Aunt Florence’s Sour Cream Marble Cake

This Cake Is Moist And Delicious!

My Aunt Florence is a wonderful cook and baker!  This recipe is one of her stand-by cakes that she frequently bakes.  It is a combination of a sour cream coffee cake and marble cake, so who wouldn’t love that?  Everyone loves this delicious cake, including me. When my aunt has company she always puts out an assortment of her home-baked goodies, and this cake is usually included in the assortment.  It seems like my aunt always has some of this cake on hand in her freezer,  just in case she has some unexpected company.  If you try this sour cream marble cake, I know you will love it as much as I do!

for the cake:

    • 1 stick of unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
    • 8 ounces (1/2 pint) sour cream
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 2 cups unbleached flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or margarine

for the topping:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease well an 8 x 12 pyrex baking dish.  Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl, and set aside.  Combine the sour cream with the baking soda in a small bowl; set aside.  Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.

Melt chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon margarine in small bowl on low temperature in the microwave or in a double boiler (a glass bowl set over simmering water in a saucepan); set aside.

Cream butter and sugar in large bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, and blend a few seconds.  On low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternately with the sour cream and baking soda mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  You may need to scrape down the bowl once or twice with a rubber spatula.   Transfer about 1/4 of the batter into a  medium mixing bowl,  pour the melted chocolate and margarine mixture into it, and blend together by hand with a rubber spatula.

Pour plain vanilla batter into prepared baking dish.  Drop the chocolate batter over the plain batter in spoonfuls, and marbleize the chocolate batter through the plain batter with a knife.  Sprinkle topping over the batter.  Bake for about 40-45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.  Cut into 24 pieces and place on serving platter.

Note #1:  This cake freezes well.  Cut up cake, and freeze in heavy duty aluminum foil, and then place foil package in a ziploc bag.

Note #2:  If you want a higher cake, you can bake this in a 9 inch square pan or a 9 inch round springform pan.  Bake at 350 degrees.

Chocolate Chunk & Walnut Banana Sour Cream Coffee Cake

If You Like Banana Bread, Chocolate, And Walnuts, You Will Love This Cake! 

I combined a few of my favorite ingredients, and I came up with this recipe for coffee cake.  This delicious cake is a combination of banana bread, and sour cream coffee cake with the added bonus of having delectable chocolate chunks and walnuts in it.  You will not believe how gorgeous this cake is when it comes out of the oven!

for the cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

for the filling and topping:

  • 1 (4 ounce) bar of bittersweet chocolate (I recommend
  • Ghirardelli), chopped into small chunks
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons melted and cooled unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter the sides and bottom (or tube if using a tube pan) of a 9 inch springform pan, or a 9 or 10 inch tube pan.  Measure the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl, mix with fork and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, place the chocolate chunks, the chopped walnuts, the 1/4 cup sugar, the cinnamon.  Then drizzle in the cooled, melted butter  and mix gently with a rubber spatula.  Set aside.  (If you notice that the butter is melting the chocolate a little, set the bowl aside in the refrigerator.)

In large bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 1 or 2 minutes.  Add the sugar, and cream until light colored and fluffy.  While the mixture is creaming, mash the bananas with a fork.  Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until fluffy.  Then blend in the bananas, the sour cream, and vanilla on low speed for no more than one minute.  With mixer on low, blend in the flour mixture and mix just until it is blended in.

Spoon about half of the batter into your prepared pan.  Then sprinkle it with half of the chocolate-nut mixture.  Spoon the remaining batter over the filling, and spread it gently over with a rubber spatula.  Sprinkle the remaining half of chocolate-nut mixture evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake for 55 – 65 minutes.  The sides of the cake should have separated from the cake pan, and the center of the cake should not be sunken.  When the cake is cooked through, the center will have risen as much as the rest of the cake. If you are baking this cake in a round 9 inch springform pan, you may have to give it 5 or 10 minutes more of baking time. (A toothpick should also come out clean when the cake is fully baked.)

Cool on wire rack, take off sides of pan, using a sharp knife, go under the cake to separate it from the bottom of the springform pan.  Then, slide the cake onto a serving platter.  Or, cut the cake into thirds, and slice a third into beautiful slices, and place on a cake platter.  Put each remaining third of the cake in a ziploc freezer bag, and freeze.

