jelly doughnuts

Blueberry Jelly and Plain Sugared Doughnuts

I’ve been experimenting with yeast-y things like doughnuts–because they’re fun. I found this recipe from NY Times Cooking, and it looked straightforward enough. However, my first batch was a disaster because I forgot the eggs. So I started over with another batch but could not get the dough to clean the sides of the mixing bowl. It was horribly sticky. I ended up adding 10 tablespoons flour, 2 at a time,  to the mixer and when it started to come together, dumped it out onto a floured board where I added 2 more tablespoons of flour because it was still unmanageable. I was sure the doughnuts were inedible, so I was pleasantly surprised when they turned out soft, pillowy, and tender. I made a few with blueberry jelly–it was all I had in the pantry. Feeling bolder, I made a third batch and experimented with two different fillings: young coconut cream and spiced jujube compote. I still have to work on my technique; getting an even color in frying and making fillings that are strong enough in flavor to stand out. This is a work in progress! So here is Mr. Bittman’s recipe with my notes attached:

Reading from top to bottom: doughnuts filled with young coconut cream and spiced jujube compote

Jelly Doughnuts (Mark Bittman at NY Times Cooking)

Yield: 12 doughnuts
Time: 3 hours

1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 eggs, room temperature
8 tablespoons (110 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup caster sugar plus 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/4 cups (544 g) all purpose flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
2 quarts vegetable oil for frying, plus more to oil the bowl
1/4 cup granulated sugar for coating the fried doughnuts

Special equipment: a candy thermometer, piping bag

Heat the milk until it reaches a temperature of 90˚F/32˚C. In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer, pour in the milk and combine it with the yeast. Stir lightly and let sit until the mixture becomes foamy on top, 5-7 minutes.

To the yeast mixture, add the eggs, melted butter, 1/4 cup sugar, salt. Fit the dough hook attachment to the mixer. Add 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of the flour (272 g) and beat until combined. Add the rest of the flour mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. .If the dough is too wet, Mr. Bittman says, add more flour, 2 tablespoons at a time.

Baker’s Note: Unfortunately, he doesn’t say how much flour is the maximum allowed, but I added 10 tablespoons without detriment.

If the dough becomes too thick to beat, transfer it to a floured surface and gently knead it until smooth. Grease a large bowl (aka the mixing bowl) with a teaspoon of oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover it. Let rise at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Baker’s Note: I’ve used the microwave oven (off, of course) as a proofing box. Put the covered bowl in the microwave with a cup of boiling water to create a humid environment.

While the dough is proofing in the bowl, prepare the fillings (see note at the bottom How to Prepare Jelly Fillings for Filled Doughnuts). Line two baking trays with parchment paper that has been generously sprinkled with flour. You don’t want the risen doughnuts to stick to the paper, as they can become misshapen and deflate when you transfer them from the tray to the hot oil.

Baker’s Note: I saw a YouTube video with Michael Lim who put each doughnut on individual squares of unfloured parchment to rise. Once risen, he slipped the doughnut on the paper into the hot oil. The paper slipped off during frying and he simply fished it out.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and sprinkle a little flour on top. Because I have a small work surface, I cut the dough ball in half and put one half back in the bowl covered with plastic. Then roll the dough out on the work surface to 1/2 inch thickness. Use a 3 inch cookie cutter to cut out the circles.  I used a 4 inch cookie cutter to cut out 8 circles. Don’t twist the cutter because you want to get a straight edge for the doughnuts to puff up when they fry. Gently knead any scraps together to form a ball, and let it rest, covered with plastic, for 30 minutes before cutting out more dough circles. These re-kneaded scraps will not have the height of the first roll-out of doughnuts. Repeat with remaining dough.

Baker’s Note: Lesson: try and get as many doughnuts as possible from the first roll.

Put the cut dough circles on the prepared baking sheets so that there is at least an inch of space between each circle. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let rise in a warm place until they are slightly puffed up, about 45 minutes. The baking trays won’t fit in the microwave oven, so if your kitchen isn’t warm, heat the oven to 200˚F/93˚C. Turn off the oven and put the baking sheets inside, leaving the oven door slightly ajar.

