CHOCOLATE FUDGE MARBLE CAKE ~ THE PERFECT CELEBRATION CAKE

For the life of me I cannot remember where I adapted this recipe from, but it is a serious home run! It’s actually more sugar than I can tolerate and hubby said it was good, but felt we could go without the fudge layer completely and that it would still be great. I had also added a thin layer of blackberry jam that I will omit next time.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE MARBLE CAKE ~ THE PERFECT CELEBRATION CAKE

This recipe uses 1 batter 2 ways (vanilla and chocolate) swirled with a fudge ripple to create a simply delicious layer cake topped with a fudgy buttercream frosting. This was a scratch recipe that I’ve adapted to use weights trying for a more exact baking science.

VANILLA CAKE BATTER
3 cups all-purpose flour or 390 grams by weight
3 cups granulated sugar or 600 grams by weight
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder or 10 grams by weight
1 teaspoon salt or 5 grams by weight
1 cup butter or 225 grams by weight unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons or 10 grams by weight PURE vanilla extract
1 cup egg whites or 245 grams by weight – about 6 LARGE egg whites
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or 360 grams by weight, at room temperature
1/8 cup vegetable oil or 30 grams by weight

  • Mix together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt) in a stand mixer with a paddle until fully combined.
  • Mix chunks of room-temperature butter slowly into the dry mix, on a low speed. Continue to mix until no large chunks of butter remain, and the mixture becomes crumbly.
  • Pour in egg whites, and mix on low until just incorporated.
  • Mix in the buttermilk in two installments, on a low speed.
  • Add in vanilla and oil, and mix at a low speed until fully incorporated.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula, then beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  • Pour half of the batter (950 GRAMS) into a separate bowl and set aside.

CHOCOLATE CAKE BATTER
1/3 cup or 35 grams by weight unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/4 cup or 50 grams by weight granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon or 2 grams by weight baking powder
1/4 teaspoon or 1 gram by weight salt
1/4 cup egg whites or 60 grams by weight (about 2 egg whites)
1/4 cup or 45 grams by weight buttermilk

  • Whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, 1/4 salt, and baking powder into the remaining batter.
  • Add the egg whites and buttermilk, mixing on a low speed until smooth.

CHOCOLATE FUDGE SWIRL
1 cup or 150 grams by weight MINI semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup or 55 grams by weight unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup or 60 grams by weight heavy cream, room temperature

  • Combine the chocolate chips, butter, and heavy cream into a heatproof bowl.
  • Heat in microwave for two 30-second intervals, stirring in between.
  • Allow the mixture to cool 1 minute, then stir until smooth and set aside to cool.

CAKE PREPARATION

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Line three 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper AND grease with non-stick baking spray.
  • Alternate spoonfuls of vanilla cake batter with the chocolate cake batter into the prepared cake pans, filling them roughly one inch high with batter.
  • Randomly add small dollops about one inch in diameter of fudge swirl on top of the vanilla and chocolate cake batter.
  • Drag an offset spatula or butter knife through the batter in horizontal and vertical lines to create a marbled pattern.
  • Bake for 33-35 minutes until tester comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then run an offset spatula around perimeter of the pan to separate the cake from the pan.
  • Level the cakes with a serrated knife as necessary once they’re fully cooled.

FUDGE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING – if simply icing without fancy decoration halve this recipe.

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter or 325 grams by weight (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
5 1/2 cups or 685 grams powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon or 3 grams by weight salt
1/4 cup or 30 grams by weight heavy cream
1 tablespoon or 15 grams by weight PURE vanilla extract
1/2 cup or 40 grams by weight unsweetened baking cocoa
1/2 cup or 90 grams by weight semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

  • Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth.
  • Mix in the vanilla extract and salt on a low speed.
  • Gradually add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with cream.
  • Mix on low for a couple minutes until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached.
  • If the frosting is too thick, add in more cream 1 tablespoon at a time or if frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time.
  • Mix in baking cocoa powder and the melted chocolate chips.
  • Place half of the buttercream into a separate bowl.