Hints:  When you are making any cake batter, the time for the high speed is when you are creaming the butter with the sugar, and then with the eggs.  You want this mixture to be light and fluffy.  Your butter and eggs should always be at room temperature for best results.  Often, I decide to make a cake on the spur of the moment, and I don’t want to wait 1 or 2 hours for my butter and eggs to come to room temperature.  So I put my butter in the microwave on power level one for a minute at a time just until the butter feels softened, but is definitely not melting.  Then, I put the eggs in the microwave on power level 1 for about 1 minute.

Easiest, Rich, Dark Chocolate Cupcakes With Vanilla Frosting

This Recipe Uses A Mix, But No One Will Ever Know! 

These cupcakes taste 100% homemade even though you are using a mix.  I made these cupcakes to bring to a barbecue when my daughter Randi first became engaged.  She and her friends loved these.  I make them now mostly for me because I love chocolate, and I really need to eat something chocolate at night while I’m watching TV with my son Danny.  When I make these cupcakes, I freeze them individually in some plastic wrap, and then put them in ziploc freezer bags.  (I deliver a bag of them to Randi, and then we get to keep the rest.)  Then, I can just take out one to eat at night, and I know that at least the portion isn’t huge.  If I just made this as a sheet cake and left it out on the counter, we would probably finish it in one day.

for the cupcakes:

    • 1 box Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge cake mix
    • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 3 extra large eggs
    • 1/2 cup canola, corn, or light olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two 12 cup muffin pans with paper or foil liners.  In large bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, blend cake mix, cocoa, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla on low speed for a minute just to blend.  Scrape down sides of bowl, increase speed to medium and beat 2-3 more minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Spoon large spoonfuls into muffin cups.  The batter should come up about 2/3 of the height of the muffin cup.

Bake in the center of the oven about 18 to 20 minutes until the tops of the cupcakes look dry and a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool on wire racks.

for the frosting:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter or Fleischmann’s margarine, at room temperature
  • 1 box (1 pound) confectioners sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
  • 6 tablespoons of whole milk (may use half and half or light cream)
  • 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt (only necessary if you are using unsalted butter or margarine)

Put room temperature butter in the large bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment.  Cream for 1 minute.  Pour in sugar, salt, milk, vanilla.  Mix on low speed just to blend.  Then mix on medium speed until frosting becomes creamy and smooth.  Frost cooled cupcakes immediately.

I recommend keeping the leftover cupcakes covered individually with plastic wrap in the refrigerator or freezer .  When you want to eat one, just take one out and let it come to room temperature before you eat it.

Note:  You may bake this in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan to make a sheet cake.  Grease the sides and bottom well with butter or margarine.  Bake cake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool on wire rack.  When cake is cool, make vanilla frosting and spread it on cake with a rubber spatula, a knife or an offset spatula.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Keep the leftover cake covered in the refrigerator.

My Mother’s And My Outstanding Strawberry Shortcake

Of all the cakes I have ever eaten or baked in my life, this strawberry shortcake is the best! This recipe of my mother’s is indescribably delicious. Of all my mother, Shirley’s cake recipes, this was her person favorite! It was a family tradition for my mother to bake this strawberry shortcake every year for our annual Father’s Day barbecue. Everyone waited for my mother to bring this masterpiece of a cake to the table. When I got married, I started to bake this cake. At my beautiful daughter Randi’s first birthday party, I actually baked three of these cakes because we had quite a crowd of people. Anyway, this cake is so beautiful and so delicious that it could win any first place prize at a country fair. The layers are light and airy and so delicious. The filling, which is just whipped cream and sugar with some fresh strawberries and crushed pineapple is dreamy. Of all my mother, Shirley’s cake recipes, this was her person favorite! After my father died, I rarely baked it, and my mother often commented that she wished I would. Now, I’m sorry I didn’t do that for my mother!

for the cake:

    • 1 cup cake flour (sift first, then measure)
    • 6 extra large eggs at room temperature, separated
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (1/2 cup and 1/2 cup)
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 3 tablespoons cold water

for the filling and the frosting:

  • 1 1/2 pints heavy or whipping cream
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 quarts strawberries
  • 1 16 oz. can of crushed pineapple in its natural juice , drained very well

to make the cake: (You can make the layers in advance and freeze them!)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. I use 2 round 9 inch baking pans with removable bottoms. If you don’t have that type of pan, then place a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of your 8 or 9 inch round pans. Do not grease the pans!

