Tag Archives: Cake

Chocolate Cake of My Dreams

I had a dream that involved a chocolate cake. The next day I felt compelled to make one. You can mix this cake faster than your oven will heat up.
Makes one loaf
Shopping List

¼ cup cocoa powder

1½ cup flour

¾ cup sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1 TBL instant coffee

⅓ cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp white vinegar

I had a dream about a meal in a restaurant with self-service dessert. There were two options and someone at our table came back with a piece of cake that didn’t look appealing. My cousin returned with 5 slices of a dark chocolate loaf cake; they were all for her. The cake looked great and I got myself 2 slices. This recipe isn’t quite as good as the cake of my dreams, but I bet if you add some chocolate chips to the recipe it might be!

One more note: I adjusted the original recipe in some minor ways, but in particular, I reduced the sugar. Got a sweet tooth? Add some sugar back in, or add some chocolate frosting, or both.

Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan. Cut a rectangle of parchment paper the size of the bottom of the pan, and place it inside the pan.

In a large mixing bowl, measure

  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1½ cup flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TBL instant coffee
  • ½ tsp salt

In a quart liquid measure or bowl, combine

  • 1¼ cups water
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp white vinegar

Using a whisk (or large spoon if you don’t have a whisk), combine the dry ingredients. Pour all the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until everything is mixed completely. You do not need to beat it a lot, just stir until it’s a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place in the oven. It will take up to 50 minutes to bake, but I’d start checking it after about 40 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out with moist crumbs and the top should spring back when you press on it gently.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack. Remove the parchment paper when you take the cake out of the pan.

Inspired by a recipe (https://cookienameddesire.com/chocolate-loaf-cake/) from the Cookie Named Desire site.

Colonial Poppy Seed Cake

A moist poppy seed cake with a strong taste of poppy seeds.
Makes one 9- by 5-inch or 8¼- by 4½-inch loaf cake

Shopping List

½ cup poppy seeds (2-ounce jar)

¾ cup milk

3 eggs

¾ cup unsalted butter

1¼ cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons baking power

2 cups flour


  • ½ cup poppy seeds (2-ounce jar)
  • ¾ cup milk

Let stand at room temperature three or four hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Let remaining ingredients warm to room temperature.

Place all ingredients in bowl of electric mixer, including poppy seed-milk mixture

  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup softened unsalted butter (should be very soft)
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking power
  • 2 cups flour

Beat at medium speed with electric mixer for one minute, scraping side of bowl with spatula. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan (8¼-by 4½-inch or 9- by 5-inch).

Bake at 350° F for 75 minutes or until center springs back when lightly pressed with fingertip. Insert a toothpick and make sure it comes out clean.

Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes; remove from pan and continue to cool on rack.

  This cake freezes well. The recipe suggests dusting with powdered sugar, but neither Evan nor Bob recommends this. For this, or any recipe, for that matter.

Adapted from Family Circle magazine, August 28, 1979

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

No butter, no oil, no flour: a delicious, moist cake with the flavor of almonds and orange. Served with a marmalade sauce.
Makes an 8-inch or 10-inch cake
Shopping List

2 navel oranges

65g or 100g brown sugar

130g or 200g granulated (white) sugar

4 or 6 eggs

165g or 250g almond flour

1 tsp or 1½ tsp baking powder

orange marmalade

This recipe can make either an 8-inch or 10-inch pan. Whichever you use, ATTNmake sure it is at least 1½ inches high.

Simmer, covered thoroughly in water for 2 hours:

  • 2 navel oranges

Alternatively, place them in a 6-quart pressure cooker with enough water to cover (even if you have to hold them down to measure it) and process at high pressure for 20 minutes. Let pressure release naturally. Discard the water.

Preheat oven to 350º F. Line the bottom of the greased baking pan with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine

  • 65g or 100g brown sugar
  • 130g or 200g granulated (white) sugar
  • 4 or 6 eggs

Process until it forms a fluffy mixture. Cut the cooked unpeeled cooked oranges into 8 pieces. The two oranges I used weighed just over 600g (total) after cooking, so for the 8-inch cake I used only 400g of the orange and discarded the excess. For the 10-inch cake I used the total amount of the oranges. Add the orange pieces to the food processor and process until it has been fully incorporated: you’ll see small pieces of skin floating through the mixture. ATTN For the larger cake I had to process it in two batches.

Combine in a bowl

  • 165g or 250g almond flour
  • 1 tsp or 1½ tsp baking powder

Transfer the liquid mixture to a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake. ATTNYou may need to cover the top loosely with foil if it starts to get too dark. The small cake takes about 45 to 55 minutes. The 10-inch cake bakes in 55 to 65 minutes.  A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes on a rack, run knife around pan and then invert twice (removing parchment paper) and leave it on a rack to finish cooling.