CAKE ASSEMBLY

  • Stack the cake layers on a grease proof cake round or large serving plate.
  • Spread a thin dab of buttercream on the center of the board, to help your cake layer stay in place.
  • Next, center the first cake layer the cake board.
  • Spread an even layer of buttercream onto the cake layer with an offset spatula.
  • Repeat with remaining cake layers.
  • Place the top cake layer upside down.
  • Cover the cake in a thin layer of frosting, and smooth using a bench scraper.
  • Chill the cake in the freezer for about 5 minutes, until the frosting is firm to the touch.
  • At this point you can get creative with your decorating or add a final layer of buttercream smoothing as you go.

NOTES

  • You can make the parts in advance and freeze them to make the process A LOT less tedious.
  • Make your frosting ahead of time too and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Be sure to stir it well to smooth the consistency.
  • You can add a marmalade or berry layer on top of each buttercream layer for a bit of an added oomph!
  • A frosted cake can last in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The buttercream locks in all the moisture, keeping the cake fresh and delicious! If you cut into the cake and have any leftovers, you can use remaining frosting to cover the cut section to keep it moist and store in the fridge for up to a week.

ALTERNATE CHOCOLATE CREAM CHEESE BUTTERCREAM
8 ounces cream cheese – 1 brick, 226 grams by weight, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter – 1 stick, 113 grams by weight, softened to room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar – 455 grams by weight, sifted
3 tablespoons QUALITY cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract

  • Beat the cream cheese, butter until fluffy.
  • Add vanilla and blend until creamy.
  • Add powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt on low until combined.
  • Beat on high 3-4 minutes until smooth, light, and creamy.
  • Decorate as desired.

COBBLER COOKIE PIES

We LOVE cookies and we LOVE pies around here, but with just the two of us pies are too big and cookies don’t always have the summer flavors we’re looking for.  So, WHY not combine them into little cookie pies FULL of flavor AND the crunch of a cookie AND a streusel topping? You can also make your own sugar cookie dough and even use FRESH fruits, but why not go easy on that too?

COBBLER COOKIE PIES
Yield: 12      Prep Time: 15 minutes      Cook Time: 30 minutes      Total Time: 45 minutes

16 ounces package refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1/4 cup sugar
1 can peach pie filling, chopped small***

STREUSEL
3 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons FINELY chopped oatmeal
3 tablespoon PACKED brown sugar
2 tablespoons COLD butter, chopped small
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

GLAZE
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2-3 teaspoons milk

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Divide cookie dough into 12 pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a ball and roll in sugar to coat.
  • Fill a well-greased muffin tin with cookie dough balls and bake for 15 minutes.
  • While cookie cups are baking, chop peach pie filling and prepare the streusel by combining the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and use a fork to blend until the mixture resembles large crumbs. Set aside.
  • Remove cookie cups from oven; press the center of each cookie cup with the bottom of a small glass. I use a small prep bowl.
  • Fill each with peach pie filling and top with a layer of streusel.
  • Return to oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  • Remove from oven, cool completely, and gently remove from muffin tin.
  • Combine powdered sugar and milk; drizzle over cooled cookie cups.

***NOTES:  Any flavor works, but for summer peach or apple is awesome.  I also really like using blackberry or a black and blue berry combo! Today was a berry combo  using strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.

BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE CAKE

BLUEBERRY CRUMBLE CAKE
This wonderfully moist coffee cake is loaded with FRESH blueberries, topped with a delectable brown sugar crumble and  drizzled with a creamy vanilla glaze that hardens as it cools. You’ll end up with a super moist and chewy cake with a crunchy crisp sweet topping.  The glaze is optional and no even really needed! 😀

CRUMB TOPPING
1/2 cup PACKED light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

  • In medium bowl stir all the dry ingredients together.
  • Cut butter into smaller chunks and mix with mixer until combined or using fingers or pastry cutter mix until butter is combined and you can squeeze together to form clumps.
  • Chill mixture until ready to use.