Separate the eggs. Set aside. Sift and measure the cake flour. Put it into a mixing bowl with the salt and baking powder, which you mix with a fork or whisk just to evenly distribute the baking powder and salt.

Beat egg yolks in large bowl of electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high until they have thickened are are pale yellow-about 5 minutes. Add the cold water and vanilla; beat again until thick -about 3-5 minutes. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar; beat again for another minute. Add the flour mixture on very low speed just until mixed in. Set aside.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on highest speed just until they form soft peaks. Then add the other 1/2 cup suar and mix 30 seconds more until they just start to form stiff peaks. Gently, fold the meringue (the beaten egg whites with sugar) gently into the flour and egg yolk batter with a rubber spatula until you can’t see the whites anymore. Be patient while you do this; it takes about 5 minutes. Pour the batter into the two ungreased pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the center of the oven until cake springs back when you touch it, the cake has started to separate from the sides, and it is slightly browned on top.

Cool cakes on wire racks. When cool, take cakes out of pans by running a knife around the edges of each pan. If you are using pans with removable sides, then remove the sides and run a sharp non-serrated knife under the cake to separate it from the pan.

Let cool completely. Then slice each layer in half horizontally using a good serrated knife so that you have four layers. You may either wrap the layers well and freeze them to use in the future, or you can just wrap them well, and refrigerate them until you are ready to assemble the cake.

to assemble the cake:

Drain the pineapple very well by putting it in a sieve, and pressing the juice out of it with a spoon. Set drained pineapple aside. Then wash the strawberries. Place them on paper towels to let them dry. Cut the green tops off them. Reserve enough of the prettiest berries to place whole on top of the cake (about 1/2 quart or 1 pint). Then slice the remaining strawberries and set aside in a bowl. Place the whisk attachment or your beaters in the freezer along with the bowl you will be whipping the cream in and the spatula you will be using. Let those stay in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Put the cream in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Then take everything out of the freezer. Pour the cream into the bowl. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the sugar in with the cream. Put the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on the highest setting, and beat. After about 45 seconds, pour the remaining sugar in. Continue beating until the cream is whipped. It should not be liquidy or loose at all at this point.

Place one cake layer on a pedestal serving dish that is large enough to hold it. Spread some whipped cream on the layer, about 1/4 inch high. Then sprinkle about 1/3 of the sliced strawberries on the layer. Place the second layer on top of the fruit. Spread more whipped cream on the second layer. Evenly distribute all the crushed pineapple and some of the sliced strawberries on top of the whipped cream. Place the third layer on top of the fruit. Spread whipped cream on top of the cake. Evenly distribute the remaining sliced strawberries over the whipped cream. Place the final (fourth) layer on top of the fruit. Spread the remaining whipped cream on top and on the sides of the cake. Then place the whole strawberries all over the top of the cake. The pointy side of the berries should be on top. Refrigerate until you serve the cake.

Note #1: If you find you don’t have enough whipped cream to frost the sides of the cake, leave the sides alone, and the cake will look beautiful that way as well.

Note #2: If you are baking the layers and freezing them to use at a later time, wrap them separately first in a good layer of plastic wrap, and then place each layer in a good ziploc plastic bag.

Old Fashioned Sour Cream Coffee Cake

If You Make This Old Fashioned Sour Cream Coffee Cake, You Will Be Delighted With The Outstanding Taste And Texture Of The Cake!

