Tag Archives: cake

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake

 

People will often come to me with that burning question, “Mama, what’s you favorite summer fruit to bake with?”  Without wavering, I look them straight in the eye and answer, “peaches”.

I know there are those of you who stand steadfast in your belief that berries are the king of  summer baked goods.  There are yet others who rally around the other stone fruits such as nectarines and plums claiming they are best for the season’s baking. But I stand quite confidently behind the peach. It’s golden and sweet, and much like summer itself.

I found this recipe in the Sliver Palate Cookbook for Fresh Peach Cake about 15 years ago, and have been making it for my family ever since.  For me, it is the essence of summer comfort food. It’s heavenly served warm, right out of the oven. And for those of you who dare to walk on the wild side, you can add a dollop of vanilla ice cream, and dice up some fresh peaches to sprinkle over top…if you dare.

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake

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Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans and Cranberries

Blondies

Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans & Cranberries

Tonight is about combining two of my favorite things in life, Blondie Bars and “The Voice”. I am obsessed with NBC’s singing competition show “The Voice”. I love the concept, the talent and most of all the judges. It’s one of my guilty pleasures you could say.

My friend Cindy had a contact at NBC, and was able to get us in to last night’s show.  I have to say it’s extremely fascinating to see how a live show works. It really looks nothing like the final product you see on television. Her contact was nice enough to give a bunch of old broads a thrill, and let’s us sit in the judges chairs…the big, red ones that turn around when they hear an amazing voice. I’m pretending I’m Shakira.  Oh c’mon let me have some fun!

Anyway, tonight I’ve invited those same girls over to my house to watch “The Voice” finale. And for the finale you’ve gotta have treats, right. Which leads us to my other latest obsession;  Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans and Cranberries. What! You’re rolling your eyes at the addition of cranberries. You have to trust me on this. The cranberries add that little bit of tartness that combines perfectly with the crunch of the pecans and the richness of the chocolate chips. I guarantee, these will become your latest obsession too.

Blondies

Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans & Cranberries

Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans and Cranberries

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Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans and Cranberries

Blondies with Chocolate Chips, Pecans and Cranberries

Mama’s Tips: 

When I bake “bar cookies”, like brownies or blondies, I like to line the pan with parchment.  I always have a couple rolls on hand so I’m never out of it. This way I can just lift the baked bars right out of the pan without anything sticking to it. It makes cutting the bars into cleanly cut squares so easy and professional looking.

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Recipe: Easy 

Apple Loaf Cake with Pine Nuts

Apple Loaf Cake with Pine Nuts

Apple Loaf Cake with Pine Nuts

I love”homey” food, but you already knew that, didn’t you. Some people like to curl up with a warm blanket and a book, I myself, like to curl up with a hot cup of tea and a piece of cake. When curling up, it’s always best not to have a piece of cake that’s too sweet and sugary. No, proper curling should be done with a less sweet, almost bread like cake that will perfectly compliment a cup of tea. Ta Da! That’s where this Apple Loaf Cake with Pine Nuts comes in.

This cake is the BFF to a cup of tea. The “not-so-sweet” cake is filled with chunks of juicy apple and topped with earthy, crunchy pine nuts. Really, a perfect combination of flavors. This recipe will make two, 8″ x 4″ loaf cakes, so guess what, keep one for yourself and give the other to your BFF. Wrap it up in parchment paper and tie it with baker’s twine, and I guarantee, they’ll be very impressed.

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Apple Loaf with Pine Nuts

Adapted from Real Food, Winter 2013

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Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Life is funny, nothing ever stays the same.  Friends, please forgive me for getting all sentimental and philosophical on you, but this time of year brings back lovely memories for me. It doesn’t seem so long ago that by mid-October every year my boys and I would spend hours planning their costumes for Halloween, who they would walk the neighborhood with, and which candy I should buy to give out to the local revelers. But things have changed, my boys have moved on to begin their own lives, and my husband and I have been left here to celebrate Halloween alone, just us and a few bags of mini Snickers bars. I know, so sad.

In fact, things have gotten so bad that the local children will not even walk up my long, steep driveway for a measly mini candy bar anymore. In recent years I’ve had to go stand at the bottom of the driveway with “full sized” candy bars if I wanted to see any action.

Halloween is also that time of year when I can use pumpkin with reckless abandon.  I love to use it in muffins, cookies, cakes and pies, and I really can’t understand why it’s not popular all year round. One of my fall favorites is this Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze.  The cake part is mildly flavored with those traditional autumn spices, and the streusel filling is a perfect little surprise in the middle of the cake. What could be bad about pumpkin, nuts and chocolate.

So, one last thing.  Do you think it would be weird if I asked my 25 year-old son to let me dress him up as a Power Ranger so we could go house to house trick-or-treating together? I’m just kidding, kinda’.

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Pumpkin Streusel Cake with Chocolate Glaze

Adapted from “Very Best Baking”

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Almond Pear Cake-Gluten Free

Almond Pear Cake

Almond Pear Cake

 

My favorite time of the year is the end of September when summertime evaporates into a fond memory and leaves turn golden and the air turns crisp.  Oh wait, that was my former life growing up on the east coast.  As Jimmy Kimmel said in his monologue last night referring to the autumn in Los Angeles; that it was a “bone-chilling 95 degrees today”. He went on to say, “that we have one season…and it’s the good one!”  I’ll be honest with you, since moving to the west coast I definitely do not miss the other three seasons, but I do have a major hankering for the fall. After residing here for three decades I still bring out the heavy sweaters and boots this time of year, and yeah, I’m sweating profusely in my effort to embrace the season.