CAKE
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup salted butter, room temperature
3/4 WHOLE cup milk
1 egg, rood temperature
2 cups FRESH** blueberries, washed and dried
1/4 cup WONDRA flour, for blueberry dusting

  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • Spray 9″ springform pan with nonstick spray and if desired, cut out a piece of parchment paper for easier transfer to serving dish.
  • In large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt stirring to combine.
  • Add milk, egg and softened butter, in chunks mixing until mostly smooth and combined. The batter will be thick, but if too thick, add additional 1/4 cup milk.
  • Dust blueberries with WONDRA flour.
  • Gently fold in blueberries into the batter.
  • Pour into prepared 9″ springform pan. If you use a smaller pan for a deeper cake add 10 minutes baking time and if you use a larger pan for a larger shallower cake, decrease baking time by 10 minutes.
  • Remove crumble from refrigerator and crumble on top of coffee cake batter in marble sized chunks.
  • Bake 50-65 minutes until top is golden and center is firm, toothpick may or may not come out clean.
  • Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.
  • Glaze.

GLAZE (optional)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 – 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk or cream

  • While cake is cooling, mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk/cream until smooth and pourable consistency.
  • Pour over top of warm cake for glaze that hardens and melts into cake, or if preferred, wait until cake is cooled completely then pour glaze over.

TO SERVE:

  • To serve, using a butter knife, gently run around the edge of the spring form pan.
  • Transfer to serving platter and enjoy.

NOTES:

  • **Frozen blueberries may be used, if possible thaw and drain, toss gently in a couple tablespoons of flour to coat, that will help the blueberries to not bleed as much.
  • You can substitute any other sliced or diced berries; strawberries, blackberries, raspberries… to make you happy.
  • *Glaze is GREAT, but can definitely be left off the cake and still be flavorful and moist.

 

BROWN BAG APPLE PIE

There are a lot of recipes out there for Brown Bag Apple Pie, but I honestly haven’t found one that compares to grans. ALL of those others will tell you that their pie is the most incredible one! Once again I haven’t found one that compares with gran’s old recipe. I can agree that no matter what recipe you use, the paper bag is THE key ingredient! It truly makes for a crust that doesn’t burn, but is a lightly textured and deep golden flaky crust, sweet and delicately flavored center and a crunchy topping. Don’t forget the luscious vanilla ice cream on a nice warm piece of pie!

BROWN BAG APPLE PIE

CRUST
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons SUPERFINE sugar
6 tablespoons UNSALTED butter
2 ½ tablespoons COLD vodka or more as needed

  • Whisk the flour and white sugar together in a bowl until well-combined.
  • Cut the unsalted butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; sprinkle with the vodka, a little at a time, mixing the dough together lightly with a fork until it barely holds together.
  • Form the dough into a ball and roll it out to a circle about 1/8-inch thick.
  • Gently ease the dough into pie dish, pressing to fit pie pan.
  • Cut off any excess pastry with a knife.
  • Finish the edge of the crust by gently pressing the tines of a fork into the dough all the way around the edge of the pie dish.
  • Set the crust aside.

FILLING
5 pounds Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored and sliced thinly
½ cup PACKED brown sugar
2 tablespoons WONDRA flour
2 teaspoons PURE ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch QUALITY ground ginger
Juice from 1 LARGE lemon
2 tablespoons ginger snap crumbs

  • In a large mixing bowl toss the apples with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and lemon juice.
  • Set aside.

CRUMB TOPPING
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup COLD butter
1/4 cup superfine sugar
1/4 cup PACKED brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons QUALITY cinnamon 



  • Combine the flour, sugars and cinnamon, whisking to combine.
  • Cut in butter pieces until you have a crumbly coarse mixture.


ASSEMBLY


  • Sprinkle the ginger snap crumbs over the bottom of the pie crust evenly.
  • Fill the pie with the apple mixture.
  • Sprinkle the crumb topping mixture evenly over the filling.
  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Place pie in a brown paper bag (grocery size) so that bag is folded over, but not actually touching the pie itself.

  • Bake for 1 hour. DO NOT PEEK while baking.
  • Remove from the oven, carefully remove paper bag from around pie and let cool; serve warm.
  • Store leftovers in refrigerator.


NOTE: ALTERNATE METHOD TO AN ACTUAL PAPER BAG

  • Tear off two 30 inch long pieces of parchment paper.
  • Place them perpendicular to each other on a work surface.
  • Place the filled pie in the center of the two pieces of parchment, bring the paper ends up over the pie and fold and staple the parchment paper over the pie to COMPLETELY enclose and seal in the pie inside.
  • The paper should not touch the top or sides of the pie.
  • Place on a baking sheet to catch any drips.