This was a cake my mother made at least two or three times every year. It was definitely one of my mother’s favorite cakes to bake and to eat. She got the recipe from Lorraine Klein who is my Aunt Sally’s sister-in-law. Lorraine is a wonderful lady, and through the years, I have always appreciated her good nature and sense of humor. I always look forward to having conversations with her every Mother’s Day at my Aunt Sally’s or my cousin Janie’s house. How lucky it is for me that I have been able to gather so many wonderful recipes from my mother and her contemporaries. Most of all, I often think back on all the lovely, beautiful, and fulfilling hours I spent watching my mother bake her favorite cakes, this being one of them. She truly loved this cake, and therefore, I will always have a special place in my heart for this cake!

for the cake:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter or margarine at room temperature
  • 2 extra large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted unbleached flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces (1/2 pint) sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

for the filling:

  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped fine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10 inch tube pan well all over with butter or margarine.

for the filling: In a medium mixing bowl using a fork or spoon, mix the brown sugar, the cinnamon, and the chopped nuts by hand; set aside.

for the cake batter:

In a medium bowl, put the dry ingredients – the sifted flour, the salt, the baking powder; set aside.

Mix the sour cream with the baking soda by hand; set aside.

In large bowl of Kitchen Aid or electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium to high speed with the sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and mix on high speed until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture and the sour cream mixture alternately to butter, sugar, and eggs, and vanilla mixture beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Add the flour in 4ths and the sour cream in 3rds. This is the part of the mixing where you don’t want to over-mix. You are really just adding these ingredients on a very low speed just to blend. Scrape down the bowl one or two times during this process to get any batter off the sides of the bowl.

Spoon 1/2 of the batter evenly on the bottom of the prepared tube pan. Then distribute about 4/5 of the filling mixture evenly all over the surface of the batter. Then spoon the remaining 1/2 of the batter over the filling, and smooth over the filling with a rubber spatula to cover the filling. Sprinkle the remaining 1/5 of filling evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake in the middle of the preheated oven 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Note: When I make this cake, I usually cut the cake into thirds, but I keep one third out for the family. Then I freeze the other two thirds of the cake. When company comes over unexpectedly, I know I always have delicious homemade sour cream coffee cake in the freezer. It defrosts in no time, and then it can be sliced and served on a pretty cake plate.

My Cousin Janie’s Moist And Delicious Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

You Can Learn To Make This Yummy Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting – Even If You Think You Can’t Bake!

I adapted this recipe from a recipe for carrot cake that I got from my wonderful cousin Janie Hindes Miller.  I have so many wonderful childhood memories associated with Janie; she was my closest childhood friend.   Janie is a wonderful cook and baker, but much more than that, Janie is a wonderful person.  For as long as I can remember, Janie has been making this carrot cake for yearly family  gatherings, and everyone goes crazy for it.   For me it was love at first bite when I tasted it, probably back when Janie and I were about 16 or 17 years old.  This carrot cake is a breeze to make, especially if you bake it in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  This is a wonderful recipe for a novice  baker.

for the cake:

    • 1 pound peeled and grated carrots (use organic if possible)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (I have now reduced the sugar to 1 3/4 cups- you will not detect the difference)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups light olive oil, canola or corn oil (or reduce to 1 1/4 cups- I like the cake more with this reduced amount- June 1, 2010)
  • 2 cups unbleached flour (I prefer to use King Arthur organic unbleached flour, and you do not sift it for this recipe!)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

for the icing:

  • 8 ounces Philadelphia brand cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine at room temperature (best-using unsalted butter- June 1, 2010)
  • pinch of kosher salt (only if you are using unsalted butter or margarine)
  • 1 pound of confectioners sugar, sifted to get any lumps out
  • 1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces chopped- not too finely – pecans or walnuts- or mixture of the 2 (optional)(June 1,2010)- nuts make the cream cheese frosting better
  • 1- 8 oz. can of drained crushed pineapple in natural juice (optional)- but I prefer icing now without pineapple and only with the nuts!- June 1/10)

***updated icing (March 2016)- oh my gosh this is amazing and I like it better than my original above)

  • 1 stick salted butter (room temperature)
  • 1 8oz. package Philadelphia (full fat) cream cheese (room temperature)
  • about 2 1/2 – 3 cups confectioners sugar (I didn’t sift as it seemed very fresh and lump free.)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

for the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Spray or grease sides and bottom of  a 9 x 13 inch nonstick baking pan; set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, measure flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.  Wash, peel, and grate carrots using a hand grater or a food processor fitted with the grater attachment- I use the food processor- it takes no time at all!); set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, by hand using a whisk, mix eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla, just until completely blended.  Then add dry ingredients to the wet batter, and mix just until blended.  Add carrots and fold them in with a rubber spatula.  Pour batter into prepared baking pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes on a rack in center of oven until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack, or refrigerate covered with plastic wrap until you are ready to frost it.

