Whole Wheat Bread

After Norman passed away I sort of lost interest in everything.  I just wandered through my day not really paying attention to what was going on around me.  I lost interest in cooking and baking and making dinner for one became an ordeal.  I started forcing myself to get out of the house and done things.  A few weeks ago I discovered a new used bookstore in town and ventured in.  They had the most amazing cook book section and I found I went back several weeks in a row and managed to get many new cookbooks for my collection.  I started paying attention to what I was eating again and decided that I wanted to try my hand at bread again.  I have tried many times to make whole wheat bread but they always seems to be heavy and tasteless.  One of these books had a relatively simple recipe for whole wheat bread and I thought I would give it a try once again.

This recipe calls for the use of a biga or starter.  It is nothing more than flour and a bit of yeast.  The biga is made the day before an allowed to ferment at room temperature for 24 hours to develop its flavor.  It is then used in the dough to give flavor and a bit of a boost to the rise.

To make the biga:

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, room temperature
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour.

Stir the yeast into the warm water and allow to stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the remaining water and then the flour, 1 cup at a time.  Mix with a wooden spoon for 3 to 4 minutes or mix with the paddle attachment in the stand mixer at lowest speed for about 2 minutes.

Remove to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise at a cool room temperature for 6 to 24 hours.  The biga will triple in volume and will be wet and sticky when it is ready.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the bread dough and bake:

Makes 2 large or 3 smaller round loaves

1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups water, room temperature
1 cup (250 grams) Biga
Scant 2 cups (250 grams) whole-wheat flour, preferably stone ground
3 3/4 cups (500 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) salt

Stir the yeast into the warm water in a mixer bowl; let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups water and the starter and mix with the paddle until the water is chalky white and the starter is fairly well broken up. Add the flours and salt and mix until the dough comes together. You may need to add up to 2 tablespoons more flour, but the dough will never pull clean away from the side and bottom of the bowl. Change to the dough hook and knead a full 5 minutes at medium speed. Finish kneading the sticky, wet dough by hand on a well-floured surface, sprinkling the top with about 3 to 4 more tablespoons of flour.

First Rise. Place the dough in a lightly oiled large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise until tripled and full of air bubbles, about 3 hours. Do not punch down.

Shaping and Second Rise. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and shape into 2 big flat rounds or 3 smaller ones, pulling tight on the surface of the dough with your cupped hands to make a taut loaf. Place the loaves, rough side up, on well-floured baking sheets, peels, or parchment paper set on baking sheets. Cover with a towel and let rise until there are lots of air bubbles under the skin, about 1 hour.

Baking. Thirty minutes before baking, heat the oven with a baking stone in it to 450 degrees F. Dimple the tops of the loaves all over with your fingertips or knuckles, and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Just before baking, sprinkle the stone with cornmeal. Gently invert the loaves onto the stones. The bread will look deflated when you initially put it in, but it will puff up like a big pillow in no time. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Cool on racks.

Rum Raisin Cake

What with work, our wedding, two weekends of family and friends visiting and planning our European house hunting trip I just haven’t had much time to get into the kitchen and do much baking.  This weekend I did manage to find a few minutes to throw together this really easy bundt cake.  I have to admit that I did the mis en place the night before and in the morning I just mixed it all together and got it in the oven in about 10 minutes.  It has a very long slow bake so I was able to get the kitchen cleaned up and the ironing done before it came out of the oven so easy to plan chores around this one.

I haven’t tasted it yet and probably won’t until tomorrow as I usually bring the weekend bakes to work but it certainly smells good and the whole house smells of vanilla and coconut and has my mouth watering and stomach grumbling so I may have to break down and have a slice a little later.

Coconut-Rum Raisin Cake Coconut-Rum Raisin Cake


1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup dark rum
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
6 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut


1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup dark rum
2 tablespoons heavy cream

1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325F. Butter a 12-cup Bundt or kugelhopf pan; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Place raisins and rum in a bowl, and let soak.

2. Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and brown sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 3 batches; alternating with 2 batches of cream; beat until just combined. Mix in raisin mixture and coconut.

3. Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating halfway through, until a cake tester comes out clean, about 1 hour 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around edge of cake to loosen; turn out onto rack to cool completely. (cake can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, up to 2 days.)

4. Make the glaze: Heat granulated sugar and the water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, gently stirring, until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear, cook, without stirring, until syrup  comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Let boil, gently swirling, until the mixture turns a medium amber. Remove from heat.  Add rum and cream.  Let cool, stirring until thickened.  Drizzle over cake.