Fifteen minutes before the dough has completed its second rise, heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat to a temperature of 375˚F/191˚C. Prepare a large platter layered with paper towels to drain the hot doughnuts. Fill a shallow bowl with 1/4 cup sugar to coat the hot doughnuts. Prepare 3-4 loaf pans for stacking the sugared filled doughnuts.

Baker’s Note: It’s a lot of oil, I know. Anybody knows how long to store used oil?

Use a metal spatula to lift the delicate risen doughnuts from the parchment and slip them into the hot oil. Depending on the size of your pot, add 4-6 doughnuts at a time. They should not crowd each other. After 45 seconds to a minute, when the bottoms are deep golden, flip the doughnuts over to cook the other side for 30 seconds. When the doughnuts are golden brown on the second side, use a skimmer or a spider to remove them from the hot oil to the paper-towel lined platter to cool.

When the doughnuts have cooled for about a minute, coat them in sugar and stack them in a loaf pan to await filling. You want to sugar the doughnuts while they are still hot so the sugar adheres to the surfaces.

Baker’s Note: After frying a batch of doughnuts, pause to let the oil come back up to temperature. While the oil is heating up again, sugar the doughnuts.

Fill the doughnuts about 10 minutes after they have been coated with sugar, when they will be cool enough to handle. Make sure the fillings are at room temperature. To fill the doughnuts, use a chopstick or a plastic straw to make a hole in the side of the fried doughnut. Wiggle it around slightly to enlarge the hole, but be careful not to pierce through the doughnut. Snip off the tip of the piping bag and fill. Insert the tip into the hole and squeeze the piping bag gently until some of the filling just oozes out the top of the filled doughnut. Stack the filled doughnuts upright back in the loaf pan to keep the filling from dripping out and letting the doughnut finish cooling

Baker’s Note: If you haven’t got a small round icing tip for filling the doughnuts, some people improvise with a two-inch tip of a plastic straw. However, it doesn’t work with jelly fillings which are viscous.   I did not use any icing tip for the second batch of doughnuts. I found the filled piping bag was stiff enough; just squeeze the filling from the top to the tip.

How to Prepare Jelly Fillings for Filled Doughnuts:

The easiest filling of all to use is a jar of jam, jelly, or preserves. Spoon the jam, jelly, or preserves into a small saucepan to heat until it becomes a thick liquid. If using jam or preserves that have fruit pieces in them, strain the heated liquid and discard the fruit pieces. Spoon the thickened liquid into a piping bag and let it rest on a plate to cool to room temperature. Use a tie clip to cover the top so the filling won’t spill out. Don’t snip the end of the bag until ready to fill the doughnuts.

Note: my test audience (my family) did not like the coconut cream and spiced jujube fillings so I have not included the recipes for those fillings here. Back to the stovetop to experiment!

Magi-Cake®strips really work!


No dome, no crisp edges, even browning and baking all over! So easy to use–just soak a strip in water then pin it around the sides of the cake pan, pop it in the oven, and wait for cake. Today,  I made a Cocoa Layer Cake for Lek’s birthday.

Cocoa Layer Cake (original baker unknown)
Prep time: 25 minutes
Baking time: 25 minutes
Cooling and frosting time: 60 minutes

170g or 3/4 cup butter at 60˚F
281g caster sugar or 250g (1 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150g or 1 1/2 cups cake flour
4 oz or 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (volume)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350˚F/180˚C. Butter and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.

Cake Baker’s Notes: To prepare the pans I melted 1 tablespoon butter and mixed in 1 tablespoon flour. I brushed this mixture all over the bottom and sides of the pans. You can also use two 8 inch round pans or one 13×9 inch oblong cake pan.

In a large bowl, beat butter 10 seconds on medium high speed. Scrape down the bowl. On medium speed, gradually add sugar (1 minute). Increase speed to medium high and continue beating 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl once halfway through. Slowly (1-1 1/2 minutes) beat in eggs and vanilla until blended.

Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture alternately with milk, starting and ending with flour. Beat until blended. Pour batter into prepared pans. Gently tap on the counter-top to eliminate air bubbles. Smooth tops.

