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Cakes - Coffeecakes

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I saw versions of this unusual, multi-layered pastry like cake for years. When a baking acquaintance gave me her sister’s Rosette’s recipe simply inscribed as “Mrs. Peterson’s Vinartera or Iceland’s National Cake,. I was inspired to finally give it a whirl. In the end, I fiddled and adjusted with that recipe and the others I researched but I think kept the concept of Icelandic prune cake intact. This is an easy cake, a great keeper, and most unique. Prune is the traditional filling but I have made it with apricot filling or alternated apricot and raspberry preserves. This is superb with tea or afternoon coffee.This is decidedly European and a one-of-a-kind treat that could become your trademark. The Lemon Glaze is optional but a nice touch - in a café, such a dessert would fare a lot better with the sides neatly slicked up with this easy coating.

Vintage baking at its best. This cake turned up in a supermarket frozen food section. It seemed to be a buttery, low slung pound cake with a buttery glaze and was made with fruit cocktail. Too weird – had to have been a classic somewhere to pop up in this fashion. Yes, it is a classic. I found versions of Fruit Cocktail cake in a ton of cookbooks – often with no measurements for the canned fruit and too much soda. I tweaked and perfected and the result is this toothsome little cake that whips up in seconds. It is almost almost a bastardized baba au rhum or savarin but done Americana style: easy and great.

What a cake! There are tons of pineapple cakes and each is quite different. Year ago, I had a request for this cake. But the requestor only gave me some minimalist comments about the essential cake elements  i.e. the cake feataures pineapple and a condensed milk topping that is poured over the warm cake as it comes out of the oven. Based on those brief notes, I created a vintage pineapple cake that is great hot, warm or cold and is an old school recipe that is so darn good, it's timeless. You also have a choice of putting on the brown sugar and nuts before it is baked or in the batter.

A Ben Stiller film about Walter Mitty, that timid Thurber character featured a riveting clementine cake. It’s too difficult to explain the cake’s context in the movie but it was pivotal. I came away wondering how to make my own Clementine Cake, one that is bursting with the scent and flavor of sweet clementines, buttery toasted almonds and topped with a unique, zesty clementine frosting, garnished with delectable candied clementine slices. Clementine Cake seems rooted in an old-time coffee cake called Kiss-Me Cake which was a Pillsbury bake-off winner decades ago. It’s still a winner. Serve this with a pot of Assam or spice tea, or a scoop of orange sherbet for a springy dessert. is the source for the pure orange and tangerine oil.

Enjoy the scent of sweet oranges and almonds in this dynamite little cake. I recommend a dollar store  8-inch springform pan to bake it in but a 8 or 9 inch layer or square pan would work fine. This is a fine-grained, pretty, golden orange cake that is moist & fragrant. Serve this with a pot of Assam or spice tea, or a scoop of orange sherbet for a springy dessert.  Boyajian Orange Oil is best but orange extract is an ok substitute. 

Check on the online reviews for the sleeper film, Wedding for Bella. It stars Scott Baio (yes - and he is super in it) and also features a beloved landmark of a biscotti bakery in Pittsburg, called Enrico’s Biscotti. This biscotti, like the biscotti in the film, makes huge, sweet, crunchy sticks. You take one, break it half, and share. The size is a real draw but it is the taste calls for ‘bis’. This is a very simple biscotti with a very pure taste – allowing you to taste the elements of butter, sugar, flour and eggs.  Rent the film - it is a must.  This recipe is now in The New Best of, Marcy Goldman, Whitecap Books, 2009.

One of those cakes you whip up Friday night to nibble on all through a summer weekend. Great for guests, after the pool, coffee hour or midnight snacks. It is tall, dark, moist, sweet and boldly chocolate – the sort of cake you can also freeze or tote to the cottage or to a BBQ potluck supper.  

What could be more light and springy than a gorgeous lemon layer cake with a smack of white chocolate. This is pretty, feminine but wonderfully flavourful; it suits cake lovers and lemon addicts both. An easy layer cake, fortified with lemon flavour and a divine lemon buttercream.

This is a triumph of recipe you will enjoy for special occasions, holidays, or when asked to bring the dessert. A creamy, rich white chocolate mousse is anchored by layers of moist, golden, almond and vanilla scent layer cake and finished with a white chocolate ganache glaze. Trim with a white rose or yellow rose, or store-bought marzipan flower and you;re good-to-go. White chocolate shavings and confectioners’ sugar would do nicely as a finale.  This is good enough for a wedding reception or any winter holiday. The best part of it is, it is easy as pie. It is simply cake, a foolproof mousse, and glaze. But wow! I recommend Callebaut first, and Lindt second, as the white chocolate to use. Do not use regular white chocolate chips or squares – they are not up to the task. This cake is also dramatic and delicious if you glaze it with semi-sweet Swiss chocolate for a contrast of white chocolate mousse and a dark finish.

I don’t know about you but the Woolworth’s around here used to have its own bakery. Scratch baking, old fashioned stuff like cupcakes, blueberry pie and corn muffins and brownies. The also made a diner style, lofty fudge cake that slices like a dream. It wasn’t too sweet – the icing was sweet enough –but it was so good!  Woolworth’s is gone from the vista but the memory of homey, commercial but tasty baking remains – yours for the enjoyment in this wonderful vintage styled, but contemporary recipe I created from memory buds.

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