Peaches and Cream Bundt Cake

Peaches are my favorite fruit and I am always looking for new ways and new recipes to use them in.  I was excited to find this easy bundt cake recipe that used fresh or frozen peaches.  I had high hopes for this cake and loved the fact that it was so simple to toss together as lately I often seem to be short on time to get into the kitchen and indulge in some time-consuming baking.  I still like to have baked goods on hand to snack on or share with friends and family.  This one seemed to fit the bill.

I have to admit that while the cake is incredibly moist I found it to be a bit bland.  It really didn’t seem to have much flavor at all and even the peaches seemed to fade into the background.  Needless to say I was a bit disappointed.  With that being said I took the cake to work and everyone raved about it.  I think every single person who had a piece stopped me to say how good it was and several asked me for the recipe so I am going to have to call it a huge success and scratch my head over why I thought it was so bland.

Peaches and Cream Bundt Cake

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt
4 peaches, peeled, pitted, and diced small
2 1/4 cups sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Whipped cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 350’F. Butter a 14-cup Bundt pan; dust with flour, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups flour, the baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, toss peaches with remaining 2 tablespoons flour to coat.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 1 cup butter and 2 cups sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined. Fold in peaches and vanilla.

Transfer batter to prepared pan; tap pan firmly on counter several times. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet to cool 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt remaining 1/2 cup butter. Combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Run an offset spatula or small knife around edge of cake to loosen; turn out onto a rack. Working in sections, brush the cake with butter and sprinkle liberally with cinnamon-sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream, if desired. (cake can be stored at room temperature, covered, up to 3 days.)

Spumoni Mousse Cake

Being from an Italian family and growing up in Youngstown, Ohio where there was a large Italian population it is inevitable that Spumoni was bound to turn up here sooner or later.  As a child I loved spumoni ice cream and it was readily available in Youngstown both in restaurants and in the grocery store.  When I moved to California it was almost as if the stuff ceased to exist.  For the first 20 years that I lived here I never saw it either in the grocery stores or in Italian restaurants.  I understood this in the fancy trendy restaurants but I would have thought it would have been a staple in the mom and pop places that I frequented in my lean military years out here.  Nothing.

When I moved to San Diego and got into the foodie scene, most people I talked with had never even heard of it.  When we sold our suburban home and moved into town I was floored to discover that the little Italian restaurant just around the corner had spumoni on their menu and it was like childhood all over again.  I order it every time we go to that restaurant.  In the last year or so I have been surprised to occasionally find it in the grocery store and of course a gallon of it always comes home with me when I find it.

This cake was a delightful surprise to find and I of course had to try it.  It really isn’t a cake but two frozen mousses (a cherry and almond layer and a pistachio layer) covered in sweetened whipped cream.  It does surprising taste like supmoni ice cream and the only thing I would change is that I would add almonds to the almond layer along with the almond extract.  For now I just sprinkle some silvered almonds on each serving.


Spumoni Mousse Cake

Cherry Layer

1/4 oz. package of powdered gelatin
2 tbsp. maraschino cherry juice
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole milk or half and half
8 oz. high quality white chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. almond extract or 1/4 tsp. almond oil
Few drops of pink food coloring
24 maraschino cherries, chopped into “chips”
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Pistachio Layer

1 tsp. powdered gelatin
2 tbsp. cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup whole milk or half and half
4 oz. high quality white chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons instant pistachio pudding
Drop of green food coloring (if desired)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

For the cherry layer

Lightly grease the bottom and sides of two 7 or 8-inch spring form pans. Line the bottoms with a parchment paper round. Set aside.

Place the 2 tbsp. cherry juice in a medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over water.  Let stand for 1 minute.

Whisk in egg yolks and sugar; mix well.  Stir in milk.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Cook until thickened considerably 7-10 minutes. When done, it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Stir in chopped white chocolate and blend with a whisk until chocolate has melted and has an even color.  Let cool.

When mixture is cooled to just barely warm, whisk in almond extract and pink food coloring.  Stir in cherry chips.

Whip cream until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold whipped cream into the cooled cherry mixture until well blended.

Pour into a prepared spring-form pan and level the top with a rubber spatula.  Pick up and drop the pan once or twice to settle any gaps that may have been created when the mixture was poured.  Place in freezer and freeze until firm.  Wash and dry your saucepan, bowl, spatula, whisk and beaters for the next layer.

