cakes & brownies

In one of Food & Wine’s recent magazines, they provided a recipe for Jacque Pepin’s favorite pound cake.  They said he likes to add candied citrus fruit rinds, etc. 

Since I couldn’t find it posted online somewhere, here the recipe:

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 c milk, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 c cake flour

Preheat oven to 325.  Butter  10×5 loaf pan and line the bottom with strips of parchment paper that extend 2″ past the short ends of the pan.  I didn’t do the parchment paper strips, but I did make sure to that I sprayed my pan well with non-stick spray (I know, I didn’t do the butter either).

Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and sugar at medium speed until fluffy (3 minutes).  Add eggs, 2 at a time, beating after each time.  Beat in milk.  Sift the cake flour and whisk until smooth.  Then pour into the pan.

Bake for 1.5 hours, until it’s golden on the top and cracked down the center.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then unmold the cake.  It can be kept at room temperature, covered, for up to 3 days.

Now that I’ve given you the recipe, I can tell you that this pound cake is CRAZY delicious.  It’s heavy, rich, moist, and seriously awesome.

Jacque Pepin’s Favorite Pound Cake Dough  Jacque Pepin’s Favorite Pound Cake  Jacque Pepin’s Favorite Pound Cake  Jacque Pepin’s Favorite Pound Cake  Jacque Pepin’s Favorite Pound Cake

I know, low-fat fudgy cream cheese brownies?  Is that possible?  It is — I promise!  I was shockingly enjoying them because the brownies were chocolate-y and moist. 

Low fat Chocolate Brownies with Cream Cheese  Low fat Chocolate Brownie Cream Cheese  Low fat Chocolate Brownie Cream Cheese

I think I could have lived without the cream cheese top and saved myself some more calories.  But I know that’s just me. 

I also don’t like frosting.  Take a moment.  I know.

You’re going to find a lot of recipes for sour cream now because I had thought I was going to make this biscotti during the holidays.  I ended up making others, but found myself with a lot of sour cream! 

Anyway, I found this recipe from Daisy Brand Sour Cream for their gingerbread cake.   I didn’t have any allspice or lemon zest, but figured I’d still make it. 

Sour Cream Gingerbread Cake Dough  Sour Cream Gingerbread Cake  Sour Cream Gingerbread Cake

When the cake came out, it was super moist and full of spice flavor.  The cake did fall down a bit in the middle, but that was OK since I wasn’t going to serve it (instead, it was getting shipped to someone). 

This would be delicious with a brown butter or cream cheese frosting.  Whipped cream or ice cream would be good too!

A friend was raving about Daily Candy’s recipe they sent out in December from 1789 pastry chef Travis Olson.  In case you didn’t get the email, here’s the recipe that serves 8-10.

It is easy to make, but make sure to follow the directions!  There are a lot more directions than I usually care to follow, but it was worth it.  The result?  Wow.  It really was amazing.  It’s sweet, rich, and full of pumpkin and spice flavors.  It’d be perfect topped with ice cream or whipped cream. 



  • 1 loaf challah bread, with crusts discarded (I made my own challah bread, but definitely can use store-bought!)
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1½ cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. whole milk (I used 2% and it worked, but it wasn’t as creamy as I’m sure it would have been if I used whole)


  • Preheat oven to 375°. Cut bread into ½-inch cubes.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

  • Combine the spices in a small bowl and then evenly sprinkle the mixture over the bread cubes.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

  • Toss the seasoned bread cubes with butter and then spread the cubes on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for about twelve minutes, until just golden.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

  • Reduce heat to 325° and place an empty two-quart baking dish inside to warm.
  • Add the granulated sugar to a small sauce pot. Whisk in about half of a cup of water until it makes a pourable consistency. Boil without stirring until the mixture turns amber, about twelve minutes.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Sugar Mixure

  • Remove the warmed dish from the oven and coat the bottom with a thin layer of the caramel mixture. (There may be leftover caramel, which you can save and use as ice cream topping.)
  • For the custard, add the pumpkin to a mixing bowl and whisk in the remaining ingredients, one at a time in the order listed.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding Custard

  • Add the toasted bread to the baking dish and pour the custard on top. Press down on the bread (yes, with your hands) to help it soak up the custard like a sponge, cover, and let sit up to an hour.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding  Pumpkin Bread Pudding After 1 Hour Soaking

  • Return the dish to the oven at 325° and bake until puffy and no liquid appears when pressed, about 45 minutes.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding  Pumpkin Bread Pudding  Pumpkin Bread Pudding

  • Enjoy warm with ice cream.

After I made the dry almond cherry biscotti, I had a jar of maraschino cherry juice left.  Before I threw it away, I thought I’d see if there was a recipe that might use some of it up.

Here’s the recipe I used for maraschino cherry cake.  It was pretty good — sweet (but not too much) and a pleasant cherry flavor. 

Maraschino Cherry Cake  Maraschino Cherry Cake  Maraschino Cherry Cake

It would be a great cake for Valentine’s Day!  You could add a cream cheese frosting and red sprinkles!

This is a very delicious recipe for orange crumb cake, but make sure to pay attention and save 1/2 cup of the flour, butter, and sugar mixture! 