for the icing: (wait till cake is completely cool before you ice it)

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese with the butter just until mixture is smooth.  Sift confectioners sugar right in the bowl,  add pinch of salt, and blend on low speed just until blended.  Add vanilla and blend.  Use rubber spatula to mix in nuts by hand if you are using them.  If you are adding the crushed pineapple, be sure to squeeze as much moisture as possible out of the pineapple and then blend it in with a rubber spatula because you don’t want to add any extra liquid to the frosting.  Spread frosting on cooled cake.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you serve.

Note #1:  You can bake this in  a 9 x 13 inch pan or 2- 8 or 9 inch round pans to make a layer cake.

Note #2:  You can buy Diamond brand prechopped walnuts that come in a bag and can be found on the baking aisle in the supermarket.

Note #3:  Do not squeeze moisture out of carrots (I have never done that!)

This cake can be baked one day ahead and refrigerated until served..

Judy’s Perfect Blueberry Muffins, Or Jam Muffins, Or Chocolate Chip Muffins

This is a very simple, but perfect recipe for blueberry muffins.  I adapted this recipe from one I got from a mother of one of my daughter Randi’s friends when Randi was in the second grade.  So I’ve been making this recipe for about 17 years.  And in all that time, I have never tasted a better muffin than this.  I have given this recipe out to countless friends and family.  One of my mother’s and my wonderful friends, Sherill, who is a marvelous baker, adores this recipe.  Whenever she sees me, she thanks me for giving her this recipe.  If you bake a batch, you will discover the wonderful taste and texture of these muffins, and you will be hooked, too!

    • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour (Sometimes, I use 1 cup organic unbleached King Arthur flour plus 1/2 cup organic white whole wheat King Arthur flour, or 3/4 cup of each but my daughter uses all whole wheat- the 1 1/2 cups.  I prefer the mix of the two.  When I do this, I add a little more milk, just maybe a tablespoon to adjust for the heavier flour). 5/31/13- I added about 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice too, as I had the extra lemon- very nice, but not necessary. 5/31/14- I added a little lemon zest and the lemon juice- liked it.
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (I’ve been reducing this to a little less than the 1/2-somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 now)
  • 1 extra large egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use corn, canola, or extra-light olive oil, but light olive oil is my preference)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (You can also use lowfat or skim if that’s what you have on hand)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (no pulp, and not from concentrate- I have also squeezed juice straight from an orange)
  • about 2 cups fresh- preferably or 1  1/2 cups frozen blueberries, rinsed and then dried with a paper towel, dusted with flour before adding to mixture

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and put muffin cups into a standard 12 muffin tin.  In a large mixing bowl, put flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Whisk by hand just to blend the dry ingredients.  Set aside.

Measure the oil into a one or two cup pyrex measuring cup, add the 1/4 cup milk to the oil, then the 1/4 cup orange juice.  Crack the egg in, then mix with fork to blend.

Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Pour the wet ingredients in; fold the wet ingredients into the dry with a rubber spatula only until they are just blended.  Do not overmix! When the mixture is still lumpy, gently fold in the blueberries.  Spoon the batter into the muffin cups- about 3/4 cup full.  Bake them about 25 minutes until they are browned on top.  Cool the pan on a wire rack until the muffins are cool enough to take out.

Note- I make another variety by using jam instead of blueberries.  I spoon a little batter in each muffin cup.  I use a miniature ice cream scoop to measure out enough batter just to cover the bottom of the muffin cup.   Then I put about a teaspoon or so of either raspberry, strawberry, cherry jam on top of the batter.  Then, I top the jam off with another scoop of batter.  Just pop these jam muffins in the oven.  Your children will love these as much as mine do!

Another variation is to leave the berries out, and mix in about 6 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips with the batter.  