AUSTRALIAN CHEESECAKE ~ LEMON CHERRY

I found this recipe in an old (1960’s) cookbook put together for a lake area homeowner’s association. I have no idea what makes it “AUSTRALIAN” and Ruth Traum is unknown to me so I can’t even ask her. I tried to do research and found several recipes called “Australian), but none of them said WHY they were “AUSTRALIAN”. Best I can tell it’s just a version of a no-bake cheesecake, but it’s SUPER airy and light.

Ruth’s recipe used lemon jello, but it is a simple thing to change up the flavor to your liking. I mixed a box of cherry and lemon, using only half then and saving the other half for another time. You can also substitute ginger snaps for the vanilla wafers or mix in some pretzels for and extra crunch… The second time I made it I used a combination of lemon and lime on the jello…  The cherry was better, but we’ll try orange next time 😀

AUSTRALIAN CHEESECAKE ~ LEMON CHERRY
1 small box Vanilla Wafers (crushed to make 2 cups of crumbs)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 small box lemon jello
1 teaspoon vanilla
Juice and zest of 1 LARGE lemon + hot water to equal 1 cup
1 LARGE can Carnation milk (VERY COLD) 12 ounces VERY COLD heavy whipping cream
1 can pie cherries in glaze (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Crush wafers and mix with melted butter until well mixed.
  • Press crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8 or 9 inch spring form pan.  If you use the 8 it will COMPLETELY fill the pan.  If you use the 9 inch it provides a couple more pieces, just not as tall. 😀
  • Bake for 10 minutes and then cool.
  • Whisk jello into hot water mixture until dissolved.
  • Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add in jello mixture until well blended.
  • Beat carnation milk with chilled beaters until very stiff.
  • Fold whipped milk into cheesecake mixture and pour into cooled crust pan.
  • Chill AT LEAST 8 hours, but this cheesecake is best made 24 hours in advance!
  • Top with whipped cream or pie cherries and enjoy!

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE
Your favorite pie crust recipe for a double crust
2 1/2 cups chopped FRESH red rhubarb
2 1/2 cups de-stemmed, washed and chopped strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon WONDRA flour
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground QUALITY cinnamon
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter, cubed small
1 egg white beaten with 1 teaspoon water

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, cornstarch, flour, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  • Pour out into chilled crust.
  • Dot the top of the filling with the butter.
  • Brush edges of pie crust with egg white wash.
  • Roll out the other piece of dough and place over filling.
  • Crimp to seal edges.
  • Slice several vents into top to allow steam to escape.
  • Brush with egg white wash and garnish with large granule sugar.
    bake for 15 minutes.
  • Decrease temperature to 375° and bake for an additional 45 to 50 minutes, until the filling starts to bubble.

NOTES:

  • I often like to cook the filling first if the rhubarb is especially tough, but be sure to allow filling to cool COMPLETELY before filling crust.
  • Collar with foil for the first 30 minutes to prevent burning.

ZUCCHINI GINGER CAKE with GINGER CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

ZUCCHINI GINGER CAKE with GINGER CREAM CHEESE FROSTING ala Valerie Bertinelli

CAKE
Unsalted butter, for the pans
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1 ½ pounds zucchini
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 ½ teaspoons QUALITY ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups light brown sugar
4 LARGE eggs
1 ⅓ cups avocado oil
¾ cups whole milk
1 ½ tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 350º.
  • Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
  • Grate the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater, then wrap in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze dry.
  • Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger and cloves together in a large bowl.
  • In a second large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, eggs, oil, milk, fresh ginger, vanilla and grated zucchini. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  • Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans; smooth the tops with an offset spatula.
  • Bake the cakes until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  • Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
  • Use a serrated knife to carefully cut each cake in half horizontally, making four layers. OPTIONAL!

FROSTING
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger, plus a few pieces sliced into thin strips, for garnish

  • Beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until incorporated
  • Beat in the chopped crystallized ginger.

ASSEMBLY (NOTE: – most times I just make a 2 layer cake which really only needs half as much frosting)

  • Place a cake layer on a cake stand or platter.
  • Spoon a quarter of the frosting (about 1 1/2 cups) on top and smooth it evenly with an offset spatula.
  • Stack another cake layer on top; repeat with the frosting.
  • Continue with the remaining cake layers and frosting, leaving the sides of the cake bare. Top with the sliced crystallized ginger.