Bake in preheated oven 25-35 minutes or until the centers spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in pans on wire racks 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks. Fill and frost as desired. I recommend half a recipe of Ina Garten’s chocolate buttercream frosting.

Cocoa Layer Cake
Cocoa Layer Cake



avocado marble cake

avocado marble cake

Avocado Marble Cake (adapted from Cake Whiz)
There is very little fat in this cake. I think the avocado must replace most of the fats. It has a light, chocolate-y flavor with a moist tender crumb and a crisp baked exterior. The cake is merely pale green after it is baked.

For the avocado cake batter, have at room temperature:
1 ripe avocado (processed into a smooth paste so there are no lumps)
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup nonfat milk
1/2 cup whipping cream (or evaporated milk)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

For the chocolate batter to create the “marbling” effect:
1 1/2 cup avocado cake batter (same as above)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4-5 tablespoons whipping cream (more or less may be needed to make batter smooth)
5 tablespoons sugar (omitted)

Preheat the oven 350˚F. Spray cooking spray inside two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans. Into the workbowl of a food processor, scrape the avocado and puree it into a smooth paste so there are no lumps. Scrape the pureed avocado into a deep mixing bowl. Then add the sugar and blend.

Add eggs, one at a time, to the avocado and blend until smooth. Continue mixing for about 3 minutes until the batter becomes green and creamy. Depending on the ripeness of the avocado, and how fast it oxidizes at room temperature, the mixture may turn from light green to the color of your grandmother’s 70s style avocado-green refrigerator.

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix milk, whipping cream, and vanilla. Now add the flour mixture alternating with the milk mixture. Scrape down the bowl after each addition.

On low speed, add one-third of the flour mixture to the avocado-egg mixture until just incorporated. Add half of the milk mixture and mix until just blended. Add half the remaining flour until just blended. Add the remaining milk until just blended. Add the rest of the flour, mixing until just blended. Scrape down the bowl for the last time.

Now, scoop out 1 1/2 cups of this avocado cake batter and put it in a separate bowl. Add cocoa powder, sugar (omitted) and cream. Mix with a wire whisk until the batter is smooth.

Pour avocado cake batter into prepared loaf pans. Fill them a little less than half-way each.

Now, add random spoonfuls of chocolate batter on top of the avocado cake batter.

Run a small spatula in a figure eight through the batter to create a “marbling” effect. Tap pans lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles.

Cake Baker’s Note: If you’re using a pan with a dark nonstick finish, reduce heat 25˚ and test the cake after 35 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Insert a thin blade around the edges to release the cake from the sides of the pan. Remove the cake from the pan and let cool completely right side up on the cooling rack.

Cake Baker’s Note: If you are not going to eat the cake right away, wrap cooled cake airtight in plastic wrap and store covered on the counter top 2 days.

lemony cream cheese coffee cake

lemony cream cheese coffee cake

This is definitely a keeper. And a work in progress! The cake had a tender moist crumb with the pleasant tang of lemon throughout. The topping was crunchy, sugary, and at the same time, lemony. I think that filling needs some sweet strawberries as contrast with that tangy lemon.  I feel I need to work out the problem with the pan and then I might solve the problem of the crusty exterior.

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)
Serves 12-16

Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes

For the Cake, have at room temperature:
2 1/4 cups (11.25 oz) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/8 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (7.75 oz) plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups sour cream

For the Filling, have at room temperature:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons lemon juice

For the Topping, have at room temperature:
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven 350˚F. Prepare 1 tube pan.

Cake Baker’s Note: the original recipe said to spray the pan with cooking spray. This pan should have “feet” so that it can cool upside down elevated off the counter top. In the ATK video, they were using a one-piece pan with a dark nonstick finish. I have a shiny aluminum 2 piece pan. When I unmolded it, the cake fell out of the pan because of the cooking spray. The next time I make this, I will not spray the pan.

In a large bowl, add 2 1/4 cups flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add butter and sugar and lemon zest to the mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Add 4 eggs one at a time until well blended. Add vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined after each addition. Add 1/3 of the flour to the batter in the bowl, mixing on low speed. Add half the sour cream and blend. Add half the remaining flour and mix. Add the rest of the sour cream and beat together. Mix in the remaining flour. Remove the mixing bowl and stir by hand with a spatula to incorporate the flour. Remove 1 1/4 cups batter and set aside. Don’t wash out the mixing bowl or the paddle.