Thin out some orange marmalade with water at a simmer. Let cool. To serve, combine some mascarpone with milk or cream, served on the side of a slice of cake, drizzling the top of the wedge with a spoonful of the thinned marmalade mixture.

Adapted from the Polpo cookbook

Almond Polenta Pound Cake

We love this cake, but getting to this point was a little bit of torture. Read the story at the end of the recipe.
Makes one Bundt or 10-inch tube cake

Shopping List
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter

½ cup (4 ounces) almond paste

1¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 eggs

1½ cups cake flour

¾ cup coarse cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup heavy cream



Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a Bundt or 10-inch tube pan.


  • 6 eggs

Reserve egg yolks. With electric mixer beat egg whites with

  • ¼ cup sugar

until soft peaks form. In an electric mixer, cream together

  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup almond paste
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently. Add all six egg yolks to butter-sugar mixture and blend well. In another bowl, sift together

  • 1½ cups cake flour (or 1½ cups less 3 tablespoons of sifted all-purpose flour)
  • ¾ cup coarse cornmeal (I prefer the consistency of Quaker cornmeal)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

Add to the butter-sugar mixture. Add

  • 1 cup heavy cream

Mix until well blended and set aside.

Fold half the egg whites into the butter mixture and incorporate well. Gently fold in remaining whites and pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake 65 minutes. Cake will be done with the top is golden and is firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the cake will come out clean when cake is completely baked.

Let the cake cool on the rack for ATTN 15 minutes before turning out.

The original recipe calls for one 9-inch pan. When Bob mixed the batter, he knew he had a problem: it couldn’t all fit in one pan. He called the Coyote Cafe restaurant in Santa Fe, asked for the pastry chef, and told her his dilemma. She said, “Oh, the old pastry chef contributed most of the dessert recipes, and many of them have problems.” She even went as far as naming one recipe that should be completely avoided. Her suggestion was a bigger pan and longer baking. This is now one of our favorite recipes.

Adapted from Coyote Cafe, by Mark Miller

Potica Cake

Potica (pronounced poe-TEET-sa) is a delectable Slovenian yeast pastry, filled with cinnamon and nuts. It's a lot of work to make. The flavors of this recipe are reminiscent of potica, with far less work.
Makes one 9-inch tube cake

Shopping List

¾ cup margarine or butter

1½ cups sugar

4 eggs

3 cups flour

1½ teaspoon baking soda

1½ teaspoon baking powder

1 lb. sour cream

1½ teaspoon vanilla

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

½ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Cream, until fluffy

  • ¾ cup margarine or butter

Add gradually

  • 1½ cups sugar

until light. Add, one at a time

  • 4 eggs

and mix well. In a mixing bowl sift (and we really mean   sift, not combine) three times:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder

Add this mixture to the egg mixture in three parts, alternating with

  • 1 pound sour cream

Beat after each addition until smooth. Add in

  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla

Combine, to make filling:

  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Into a greased and floured 9-inch tube pan, alternate layers of batter and filling, starting and ending with batter. When finished, cut through with knife. Bake at 350° F for 75 minutes, or until done. Cool cake 15 minutes before removing from pan.

This comes from a dear family friend, Nell Simala.

Black Cake

Black Cake is made on many Caribbean islands around Christmas and New Year’s. I’d been wanting to make one since I first read about it in Laurie Colwin’s wonderful collection of essays, Home Cooking, but I never felt comfortable with her recipe —  something felt too relaxed, but that’s how most of her recipes are. When The New York Times published an article and recipe about Black Cake, I was inspired. From there, I made some adaptations.

Makes 2 9-inch cakes, 24 servings

At least two days before you’re going to make the cake, and more like ATTN two to twelve months before, combine

  • ½ pound prunes
  • ½ pound black raisins
  • ½ pound currants
  • ¾ pound tart dried cherries (Montmorency preferred)
  • ¼ pound dried bing cherries
  • 2 TBL dried citrus peel
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • ¾ cup Manischewitz Concord grape wine (or cherry brandy)

Place mixture in a glass or plastic container and cover until you are ready to bake the cake, stirring from time to time. There is no need to refrigerate this mixture.

When you’re ready to bake, grind the fruit, adding

  • ⅔ cup blanched almonds
  • additional rum if the mixture is too dry

I used a meat grinder with the finer of two grinding plates and there was no need for additional rum, but whatever you do, ATTN don’t overtax your equipment and burn out the motor. If you need to add extra rum, the cake will just bake longer.