TENDER WHITE CAKE with BUTTERCREAM or CREAM CHEESE BUTTERCREAM

CAKE
1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
6 large egg whites, room temperature
3 2 3/4 cups + 2 scant tablespoons cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon CLEAR almond extract
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla extract powder
1 1/4 cups WHOLE milk, room temperature
2 ounces avocado oil

  • Preheat your oven to 335ºF.
  • Oil and flour two 8″ x 2″ cake pans or line 18 cupcake tins.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Whisk together milk, oil and extracts. Set aside.
  • Cream butter in a stand mixer until smooth.
  • Add sugar and whip 3-5 minutes on high until light and white.
  • Add in room temperature egg whites one at a time, letting each fully combine after each before adding the next.
  • Add in a third of the dry ingredients, combining well.
  • Add in half of the milk mixture, combining well.
  • Followed by another third of the dry, then the rest of the milk mixture and then the rest of your dry, mixing until just combined.
  • Add batter into prepared cake pans.
  • Bake at 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let cool ten minutes in pan and then turn out cakes onto a cooling rack for another 20 minutes.
  • Wrap cakes warm with saran and place into the freezer to flash chill to lock in the moisture.
  • Once cool, but NOT yet frozen, trim off the brown edges of your cakes and frost as desired.
  • Chill cake.

NOTE: Cake flour makes a much more tender cake, but you can substitute 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour. Cake flour and all purpose flour are NOT an exact substitution.

Everyone needs a good creamy, delicious frosting in the recipe file, but sometimes you need options. So here is a plain buttercream AND a cream cheese buttercream.

BUTTERCREAM
8 ounces egg whites (4-6 extra large eggs) room temperature
32 ounces (8 sticks) unsalted butter
4 cups powdered sugar
32 oz unsalted butter room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon CLEAR vanilla extract

  • Whisk egg whites and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl.
  • Whisk to combine on low then whisk on high, adding in your butter in small chunks, vanilla and salt. Turn mixer up to high and whip until light, fluffy and white.

CREAM CHEESE BUTTERCREAM
4 ounces salted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
pinch salt
1 teaspoon of QUALITY, PURE Vanilla

  • Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a mixer until blended.
  • Add pinch of salt and powered sugar a cup at a time and continue to mix until sugar is WELL incorporated.

CINNAMON CRUMB STREUSEL COFFEE CAKE

Years and years ago I made the Bisquick box recipe of Cinnamon Crumb Streusel Coffee Cake and it was always a BIG hit. But as I progressed to scratch cooking it was apparent that my favorite coffeecake recipe had to be revamped! But, it had to remain moist, full of cinnamon flavor, buttery and with a bit of crunch to the top.

CINNAMON CRUMB STREUSEL COFFEE CAKE
CAKE

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
1 LARGE egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
3/4 cup WHOLE milk

  • Preheat the oven to 350°.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar, scraping down the sides occasionally.
  • Add the vanilla and egg, mix in.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add one half of flour mixture to the mixer, and when mostly combined, add the milk.
  • Once the milk is mostly incorporated, add the rest of the flour. This will be a fairly thick batter.

FILLING
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon QUALITY cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup PACKED brown sugar

  • In a small bowl, using 2 forks or a pastry cutter combine everything until soft crumbs form.

TOPPING
5 tablespoon butter, softened
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup PACKED brown sugar
1 tablespoon QUALITY cinnamon

  • In a small bowl, using 2 forks or a pastry cutter combine everything until soft crumbs form.

ASSEMBLY

  • Grease a 9×9 baking pan.
  • “Pour” in ½ of cake batter, and spread evenly.
  • Sprinkle the filling over top.
  • “Pour” in remaining cake batter, and with an offset spatula spread carefully across the top of the filling.
  • Sprinkle the topping over the top and press lightly so it adheres.
  • If you prefer your streusel to be more distributed, use a knife to create a bit of a swirl throughout the layers.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Cool slightly on wire rack before serving.

