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!

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