Place large dollops of the remaining 2/3 batter in the bowl into the prepared pan, evenly spreading the batter with an offset spatula.

Make the cream cheese filling. To the mixing bowl, add cream cheese, 5 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 4 teaspoons lemon juice. Mix on medium speed 1 minute until creamy. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved batter and blend.

Cake Baker’s Note: If you wish, fold  1/2 cup chopped strawberries into the cream cheese filling.

Add the filling to the top of the cake batter in dollops. Use the off set spatula to spread the filling almost to the edge. Add the last cup of batter to cover the cream cheese filling, spreading it with the offset spatula. Swirl the batter with the tip of the offset spatula using a figure eight motion while turning the pan one-quarter turn until one circuit is completed. Tap the cake pan on the counter firmly 3 times to remove air bubbles and settle the batter.

For the topping, combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest, with 1/2 cup slivered almonds. Use your fingers to mix the topping ingredients. Spread on top of the cake, lightly pressing the topping mixture into the batter so it won’t fall off after baking.

Bake 45-50 minutes in the preheated oven or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. It might have crumbs on it because of the filling. Another test is to lightly press the top. It should spring back and you shouldn’t see your fingerprint in the top. Invert the cake in the pan over a rimmed baking tray with a cooling rack and cool in the pan 1 hour.  Cool in the pan 20 minutes or until it is cool enough to handle the pan to remove the sides and bottom–if it is a two-piece tube pan. It isn’t necessary to invert the pan. Cool thoroughly 1 1/2 hours before slicing and serving. If you’re not going to eat it right away, wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap airtight and store in the refrigerator. Bring the cake to room temperature before slicing and serving.

Cake Baker’s Note: If the tube pan does not have “feet” stick a funnel in the center tube and invert the pan over the funnel so the cake is elevated off the counter. Cool in the pan as directed.

lemony cream cheese coffee cake

banana bread with rum and almonds and turbinado sugar topping

banana bread

On a whim, I added rum to this recipe. This is my favorite recipe for banana bread that originally came from Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cookbook. Over the years I’ve tinkered with it and it has stood up remarkably well to the indignities to which it was subjected by an inexperienced baker.  For example, I once reduced the amount of sugar in it by one-third. That was a bad idea because the result was not as tender nor as sweet. One early departure from the original recipe was to use a slightly smaller loaf pan size than the 9-inch pan in the original recipe. I like a taller loaf. Encouraged, I kept experimenting with the recipe. I have used brown sugar when I ran out of white, which was great. The bread simply was a darker color because of the substitution.   I’ve thrown raisins in but I prefer it with dried cranberries, which are slightly tart instead of super-sweet, and bake up plump and moist. This time I’ve splashed rum into the batter, and I added a topping of sugar and almonds. The result of this latest experimentation baked up wonderfully moist with a fine crumb and a crunchy caramelized topping.

Banana Bread with Rum and Almonds and Turbinado Sugar Topping

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup superfine sugar
2 eggs well beaten
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries, optional
3 tablespoons dark rum, optional

1/4 cup turbinado or brown sugar
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350˚F and grease one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch pan or four two 7×4 inch mini-loaf pans. Spray with cooking spray to cut down on calories.

Cake Baker’s Note: If the pan has a dark non-stick finish, reduce the heat to 325˚F

Sift together the dry ingredients: flour(s), baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

Cream the shortening, adding sugar gradually. Cream until light and fluffy. Add the rum, if using. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well blended. If using raisins or cranberries, add to the bananas. Add the flour, mixing until just blended, alternating with half the bananas-raisin/cranberry mixture. Mix in half the remaining flour then add the rest of the bananas-raisin/cranberry mixture. Finally, add the rest of the flour. Do not over mix.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Use your fingers to mix the topping and lightly press it into the top of the batter. Bake 50 minutes or until done. [40 minutes in a convection oven]

Cake Baker’s Note: If the pan has a dark non-stick finish, test the bread after 45 minutes. If the tester comes out clean, remove the pan from the oven.

banana bread

hawaiian paradise cake, version 1.0

hawaiian paradise cake

Since I discovered this recipe on a few months ago, I’ve been so intrigued, not only by the colors but also the concept. It’s actually a chiffon cake baked in layer pans instead of the traditional angel food cake tin. And ever since I saw it, I’ve been planning how to make it.