For the pistachio layer

Place the 2 tbsp. water in a medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over water.  Let stand for 1 minute.  Whisk in egg yolk and sugar.  Stir in milk.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Cook until thickened considerably 5-7 minutes. When done, it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.   Stir in chopped white chocolate and blend with a whisk until chocolate has melted and has an even color.  Whisk in instant pistachio pudding mix.  Let cool.

When mixture is cooled to just barely warm, whisk in a drop of green food coloring to intensify the green color, if desired.

Whip cream until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold whipped cream into the cooled pistachio mixture until well blended.  Pour into the remaining prepared spring-form pan and level the top with a rubber spatula.  Pick up and drop the pan once or twice to settle any gaps that may have been created when the mixture was poured.  Place in freezer and freeze until firm.

Vanilla whipped cream and assembly

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. clear vanilla extract
Pink food coloring
12 whole maraschino cherries, rinsed and patted dry

Remove pans of mousse from the freezer. Use a dish towel soaked in hot water then wrung dry to warm the outside of the spring-form collars and then gently unlatch and remove the collars. Turn the cherry layer onto a serving platter or cake stand and peel off the parchment round.  Stack the pistachio layer on top of the cherry layer and press down until layers are even.  If you have gaps between the layers, use an off-set spatula to smooth the two layers together.  Peel off parchment circle.

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form, and then gradually add the sugar. Add in the vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form.  Frost the upper half of the mousse cake white whipped cream; avoid frosting the top – we want the pretty green color of the pistachio mousse to show.  Tint the remaining whipped cream pink and frost the lower portion with the pink whipped cream. Use one large spatula to smooth the two colors together on the sides of the cake.  Transfer remaining pink whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.  Pipe 12 pink whipped cream florets on the top outer edge of the cake.  Place a cherry in the center of each floret.  Store cake in the freezer.  Slice into pieces while still partially frozen.  Serve frozen or let slices come to room temperature.

Italian Fresh Cream Lemon Cake

Between social obligations and being away in Michigan visiting my best friend Jill it has been several weeks since I have been able to bake.  This was a rather busy weekend as well so I wanted something quick and easy to ease back into baking.  This easy bundt cake was just the ticket.  It only has a few ingredients and goes together in about 10 minutes, mostly by hand so not alot of clean up either.  It is a rather small cake but packs a nice lemony punch and is just the thing for early morning or late evening snacking.

Italian Fresh Cream Lemon Cake


2 cups + 1 tablespoon flour 270 grams
1 3/4 cups icing/powdered sugar 218.75 grams
4 eggs (large)
2/3 cup whole cream 150 ml, heavy cream or whipping cream
7 tablespoons butter melted 100 grams
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla 5 grams
2 teaspoons baking powder 10 grams
1/2 teaspoon salt 2.85 grams


Pre-heat oven to 350° (180° celsius).

Lightly grease and flour an 9 1/2 inch bundt cake pan.  Melt butter and let cool completely.  Grate the zest of one lemon.

In a large bowl beat on medium speed eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, then alternating with the cream gently fold into egg mixture with a spatula, keep folding until mixture is combined, gently fold in lemon peel, vanilla and melted butter.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes. Let cool, then dust with confectioners sugar.

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

I came across this cake on yet another of my Google searches for new bundt cake recipes.  I love apple cakes and this one has that cream cheese type cheesecake filling in the center and lots of tart Granny Smith apples chopped up in the cinnamon-nutmeg spiced batter so I figured it was worth at least one try.

It is delicious.  A nicely spiced batter flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg and all-spice and loaded with chopped tart apples.  In then center of this spicy batter is a thick ring of cream cheese cheesecake which bakes through the cake and adds a nice smooth richness and tang and to the spicey apple cake.  Heavenly

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake


cream cheese filling

  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (plus extra for garnish, optional)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about 2-3 medium apples)

praline frosting

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar


Preheat oven to 350°F.

To make the filling: Add the cream cheese, butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth. Add the egg, flour and vanilla and continue beating just until incorporated. Set aside.

Place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toaste in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or just until fragrant. Remove the pan to a wire rack.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, both sugars, the cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and allspice together. Add the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla and mix just until combined (I started with a whisk and switched to a rubber spatula). Fold in the toasted pecans and chopped apples until distributed throughout the batter.

Spoon about 1/2 to 2/3 of the cake batter into the prepared 12-cup bundt pan. Top evenly with the cream cheese filling, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the pan (I found this tricky, just do the best you can). Use a thin paring knife to swirl the cream cheese filling with the cake batter just a few times – less is more. Top the filling with the remaining cake batter.

Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and allow to cool completely (at least 2 hours).

To make the frosting: Combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a 2-qt saucepan. Set over medium heat, and bring to a boil, whisking almost constantly. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, until it is completely incorporated and the frosting is smooth. Gently stir the frosting until it starts to thicken, then pour it over the cooled cake. (The frosting will set up quickly, so don’t make it in advance – wait until the cake has cooled completely.) Garnish with extra pecans, if desired.

Peanut Butter Banana Bundt Cake

Now that my friend Jill has me totally hooked on bundt cakes it seems as though I am constantly on the lookout for new bundt cake recipes.  A recent search on the internet turned up this peanut butter and banana cake.  I am crazy about banana cake and peanut butter and banana sandwiches were a childhood favorite (actually, they still are a favorite) so I knew I had to try this.

The recipe calls for peanut butter filled DelightFulls which are chocolate morsels filled with peanut butter.  They are made by Nestle Toll House and actually come in about 6 flavors of filling.  I went to about 5 different stores and couldn’t find them in any flavor so I decided to just use regular semi-sweet morsels and peanut butter morsels and just use half the amount called for of each.  I think it worked out fine.  I imagine you could used mini Reeses peanut butter cups and chop them up and get the same flavor.  It all seems good to me.

It is an easy cake to put together and has a nice rich banana flavor which is nicely set off by the chocolate and peanut butter chips.  In all honesty I think I would like it just as well as plain banana cake.  See what you think.


For the cake

4-5 overly ripe bananas (about 1 ½ cups)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup neutral oil, like canola or safflower
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 ounce) package peanut butter filled DelightFulls™, divided
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

For the glaze

½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt


For the cake

Take ½ cup of the DelightFulls™ from the bag and chop into halfs and ¼ pieces. Set aside.
In a small bowl, toss together the remaining DelightFulls™ and 1 tablespoon flour to coat the morsels. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a small bundt pan with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt for 30 seconds to distribute the leavening.

In the bowl of a food processor, puree the bananas until smooth. Add the oil and then the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined. Add the vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Add the banana mixture and mix to combine.

Add the flour, all at once, and mix on low until just combined and smooth.

Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Sprinkle ½ of the flour coated morsels over the batter. Pour 1/3 of the batter over the morsels and sprinkle with the remaining flour-coated morsels and top with the remaining batter.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently poked and a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Turn the warm cake out onto a serving platter. Allow to cool completely.

For the glaze

In a small bowl, stir together the confectioner’s sugar, peanut butter, milk, vanilla and salt until smooth. Spoon over the cooled cake and sprinkle with the reserved, chopped DelightFulls™.

Limoncello Lemon Syrup Bundt Cake

The last time I made Limoncello I got a bit carried away and made way more than I usually do.  Since then I am always offering it to anyone that stops by and I am always looking for recipes to use it in.  I came across this one somewhere on the internet and since it used limoncello and was a pound cake I figured how could I go wrong.

It is a simple pound cake.  Nothing really all that special.  As you can see it uses a good deal of lemon zest and has limoncello  and lemon extract on the cake batter as well as as a limoncello syrup and a lemony glaze so if you are a lemon and limoncello fan as I am you can’t miss here.

It was also an excuse to use my new Bundt Squared pan.

Limoncello Syrup Lemon Cake

For the Cake:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs, room temp
3 large egg yolks, room temp
3 Tablespoons limoncello
2 Tablespoons lemon extract
3/4 cup heavy cream



For the Limoncello Syrup:

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon limoncello

For the Glaze and Topping:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat your 10″ Bundt pan REALLY well with nonstick cooking spray. If your spray has flour in it then you will not have to dust the pan with flour. Otherwise dust the pan with flour:).

In a large bowl combine all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt. Sift ingredients together. (Do not skip this part.) Set aside.

To the bowl of your stand mixer add vegetable oil, butter, confectioners’ sugar and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until mixture resembles a pale yellow; about 4 minutes. Add eggs, limoncello and lemon extract, continue to beat on medium speed for one minute more. Add the flour mixture and heavy cream in three alternating batches starting and ending with the flour. Scrape down the bowl if necessary and do not overmix here. Run the mixer enough to incorporate the dry ingredients.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in the middle tier of the oven for one hour, rotate the pan halfway through. Use a toothpick to make sure the cake is done and set on a cooling rack for 30 minutes before turning it onto your cake stand.