Orange Crumb Cake Dough  Orange Crumb Cake Dough  Orange Crumb Cake  Orange Crumb Cake

It’s moist and has a nice orange flavor, although it wasn’t as “crumbly” as I’d like.  I think next time I’d add a little more butter to the top. 

Either way, it was excellent for dessert (or breakfast)!

A friend was having a birthday so I figured I’d make something different — and found it in this recipe for cream cheese brownies.

I had never made them before but they were pretty easy.  I just poured 1/2 the chocolate batter and then all of the cream cheese filling and then the remaining chocolate batter and baked.  It probably would have been prettier if I would have done an alternating spoonful of each, but I think these turned out well.

Cream Cheese Chocolate Brownie Dough  Cream Cheese Chocolate Brownies  Cream Cheese Chocolate Brownies

To be honest, I did steal a small bite and thought they were pretty good.  The cream cheese filling gave the brownies a rich flavor and smooth texture.  The brownies were extremely moist and delicious.

I would definitely make these again!

It was  my dad’s birthday so I thought I’d bake a bunch of stuff to send him.  He got a huge box of baked goods…computer paper box size. 

Anyway, in that box, I made this eggless dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting.

Eggless Dark Chocolate Cake Dough  Eggless Dark Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting  Eggless Dark Chocolate Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting

Before I put on the frosting, I did try a little bite.  It’s pretty good — rich and chocolate-y.  You can’t even tell it’s eggless!

This is probably more of a summer recipe, but I love lemon squares.  And more importantly, I love my new crust that I’m using to make all kinds of shortbread squares.

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of butter

Mix these well together and put half in an 8×8 greased pan.  Bake for about 10 minutes at 350. 

While the crust is baking, mix these ingredients in a separate bowl:

  • 3 TBSP of lemon juice
  • 1 tsp of lemon zest
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder

Lemon Curd Mix

Take the crust out of the oven and pour the above ingredients into the hot pan.   Now put the remaining crumble mix on top. 

Lemon Curd Shortbread

Bake for another 20-30 minutes at 350.

Let the pan cool before you cut.  Then serve with powdered sugar on top.  It’s got a great tart lemon flavor!

Lemon Curd Shortbread  Lemon Curd Shortbread

It’s fall and nothing says fall like spice cakes.  Or for this post, I’m talking about molasses cake with a brown butter frosting.

Molasses Cake Dough  Molasses Cake  Homemade Molasses Cake

I never tried it, but it was incredibly easy and it did turn out beautifully!  I gave it to a friend and asked for her feedback and here’s what she had to say:

The molasses cake is fabulous…I am such a spice-type cake fan it’s ridiculous. The icing was incredible!

I think we have a winner!


Brownies are my favorite, but I can’t eat the full fat ones…unless I want to pack on the poundage.  So I decided to make up my own low fat version. 

Preheat the oven to 350.  Now add the following into a mixing bowl:

  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 2 TBSP butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce (or mango sauce!)
  • 1/2 cup of dark cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 2/3 cup-1 cup of sugar (depends on how sweet you like it)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 TBSP strong brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup of chocolate chips (opt)
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts (opt, although I think it’s best with them)

Bake for 20-25 minutes

Low fat Dark Chocolate Brownies  Low fat Dark Chocolate Brownies  Low fat Dark Chocolate Brownies

The brownies are moist, chewy and really good.  They do stick to your fingers a bit (since there’s not a lot of fat), but seriously, way lower fat than the normal ones.  And if it means I can eat one without too much guilt, I’m in.

Here are the brownies with walnuts:

Low fat Dark Chocolate Brownie with Walnuts Dough  Low fat Dark Chocolate Brownie with Walnuts  Low fat Dark Chocolate Brownie with Walnuts

I found a pretty delicious TastyKake copy cat recipe.  The cake itself is spongy and moist. 

Copy Cat Tasty Kake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake  Copy Cat Tasty Kake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake

To make it easier on myself, I put the peanut butter layer on immediately after I removed the cake from the oven.  I put a pretty thick layer on. 

Copy Cat Tasty Kake Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake

Once the cake cooled down, I put it in the fridge.  Instead of melting chocolate, I made this dark chocolate frosting.  When the peanut butter was cold, I put on the frosting.

Copy Cat Tasty Kake Peanut Butter & Chocolate  Copy Cat Tasty Kake Peanut Butter & Chocolate

It’s seriously good!

**UPDATE 10/27 – I just found out that Trader Joe’s doesn’t have mango sauce anymore!  But seriously, this would work great with their apricot sauce too.  Or you can always use fresh fruit too.  You just won’t need to use as much (if any) corn starch/flour and you will probably need to add some sugar.**

I have this really horrible habit of stocking up on food.  The reason?  I don’t have a car so when I go out to, for example, Trader Joe’s, I don’t know when I’m going back so I buy a lot. 

I’m really guilty of doing this at Trader Joe’s too…and that’s why I made this mango shortbread.  I had a lot of jars of mango sauce and while I love them, it was too much.