This is a copycat recipe, so called because it attempts to duplicate a famous recipe, in this case the signature cake of King’s Hawaiian Bakery & Restaurant in Torrance, California, whose recipe, unfortunately,  is a secret. King’s Hawaiian Bakery’s technicolor cake originally featured three layers: guava, passion fruit, and lime. The top layer is pink, the middle is orange, and the bottom is green.

I had intended to bring the nectars for the cake with me from New York but I forgot. So I had to go with the juices available here in Bangkok. The top layer is strawberry, the middle is orange, and the bottom is guava. In Thailand, guava is a bland green fruit  known as farangIt is eaten sliced with a spicy dip prik kleua or chili-salt which names two of the three main ingredients in this dip, the other being sugar. But I digress.

I wanted this cake to be made with all natural ingredients. So I brought natural food colors with me from Whole Foods in New York. As you can see, the colors are not as vibrant as the artificial food colors. I did not want to use artificial flavoring so I used the zest of the farang and the zest of an orange to boost the flavor of the juices in those layers.

So with the dissertation drafted and submitted to my sponsor and committee just before New Year’s Eve, I decided to try this recipe today.  The strawberry flavor is distinctive, and so is the orange, but unfortunately, the farang flavor is barely there. I loved the whipped cream icing–light and slightly sweet without being overpowering. I call this version 1.0 because I am quite sure I am going to tinker with this recipe again until it is perfection.

Have at room temperature:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 1/4 cups flour plus 1 tablespoon
2/3 cups white superfine sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup (2 oz) key lime juice
1/4 cup (2 oz) guava nectar
1/4 cup (2 oz) passion fruit nectar
5 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoon each flavoring, optional
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
liquid food coloring: yellow, red, and green (I recommend natural food coloring)
8 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup white superfine sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Get 6 mixing bowls together and 3 eight- inch spring form cake pans, preferably non-stick.  Do not grease and flour the sides or the bottoms. Set aside.

Cake Baker’s Note: I had followed the original recipe and greased and floured three 9-inch cake pans. Mistake. Chiffon cakes are too delicate to bake in greased pans.  They sag under their own weight. Better to use ungreased springform pans.

2. In a large bowl, sift flour with 2/3 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a second bowl, beat together oil, water, yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest until just combined. Mix yolk mixture into flour mixture until smooth. The consistency will be thick, like cookie dough. Divide the batter into thirds and place in separate bowls. In one bowl of batter, add the key lime juice. In another, add the guava nectar. In the third, add the passion fruit nectar. Add flavoring, if using. Next, add the food coloring: green for the lime layer, red for the guava layer, and orange for the passion fruit layer. Make the colors darker because the addition of the egg whites will lighten the batter. Do not mix until the nectar/juice, flavoring, and coloring have been added.

Cake Baker’s Note: Here’s a sampler for mixing colors–
Orange: 2 drops yellow, 1 drop red (passion fruit, mango)
Green: 1 drop yellow, 3-4 drops blue (farang/guava, lime)
Yellow: (banana, pineapple)
Red: (guava, strawberry)

I unintentionally over-mixed the orange and guava layers, which is why they are not as fluffy as the pink layer. I should have mixed the colors separately and then added them to the batter. I used about 5 drops red for the pink layer, a total of 9 drops for the orange, and after mistakenly adding red to the green, I think 9-12 drops will do it. I omitted the lemon zest and added 2 teaspoons orange zest to the orange layer and 1 tablespoon farang/guava zest to the farang/guava layer.