Incredible Fudgy Passover or Anytime Brownies

I developed this brownie recipe for Passover because I believed that it was possible to bake Passover brownies that would be just as delicious as regular brownies.  I took one of my regular brownie recipes, and then I just played with it, using Kosher for Passover ingredients, until it was perfect.  This recipe is so beloved by my children, family, and friends, that I actually use it all year round.  These brownies are so delicious that when I serve them for Passover, noone believes they are actually Kosher for Passover brownies.  I love to serve these brownies restaurant style – warm out of the oven with vanilla ice cream and my homemade hot fudge.  Serving them this way transforms an ordinary dessert into a spectacular dessert that everyone loves.

  • 3/4 cup matzo cake meal, sifted (I use Manischewitz)- sift first, then measure
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large or extra large eggs at room temperature
  • 4 ounces or squares of unsweetened chocolate (I use Baker’s or Nestle’s)
  • 1 ounce (1 square) semi-sweet chocolate- or eyeball an ounce of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use Baker’s or Nestle’s)
  • 2 sticks butter or margarine (if using margarine, I use Fleischmann’s salted margarine, but in recent years, I’ve switched to using butter)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • optional 1/4 teaspoon instant coffee granules (this is absolutely not essential to use, but it does intensify the flavor of the chocolate and I’ve been doing it lately)
  • optional, 1 – 1 1/4 cups roughly chopped walnuts (I usually don’t put nuts in because the kids don’t like them)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 pan with butter or margarine.  Sift the cake flour, and then measure it and set it aside.

In a double boiler or in a saucepan over lowest heat, start to melt the margarine.  Then add the squares of chocolate.  Keep moving the chocolate around so that it doesn’t burn.  When the chocolate and the margarine or butter are totally melted, take them off the heat.  Throw the sugar into the pan, and mix with a rubber spatula to blend.  Crack in the eggs, and mix them in one at a time just until blended. Mix in the vanilla. If you are adding the instant coffee granules, then crush them with your fingers, and add at this time.    Then add the cake flour and the salt, and fold it in with a rubber spatula, just until it is blended.  Add optional nuts.  Do not over-mix.  Spread the batter in prepared pan.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  The brownies will also feel firm to the touch and will have started to separate from the sides of the pan.  Serve warm immediately, or at room temperature.

Note:  You can prepare the batter, put it in the baking pan, and refrigerate it until you are ready to bake it.  When I bring these to a friend’s or family member’s house, I prepare the batter that day or a day in advance, put it in the prepared cake pan, cover it with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate until I leave my house.   Then I put them in the oven 30 minutes or so before I want to serve them.  This way, I can serve them warm out of the oven with some vanilla ice cream and my homemade hot fudge. 

Nana’s Easy As 1, 2, 3 Chocolate Cake

No One Will Believe This Cake Is Not From Scratch! 

This is a simple chocolate cake to make when you don’t feel like baking one totally from scratch.  My mother made this cake often, and she’d cut it in half and freeze it for company.  I loved this cake.  You have to understand that my mother usually didn’t just bake things and let us eat them.  Almost everything was made and then saved for a particular occasion.  Well, I would know that this cake was in the freezer.  And no one was allowed to touch that cake, except for my mother.  But I’d want some of the cake.  I would crave a piece of the cake.  So this is what I’d do.  And I did this many times, probably every time my mother baked this cake.  I’d sneak down to the basement with a sharp knife.  I’d take out the bag with a half of the cake in it from the freezer.  I’d put it on the ironing board, and take it out of its plastic bag and I’d unwrap it from the aluminum foil.  Then I’d lay the cake on its side, and proceed to slice some very thin slices off the bottom of the cake.  I’d then eat those very thin slices.  Then I’d wrap the cake up, and put it back in the plastic bag and then back in the freezer.  Nana never caught on to my cake theft.  I do remember a few times when she took the cake out to slice it for company,  and she’d comment that she didn’t understand why the cake looked so much smaller.  Of course, I said nothing- I didn’t want to sabotage my future prospects for stealing some cake.   Boy, when it came to food, nothing could stop me!

