Sunday, September 23, 2018

Plum Streusel Cake

Living on the Central Coast of California, I don't get to experience the four seasons like other states do. We don't get the spectacular kaleidoscope of fall leaves, and we certainly do need rain! I do know that fall is coming when the sun starts setting earlier the evenings feel and I have to grab a jacket when we take our dog on his evening walk. I'm already seeing pumpkins for sale, and I'm happy about that!

I so love our summers because our average temperatures are 75 degrees, with a soft afternoon breeze from the ocean.  Our gas and Weber charcoal grill gets a workout during the summer preparing ribs, tri-tip and fresh corn. Yum!  I never tire of buying locally grown strawberries, and fresh corn-- made even sweeter that I am off work for most of June and July. For now, I call my school summer break "practicing for retirement".

The first signs of fall, for me, is when I spot Italian Prunes/Plums at my local grocery story.  These are very special prunes, to me, because they are what I need to make Bavarian Zwetschgendatschi  (German Plum Sheet Tart) that my Bavarian Mutti taught me how to make when I was a young girl.  These prunes (or plums, if you will) have a yellowish-green flesh and are a bit firmer than the kind of plums we typically buy in America.  They are perfect for baking!

The end of the season for the plums are coming to a close, so I bought a pound of them. I wanted to make a cake version with a streusel topping.   I brought one each of salted and unsalted butter to room temperature and zested a bit of lemon (this is very German).

The cake batter is very simple to make.  

I love lemon anything, so one of my baking ingredients that I keep in my pantry are Lorann Baking Emulsions. They aren't too overpowering, but this adds a little extra lemon flavor that I love (just 1 tsp. will do the trick.

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Cold-Oven Pound Cake


Hi! I'm back, and it's been a very long time since I've posted a recipe. Forgive me?  I have no excuse, except that I've been focusing on work so much that I don't have the energy to edit photos and post a recipe.  I have been busy baking and cooking, but mostly sharing pictures on Instagram or on my Facebook Page.

I'm blessed to live in a part of California where fresh strawberries are available from early spring until early fall.  But, if some of you are expecting pumpkin or apple recipes, this pound cake will do just fine year-round.

I have a paid subscription to Cook's Country Magazine and I came across this recipe at a time that juicy, red strawberries were in abundance just right down the road where I live.  I've made a number of strawberry-themed cakes, but this particular recipe really caught my eye.

 I confess. I eat cake batter, and I have lived to tell the tale.  Because I'm such a fan of almond/marzipan, I added a bit of almond extract to this dough. The dough was amazing-- and I'm sure that there are two and a half sticks of butter doesn't hurt.

I managed to get most of the batter into my 12-cup bundt pan, even though I did some quality control tasting.  This cake definitely took the higher end of baking time-- around 75 minutes.

When I shared a photo of this cake on Facebook, I was asked "what is a Cold Oven Poundcake"?!
It's exactly that-- we break tradition of pre-heating the oven. Instead, the batter is put into a pan, set into the oven and then turned on to 325F to bake for 65-80 minutes.  The end result was a cake that was moist and had a very tender crumb.

What more can I say?  It's buttery, with a hint of almond extract (my own addition since it's one of my favorite flavors).  Slathered with whipped cream and fresh berries, this dessert was enjoyed by our dinner guests.

TASTING NOTES: Here are the notes from Cook's Country-- Swapping out all-purpose flour for cake flour yielded an even finer, more delicate crumb for our pound cake. We also used baking powder, which produced carbon dioxide bubbles that gave our pound cake its rise. Putting the pound cake into a cold oven gave the carbon dioxide more time to produce greater rise. 
Yes, indeed, the cake rose beautifully, but tasted even better.  This cake recipe is one I'll keep in my back pocket for potlucks or to showcase fresh fruit. Loved it!

Gosh, it's been so long since I've posted a recipe and I plan to end my dry spell.  I hope this recipe inspires you to try this cake.  It's simply delicious, and it's from one of my favorite recipe sources "Cook's Country".

As always, a printable recipe card is at the very end of this post. Please email me (, directly, if you have any questions.

Happy Baking!

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Grilled Pork Tenderloin a Soy-Orange Marmalade Glaze

I have been following the "Simply Recipe" blog for some time, and I have made several recipes from it. I appreciate the step-by-step photos, and have had success every time. This recipe is no exception.

I had recently cleaned out reorganized my pantry, and discovered a jar of Orange Marmalade lurking in a corner, totally forgotten.  The ingredients for the marinade were simple-- soy sauce, honey, orange marmalade, rice vinegar and red pepper flakes.  I had all of them on hand except for needing to buy a pork tenderloin.  Now that the days are longer, and we are blessed with sunshine, it was time to uncover our gas grill.  Dinner is solved!

I was able to speed up the one hour marinating time, by using my Food Saver Marinator in half.  The other half of the marinade was lightly simmered and cooled. My husband seared the pork on all sides with direct heat.

Then, he moved it to indirect heat for about 20 minutes.

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

German Marble Cake (Marmor Kuchen)

Craig and I just return from a 2 week vacation to Bavaria, Austria and Tyrol (Northern Italy). We had a fabulous time, of course, and we took at least 2000 pictures. I know I have a summer school break project on my hands, as I cull the best of the best. If you're curious to see some of our photos on my Instagram, I invite you to come and take look.

We spent nine days of our vacation in my mother's birth city of Bad Reichenhall, Bavaria.  If you ever decide to visit this part of Europe, this beautiful town is a hidden jewel.  It is only about 20 minutes away from Berchtesgaden and about the same distance to Salzburg, Austria.  We love how quaint and quiet this city is. Of course, I have childhood memories of living here and visiting my Oma until she passed away in 1989. My ancestors lived here for many generations, and there is so much history here. But, that's another story I should write about. One of these days...

The Bavarian food we enjoyed was so familiar to me, since my Mutti taught me how to make so many of the traditional  recipes that inspired me to start my blog, in the first place.  However, I realized that I had never made Marmor Kuchen (Marble Cake). I saw these cakes in many of the bakeries we passed by, and I thought of my Mutti-- who used to bake these for us.  However,  I passed that by to eat Bienenstiech (Been-en-stee-ccccch) Kuchen/ Bee Sting Cake (our favorite).  I made a mental note that I wanted to bake a Marmor Kuchen when I returned home.  So, today, was the day!

I am not particular fond of the flavor of rum in my desserts, nor was my Mutti. I remember she always added lemon zest to the cake batter instead.  The recipe I found uses almond extract (and I love it), but I wanted to make it Mutti's way. I am very fond of Lorann Baking Emulsions and so I added one teaspoon of the lemon emulsion to the batter.  To half of the batter, unsweetened cocoa powder is added and then  rum. I discovered that I had Imitation Rum Extract, so I added  1/2 teaspoon so that it would "amp up" the flavor of the chocolate.

There is a distinct difference between German cakes and American cakes. They are very different, so please take this into consideration-- should you try this recipe.  American cakes have a more tender crumb, are moist and have buttercream frosting (unless you venture into making Swiss or Italian Buttercream...but then that's not American is it?!).  When my Mutti would serve this to my American friends, some of them would call it "choke cake".  I never told my Mutti, or her feelings might have been hurt.

I read that some Americans add a package of vanilla pudding to make this moister. I chose not to do this, because I wanted to stay more traditional. I just made sure to make sure that I did not over bake my cake. The recipe said to bake for 70 minutes, but mine was ready in 50 minutes!

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