3. Using a clean bowl and beaters free of grease, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Slowly add the 1/2 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Divide the whipped egg whites by thirds and add each third to the batter. Fold. Pour each one into a prepared cake pan.
4. Put each pan in the oven. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove pans from the oven and place upside down on wire racks to cool completely. Re-invert pans and run a thin sharp blade around the edges to loosen the cake. Remove the sides. Invert the cake and remove the bottom using a sharp thin blade. Insert the blade between the cake and the pan bottom and press away from the pan. Once the cake is released from the pan bottom, re-invert the cake for filling and frosting.
5. Fill and frost with whipped cream icing and glaze with fruit syrup (recipes to follow).

Fruit Syrup

1/4 cup light corn syrup
2/3 cup white superfine sugar
1/2 cup nectar or juice
5 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water

Mix the corn syrup and juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. In a small bowl, mix water and cornstarch until dissolved. Mix cornstarch mixture with sugar/juice mixture. Let cool. You can also put this in the fridge for 45 minutes to speed up the process

Whipped Cream Icing

1 8-oz package cream cheese, at room temperature (reduced fat will work too)
1/2 cup white superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups heavy cream

Combine cream cheese, sugar, and extracts in a mixer. While the mixer is running on medium speed, add the cream. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fill and frost the cake then refrigerate it until ready to slice and serve.

Serving suggestion:
Slice the cake and spoon the fruit syrup over each slice just before serving. Serve each slice with a spoonful of fresh fruit, such as sliced berries, mango, and kiwi.

teddie’s apple cake


Teddie’s Apple Cake (from Food52)
I’m stuck. It’s the last chapter, the conclusion, and I’m stuck. I’ve taken numerous breaks; sorted my jewelry, did the laundry, and I baked this cake. We’re going to a friend’s house in Chaeng Wattana for dinner tonight, and I’m bringing the dessert. It’s filled with almonds and apples. I don’t know who Teddie is but this bundt cake filled the house with the warm smell of apples baking. I haven’t tried all the variations yet, but I put them in there because I think caramel sauce or a vanilla hard sauce are perfect accompaniments for a warm apple cake. Thanks, Teddie.


  • 1 tablespoon butter for greasing pan
  • 3 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting pan
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups peeled, cored, and thickly sliced tart apples like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (substitute almonds or pecans), if using
  • 1 cup raisins (substitute cranberry raisins), if using
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (optional)
  • Confectioner’s sugar (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter and add 1 tablespoon flour. Grease and flour one 9-inch tube pan with the mixture. Set aside.
  2. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) while assembling the remaining ingredients. After about 5 minutes, add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy.
  3. Sift together 3 cups of flour, the salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir into the batter. Add the vanilla, apples, walnuts (if using) and raisins/cranberry raisins (if using) and stir until combined.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Tap pan lightly on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes before removing.  Dust the top of the thoroughly cooled cake with confectioner’s sugar, if desired. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.


  • Instead of whipped cream, serve the cake with crème fraîche. To make crème fraîche, in a large bowl, add 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup sour cream, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Whip until stiff peaks form. Serve by the spoonful with the cake. Refrigerate any leftovers.
  • Top with a caramel glaze.
    • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
    • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 3/4 to 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

Put the butter in a medium saucepan with the brown sugar, cream and salt and set over medium heat. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute exactly, and then pull it off the heat.

Leave the pan to cool for a couple of minutes, and then gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until you have a thick, but pourable consistency (you may not need all the sugar). If the mixture seems too thick, just add a splash of cream to thin it out a little. Immediately pour the glaze over the cake, moving slowly and evenly to cover as much surface area as possible. Let the glaze set before serving the cake.

  • Top with vanilla hard sauce.
    • 1 cup half and half
    • 1 stick unsalted butter
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the sauce: combine the half-and-half, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar and butter are melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Serve the sauce warm over the warm pudding.

caramel apple cake

caramel apple cake

Caramel Apple Cake
Years ago, one of Andy’s co-workers at Allen-Bradley in Cedarburg, WI, gave me this recipe. It’s always been a favorite at our house–on any continent!  It’s great with coffee or tea as a morning coffee cake, or add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve it as a dessert. It’s great warm or cold and it’s sticky and sweet! The caramel sauce–which I halved–is very rich. But that’s its appeal, that sinful richness that we gladly pay for later?