It’s time to say good bye to the summertime fruity favorites; strawberries, blueberries, peaches and plums and hello to cranberries, apples, pumpkins and pears. I do love the latter as they harken the start of the holiday season, and all the celebratory family meals ahead of me.

My personal favorite fall fruit is pears. In this gluten-free cake, they are paired with almond meal, sliced almonds and fresh pear puree which results in an overly moist and flavorful cake. I think this Almond Pear Cake-Gluten Free will become one of your go-to desserts for the upcoming season.

Almond Pear Cake

Almond Pear Cake

Almond Pear Cake – Gluten Free

From USA Pears

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Cinnamon Chocolate Coffee Cake

Cinnamon-Chocolate Coffee Cake

Cinnamon-Chocolate Coffee Cake

It’s 12 o’clock at night, and here I stand in the dark over the kitchen sink eating hunks of this Cinnamon Chocolate Coffee Cake. Suddenly the lights flick on, and my son Michael looks at me in surprise or horror, I’m not sure which one and asks “Mom, what in the world are you doing?” Oh, the shame I felt. Yes, caught in the act of scarfing down light and airy cake laced with nuts, chocolate and cinnamon. Since having this cake at my sister-in-law’s house I’ve been obsessed with it, so much so that my family has considered planning an intervention. Okay, I’ll try and get a hold of myself.

As you can see from the picture below, you need not restrict yourself to baking this in a 10-inch tube pan. If you’re feeling wild and crazy, you might want to try baking this cake in mini loaf pans or in mini bundt pans. The choice is up to you. Either way I think you’re gonna love this cake as much as I do. I just hope that if you do get up in the middle of the night to eat it over the kitchen sink, that no one catches you. It’s very embarrassing. Trust me.

Cinnamon Chocolate Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Chocolate Coffee Cake

Cinnamon Chocolate Coffee Cake

From My Sister-In-Law “Wanda”

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Blackberry Cake

Blackberry Cake

Blackberry Cake

It’s practically summertime here in Southern California and there’s beautiful berries everywhere. Everywhere I look from supermarkets, to farmer’s markets and roadside stands all I see are berries. It’s my personal observation that strawberries always seem to get top billing with blueberries and raspberries coming in at a close second. It appears to me that the blackberry just doesn’t get the same notoriety as it’s cohorts. Since today was designated as a baking day, I thought I would show the blackberry a little love and make it the star of this particular baking project.

I found that this cake tasted even better when I added a nice dollop of freshly whipped cream to it and then sprinkled it with a few juicy blackberries. This rustic, homey dessert is best when served warm from the oven.

Blackberry Cake

Blackberry Cake

Blackberry Cake

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Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

As I started to write this post I realized that not everyone would be familiar with polenta, or realize that you could actually use it in a cake. Polenta, a ground cornmeal which can be white or yellow in color, has its origins in Italy. This humble “peasant” food has been a staple of Italian cooking for hundreds, and hundreds of years. And need I remind you that the best food comes from Italy.

This “Mama” is a lover of comfort food and rustic desserts, and that’s exactly what this Polenta Cake is…rustic. It’s simple and straight forward. It’s not overly sweet, and almost gritty in texture, and that’s what I love about it. Imagine if you will that you’re sitting in the hills of Tuscany under an olive tree having a picnic lunch of bread, cheese, olives and wine. This Polenta Cake would be the perfect ending to that meal. I like to top mine with a huge dollop of freshly made whipped cream and my homemade strawberry sauce. As we head into the summer months, I find myself serving this dish quite often at my backyard barbeques’.

Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

Polenta Cake with Citrus

From Women’s Health Magazine

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Carrot Zucchini Cake

Carrot Zucchini Cake

Carrot Zucchini Cake

I bet you’ve been thinking all this time, all this lady ever seems to post about is chocolate. And that would be a pretty accurate assumption. I really do have some kind of a sick obsession with it, but every now and then I love to mix it up a bit and do something crazy like add vegetables to my baked goods. I know, it sounds nuts. Oh, and speaking of nuts, this Carrot Zucchini Cake is not only chock full of vegetables, but bursting with chopped nuts and raisins. I would almost go so far as too call this health food if it were not for the cream cheese frosting that is slathered all over the top of the cake.

Today I’m packing this cake and other necessary rations for a little picnic at a location I call my “happy place”. It’s where I like to go when I need to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s a one hour hike into the Santa Monica mountains to an area they call The Rock Pool. Once there you become acutely aware of how quiet it is. No cell phones ringing, no traffic sounds, just the chirping of birds and the rustling of the wind through the trees, and sometimes the splashing of a few ducks that have taken up residence there.

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Right at the edge of this tranquil pool is a battered, old picnic table where my group and I will enjoy our lunch.  I figure I will have worked off at least 125 calories making this trek so I won’t feel guilty enjoying a generous portion of the cake. I’m glad I found my happy place. I would love to hear where your is. Let me know.

Carrot Zucchini Cake

Carrot Zucchini Cake

Carrot and Zucchini Cake

From Better Homes & Gardens

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Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

It’s so embarrassing to admit, but if I were on a desert island and I could only have one meal it would definitely be a cheeseburger and fries, and chocolate cake, of course. I really only said the cheeseburger and fries for health purposes because I would want to eat a protein and vegetable before I indulged in chocolate cake.

This particular Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese  Filling is one of my all time favorites. Chocolate cake all by itself is pretty great, add a creamy, cheesy filling and a sweet white and semi-sweet chocolate glaze and there you have it, perfection. Okay, so it’s just my idea perfection. It’s a little early, but I’m giving you a heads up for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day brunches. I always make this cake for those holiday’s and have not had an unhappy customer yet. I store this cake loosely covered in the fridge, and it actually taste better after being refrigerated.

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Cream Cheese Filling

From “Land O Lakes”

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