good, and I wiped out 1) a can of pumpkin, 2) the last of the golden raisins, 3) the last fraction of a bag of pecan halves that now I won’t have to move at the end of the month.  Woo-hoo!

holiday cake

The cake is dense without being heavy, moist and delicately spiced with dried ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. And the canned pumpkin makes the cake just as orange as the photo suggests (even though I know the photo is not great – I tried using my far-more-convenient cell phone camera instead of my actual camera for the first time, and I won’t do it again. Promise.).  But the combination of golden raisins and dried cranberries and pecans is really nice – not too fruitcake-y, but definitely not the traditional birthday cake that I get used to at this time of year. It could absolutely be an acceptable breakfast food. I like this a lot.

The icing made me nervous – it’s maple syrup and powdered sugar – but it goes well with the otherwise not-too-sweet cake.  I’ll look forward to making this in my new kitchen next winter!

(I apologize to the Dorie bakers who haven’t made this yet, but I’ll make it again with all of your when it comes up in the rotation!)

TWD: Devil’s Food White Out Cake

The idea of making the cake that is on the cover of Dorie’s cookbook was totally overwhelming.  I knew that mine would never look like that glossy covermodel in my dining room and that I would make myself crazy trying, so I went in a new direction:

Devil’s Food White Out Whoopie Pies!

Whoopie Pie

I made Dorie’s batter (substituting milk chocolate for bittersweet) and poured it into a 13×9 cookie sheet. I baked for 15 minutes, cooled for the rest of the afternoon, and then attacked the sheetcake with my heart shaped cookie cutter.

Each heart was slathered with Marshmallow Fluff and then stuck together like a Whoopie Pie.  It looked darling, especially next to the tulips I received from the Other Eater this weekend.

When we cut into them the next day, we found two problems: one, the cake had sort of dried out and wasn’t quite as perfect as the odds and ends I picked  out of the cookie sheets the night before, and two, the Fluff had run all over the little dishes, even though I had stored them covered in the fridge overnight.  Hmmmmm.

Granted, there are worse ways to spend a Monday night than licking fluff off my fork while Jack Bauer saves the free world, but still….you get the idea.

You can find the recipe here, where  Stephanie shows off two different cakes made from the same batter.

TWD Rewind: Black and White Banana Loaf

This week, TWD is attacking a chocolate-chocolate cupcake. I wrinkled my nose at this because 1) this sounded a little too chocolate-y for me, and 2) I’m cleaning out the fridge before vacation next week, so I set the Way-Back Machine for August and made Dorie’s marbled chocolate and banana pound cake.  Yum.


This loaf cake was wonderful: The opposite of dry. In fact, it leaves an oily spot on a paper napkin if you put it down to chew.  It’s dense. It’s Sweetly and subtly banana flavored with real live fruit rather than some artificial flavoring agent. Not too chocolate-y. But I think it could be better.

My batter was a little runny, and so the swirls of yellow and chocolate cake were not quite swirls as much as they were globs or even one giant trough of chocolate with yellow lining the bottom and sides. It did not get better when the cake rose in the oven.

Dorie’s recipe also called for a bit of rum in the batter, which upon tasting the cake I found no need for (keep in mind that I added bourbon to my pumpkin muffins. I’m surprised at my reaction to the rum, too). The rum really didn’t add anything to the already nice combination of chocolate and banana. I think I’ll leave it out next time, thus simplifying the taste and making my batter slightly less runny.  I have high hopes.

But let me point out that some of my TWD colleagues had great success with their cakes: The Repressed Pastry Chef made darling square cupcakes, which she always photographs beautifully; Engineer Baker made similarly small, similarly darling cakes; Bungalow Barbara has picture-perfect marbling; and  Confectiona’s Realm served hers with chocolate sauce for a extra oompf.

You can find this recipe at A Year in the Kitchen.

To see how Dorie’s other bakers did with the chocolate-chocolate cupcakes, visit some of the bakers’ sites.

TWD: Dimply Peach Cake

Technically this week’s TWD selection was a plum cake, but Dorie’s margin notes said I could just as easily change up a few of the spices and make a peach cake rather than a plum cake. I did, and I was pleased. I am very glad Michelle of Bake-en choose it.

Peach cake: before

I had some peaches leftover from an August trip to Michigan, so I peeled a few of them in preparation for the cake. About halfway through I decided that was dumb and left the skin on many of the peach halves. Both were fine, though if I were trying to impress my dinner guests I’d probably peel the peaches. The other eater in my household, my father and I did fine with the skin on.

Dorie’s margin notes recommended that I add a little fresh basil to the peach cake batter, but I forgot about that  early on and threw in some dry ginger. Then, at the end, I added the basil from my window box, cursed because it was at that moment that I remembered the ginger, and went on with the baking.  I have to be honest: it was pretty darn good with both the flavors.

Peach cake: after

The cake was fluffy and savory – not at all sweet – and perfect for the late summer days when the sun goes down a little earlier than you would like and the temperature is just beginning to drop below 70 degrees. Topped with some vanilla ice cream, the cake is practically irresistible.

My only problem was how to store it. I put it in the fridge to keep the fruit from spoiling, but that soggied the crust that had baked on the top of the cake. Keeping it out on the counter in a cake dome when have fermented the fruit within days. I hate to think this is a dessert I have to polish off in one sitting!

Not deadly, just gross

Online today we find this story out of Sweden, in which a typo in a cake recipe that was printed in a magazine sent a few people to the hospital.

“There was a mistake in a recipe for apple cake. Instead of calling for two pinches of nutmeg it said 20 nutmeg nuts were needed,” Matmagasinet’s chief editor Ulla Cocke told AFP.

“We know that four adults ate one cake made from this recipe, and they didn’t feel well,” she said, adding that “this is obviously very regrettable.”


Whole nutmeg is kind of like a whole olive, as far as size. Most recipes call for a fraction of a teaspoon of the bitter, potent spice, grated against something like you would use to remove the rind from a lemon or sand wood: a metal appliance. Adding 20 nuts to the cake in question probably required use of a dopey looking Christmas nutcracker or a small mallet to break them up. I feel like I shouldn’t need hardware to bake when other people can do it in high heels. (I could do that, but I choose not to.)

The four people had experienced symptoms of poisoning, including dizziness and headaches, but were now feeling better, she said.

The magazine’s first act was to notify 50,000 subscribers of the error, and also place a leaflet inside store copies telling newsstand buyers of the error.

I would have thought that 1) common sense or at least 2) the price of nutmeg would have kept people away. The magazine editor agreed with me:

“At first we thought this would be enough, because we didn’t really think anyone would bake or eat this cake, since so much nutmeg would give it a horrible, bitter taste, and because it is simply not that easy to get hold of that much nutmeg,” Cocke said…”We publish 1,200 recipes each year, and of course there have been times when they’ve had a bit too much butter or too little flour, but we have never experienced anything like this before.”

In the end, the magazine had to protect the Swedes from themselves and recall all the magazines.