1 cup vegetable oil ( I used half almond oil and half canola oil)
2 cups  superfine sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups apples, peeled, cored, sliced (use any crisp sweet apple such as Gala)
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Caramel Glaze (I recommend halving the following recipe)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and add 1 tablespoon flour. Mix well. Use this butter-flour mixture to grease and flour one 9×13 inch pan.

Combine oil and sugar. Add eggs, salt, vanilla. Sift flour and baking soda together Add flour mixture to sugar mixture in three additions. By hand, stir in apples, walnuts (if desired) and 1 tablespoon flour. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Tap pan lightly on the counter to settle the batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until done. Remove the cake from the oven.

Make the caramel glaze while the cake is still hot. To make caramel glaze, melt butter in a saucepan. Add sugar and milk and stir until blended and all lumps have dissolved. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Pour at once over the cake. Slice into squares and serve.

caramel apple cake

diamonds and white velvet cake

In honor of my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary I made this cake I called “Diamonds and White Velvet.” Its base is a butter cake recipe adapted from The Cake Bible (1988) topped with a Quick Butter Cream Frosting and handfuls of coarse sugar patted all over for a sparkly effect! My sister wrote to the Queen and the Governor General of Canada, and both sent congratulatory messages.

We had quite an eclectic celebration menu. Everybody brought something! To start,  I made roasted garlic crostini and Dad made Jamaican shrimp fritters. Ardis made pork and egg, a Chinese family-style dish that’s a favorite. Dexter made caesars, a drink made with clamato and vodka.  Meng brought fish with vegetables in a spicy red sauce, and savory green beans, both Chinese. I also roasted a chicken with garlic and potatoes, made broccoli with orzo,  and sauteed spinach in lemon juice and onions. For dessert, we had this cake and rum-spiked fruit salad with mulled apple cider cocktails.

White Velvet Butter Cake (adapted from The Cake Bible)

4 1/2 egg whites (4 oz.)
1 cup milk
2 1/4 tsp. vanilla
3 cups sifted cake flour (3/4 cup all purpose flour+2 tablespoons cornstarch = 1
cup cake flour)
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
Quick butter cream frosting
4 oz coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease two 9×2 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper then grease again and flour. Set aside.

In a medium bowl lightly combine the egg whites, milk and vanilla. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk lightly and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat until just combined. Add half the egg mixture and beat until just moistened. Scrape down the sides. Add half the remaining flour and beat until just combined. Add the remaining egg mixture and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides. Add the rest of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. There should be faint streaks of flour in the batter. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pans will be half full. Shift the pans back and forth on the counter top to release any air in the batter. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and invert onto greased wire racks. Remove the parchment paper. To prevent splitting, re-invert so that the top is up and cool completely before wrapping air tight for frosting. Frost with vanilla butter cream.

Decorate the frosted cake with coarse sugar. One-half cup (4 oz) will be just enough to decorate 2 frosted nine-inch layers. Place the cake on a wire cooling rack over a rimmed baking tray and pat handfuls of sugar all over the frosting. Re-use any sugar that falls through the rack onto the baking tray.

Quick Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream or milk, if needed.

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream/milk and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

This is not too sweet. The frosting changed from yellow to white in the first three minutes. It was beautiful!

Here’s the recipe for the mulled apple cider cocktails:

Mulled Apple Cider Cocktails (by Alex Guarnaschelli in Food Network magazine)

1 quart apple cider (I used apple juice)
3 cinnamon sticks
1 knob fresh ginger, smashed
3 whole cloves
pinch of nutmeg
1 firm red apple (e.g. Rome, Fuji, or Gala), cut into small cubes
1 firm green apple (e.g. Granny Smith), cut into small cubes
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 cup sugar (can leave out sugar if using ginger ale, I think)
1x750ml bottle dry cava or other dry sparkling wine (can substitute ginger ale)

Stir the cider, cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until reduced by half, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool, then strain.

In a large bowl, toss the apples, lemon juice, and sugar. Add to the cider and refrigerate until chilled. When ready to serve the cocktails, fill champagne flutes about halfway with the cider mixture and top with the cava. Stir and serve.