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Cakes - Coffeecakes

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This makes a huge cake that is cut in squares and each dipped in fondant. It is reminiscent old-fashioned fondant squares, you may have had as a kid at family owned, old-fashioned bakeries. It is only ‘twinkie-esque” in that it is a rich, great yellow-white cake, with a ton of fluffy, bakery style frosting. This makes a huge batch but it freezes well and lasts for days, as fresh each day, each bite, as it is the first day. But if you want less cake, halve the recipe and make it in a 8 by 11 inch pan (but it will also be a less tall cake square, as a result). If you want to skip the fondant dipping, then serve it as a large sheet cake, sandwiched with icing – That way, it is more like a slab of birthday cake but still absolutely amazing. To make this more “twinkie’, use only shortening and artificial vanilla –sorry, but that is some of the commercial aspect of traditional twinkies. I prefer to use almost all natural ingredients (such as butter in the icing) but the choice is yours.

This is a staple that is respun. If you want your banana loaf plain and simple, omit that riveting ripple of coffee nut streusel that streaks through it. If using this streusel, omit the walnuts later on in the cake batter.

Chocolate swirls its way through this moist marbled honey cake.

A great, moist classic carrot cake that, along with Lawsuit Muffins, launched my baking career. The lemon-scented cream cheese icing covers a tall, California health food cafe style layer cake that is still exceptional. In my days as an underground baker supplying restaurants all over the city with this famed cake, I tinted extra cream cheese icing with enough cinnamon to make a cinnamon-hued decorator icing. Originally, this recipe was scaled up to make 50 cakes at a shot. I sold 200-300 a week! (and had the orange tinged carrot fingers to prove it)


Nothing beats gorgeous, ripe apricots in a brown sugar glaze on top of a fresh butter cake. This is so good, I might try it with plums next time. It slices like a dream and is simply the tastes of summer in a cake.

Nothing beats fresh-in-season peaches for this spin on pineapple upside down cake. It features brown-sugar infused peaches as the foundation of a dewy, buttery cake. It is almost a peach tarte tatin, for you invert the cake on a serving platter and the brown sugar, fruit bottom becomes the top, created a sweet, fruity halo atop a gorgeous cake.

A silky, dark chocolate wonder – somewhere between a cake and a torte, this deep, moist cake features fresh raspberries, raspberry eau de vie (if you have it; otherwise use a bit of raspberry extract) and is topped with ganache and dusted with cocoa for a truffle effect. Scharffen Berger semi-sweet chocolate or perfect or any similar high quality chocolate such as Callebaut or Lindt. Garnish with a fresh raspberry or two. For some people, raspberries and chocolate is their fatal attraction. What a way to go......

Pure vanilla paste makes all the difference...
Vanilla bean paste is available from specialty stores or via mail order (i.e. Williams-Sonoma). It makes this cake sublime.

James Beard was very fond of this cornmeal and dried fruit cake which is a sophisticated and beautiful holiday cake. I’ve updated the dried fruit – nixing the currants and figs for yellow raisins and minced California apricots. It is a lovely slicing cake, with a subtle grainy crumb (thanks to the cornmeal), beautiful color, and very Old World in a Mediterranean, versus Dickens sort of way.

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