Prepare 2 8- or 9-inch round pans by buttering them and lining the bottoms with circles of parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 250 F.

In a small mixing bowl, combine and set aside

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

In the bowl of a mixer, beat

  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter

until fluffy. Add

  • 1¼ cups dark brown sugar (½ pound)

Then beat in,

  • 5 large eggs, ATTN one at a time
  • zest of one lime
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp Angostura bitters

In a large bowl, combine the batter and the dry ingredients. Add the ground fruit and

  • 3 TBL browning (see note below)

The batter should be a medium-dark brown: it will get darker as it cooks. Distribute the batter between the 2 prepared pans and bake at 250 F for one hour. ATTN Reduce heat to 225 F and bake for another 2 hours. Using a cake tester, check that it comes out clean. Depending on how much liquid was in your fruit mixture, the cake could take up to another hour to finish — but mine didn’t.

Remove the cakes from the oven. Place on racks, and immediately brush with

  • 2 TBL dark rum

Let rest for 10 minutes, then remove cakes from pan and leave on racks to cool completely. Wrap in wax paper and then foil. They will keep, in a cool place for several weeks.

NOTE: Browning is a product that’s used to color gravy, but when you go shopping make sure you don’t purchase something that says “Browning and gravy flavoring” or something like that. The only ingredients in browning is caramelized sugar and water. Browning contains no salt and gravy flavoring does. If you can’t find browning, follow the directions for making burnt sugar in the recipe cited above from the Times.

Orange Date-Nut Diamonds

A Passover dessert that’s good enough to make year-round.

Makes 12 servings

1¾ cups sugar

¾ cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon matzo cake meal

6 tablespoons potato starch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 ounces pitted dates (about 1¼ cups)

1 cup walnuts (about 4 ounces), toasted, coarsely chopped

6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted margarine

6 large eggs

1½ tablespoons grated orange peel


1½ cups sugar

¾ cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

6 tablespoons water

in a heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves; bring to rolling boil. Pour syrup into small bowl. Refrigerate uncovered until cold and thickened, about three hours. (Can be prepared three days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease bottom of 9- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan. Combine

½ cup cake meal

6 tablespoons potato starch

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

in small bowl; whisk to blend. Combine

6 ounces pitted dates (about 1¼ cups), chopped

1 tablespoon cake meal

in medium bowl. Toss to coat and separate pieces. Mix

1 cup walnuts (about 4 ounces), toasted, coarsely chopped

into dates. Separate

6 eggs


6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted margarine, melted, cooled

and 1 cup orange syrup. Add egg yolks, two at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in

1½ tablespoons grated orange peel

then dry ingredients. Stir in date mixture.

Using clean beaters beat egg whites with

½ teaspoon salt

until soft peaks form. Gradually add

¼ cup sugar

beating until stiff but not dry. Fold large spoonful of whites into batter to lighten. Fold in remaining whites in three additions.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack. (Can be made one day ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)

Brush some of remaining orange syrup over cake. Cut cake lengthwise into four equal strips. Cut each strip into three diamonds, reserving remaining cake for nibbling.

Adapted from Bon Appétit magazine

Semolina Cake

Makes 24 pieces

1½ cups regular grade semolina flour (not fine)

2¼ cups sugar

6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

Scant 1½ cups yogurt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon tahini

1½ teaspoons lemon juice

4 teaspoons rose water

4 teaspoons orange blossom water

24 blanched almonds (about ⅓ cup)

In a mixing bowl, place

1½ cups regular grade semolina flour

scant ¼ cup sugar

6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter

Work together with your hands until well blended. Add

Scant 1½ cups yogurt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

Mix well to make a firm batter. Grease an 8- by 12- by 1½-inch pan with

1 teaspoon tahini

Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Flatten it gently with the back of a spoon and cover with a clean dishtowel. Let rest for three hours.

While you are waiting, you can make the syrup, which must be cool before using.


2 cups sugar

¾ cup water

1½ teaspoons lemon juice

in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stir occasionally and let it bubble for 3 minutes. Stir in

4 teaspoons rose water

4 teaspoons orange blossom water

let bubble for just a few seconds and then remove from the heat. Cool before using. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for at least a week.

Back to the cake: preheat the oven to 400°. You will need

24 blanched almonds (about ⅓ cup)

Cut the uncooked cake into 2-inch squares and press one almond into the center of each. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until golden.

Remove from the oven and pour the cooled syrup all over. Let the cake stand for 30 minutes to soak up the syrup. If you think the amount of syrup is excessive, reduce the quantity to your taste. Bear in mind that the cake will take time to absorb the syrup and although it may look as if it’s swimming in syrup to start, it will be fully absorbed within 30 minutes.