While the cake is cooling make the limoncello syrup. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat over low heat to dissolve sugar. Should only take a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Poke holes all over cake with a skewer and brush the syrup all over.

When the cake is completely cooled make the glaze. Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir until completely smooth. Pour over top of Bundt Cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. Top with almonds and let the glaze set.

Apricot Almond Pound Cake

Well, it has finally happened.  I have abandoned my long time hatred of specialty pans and fallen under the spell of my dearest friend Jill, the Queen of Bundt Cakes and avid collector of bundt pans.  While I have been making my share of bundt cakes lately and really enjoying them, I have steadfastly stuck to my rule of not buying specialty pans.   I have used only my old fashioned original bundt pan and my favorite Heritage bundt pan.   Last weekend while rummaging through the used book stores I came across a small book called Bundt Cake Bliss by Susanna Short.  I flipped through it, saw that it had a nice selection of cakes which could be easily made with common ingredients that I always have on hand.  The book was only a few dollars so I tossed it on my pile and brought it home.  Once I had a chance to really look through it and compile a list of the recipes I wanted to try I started thinking about Jills pantry cupboard and all her bundt pans neatly lined up and I started envying her for her collection.  Then it dawned on me that I had a couple of Amazon gift cards in my drawer and off I went to check out which pans I could get for my gift cards.  I decided on the Bundt Sqaured pan and the Bavaria pan.  I used the Bavaria pan here and I am very pleased with the results.

This was a very easy cake to put together and as I have often said, pound cake is my favorite.  This one has the usual pound cake texture with the added benefit of a ribbon of apricot preserves in the center.  I am sure you could easily substitute whatever flavor you wanted.  Just leave out the almond extract or change that to go with whatever flavor of preserves you want.  Have fun.

Apricot Almond Pound Cake


2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup apricot preserves


1/2 cup apricot preserves
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup water


Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 12-cup Bundt pan using butter and flour or Baker’s Joy and set aside.

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Beat the butter for several seconds in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and almond extract and beat for 2 to 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Add the sour cream and mix well. In a small bowl, whip 1/2 cup of the apricot preserves until light and the larger pieces of apricot have been broken into smaller bits.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the preserves into the center taking care that the preserves don’t touch the sides of the pan. Spoon the remaining batter on top, being sure to completely envelope the preserves.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cake clean. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn onto a serving plate.

To prepare the glaze, combine in a small saucepan the remaining 1/2 cup of apricot preserves, the lemon juice, and water. Bring to a boil and beat until combined and the larger apricot pieces of have broken into smaller bits. The glaze should be slightly thickened, but thin enough to pour. If it is too thick, add more water. If it is too thin, cook longer.

Spoon or brush the glaze over the hot cake, taking care to cover it thoroughly.

Baileys Dark Chocolate Guinness Loaf

I hate beer, but I do like a stout and especially Guinness.  Have never been able to figure out why I like it and hate the taste of beer so intently but that’s the way it is.  I especially like cooking and baking with Guinness and whenever I find a new recipe using it I always give it a try.

I made this for St. Patricks day for our HOA party and it was well received.  I didn’t get a chance to taste it that and I had a few bottles of Guinness left so I decided to make it again.

It is very easy and it’s really just a standard tea loaf.  It has a nice moist crumb with the rich malty taste you get from Guinness and the loaf is studded throughout with chopped walnuts and chocolate chips which gives it a nice richness and extra texture.  Certainly easy and worth having on hand for snacking.  It also has a nice glaze enriched with the smoothness of Baileys Irish Cream

Baileys Dark Chocolate Guinness Bread


1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
1 egg
1 cup Guinness

Baileys Glaze

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp Baileys
2tsp half and half cream


For the Dark Chocolate Guinness Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 pan with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and white pepper. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the edges of the bowl, then mix in egg. Add beer and mix for 30 seconds, just enough to break apart butter mixture into the beer.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients, mixing gently in between. When all dry ingredients have been added, mix until just combined, when dry ingredients are no longer visible.
  5. Gently fold in chocolate chips and walnuts, then pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Let bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Baileys Glaze

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, Baileys, and cream.
  2. If you’d like the frosting to be thinner, add a small splash of baileys until desired consistency is reached. If you’d like the frosting to be thicker, add I tbsp powdered sugar at a time until frosting is thick enough.
  3. Once bread has cooled, drizzle Baileys glaze on top of bread.
  4. Bread can be stored in a sealed container and kept on the counter for up to S days.