In case any of you are like me and have a lot of fruit sauce such as chunky apple, mango, etc — this is a great recipe to use it up!  It’d be great with pumpkin too!  And fresh raspberries, strawberries, etc.  Really almost anything!  You may not need to use as much flour/corn starch for the other fruits and pumpkin though so just pay attention when you’re mixing.

Preheat the oven to 375.  Then to make the crust, mix these together:

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of butter

For the filling, mix this together:

  • 2 cups of mango sauce
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3-4 TBSP corn starch (depending on how thick you want the filling — thicker = more starch)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup sugar (opt — I didn’t include because my mango sauce was sweet enough)
  • 1 tsp of vanilla (opt — same as above but this would be a good addition for apples)

Now spray a 8×13″ pan with non-stick spray.  Put half of the crust mixture and pat down so the bottom if full with crust. 

Mango Shortbread

Then put the filling on top and add the rest of the crust mixture. 

Mango Shortbread  Mango Shortbread

Pat the top of the mixture down, but not too hard so that the filling squeezes out.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes until lightly brown. 

Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream or plain. 

Mango Shortbread  Mango Shortbread

It’s buttery and sweet!  Plus, it’s easy to make and a perfect after dinner dessert.

Originally, I was looking to make some healthy food using applesauce as an ingredient.  You know the drill by now, I have a jar that hasn’t been used and now I’m looking to try to use it up before it expired.

I found Hershey’s cinnamon chip loaf recipe.  I realized I had all the ingredients, except the cinnamon chips.  When I went to the grocery store to pick them up, my store didn’t have any.

So I substituted 3 1/2-4 tsp of cinnamon and 2 medium peeled chopped apples — hence the reason I call it cinnamon apple cake/loaf.

Cinnamon Apple Cake/Loaf  Cinnamon Apple Cake/Loaf  Cinnamon Apple Cake/Loaf

Next time, even if I could find the cinnamon chips, I think I’d stick to my modifications. The cake/loaf was moist and sweet.  It was awesome!


I love lemon poppy seed anything.  However, I rarely eat it because it’s usually really unhealthy.  This recipe for lemon poppy seed cake is no exception to the rule.  I had to make it anyway though.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake/Loaf  Lemon Poppy Seed Cake/Loaf  Lemon Poppy Seed Cake/Loaf

It was good, but I don’t think it was worth using cake flour since I didn’t really notice any difference.  The cake was full of delicious lemon flavor and millions of poppy seeds so one was in constant danger of getting one stuck in between your teeth.  It was tart and sweet — a great combination!

Well, in light of the employment numbers, record high foreclosures, and high food and gas prices, I felt this chocolate depression cake described the mood of many. 

I followed the recipe exactly, except I used dark cocoa powder.  BTW, 10 TBSP equals about 2/3 cup.

The cake is moist, chocolate-y, and thick.  Plus, there’s a lot of it!  While it’s not my favorite chocolate cake, it was cheap to make!

Chocolate Depression Cake  Chocolate Depression Cake  Chocolate Depression Cake  Chocolate Depression Cake

I love that there was essentially only 7 ingredients in this brownie recipe.  I also thought these were absolutely fabulous.  They were fudge-y with loads of dark cocoa. 

7 Ingredient Brownies  7 Ingredient Brownies  7 Ingredient Brownies

Wow.  I think they might be my new favorite brownies!

Brownies are delicious.   I love this recipe for them, but I thought I’d branch out and try this one.  And while I would expect Hershey’s to provide their customer’s a great recipe, umm, this was fantastic.  There’s a few more ingredients in this recipe than this one, but it’s good.

I know I love something when I find myself pulling an Elaine and the cake move

For those who don’t know Seinfeld, Elaine keeps shaving pieces off a $29,000 cake her boss (J. Peterman) bought.  The cake was from 1937 and was from King Edward VIII to Wallis Simpson.  

It’s quite hilarious, but I kept walking by the brownie pan and shaving off a few pieces for me to eat.  It was a good move when I put them in a bag.

Hershey Dark Chocolate Brownie Dough  Hershey Dark Chocolate Brownie  Hershey Dark Chocolate Brownies  Hershey Dark Chocolate Brownie

I have to believe that I’m not the only person who seeks out recipes so I can use up ingredients in my fridge.  I know most people love sour cream, but I am not one of those people.  In fact, I rarely have it in my fridge, but I had some because I had some recipe that called for it.  What was it?  Can’t remember.  Anyway, I had about 2 cups remaining.

So I thought I’d try to make this recipe for brownies with sour cream

Brownies with Sour Cream Dough  Brownies with Sour Cream  Brownies with Sour Cream

The brownies were moist and pretty good — light and fluffy.  Personally, I prefer denser brownie so these aren’t my favorite.  But I did give them to a friend who proclaimed them the best brownies ever.  I thought they were good.

While this recipe for brownies is a bit thicker than this one (my all-time favorite recipe), it was pretty good. 

I used dark cocoa powder, but otherwise followed the recipe.  So deep dish it was not really.  And I had to bake it for 50-60 minutes.

But they were really yummy!

Deep Dish Brownie Dough  Deep Dish Brownies  Deep Dish Brownies

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