NOTE: My dad always would add a pat of butter to the top and let it melt for a few seconds in the microwave when eating it as a leftover 😀

PLUM SLAB PIE ala VALERIE BERTINELLI

PLUM SLAB PIE ala Valerie Bertinelli yield 12 servings

CRUST
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/3 cup cold water, plus more if needed
Cooking spray, for spraying the baking sheet
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 large egg
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

  • Combine the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a food processor and mix until combined.
  • Add the butter and pulse until evenly combined and the size of small pebbles.
  • Pour in the vinegar and pulse 1 to 2 times until just combined.
  • With the food processor running, slowly pour in the cold water, adding just enough for the dough to form a ball. You may not need the entire 1/3 cup of water.
  • Remove the dough from the food processor and form it into a ball.
  • Cut off about a third of the ball so you have a small piece (about 10 ounces) and a larger piece (about 1 pound 6 ounces; see Cook’s Note).
  • Form both pieces of dough into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Spray a baking sheet very lightly with cooking spray.
  • Dust a work surface lightly with flour.
  • Roll the larger disc of dough into a rectangle that is 2 inches larger on all sides than the baking sheet.
  • Roll the dough onto the rolling pin and then unfold it over the baking sheet, gently guiding the dough into the baking sheet and lightly pressing it into the corners, sides and bottom.
  • Refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the pie.
  • Lightly dust the work surface with flour and roll out the smaller disc of dough into a 20-by-12-inch rectangle.
  • Place a ruler along the 12-inch side of the dough and make a mark with a pizza cutter every 1/2 inch. Turn the ruler along each mark and use it as a guide to cut a straight line, making twelve 1/2-inch strips that are 20 inches long.
  • Transfer the strips of dough to a baking sheet, laying them diagonally so they fit and dusting the strips with flour as you lay them down.
  • Refrigerate while you make the filling so the dough does not begin to stick together.

FILLING
6 pounds red plums, cut in 1/4-inch half-moon slices
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons orange zest plus 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 small navel orange)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • In a large bowl, mix together the plums, granulated sugar, cornstarch, almond extract, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, ginger and salt, making sure the plums are evenly coated.
  • Let sit no more than 5 minutes.

ASSEMBLY

  • Evenly spread the filling over the crust on the baking sheet.
  • Lay one of the dough strips diagonally across the baking sheet from one corner to the other.
  • Repeat laying strips parallel to the first piece evenly across the rest of the pie. You can cut strips down to size as you work your way towards the end of the pie, making sure to leave a bit of overhang on both sides.
  • Take every other strip of dough and fold it back over itself so that it exposes a little more than half of the filling. Lay a long strip of dough in the opposite direction, going diagonally from one corner to the other. Fold the dough strips back down and you will begin to see a lattice form. Fold back every other strip of dough that you didn’t fold back before, and then lay another strip of dough diagonally across the pie, working towards a corner. Continue this process until half the pie has a lattice top. Then rotate the pan and repeat the same process on the other side to finish the lattice.
  • Fold the dough hanging over the sides of the pie up and over the edge, tucking the ends of the strips from the lattice top inside. This will ensure the strips of dough stay anchored to the edges of the pie.
  • Crimp the edges of the dough using your pointer fingers and thumb to pinch the dough together.
  • Whisk together the heavy cream and egg and brush evenly over the lattice top and edges of the pie.
  • Sprinkle the entire pie with turbinado sugar and bake until the crust is a deep golden brown and bubbles form towards the middle of the pie, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  • Let cool completely, at least 40 minutes.

COOK’S NOTES

  • I have made this many times and it translates into other flavor profiles EXTREMELY well.  My personal favorite is peach, but I also love it made as cherry!
  • The weights for dividing the dough are approximations!  The weights are totally dependent on several factors – your climate (rain really affects the outcome) as well as how much water you add to the dough. The most important thing is to remember is to divide the dough so you have 1 piece that is twice the size as the other piece of dough.

BANANA CREAM CHEESECAKE

BANANA CREAM CHEESECAKE

CRUST
20 lemon or vanilla cream-filled sandwich style cookies I usually use OREO
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted

  • Finely crush cookies in food processor.
  • Add melted butter, blending until well combined.
  • Press mixture into the bottom of a 10″ springform pan and smooth it out.
  • Refrigerate the crust while you make the filling.