  • 1 box dark chocolate cake mix (I use Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix)
  • 1 box Jello brand instant chocolate pudding
  • 4 extra large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup canola, corn, or light olive oil
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease sides and bottom of a 10 inch tube pan with removable sides.

Put cake mix, instant pudding, eggs, oil, sour cream, in the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with a paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed, scraping down the bowl once or twice during mixing, until mixture is well blended, about 2 or 3 minutes.  Mix in the chocolate chips by hand with rubber spatula.

Pour the batter evenly into prepared pan and bake it in the center of the oven 45-55 minutes until the sides of the cake have separated from the pan and a toothpick comes out clean  Cool on a baking rack for 60 minutes.  Then run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan and around the tube.  Lift the cake up by holding the tube.  Cut the cake in half, and then lift halves off the pan using a metal spatula.  You may place it on a serving platter whole, but I think it looks prettier if you slice it and then place your slices overlapping each other on a round platter.

Note:  This cake freezes extremely well, and is great to keep in your freezer to have on hand for when you have company or you want to bring something over to a friend’s on the spur of the moment.  

Jewish Marble Cake

 This Marble Cake Will Satisfy Any Craving For Chocolate Or Sugar!

This is another recipe that came from Adele Hochheiser.  Adele Hochheiser was my mother’s wonderful best friend, and she was like a second mother to me.  Adele was a terrific  cook and baker.  I have wonderful memories of going over to the Hochheiser house, walking into Adele’s kitchen, and smelling the enticing aroma of either something cooking or baking in Adele’s oven.  My mother loved Adele’s marble cake, and of course my mother got the recipe from her.  This became one of the standard recipes that my mother baked for the Jewish New Year holiday of Rosh Hashana.  My father and I really loved this cake, but my mother adored this cake.  When I ask my mother which cake recipe is her all time favorite one, she always says, “The marble cake.”  This cake is  a little on the heavy side, but it is GOOD.  My mother and I have had some great laughs through the years about how much we love this cake despite its slightly heavy and dry texture. We always say, “But it just tastes so good!”   My mother and Adele baked this cake in a 9 x 13 pan, but I when I started baking it, I discovered the cake came out moister when I baked it in a tube pan.  So that’s the pan I use.  When I bake it, I usually cut it into thirds, wrap it, and of course deliver some to my mother.  She keeps it in the freezer, and takes it out sparingly, because she doesn’t want to use it up.  I’m feeling guilty right now, because I know her supply is running out, and I need to replenish it.  I’d better get on the job!

    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter or Fleischmann’s margarine, at room temperature (I usually use butter)
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
    • 3 cups unbleached flour, sifted (sift, then measure)
    • 3 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate (I use Baker’s or Nestle’s squares)
    • 1 1/ 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a tube pan with removable sides well with butter or margarine.

In mixing bowl, put flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.  In a small microwave safe bowl, put the squares of chocolate, and then melt on a low power level in the microwave.  Add the 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract to the melted chocolate, and mix with a rubber spatula.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter or margarine.  Add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition.  Add the 1 remaining teaspoon vanilla, and mix, just until blended.  Add the dry mixture alternately with the milk in three or four additions, scraping down the bowl one or two times.

Take out about 1/3 of vanilla batter and put in a bowl. Add the melted chocolate to it, and mix with a rubber spatula.

Pour all of vanilla batter into prepared tube pan.  Then put dollops of chocolate batter on top of vanilla until you have used up the chocolate batter.  Take a knife and swirl the chocoate batter through the vanilla batter.   Do not overswirl at this point, because you want the chocolate cake to be chocolate, and you want the vanilla cake to be vanilla.  Bake about 50 minutes until the cake just starts to separate from the sides of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool the cake on a wire rack about 1 1/2 hours until completely cool.  Run a knife around the edge of the pan and around the inside tube.  Then lift the cake up off of the sides holding the tube.  Then cut it in half, and with a metal spatula, lift each half off the bottom of the pan  onto a serving plate.

Note:  This cake freezes well.  Wrap it in halves or thirds in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil, and then put in plastic freezer bags.  When you have company, take out 1/3 or 1/2 , slice it, and put slices in an overlapping pattern on a serving plate.