Adapted from Mediterranean Street Food, by Anissa Helou

Fresh Ginger Cake

This is a moist, dark cake with an intense ginger flavor.
Makes 10 to 12 servings

Shopping List

1 cup mild molasses

1 cup sugar

1 cup peanut or vegetable oil

2½ cups flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

2 teaspoons baking soda

4 ounces fresh ginger

2 eggs



Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°. Line bottom of 9-inch round cake pan with 3-inch sides or 9½-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.

Mix together

1 cup mild molasses

1 cup sugar

1 cup peanut or vegetable oil

In another bowl, sift together

2½ cups flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

In a small saucepan, combine

1 cup boiling water

2 teaspoons baking soda

Stir. Mix the hot water into the molasses mixture. Stir in

4 ounces fresh ginger, peeled sliced and finely chopped

Gradually whisk the dry ingredients into batter. Add

2 eggs, at room temperature

and continue mixing until everything is thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into prepared cake pan, and bake for about one hour, until top of cake springs back lightly when pressed or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. If the top of the cake browns too quickly before cake is done, drape a piece of foil over it and continue baking.

Cool cake for at least 30 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen it from pan. Invert cake onto a cooling rack, and peel off parchment paper.

  Peel ginger with a potato peeler. Slice finely across the grain before chopping into smaller pieces so you don’t end up with any long threads in the cake.

Adapted from The New York Times (from Room for Dessert by David Lebovitz)

Chocolate Cake with Sour Cherries

Preheat oven to 350 F. In microwave, melt 1 cup butter (2 sticks) and 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces. Let cool a bit.

Drain a jar of sour cherries. I used frozen ones that were defrosted. Make sure they are well-drained.

Separate 6 eggs. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form; set aside. In mixer bowl, combine the 6 egg yolks and 1 cup sugar. Beat until eggs are lemon-colored. Beat in 1¼ cups flour and ½ tsp salt until mixed through. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract, chocolate mixture and egg whites. (I made no effort to fold them in carefully.)

In a buttered 9½ inch spring-form pan, pour in the batter. (I only had an 8½ and so I put some of the batter in ramekins to make small cakes. I’m sure you could use a 10½-inch pan.) Place the drained cherries on top of the cake. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 65 to 75  minutes, depending on the pan. (I suspect in a 10½ inch pan this might be done after as little as 55 minutes.)

Remove from oven, let cool in pan. After 15 minutes run a knife around the outside of the pan but let it complete cooling in the pan.

Serve with whipped cream.

Coffee Cake

Combine 4½ cups flour, 2¼ cups brown sugar, 1½ tsp salt, 2 tsp cinnamon and a generous ¼ tsp nutmeg. Cut in 1½ cups butter. Measure out 3 cups of the mixture and add ½ cup chopped walnuts. In the rest of the mixture, add 1½ tsp baking soda. When mixed, stir in 1½ cups sour cream and 3 beaten eggs. Mix until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour into greased 9×13-inch pan. Sprinkle topping mixture over batter and press down gently. Bake at 350 F for 60 to 65 minutes.

Lemon Cloud Cake

A lemon chiffon cake filled with Lemon Whipped Cream.

Preheat oven to 325 F.

For 9″ cake: With mixer, beat 3 egg whites, ½ TBL lemon juice and (adding gradually) ¼ cup sugar until soft peaks form. Transfer to another bowl. Combine 1 cup flour, ½ cup sugar, 1¼ tsp baking powder and ¼ tsp salt. In mixer beat 3 egg yolks, 3 ounces milk, ¼ cup oil and 2 tsp lemon zest. until pale yellow.

For 10″ tube cake: With mixer, beat 7 egg whites, 1 TBL lemon juice and (adding gradually) ½ cup sugar until soft peaks form. Transfer to another bowl. Combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 2½ tsp baking powder and ¾ tsp salt. In mixer beat 7 egg yolks, ¾ cup milk, ½ cup oil and 4 tsp lemon zest. until pale yellow.

Add dry ingredients and beat about 2 minutes at medium speed. Fold in egg whites, blending thoroughly. Pour into an ungreased spring-form pan (9 inches is ideal). Bake about 50 minutes — don’t open oven until at least 45 minutes have passed. Cake rises and then settles back down. A finger pressed in gently into cake won’t leave a print when it’s done, and you can probably hear a crackling sound, too.

Cool in inverted pan for 30 minutes. If it’s a tube pan, rest inverted pan on a bottle. When completely cool, remove from pan, cut into layers and fill with Lemon Whipped Cream.

Chiffon cake doesn’t get hard in the refrigerator, so you can make and fill this a bit in advance.