FILLING
3 blocks (24 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup FINE sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3 LARGE eggs
3/4 cup – 2 VERY ripe bananas mashed
1/2 cup whipping cream

2 teaspoons PURE vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Wrap spring form pan with a double layer of foil and place in a deep baking dish or roaster.
  • Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until creamy.
  • Add sugar and cornstarch, blending well.
  • Add eggs one at a time, blending until incorporated before adding additional eggs.
  • Beat in bananas until well blended.
  • Add whipping cream and vanilla, blending until smooth.
  • Pour mixture into crust.
  • Fill roasting pan with hot water halfway up the side of the spring form pan.
  • Bake 15 minutes.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 300°.
  • Bake an additional 60-75 minutes, or until center is almost set.
  • Allow to cool COMPLETELY on cooling rack.
  • Before removing the pan ring, slide a knife around the edge of the cake to separate the cake from the pan cleanly.
  • Refrigerate cheesecake, uncovered, at least 6 hours.

ASSEMBLY
FRESH whipped cream
Caramel Sauce
Fudge sauce
FRESH sliced banana

  • Serve with FRESH whipped cream, caramel sauce, fudge sauce and FRESH sliced bananas.

CARAMEL SAUCE 
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
2+ tablespoons water

  • Combine the cream and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • In a medium saucepan cook the corn syrup over a medium heat until bubbly.
  • Fold in 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue to cook until the edges begin to turn a light amber color.
  • Add in 1/4 cup sugar more and repeat until all the sugar is blended in.
  • Continue cooking until amber color darkens stirring constantly.
  • Remove from the heat and carefully fold in the cream mixture.
  • Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until caramel is bubbling.
  • Serve warm.
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups.

NOTE: Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Microwave 20-30 seconds to soften before serving.

MOCHA HOT FUDGE SAUCE
1/3 cup warm water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
scant 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted & cooled
3 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
2 tablespoons golden rum

  • In a medium saucepan blend together the water, corn syrup dissolving the sugar and cocoa into it until smooth.
  • Bring to a low boil.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until smooth.
  • Gradually add the coffee and rum until desired flavor and consistency is reached.
  • Serve warm.

NOTE: Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Microwave 20-30 seconds to soften before serving.

APPLE PIE CAKE

This was a Bobby Flay French toast recipe, but with a few changes, it’s now a cake!  You could still call it French toast and serve it for Brunch, but it’s yummy enough for dessert too!

APPLE PIE CAKE majorly altered and formerly known as APPLE CRISP FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE ala Bobby Flay

TOAST
1 loaf day-old sourdough bread, crust removed, cut into 1-inch cubes

  • Preheat the oven to 275 °.
  • Spread the bread cubes on a large baking sheet and bake 20 minutes.
  • Let cool.
  • Adjust the oven to 350°.

APPLES
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider, plus more for syrup if needed
Juice of 1 lemon
4 LARGE Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons Coconut Rum
1/2 cup golden raisins

  • Combine the sugar, apple cider, lemon juice and coconut rum in a large saute pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Stir in the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and caramelized, about 15 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to a bowl (you don’t want the apples to be too wet) and let cool 10 minutes.
  • Reserve the apple cooking liquid for serving.
  • Fold in the golden raisins.

STREUSEL
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup crushed walnut pieces

  • While the apples cool mix together the butter, salt and sugar in a large bowl until smooth.
  • Add the flour, oats. crushed nuts and cinnamon and mix until well combined.
  • Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

ASSEMBLY
Softened butter for greasing the baking dish
3 LARGE eggs
2 LARGE egg yolks
1 teaspoon  PURE vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons PURE maple syrup, for apple syrup
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces for syrup

  • Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with some softened butter.
  • Whisk the eggs, yolks, vanilla and cinnamon in a large bowl until smooth.
  • Whisk in the half-and-half, then fold in the cooled apples.
  • Add the bread and stir to coat, pressing down to make sure bread is totally submerged.
  • Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the apple-bread mixture to the buttered 9×13 baking dish, pressing down to make sure the top is an even layer.
  • Scatter the streusel evenly over the top.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Uncover and continue baking until set, slightly puffed and lightly golden brown, another 30 minutes or so.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  • Reheat the reserved apple cooking liquid. (If very thin, simmer briefly over medium heat until reduced to a syrup; if there isn’t much, add some apple cider and simmer briefly.)
  • Turn the heat to low and whisk in the maple syrup and cold butter, piece by piece, until emulsified.
  • Pour syrup over each piece as you serve it.